Last updated on June 21, 2022

Spirited Companion - Illustration by Ilse Gort

Spirited Companion | Illustration by Ilse Gort

All we need is yellow added to to get all the colors at the dog party on the top of the tree in the P. D. Eastman (Dr. Seuss) early reader classic, Go, Dog, Go! All hounds became dogs for Core Set 2021, setting the stage for our own dog party here on Draftsim.

Honestly, dogs aren’t the most powerful tribe in Magic, and a lot of these cards are kind of stinkers. But there are some hidden gems here. I also try to include a dog and a cat in every EDH deck if I can, just as a thing. I can’t be the only one with that kind of brewer’s foible. So if that’s you, too, this guide will help you sort out which dog can find its forever home in your deck.

Ready? Let’s jump right into it!

Table of Contents

What are Dogs in MTG?

Selfless Savior - Illustration by Ralph Horsely

Selfless Savior | Illustration by Ralph Horsely

Dogs are a creature type, simple as that. They can be found in all five colors of the color pie, but there are only a handful of these adorable puppies in blue. Some dog tribal synergies exist, but for the most part the best dogs out there function best as standalone cards.

As for which ones those are, let’s take a look!

Bestest Bois: Top Dogs in White

#27. Thraben Purebloods

Thraben Purebloods

I just don’t feel like greyhounds should have higher toughness than power. Plus, Thraben Purebloods are pure vanilla.

#26. Gate Hound

Gate Hound

I know it’s probably fur, like a mullet hawk on the backside of Gate Hound, but I want to believe that’s a dimetrodon buzzsaw kind of thing on its back. All that said, this can’t be worth it.

#25. Guard Dogs

Guard Dogs

So… seven mana over two turns to save a white creature from combat damage? Hard pass on Guard Dogs.

#24. Snow Hound

Snow Hound

This was durdly even back in Ice Age, so Snow Hound isn’t happening.

#23. Akroan Mastiff

Akroan Mastiff

This is probably required if you’re serious about your pooch tribal since Akroan Mastiff is one of the few cards with an actual, real life dog breed in its name, but this is too much mana for a tapper.

#22. Warclamp Mastiff

Warclamp Mastiff

Warclamp Mastiff is worse than Encampment Keeper (now that’s a sentence you don’t read every day).

#21. Encampment Keeper

Encampment Keeper

This is in my Kwende, Pride of Femref deck, but I think power creep has made it time to take Encampment Keeper to that nice farm upstate where he can play in the fields and chase the birds…

#20. Affa Guard Hound

Affa Guard Hound

I like the quick protector thematic vibe, but Affa Guard Hound only seems useful in Isamaru dog tribal.

#19. Champion of Arashin

Champion of Arashin

There aren’t that many lifelinkers in dog tribal but four mana is lot for Champion of Arashin.

#18. Boros Mastiff

Boros Mastiff

There aren’t that many lifelinkers in dog tribal, so okay, maybe Boros Mastiff can join the team.

#17. Alpine Watchdog

Alpine Watchdog

Always nice in M21 Limited with the Alpine Houndmaster that summons Alpine Watchdog. The package with Igneous Cur, Houndmaster, and Watchdog probably goes in dog tribal with Rin and Seri, Inseparable.

#16. Blink Dog

Blink Dog

A hard-to-kill double striker is decent in any kind of pants deck, but the mana costs for casting and activating Blink Dog are definitely not bargains.

#15. Gore Vassal

Gore Vassal

So Gore Vassal rips hearts out of small creatures and uses them to save the dying? 

Metal. 

When it dies you can Shambling Ghast something, or you can toss a -1/-1 on something on your side that then gets regenerated. Not efficient either way, but you might enjoy the options?

#14. Cathar’s Companion

Cathar's Companion

3/1s like Cathar’s Companion that are hard to destroy are pests across formats. This good buddy is useful because it gains indestructible in response to your casting of, say, Wrath of God, which is awfully convenient if you’re threading the needle between white weenie beatdown and white control decks.

#13. Ainok Bond-Kin

Ainok Bond-Kin

Abzan Falconer seems like the most useful outlast card. Ainok, Bond-Kin is maybe second place? Outlast is slow and sad as mechanics go, but giving everything with a +1/+1 counter first strike is pretty decent for two mana. I’ve got one in my Hamza, Guardian of Arashin deck, and so do a lot of other players.

#12. Isamaru, Hound of Konda

Isamaru, Hound of Konda

A classic. A great rate for a deck that wants to start voltronning with its commander as soon as possible. The trouble is that the voltron effects in mono white are often equipment or auras, and there are better options for Commanders than Isamaru, Hound of Konda in those builds, the most obvious being Sram, Senior Edificer.

#11. Stonebinder’s Familiar

Stonebinder's Familiar

Surprisingly effective in mono white Standard with all the exile effects from foretell, Portable Hole, etc. Stonebinder’s Familiar probably doesn’t make the cut in Ranar the Ever-Watchful or Brago, King Eternal flicker decks, but it’ll get swole in those.

#10. Supply Runners

Supply Runners

Venerated Loxodon at home? I just think Supply Runners wants to live in your Ranar deck, especially if you build it to maximize the Azorius () fliers aspects since you keep making and buffing flying spirits. This seems like the hidden gem here.

#9. Resolute Watchdog

Resolute Watchdog

It’s not as efficient as Selfless Savior, but Resolute Watchdog is a lot less cute, which makes it easier to sac if you have emotions? It seems like an auto-include in Arcades, the Strategist decks. 

#8. Selfless Savior

Selfless Savior

This plus Lurrus of the Dream-Den is trouble for your enemies as anyone who’s sat across from an Auras deck in Historic will attest. I’d rather have Selfless Savior than old reliable Dauntless Bodyguard if I had to choose since it’s a lot more flexible in its salvation targeting.

#7. Trusty Retriever

Trusty Retriever

Trusty Retriever is potentially more useful than the Mutt in the right deck. If nothing else it can get back your Spirited Companion for more Teleportation Circle fun.

#6. Rambunctious Mutt

Rambunctious Mutt

Great for flickering. Rambunctious Mutt is little expensive but you don’t even come to the dinner table for less than five mana in your Yorion, Sky Nomad decks, so why not?

#5. Patrol Hound

Patrol Hound

A threshold enabler from Odyssey, Patrol Hound is still one of the more efficient ways to quickly fill your graveyard, especially in white.

#4. Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful

Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful

Our newest good buddy. Shut up. Those are not tears in my eyes after reading the flavor text. The type is really small, okay?

Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful seems nice in a legendary creatures deck helmed by any version of Sisay, Kethis, the Hidden Hand, or Niambi, Esteemed Speaker. And since we’ve got partner, what about builds with Reyhan, Last of the Abzan or Alharu, Solemn Ritualist?

#3. Loyal Warhound

Loyal Warhound

The latest in white’s catch up on lands cards. I think you need all these in mono white in EDH, right? I’m not thrilled about a 3/1, but I’ll take Loyal Warhound anyway.

#2. Pack Leader

Pack Leader

The goodest of bois, am I right? I get strong Jock from Lady and the Tramp vibes from Pack Leader. The dog lord you wish was legendary so it could actually lead your Commander deck. Also pretty nice in tribal tribal decks.

#1. Spirited Companion

Spirited Companion

Best white card draw ever? Calm down, Secret Rendezvous fans, but Spirited Companion is better. Stop. Breathe. Count to 10.

Bestest Bois: Top Dogs in Blue

#4. Phantom Whelp

Phantom Whelp

It always seems like these self-bounce triggers could be abused, but this is tough to make work. I’m not sure if this is even worth it. Phantom Whelp isn’t the worst of the hound cycle from Odyssey, but that doesn’t mean much.

#3. Moon-Eating Dog

Moon-Eating Dog

A Phantom Monster only with the planeswalker condition. Even at that I can’t see Moon-Eating Dog being worth it.

#2. Chakram Retriever

Chakram Retriever

When you partner Chakram Retriever with Chakram Slinger, you can take two 5-drops and try out a frisbee-slinging version of Thermo-Alchemist. Hard to imagine that’s even in the top 20 options for Izzet () spellslinger commanders. 

#1. Floodhound

Floodhound MH2

Water doggie here seems to fit in nicely in Lonis, CryptozoologistClue token tribal decks. Plus, you know I have a soft spot for Magic puns. Floodhound, get it?

Bestest Bois: Top Dogs in Black

#13. Hollow Dogs

Hollow Dogs

More Phyrexian Zombie Dogs! Hollow Dogs is a less efficient Murk Dwellers, which I hope is a phrase as funny to read as it is to write.

