The card game and fantasy world of Magic: The Gathering has a massive range of creature types to explore, from Eggs to Eldrazi. Building a deck around one MTG creature type will often make your deck efficient and flavourful. That’s because some creatures naturally work well together: Specters are big fans of discard for instance, while Skeletons like to rise from the grave. Creatures also often have ‘Lords’, which can buff an entire MTG creature type.
If you’re looking to build a MTG deck based around a single type of creature (what’s known as a ‘tribal’ deck), which MTG creature type should you pick? This guide will help you choose your allegiance in the vast multiverse of Magic, as we examine the game’s top creature types. We’ll talk about their role in Magic, their typical MTG colors, and even consider some powerful MTG commanders for this menagerie of monsters.
Dragons are synonymous with fantasy. It should come as no surprise, then, that Dragons are arguably the most popular MTG creature type to build a deck around. The tribe boasts some of the biggest and most powerful creatures in the game; whenever a dragon hits the battlefield it’s immediately impactful.
Dragons often have the ‘flying’ keyword, which means they can only be blocked by other creatures with flying or reach. Dragons really take advantage of this keyword – even more so than other big flyers MTG Angels – by having high power and toughness, meaning in a fair fight they’re likely to come out on top. Build your deck around dragons to crush your opponents with unstoppable flying force.
The Ur-Dragon is potentially the most powerful Dragon commander with its ‘eminence’ ability making the rest of your Dragons one generic mana less to cast, even if The Ur-Dragon isn’t on the battlefield. When The Ur-Dragon does eventually hit the board, it turns the rest of your Dragons into powerful draw engines and threatens to put some of Magic: the Gathering’s most devastating threats on the table!
Discover more of the best MTG Dragons in our dedicated guide.
Vampires strike fast and strike hard. They’re a creature type that brings constant aggression to the table: they want you to be attacking and playing proactively, and they will reward you for it. While your opponents are setting up their mana, you’re playing cheap and aggressive creatures.
Vampires are able to make each other stronger through ‘Lord’ abilities, giving each other stat buffs or even putting permanent +1/+1 counters on each other. Your opponent will struggle to focus on their game plan while you’re dropping their life total every turn through a constant assault.
Vampires have recently received a new dimension with Blood Tokens, artifact tokens you use to discard a card to draw a new one. While this might seem like a small thing, there are plenty of Vampires that benefit from you discarding your own cards. There are even some Vampires with the madness keyword which means you’re able to play them as you discard them!
Vampires are usually found in red, black, or white colors, or all three, like one of their best commanders, Edgar Markhov, found in the Mardu MTG color combination.
Magic wouldn’t be Magic without Elves. Elves have been around since the very first MTG set back in 1993, with Llanowar Elves appearing in Alpha alongside such lesser-known cards as MTG Black Lotus. There’s a saying in Magic: The Gathering that the player that spends the most mana will win the game. With that being said, if you love making mana, you’re going to love playing Elves.
The lowliest Elf can still represent a dangerous threat with their common ability to tap for mana, allowing you to ramp ahead of your opponents and get to your big threats quicker. Elves also benefit from working together. The more Elves you have in play, the more amplified their abilities become.
Some Elves begin to tap for mana equal to the number of Elves you control, give each other Elf +1/+1 or allow you to regenerate another target Elf. It’s all about teamwork: build up your board patiently and then snowball over your opponents for the win.
Discover the very best MTG Elves in our full guide to the creature type.
Humans offer incredible flexibility for any deck-builder. Humans are represented in all the colors of Magic: The Gathering and because of this there’s a lot of flexibility in playstyle. You could also theme a Humans deck around your favourite plane because odds are it features Humans (unless you’re a big Lorwyn fan).
With Humans, you can play a go-wide strategy, playing efficient creatures that support each other and allow you to overwhelm your opponent’s blockers. You can also play into an aristocrats strategy, where you sacrifice your own creatures for your benefit, using your Humans as a resource to drain your opponents’ life totals without even going to the combat step.
Because Humans are in every colour, they’re a brewer’s paradise. Delve deep into your collection, pull out your cards and get building. You’ve probably got half a deck already.
Finally, a creature type we can all relate to. Do you ever want to leave your thoughts at home when you’re playing Magic: The Gathering? Are you feeling fatigued with the amount of decision-making on and off the table? Do you ever want to just live in a cave? Then Goblins could be for you.
Goblins are low mana cost, aggressive creatures with tons of synergy. While their individual power and toughness may not be great, their strength in numbers more than makes up for it. Pair this with cards that deal damage to your opponents when your Goblins enter, or leave the battlefield, and you can overwhelm anyone with a quantity that has a quality all of its own.
Goblins will attempt to hit critical mass swiftly, and it’s possible to end up with literally hundreds of Goblin tokens on the battlefield, thousands if the match goes long enough! That said, if the game is going that long, shouldn’t all your opponents be dead already? Check out the 13 best MTG goblins, to help you assemble the horde.
If you don’t like any of these MTG creature types, then boy are you hard to please. But perhaps Wizards of the Coast is about to release a new one that’ll be more your speed? Check out our MTG release schedule guide to find out. And don’t miss these MTG Arena codes.