This is a generic title. This section discusses all cards that selectively lock off a certain CMC cost of a spell. This can include things like Chalice of the Void, Sanctum Prelate or non-permanent hate such as Spell Snare. There are some CMC's the deck needs to be able to function, and some that are completely optional. Here we shall exaplore in ascending numerical order the relevancy these cards have against us and some strategies to face them.

For each value examples will be given on what hate you might face and how to get around the listed limitation.

In addition to these 'work around' piles, we'll also discuss the catch all requirements for removing these restrictive permanents. As some numbers being named restrict certain removal cards, it's good to have at least two available to allow yourself an out for these card if you were to face them.

0 Cost Spells

In terms of 0 costs spells we have two main ones that are played. Lion's Eye Diamond and Lotus Petal. Both are incredibly useful mana generating resources but neither are required to win. All that it means is more mana is needed post DD to get us going.


GP in hand:
-> IU, DR, DR, GP, BW                  BBB+UUBR    (7)    8 Storm

CB in play. GP in hand:
-> DR, IC, DR, CB, ToA                 BBB+BB+X    (4+X)  8+X Storm

GP and GP in hand:
->DR, AoI, DR, DR, BW                  BBB+BRR    (6)     8 Storm

GP and GP in hand:
->DR, AoI, DR, LM, GP                  BBB+UBR    (6)

The general concept to remember is that our main method of fast mana generation after our 0 cost artifacts is DR. This means we need both B to enable the casting of these rituals and also R available to cast BW at the end. Alternatively if you are aiming for a LM pile you need U to help cast him. As all our cantrips are not affected we can still easliy draw into what we need. If you happen to be playing with maindeck ToA then you don't need to worry about these additional colour requirements but for most DDFT lists you do.

CMC 0 basically only stops Engineered Explosives in terms of cards we can bring in to fight it. Anything else such as By Force, Hurkyl's Recall or similar can all deal with a chalice on 0 with no issue and similarly, Massacre, Abrupt Decay, Pyroclasm can all easily deal with Sanctum Prelate. One thing to note is, should you by some means have a way to generate colourless mana, you can in fact play EE on '1' and it resolve with 0 counters on due to the nature of Sunburst only counting coloured mana.

1 Cost Spells

This is THE classic opener of stompy variants, aggro loam and other strategies that aren't concerned with cantripping or similar. The main issue with this limitation is getting to the point you can cast Doomsday rather than the actual going off. Obviously things like running BW along with artifact hate such as Meltdown can help get around the issue but you may just find you can go off without it (however unlikely that may be). You can also just try to go for an EtW play by throwing cantrips like GP into Chalice then using lands, LP and LEDs to BW for EtW. This can also achieve a natural ToA kill if you have the time and resource.

The two main points to take is the lack of ability to cast your cantrips and the lack of being able to cast things like DR or CB. IC is the preferred draw method here as it means you get the complete stack rather than IU that leaves you eneding to draw an additional card. If you have a CB in play already then there is obviously no issue but it is still worth considering. This is also where the Cycling ability of Edge of Autumn shines as it represents a cantrip that, although does not generate storm, does allow drawing into the pile and also drawing a card for LM victories.

With these piles you also have to consider you have most likely cast DD off of lands and LPs. As a result you probably have less mana available and as the most common method of entering into our stacks are one mana cantrips, pass the turn piles are a strong consideration. If passing the turn is not an option then wishing for a draw spell, using a draw spell already in hand or using something like Edge of Autumn to access the pile are all considerations.


Pass the turn:
-> BW (IC), LED, LED, LP, BW          BBB+2R   (7)  7 Storm

BW(AoI) in hand, CB in play, Pass the Turn:
-> LED, LED, LED, AoI, BW             1R       (2)  9 Storm

BW(IC) in hand, CB in play:
-> LED, LED, LP, LP, BW               BBB+2R   (6)  9 Storm

BW(EoA) in hand, CB in play:
-> LED, AoI, LED, LED, BW             BBB+1R   (5)  8 Storm

In terms of removal there is very little actually limited here. Only Chain of Vapor or Void Snare are affected here. This is where By Force shines over some other artifact removal as casting By Force with X = 1 means that it becomes a CMC 2 card that then allows you to destroy a single Chalice set to 1. A Sanctum Prelate is equally vulnerable as most of our removal for creatures costs 2 or 4.

2 Cost Spells

This is less likely to be faced in terms of Chalice of the Void but significant in that it includes playing around Spell Snare, a semi common card in many Ux decks. The main things that get cut from this is IU and BW. Ideally this means if you are running TW/AoI you should have no issues generating a simple double cantrip LM pile however if you require a BW storm kill then you have to get rid of it. You can also ignore this limitation with maindeck ToA.


GP in hand, CB in play:
-> LED, AoI, ToA, LED, CB              BBB+0+X   (3+X)  9+X Storm

GP in hand:
-> AoI, LED, BS, Lm, X                 BBB+2UR   (7)

This limitation in terms of removal is very awkward. Things like Abrupt Decay are not affected from a Chalice set to 2 as it ignores the 'Counter that Spell' clause. This does lock off things like Hurkyl's Recall or Echoing Truth though but allows Void Snare and Chain of Vapor to be used. What is harder to remove is a Sanctum prelate set on 2. This prevents BW from finding a Massacre and prevents the casting of Abrupt Decay or things like Pyroclasm.