#12. Ghost Hounds

Ghost Hounds

This card is only twice as expensive to cast as it should be, which is pretty efficient for a Homelands card! Ghost Hounds join Stonebinder’s Familiar as one of only two Spirit Dogs, so in like fifteen years that’ll be super relevant for some kind of wacky tribal deck that I’ll totally be here for.

#11. Mortis Dogs

Mortis Dogs

See below for a few more tries at fixing Murk Dwellers. I think it’s time to just let that go, okay? Mortis Dogs is another wicked cool piece of art on an unplayable card.

#10. Hound of the Farbogs

Hound of the Farbogs

I think Hound of the Farbogs is a “fixed” Hollow Dogs? Meh.

#9. Filthy Cur

Filthy Cur

There are no bad dogs, only bad owners. Someone just needs to take this boi home and give him a bath and a jerky treat. 

Perhaps the worst of the Odyssey dogs, maybe you play Filthy Cur in a Blim, Comedic Genius deck? 

#8. Caustic Hound

Caustic Hound

These Mirrodin Besieged dogs are totes creepy, but Caustic Hound seems unplayable.

#7. Thraben Foulbloods

Thraben Foulbloods

Thraben Foulbloods feels like a 23rd playable in Eldritch Moon Draft, but it always seemed to get cut.

#6. Vampire Hounds

Vampire Hounds

This is the grandsire of Wild Mongrel. The limitation of the discard to creature cards just really hamstrings this, but when they opened that up to any card for the Mongrel (and made it cheaper to cast!) it kind of broke a few things. The only other two cards that ask you to “discard a creature card” are Fauna Shaman and Survival of the Fittest, so clearly balancing cards in this space is pretty tough.

I think this could have a place in Vampire madness decks but it’s an old, slightly inefficient card that’ll never just fill your graveyard, so maybe this is for boomers only? 

#5. Hell Mongrel

Hell Mongrel MH2

This isn’t as efficient as Kitchen Imp for a Pauper madness deck, but I’ve used a copy or two of Hell Mongrel as a midgame enabler and sneaky wincon in Pauper and Artisan madness decks in Historic.

#4. Hollowborn Barghest

Hollowborn Barghest

A rare?! I can see Hollowborn Barghest serving as a top end in a discard EDH deck which keys off damage effects like Megrim and Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage, but that feels like boomer Magic in a world with Tergrid, God of Fright.

#3. Plague Dogs

Plague Dogs

First up, these are errata’d to be “Phyrexian Zombie Dogs,” which sounds like a lost Lucio Fulci movie. That’s kind a cool. Even if Plague Dogs did its tiny wrath effect if it was also milled and if the sac trigger was free, it still might not be good enough in most cases.

Still, in a mill- and reanimator-heavy Wilhelt, the Rotcleaver zombie deck, I could see wanting this lurking around in the graveyard to grab for a Toski, Bearer of Secrets.

#2. Banehound

Banehound

About half of the nightmare creatures in Magic have extra eyes. Banehound is one of them. It was a problem seeing your opponent drop this on turn 1 in War of the Spark Limited. This card continues to find work in Rayami, First of the Fallen decks with two important keywords, but I can’t imagine playing that commander.

#1. Dreadhound

Dreadhound

Dreadhound was a wincon in Midnight Hunt Draft, especially if you were stacking up decayed zombies. As an addition to decks that want to run Blood Artist effects, this is a pricey but decent option. This goodest of girls can potentially hit for six if the mill roulette wheel hits with a Syr Konrad, the Grim on the battlefield.

Bestest Bois: Top Dogs in Red

#24. Pack Mastiff

Pack Mastiff

Pack Mastiff is unplayable in EDH. But I did win a few games of M20 Limited with five of these in my deck. 

#23. Mad Dog

Mad Dog

Why so mad? Remember, the green card in this cycle is Wild Mongrel. Sorry, Mad Dog.

#22. Ainok Tracker

Ainok Tracker

Nope. Ainok Tracker is the wrong color to be yet another inefficient card shoved into a Kadena, Slinking Sorcerer deck.

#21. Two-Headed Cerberus | Scrapyard Mongrel

Draft chaff.

