Last updated on May 15, 2024

Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur - Illustration by Eric Deschamps

Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur | Illustration by Eric Deschamps

Drawing cards is an essential component of Magic: The Gathering, ensuring that you're always one step closer to finding your deck’s key pieces. Your deck works much better if you have multiple options for drawing cards beyond the card your draw during your draw step each turn. It's especially useful at finding your win conditions and makes sure you always have some amount of action to stay competitive.

Today, let’s get ready to draw some cards with some of the best card draw commanders.

What Are Card Draw Commanders in MTG?

Xyris, the Writhing Storm - Illustration by Filip Burburan

Xyris, the Writhing Storm | Illustration by Filip Burburan

Card draw commanders are legendary creatures that give you some sort of card draw via an activated or triggered ability. Some card draw commanders require you to tap them to draw cards. Others may only let you draw cards if you meet certain special conditions like discarding a card, attacking with a certain number of creatures, or casting spells with a specific mana cost.

I'm also going to include a few commanders that don't explicitly draw cards, but reward you in various ways for drawing extra cards.

#35. Gilanra, Caller of Wirewood

Gilanra, Caller of Wirewood

Gilanra, Caller of Wirewood is a mana dork commander that rewards you with card draw whenever you use its mana to cast spells with MV 6+. Colossal Dreadmaw, Bookwurm, Ghalta, Primal Hunger, and Apex Altisaur are all great examples of big, stompy creatures that can trigger Gilanra, Caller of Wirewood’s ability.

Try combining Gilanra with a partner that's either expensive enough to trigger the ability, like Brinelin, the Moon Kraken, or one that helps cast expensive spells, like Alena, Kessig Trapper.

#34. Masumaro, First to Live

Masumaro, First to Live

Masumaro, First to Live’s power and toughness is based on double the number of cards currently in your hand. Keep a steady stream of cards coming with casting cantrip creatures that draw on ETB like Generous Stray and Carven Caryatid. You can also fill your deck with legendary spells and use Reki, the History of Kamigawa as a draw engine.

#33. Éowyn, Shieldmaiden

Éowyn, Shieldmaiden

Éowyn, Shieldmaiden’s tactic is going wide with Human Knight creature tokens in return for card draw contingent upon you casting at least one human spell per turn. This can be best done with low-cost humans like Thalia's Lieutenant and Adeline, Resplendent Cathar to get the trigger each turn.

#32. Gallia of the Endless Dance

Gallia of the Endless Dance

Gallia of the Endless Dance is a card draw phenomenon with its aggro tactics. Gallia makes some otherwise forgettable cards quite playable, like Lumbering Satyr for evasion (it's been errata'd to a satyr), and Satyr Hedonist or Satyr Wayfinder for extra mana options.

Since the commander's triggered ability causes you to discard at random, you’ll want graveyard recursion in case you accidentally discard one of your key pieces. That’s where Regrowth and Noxious Revival come in clutch.

#31. Amber Gristle O’Maul

Amber Gristle O'Maul

Amber Gristle O'Maul works best in 3- to 4-player pods where you can refresh your hand by attacking multiple players at once. Plus, you can choose a synergistic background as your secondary commander like Feywild Visitor or Guild Artisan. Raised by Giants can make Amber a much. much more formidable attacker.

#30. Prime Speaker Zegana

Prime Speaker Zegana

Prime Speaker Zegana thrives off your high-powered creatures. You can draw a whole hand with high-powered dinosaur creatures like Ghalta, Primal Hunger, Titanoth Rex, and Apex Altisaur on the field.

For example, if you have Ghalta, Primal Hunger out before casting Prime Speaker Zegana, you’ll place 12 +1/+1 counters on it and then draw 13 cards. Make sure to have no maximum hand size with Reliquary Tower or Folio of Fancies.

#29. Ellivere of the Wild Court

Ellivere of the Wild Court

Ellivere of the Wild Court is an enchantment matters card draw commander that rewards you with a card from your library for each enchanted creature that deals combat damage to one of your opponents. Ancestral Mask, All That Glitters, and Armadillo Cloak are the greatest Selesnya enchantment staples to run. Try out Kutzil, Malamet Exemplar from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan to enhance your card draw and protect your enchanted creatures mid-combat.

#28. Baba Lysaga, Night Witch

Baba Lysaga, Night Witch

Baba Lysaga, Night Witch is a Golgari sacrifice card draw commander that thrives best when you run it with a token theme. You can sacrifice tokens created from Chatterfang, Squirrel General and Beledros Witherbloom, though you'll want a healthy mix of artifacts, enchantments, and other permanents types to get the full effect.

