BFZ: Observations on removal

Some observations on the removal in Battle for Zendikar:

  • There are 8 global removals spells. Boiling Earth is common, Rising Miasma and Breaker of Armies are uncommon, Void Winnower is mythic, and the rest are rare. Boiling Earth, Breaker of Armies, Gruesome Slaughter, and Void Winnower are not symmetric, while Rising Miasma, Radiant Flames, Aligned Hedron Network, and Planar Outburst are. The black and red spells kill creatures with toughness 1-3, while Planar Outburst and Void Winnower don’t care about a creature’s power or toughness. Half of the global removal is colorless.
  • Most of the reusable removal requires a land to enter play, an Eldrazi to attack, a creature to be sacrificed, or a significant mana investment. Some of the other themes in the set also have 1 associated piece of reusable removal: a colorless creature or an Ally entering play, a card being processed, or reuse based on the number of colors of mana used to cast the spell.
  • There are only 3 removal auras: Tightening Coils, Stasis Snare, and Quarantine Field. (The latter 2 are not actually auras, but function very similarly to them.) Apart from those, Aligned Hedron Network and Void Winnower are the only pieces of removal that have to remain in play for the effect to continue.
  • Looking at removal by color:
    • There are 9 colorless removal spells: 4 are global removal, 2 affect multiple targets, and 3 are reusable.
    • White has 1 global removal spell, 2 spells that affect multiple targets, and 1 reusable removal spell. Its removal suite includes 2 spells that can only be used during combat and 2 more that don’t care about the creature’s size (Sheer Drop and Stasis Snare). Many of white’s removal spells are better in a controlling deck since an aggressive deck prefers spells that remove untapped creatures before they can block.
    • Blue has only 1 removal spell that affects more than 1 creature, but has 6 reusable tap effects, which is usually the domain of white. It has only 1 permanent creature removal spell (which steals a creature), and doesn’t have the usual aura that can keep a creature tapped. Unlike in most sets, there are no instant-speed bounce or repulse effects.
    • Black has 1 global removal spell, 1 spell that affects multiple creatures, and 2 reusable removal spells. Black can kill larger creatures than in some other sets. Demon’s Grasp kills 5-toughness creatures, and Bone Splinters and Grip of Desolation don’t care about a creature’s toughness.
    • Red has 2 global removal spells, 2 spells that affect more than 1 creature, and 5 reusable removal spells. Most red removal that does a fixed amount of damage usually does 1-3 damage; the only exceptions are Serpentine Spike (4 damage) and Processor Assault (5 damage, but it also requires processing a card). In addition, Outnumber does damage equal to the number of creatures you control, Stonefury deals damage equal to the number of lands you control, Rolling Thunder deals X damage, and Barrage Tyrant deals damage equal to the power of another sacrificed creature. Borrowing creatures at instant-speed is back, this time at 5 mana.
    • Green has a fight spell, a flyer removal spell, and an artifact/enchantment/land removal spell, all at common.
    • There is only 1 multicolor card that affects more than 1 target, a rare that resembles Jilt with kicker. All multicolor removal spells require either blue or green mana.

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