Last updated on March 10, 2023

Akiri, Line-Slinger - Illustration by David Gaillet

Akiri, Line-Slinger | Illustration by David Gaillet

Magic makes use of many stereotypical fantasy races. Elves, dwarves, dragons, goblins, demons, angels; these are all fairly standard classes of creatures you’d find in any D&D monster manual.

But some of my favorite creatures are the ones entirely unique to Magic. One of the best Magic-original races is the Kor, a white-aligned creature tribe with themes around equipment.

Who are the Kor? What makes them different from other creatures? And which are the best? Let’s line-sling into this list and find out!

What Are Kor in MTG?

Devout Lightcaster - Illustration by Shelly Wan

Devout Lightcaster | Illustration by Shelly Wan

Kor is a creature type used for a humanoid race with a debated ancestry. Many are depicted with barbels along their chin and typically have pale grayish-silver skin. The Kor are centered in white and typically fill the role of a human tribe.

The origin of the Kor is up for debate. The Dominarian Kor were brought over from the artificial plane Rath via the Rathi Overlay during the first Phyrexian Invasion (technically the second phase of the first invasion, but who’s counting?) These Kor were fractured into two groups: the en-Kor and the il-Kor. The en-Kor crossed the Rathi Overlay without issue, but the il-Kor were trapped in the shadow world, halfway between Rath and Dominaria.

But MTG canon also states that the Kor originate from Zendikar. The Zendikar Kor live nomadic lifestyles among the floating plains and spires. As masters of the hook and rope, they swing and climb their way across Zendikar. They’re known for their Stoneforgers, powerful mages who craft weapons from (you guessed it) stone. Nahiri is a famous Stoneforger, and the powerful Stoneforge Mystic represents the average Kor lithomancer.

Best White Kor

There are more white Kor creatures than any other color by a significant margin, so a lot of the Kor’s best and brightest are mono-white.

#16. Professor of Symbology

Professor of Symbology

Strixhaven’s Professor of Symbology is the closest approximation to a “bear with the set’s mechanic” that we got from that wizard-y world.

The biggest upside to the learn mechanic is the versatility to grab the exact lesson spell you need in the moment. Worried about hitting that next land drop? Wish up Environmental Sciences. Need removal? Go for a Necrotic Fumes, or get ready to trade and grab any of the mascot-summoning effects like Inkling Summoning or Spirit Summoning.

#15. Lawbringer + Lightbringer


Lawbringer and Lightbringer are two 3-mana hosers for white’s enemy colors, red and black. Each is a 2/2 with the ability to tap and sacrifice itself to exile a red or black creature, respectively.

Each has the rebel type (and was updated later to include the Kor type), meaning they can be tutored up with the classic rebel mechanic seen on Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero. This is probably the best use of them since they’re so specific.

#14. Nomads en-Kor

Nomads en-Kor

Nomads en-Kor was one of the first Kor creatures released way back in 1998’s Stronghold. It can redirect damage from itself to another creature you control, as was the iconic Kor style at the time.

It’s part of a fun combo with Daru Spiritualist where the Nomads can target the Spiritualist indefinitely, increasing its toughness to an arbitrarily high number and then sacrificing it to Starlit Sanctum to gain a bunch of life, or use a Transmutation-type effect to drain your opponent.

These combo-nomads aren’t super powerful, I just think they’re neat!

#13. Lone Missionary

Lone Missionary

Lone Missionary might not seem like much, but a 2/1 that gains you four life makes this a staple in most white Pauper decks, and a solid pick in Limited formats. Blink it a bunch with Kor Skyfisher, or just get ahead of your opponents before you Pestilence them to death.

Great value for a common!

#12. Kor Cartographer

Kor Cartographer

Kor Cartographer was just about the only way white could fetch a Plains from its library directly to the battlefield for the longest time. We’ve seen a smattering of other spells that grab basics in white since then, usually in a “fair” way as seen on Stoic Farmer or Archaeomancer’s Map.

The Cartographer remains the best way to do it, in my opinion. Its ETB effect can be repeated over and over to great value, making its four cost fairly valuable for a common.

#11. Valiant Veteran

Valiant Veteran

Dominaria United’s Valiant Veteran is a soldier lord, and its also the cheapest “true” lord. Two mana for a tribal +1/+1 plus a graveyard ability to buff your board of soldiers once it’s been inevitably removed? Yes, please.

#10. Kor Blademaster

Kor Blademaster

Kor Blademaster is a 1/1 with double strike for two mana; technically a bear? What’s better is that it passes that double strike around to any equipped warriors you control.

