Last updated on September 28, 2023
All Is Dust | Illustration by Jason Felix
With tens of thousands of unique Magic cards, nobody would really blame you if you struggle to figure out which are the best to include in your decks. There are definitely limiting factors like price and availability, but you’re still left with a ton of options for cards. Breaking all the cards down by color is one way to make things a little more manageable.
Today I’m looking specifically at colorless cards to find the best colorless of each card type. The nice thing about colorless cards is that they can usually slot into any deck. If you’re looking to fill spots, this can be a good place to look.
Let’s get started and dig into the best colorless cards in Magic!
Sol Ring | Illustration by Mike Bierek
In Magic, a colorless card is one that doesn’t have any colored mana pips in its casting cost. This means that they can be cast with only generic mana, so you don’t have to worry about the colors available to you when you cast them.
That said, some colorless cards require you to spend specifically colorless mana to cast them, represented as a grey mana pip with a diamond symbol (c). While these aren’t super common, it’s important to understand that these costs can’t be paid with any type of mana the same way generic costs can.
While they may technically be colorless cards, some still have what’s called a color identity when it comes to playing Commander. If the rules text of a colorless card includes a colored mana pip (for example, red like Bomat Courier), it’s then considered to have a red color identity regardless of its colorless mana cost. This means that it can only go in red Commander decks, even though the card itself is technically colorless, like basic lands that produce colored mana.
Sword of the Animist is one of the best cards for mana ramp and mana fixing since it’s completely colorless. It can go in any deck, so you can still find lands even if your deck doesn’t have access to green to help with ramping.
It’s also great for mana fixing because you don’t need access to all your colors to play and equip it. You can easily attach it to a creature and start finding the rest of the colors you need from your deck.
If you’re in need of good card draw in colors that typically struggle with that, Skullclamp is a great option. I run this in a lot of white Commander decks that run a lot of weenies or token creatures. All you have to do once this is on the field is pay one mana to attach it to a 1/1 token and get two cards.
- Sword of Body and Mind
- Sword of Feast and Famine
- Sword of Fire and Ice
- Sword of Forge and Frontier
- Sword of Hearth and Home
- Sword of Light and Shadow
- Sword of Once and Future
- Sword of Sinew and Steel
- Sword of Truth and Justice
- Sword of War and Peace
These cards all offer protection from two colors and give some beneficial effect to their controller when the equipped creature does combat damage. It really depends on what you’re looking to do with your deck, but it’s very likely that at least one of these swords meets your needs for any strategy.
Portal to Phyrexia is a very powerful card thanks to its ETB effect and ongoing ability. Though it’s a very expensive card, as an artifact there are plenty of ways to either reduce its cost or to cheat it out.
On top of that, colorless cards are easier to cast in general since there are no color restrictions. Getting a creature from any graveyard each turn is a huge benefit for you, and you’ll know you have a couple of your opponents’ creatures to choose from thanks to this card forcing them to sacrifice a few.
A lot of Commander decks run Aetherflux Reservoir as a method to gain life and a way to eliminate other players. Starting at 40 life, it isn’t all that hard to get up to over 50 when running a lot of lifegain.
This card also works well in storm or spellslinger decks that consistently cast multiple spells each turn. Since you can activate Aetherflux Reservoir’s ability at instant speed, players are hesitant to try and remove it or threaten you in any significant way once you have enough life to take one of them out with it.
Lightning Greaves serves the dual purpose of being a free haste enabler and protecting one of your important creatures. All you need to do thanks to its 0-mana equip cost is get these out onto the field and you can slap them on any creature, any time. You can immediately swing out with something like Blightsteel Colossus or Marit Lage, potentially ending a game pretty quickly.
Many players also run this card to keep their commander safe from removal.
#8. Sensei’s Divining Top
Sensei's Divining Top has lots of different uses that make it helpful. You can use it to fix your draws, and using its ability to check the top cards in your library can also let you know whether you should use a fetch land or other effect that will force you to shuffle, or if you should draw one of those cards first. It also works well with cards like Chaos Warp if you target your own permanent, allowing you to cheat out something better from the top of your deck.
Apart from all the ways it works well on its own, Sensei's Divining Top can also be used as part of an infinite combo with Mystic Forge to draw your entire deck or just as many cards as you need to draw to find the right answer. All you need is these two cards and any card like Foundry Inspector that reduces the cost of artifacts.
Part of why Phyrexian Altar is powerful is its ability to exchange creatures for mana. Token decks or builds that runs lots of low-cost creatures can usually find at least a few creatures worth giving up to cast a more powerful spell.
