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How Magic Cards work
Force of Will

Force of Will Russian

Last Modified 21.01.2018

Force of Will is a card played in literally every blue Legacy control deck. It costs a fortune and it is ardently desired by any blue mage. Why? Let’s figure out.

Let the Force be with you!

A Jedi wish

Force of Will

Oracle Text:

Instant

You may pay 1 life and exile a blue card from your hand rather than pay Force of Will’s mana cost.

Counter target spell.

It’s simple:

  1. Force of Will is an unconditional counterspell;
  2. Force of Will is a counterspell for zero mana.

An unconditional counterspell is a spell that counters the target spell without any special conditions. For instance, Counterspell or Cancel are such spells. Examples of conditional counterspells include Mana Leak — the target spell is not countered if its controller pays {3}; Spell Snare — only counters spells with CMC=2; and many more. Force of Will just counters any counterable spell, raw power indeed.

Leyline of the Void

Before the start of the game, your cunning opponent puts Leyline of the Void onto the battlefield. It isn’t casting a spell, so your Force can’t help!

AEther Vial

Force of Will cannot counter abilities, so it cannot prevent AEther Vial from putting a creature onto the battlefield.

Infernal Spawn of Evil

Force of Will doesn’t fetch you coffee, but that doesn’t make it any worse. It’s just as good as it can be, if you know what a good spell is.

Force of Will has an alternative cost which may be paid rather than the mana cost: exile a blue card from your hand and pay 1 life. It means you may cast Force of Will in the moment of dire need when you do not have the necessary mana available. Like, when it’s your opponent’s first turn, and you need to break his treacherous plans of winning on the first turn with a combo by countering the most vital spell.

Actually, knowing this much is enough to quit reading and go looking for a playset of Force of Will. But you know I’ll always find something to tell you about a card, even when it’s a Grizzly Bear.

Anyway, Force of Will’s alternative costs includes exiling a blue card from your hand. You may exile any blue card, including another Force of Will (the one you are casting is put onto the stack prior to paying its cost).

Geist of Saint Traft

Any card with a blue mana symbol in its cost is a match for the alternative cost. It doesn’t matter at all if the card is any other color as well.

Fire // Ice

We’ll go with any split card which has at least one blue half.

Phyrexian Metamorph

Phyrexian mana symbols are a match to identify cards that may be exiled for Force.

Cemetery Puca

Cemetery Puca is a blue card, so it is a match for Force of Will.

AEther Vial

Cards with a blue color indicator also suffice, such as Ancestral Vision.

Painter’s Servan

Painter’s Servant makes all cards in all zones blue. You will be able to exile any cards for Force of Will including lands.

In general you should remember that:

Islands or any lands producing blue mana aren’t blue!

Islands or any lands producing blue mana aren’t blue!

The card goes from your hand to exile zone face up. There are some ways to interact with that card later. If you exile your Commander this way, you may send it to the Command zone, and the game will still accept your intention to exile it and consider Force of Will paid (provided you pay the life part).

Paying one life means you are supposed to have at least one life to pay the alternative cost.

Phyrexian Unlife

If you are at negative life due to Phyrexian Unlife, you cannot play Force of Will using the alternative cost, as you are unable to pay life.

Angel’s Grace

If you have exactly one life you can cast Force of Will using the alternative cost. Angel’s Grace’s effect will ignore this event, and your life will become equal to zero, which doesn’t look very good when you get closer to the end of current turn.

Umezawa’s Jitte

Trying to get life in response to Force of Will cast for alternative cost with spending the last life point isn’t very smart. If you don’t have an effect that would prevent you from losing the game, you will already have lost by the time you would get priority.

Captain Obvious mentions that Force of Will may sometimes be cast by paying its normal cost equal to {3UU}.

Force of Will’s CMC is equal to five no matter how it is cast.

Chalice of the Void

Force of Will’s CMC is equal to five no matter how it is cast.

Mana Drain

If your cunning opponent successfully counters your Force of Will with Mana Drain, he gets 5 mana in his next main phase no matter how Force of Will was paid.

Gaddock Teeg

If your cunning opponent controls Gaddock Teeg, you’re doomed. You cannot Force either for its mana cost or for alternative cost.

Force of Will vs Snapcaster Mage

Snapcaster Mage

If you wish to use Snapcaster Mage to give Force of Will flashback, be ready to cash out 5 mana, as the Flashback cost for Force will be {3UU} and none other.

You cannot cast Force of Will for its alternative cost in this case, because according to the rules, if a spell has multiple alternative costs, only any one may be used. Flashback is the alternative cost allowing to cast a spell from the graveyard, so you’re already choosing an alternative cost when using Flashback.

If an effect allows casting Force of Will from a zone without using an alternative cost, you may use that opportunity and pay Force of Will’s alternative cost at that.

Future Sight
Daxos of Meleti
Bösium Strip

Effects of all these cards allow casting Force of Will for its alternative cost.

I’d like to remind you that a spell’s full cost is its mana cost or alternative cost, plus all additional costs, plus all cost increases, minus all cost reductions.

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

If Thalia, Guardian of Thraben lurks around, Force of Will’s mana cost is increased by {1} and totals for {4UU}. You may cast it for its alternative cost by exiling a blue card from your hand, paying {1} and 1 life.

Goblin Electromancer

Goblin Electromancer, on the contrary, reduces the cost to {2UU}, but it can’t help pay Force of Will’s alternative cost, since it doesn’t have a mana part.

Trinisphere

Trinisphere considers the total cost of spells after applying all reductions and increases. If you cast Force of Will for its alternative cost, you’ll need to pay an additional {3}. However, the regular cost is above 3 mana, so {3UU} will be perfectly enough.


To brush it up, let’s look at an example about priority =)

Brainstorm
Force of Will
Lord of Atlantis

You resolve Brainstorm while having an empty hand, and you draw Force of Will and Lord of Atlantis among the three cards. Unfortunately, you may not cast Force of Will for its alternative cost. Actually, you may not cast it for any cost, since while Brainstorm (or any other spell) is still resolving, you do not get priority. You’ll have to brave it and put any two cards from those three you just drew back on top of your library.

Force of Will
Force of Will
Force of Will

After all the mindstorming, I suggest you enjoy some of Therese Nielsen’s own alterations of Force of Will.


  1.  Wizards’ current policy is that unconditional counterspells must not cost less than three mana. That’s sad.
  2.  Double-faced cards whose back face is blue are not a match for our purpose, because the game sees only the day side of a double-faced card in the hand.
  3.  Commander (general) — legendary creature with certain special characteristics that define the color of cards and the types of lands used in decks of Commander (EDH) format. You can check up the rules for the format on the official webpage.

Translated by Witas Spasovski