Last updated on February 27, 2024

Xenagos, the Reveler - Illustration by Jason Chan

Xenagos, the Reveler | Illustration by Jason Chan

Fun fact: The first Converse All-Stars I got in high school were red. The second pair were green. They were a half-size apart, but yes, I did get festive about it and wear a different color on each foot some days. So quirky. Much random.

Naturally, the Gruul Clans are a natural fit for me in Magic. Xenagos is my co-pilot. Give me big, stompy creatures and ways to make ‘em bigger and stompier. But which are the best green and red cards in the game, and what are Gruul cards good at overall?

Crank up that pump-up playlist, because this is gonna be a Gruul-ing workout!

Table of Contents show

What Are Gruul Cards in MTG?

Tovolar, Dire Overlord - Illustration by Chris Rahn

Tovolar, Dire Overlord | Illustration by Chris Rahn

Gruul cards are Magic cards that have red and green in their color identities. For our purposes, I’m also including red and green cards that have an adventure of the opposing color.

Technically, you could count dual lands that produce red and green as Gruul cards, but I’m leaving them off to save space for other cards. I’m also leaving off other Gruul lands like Contested Cliffs and mana rocks like Gruul Signet and Talisman of Impulse. They certainly belong on a list of best Gruul cards, but I feel like lands and mana rocks like these are so obvious that I’d rather just give a mention and move on.

We also aren’t specifically ranking Gruul commanders today. Some good Gruul commanders definitely show up, but I try to highlight cards that also play well in the 99 of other decks.

Shoutout to The Space Family Goblinson, The Fugitive Doctor, Strax, Sontaran Nurse, and Stangg, Echo Warrior. And a special shoutout to an old favorite in Rubblebelt Raiders. You’re all nowhere on this list, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t fun.

Honorable Mentions: Jegantha, the Wellspring + Samut, Voice of Dissent + Pako, Arcane Retriever

Since I’m mostly considering these cards for Commander purposes, Jegantha, the Wellspring is a square peg. Its color is Gruul, but the mana ability gives it a 5-color identity. Jegantha, the Wellspring will always have new cards to build a companion deck around it, but for today, it’s Gruul in name only.

Same goes for Samut, Voice of Dissent, which is a shame given how being a haste enabler fits into Gruul strategies. And while it may be fun to play fetch with Pako, Arcane Retriever, it’s not of much use unless you partner it with the mono-blue Haldan, Avid Arcanist.

#49. Wrenn and Six

Wrenn and Six

Wrenn and Six is Gruul colors, and it’s a really good card, but it’s a little awkward when comparing it with other cards. The emblem that gives the instants and sorceries in your graveyard retrace just doesn’t fit, although it makes this planeswalker better when you start drifting toward Jund, Temur, and other 3+ color configurations.

#48. Faldorn, Dread Wolf Herald

Faldorn, Dread Wolf Herald

Faldorn, Dread Wolf Herald can either be your exile commander that gives you plenty of Wolf tokens, or it can fall in behind another commander that plays cards from exile like Rocco, Street Chef. Both are solid ways to take advantage of this, especially since Faldorn can exile cards itself to start feeding the pack.

#47. Zhur-Taa Druid

Zhur-Taa Druid

Two-Hats-Tommy here is both a mana dork and a pinger. Zhur-Taa Druid only gives you green mana, but you still get some red behavior with the damage when it taps for mana. As always, “each” is one of the sweetest words in Magic.

#46. Dragonlair Spider

Dragonlair Spider

While other Gruul cards punish spellslinging by dealing damage to opponents, Dragonlair Spider gives you insect tokens. It counts any spell type, including creatures, but it doesn’t trigger off your own spells. I just wish the Spider had some way to eat those Insects to give you a perk, but I guess that’s a job for a sacrifice outlet.

#45. Regisaur Alpha

Regisaur Alpha

For 5 mana, you get two dinosaurs and a dino haste enabler. There’s probably a joke to be made about how Regisaur Alpha comes with its own beta.

#44. Ruby, Daring Tracker

Ruby, Daring Tracker

This may turn out too low of a placement in the long run. Ruby, Daring Tracker is a mana dork with haste, which is flipping fantastic. It’s in the same vein as Whisperer of the Wilds, although Ruby has an attack trigger rather than giving you 2 mana.

#43. Tana, the Bloodsower

Tana, the Bloodsower

Tana, the Bloodsower is a partner commander that’s fairly flexible in terms of the commander you’ll pair it with. Abilities that pump out multiple tokens scream sacrifice fodder to me, which is why Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools is probably my partner of choice. You can also go the equipment route with Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist or a pod theme with Tymna the Weaver.

#42. Tovolar, Dire Overlord

Tovolar, Dire Overlord

I said I’d focus on cards that were better as role-players than as commanders, but Tovolar, Dire Overlord is pretty much the werewolf commander. Gruul colors let you access most of the werewolves that have been printed, and Tovolar gives you extra ways to turn the day to night.

#41. Wulfgar of Icewind Dale

Wulfgar of Icewind Dale

Oh, you know, just your average Gruul attack trigger doubler. Wulfgar of Icewind Dale plays well with lots of the other cards on this list that have attack triggers, like how Savage Ventmaw gives you 6 mana.

#40. Dragon Broodmother

Dragon Broodmother

Dragon Broodmother offers a path to a wide board of big Dragons thanks to its token generating ability. Naturally, these Dragons have devour because baby dragons have big appetites.

#39. Neyith of the Dire Hunt

Neyith of the Dire Hunt

Confession: This card almost slipped through the cracks. Neyith of the Dire Hunt is a Jumpstart card that deserves our respect. I like it because it actually has a “fights matter” theme, giving you cards when you fight or when your creatures are blocked.

#38. Klothys, God of Destiny

Klothys, God of Destiny

I enjoy slow graveyard interaction like Deathbonnet Hulk over massive hate like Bojuka Bog, and Klothys, God of Destiny is more in that slow interaction space. You can exile cards from any graveyard to get mana or life, which has me growing devilish horns and a tail.

#37. Kogla and Yidaro

Kogla and Yidaro

Modal ETBs are always fun, especially when all the modes let you impact the board in some way. Kogla and Yidaro comes down and can either attack this turn or immediately fight something. Sock it to ‘em! You can also pay 4 mana to discard K&Y to destroy an artifact or enchantment, but the cherry on top is that you still get your discard payoffs before shuffling the card back into your library.

#36. Grand Warlord Radha

Grand Warlord Radha

Grand Warlord Radha has the type of ability I’d love to be doubling while attacking with a board full of tokens. Imagine if you’ve already generated infinite creature tokens, then you swing with them? Disgusting (complimentary).

#35. Bloodbraid Elf

Bloodbraid Elf

The cascade ability on Bloodbraid Elf is right at home with Averna, the Chaos Bloom, but cascading also works with exile matters types.

#34. Jolene, the Plunder Queen

Jolene, the Plunder Queen

Jolene, the Plunder Queen is a Gruul card that encourages players to swing at your tablemates rather than you. Afterall, wouldn’t they rather have Treasure? No? Well, it was worth a shot.

#33. Cindervines


Awe, look! A goblin cosplaying Whiplash. I guess an actual card of Ivan Vanko is actually on the table now, huh?

Cindervines is a cheap enchantment that’ll ping opponents whenever they cast noncreature spells. 1 damage will only chip away at them, but there are similar effects that pack a bigger punch. For 2-mana, this is fine. More than fine.

#32. Phylath, World Sculptor

Phylath, World Sculptor

Here’s a commander that can also work elsewhere in the 99. Landfall abilities flock together, sure, but the Plant tokens Phylath, World Sculptor gives you are excellent sacrifice fodder.

#31. Mage Slayer

Mage Slayer

Mage Slayer gives the equipped creature an ability I like to call “first first strike.” As in, it deals damage when you declare it as an attacker, before your opponent even gets to declare blockers. It sure lives up to its name, especially if you attach it to something big like Etali, Primal Sickness.

#30. Manamorphose


Manamorphose does exactly what it says on the tin, giving you back the same mana you pay into it in whatever color combo you want. And, it replaces itself in your hand. Are we sure this is a Gruul card?

#29. Questing Druid

Questing Druid

It’s more Gruul+ in terms of synergy. The adventure on Questing Druid gets you card access, while the Druid grows when you cast non-green, non-colorless spells. Adventures are great because they fit with cards that care about casting spells from exile, but this particular adventure also puts cards into exile for you.

#28. Invigorating Hot Spring

Invigorating Hot Spring

Invigorating Hot Spring is a neat design. Hailing from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, its abilities care about modified creatures you have. It’s also one of the ways we have to move counters, although it’s a one-way street with this card.

#27. Xenagos, the Reveler

Xenagos, the Reveler

Hello, father.

I’ll always have a soft spot for Xenagos, the Reveler (and I’ll mention it every chance I get). The +1 loyalty ability can get you a bunch of mana depending on how wide you’ve already gone, while the 0-loyalty ability pumps out hasty Satyrs. I love how Xenagos’s ultimate ability lets you put each land or creature you exile onto the battlefield, getting around your land drop limit with a stompy flourish and a harrumph.

#26. Radha, Heart of Keld

Radha, Heart of Keld

Radha, Heart of Keld puts an interesting spin on ramping by letting you play lands from the top of your deck. It doesn’t get around that one-land-per-turn restriction, but there’s plenty of other ways to do that. Lands can also help make Radha huge for a big, first strike swing.

#25. Grumgully, the Generous

Grumgully, the Generous

Extra counters, anyone? Grumgully, the Generous is handing them out like candy. There’s all kinds of places you can add a Grumgully, but my personal favorite is Gallia of the Endless Dance for a total +2/+2 when my satyrs ETB.

#24. Vexing Shusher

Vexing Shusher

Vexing Shusher seems designed to irritate control players. As long as you’re able to pay the extra mana for its activated ability, you can make any spell you cast uncounterable. It’s not a tap ability, after all.

#23. Shadow in the Warp

Shadow in the Warp

Shadow in the Warp does two things Gruul likes to do: cost reduction and damage. It’s a first-spell only effect, but that’s fair for a 3-mana enchantment.

#22. Klauth’s Will

Klauth's Will

Definitely a card designed for Commander, Klauth's Will can be devastatingly destructive. This X spell can take out a lot of creatures, and if you’re running dragons yourself, most of your board will be safe from the breathe flame ability. The artifact/enchantment hating part of this card also doesn’t force you to destroy anything if you don’t have enough targets that you want to destroy, which is nice.

#21. Domri, Anarch of Bolas

Domri, Anarch of Bolas

One of the better Gruul planeswalkers is also one of the slimmest designs. Domri, Anarch of Bolas gives +1/+0 to your side of the board at all times, and you can choose between adding mana and making your creatures uncounterable, or making one of your creatures fight another. On-Guild, for sure.

#20. Agatha of the Vile Cauldron

Agatha of the Vile Cauldron

Agatha of the Vile Cauldron has been a popular new commander since its WOE release, but it’ll take some time for it to weave into the 99 of other decks. There are plenty of RG+ commanders that could make use of the cost reduction on their activated abilities, even if you never pump up Agatha’s power. I’m thinking commanders like Svella, Ice Shaper, Zacama, Primal Calamity, or Shattergang Brothers. Or if you want to stay on Eldraine, Kenrith, the Returned King is fair game.

#19. Escape to the Wilds

Escape to the Wilds

Escape to the Wilds should be your first spell the turn you cast it, even before your land drop. It fits nicely into strategies that care about playing lands or spells from exile, like Rocco, Street Chef and Faldorn, Dread Wolf Herald.

#18. Quartzwood Crasher

Quartzwood Crasher

I may be overrating this one, but Quartzwood Crasher’s got the potential to pump out big tokens. Trample matters is an interesting theme to build around, but it’s also very Gruul.

#17. Thrakkus the Butcher

Thrakkus the Butcher

Here’s the perfect kind of card that can be your commander but does better work when it isn’t. Thrakkus the Butcher is a dragon-specific power doubler, but the key word is each. It’ll get around the shroud you’ve added to your commander with Lightning Greaves, as well as protection and other abilities that prevent targeting.

#16. Dragonborn Champion

Dragonborn Champion

Dragon? Check. Trampler? Check. Power matters? Check. Confirmed. Très Gruul.

Dragonborn Champion is worded as “source,” so it doesn’t have to be combat damage. Burn spells are the first thought, but Ruric Thar is lurking about somewhere….

#15. Ruric Thar, the Unbowed

Ruric Thar, the Unbowed

If you want to play a deck like Nikya of the Old Ways that either discourages or prevents you from playing noncreature spells, Ruric Thar, the Unbowed is going to pack a wallop, especially if you protect it. 6 damage every time anyone casts a spell is going to make that storm player think twice about going off. This makes Voltron players, aura decks, and all kinds of low-creature decks sweat.

#14. Klauth, Unrivaled Ancient

Klauth, Unrivaled Ancient

Klauth, Unrivaled Ancient has a similar ability to Savage Ventmaw, although the outcome is far more variable. You could wind up not getting much mana out of it, but you’ll probably get a lot of it if you’re using Klauth, Unrivaled Ancient with a bunch of other mid-to-big dragons.

#13. Halana and Alena, Partners

Halana and Alena, Partners

We’ve had plenty of recent commanders that can take advantage of Halana and Alena, Partners and its +1/+1 counters theme. Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes sticks close to the colors and theme, while Chishiro, the Shattered Blade cares about your modified creatures.

#12. Hull Breach

Hull Breach

Sorcery speed removal for 2 mana isn’t bad, especially when you can hit two targets with one spell. Hull Breach gives you that option. For extra chaos, flip a coin to make your choice: heads for artifact, tails for enchantment, and both if the coin lands on its edge.

#11. Artifact Mutation

Artifact Mutation

Artifact Mutation may be a Gruul card, but I can see potential in both Jund and Naya strategies thanks to those Saproling tokens, especially Naya given this card’s Selesnya cousin, Aura Mutation. Saprolings are the perfect sac fodder, perfect chump blockers, and suitable tokens to up your token count. And it’s a 2-mana, instant speed removal spell.

#10. Fires of Yavimaya

Fires of Yavimaya

Keep the hopes of your aggro strategy alive with Fires of Yavimaya. Its main purpose is as a haste enabling enchantment, but you can sacrifice it later to give a target creature +2/+2.

#9. Etali, Primal Conqueror / Etali, Primal Sickness

Etali, Primal Conqueror Etali, Primal Sickness

Baby got got. Etali, Primal Storm becomes this Gruul abomination thanks to the power of Phyrexia. I always love a spell theft ability, and Etali, Primal Conqueror’s ETB lets you hit all players at a Commander table. “Without paying their mana cost” is important considering you already pumped 7 mana into Etali. An unblocked Etali, Primal Sickness is an instant game over (yay, alt wincons), and both sides have big power for decks that care about that.

#8. Xenagos, God of Revels

Xenagos, God of Revels

You want a power hungry, aggressive strategy? How about a combat trigger that gives haste and doubles your target’s power? On an indestructible enchantment creature. Gods. Yeah.

I just want to pair Xenagos, God of Revels with Mr. Orfeo, the Boulder and go to town.

#7. Savage Ventmaw

Savage Ventmaw

Savage Ventmaw refunds itself as an attack trigger. Refunds itself. As an attack trigger.

Yeah, so haste enablers and extra combats seem like two perfect homes for this dragon. You know, besides the obvious. That’s 6 mana, at least some of which you can use for something else’s firebreathing ability. Or maybe you’ve got a neat combat trick up your sleeve.

#6. Omnath, Locus of Rage

Omnath, Locus of Rage

Nature can be angry, and for Omnath, Locus of Rage, that means pumping out Elementals and punishing your opponents when they die. Its color identity fits in with most other Omnaths, but you can also use these Elementals in a sacrifice deck.