Phyrexian Altar is also powerful because it’s a free sacrifice outlet that can be activated at instant speed as many times as you want. If an opponent were to try to remove one of your creatures you can respond instantly by sacrificing it, getting at least one mana out of losing your creature. It’s also better to have your creature hit the graveyard than get exiled, so you can prevent that by sacrificing any number that would be exiled to your graveyard instead.
The Altar also gives you the means to pay off any death triggers or sacrifice triggers on your board at any time. This gives you a lot more control over the course of other players’ turns than you may normally have and is a great card to use in conjunction with temporary theft cards like Act of Treason.
Isochron Scepter is a card with a ton of possibilities. You can imprint a counterspell, allowing you to counter at least one spell a turn. You can imprint a cheap ramp spell to always have access to another land, or a cheap kill spell and have on-demand removal.
There are also plenty of combos you can set up with Isochron Scepter. For instance, you can imprint Dramatic Reversal, and you’ll be able to generate infinite mana if you have enough nonland cards to produce three mana. You can also imprint Mystical Tutor to allow you to find Nexus of Fate each turn, giving you a chance to have infinite turns.
There are many more, making this a very powerful card to include in your decks.
#5. Lion’s Eye Diamond
Lion's Eye Diamond is the type of card that newer players might have a hard time recognizing as good, but it makes sense why it’s so powerful once you learn all the ways it can be used.
One popular way to use it is in response to a tutor, allowing you to get some extra mana to cast whatever card you’re getting to your hand. It can also be useful in dredge decks to help fill the graveyard.
Because Mana Crypt doesn’t cost you anything to play, it’s basically just two more free mana which is incredibly powerful, even if you only get to use it once. You can wait to play it when it has a meaningful impact since it doesn’t cost anything, avoiding the potential damage that it does to you.
It’s also a good way to pay off any artifact or historic synergies for free outside its obvious uses. For example, it’ll draw you a card for zero mana with Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain. It’s also an incredibly powerful addition to coin flip decks since you’ll be flipping a coin each turn, which can trigger things like Chance Encounter or Zndrsplt, Eye of Wisdom.
Time Vault is an incredibly powerful card, so powerful that it’s banned in a ton of formats. This is mainly because of how easy it is to untap an artifact without having to follow all the stipulations laid out on Time Vault itself. That makes it way too easy for this card to create infinite turns for the user.
#2. The Original Mox Cycle
The original Moxen make up a big chunk of Magic’s Power 9, which are considered the most powerful cards in the game. It’s easy to see why; these cards are basically extra lands you can play, and they synergize with artifact payoffs or anything that cares about casting spells, like storm abilities.
Another member of the Power 9, Black Lotus is incredibly powerful thanks to its ability to significantly speed up games. Getting an extra three mana on a turn can often create a big enough swing in a player’s favor to set them up for victory.
Scour from Existence is relatively expensive, but it’s also one of the most comprehensive pieces of targeted removal. It can hit any permanent, and your opponent won’t be able to get back what it hits thanks to exiling instead of destroying.
Not all colors have meaningful ways to remove indestructible permanents, but there’s at least one more colorless card that can exile threats on your opponent’s board thanks to Introduction to Annihilation.
It may be somewhat expensive, but it likely won’t be too hard to cast later in a game since it only costs generic mana. This card works better in slower or more casual formats like Commander.
When considering that Skittering Invasion can basically produce you five mana, you’re really only losing two potential mana on the trade while gaining five token creatures. These creatures can be helpful as blockers or sacrifices to other abilities, or you can just hold onto all your Eldrazi Spawn tokens until your next turn where you have an extra five mana to use, allowing you to cast a big bomb.
#3. Titan’s Presence
Lots of colorless creatures are pretty massive. Not only are there the Eldrazi titans like Emrakul, the Promised End, but there are also popular artifact creatures like Blightsteel Colossus and Metalwork Colossus that are likely to allow you to exile pretty much any creature on the board thanks to how big they are.
This is a very strong ability for only three colorless mana, though it can whiff if you aren’t playing any massive creatures. Be careful what deck you’re putting this in.
Environmental Sciences is a great form of ramp or mana fixing for decks that aren’t running green mana. Even if you’re running some green, this can be helpful in a 4- or 5-color deck since you don’t need to rely on just one of your colors to help you fix your mana.
What makes All Is Dust an especially powerful board wipe is that it forces players to sacrifice their own permanents. This means that you don’t have to worry about anything that has indestructible, and you can also get payoffs from cards like It That Betrays that are looking for opponents sacrificing creatures.
Metalworker can generate lots of mana in an artifact deck, which you can then use to cast some of the artifacts that you reveal from your hand. This cuts down on the advantage your opponents get from seeing your hand since they’ll see the cards when you cast them anyway.
There are also a few ways to untap Metalworker that allow you to create infinite mana if you have enough artifacts in your hand.