Doubling your damage output can take some merely threatening creatures to decisive game-enders.

#9. Kor Outfitter

Kor Outfitter

Kor Outfitter is just about the cheapest way you can skip an equip cost at common rarity. It’s no Sigarda’s Aid, but it’ll still put Kaldra Compleat on a creature no sweat.

It’s also technically a bear as a 2/2 for two! It’s a fairly useful common and made a great pick in Limited formats of its time. It still sees play in equipment-themed Commander decks.

#8. Armament Master

Armament Master

The Kor of the Zendikar block were lightly themed around equipment, representing their mastery with hooks, ropes, and other climbing gear. Armament Master was a sort-of lord for the Kor, buffing the other Kor creatures for each equipment attached to it.

Popular equips for the Master included Basilisk Collar, Pennon Blade, and Grappling Hook. This Kor is guaranteed to hit the field early at just two mana, freeing up mana later for equip costs.

#7. Skyclave Apparition

Skyclave Apparition

The ghostly Skyclave Apparition is a Kor spirit with an ability reminiscent of Oblivion Ring, but it’s stapled onto a 2/2 creature, has a limit of targeting something with mana value four or less, and gives the owner of that permanent a Spirit token when it dies instead of returning the permanent to their control.

This Kor saw a fair amount of play in Standard and on Arena, being a valuable early-game removal spell that can trade into another creature without nullifying its own effect.

#6. Devout Lightcaster

Devout Lightcaster

Devout Lightcaster is great tech against black. Permanent removal and a 2/2 with protection for three mana is a steal, assuming you’re matched up against the right deck. Conditional, but a good sideboard card nonetheless.

#5. Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist

Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist

Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist is a mono-white partner commander that can skip the equip costs for any number of equipment you control and put them all on a single permanent. It also hits auras, which you can use to move curses from player to player in a Commander game to double down on the politics game.

I’ve made great fun out of moving my Overwhelming Splendor around the board and just disrespecting the hell out of my opponents’ creatures.

#4. Kor Skyfisher

Kor Skyfisher

If you play Pauper, you know Kor Skyfisher. This common is absolutely stuffed with value! gives you a 2/3 flier with the “downside” of returning a permanent you control to your hand. This card is mostly used to return certain ETB effects to your hand, allowing you to recast them.

Need to draw cards? Bounce Spirited Companion and Spare Supplies over and over. Need removal? Skip the vanishing timer on Reality Acid and drop it on the next permanent. Need some lifegain after activating Pestilence a few too many times? Let’s grab that Lone Missionary again.

10/10 common, no notes.

#3. Giver of Runes

Giver of Runes

Modern Horizon’s Giver of Runes is basically a reworked Mother of Runes for Modern. An extra point of toughness and access to protection from colorless means it’s arguably even better in most circumstances.

#2. Kor Spiritdancer

Kor Spiritdancer

The original Zendikar block had a minor aura theme, specifically with the new totem armor ability. Kor Spiritdancer was a powerhouse of value for its mana cost. +2/+2 is a pretty big buff, especially considering that it’s in addition to whatever the aura grants.

But drawing a whole card off each enchantment is Kor Spiritdancer’s biggest payoff. This can really go off in a deck full of cheap auras like Ethereal Armor.

#1. Stoneforge Mystic

Stoneforge Mystic

Stoneforge Mystic isn’t just the best mono-white Kor, it’s probably the best Kor overall. It’s an essential card in a lot of decks across formats, like Modern’s Hammer Time where it fetches Colossus Hammer and skips around the prohibitive mana cost of Kaldra Compleat.

The sheer value Stoneforge Mystic creates is just insane. It tutored for and played Batterskull on turn 3 at the time, which explains its banning in Standard in 2011 and then in Modern later that year. Stoneforge Mystic was unbanned in 2019.

Best Blue Kor

#2. Looter il-Kor

Looter il-Kor

Looter il-Kor originally appeared in Time Spiral and featured the return of the shadow mechanic. You draw a card and then discard a card when it deals damage to a player (a likely scenario given its evasive ability).

I see this as a “design-shifted” Merfolk Looter, being a very basic way to generate advantage and sneak a tiny amount of damage in every turn.

#1. Infiltrator il-Kor

Infiltrator il-Kor

I can’t stop swooning over Infiltrator il-Kor. A 3/1 with shadow for five mana is poor value, but you’re never going to cast it for that much. Instead you’ll suspend this Kor as soon as possible and let it hit the field with haste two turns later. It’s a guaranteed three damage per turn once it arrives.

Infiltrator il-Kor is another star in Limited formats and won me matches left and right when I drafted Time Spiral Remastered. Another all-star Kor common!

