In my previous articles I have explored different tribes in Magic the Gathering. Today I’ll talk about one of the oldest and most influential creature tribes in the game. It’s time to take a look at the best Wizards in MTG.
They have been a part of Magic since the beginning, and they’ve remained a staple creature type through the decades. They are one of the most dynamic, recognizable, and powerful creature types in the whole game.
In this article I’ll explore and rank various different Wizards from MTG.
This list will be a little bit different than usual, like most of my lists. There is so much variety and history associated with this creature type. They are also a part of every major format in Magic. That’s why I find it impossible to truly rank what the top 10 best Wizards are.
Some of them are good in one format and bad in others, so I have decided to separate them into five categories:
- Commanders for Wizard Tribal
- Tribal Wizards
- Utility Wizards
- Spell-Based Wizards
- Stand-Alone Wizards (top 10)
These categories will attempt to present the best wizards for each intended use or strategy where they excel the most.
Best Commanders for Wizard Tribal
The first category is features the best commanders for a Wizard Tribal Commander deck. As the name suggests, these cards excel in a deck shell based around the Wizard sub-category.
The three best cards for this category are:
Azami, Lady of Scrolls
Azami is one of the traditional commanders for this tribe. Her ability basically converts untapped wizards into card draw. This makes her one of the best Commanders for a Wizard tribal deck.
Inalla, Archmage Ritualist
Inalla is another well known Wizard tribal commander. She is a part of a Commander set based on different tribal strategies, and she was assigned the Wizard tribe. Her eminence ability is the best ability for tribal strategies.
Kaza, Roil Chaser
Lastly, Kaza is a really unique commander in the way in which she proposes a strategy based on doubling spells. Her color combination allows for this spell shenanigans, and her ability makes it incredibly fun and explosive.
Best Tribal Wizards
In this category you’ll find creatures which benefit and support to other Wizards. In this aspect, they are only good and work in the company of other creatures of the same tribe. If they are not in the company of other wizards they are not as good.
The best four wizards in this category are:
Adeliz, the Cinder Wind
Adeliz is a great aggressive card. It is decent enough by itself, but in company with other Wizards is a great source of pressure. It has decent enough stats and keyword abilities. It’s a 2/2 with flying and haste. The most important aspect about her is the ability to pump all wizards with +1/+1, whenever an instant or sorcery is cast.
Naban, Dean of Iteration
Naban is a perfect example of a card that only works in a specific deck archetype. His ability doubles any enter the battlefield effects triggered by a Wizard, which is obviously good in a tribal deck.
Naru Meha, Master Wizard
Naru Mehacan fit perfectly in any spell based deck due to her ability to copy an instant or sorcery spell, when she enters the battlefield. This already makes her pretty good on her own. Additionally, her extra ability to permanently buff all Wizards with, makes her one of the best tribal Wizards.
Finally, Galecaster Colossus is one of the best removal sources in the tribe. It is a huge threat by itself because of its power and toughness. The added ability to return any opponent’s permanent to its owner’s hand is a great source of temporary removal. It can be activated by tapping any untapped Wizard, which means that it activate itself, but becomes even better with other Wizards.
Best Utility Wizards
Here you’ll find some of the best complementary Wizards. By that I mean Wizards that add some more efficiency to your deck in different forms. Some of them are just good in all types of decks, while others are tailored to play super well in specific kinds of decks. Overall, they are generally really good additional pieces to your deck.
The first is a simple but useful Wizard.
This card is mostly known now in the Commander scene. It is legal in other formats but its mana value is too high to be efficient in formats other than Commander. Nevertheless, its ability to return any instant or sorcery from your graveyard is really handy in case you need to:
- find removal
- prepare for a combo
- get card draw
- gain back a spell that you already used or discarded
The following two Wizards have similar abilities and effects.
Dualcaster Mage & Snapcaster Mage
These two Wizards are recognized for fitting in any spell-based deck in almost any format where they are legal in.
Dualcaster Mage has a big impact in Commander, where the ability to copy an instant or sorcery is extremely powerful and useful. Especially so, since it comes with a body.
Snapcaster Mage, on the other hand, is a more versatile and popular card. It is not just a Commander, but also a Modern staple. Its efficient cost and powerful ability makes it really strong.
The following two are useful wincons.
