Last updated on May 13, 2022
Fog | Illustration by Jaime Jones
At one of my first constructed Grand Prix 2013 in Atlantic City, I played a ramp deck that used Sphinx’s Revelation, Supreme Verdict, Fog, and Door to Nothingness as a win condition. I got a solid 6/3 result just missing Day 2, but the power of fog became clear as I continued to watch the results. Bant Hexproof dominated the event and the combination of fogging their all-in turn followed with a wrath could easily win the game.
I’ve had a soft spot for fogs and fog effects ever since then. There have been plenty of fogs and fog-like effects since the original printing of Fog in Alpha. While I’m not going to count all of them, I am going to look at the most powerful and flexible fogs in various formats.
Ready? Let’s get started!
What are Fogs in MTG?
Inkshield | Illustration by Jarel Threat
I’m going to limit the definition of fog effects to cards that prevent all combat damage. While there are cards that restrict certain types of damage, like The Wanderer or Tajic, Legion’s Edge, I’m not going to count these cards as fog effects for this list.
I will mention cards that have partial fog effects or fog-adjacent effects if they’re powerful enough. But overall, I want to specifically look at pure fogs that emulate the original.
Cards like Maze of Ith that fog one creature are like a fog but don’t prevent damage from multiple creatures and don’t emulate Fog, so I’m not counting them even though they’re certainly powerful enough to make the list otherwise.
Best White Fogs
Dawn Charm is a modal fog effect that can also save one of your creatures from removal or counter a spell that targets you. Modal effects are powerful since they’re several cards worth of value stapled onto one.
In this case you have access to a fog vs. all-in turns, you can blank a removal spell against your best creature, or you can prevent meaningful interaction with you or your hand. Powerful and flexible spells that can do a lot for only one slot in your deck are at a premium in a format like EDH, and Dawn Charm does a lot for so little cost.
While Confinement isn’t a pure fog, it enables decks that often run few if any creatures so stopping damage to you effectively fogs all creatures every turn. While it might be more of a fog-adjacent card, Confinement’s raw power level makes me want to include it as a meaningful enabler for an entire archetype.
Kami of False Hope
A 1/1 for one that lives up to its name, Kami of False Hope works to fog when you need to survive a single turn or combat. Like some other cards on the list, Kami isn’t impressive by itself but can lock opponents out of combat damage that fail to interact with the graveyard given the ease of recurring creatures.
Knight-Captain of Eos
This is another card that’s main purpose isn’t necessarily to fog but that ends up doing that whenever it sees play. A 5-mana 2/2 that creates two other 1/1 Soldiers, Knight-Captain of Eos can pay and sacrifice a Soldier to fog all combat damage.
This ensures the first two fog effects since you create two soldiers when you play Knight-Captain, but it can also lock an entire table out from combat in dedicated soldier decks or decks with a soldier sub-theme. While it does need protection of its own, a repeatable instant-speed fog is a massive reward if you can protect it.
Fog, but it’s white. No, really. That’s it.
You’ll see this a few times today, but Holy Day just gives white access to fog and can allow for more unique fogs in Turbofog decks.
A very popular mechanic in Magic is to take an existing card, add cycling to it, and then send it out into the wild. If you take Holy Day or any fog, add cycling 2 and an extra mana for the bonus ability, you have Angelsong.
This card’s power is that you can simply cycle it looking for more relevant action or lands to cast your spells in matchups where a fog isn’t worth a card in your deck. Like with Dawn Charm, modal cards reward choice and give agency. Cycling is commonly used to give players options and adding that to a niche effect like fog is great for decks looking to have access to fog without adding potentially dead cards to their decks.
Best Blue Fogs
There aren’t any blue fogs that suit our definition for this list, but I can go over the closest style of effect that blue has.
Statecraft & Energy Field
Blue has enchantment-based fogs that allow you to mitigate damage and gain an advantage by negating the effect of combat on the game. Cards like Statecraft and Energy Field act as fog-like effects without fulfilling any of our requirements.
So if you need the effect without needing it to actually fall into the category of a fog, these cards are your best bet.
Best Black Fog
While blue and red don’t have any cards I’d classify as fogs, black has Darkness. It’s hard to see in the dark of night and if you can’t see, you can’t fight as we’ve learned from The Fairly Odd Parents.
The Fairly Odd Parents
Darkness is a pure color-shift of fog into black.
Best Red Fogs
Red wants to deal damage, not fog it! But sometimes there’s the rare red fog-like effects. Like with blue, these fogs don’t qualify under our definition, but here are one or two options for you anyway if your red deck absolutely needs this effect.
The major downside is that it becomes harder to gain traction on the battlefield by sacrificing a land per turn. But you can lock opponents out from combat in combination with cards like Crucible of Worlds, which is a great advantage for a red deck that dominates combat on your turn and prevents retaliation.
Do you enjoy flipping coins or games of chance? Fighting Chance allows you to potentially cause blocking creatures not to deal any damage. This can instantly wrath an opponent’s board since your creatures always deal damage (especially in red decks), or it can do next to nothing.
This wide variance between best-case and worst-case scenario takes away some of the agency in running this card and is a big reason I wouldn’t classify it as a traditional fog. But a few good flips and this card can radically shift a close game if you enjoy games of chance. It won’t do much if you’re behind, but it can do just enough in a race.
Best Green Fogs
You might expect that that green would have the most fog effects since the original Fog is green. Well, you’d be right. Green massively outnumbers the other colors in terms of fogs, so let’s start breaking them down.
Much like Kami of False Hope, Spore Frog is fog on a creature that you can sacrifice to use. Frog was a looped card with Tortured Existence in Pauper, but it being green gives it better access to creature recursion.
Like looking at Angelsong versus Holy Day, Constant Mists mirrors Fog with an extra recursive mechanic in buyback. Sacrificing a land is a high cost, but you can fog forever and leave the rest of your mana to pull ahead in combination with cards like Crucible of Worlds.
Obscuring Haze is a new card from Commander 2020. It can be free if you control a commander, which is definitely powerful, but otherwise it is a 3-mana fog. There’s plenty of upside to running this version of the effect, especially in EDH.
We’ve seen it before but adding another mechanic on fog creates a powerful effect. While less universally effective than cycling, populate can create pressure on the swing-back after fogging your opponent’s big attack. While it takes more work to make the attached benefit worthwhile, Druid’s Deliverance’s upside is strong in token decks.
Blessed Respite is a fog with a wide range of uses. You can shuffle your important cards from the graveyard back into your deck to prevent decking, or you can shuffle an opponent’s graveyard to prevent flashback, reanimator, or other synergies.
While best in a multiplayer game where at least one player is using their graveyard as a resource, you can at least get a shuffle and buy back early game cards with this fog. In corner cases you can also use respite to shuffle an opponent’s decks and disrupt their scry, Brainstorms, and other deck-manipulation effects.
2nd… 3rd… well, many verses, same as the first.
In decks where you’re trying to fog big combat steps, gaining incidental life can mean you won’t need to fog a later turn. Respite fogs all combat damage and gains you one life for each attacking creature.
While this effect prevents all damage, you still gain life from creatures even if they’re not attacking you. So you can save another player while making it harder to kill you. Respite is especially great against infinite token combo attack steps where you can gain thousands of life depending on how many tokens attacked.
Winds of Qal Sisma
The strong thrive in the world of Tarkir. With Winds of Qal Sisma you can fog all combat damage but instead prevent all combat damage dealt by an opponent’s creatures if you control a creature with power 4 or greater.
This can lead to massive blowouts where you eat your opponent’s board at no risk to your own creatures. Especially in large creature mirrors, this fog can act as a one-sided wrath that leads to lethal the next turn.
Tangle is interesting in the context of fogs like Moment’s Peace; they allow you to use the second fog at your convenience. The attackers don’t untap with Tangle, effectively freezing them for a second fog.
The problem is that creatures played after it or creatures that didn’t attack the turn you fogged don’t stay tapped. This is especially problematic in EDH where you can only lock down one player’s team with this fog.
Blinding Fog is a corner case fog to me. Three mana is a lot to pay for an effect we have such an abundance of at one and two mana. But giving your whole team hexproof can change the direction of many games.
The issue comes with the two effects not working in harmony with each other. Giving your team hexproof and fogging are rarely effects you need at the same time. But in the rare instance where you need both, this is the best card for it.
A 2-mana fog that doesn’t have any additional text is the outlier, but Root Snare is a solid addition in decks that need to maximize individual fogs. That said, it’s still likely left on the cutting room floor if the various other 1- and 2-mana fogs are enough instances of that effect for your deck.
Haze of Pollen
While the cycle is slightly over-costed compared to Lull or Angelsong, narrow effects like fog that you can cycle against matchups where they aren’t good have a lot of value. Haze of Pollen might not make the cut in a deck where you’re aiming to fog regardless of your opponent’s plan, but cycling helps raise the card’s value above some other options if you’re using fogs as value cards.
Pause for Reflection
I mentioned that 1- and 2-mana are the sweet spot for fogs, especially if they have extra text. Pause for Reflection gets a slight pass since it costs three mana, but you should have creatures around to lower the cost via convoke in nearly every green deck. Leaving your creatures tapped can be a liability in multiplayer games but freeing up extra mana allows you to develop your own plan while protecting your life total, even when you’re tapped out.
Best Multicolor Fogs
A new card from Commander 2021, Inkshield mirrors the Strixhaven subtheme of Silverquill by creating 2/1 Inklings for each one damage prevented by this fog. A great addition to decks that don’t have access to the better fogs in green, Inkshield works as both a sword and a shield threatening to kill your opponent on the crackback.