#27. Azor, the Lawbringer

Azor, the Lawbringer

Azor, the Lawbringer requires a lot of ramp so that you can pour mana into the Sphinx's Revelation ability that triggers when it attacks. Besides the Commander ramp classics of Sol Ring and Arcane Signet, try other “big” mana rocks like Gilded Lotus and Thran Dynamo.

#26. Azami, Lady of Scrolls

Azami, Lady of Scrolls

Azami, Lady of Scrolls thrives off controlling and tapping as many wizards as possible. Bazaar Trademage, Cloudkin Seer, and other wizards with ETB card draw effects can expedite how fast you can self-mill and win with Laboratory Maniac (also a wizard)..

#25. Jolrael, Voice of Zhalfir

Jolrael, Voice of Zhalfir

Jolrael, Voice of Zhalfir gives you more card draw the more your land creatures are landing combat damage. Other cards that create land creatures include Llanowar Loamspeaker and Embodiment of Insight. Tatyova, Steward of Tides gives all your land creatures flying which increases how many cards you can draw from Jolrael, Voice of Zhalfir in one combat.

#24. Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse

Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse

Speaking of Jolrael, Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse loves card draw just as much as it loves Cat tokens. You could run this alongside green cat cards with card draw effects like Keeper of Fables, Generous Stray, and Feral Prowler for feline typal flavor.

Notice Jolrael doesn't actually draw cards on its own, but you can save cards you're drawing in hand to give your board a mass pump. Combined with a Reliquary Tower and some big card draw spells this Jolrael's activated ability could easily turn your entire board into 10/10s or greater.

#23. Bennie Bracks, Zoologist

Bennie Bracks, Zoologist

Bennie Bracks, Zoologist rewards you with card draw as long as you've created any token before any player's end step.

You can craft this Commander deck many ways, mashing together cards that create Food, Clue, and Treasure tokens like Bygone Bishop, Astrid Peth, and Gilded Pinions. You could instead go the creature token route with Myrel, Shield of Argive and Crested Sunmare.

#22. Kami of the Crescent Moon

Kami of the Crescent Moon

Kami of the Crescent Moon is more of a group hug card draw commander because every player draws an additional card on their draw step. It combines perfectly with other group hug card draw effects like Dictate of Kruphix and Well of Ideas, and contributes towards creatures like Body of Knowledge, which becomes more of a threat the more cards you draw.

#21. Arcanis the Omnipotent

Arcanis the Omnipotent

Arcanis the Omnipotent automatically nets you three cards just by tapping it. It also evades targeted removal or board wipes as long as you have 4 mana up to return it to your hand. Plus, this evasion tactic is also great so that you don't have to pay commander tax to recast it.

Wizard Class is the perfect payoff for a huge card draw effect like this, and even provides the infinite hand size effect most of these commanders want. Also, be on the lookout for untap effects like the one on Ioreth of the Healing House, which can untap Arcanis the Omnipotent for another draw-three activation.

#20. Alaundo the Seer

Alaundo the Seer

Time is of the essence when you run Alaundo the Seer as your commander. To take full advantage of the creature’s tap ability, run cards like Kelpie Guide, Ioreth of the Healing House, and Clever Conjurer to untap Alaundo the Seer and retap it to activate its ability multiple times per turn and “suspend” more cards in exile.

Every activation hastens your ability to cast your exiled cards for free. Run a creature-heavy card draw deck with varying mana costs so that you'll almost always have a creature spell to cast for free each turn.

#19. Anje Falkenrath

Anje Falkenrath

Anje Falkenrath synergizes with madness cards like Avacyn's Judgment and Abandon Reason. These and any other cards with madness that you discard trigger the ability to untap Anje Falkenrath so you can tap it again to draw another card.

Markov Baron and Stromkirk Occultist are vampire creatures with madness that would do well in this deck if you want to run it as a vampire typal theme.

#18. Barrin, Tolarian Archmage

Barrin, Tolarian Archmage

Barrin, Tolarian Archmage can give you card draw benefits if at least one permanent was returned to your hand on each of your turns. Venser, Shaper Savant and Trusted Advisor help return cards to your hand for recasting. Simple ETB cards like Augury Owl are great to return to your hand and recast for extra value.

#17. Bane, Lord of Darkness

Bane, Lord of Darkness

Bane, Lord of Darkness becomes the bane of your opponents' existence. It’s challenging when an opponent has to choose between whether you get to draw a card whenever a nontoken creature dies or let you place a creature with equal or lesser toughness on the battlefield without paying its mana cost. Plus, it’s harder to remove this commander since it’s indestructible as long as you have 20 or less life.

