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A staple card within any counter-based deck in Magic: The Gathering, Force of Will is becoming more rare over the years. The reason for this is its single run print, along with its powerful ability capable of stopping a first turn drop.

Basic Specs:
Cost: 3UU
Oracle Text: You may lose 1 life and remove a blue card in your hand from the game instead of paying Force of Will's casting cost.
Counter target spell.
Edition: Alliances
Flavor Text: None
Artist: Terese Nielsen
Rarity: Uncommon1 (Rare)

Though a more specialized card than Counterspell, Force of Will finds its way into most blue control decks because of its ability to stop spells very early on in the game, as well as keep your opponent guessing when you are tapped out. Currently this card ebays for roughly $20 USD depending on the quantity of cards bought at a time. Generally $10 or so drops off the cost when buying an entire playset. As such, this card is beginning to enter the ridiculously priced range that other cards such as the power 9 and the dual lands reside in. Part of the "free" cycle in Alliances, Force of Will came out alongside of Bounty of the Hunt, Pyrokenisis, Contaigion and Scars of the Veteran. It is commonly considered the best of the cycle, with Pyrokinesis coming in second.

Strategy Using: The art of the bluff becomes handy with this card if and only if your opponent knows you are using them in your deck. For this reason it is one of the only cards that it is recommended to show your opponent that you have. This is only a needed strategy once in a match, as afterwards you opponent will be well aware that you are in possession of the card.

In order to proficiently bluff with Force of Will, you must have more than one card in your hand, as well as more than 1 life point remaining. This holds because of the requirements of the card. Just as it is useless to make your opponent believe you are carrying a counterspell with absolutely no mana, it is useless to lead them to believe that you are carrying a Force of Will with no means to cast it. Furthermore, while bluffing keep in mind that visual cues are key. Consider every spell they play before you allow them to play it. Make them ask "mother may I" before each spell. Play with their minds, and just when they're getting confortable, thats when you drop it on them.

Otherwise, the standard counter strategy holds true: Counter the important things. Let through the things that you can afford. Never counter search cards, counter what they find, etc.

Strategy Against: Sadly, there is no overriding strategy against Force of Will, though a few ways to make your opponent squirm while using it. First, count cards. Keep in mind that without more than one card in their hand, Force of Will is useless; furthermore, if that additional card is not blue, it is useless. Use this to your advantage, taking note of the probability they are holding an additional blue card (which becomes lower and lower for each additional color they are playing.)

If you have your own means of countering Force of Will, it is often worth countering simply for moral victory. An opponent will feel utterly spent after dropping a life and an additional card to be met with no results.

Finally, the most effective thing to do is just keep casting spells. Force of will will drain a hand very effectively, so if your opponent is tapped out, cast more than one spell in your turn. More than one Force of Will is painful to cast (losing four cards and two life to stop two spells is a steep price to pay.)

Collecting Tip: Keep in mind that the price of Force of Will (much like the dual lands) is rising steeply, especially compared to other cards of value. In the past year, the cost of the average Force of Will has gone up roughly $10 USD a card. The tip is if you see one claim it, as in another year you may be paying out the nose for the card.

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