Laboratory Maniac & Thassa’s Oracle
Laboratory Maniac is an old school win condition in Commander. It fits in decks where the main purpose is card draw. It can be used in a combo where you draw all your deck and finish off winning by playing this card.
Thassa’s Oracle serves almost the same purpose. It can serve as a win condition if you don’t have enough cards to draw from your deck. The only difference is that, unlike Laboratory Maniac, it can offer you card filtering by itself (just by entering the battlefield). That’s why this card has somewhat replaced Laboratory Maniac in many decks.
Goblin Electromancer is a staple when it comes to spell-based decks. It is one of the most playable cards out there, as well as one of the most useful to the strategy.
This Golbin Wizard can accelerate the game by making instants and sorceries 1 mana cheaper, which makes this card playable in all formats where it is legal. It is without a doubt the definition of an efficient utility creature.
This is one of the newest and most controversial cards out there. It was supposed to deal with the mechanic introduced in Ikoria – partners.
In this manner, its ability was overlooked in its impact in formats like Commander and Brawl. Subsequently it was banned from Brawl but it remained legal in Commander. Its ability to basically block any attempt to cast any spell from anywhere other than their hands is powerful.
This means that your opponents can’t cast spells from the graveyard, exile, library, and – the Command zone. Funny enough, the partner mechanic, which allowed you to cast a card with this ability from an specific zone. It’s no longer countered by this card, due to the ruling change and the whole purpose of the creation of this card was useless.
Anyways, it is a great card to block your opponents plans.
Trinket Mage / Tribute Mage / Trophy Mage
These three are extremely similar cards with little differences. They are all good ways to present a decent creature to block and attack with. But most importantly they are ways to tutor up an artifact of a specific cost, from 1 to 3. This makes them useful in artifact decks as well as any deck with mana rocks or utility artifacts – which to be honest is almost all Commander decks.
Spell Based Wizards
The creatures in this category are Wizards, that are incredibly useful as part of decks based around instants and sorceries. So these Wizards don’t rely on interactions with other Wizards, and they are also good primarily in this spell-based shell.
Some of these Wizards can also be commanders for a spell-slinger decks, but you can also include them in the 99.
The three best wizards that represent this type of strategy and have the previously mentioned characteristics are:
Niv-Mizzet is one of the most obvious and recognizable spell-slinger creatures in the whole game. He’s the leader of the Izzet guild in the plane of Ravnica. Izzet is focused on instants and sorceries. This makes him one of the easiest choices to have a card excelling in this type of strategy.
The first iteration of this character presented a card with potential but limited power. This was, in some ways, fixed and addressed in the second iteration of the character. This iteration is a card draw and damage machine because of its two complementary abilities. Its focus on the casting of spells is what makes this card incredibly good in this shell.
Kess, Dissident Mage
Kess is another well-known creature in formats such as Commander and Modern. Thanks to its ability to provide extra value out of spells. It allows you to cast instants and sorceries from the graveyard once a turn is incredibly resourceful and powerful.
A deck built around this strategy in Commander is great. Its addition in a 1v1 format to provide you a second use for instants and sorceries is powerful enough to make her one of the best Wizards in this strategy.
Mizzix of the Izmagnus
Mizzix is another example of an Izzet creature that likes spells. It might not be as played outside of Commander, but it’s good enough to be included here. Its ability is different enough to the point where it might not seem as good. However, its ability to make all instants and sorceries progressively easier to cast opens up the possibility to be able to cast a highly expensive finishing spell for little mana.
This is especially relevant when considering X casting spells which can be declared to be cast for a high sum and payed with less because of this ability.
In this category you’ll find all other Wizards apart from the ones previously mentioned. These Wizards have no attached strategies to them, which makes them stand on their own as the central pieces to their own decks. In a way, this is the real top 10 list of best MTG Wizards. They aren’t ordered in power level, since they all do vastly different things.
So, with that aside, let’s get into the first on the list.
#10 Gadwick, the Wizened
The biggest Gadwick’s upside is the ability to draw you a bunch of cards, if you have enough mana. It’s a card good at providing support in difficult situations.
Gadwick can also be a great defensive play – thanks to to its second ability allowing you to tap opponents’ permanents whenever you cast a blue spell. This is incredibly useful as it can deal with problematic creatures ready to attack, and any other permanents with a tap ability.
#9 Arcanis, the Omnipotent
This is another blue card with a simple but powerful design. One of the biggest drawbacks to the card is its high casting cost, and mediocre stats. It is only 3/4 which makes it vulnerable in combat. Although this is the case, its biggest strength is its first ability.
