Last updated on September 29, 2023
Fiery Emancipation | Illustration by Alexander Forssberg
The color red in Magic is designed for one thing in particular: dealing damage. It may do a few other things, but the one thing it can do well in every format in Magic is deal a lot of damage. What if you were to modify that damage in some way and deal more of it?
I’ve identified every damage doubler in MTG, so let’s look at the 15 strongest ones.
Gratuitous Violence | Illustration by Jesper Ejsing
A damage doubler in MTG is any sort of card that modifies the damage that your cards can deal, usually by doubling it. “Damage Doubler” is sort of a misnomer in this case because we’ll be looking at cards that buff damage by one or two extra points, and a couple that even triple your damage output.
This is a little on the weak side, but it’s especially effective with cards like Grapeshot or anything that can divide its damage across multiple targets. Whichever way, Pyromancer's Gauntlet is a nice fit for a lot of spell-based decks.
Uncivil Unrest isn’t the easiest damage doubler to enable, but the fact that it has some great functionality beyond the damage doubling ability makes this a nice inclusion for lots of decks.
This is one of the oldest damage doublers in the game and probably one of the prime examples that many experienced Magic players immediately think of. Furnace of Rath is very simple. All damage is doubled. No matter whose damage it is.
If most of your damage sources that you want to double are instants and sorceries, then you could do worse than use a Fire Servant to double their damage. It’s not on the most resilient of bodies.
Just like how Fire Servant is perfect for a deck centered around burn spells, your creature-based decks are perfectly lined up for Gratuitous Violence. The triple red casting cost is a little restrictive because this would be perfect in aggressive multicolor decks, but it’s still incredibly powerful.
One of the newest damage doublers is a little complicated to understand. Basically, when Rankle and Torbran deal combat damage to a player or battle, you can choose to have all damage increased by two for the rest of the turn. Because they have first strike, this buff is applied to all your regular combat damage too. What puts this over the top is the fact that this is a powerful card even without this ability and stands up on its own.
Mechanized Warfare may only be adding one damage to each of your sources, but that trades off for costing only three mana. You might not need that cost reduction for your Commander decks, but it allows this card to see a good amount of Standard play since its release.
Fiendish Duo really stands out in multiplayer games by doubling all damage that your opponents take from any source, no matter who controls it. It’s really that simple, and not much else needs to be said.
Solphim, Mayhem Dominus boasts a nearly unrestricted damage doubling effect on top of an impressive creature that you can turn indestructible whenever you like. This makes Solphim a powerhouse in both Standard and Limited and a very scary Commander card.
Angrath's Marauders’s biggest upside is its creature type. It’s clearly just a strong example of a damage doubler, but being a human has allowed it to see play in a very powerful competitive deck: Winota, Joiner of Forces. Cheating it into play lets you ignore the hefty mana cost and buffing your team’s damage output that same turn can be the difference between winning in one turn and not.
The key to Torbran, Thane of Red Fell is that letting your 1/1 creatures deal two extra damage essentially triples their damage output. Torbran was the top end of basically every mono-red aggro deck that appeared when it was in Standard.
What could be better than doubling damage? How about tripling it? City on Fire has a truly absurd effect on a game, turning nearly every source of damage you can produce into a potent threat.
What could be better than a damage tripler? How about a damage tripler that costs two less mana? While City on Fire might be better if you have lots of creatures in your deck, Fiery Emancipation is much more universally strong. At the end of the day, both are very powerful, and it would take a ridiculously broken mechanic to beat that.
Yeah, it’s a companion. On the one hand, Obosh, the Preypiercer is one of the more restrictive damage doublers on this list, but on the other, it’s a companion. The companion rule is one of the most insanely busted things WotC has ever come up with. Unlike every card on this list, you can essentially choose to have access to Obosh in every single game you play. That is a huge bonus that has led Obosh to being played in nearly every Magic format there is.
You can’t really be paid off for damage doublers. After all, doubling your damage is the payoff. However, there’s one card I’m interested in that could be considered a payoff, and that’s Toralf, God of Fury. Toralf takes an amount of damage dealt to an opposing creature/planeswalker, having been doubled, then split off the excess damage to deal it to something else, where it’s doubled again.
Then it happens again. And again. Imagine your opponent has ten 2/2 creatures in play and you cast a Lightning Bolt with say a Furnace of Rath out. First, you point six damage at a creature, splitting four damage off to one of the others, doubled to eight, and so on. This damage then grows exponentially with each target, pointing 1028 damage at the tenth creature and a final 2052 damage at any other target. This is an obscene interaction that I’m very interested in building around.
Yes, they absolutely do. Effectively, two damage doublers in play quadruples the damage dealt. Similarly, three of them multiply the damage by eight. Most damage doublers are examples of replacement effects. When multiple replacement effects are affecting the same player or object, the affected player or controller of the affected object decides which order they apply in. If you have a bunch of damage doublers in play, your opponents have control over the damage they take.
Multiplication is commutative, so you can multiply numbers in any order and still get the same result. It won’t matter which order your opponent applies these multipliers in. However, this rule becomes relevant when factoring in effects like Torbran, Thane of Red Fell. Your opponents are able to choose to take the least amount of damage, which happens when they apply these “addition” effects after they apply all the multiplication effects that you have in play.
No, you can’t. Unless I’m missing a particular card, all these abilities are mandatory to apply. You’d have to see a “you may” in the card’s text if you could choose to turn them off.
Angrath's Marauders | Illustration by Victor Adame Minguez
I had the idea to build a Commander deck with all the best damage doublers in it. I want to cast a Blasphemous Act and have that damage multiplied to about 200 per creature. I hope I can make it work and I’ll get to share the decklist with you!
Until next time, take care of yourselves!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: