Mistmeadow Witch - Illustration by Greg Staples

Mistmeadow Witch | Illustration by Greg Staples

If we had to pinpoint something as the biggest inspiration for modern fantasy stories and settings, it’d undoubtedly be Tolkien and his books, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. We don’t need to look any further than Magic to see Tolkien’s inspiration, like how elves and dwarves were depicted for so many years, and the aesthetics of most European-fantasy-esque planes. There’s a little bit of Tolkien’s influence everywhere in the game. There’s even a Lord of the Rings set!

One of Tolkien’s biggest inventions was the hobbits. They’re a species of very short humanoids who are very homely, who enjoy being close with their communities and friends, big lovers of food and drink, and, as both The Hobbit and LotR show us, capable of great deeds of bravery.

“Kithkin” was technically introduced back in Legends, but they’re most known as one of the species introduced in Lorwyn. It was obvious from the start that they were heavily inspired by Tolkien’s hobbits. They’re short and stubby, very protective of their homes, and surprisingly brave despite their sizes. They also have some differences like sharing a psychic connection with every other member of their clan, and their Shadowmoor version with their blank eyes and violent tendencies against outsiders and strangers.

What Are Kithkin in MTG?

Kinsbaile Borderguard - Illustration by Christopher Moeller

Kinsbaile Borderguard | Illustration by Christopher Moeller

Kithkin were created as Magic’s equivalent to hobbits, but their name was changed to avoid copyright issues. Kithkin are mostly white, with a few in green, blue, and red.

The first kithkin was Amrou Kithkin in the Legends set. The creature type wouldn’t show up again until Time Spiral and Future Sight. But the block that truly shone a light on kithkin was Lorwyn. Kithkin had a way more prominent feature in this block as one of Lorwyn’s main species.

The short, goat-riding replacement for humans in the Celtic-fantasy world wasn’t really well received. People found them weird looking and upsetting, which didn’t really get any better in Shadowmoor where they changed into an even more terrifying version of themselves. Because of this bad reception, kithkin hasn’t been featured prominently in any set or plane since then.

#30. Mistmeadow Skulk

Mistmeadow Skulk

Mistmeadow Skulk can prove to be a fine way to keep pinging at your opponents while keeping your life points up. It’s a nice card to equip or enchant, making it strong enough to surpass most three-or-less-mana creatures for a reliable attacker.

#29. Kithkin Harbinger

Kithkin Harbinger

When it comes to under-represented tribes, anything helps. Kithkin Harbinger is far from the greatest tutor but it can definitely help you set up your strategy in a kithkin tribal.

#28. Amrou Seekers

Amrou Seekers

Amrou Seekers is a fun card thanks to its color-shifted fear ability. This card is probably more fun and interesting as a design than useful in most decks, especially because white isn’t such a prominent color in Commander at this point.

#27. Kithkin Spellduster

Kithkin Spellduster

Kithkin Spellduster’s high mana value is mainly what puts it so low on this list. Enchantment removal on a 2/3 body with flying is pretty decent, especially considering its persist ability makes it repeatable. It’s a safe addition to any kithkin tribal deck for sure.

#26. Barrenton Medic

Barrenton Medic

Barrenton Medic is a pretty decent way to prevent some damage against either you or your creatures. Preventing a single point of damage may not be all that much in the grand scheme of things but it can prove useful against small creatures with deathtouch.

#25. Patrol Signaler

Patrol Signaler

A really interesting mechanic that we don’t see used all that much is having to untap creatures to activate an ability. It gives some interesting interactions and allows you to have things like “surprise” blockers. Patrol Signaler’s untap ability is decent by itself, but if you combine it with Coat of Arms and have means to tap and untap it several times, you can turn a group of weak blockers into a great line of defense.

#24. Goldmeadow Harrier

Goldmeadow Harrier

Having ways to tap your opponents’ creatures is always good and reliable. Goldmeadow Harrier can keep one of your opponents’ strong creatures from being able to become a proper threat. Additionally, since some kithkin have untap abilities, it can be a good way to enable those triggers.

#23. Ballynock Trapper

Ballynock Trapper

Ballynock Trapper may have a higher mana value than Goldmeadow Harrier but it makes up for it by having the same ability for no mana. You only need to tap this card to tap an opponent’s creature, with the upside that it can untap any time you play a white spell, enabling you to tap several creatures at once.

#22. Kithkin Rabble

Kithkin Rabble

I personally find kithkin to be mostly cute, but looking at Kithkin Rabble I can definitely see how people thought they were too creepy and unsettling. This card can fit not only in kithkin tribal decks but in any deck that plays tons of white creatures. It can get big really fast if you play tokens and cheap creatures, and its vigilance makes it a safe way to both attack and block.

#21. Thoughtweft Trio

Thoughtweft Trio

Having to champion a creature you control can be a bit of a significant drawback because it means necessarily losing a creature for as long as you have Thoughtweft Trio on the field. Luckily, it more than makes up for it with good stats, good keyword abilities, and the option of being able to block more than one creature. With a few auras or equipment, this card can be a pretty stalwart defender.

#20. Kinsbaile Borderguard

Kinsbaile Borderguard

Kinsbaile Borderguard may only truly be good in a tribal deck, but it’ll definitely be great in a tribal deck. This card can enter the battlefield as a significantly powerful creature, with the additional advantage that it fills your field if it’s destroyed.

#19. Wizened Cenn

Wizened Cenn

Wizened Cenn is a very straightforward tribal lord. It’s good because tribal lords are good, easy as that.

#18. Kinsbaile Courier

Kinsbaile Courier

Kinsbaile Courier shines for its encore ability. In a Commander game this can mean at least three ETB triggers, attack triggers, LTB triggers, and +1/+1 counters to distribute among your creatures. It’s definitely a nice trick to have in your kithkin tribal.

#17. Knight of Meadowgrain

Knight of Meadowgrain

I’m weak for straightforward cards sometimes. Knight of Meadowgrain has good stats and keyword abilities for just two white mana. It’s a solid card and sometimes that’s all your deck needs.

#16. Resplendent Mentor

Resplendent Mentor

I like cards like Resplendent Mentor which allow you to still have some kind of advantage if you chose not to attack with your creatures during your turn. Maybe you needed to have enough blockers available or your creatures have vigilance, and once your turn rolls back around, you can gain yourself a pretty large amount of life essentially for free. It also pairs pretty nicely with Patrol Signaler by giving it a free way to tap.

#15. Augury Adept

Augury Adept

You may need to ensure some way to make Augury Adept unblockable to have it play out at its best, but it’s still a more than decent card. Having to show the card you draw can be a disadvantage if you rely on tricks and traps, but it’s not the worst thing out there.

#14. Cenn’s Tactician

Cenn's Tactician

Cenn's Tactician is a really interesting card thanks to how it affects combat. It also works consistently thanks to it being able to give other creatures +1/+1 counters, in turn enabling them to block an additional creature.

#13. Militia’s Pride

Militia's Pride

I’m cheating a little bit here because this isn’t a creature, but it’s still technically a kithkin so it still applies. Militia's Pride is a great card for any kithkin tribal deck but it’s a pretty decent addition to any deck focused around tokens and attacking.

#12. Springjack Shepherd

Springjack Shepherd

I find chroma really interesting as a precursor to devotion. Springjack Shepherd is a pretty decent addition to any white devotion deck because it ensures a pretty large amount of chum blockers or sacrifice targets.

#11. Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile

Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile

Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile is basically a mini-board wipe on a stick, which makes it really cool. Two damage definitely isn’t enough to take down most creatures played in EDH, but it definitely can make a difference when it comes to repelling a large attack. It’s especially useful against go-wide and token decks since they usually play lower-defense creatures.

#10. Thistledown Liege

Thistledown Liege

Thistledown Liege is part of a mega-cycle that spanned the Shadowmoor block. All of these are excellent additions to any deck that featured the card’s corresponding colors, and this one isn’t the exception. It’s definitely true that lots of Azorius decks don’t focus on combat all that much, but it’s still a more than decent way to ensure your cards get a nice stats bonus.

#9. Battletide Alchemist

Battletide Alchemist

Unlike most of the other cards in this list, Battletide Alchemist is a good tribal card but not for kithkin. This card is essentially a must-have in any clerics tribal deck. With a good enough field, it’ll prevent almost any damage that would be dealt to you or to any player you may want protect. That’s right; it’s also an amazing political card.