The best thing about Wurmcoil Engine is that it cuts down on the negative side of spending a lot of mana on a big creature. Usually you lose a lot of momentum if your creature are removed, but you basically get a free replacement with this card.
As a massive indestructible creature with a good removal spell stapled onto it, Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre is definitely worth its high mana cost. Annihilator 4 can also be a very difficult ability for your opponents to contend with because a few attacks they likely have to start sacrificing their own lands.
Ramos, Dragon Engine is a great commander for a 5-color dragon tribal deck. There are plenty of multicolor dragons that fuel Ramos’ abilities, and you can use the mana you produce to cast even more creatures.
Ramos is a great budget alternative to The Ur-Dragon for many players thanks to being printed more consistently.
Similar to Ulamog, Kozilek, Butcher of Truth offers a lot of extra value outside of its power and toughness. Even if this spell gets countered you still be get four cards with it, likely providing you with future answers.
Walking Ballista is a versatile card that can be used as a big stompy creature, removal for creatures and planeswalkers, or just to deal direct damage. Lots of players like to run this card as a wincon in decks that seek to create infinite mana.
It can also synergize well with Mikaeus, the Unhallowed if you have a way to consistently reduce its toughness to 0 after its counters are gone.
Blightsteel Colossus is an excellent wincon for any deck that’s looking to cheat out a big creature. There are lots of ways to do this as an artifact, with cards like Kuldotha Forgemaster or Master Transmuter.
You can also use the effects of cards like Braids, Conjurer Adept. Blightsteel Colossus is one of the most powerful creatures in general as one of the few creatures that can end any game with one attack, not just colorless ones.
Not only can It That Betrays fuel its own ability thanks to annihilator, but it also shuts downs some popular deck archetypes. Any aristocrats or sacrifice-focused deck has to think twice about all its moves, because anything they sacrifice then becomes a resource for you to use.
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger has an even more powerful removal ability than the previous incarnation of Ulamog. Apart from that it also mills a ton of cards from your opponent with each attack, depriving them of a lot of resources they may need to win the game.
One downside to this card is that you may occasionally help your opponent by milling them depending on the type of deck they’re playing.
Emrakul, the Promised End’s cast trigger alone often incentivizes your opponent to just scoop before you sabotage their board state by taking over their turn. Even without its cast trigger, the Promised End is a formidable card.
Karn Liberated is a difficult planeswalker to deal with. Not only can it exile any permanent right when it enters the battlefield, but its +4 ability also ensures it can do so every other turn without dying.
You’ve basically won the game if you manage to get off Karn’s ultimate ability.
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon is very good at protecting itself thanks to its two great ways to remove creatures. Getting off an ultimate with Ugin is somewhat easy for how good of an effect it is too.
Eldrazi Conscription provides an insane buff to whatever creature it’s attached to, essentially turning the smallest of creatures into a massive threat. Equipping this to a creature that has infect can also be a great way to win a game.
#1. Urza’s Saga
Urza's Saga is an interesting enchantment because it’s also a land card. Though most players wouldn’t want one of their lands to disappear after a few turns, it’s worth it when you’re able to fetch a free artifact from your deck.
Making Constructs with this card can also be a very powerful strategy, especially in decks designed to get lands back from the graveyard.
One of the best things about colorless cards is the ability to use colorless mana rocks like Sol Ring and Thran Dynamo to pay for them. Because colorless mana rocks that produce multiple mana are more popular than ones that produce mana of a specific color, they synergize well with very expensive colorless creatures or spells that can have a big impact on the game.
Some good payoffs for playing a colorless deck are cards like All Is Dust or Ugin, the Spirit Dragon’s -X ability, which clears your opponent’s permanents from the board while allowing you to keep yours.
Yes, for the most part, colorless cards can go in any Commander deck. But if a colorless card has a color identity because of a colored mana pip in its rules text, it can only go in decks that share that color identity.
For example, a card like Karn Liberated can go into any Commander deck since it has no color identity. Ramos, Dragon Engine, on the other hand, can only go in 5-color decks since it has all five types of mana pips in its rules text, despite having a colorless cost.
Karn Liberated | Illustration by Jason Chan
Colorless cards in Magic can be a great resource. While they can often be more expensive than cards with colored mana costs, they make up for it by being able to be included in a wider range of decks.
It’s always smart to check out some colorless cards that can help you out if you need some extra abilities that you aren’t finding in your deck’s color identity. You can also build a pretty powerful colorless deck on its own, using powerful colorless archetypes like artifacts or Eldrazi.
Which colorless cards do you use most often? Are there any other colorless cards you think should be on this list? Let me know in the comments below or over on Draftsim’s Twitter.
Thanks for reading, and I look forward to seeing you in the next one!
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