#20. Ashmouth Hound

Ashmouth Hound

The right cost for this effect is like on Goblin Javelineer, which was trying to find a solid space in Goblins decks in Standard before the Innistrad sets put mono white aggro over the top. For Ashmouth Hound at two and you’ve got sweet art with nowhere to go.

#19. Zodiac Dog

Zodiac Dog

Zodiac Dog is the only dog with landwalk. That doesn’t make it playable.

#18. Lightning Hounds

Lightning Hounds

Weirdest art on all the dogs. What’s happening with the lead dog’s front left leg? Otherwise Lightning Hounds is an overcosted first striker with two red pips.

#17. Monstrous Hound

Monstrous Hound

This is from Exodus, kids. This was the first set where they colored the expansion symbols in gold for rares. So when you saw one, you wanted to make it work.

I opened one of these, yikes, 24 years ago in a pack. Never could find a place for Monstrous Hound. Every time I see it in my red box I look at it like it’s a stray in the pound that just needs the right deck to love it. Hasn’t happened yet, but now I can feel like I need to slot it into my Radha, Heart of Keld deck. Radha looks like she could use a good doggo.

#16. Wildfire Cerberus

Wildfire Cerberus

A card name created by Mad Libs during a WotC lunch break? An expensive Pyroclasm that spares your creatures, Wildfire Cerberus isn’t the worst thing you can be doing for, um, twelve mana, but, wait, maybe it is? You can almost hard cast Blasphemous Act by then.

#15. Mogis’s Warhound

Mogis's Warhound

A “fixed” Mad Dog? It doesn’t quite get there, although there are some wild brewers out there playing this in Kaima, the Fractured Calm decks, which is wild but makes some sense. Never change, wild brewers.

#14. Hellfire Mongrel

Hellfire Mongrel

Most of these Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage effects are in black, but there are some interesting discard tribal enablers in red if you’re building a Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger deck.

To your Megrim and friends, add Hellfire Mongrel, Burning Inquiry, maybe get wild with Magus of the Wheel, Sire on Insanity, toss in that Underworld Breach and a Rakdos Arcanist and a few madness cards to tie the room together? I see no Tergrid, God of Fright tables out there, so this kind of build, as a harder option, might get enough respect to allow you past that table’s rule 0 conversation.

#13. Pyre Hound

Pyre Hound

You’ve probably met Pyroceratops. Twinsies with Pyre Hound. If you’re building a bad version of Feather, the Redeemed, I guess this is a wincon? This kind of thing usually works better than you think it will in Limited. But it’s always much worse than you think in Commander.

#12. Akoum Hellhound

Akoum Hellhound

A decent option for mono red aggro in Standard after Throne of Eldraine rotated, you can still find Akoum Hellhound in red landfall and red aggro EDH decks, but both of those feel like decks you give a younger sibling to play to teach them Commander, not serious decks.

#11. Fiery Hellhound

Fiery Hellhound

The two red pips on Fiery Hellhound make this ruff. Firebreathing isn’t the worst thing and it always works in Limited, but I think maybe this boi needs to sit and stay.

#10. Karplusan Hound

Karplusan Hound

Okay, so Chandra really likes her dogs. Sure, this has to go in your Chandra tribal deck on principle, but it’s kind of meh. (Don’t tell Chandra I said that!)

#9. Chandra’s Magmutt

Chandra's Magmutt

I guess if you’re running some kind of Chandra tribal Commander pile (and we all have one of these, don’t we?), you probably want to give her all her toys and buddies, so Chandra’s Magmutt is a flavor must. Maybe this is cute in a Torbran, Thane of Red Fell deck, but don’t you need to be faster in EDH mono red than this pooch?

#8. Lava Hounds

Lava Hounds

Mike Flores has a great analysis of why Lava Hounds worked in a classic beatdown deck back in the day, David Price’s Deadguy Red. The tl;dr is that its butt was big enough to dodge popular removal, and when you’re bringing the beatdown, what’s four life between friends?

Today, well, Goldspan Dragon and Thundering Raiju are things, so you don’t need to work so hard for big red hasty bombers.

#7. Underworld Rage-Hound

Underworld Rage-Hound

If your Theros: Beyond Death Draft went on long enough and they didn’t have the right bombs, this often did the lethal to your opponent. This is probably the actual fixed Mad Dog as you can just pull Underworld Rage-Hound out of the graveyard when you need it.