Another Orzhov () fog, but this time it’s a little conditional. Batwing Brume is a fog if you pay white mana, but it’s a life loss card if you pay black for it. Assuming you pay both colors, this card fogs an attack and causes each player to lose life for each attacking creature they control.
Best Colorless Fog
A perennial staple for years in Lands decks, Glacial Chasm fogs all damage that would be dealt to you. It limits your creatures’ ability to attack, but Chasm can allow you time to set up a full lock on the game without risking an opponent’s aggressive start in decks that lock your opponent out of the game.
While not 100% in line with fog, the effect still qualifies and this card’s power level makes it a must-include when looking at fogs.
Best Fog-Adjacent Effects
Arachnogenesis & Moonmist
These exclusions allow you to blow out opponents by blocking with those types of creatures and fogging the damage they’d take. These fogs aren’t pure and still allow damage to happen, especially if your opponent also has the specific creature type. But they still do a solid fog impression and come with added value outside of the general fog.
While like a fog, Riot Control only prevents damage dealt to you specifically. Not being able to prevent damage to other players or your creatures limits Control enough that I’d only label it as fog-adjacent, even with the incidental life gain. It’s good at what it does, but it isn’t quite a fog.
While broader than a card like Maze of Ith, Prismatic Strands usually leaves a few creatures dealing damage when you cast it. It’s especially effective against mono-colored decks since most decks in formats like EDH are multiple colors. I think this can be a fog, but it usually falls short.
Repel the Abominable
Repel the Abominable acts similarly to Moonmist but it fogs only non-humans instead of a specific creature type. A wider array of creatures still deal damage but enough won’t that it still often functions as a fog, especially in decks with mostly humans.
Thwart the Enemy
A 3-mana one-sided fog can blow out an entire table at will. While some creatures (namely yours and any partners you’re playing with in formats like Two-Headed Giant) still deal damage, all opposing creatures are fully fogged by Thwart the Enemy.
Terrifying Presence acts as a strategic fog. You have the choice of a creature to avoid the fog, allowing you to eat a creature without risking any other trades or damage to yourself. It can also fog combat tricks by nullifying those creatures’ damage. One of the better fogs for gaining a battlefield advantage.
Another example of a one-sided fog, Safe Passage protects you and your creatures but can’t protect others at the table. It’s exceptionally good at blowing out all-in attacks at you since you can profitably block or take attackers for free and devastate an attacker’s board position.
Energy Arc allows you to choose what creatures you want to fog. It doesn’t allow you to fog creatures and easily attack back for lethal as they untap, but it can fog all creatures that would hit you, others, or win trades against your blockers. While this card’s versatility allows you potentially blow out creatures that were sacrifices in an overwhelming attack, it’s only fog-adjacent because it doesn’t usually fog all creatures.
Defend the Hearth & Commencement of Festivities
Defend the Hearth and Commencement of Festivities are instances of fogging only damage to players. These cards can bait players into not blocking and then getting this card countered, so be careful to cast them before blockers are declared! You desperately want to know if blocking is a good option.
You also want to be careful with effects like this since they can lead to untimely deaths thanks to cards like Bonecrusher Giant’s Stomp in formats like EDH.
Are Fogs Good Cards?
Fogs are divisive cards. They often allow you one extra turn when you’re behind, but that isn’t worth too much. But they can blank combat tricks or knock-out punches they try to sneak through when you’re ahead. The best use for fog is to bait your opponent into overextending with a lethal attack, fogging it, and then winning on the crackback.
Fogs can destroy opponents in total life races. But I think fogs aren’t good cards outside of Turbofog specific decks, even if that is a major upside. They’re not bad cards either, they’re just narrow and don’t do enough by themselves to warrant inclusion in most decks.
What is Turbofog?
Turbofog is an archetype where players use controlling cards like Supreme Verdict, counterspells, planeswalkers, and fogs. It leverages continuous value from your planeswalker activations while the opponent can’t pressure you or your planeswalkers. Especially planeswalkers like Teferi, Hero of Dominaria that get you closer to more fogs and can end the game quickly.
Glacial Chasm | Illustration by Mike Bierek
Fogs continue to exist in Magic and the door is open for a fog that surpasses the many other versions as we get new versions. But it’s hard to predict a newer version surpassing the original Fog, much like it’s hard to make a better Lightning Bolt.
While Fog isn’t a card players immediately jump to when they think Magic, it’s a subsection of cards that continue to see play and periodically have larger effects on competitive and casual formats. I’ve enjoyed fogs ever since I had a chance to play them at Grand Prix Atlantic City, and most players have a soft spot for the blowouts they can lead to. Hopefully this inspired you to try out some fogs and find the one that suits your decks the best!
Let me know in the comments down below what your favorite fog effect of all time is and where you play it. And if you’re interested in other guides and more content, check out the blog.
Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you manage to weave your way through the fog and have some great games of Magic!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: