MTG shroud rules and best cards

MTG shroud was once the top keyword for blocking out haters – here’s the details of this Magic: The Gathering term and its best TCG cards.

Wizards of the Coast art of Argothian Enchantress, one of the best MTG shroud cards

You won’t see the MTG shroud keyword on many Magic: The Gathering cards these days, but you should still know what it means. Many older cards that still have a presence in Legacy, Commander, and Vintage may come with shroud attached – and it can be very useful to have if you know what to do with it.

We’re here to tell you all about shroud – including its history, rulings, and top cards. Before we lift the shroud from your mind, though, here are a few more trading card game guides that may be of interest. You can find all the latest Magic news in the MTG release schedule, and digital gamers should keep an eye on the latest meta for MTG Arena decks (plus, an MTG Arena code never hurts).

Wizards of the Coast art of Sterling Grove, one of the best MTG shroud cards

What is MTG shroud?

Shroud is a keyword that prevents a particular player or permanent from being targeted by spells or abilities. If a spell or ability asks you to choose a target, it can’t be anything affected by shroud. Shroud also blocks all spells and abilities – even if you’re the one who cast the card with shroud.

If this is sounding familiar, it’s because shroud is nearly identical to another keyword – MTG hexproof. Hexproof became the more popular keyword because it allows the person controlling the card to target it with spells and abilities while blocking those of opponents.

Shroud was first introduced in the 1994 Legends MTG set, later becoming an official keyword in 2007’s Future Sight. When hexproof was introduced in 2012, there was no real need to keep producing shroud cards. The last time we saw this keyword was when it made a surprise appearance in 2019’s Modern Horizons set.

The majority of shroud cards are green or blue. You do see the word make rare appearances on white cards, but beyond that the MTG colors for shroud are fairly limited.

Wizards of the Coast art for Greater Auramancy, one of the best MTG shroud cards

Best MTG shroud cards

While shroud is largely obsolete as a keyword, there are still plenty of popular Magic: The Gathering cards that feature it in their text. These are the best MTG shroud cards:

1. Crystalline Sliver
2. Argothian Enchantress
3. Morphling
4. Eladamri, Lord of Leaves
5. Sylvan Safekeeper 

MTG shroud card, Crystalline Sliver

1. Crystalline Sliver

 

First printed Stronghold
Legal formats Legacy, Vintage, Commander

Crystalline Sliver makes a great addition to any MTG Slivers deck as, once played, it gives all your Slivers shroud (including itself). That’s going to make it a lot harder to remove your VIPs from the board – nothing short of battle or a board wipe is going to work.

As a 2/2 that costs two mana to cast (one white, one blue), Crystalline Slivers is also super cheap to cast. You can secure the safety of your Slivers early on, even if you can’t do anything to buff them on your end. 

MTG shroud card, Argothian Enchantress

2. Argothian Enchantress

 

First printed Urza’s Saga
Legal formats Legacy, Vintage, Commander

Argothian Enchantress is a 0/1 human druid that costs two mana (one green, one colorless). At first, it seems this cheap creature isn’t up to much – it’s protected by shroud, and it allows you to draw a card whenever you cast an enchantment.

But we shouldn’t underestimate the power of near-guaranteed card draw – it’s hugely helpful in decks of all kinds. There are entire decks built around Enchantress in Legacy and MTG Modern, and the card still features in plenty of MTG Commander decks

MTG shroud, Morphling

3. Morphling

 

First printed Urza’s Saga
Legal formats Legacy, Vintage, Commander

Morphling doesn’t come with guaranteed shroud. After you’ve paid five mana (two blue, three colorless) to cast this shapeshifter creature, you’ll need to pay another blue mana to give it shroud until the end of a turn. However, shroud can be well worth that extra price – and Morphling comes with four additional one-mana abilities that are similarly helpful.

Morphling is a well-loved creature for its ability to be a royal pain in the butt. At any time during your opponent’s turn, you can spend a mana to untap Morphling for blocking, give it flying for attacking, increase or decrease its power, or make it immune to spells and abilities. It’s a card that can easily swoop in and win the day. 

MTG shroud card, Eladamri, Lord of Leaves

4. Eladamri, Lord of Leaves

 

First printed Tempest
Legal formats Legacy, Vintage, Commander

Eladamri gives all MTG elves shroud, as well as forestwalk. So not only can your Elven army dodge spells, they can steamroll their way through battle without being blocked.

Eladamri is a 2/2 itself, and it costs two green mana to cast. For such a cheap price and such a high removal difficulty, we say this makes a great addition to any Elven deck. 

MTG shroud card, Sylvan Safekeeper

5. Sylvan Safekeeper

 

First printed Judgement
Legal formats Legacy, Vintage, Commander

Sylvan Safekeeper is a 1/1 human wizard that costs just a single green mana to cast. You can give any target creature under your control shroud until the end of a turn, but the card asks you to sacrifice an MTG land in exchange.

We’re not sure the trade-off of a land is always worth it. However, the relatively low mana cost and the ability to choose the target of shroud are incredibly valuable. Sylvan Safekeeper could be the difference between keeping or losing the best card on your side of the board – and in those instances, a lost land doesn’t seem quite so bad.

Looking for more cards to gaze in wonder upon? Here are the best MTG cards of all time, as well as the most expensive Magic cards in the game.