You can tap it to draw three cards. In any situation, getting three extra cards is a great way to gain an advantage over your opponents. This is what makes Arcanis one really good Wizard.
#8 Baral, Chief of Compliance
Keeping in the theme of blue Wizards, Baral is a really good control creature. There are few creatures which are completely based around control theme in terms of lore, art, color identity, and card mechanics. This creature is one of them.
It has become a part of plenty of different strategies in formats such as Commander and Modern, thanks to its low casting cost and two strong abilities. The first one is great for any spell-based strategies.
Its second ability encourages you to play counterspells, which is also complimented by the first ability. It provides card selection, spell discount, a cheap body, and a good reason to play counterspells.
#7 Damia, Sage of Stone
Damia has a really different concept around it compared to others in the same creature subtype. First of all her color identity is not common among Wizards. Then there is also her interesting ability to replenish cards making sure you have 7 cards each turn.
So in this manner, it allows you to have a strategy based around playing cards fast from your hand so you can replenish them in each of your upkeeps. Damia is pretty much only good in Commander as a part of the 99 or as the main general – due to her unique ability and high CMC.
#6 Marchesa, the Black Rose
Marchesa is another recognizable wizard in the format of Commander. Her dethrone ability allows you to adopt an aggressive strategy in the deck.
In this manner, this Wizard isn’t interested in instants and sorceries like others, but prefers attacking. Her ability to get creatures with +1/+1 counters back from the dead is also pretty good paired with her other ability which grants other creatures you control with “dethrone”.
#5 Derevi, Empyrial Tactician
This card is one of the most unique Wizards out there. It has found a home as one of the most powerful cards in Commander. Its first ability allows you to tap or untap any permanent. So you can:
- control your opponents problematic permanents by tapping them
- untap important lands, artifacts, or combo pieces.
Its last ability allows you ignore the commander tax and also play it at instant speed. Both of which makes Derevi uniquely powerful.
#4 Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
Teferi is one of the most recognizable characters in the game because of his planeswalker cards (which have been terrorizing the format of Modern and Standard). Although his planeswalker cards are the most recognizable and arguably more powerful, his creature card versions are also really good.
Mage of Zhalfir stays in theme with the character by manipulating time. In terms of mechanics, it has flash and also grants it to all your creatures. It also restricts your opponent from casting cards at instant speed, which makes this creature an incredible control piece for any deck, as well as being a really good commander.
#3 Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder
Arguably this is one of the best Wizards out there. Although this creature is not known for its Wizard synergies, it has found a place as one of the most popular commanders in both the casual and competitive scene.
It gives your access to four really good colors. With them you can include almost any card that you might like. Its ability to grant any spell you cast cascade is extremely explosive and powerful. The fact that it has trample makes meeting the condition a little bit more attainable, especially, since it’s a 5/4.
#2 Jori En, Ruin Diver
This is one of the most simple, but efficient cards in this list. It has one of the most common colour combinations amongst wizards; that being Izzet. It can function as a Commander, but what makes it playable in any format and as a part of the 99, is its simple but powerful ability. Drawing a card each time you cast your second spell of the turn is crazy.
It is highly probable you will trigger it accidentally. However, you can also build a deck that has low costing instants which can trigger it on in your opponents’ turns as well.
#1 Obeka, Brute Chronologist
This is the newest card in this list as well as the most odd. For the most part, this card has okay stats as a 4/3 for 4. It also gives you access to three colors in Commander. But what makes this card extremely special is its ability to end the turn at any time by just tapping. It is a really strange ability to have in a card and that’s what makes it really stand out.
You can go around the “beginning of the next end step”, meaning you can keep the creatures you “cheated” out with Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded. There’s plenty of such effects in Magic, where just ending your turn is beneficial to you.
In conclusion, this is a really different kind of list from the ones I usually make. Wizards in general are really unique creatures. They have been a really old and influential part of the game since the beginning.
In this manner, they deserve a different kind of list that presents their different strengths and usages. I hope this one has provided you with an insight on what I believe to be the best and most influential Wizards in each category.
If you have any opinions or suggestions about the format of this article or its content, feel free to leave a comment below.
If you are interested in more content like this feel free to check these articles:
Stay safe, have fun, and go for wins with your favorite wizards!