#6. Igneous Cur

Igneous Cur

Always nice in M21 Limited with the Alpine Houndmaster that summons it. The package with Igneous Cur, Houndmaster, and Alpine Watchdog probably goes in dog tribal with Rin and Seri, Inseparable. The tryhard extra firebreathing is useful in a pinch.

#5. Hound of Griselbrand

Hound of Griselbrand

All these important characters get red dogs, it seems! A counters deck like Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch probably wants to take Hound of Griselbrand out for a nice walk, but four mana is a lot for this.

#4. Blood Hound

Blood Hound

Old-bordered card with a block of text. Okay. Okay.

First paragraph, good start! And we remember this is the 90s and creature cards keep finding ways to self-nerf. Still, in a modular +1/+1 counters EDH deck you can pack a Goblin Engineer or run some blue and then find The Ozolith. There are worse things to durdle with than Blood Hound. But beware, it probably won’t work.

#3. Arcbound Tracker

Arcbound Tracker MH2

Some day Boros () affinity will get enough cards to pop, at least in Pauper. It feels almost there. If it ever arrives, Arcbound Tracker will be in the deck. It makes counters and those are modular. If you’re playing the Zabaz, the Glimmerwasp modular tribal deck you have to play this.

#2. Bolt Hound

Bolt Hound

Bolt Hound is a nice effect if you’re going wide, and it’s on theme for Rin and Seri, Inseparable, a deck that also wants to go wide. Nice flavor text pun, which gets respect. I’d like to see this in Isshin, Two Heavens as One decks.

#1. Komainu Battle Armor

Komainu Battle Armor

Okay, Komainu Battle Armor is kind of sick. I’m not sure how the dude in the art reconfigures it to wear it, but I’m still here for it. It’s a tutorable equipment and the goad is very nice. Perfect with its precon buddy Chihiro, the Shattered Blade.

This is the only mono-red equipment that grants menace, and it has distinct advantages over its closest colorless alternative, Chitinous Cloak. For one more on the equip cost you get a 2/2 with menace when no one is equipping it, which is very nice.

Bestest Bois: Top Dogs in Green

#19. Elven Warhounds

Elven Warhounds

I can’t even with this card. No way Elves have Dogs. Nope. Plus, Elven Warhounds has the most anti-Dog flavor text on any Magic card, so that’s right out. I get that the flavor text is from a Cat Warrior, so okay, but still. Also, it’s a Bear with a bad ability at twice the cost.

#18. Sandsteppe Scavenger

Sandsteppe Scavenger

Not worth it. Sorry, Sandsteppe Scavenger.

#17. Wild Dogs

Wild Dogs

I suppose Wild Dogs could find a place in group hug decks, but there are a lot more fun things to do in those.

#16. Ainok Artillerist

Ainok Artillerist

You have to do a lot to make Ainok Artillerist do anything, and I don’t think that “anything” is really worth it. It probably fits the flavor of people manning the towers before being picked off by Nazgul, which is good for the dragon-heavy world they live in, but that means it only wins on flavor.

#15. Thrashing Mossdog

Thrashing Mossdog

Scavenge is tough. The cards tend to be overcosted and the graveyard ability is even more overcosted. All these Mossdogs are plants, so maybe you want Thrashing Mossdog in your Phylath, World Sculptor deck given that recovering from board wipes is key to that deck’s success rate, but still.

#14. Aerie Bowmasters

Aerie Bowmasters

Megamorph tends to be the line beyond which Kadena, Slinking Sorcerer cannot pass. Aerie Bowmasters is just really expensive at every step.

#13. Mossdog

Mossdog

These plant dog hybrids are trippy. And if there’s a tier list for the distance between the flavor text hype and the weakness of the creature, Mossdog has got to be at least at A level: “The more you look at it, the more dangerous it becomes.”

#12. Salt Road Ambushers

Salt Road Ambushers

Salt Road Ambushers is almost an auto-include in Kadena, Slinking Sorcerer decks, of course. I think every morph deck player has a story about how they flipped this and another morpher and blew out an attacker, and those are the things that give morph players life. But who’s really attacking the morph player who’s sitting there with, like, eight mana up? 

#11. Ainok Guide

Ainok Guide

It comes down a bear or a Campus Guide. Ainok Guide isn’t the worst card to blink, and if they ever print a decent scout tribal commander now that Golos, Tireless Pilgrim is banned this will likely go in that deck.