#8. Figure of Destiny

Figure of Destiny

Figure of Destiny is essentially the blueprint for cards like Evolved Sleeper and Ascendant Spirit. It’s an early drop that can keep growing and improving over time until becoming a pretty massive creature with really nice keyword abilities.

#7. Order of Whiteclay

Order of Whiteclay

Order of Whiteclay’s ability’s activation cost can be a bit steep for three mana and untapping, but you can combine it with anything that’ll allow you to tap it at will to make it a repeatable way to return creatures to the battlefield for relatively cheap.

#6. Galepowder Mage

Galepowder Mage

Galepowder Mage allows you to blink a creature, either yours or an opponent’s, which is always reliably good. This card also has flying which makes attacking with it safer thanks to the evasion.

#5. Ballyrush Banneret

Ballyrush Banneret

I’m placing Ballyrush Banneret because it can fit into a kithkin tribal, but it also fits nicely into soldier tribals, which also tend to be more powerful. Reducing mana costs is always a great ability, especially in decks that tend to go wide.

#4. Mistmeadow Witch

Mistmeadow Witch

Mistmeadow Witch is a repeatable and safe (albeit a bit costly) way to keep blinking creatures for ETB and LTB triggers. It’s far from the best way to get this done, but it’s a more than decent addition to any blink decks that may need some extra support.

#3. Preeminent Captain

Preeminent Captain

We all know cheating creatures into play can get pretty broken pretty fast. Preeminent Captain is no Sneak Attack but it can cheat a Licia, Sanguine Tribune or Millicent, Restless Revenant from your hand onto the field for free and already attacking.

#2. Kinsbaile Cavalier

Kinsbaile Cavalier

Soldiers are a good tribe, but knights are much better. Kinsbaile Cavalier ensures that’s true. Giving double strike to every knight you control is an incredible ability, especially considering how aggressive knights are.

#1. Gaddock Teeg

Gaddock Teeg

Gaddock Teeg is a staple of hatebear and stax decks thanks to its abilities. It’s a horrible card to play against if you’re running a high mana value deck. It’ll slow your opponents down massively, and if you’re using it as a commander for a kithkin deck this card can actually give you a huge advantage. Most kithkin are under four mana, so having this card on the field can keep you safe from massive threats while you build your field up.

Best Kithkin Payoffs

The Lorwyn/Shadowmoor blocks had a really strong focus on tribal mechanics. This led to a ton of non-creature spells that played into said tribes. In the case of kithkin, Surge of Thoughtweft, Repel Intruders, and Cenn's Enlistment are some of the most notable ones.

Chulane, Teller of Tales

Kithkin are a mostly white creature type, but they have some interesting (and useful) exceptions that use green and blue. That makes Chulane, Teller of Tales a great commander for the tribe. While it technically isn’t a kithkin itself, it allows you to benefit from a creature-heavy strategy plus it gives access to kithkin’s most important colors.

There are also plenty of cards that can enable a good kithkin deck and strategy. Generic tribal cards like Door of Destinies, Vanquisher's Banner, Coat of Arms, and so on, are all perfectly reasonable additions to any tribal decks.

Some other great additions include Tocasia's Welcome, Reflections of Littjara, Radiant Destiny, Thoughtweft Gambit, and plenty more.

A Bant color scheme gives access to plenty of useful spells thanks to its green and blue splashes, so it’s something that you should definitely take advantage of.

Wrap Up

Kinsbaile Cavalier - Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Kinsbaile Cavalier | Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Kithkin is a pretty weird tribe that’s known for being, well, weird. I personally liked them as an interpretation of hobbits a bit more than I do halflings. I think kithkin have a lot more personality and interesting design than halflings. They also play into the tribal theme a lot more, and it works given how their lore paints them as a really tight and collaborative society.

What do you think of kithkin? Did I miss any important ones on my list? What’s your favorite tribe from Lorwyn? Do you think we’ll ever return to such a liked plane? Feel free to leave a comment down below, and make sure to visit the official Draftsim Discord to join an amazing community of MTG fans.

That’s all from me for now. Have a good one, and I’ll see you next time!

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