#5. Mina and Denn, Wildborn

Mina and Denn, Wildborn

For landfall decks, this is the good stuff. The primo, locked up in the backroom kind of stuff. “You may play an additional land” is beautiful text to your big-mana eyes, and enabling trample fits with so many of the good trample matters cards.

#4. Atarka, World Render

Atarka, World Render

Possibly the best Gruul dragon, and I challenge Wizards to come up with something better. Atarka, World Render doesn’t need to attack itself to give double strike to your dragons, but its trample makes it a valuable attacker in its own right. This Atarka has also been considered accessible enough to front the Draconic Destruction Starter Commander Deck.

#3. Decimate


4 mana paid, four permanents removed. Decimate launches four targeted missiles across the board. It doesn’t have to be your opponents’ permanents, huh?

#2. Goblin Anarchomancer

Goblin Anarchomancer

Goblin Anarchomancer is by far the best of the 2-mana Gruul cost reducing creatures. I say cost reducing because this goblin doesn’t tap to activate. It’s static, which means it affects each and every one of your spells. Being a goblin also makes it valuable to the Gruul goblin commanders that want a little more oomph.

#1. Rhythm of the Wild

Rhythm of the Wild

This card is pretty much mandatory if you’re running RG+ and being even mildly aggressive. Rhythm of the Wild makes your creature spells uncounterable, but giving your creatures riot pretty much guarantees a +1/+1 counter if you’ve already got your other haste enablers online. So. Much. Punch.

Best Gruul Card Payoffs

In terms of devotion, anything with devotion to green like Renata, Called to the Hunt or red like Purphoros, God of the Forge can count your color pips. But for Gruul devotion, look no further than Xenagos, God of Revels. Fine, Klothys, God of Destiny belongs here, too.

Boartusk Liege gives +1/+1 each to mono-green and mono-red creatures, and +2/+2 to RG+ creatures. Goblin Anarchomancer gives cost reduction to your spells that are red or green, too.

Questing Druid

Questing Druid is less of a specific Gruul payoff than a multicolor payoff given how it grows when you cast spells, but it’s quite happy in a Gruul-only deck.

What Is Gruul Good At in MTG?

Gruul brings the best of red and green and all the aggression they can foster. Cost reduction comes in the form of mana dorks like Zhur-Taa Druid and Ruby, Daring Tracker, but also cards like Goblin Anarchomancer.

Trample and haste are the prime keyword abilities for this aggro strategy, whether with creatures who have these abilities or the ones who can throw them around your board, like Mina and Denn, Wildborn and Fires of Yavimaya. Gruul has a fair number of haste matters cards like Samut, Vizier of Naktamun and trample matters cards like Quartzwood Crasher.

Red and green are also natural colors for dragons, so there are a few fantastic Gruul dragons like Atarka, World Render, Klauth, Unrivaled Ancient, and Savage Ventmaw.

Zilortha, Strength Incarnate

Gruul offers creatures with big power like Zilortha, Strength Incarnate. You can take advantage with power-matters themes, which can include sacrifice decks that give you benefits for axing your own bulky creatures.

Wulfgar of Icewind Dale

Gruul also brings along some good combat triggers, which are ripe for pairing with ability doublers like Wulfgar of Icewind Dale and extra combats.

Gruul to Be Kind

Atarka, World Render - Illustration by Karl Kopinski

Atarka, World Render | Illustration by Karl Kopinski

And that’s a wrap on our tour of the best Gruul cards. I’m just glad I didn’t have to use any of the “Scuzzback” or “Tattermunge” cards, because I know I couldn’t keep a straight face. I’m sad that I wasn’t able to fit Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes onto the list, but it’s just one of many, many cards I wanted to include.

Which are your favorite Gruul cards? Which cards would you add to the list, and are there any you’d let fall off? Let me know in the comments below, or make your way over to the Draftsim Discord (no trampling, please).

All right, now that that’s done, time to hit the showers. Stay strong and stay stompy!

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