You'll obviously want sacrifice outlets like Ashnod's Altar and Phyrexian Altar, and cards like Cryptek can trigger Bane, Lord of Darkness’s without having to lose much on board.

#16. Anowon, the Ruin Thief

Anowon, the Ruin Thief

Anowon, the Ruin Thief thrives in a rogue typal build, pumping rogues while also helping you with card draw if an opponent mills a creature card. Note that Anowon only draws one card per trigger no matter how many cards were milled, but it can trigger for each player who's dealt damage, so you can potentially draw one card per opponent each combat.

#15. Nin, the Pain Artist

Nin, the Pain Artist

While you can direct the damage from Nin, the Pain Artist to an opponent’s creatures for removal purposes, you can also do it to your creatures to draw cards. Direct damage toward indestructible creatures like Brash Taunter and cause other shenanigans for your opponents. For example, if Nin deals 5 damage to a Brash Taunter, you'll draw five cards and redirect 5 damage to target opponent. Triskaidekaphile is a popular win condition for this commander.

#14. Xyris, the Writhing Storm

Xyris, the Writhing Storm

Xyris, the Writhing Storm is another group hug type of card draw commander. You and your opponent draw at least three cards each time this commander lands combat damage. In return for having your opponent draw these three cards, Xyris, the Writhing Storm turns around and gives you three Snake tokens because of its first ability.

Make your opponent draw more cards with Folio of Fancies and Anvil of Bogardan so that you can get more Snake tokens from Xyris, the Writhing Storm.

#13. Akiri, Fearless Voyager

Akiri, Fearless Voyager

Akiri, Fearless Voyager is mainly a Voltron commander, but it’s also considered a card draw commander because you get to draw a card whenever you attack with one or more equipped creatures. Get the party started quickly with Swiftfoot Boots to give a creature haste.

Equipment that's cheap to equip is your best choice, since you can easily detach your equipment with Akiri's ability then reequip when needed. Don’t forget Mithril Coat, though it's questionable if Akiri actually needs it.

#12. Damia, Sage of Stone

Damia, Sage of Stone

Damia, Sage of Stone delays your draw step by shifting it to your end step, but it always refills your hand to seven.

You'll probably want a few discard outlets to make good use of the cards in your hand and ensure you're always drawing the maximum number of cards possible with each Damia trigger. Combine it with cards like Infernal Sovereign to draw extra cards at will. Muldrotha, the Gravetide is graveyard recursion gold, helping to reanimate the permanents that you discarded.

#11. Grazilaxx, Illithid Scholar

Grazilaxx, Illithid Scholar

Grazilaxx, Illithid Scholar causes your opponents to make a choice. Do they let you deal combat damage with their creatures to draw cards, or do they fend off the damage and let you return a value creature back to your hand to replay again? You could always save them the trouble and run blue creatures that can’t be blocked like Mist-Cloaked Herald to guarantee combat damage and card draw.

#10. Elenda and Azor

Elenda and Azor

Elenda and Azor rewards you with Vampire Knight tokens equivalent to the cards you've drawn each turn (this triggers on each end step). As with Azor, the Lawbringer, “big” mana rocks like Chromatic Orrery and Gilded Lotus give you plenty of mana to dump into X.

Draw doublers like Teferi's Ageless Insight and Alhammarret's Archive give you even more cards and Vampire Knights with each trigger.

#9. Arcades, the Strategist

Arcades, the Strategist

Play EDH the old school way by running an Elder Dragon commander, at least in spirit. Arcades, the Strategist lets you draw a card for each creature with defender that enters the battlefield under your control. Creature tokens with defender also work, so consider cards like The Birth of Meletis and Tidal Wave for more card draw. Plus, all your defender creatures can attack and assign damage based on toughness.

#8. Chulane, Teller of Tales

Chulane, Teller of Tales

Chulane, Teller of Tales combos with Intruder Alarm for infinite card draw already. Playing this commander with Mana Breach and Shrieking Drake can do the same thing. No matter how you play Chulane, Teller of Tales, you’ll be ramping and drawing a card for each creature spell you cast!

Go with low mana cost landfall creatures like Scute Swarm and Lotus Cobra to increase how many creature spells you can cast per turn, which in turn increases your card draw, and also puts more lands into play for landfall triggers.

