Last updated on October 1, 2023

Storm-Kiln Artist - Illustration by Manuel Castañón

Storm-Kiln Artist | Illustration by Manuel Castañón

Dwarves appear in all kinds of folklore and pop culture, although not always with the best representation. We’re sticking to the world of fantasy, specifically Magic, but with a smattering of Tolkien.

Dwarves in Magic have come a long way since Alpha, and it’s safe to say that some, er… stand above the rest? Yeah, I’m shaking my head too.

Grab your pickaxe and your best jeweler’s loupe, we’re going cave-diving with dwarves!

What Are Dwarves in MTG?

Plundering Barbarian - Illustration by Andrew Mar

Plundering Barbarian | Illustration by Andrew Mar

Alpha’s Dwarven Warriors was the first card printed with the creature type. Dwarves have mainly been printed in red, with white as the main secondary color.

Pardon the pun, but dwarves have often been short-changed in the Magic meta. They were initially envisioned as small red creatures, which sounds like goblins. More goblins were printed over time while dwarves weren’t so much.

Dwarves printed since Magic has leaned into Treasure tokens have often been themed around them, while Kaladesh and Kaldheim have allowed them to branch into being artificers and vehicle pilots. It makes sense: dwarves across fantasy settings like Lord of the Rings or the Dwemer of The Elders Scrolls show lots of ingenuity.

#32. Reveka, Wizard Savant

Reveka, Wizard Savant

I’m including Reveka, Wizard Savant more for posterity. You don’t see many dwarves in mono-blue these days. It’s definitely of its time: the fact that it takes extra time to untap just slows this down to a crawl.

Two-damage pinging is nice, but frankly this design should have been saved for a snapping turtle or something. Keep the 0-power, bump the toughness a notch or three, and boom! Turtle power.

#31. Bag End Porter + Mirrormere Guardian

It’s sometimes hard to predict how good cards are when they’re very new. I want to shout out Bag End Porter and Mirrormere Guardian for being green dwarves, something that hasn’t happened much until now.

#30. Aethershield Artificer

Aethershield Artificer

Whatever kind of artifact creatures you’re running, you can use Aethershield Artificer to protect and buff one every time you have a combat step. White isn’t a bad color for vehicles, after all.

#29. Erebor Flamesmith

Erebor Flamesmith

I think that Erebor Flamesmith has all kinds of potential.

Mono-red decks would love to supplement their burn spells with a cast trigger like this, while spellslinging Izzet () decks could also use a 2-drop like this. It’ll fit it with red dwarf decks, and I can also see it paired with Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin.

#28. Glóin, Dwarf Emissary

Glóin, Dwarf Emissary

Glóin, Dwarf Emissary pumps out Treasure for you when you cast artifacts, legends, and sagas. A casting trigger means that those permanents don’t have to hit the board, so you still get tokens if your spells are countered.

You get to tap this dwarf to goad a creature on top of that, which is a steady package of value.

#27. Rankle and Torbran

Rankle and Torbran

I’ve been really trying not to make any short jokes, but the pairing of a dwarf and a faerie is making it really hard. Rankle and Torbran has a modal combat damage trigger, although I wish it included planeswalkers to the battles and players.

A little hug, a little slug, or a Torbran, Thane of Red Fell kind of additional damage.

#26. Gimli, Counter of Kills

Gimli, Counter of Kills

Gimli, Counter of Kills is another dwarf worth considering for Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin. As a source of exactly one damage that pays you off for your opponents’ creature deaths, there’s all kinds of potential.

You get to take advantage of opponents who run sacrifice decks, which is always fun. I could totally see this either in a Naya () or Jund () deck that uses tokens to chump block or to sacrifice.

Part of me wonders if it was ever considered to give this Gimli the partner with mechanic, making Legolas, Counter of Kills its partner. Other partners were released in Tales of Middle-earth, but it was usually the hobbits that were paired off. Besides, Legolas and Gimli are competing rather than collaborating in that scene, so it almost makes more sense to have them face off against each other.

#25. Solemn Recruit

Solemn Recruit

Solemn Recruit’s end step trigger makes it fairly versatile. You can trigger it with creature deaths, like tokens. You can use proliferation and other counter synergies.

And you can trigger Solemn Recruit if you’ve flickered a permanent, too.

#24. Restoration Specialist

Restoration Specialist

Restoration Specialist offers you enchantment and artifact recursion on the same activated ability. That covers lots of targets, and you can also get most historic spells with this ability (discounting non-enchantment and non-artifact legends).