Best Black Kor

#1. Cat Burglar

Cat Burglar

Cat Burglar is the only mono-black Kor, and the only Kor from Exodus. It’s a 7-mana investment to make an opponent discard a single card of their choice.

Not exactly thrilling, but you can always use another trigger on your Megrim, right?

Best Red Kor

#1. Balduvian Berserker

Balduvian Berserker

Balduvian Berserker is automatically the best red Kor since it’s the only one, but that’s not undeserved. This Kor uses DMU’s enlist mechanic to combine other creatures’ power with its own and then deals that amount to any target whenever it attacks.

This is effectively a free Fling every turn, which makes Balduvian Berserker a huge threat if you can equip it with a Colossus Hammer (maybe using that Kor Outfitter).

Best Multicolored Kor

Astute readers will note that each and every multicolored Kor includes white in its color identity.

#5. Orah, Skyclave Hierophant

Orah, Skyclave Hierophant

Orah, Skyclave Hierophant is a cleric that grabs other clerics from the graveyard whenever a cleric dies. It’s just about as cleric-y as you can get. This was a great build-around to return Archfiend’s Vessel to the field in a creature-types matter set like ZNR and synergized perfectly with Cleric of Life’s Bond.

#4. Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim

Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim

Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim is the most recent legendary Kor. A Phyrexian Soul Sister, it combines the best parts from its contemporaries in Soul Warden and Falkenrath Noble to become an aristocrats engine all on its own.

#3. Akiri, Fearless Voyager

Akiri, Fearless Voyager

Commander 2016’s Akiri got a mainline set version with Zendikar Rising’s Akiri, Fearless Voyager. This Akiri can unattach an equipment from one of your creatures to “regenerate” it in the way Magic regenerates permanents these days.

I almost want to rank this higher than the other Akiri, but it has that damn “one or more” clause that means you’ll only draw one card when attacking a single opponent. It does trigger for each player you’ve attacked, so it becomes a little stronger in EDH.

#2. Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim

Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a lifegain deck that won’t benefit from Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim. A 2/3 deathtoucher for two mana is already great value, and those activated abilities work in tandem to control the game in a decidedly Orzhov-y () way.

It’s only seen a lot of play in EDH since its rotation out of Standard, both in the 99 and at the helm of some devastating aristocrats decks.

#1, Akiri, Line-Slinger

Akiri, Line-Slinger

Akiri, Line-Slinger has been a menace in EDH since it was released in 2016 alongside Silas Renn, Seeker Adept. This Akiri is quite possibly one of the best artifact-themed commanders out there, even without a partner.

Akiri’s 2-mana casting cost means it’ll hit the field early and do nothing but grow as the game goes on. Protect it easily at the same time with defensive equipment like Swiftfoot Boots and then swing with wild abandon, using its first strike and vigilance to survive combat. Pair it with Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist and you’ll be unstoppable.

Best Kor Payoffs

Colossus HammerKaldra Compleat

The Kor are centered in white and have a major focus on equipment. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there’s a reason Stoneforge Mystic is the lynchpin in Modern Hammer Time decks. Skipping the prohibitive mana cost on Colossus Hammer and Kaldra Compleat is game-ending if you’re quick enough.

Kor have had a focus on aristocrats themes more recently. Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim enables sacrifice effects with two consistent outlets, and Orah, Skyclave Hierophant keeps those creatures coming back. Throw Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim into the mix and you’ve got a lifegain-and-drain engine up and running in no time.

Are Kor Humans in MTG?

No, the Kor aren’t humans. Kor are human-like but have greyish to blue skin on Dominaria and pale white skin on Zendikar. Their ears are pointed, and they have barbels hanging from their lips or chins (like the fish of the same name).

Is Nahiri a Kor?

The planeswalker Nahiri doesn’t count as a Kor creature for the purposes of gameplay, but she does hail from the Zendikari Kor flavor-wise.

Wrap Up

Kor Blademaster - Illustration by Darren Tan

Kor Blademaster | Illustration by Darren Tan

The Kor are some of Magic’s only original creatures, and they fill a unique role in the setting that can’t be emulated anywhere else. The closest comparison I can think of are the Githzeria from D&D, but even that’s a stretch of a comparison. The Kor of different planes and sets cover different themes and subthemes but all represent some of the best things white can do in Magic.

What do you think? Are the Kor really all that cool? Is Stoneforge Mystic overvalued (it’s not)? What would you like to see from a green Kor? Let me know in the comments below or over on Draftsim’s Twitter.

Thanks for reading, and keep line-slinging!

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