Vexing Devil | Illustration by Lucas Graciano
Hello planeswalkers! Whether in life or in Magic, I’m often faced with decisions where the outcomes can be very good or very bad. But sometimes being bad feels so good… Guess you could say I’ve got an angel and devil on each shoulder. Angels are great (who doesn’t love Platinum Angel), but the devil is winning the argument today.
Devils appear through all kinds of art, myths, folk tales, and pop culture, but no matter your understanding of the Devil or devils in general, fire, mischief, and darkness are likely to follow. Devils in MTG are no different and bring these aspects to your builds.
There are red, black, and Rakdos () builds that can benefit from the devil creatures, but how can they fit into them? Are devils good tribal creatures, or even good creatures in general? Follow me through the fire and the flames to find out!
Asmodeus the Archfiend | Illustration by Aleksi Briclot
Devil is a creature type that first appeared in the Arabian Nights set in 1993 with Stone-Throwing Devil (which has been completely removed from MTG because of offensive and derogatory depictions). The devil creature type has evolved since then, and they’ve become decent and competitive cards.
The devils are self-indulgent and impulsive creatures similar to the demons that focus on doing combat and noncombat damage. Most devils were printed in the Innistrad and Shadows over Innistrad blocks, and some of the newest examples are gangster devils in Streets of New Capenna.
There are many collections in MTG, so why not collect warlocks? Lorcan, Warlock Collector is a big creature that reanimates your opponent's creatures. The downsides are the mana value and the life cost to activate the reanimation ability.
Asmodeus the Archfiend isn’t for the average MTG player. At face value you get a big creature and the ability to draw many cards while losing life for them. Skilled players can often turn the disadvantages of a card into advantages with the right cards.
#18. Tibalt’s Rager
Tibalt's Rager is a very useful card in Limited formats and has a little value in Constructed formats. It’s a small creature that may be pumped and has a little punishment for your opponent when it dies.
This can have value in aggressive decks that have burn spell instants to back up the creatures.
The ability to do damage repeatedly without attacking is great toward winning in matches that stall. Scalding Devil allows you to do one damage for every three mana you can afford to use. It's a small and easily removed creature, but the activated ability can make a big difference.
Gibbering Fiend is a small creature that can slowly ping your opponent each turn. It deals damage if you have four or more different card types in your graveyard. This can seem difficult, but it shouldn’t be hard to satisfy with some mill cards, fetch lands, or removal spells.
The question is, can you stay competitive while piling up your graveyard? If you can, then Gibbering Fiend is a decent option for chipping at your opponent’s life.
This strategy can become deadly when you sacrifice Treasure tokens to cast your bigger threats.
Impetuous Devils is a way to force your opponent to get rid of their small important non-attacking creatures. You get a big swinger with trample, and this acts like a removal spell. The unfortunate downside is that you don’t get much board presence and have to sacrifice it even if your opponent has no creatures to target.
Prowess-like abilities are always great in red, especially in Limited formats. Festival Crasher gets a decent pump for each one of your instant or sorcery spells you play. This card is a decent addition for aggressive, storm, and burn decks that use red.
Let’s look at an Alchemy devil for those of you who enjoy the newest format. Big Spender lets you create Treasures if at least one of your creatures is blocked each turn. This can ramp up your mana pool quickly, or you can use the Treasures to draft a spell from Big Spender’s spellbook.
Aggressive decks should love big creatures that don’t cost much. Chained Brute costs two mana and is a 4/3 creature that doesn’t untap on your untap step. It's a solid creature because sacrificing creatures is often a specialty of devil, red, and Rakdos decks.
This card fits into aristocrat and aggressive decks in the Historic and eternal formats.
There are a lot of prowess-like pumps in MTG, but the +4/0 of Charmbreaker Devils is elite. The six mana for a 4/4 creature is very steep and may not be curve efficient, but you get another instant or sorcery spell back from the graveyard.
This is too expensive for storm decks, but it has value for big and powerful instant and sorcery decks.
I usually stay clear of random cards, but Zurzoth is just plain devilish fun.
#8. Flayer of the Hatebound
Flayer of the Hatebound is a card dedicated to the reanimator strategy. When a creature enters from the graveyard, you do damage equal to its power.
Need bonus value? It has undying, so it can return to the battlefield on its own. The 6-mana cost is steep, but it’s not a deterrent to the benefits for reanimator decks in Modern and eternal formats.
I enjoy cards that force your opponent to make tough decisions. First, it's very fun. Second, they might make a huge mistake.