#23. Aerial Responder

Aerial Responder

A 3-drop with three keyword abilities is a solid piece of value. Aerial Responder is probably most at home if you’ve got a strategy that relies on counting keywords, like Odric, Lunarch Marshal or Kathril, Aspect Warper.

#22. Hammers of Moradin

Hammers of Moradin

Hammers of Moradin has myriad and another attack trigger that make it a good candidate to run with a lot of buffing and protective equipment. Not bad to double with Isshin, Two Heavens as One either.

#21. Seven Dwarves

Seven Dwarves


Seven Dwarves is fun for how it lets you bend deckbuilding rules of formats like Commander. It’s perfect to run in dwarf typal decks, like if you need them to skip the commander tax on The Lady of Otaria.

#20. Axgard Cavalry

Axgard Cavalry

Axgard Cavalry gains points in my books for being a cheap haste enabler. It’s not restricted to dwarves or any creature type, which is appreciated.

#19. Electrostatic Infantry

Electrostatic Infantry

A trampler that grows when you’re spellslinging? Electrostatic Infantry is right at home in a shell that’s got lots of instants and sorceries to give it +1/+1 counters.

#18. Barrowin of Clan Undurr

Barrowin of Clan Undurr

Barrowin of Clan Undurr offers you creatures from your graveyard as a reward for completing dungeons. It’s at home in a deck that fits that same theme, like if you’re piloting Sefris of the Hidden Ways.

#17. Gimli, Mournful Avenger

Gimli, Mournful Avenger

Gimli, Mournful Avenger really lives up to its name. All its abilities play into death. Situational indestructability. Growing when your creatures die. Fighting an opponent as an outlet for all that pain.

This has got all kinds of aggressive potential, but I could also see it in a Jund sacrifice deck.

#16. Duergar Hedge-Mage

Duergar Hedge-Mage

It’s like the antithesis of a Restoration Specialist. Duergar Hedge-Mage has the potential to get rid of two permanent types for you as its ETB. Dual and tri-lands with basic land types are important to speeding this card up in your deck.

#15. Stoic Farmer

Stoic Farmer

The early dwarf gets the worm, or something like that.

Stoic Farmer is built for the early game. Its foretell make it easier to bring out if you’re low on mana, and it’ll send the Plains it pulls to a different zone depending on who’s ahead.

#14. Depala, Pilot Exemplar

Depala, Pilot Exemplar

Dwarf buffs? Check. Vehicle tune-ups? Check. Depala, Pilot Exemplar also has a tapping trigger that lets you pay to dig for dwarves and vehicles.

I feel like I can hear exactly which voice actor Depala sounds like. Slightly nasally and pinched, and always shouting because she’s used to the roar of engines in her ear.

#13. Gimli of the Glittering Caves

Gimli of the Glittering Caves

This Gimli is the one from the Riders of Rohan LTR Commander deck. Gimli of the Glittering Caves is a mono-red double striker, and it’s got great legends matter and Treasure synergies. I can see it doing good work in the 99 elsewhere (Cadric, Soul Kindler?), but it shouldn’t be a slouch as the face of its own deck.

Mono-red has some cheap legendary creatures, like the free Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh and the Treasure-making Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer. What about Kediss, Emberclaw Familiar?

You can also stuff the deck with legendary dwarfs like Magda, Brazen Outlaw and Torbran, Thane of Red Fell along with other good red legends.

#12. Hofri Ghostforge

Hofri Ghostforge

I like a Magic creature that doesn’t follow the “rules” of its “type,” one that follows its own path. For Hofri Ghostforge, that’s by making your creatures almost as infinite as a Golgari () graveyard deck would. If you make them all spirits, then they’ll always benefit from Hofri’s first anthem ability.

Either way, Boros () doesn’t usually do the “comically unkillable” thing.

Austin Powers why won't you die gif

Austin Powers

#11. Koll, the Forgemaster

Koll, the Forgemaster

Koll, the Forgemaster takes care of your equipped and enchanted nontokens by letting you return them to your hand when they die. It doesn’t leave your tokens out the cold either, proving that anyone can wear the helm.

#10. Cadric, Soul Kindler

Cadric, Soul Kindler

LotR may have brought along a dwarf that cares about legends and another that cares about historic permanents in general, but Cadric, Soul Kindler from Dominaria United Commander was a kind of precursor. It gives you hasty copies of your legends while getting around that pesky legend rule.

