We all know dragons; Giant, scaly, lizard types. They’re pretty ubiquitous across fantasy as a whole, and are plentiful in Magic: The Gathering in particular – it is a fantasy TCG, after all.
MTG dragons have been a staple of the game ever since Alpha – with powerful creatures like Shivan Dragon wow-ing players from day one. Prominent from the dawn of MTG, dragons have had a whole MTG set dedicated to them in Dragons of Tarkir, and even gave rise to the popular Commander format, otherwise known as EDH or Elder Dragon Highlander. In recent years, Magic has gathered even more dragons, thanks to a couple crossovers with a little known game called Dungeons and Dragons.
While they’re not as unique as slivers or eldrazi, Magic’s designers have long felt there was something special about dragons. And it seems the players agree, because dragons are a very popular tribe in Magic: The Gathering. It’s not hard to guess why. MTG dragon cards are typically enormous flying creatures that cost loads of mana and show up at the end of a match to win you the game. Having a whole deck stuffed full of the creature type feels pretty damn great.
But which cards should you be on the lookout for when building your dragon decks? Which dragons should be left to slumber atop their hordes? This guide to the best MTG dragons will help you sort the more devastating dragon cards from the draconic duds.
Old Gnawbone is one of MTG’s best green dragons, simply because it’s one of the few mono green creatures that interacts with treasure tokens. That makes it a shoe-in for green Commander decks looking for more ways to ramp.
Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon
One of the more hated dragons on this list, Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon uses the dreaded Infect mechanic, meaning it can give poison counters to players, which can kill them swiftly. It’s also a hasty, flying creature that has Regenerate, making it really hard both to block and to kill.
Ancient Gold Dragon
The newest card on this list, Ancient Gold Dragon is a recent dragon card from Commander Legends Battle for Baldur’s Gate. Its claim to fame is the ability to create lots of tiny little dragon faeries.
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Not only does this provide access to go-wide strategies, it’s also really powerful alongside a bunch of tribal dragon cards, which were designed with the expectation that dragons are generally expensive. Paired with cards like Dragon Tempest or Scourge of Valkas, Ancient Gold Dragon can be lethal.
Atarka, World Render
Simple, yet effective (the epitome of Gruul), Atarka, World Render gives all your attacking dragons double strike. Pretty much all the best MTG dragons have enormous stat blocks and flying, so they can pretty easily pressure an opponent’s life total on their own. With Atarka on the field, doubling damage and making blocking tricky, you can end most games on the spot.
One of the best MTG dragon commanders, The Ur-Dragon does work for you just by being in your command zone. This multicoloured creature makes all your other dragons cheaper even before you play it.
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It may cost an eye watering nine mana, but if you’re able to get it out on the field the game and protect it, The Ur-Dragon is hard to beat. Every turn you can use it to draw a card and play a free dragon, actions that can get out of control pretty swiftly.
One of the best Magic: The Gathering cards of 2021, Goldspan Dragon has been a dominant card throughout its time in Standard. Its flexibility – providing ramp in controlling decks and a hard-hitting evasive creature in more aggro strategies – has allowed it to find a home among many of the best decks.
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Its time in the sun may be coming to an end with the upcoming rotation, but Goldspan Dragon also plays well in Commander, a format where treasure decks are super hot right now.
Whenever a card has the text “you win the game” on it, you know it’s either going to be unplayable or extremely scary. Hellkite Tyrant is firmly in the latter camp.
This red MTG dragon card is a house in Commander. Its ability to grab opponents’ artifacts for your own is formidable all by itself, but on top of that if you’re able to find 20 artifacts then you just win the game outright. That might sound like a high number, but the prevalence of treasure in EDH makes the goal far more reachable than it first appears.