Sin Prodder allows you to gain a draw advantage or do damage to your opponent. Pairing it in a reanimate deck may also maximize its abilities.
Burn spells, creatures with trample or double strike, and ping abilities are now lethal with Fiendish Duo on the battlefield. This is a fantastic red spell that’s unfortunately only legal in eternal formats.
Invite all your creatures to the party! Don’t worry about parking, we have a valet.
Devilish Valet is a brilliant creature that doubles its power for each creature that ETB. This ability becomes deadly when you can cast or create a lot of creatures because it has trample. I’d pair it with token creators like Krenko, Mob Boss and instant speed creatures like Hollowhenge Overlord.
Bon Scott voice: “I'm on the highway to Hell.” AC/DC aside, Hellrider is a fantastic devil creature. Attacking creatures do one extra direct damage to the player or planeswalker they’re attacking.
This static ability fits right into the aggressive strategies of red and Rakdos. Hellrider is legal in Modern, Historic, and eternal formats.
#3. Bedlam Reveler
Bedlam Reveler is a red control deck dream card. The huge mana value can be reduced with all your removal and draw spells that keep you in the game. It then allows you to draw cards to build up more spells and take advantage of its prowess ability.
This card is legal in Pioneer, Modern, and eternal formats and is a great card for control players that need a game-ending creature.
Reusing instants and sorceries is a valuable strategy for many builds, and Wildfire Devils lets you reuse your and your opponent’s spells randomly for no mana! This takes advantage of all your burn and removal spells, plus whatever powerful instants and sorceries your opponent is rocking.
I love Wildfire Devils, and I’m just a little sad that it’s only legal in eternal formats.
If there’s a more popular devil in MTG, please stand up. Thought not.
Vexing Devil is a fantastic example of the chaos and destruction devils loves to cause. For one mana you potentially get a 4/3 creature, or your opponent loses life. This is an excellent card in Modern or eternal aggressive decks.
There aren’t a lot of cards that are legal in every single format like Body Dropper. This card is a vanilla sacrifice-based creature that has its most value in Limited formats. It has a little value in decks that can create a lot of creature tokens or have a ton of dying effects.
#5. Henzie “Toolbox” Torre
This card can give you the speed advantage you need while taking advantage of ETB effects and aristocratic effects, and it gives you some extra draw ability.
Rakdos lovers in the eternal formats rejoice! With Mahadi, Emporium Master you can gain the mana advantage from all your creatures dying.
This fits fantastically into the sacrifice and aggressive creature mentality of Rakdos. Mahadi is a great Rakdos card in the eternal formats, especially Commander.
Rakdos Headliner is an excellent aggro play in the Historic, Modern, and eternal formats. You get a 3/3 creature with haste for two mana. The echo cost can be a burden unless you can turn discarding a card into a benefit, like with a card like Bloodghast.
Overall I believe that Rakdos Headliner is a solid play for aggro and graveyard-centric Rakdos decks.
Raphael, Fiendish Savior is a multi-tribal accelerator. It gives a lot of the major Rakdos creature types a pump as well as lifelink. Raphael fits so well into many of the Rakdos archetypes of overwhelming your opponent with little pings and dying effects.
I probably don’t have to tell you too much about the ultra-popular Mayhem Devil. This is the quintessential aristocrat and sacrifice deck creature. It allows you to do a massive number of pings whenever any player sacrifices a permanent.
Rakdos isn’t the only color combo that can benefit from the devil creature type:
- Gruul (): Halana and Alena, Partners helpd you pump the aggressive devils.
- Izzet (): Electrolyze can remove chump blockers or help your creatures with prowess.
- Boros (): Balefire Liege can take advantage of your red devil creatures.
Gain the most out of your devils with support from your planeswalkers, enchantments, and instants. Some planeswalkers that can help are Zariel, Archduke of Avernus and Ob Nixilis, the Adversary. Flameshadow Conjuring and Rain of Gore are great enchantments to support devils. And back up your devils with instants like Backlash, Lightning Bolt, and Go for the Throat.
Body Dropper (Streets of New Capenna) | Illustration by Jakub Kasper
All right, the devil on my shoulder’s gotten a little heavy while writing this. If you’re considering mono-red or Rakdos, I hope you’ve gained a little more appreciation for what devil cards can do for these builds.
Have you got sympathies for devil tribal? Which are your favorite devils in Magic? Which decks do you use them in? Leave a comment below, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.
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