3 Cost Spells

This is an interesting one to deal with. At this point it is almost guaranteed this is a Sanctum Prelate rather than a Chalice as very rarely do decks dump six mana into stopping 3 cost spells. (Especially as such decks normally run plenty themselves). The main cards blocked here are of course Doomsday itself, and some of our enablers (AoI, TW and IC). If you are running IU then this does not prevent your main PTT piles should this limit come down once you have committed. If facing this limit you still have access to everything you need to find answers and if in doubt, you can still initiate an Empty the Warrens line with no issue.

Removal wise this does not prevent anything really unless you are going for something more spicy such as Toxic Deluge or Rushing River. Otherwise all your removal is turned on and ready to go.

4 Cost Spells

In this category we introduce, in addition to Prelate and Chalice, Gaddock Teeg as another limitation permanent we could face. The main thing here is that this number block prevents our Storm finishers from being used. LM piles are completely unaffected so those are an easy line to victory.

Also to consider is the fact that we don't need to worry too much about Chalice being set to four. Storm will still trigger so only the original instance of the spell will be stopped. You do have to mindful that this does not trip you up. It does still prevent the use of Massacre though in case it should be needed.

Removing these two is also tricky at this cost block as it turns off our primary W removal in the form of Massacre. Other means of removal, if a LM pile is not available, need to be considered.

Teeg also shuts off the use of By Force in the instance that he is used in Tandem with Chalice or Similar (think Aggro Loam) so this could advocate the use of other removal. He also shuts off the use of Engineered Explosives.

Limitation Removal in Your Piles

Although we have touched on some examples of playing around these limitations and also the relative effectiveness of certain removal cards, we haven't discussed simply incorporating these cards into piles to allow us to win. Obviously certain limitations will prevent you getting to these piles in the first place but these should still give you an idea of how to swap out pile elements for the required removal. For ease of clarity I shall present the use of Nature's Claim (NC) for it's unique mana cost of 'G' which you can swap out for the appropriate removal spell by substituting the mana cost accordingly.


GP in hand:
-> IU, LED, GP, NC, ToA                 BBB+1UUG  (7)  7 Storm
-> TW, LED, GP, NC, ToA                 BBB+2UUG  (8)  7 Storm
-> AoI, LED, GP, NC, ToA                BBB+3RG   (8)  7 Storm

GP + BW(IC):
-> LED, NC, DR, LP, ToA                 BBB+2RG   (7)  9 Storm

BW+BS in hand, CB in play:
-> NC, AoI, LED, LED, LED               BBB+UG    (5)  9 Storm

GP + BW(AoI)
-> LED, NC, LED, GP, ToA                BBB+2RG   (7)  9 Storm

GP in hand, PTT:
-> NC, IU, LP, GP, LM                   G+2UU        4 life
-> NC, TW, LED, GP, LM                  G+1UU        4 life
-> NC, AoI, LED, GP, LM                 G+2R         4 life
-> NC, IU, Silence, GP, LM              G+2          4 life

-> GP, IU, NC, GP, LM                   G+2          4 life
-> GP, AoI, NC, GP, LM                  G+2U         4 life

Pass the Turn Piles Using Chain of Vapor

One somewhat unique piece of potential removal for anything not set to preventing 1 CMC spells being cast is Chain of Vapor (CoV). This allows you to bounce your own 0 cost artifacts to further increase storm count before using it to remove a limitation.


GP in hand, PTT:
-> IU, LED, LED, CoV, BW             UUU (3)      9 Storm

LED in play, PTT:
-> IU, LED, GP, CoV, BW              UUU (3)      8 Storm

BW + GP + 1 card, PTT:
-> GP, BS, LED, LED, CoV             UU (2)       10 Storm

Removal Choices

With so many sets having seen print, there is now a veritable plethora of different removal options for getting rid of things like Chalice, Trinisphere and Thorn of Amethyst with many being able to get rid of multiple at the same time. Below you can find a table detailing the various costs of the most common removal spells, that can be fetched with BW, in terms of removing certain limitation pieces. X denotes it cannot achieve the function of removing the lock piece/(s) listed.

*A more complete version of this table may be found in Appendix V.

By ForceConsignMeltdownPulverizeShattering Spree
Chalice @ 01R1UR0R
Chalice @ 11R1U1R0RR
Chalice @ 2XXR0R
Chalices @ 0+12RX1R0R
Chalices @ 0+22RXR0RR
Chalices @ 1+22RX2R0RRR
Trinisphere + Chalice @ 02RX3R31RR
Trinisphere + Chalice @ 12RX3R3RRR
Trinisphere + Chalice @ 22RX3R31RR
Thorn of Amethyst2R2U3R11R
2 Thorns of Amethyst3RX4R22R
Thorn of Amethyst + Chalice @ 03RX3R11RR
Thorn of Amethyst + Chalice @ 13RX3R11RRR
Thorn of Amethyst + Chalice @ 23RX3R11RR


  1. There is often a winning line available despite facing hate
  2. Strong sideboarding is key to mitigating these issues
  3. Variable CMCs for your removal is advised to some extent