Soul of New Phyrexia | Illustration by Daarken
Welcome to another wonderful MTG creature ranking. Today’s topic: avatars. And not the type that live on Pandora. These are creatures of higher power, and many of the stronger ones should excite you.
What can these avatars do for your builds? Is there an avatar tribal deck? How can you support or be supported by these avatar creatures? Enough of my ranting and air-bending; let’s check out these avatars!
What Are Avatars in MTG?
Muldrotha, the Gravetide | Illustration by Jason Rainville
Avatar is a creature type in MTG that represents aspects or projections of a higher power. These powerful beings often represent the underlying forces of the planes like nature, emotions, or even entire planes.
There are 89 cards with the avatar creature type or that have been retroactively labeled as an avatar. They span all colors and have been pivotal parts of many storylines for many sets.
The first printed avatar creature was Ethereal Champion from Sixth Edition. Many summon legend creatures have retroactively been given the avatar creature type as far back as the Homelands set with Daughter of Autumn.
Best White Avatars
#8. World Queller
World Queller is a nice white card for decks in Modern and eternal formats. It isn’t a curve buster, and it allows you to target card types you want your opponent to sacrifice each upkeep. The upside is removing pesky card types that you aren’t using.
Take out those annoying planeswalkers, enchantments, and artifacts that are slowing down your creature-centric decks.
#7. Soul of Theros
Soul of Theros is one of these avatars that represent a whole plane of Magic. Like many of the enchantments and keywords of the plane of Theros, it pumps your creatures to crush your opponents.
The mana value and activated ability are expensive, but there’s also some great value in being able to activate the ability from the graveyard for one final swing.
#6. Hallowed Spiritkeeper
Hallowed Spiritkeeper is a good card for creature-centric eternal decks. Attack your opponent with strength, and often. Pairing Hallowed Spiritkeeper with mass pump spells like Wedding Announcement can be a potent strategy.
#5. Serra Avatar
Get your early removal ready and save some of your life points for Serra Avatar. For seven mana you can have a creature that potentially has double digit power and toughness. Use cards like Swords to Plowshares, Dawn of Hope, and Sigarda’s Splendor.
#4. Soul of Eternity
Soul of Eternity is a game-finishing version of Serra Avatar. The 7-mana cost is steep, but you may have a massive creature based on your life total. The encore ability can be your wincon more times than not with some board removal or timing your opponent’s tapped mana.
This card is unfortunately only legal in eternal formats.
#3. Wakening Sun’s Avatar
Wakening Sun’s Avatar is a fantastic addition to a dinosaur tribal deck in white. It can work as a board wipe for your opponent who doesn’t have as many dinosaurs as you do. It’s an expensive card, but the upsides are great for a dinosaur tribal deck.
#2. Transcendent Master
Transcendent Master is a nice level up creature to build around. The level up cost of one is a great way to use your extra mana during any of your turns. The final level being level 12 is tough to get to sometimes, but it may be a finishing card for your level up tribal deck if you can protect it or remove all your opponent’s threats.
#1. Evra, Halcyon Witness
Evra, Halcyon Witness has a fun wincon strategy. You can switch your life totals and this card’s power/toughness for four mana. Waiting until you have a clean swing or switching twice in a single turn can be a deadly strategy. Even just switching the power and life to gain life can put enough pressure on your opponent to have value in a lot of decks.
Best Blue Avatars
#4. Aeon Chronicler
Suspend is a mechanic to cheapen your spells and use them later. With Aeon Chronicler you can play it immediately with a value of 0 for X. You may not want to do this because you can draw a card for each time counter removed.
This is an interesting choice to make, and I’d love to hear how many of you have used this card.
#3. Body of Knowledge
All the text on Body of Knowledge can play well in certain eternal decks. You can have a massive creature, maximize your hand size potential, and draw a card if it’s damaged.
There isn’t much to hate about this card if your goal is to draw cards many times and often.
#2. Living Lore
Living Lore has some interesting interactions. You have a chance to heavily pressure your opponent if you can discard some massive instant or sorcery spells. With the right cards in your graveyard you can have a massive creature that has the threat to cast a massive instant or sorcery without paying its mana cost.
Living Lore is a solid card in Pioneer, Modern, and eternal formats.
#1. All-Seeing Arbiter
All-Seeing Arbiter is the kind of card that produces great outcomes if it gains momentum. You can draw cards, discard cards for later use in your graveyard, and reduce the power of threats.
This is a slightly expensive creature, but I promise you’ll be enjoying your match if you can get it rolling.
Best Black Avatars
#9. Soul of Innistrad
I love these “Soul of (plane)” cards. Soul of Innistrad may also be my favorite of this cycle. You can return three creatures to your hand for five mana. This has so much value for aristocrat and aggressive decks.
Let your opponent use all their removal early and bring on a second wave of your smaller creatures.
#8. Sepulchral Primordial
A lot of these avatar creatures are quite expensive, but they are beings of high power. Sepulchral Primordial is a wonderful graveyard-style card. Forget saving up for the seven mana and return this card from the graveyard to the battlefield to get an extra return effect.
The beauty of this card is that it’s an ETB effect and not a casting trigger effect.
#7. Death’s Shadow + Shadow of Mortality
I put Death’s Shadow and Shadow of Mortality together because I view them the same. They’re cards you build around to try and get a massive creature on the board for cheap. Their ability to get on the board requires you to lose some life.
Feel free to use cards like Infernal Grasp and Strands of Night. You can say “bring it on” to aggressive decks with these cards.
#6. Herald of Leshrac
I love cumulative upkeeps that are actually beneficial for you. Herald of Leshrac allows you to gain control of a land you don’t own for its cumulative upkeep. You get extra mana while removing your opponent’s mana, and you get a pump from owning their mana.
The mana cost isn’t curve-friendly, but Herald of Leshrac is a fun card.
#5. Soulless One
Soulless One is a great zombie tribal card. This tribal theme is often about overwhelming your opponent with the number of zombies you have.
Why not benefit from making so many zombies by making a giant Soulless One? The extreme value here is the fact that you also count zombies in your graveyard as part of its power/toughness.
#4. Scion of Darkness
Scion of Darkness is one of the coolest Magic cards I ever owned, in my opinion. It has such great art, striking text, and a general aura of cool. Enough gushing.
Scion of Darkness is a fantastic creature for black lovers in eternal formats. Hopefully you can get it onto the battlefield quickly, and at least have the cycle ability if it’s too much of a burden you.
#3. Avatar of Woe
Avatar of Woe is a crazy versatile card. First, the 10 creatures in all graveyards can easily be satisfied by sacrificing creatures and using removal. Next, you get a big creature that’s hard to block. Finally, you have wonderful removal if you need it in the late game.
This is a wonderful black card for Modern and eternal formats.
#2. Torgaar, Famine Incarnate
I don’t know what could be scarier than “Famine Incarnate.” Torgaar, Famine Incarnate is a sacrifice deck darling. Get some quick creatures out with cards like Sengir Autocrat and halve your opponent’s life in one move.
This is a great black creature that can fit in tons of decks in most non-Standard formats.
#1. Phage the Untouchable
Phage the Untouchable is a card only for the most dedicated of mono-black players. It can’t be brought onto the battlefield any other way than casting it, but it can pack a punch. It either takes out some of your opponent’s creatures or wins you the game.
Build around this and see if you can get a cheap victory from time to time.
Best Red Avatars
#5. Burning Sun’s Avatar
Burning Sun’s Avatar is a better Limited play rather than a Constructed staple, but I still like the value. Six mana isn’t unreasonable, and you get some decent damage potential from its ETB trigger. Remove a pesky smaller threat, do some direct damage, and enjoy your feathered dinosaur all in one card.
#4. Avatar of Fury
There aren’t many Commander games when an opponent doesn’t get to seven lands on the battlefield. You can unleash Avatar of Fury for cheap and have a pumpable dragon at the ready when that happens. The flying and pumpable threat may be enough, but you don’t get more value out of this red avatar outside of big swings.
#3. Soul of Shandalar
Do you enjoy the breakdown of Burning Sun’s Avatar? Well, why not have an avatar that can do the same thing every turn?
Soul of Shandalar is a wonderful addition to burn and red mono decks in Pioneer, Modern, and eternal formats. This is your card if you need that extra push to take out your opponent.
#2. Reckless One
Many of these “-less One” cards are great to immediately stick into the tribal decks they fit into. Reckless One is a wonderful example. It fits so well into the goblin tribal theme of haste and having a wide board presence of goblins.
Eternal goblin tribal decks should be aware of, and hopefully love, this card.
#1. Stalking Vengeance
The mana value of Stalking Vengeance is going to keep it out of many strictly red decks, but I’m here to tell you that it has value. Red is aggressive, and what could be more aggressive than turning your attacking creatures into bombs ready to do damage when they die?
Stalking Vengeance is a rad red card that needs some deck building support to quickly get the high mana value.
