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Dealing with Altar of Souls

Posted by Aquablad on 14/02/2017

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Altar of Souls is one of the most powerful structures in the game. It can be an overwhelming card if not answered. This guide highlights cards that are good at countering Altar of Souls.


Altar of Souls was rarely played before the structure change but now is considered one of the strongest cards in Yellow’s arsenal. The Slaughtering Shadows are cheap and powerful creatures that can overwhelm you. There are a few ways you can deal with Altar of Souls by including cards to help counter it.

Counter with Red

Red is the best counter to Altar with its wealth of damage based removal. Altar of Soul’s may be a powerful structure but will struggle against Red. Some Yellow players won’t even play Altar of Souls against Red opponents, especially Burn decks. There are too many cards to go through each one individually but here are two lists; one for dealing with the Altar itself and one for destroying Slaughtering Shadows.

Altar of Souls

  • Flame Burst
  • Firebomb
  • Bomb Slinger
  • Hellfire (also good against Shadows)

Slaughtering Shadows

  • Derelict Tower
  • Flame Spitter
  • Groundshaker
  • Seifer’s Wrath
  • Firestorm
  • Garudan

If you’re struggling with Yellow then a Red deck might be the solution. You’re spoilt for choice when picking cards to help counter Altar of Souls. Lord of Terror Burn decks are highly effective against Altar of Souls because they pack plenty of damage based removal. Also the two damage from activating Altar of Souls helps Burn decks achieve their win condition.

Crackthorn Beast

This powerful dual-coloured creature deals four damage spread across the board. These bits of damage can hit both the Altar of Souls and Slaughtering Shadows. Not only that you can use the Dash mechanic to move in on Altar of Souls if it survives. Green/Red Crackthorn decks are very effective against Altar of Souls deck because they also get access to all the Red cards listed above.

Ninja Toad

Blue decks have started building more lakes throughout their games because of Dream Reaver. Ninja Toad has a high price in lakes but is a great option for dealing with Altar of Souls. Unlike a card like Flame Burst you are going to need lands in the right position to get to the Altar. Don’t forget that Blue can move lands with cards like Shifting Tides. This could be another way to gain access to an Altar tucked away.

Neutral Cards

There are two events that could help you tackle Slaughtering Shadows; Falcon Dive and Famine. Falcon Dive is the weaker of the two because it is only single target. Famine on the other hand will wipe the board of all Slaughtering Shadows.

Freedom Fighter is another option for answering Altar of Souls. The 3/3 Haste creature can be summoned on neutral lands. This means you can build lands faster to your opponent to answer the Altar.


Taking out an Altar of Souls could be an important part to your victory. Area of effect cards like Groundshaker and Famine can be rewarded with a bit of patience. If your opponent keeps playing their Slaughtering Shadows then don’t be afraid to punish them with a well-timed board clear. There are plenty of cards in the game that could help you tackle the Altar. Positioning and timing will be key to defeating it.

J0k3se 14/02/2017 22:57

Great post Aqua! :slight_smile: <3

thormond 07/03/2017 14:58

you don’t counter altar, you play it

:crocodile: :banana: :ok_hand:


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