#9. Plundering Barbarian

Plundering Barbarian

Abilities that trigger when a creature enters the battlefield are great because they’re immediately impactful, so modal ETB triggers are that much better. Plundering Barbarian’s ability nukes an artifact or gives you Treasure, which has all kinds of utility and synergy.

#8. Digsite Engineer

Digsite Engineer

Digsite Engineer rewards you for your growing collection of artifacts with its casting trigger. Its Constructs have power and toughness equal to your total artifacts, whether they’re tokens, equipment, creatures, whatever!

#7. Skullport Merchant

Skullport Merchant

Skullport Merchant trades you cards for your creatures’ lives or for your Treasure tokens. It gets you ahead by giving you Treasure upon ETB. I can see this in Rakdos () sacrifice decks, or in a deck that cares about low-powered creatures like Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker.

#6. Bruenor Battlehammer

Bruenor Battlehammer

Bruenor Battlehammer is a Forgotten Realms dwarf that can be your equipment-matters commander. It lets you cheat on the first equipment cost you pay per turn, which is great to keep your responses quick and flexible.

#5. Reyav, Master Smith

Reyav, Master Smith

Double strike is a fantastic combat keyword ability to be throwing around your board. Reyav, Master Smith gives it to your creatures when they head off to battle if they’re equipped or enchanted.

Other legends like Bruenor Battlehammer and Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist that cheapen these kinds of spells or let you toss them around love this.

#4. Magda, Brazen Outlaw

Magda, Brazen Outlaw

Magda, Brazen Outlaw buffs your dwarves and gives you Treasure tokens when you tap them. You can then sacrifice some of those tokens to Magda to pull out big artifacts or dragons from your deck.

You don’t happen to know any big artifacts or dragons, do you? You can even go infinite with it if you pair Magda with a Clock of Omens and a Universal Automaton.

#3. Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

An instant classic for increasing damage in red. Whether you’re burning opponents, pinging them, or swinging at them with big or wide boards, you can probably make use of a Torbran, Thane of Red Fell.

#2. Sram, Senior Edificer

Sram, Senior Edificer

Sram, Senior Edificer has the kind of ability I’d love to double with Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines. Card advantage for your auras, equipment, and vehicles gives you all kinds of value, whether you’re using a little bit of each or focusing on one of those permanent types.

#1. Storm-Kiln Artist

Storm-Kiln Artist

Storm-Kiln Artist pays you in Treasure tokens for your spellslinging ways. “Cast or copy” is a beautiful text pairing, and Storm-Kiln Artist’s power will just keep growing.

Is the point to Fling a big dwarf at your opponents? If so, you need to apologize to Gimli. I’d personally go for mass artifact animation, but there’s more than one way to kill an opponent.

Best Dwarf Payoffs and Synergies

Magda, Brazen Outlaw

Magda, Brazen Outlaw makes all your dwarves a little bit stronger and gives you Treasure when you tap them.

Bearded Axe is an equipment that gets stronger the more dwarves you have on board, while Armed and Armored is an instant that’ll let you attach a bunch of equipment to your dwarf of choice.

Doors of Durin

Doors of Durin is fun for the flavor of elves and dwarves working together. It’ll let you cheat out creatures when you declare attackers, including giving trample to your dwarves.

Dwarven Mine is a land that’ll give you a token if you’ve already got enough Mountains in play. You can also get Dwarf token-producing sorceries in the form of Reckless Crew and Dwarven Reinforcements.

Depala, Pilot Exemplar

What’s your flavor: foretell, or vehicles and equipment? If you answered vehicles and equipment, Depala, Pilot Exemplar is the commander for you. It’ll buff your dwarf and vehicle creatures and gives you the ability to pull them from the top of your deck.

The Lady of Otaria

The Lady of Otaria can use your dwarves to avoid commander tax, and it encourages you to destroy or sacrifice your own lands.

Wrap Up

Erebor Flamesmith - Illustration by L J Koh

Erebor Flamesmith | Illustration by L J Koh

I’m glad that dwarves have gotten better roles as Magic has grown. They deserve to be more than minion-level grunts, and we’ve seen plenty of them shine as stronger warriors and crafty artificers. This surely isn’t the last we’ve seen of these creatures, especially if other Universes Beyond products take us to more fantasy settings. Failing that, there’s lots of Magic planes with thriving dwarven populations.

What do you think of the list, and of dwarves across Magic? Is someone missing completely, or just plain misrepresented? Let me know in the comments below, or over in Draftsim's official Discord.

If you’re ever wondering what a bar tab with a party of dwarves looks like, let’s just say the local bar ran out of receipt paper. And I’ve got the hangover to prove it…

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