#7. Borborygmos and Fblthp

Borborygmos and Fblthp

Make sure you have enough land cards to discard when Borborygmos and Fblthp attacks or enters the battlefield. Doing so deals twice that much damage to a target creature. If you discard 3 land cards, you get to deal 6 damage to a target creature. Your commander can evade commander tax by putting itself back in your library, though that's always a risk move if your library gets shuffled before you draw it again.

Instead of running the usual 38 lands, try running about 50 to 60 lands. This is possible by running modal double-faced cards from Zendikar Rising that have lands on the back of them while the front cards have instant, sorcery, or creature spells. Your MDFCs can be your normal land drops, and the rest can be pitched to B&F.

#6. Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait

Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait

Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait‘s simple: Play more lands, draw more cards. Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, Wayward Swordtooth, and Exploration are examples of cards that can help you play additional lands on your turns to draw even more cards. Go wide with Scute Swarm and Rampaging Baloths tokens created from landfall triggers to overwhelm your opponent.

#5. Tishana, Voice of Thunder

Tishana, Voice of Thunder

Tishana, Voice of Thunder gets larger in power based on how many cards are in your hand. No maximum handsize means it can get absurdly large and stay that way. It helps to have a backup like Decanter of Endless Water or Spellbook to keep your cards in hand should Tishana get removed. Make Tishana, Voice of Thunder a creature-heavy deck to maximize the number of cards you draw when it ETBs.

#4. Asmodeus the Archfiend

Asmodeus the Archfiend

Instead of drawing cards, Asmodeus the Archfiend accumulates any cards you would draw, including the ones you'd normally draw with the ability. Then, you use the second mana ability to get all those exiled cards into your hand at the cost of losing life equal to how many you stockpiled away.

One fun way to take advantage of Asmodeus is to activate the ability a couple times, then sacrifice it in response. If Asmodeus isn't on board when those activations resolve, the cards will go straight to your hand.

#3. Edric, Spymaster of Trest

Edric, Spymaster of Trest

Edric, Spymaster of Trest not only allows you to draw a card for each creature that deals combat damage to an opponent, but it also rewards your opponents for not attacking you with card draw as well. It’s another type of group hug card draw commander that puts the attention on your opponents and off you because they’ll want to keep Edric, Spymaster of Trest around for their own benefit.

Creatures that can’t be blocked like Slither Blade and Mercurial Spelldancer can guarantee you draw more cards each combat. You could also run this commander as an elf typal deck or with an extra turns theme.

#2. Kruphix, God of Horizons

Kruphix, God of Horizons

Kruphix, God of Horizons grants you no maximum hand size like Tishana, Voice of Thunder does. However, this enchantment creature is also indestructible and turns your unused mana into colorless mana instead of emptying from your mana pool.

Overbeing of Myth and Body of Knowledge will be your big hitters as you draw more cards. Note that Kruphix doesn't actually draw cards itself, but the Reliquary Tower effect is extremely useful for these types of decks, and stockpiling mana lets you achieve huge Blue Sun's Zeniths and the like.

#1. Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur

Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur

I consider Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur the best card draw commander not only because of how consistently you can draw so many cards, but also because it puts your opponents at a disadvantage. The turbo-draw effect gives you a significantly faster way to naturally draw towards a Laboratory Maniac win.

Plus, this #1 card draw commander forces your opponents to dump their hands on their cleanup step. Essentially, once Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur hits the field, they’re only top decking from that point on.

Best Card Draw Commander Payoffs

I’ve hinted at some of the best card draw commander payoffs, but let’s round them up so you have everything you need in your arsenal to make the best card draw commander deck!

Teferi's Tutelage can help with the milling theme by making a target opponent mill two cards for every one card that you draw. Same goes for Psychic Corrosion and Sphinx's Tutelage.

We often think the person drawing the most cards is winning the game, but sometimes simply drawing tons of cards can be a win condition without the need to actually cast those cards. Alternate wincons like Laboratory Maniac, Triskaidekaphile, and Jace, Wielder of Mysteries can help you win the game when you're able to draw large chunks of cards at a time.

Commanding Conclusion

Kruphix, God of Horizons - Illustration by Daarken

Kruphix, God of Horizons | Illustration by Daarken

I hope you enjoyed this lineup of card draw commanders. These commanders give you card draw benefits as long as you meet certain conditions and each one is unique in its own right. Most card draw commanders are in blue or green because that’s where Magic offers the most of it.

Are you ready to learn how you can draw enough cards to stay in any Magic game? Head over to the Draftsim blog or join the Draftsim Discord to view content, perhaps on the best card draw spells. When you're hungry for more content, review the Draftsim Facebook page to get updated on all things Magic.

Until then, keep those hands full!

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