Destroying it All

Posted in Arcana on June 27, 2007

By Wizards of the Coast

Despite being the enemy of red-color of chaos and destruction-and of black-color of power and death-white is the true master of destroying permanents. The concept of a "reset button," a spell that destroys entire categories of permanents at a go, belongs in many ways to white, whose destructive capabilities are at their strongest when wiping clean an entire battlefield at once.

Take a look at some of white's most destructive board-sweepers through the ages to see what happens when you wrong a color with a strong sense of justice.

wrath of god
Armageddon

Alpha's first board sweepers were Armageddon, Wrath of God, and Balance, establishing white's unique mastery over the type line. Armageddon and Balance dropped out of the Core Set long ago, but Wrath of God has stuck around.

Balance
Restore Balance

The power of Balance-a spell that, when cast, is very rarely balanced at all in its destructive effect-has seen variations through the years, including Balancing Act and Restore Balance.

Cataclysm

Cataclysm represents a different twist on the board sweeper. Instead of being rewarded for having zero or very few of the type of permanent being destroyed, it rewarded the mage for having exactly one of each type of permanent is listed.

Catastrophe

Catastrophe, continuing in the theme of cards named after synonyms for giant disasters, built on Wrath of God and Armageddon, letting the white mage choose between the two destinies in one card. (Hint: use the Wrath half if you're losing, and the Armageddon half if you're winning!)

Purify

Purify, in the set right after Catastrophe, plugged the "holes" that Catastrophe missed. Purify proves a board sweeper for artifacts and enchantments, all the permanent types (at the time) that Catastrophe couldn't hit.

Akroma's Vengeance

Not to be outdone by an artifact, white's Akroma's Vengeance replicated the power of Nevinyrral's Disk by destroying every type (at the time) of permanent besides lands. If that wasn't enough, it even had cycling in case the white mage wasn't in the mood to judge the entire board unworthy of existence. This pattern of "blow up everything except [some category]" formula has produced many other cards-see Soulscour, Winds of Rath, and Ravnica's Hour of Reckoning.

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