Best Green Avatars
#9. Verdant Sun’s Avatar
Dinosaurs can be some tough creatures! Verdant Sun’s Avatar allows you to take advantage of their toughness by gaining life. This card doesn’t offer a threatening presence, but it can work well with cards like Angel of Destiny if your strategy is gaining life.
You need some extra mana from somewhere to get to the 7-mana cost in a reasonable time.
#8. Heedless One
We already talked about Reckless One, and now we can talk about the elf side of Duel Decks Anthology: Elves vs. Goblins. Heedless One can grow large with a board presence of elves, and the trample allows you to apply some extra pressure.
Choose your side: goblins or elves. Or you can choose another deck. Up to you.
#7. Scion of the Wild
Scion of the Wild is a creature-centric deck stud. For three mana you can get a creature as big as your board presence. The only thing to fear is board wipes.
This card has no tricky text, so you know what you’re getting when you roster it.
#6. Avatar of the Resolute
Avatar of the Resolute works as an effective card for +1/+1 counter-based decks. Getting a 3/2 creature with reach and trample is good enough, but this card can also gain many more counters based on the number of creatures you control with +1/+1 counters on them.
This is a solid playable card for certain deck styles.
#5. Essence of the Wild
There are fun cloning strategies and then there’s Essence of the Wild. This is a great card for token and small creature decks in Modern and eternal formats. All your creatures become 6/6 copies whenever they ETB once you reach the six mana.
There’s a ton of value and possibilities with this card, so have fun!
#4. Avatar of Might
Avatar of Might is an unassuming but great play in lots of green-style decks. The 8/8 with trample is a wonderful endgame creature, and the chance to reduce the mana value isn’t so difficult. You can artificially give your opponents some weak creatures with cards like Forbidden Orchard or Hunted Troll to get Avatar of Might out quickly.
#3. Sylvan Primordial
Unfortunately Sylvan Primordial is banned in one of the most popular formats, Commander, but you can use this avatar to great effect in many other formats. This card can give you a triple effect in one play by destroying a noncreature permanent that’s giving you trouble, grab an extra Forest, and have a big creature on the battlefield.
#2. Multani, Yavimaya’s Avatar
Multani, Yavimaya’s Avatar fits well into the idea of a nature avatar. It can grow as big as the lands you control, can be regrown, and can trample over creatures.
This is a wonderful green card in most non-Standard formats. It’s an even better value if you can trigger some effects by playing lands again.
#1. Titania, Gaea Incarnate
Titania, Gaea Incarnate is the melded version of Titania, Voice of Gaea and Argoth, Sanctum of Nature. If you can get lands into your graveyard and meld these cards, Gaea Incarnate provides you with a massive creature with plenty of keywords.
Support this with cards like Grapple with the Past, Evolving Wilds, or Mesmeric Orb.
Best Multicolored Avatars
#13. Nobilis of War
There’s a cycle of hybrid mana avatars that all have some fun and useful effects. Nobilis of War adds value to all your attacking creatures in the Boros () colors. The 5-mana cost can fit well into the backend of a Boros aggro deck, and the fact that it’s a triggered ability gives it great value in Modern and eternal formats.
#12. Child of Alara
Child of Alara is a fun bomb trap of a creature. The 5-color mana cost is tough, but it’s not impossible to play this card on the curve with many dual and tri-lands. If you can then you may attack with a creature that may force your opponent to make tough decisions.
#11. Overbeing of Myth
Overbeing of Myth is a Simic () hybrid mana card that grows by the size of your hand. The true value is the fact that during your end step you draw a card. Any card that gives you a constant way to draw more cards is going to have value.
#10. Soul of Windgrace
Are you sick of drawing lands that don’t help you in the later game? Of course you are! Soul of Windgrace allows you to discard cards to get some effects that should help you more than extra mana.
The mana cost is reasonable and the effects can fit well into many play styles, as well as help you with mana flooding.
#9. Arahbo, Roar of the World
Getting effects from the command zone is a wonderful ability for any commander. Arahbo, Roar of the World can pump one of your cats each combat. It can pump many more when it’s on the battlefield.
This is a solid cat tribal commander that gives you value before you even play it.
#8. Niv-Mizzet Reborn
These 5-color dragon avatars are all nuts. Niv-Mizzet Reborn brings cards of different color combinations into your hand. You need to find ways to get the five different mana and stack your deck with many color combinations.
Stack your Commander deck with cards like General Ferrous Rokiric, Faeburrow Elder, and Growth Spiral.
If you can reach two mana of each color combination then Progenitus will be your bomb card. It has protection from everything, and if it’s sent to the graveyard it just re-enters your library.
Good luck getting the right mana, and have fun with this card!
#6. Divinity of Pride
Divinity of Pride may be a huge swinging creature for your Orzhov (}WB}) lifegain deck. The requirement of 25 life is easy to satisfy in a lifegain deck, or if you just just play Commander.
The possibility of an 8/8 flying creature with lifelink is a wonderful play for five hybrid mana.
#5. Dominus of Fealty
Taking your opponent’s creatures can be a great strategy for aggro and sacrifice decks. In comes Dominus of Fealty and you can steal a permanent from your opponent each turn.
The possibilities are sky high with this card. Steal blocking threats, great synergy permanents, or cannon fodder from your opponent each turn.
#4. Scion of the Ur-Dragon
We’ll talk about The Ur-Dragon soon, but why not check on its scion first? Scion of the Ur-Dragon is a 5-colored card that allows you to search for a dragon, put it into your graveyard, and turn this card into a copy of that dragon.
This card is a nice addition to dragon decks that don’t worry about mana requirements.
#3. Gishath, Sun’s Avatar
Most of these multicolored avatar creatures make for great specific strategy commanders. Gishath, Sun’s Avatar is the dinosaur commander to get behind. It has great keywords and a way to get dinosaurs onto the battlefield from your library.
Include cards like Regisaur Alpha, Wakening Sun’s Avatar, and Otepec Huntmaster to support your commander.
#2. The Ur-Dragon
You have to enjoy some of these high and difficult mana value cards that have ridiculous amounts of power. The Ur-Dragon is an all-color dragon commander that quickly snowballs the game in your favor if it gets momentum.
If you’re thinking of using this card as your commander then you want to include cards like Dragonspeaker Shaman, Crux of Fate, and Rivaz of the Claw to support it.
#1. Muldrotha, the Gravetide
Muldrotha, the Gravetide is a premier graveyard deck card. Playing a card from your graveyard maximizes your cards so efficiently. With Muldrotha, the Gravetide, you can bring multiple cards from the graveyard each turn!
This card is the standard for graveyard-themed builds, and I bet you’ve seen it before if this is the strategy you’re interested in.
Best Colorless Avatars
#2. Wandering Archaic / Explore the Vastlands
The Wandering Archaic is a dual-sided card, but I believe the main value is the front side of the card. The backside, Explore the Vastlands, may give your opponent a chance to get the cards they need.
I don’t like to take those chances, but Wandering Archaic gives you some nice value in making all your opponents’ sorceries and instants more expensive unless they want you to copy them. Copying an opponent’s spells may be enough of a deterrent or advantage to win you some matches.
#1. Soul of New Phyrexia
Soul of New Phyrexia is a wonderful card for those conquering Phyrexia-like players. It gives great protection to your creatures with its activated ability, and the ability can also be used once from the graveyard as protection for your other or new creatures.
Your opponents better have some exile spells, or you’ll be spreading Phyrexia across all the planes.
Best Avatar Payoffs
Some avatars are great tribal additions, so use them with cards like Hobgoblin Bandit Lord, Elvish Archdruid, and Diregraf Colossus.
If an avatar tribal deck is what you’re interested in, support them with cards like Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner, Temur Ascendancy, and Kindred Dominance.
Morophon, the Boundless and Progenitus may be great commanders to use and take advantage of your avatar’s colors and strengths.
There are also some good avatar token creators to take advantage of like Awaken the Blood Avatar and Ajani Goldmane…
… As well as the fun cards that turn into avatars like Figure of Destiny, Dark Depths, and Marit Lage’s Slumber.
Protect your precious avatars with cards like Asceticism or Tamiyo’s Safekeeping.
Many of the avatars cost many different colored mana. You can play the hybrid or 5-color avatars with supporting cards like Channel the Suns, Crystal Quarry, and Kaleidostone.
Child of Alara (Conflux) | Illustration by Steve Argyle
Whether it’s your avatar on social media or avatars in MTG, you just can’t seem to get away from these representations. The avatar creatures are often powerful cards since they represent the aspects of power that other creatures draw from.
I hope I did a fine job of providing you with information about this powerful creature type. A lot of the cards above can be plugged right into your current decks, or put together to make a fun avatar build.
What do you think of my avatar ranks? Anything you disagree with? Let me know in the comments below or over on the Draftsim Twitter.
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