Undoubtedly one of the most famous cards in Magic’s history, Force of Will has been countering spells ever since the release of Alliances. Drawn by one of the most beloved artists in Magic, Terese Nielsen, the card has risen to iconic status, so much so that “Force” became a vocal cue to a spell being countered.
Originally printed at uncommon rarity, Force of Will is still one of the most expensive cards in the Allianes expansion, the card itself looked simple.
For 3 and two blue mana, you get to counter a spell, easy enough. However its the alternative casting cost is what makes the card so powerful. By exiling a blue card and paying 1 life. You could essentially counter a spell for completely free, its raw power and sheer unpredictability makes it so that the card is even still played commonly today.
Force of Will was part of the pitch cycle, a cycle of spells that could be cast for free by exiling cards from your hand. Scars of the Veteran, Contagion, Pyrokinesis and Bounty of the Hunt were the other members of the cycle. Pyrokinesis saw some play in burn decks and Contagion appears time to time, however Force of Will stood the test of time and became one of the most played cards in modern times, but how did it do it.
Force of Will is illustrated by Terese Nielsen, an artist that focuses on geometric patterns as well as characters that appear to be ethereal. She was tasked to draw a card with the working title of “Stop Spell” and depict a shaman using fire magic in the art, she was told by the art director at the time, Sue Ann Harkey, that it would be a good card for her.
Not only did Force of Will became the first card she illustrated in Magic, but it also became one of the hallmark cards in her career. The original painting was brought to Pro Tour Stockholm in 1997 and was sold to a player at the GP, the current state of the original Force of Will painting is currently unknown.
Later on in 2016, 20 years after the original Force of Will was printed, Terese Nielsen got the chance to re-do her artwork in Eternal Masters
In the new art it depicts a woman with her hands stretched outwards, quelling down a raging fire with a spell surrounding herself with a blue aura. The flavor text on the new card is simple but very impactful, “I alone determine my destiny.”
Force of Will embodies what a powerful counterspell should do. It is fast, unpredictable and extremely efficient. It is the epitome of what a counterspell should be, and it has the power to show it.
Sorry it took so long for me to return, real life and procrastination. My next article should be something that is not Magic related and as for the UMA art review, it will come soon (maybe). Thanks for reading, and see you soon.