#10. Bayou Groff

Bayou Groff

Even in Strixhaven Limited Bayou Groff rarely worked the way you’d hope. Still, it could be decent with an Eyetwitch, and this card is reasonable in a Golgari () sac deck like Varolz, the Scar-Striped.

#9. Greater Mossdog

Greater Mossdog

Dredge is broken. But Greater Mossdog rarely shows up in Modern decks, most likely because dredge has shifted toward Rakdos () colors. And this doesn’t show up in a lot of EDH decks.

That’s kind of how broken mechanics work. The cards are either bannable or unplayable. I think there’s room for this and other Golgari dredge cards in The Gitrog Monster decks, if you can avoid decking yourself.

#8. Longshot Squad

Longshot Squad

Don’t you feel like you want a Longshot Squad in a counters deck like Daghatar the Adamant or even Grumgully, the Generous? Those Azorius fliers decks pack spot removal, though. 

#7. Abzan Beastmaster

Abzan Beastmaster

This isn’t the worst in a butts deck like Doran, the Siege Tower or Ikra Shidiqi, the Usurper. The trouble is that Abzan Beastmaster triggers on upkeep, so even with a Yeva, Nature’s Herald to flash it in you’ll be lucky to get the card.

#6. Mowu, Loyal Companion

Mowu, Loyal Companion

There are definitely players trying to make Mowu, Loyal Companion work as a +1/+1 counters Voltron-y commander.

Slap a hexproof equipment on it, toss in Invigorating Surge and Visions of Dominance as well as new card, Roaring Earth, and you might eliminate a player at your EDH table before the good decks take over the game. It’s probably a great inclusion in your Rin and Seri, Inseparable deck, though.

#5. Ainok Survivalist

Ainok Survivalist

The best of Tarkir’s Ainok, Ainok Survivalist is one of a handful of cards that’s in 97% of all Kadena, Slinking Sorcerer morph decks. It just has so much utility for that deck. The low megamorph cost makes this useful in a lot of other creature-heavy decks looking for a blinkable Naturalize.

#4. Mongrel Pack

Mongrel Pack

Anything that makes a lot of Dog tokens is more than welcome in Rin and Seri, Inseparable decks. On rate, Mongrel Pack is better than Release the Dogs, but it’s only played a third as much in Rin and Seri decks. I know it’s a boomer card but this seems like a bit of a missed opportunity.

#3. Tanuki Transplanter

Tanuki Transplanter

This “lesser”(?) Tanuki feels almost on point for everyone who remembers being taught how to find the tanuki suit in Super Mario Bros. 3. Strap it on and good things happen. I think I speak for all Nintendo fans when I say that we want this suit to enable you to fly. I mean, Tanuki Transplanter is climbing a tree in the art. If updog himself, Bounding Wolf, can have reach because it, you know, jumps, we want the tanuki suit to let us get up over the clouds, please.

I see a place for this in combo-oriented builds of decks like Omnath, Locus of Mana or Wulfgar of Icewind Dale, but you’ll have to let me know if you can unlock that particular door.

#2. Greater Tanuki

Greater Tanuki

When Greater Tanuki was spoiled it seemed like every content creator had a “wait, this is creature type dog!??” moment. If you want to get into the taxonomic weeds on this, be my guest, but it looks like dog is kind of correct.

For a hot minute this seemed like it would be total gas in Neon Dynasty Limited, but it’s only okay. It can serve as a Beanstalk Giant in EDH being less efficient early than a Rampant Growth but not dead late. The Giant is a lot better, but I think this card’s stock in Commander will only go up.

#1. Wild Mongrel

Wild Mongrel

Wild Mongrel was absolute gas in formats like Odyssey block Constructed in 2002. There were Simic () madness builds that used Aquamoeba, Wonder, and Standstill. Fill the graveyard for value. And there were Selesnya () decks that paired this Dog with cards like Tireless Tribe and Anurid Brushhopper and made heavy use of getting Glory into the ‘yard. Both were big fans of Roar of the Wurm at the top end. 

It’s still one of the most efficient ways to get cards in the graveyard for value in a color that has a complicated relationship with the graveyard in Commander, given that green’s role in madness, flashback, and disturb effects has shrunk in favor of red and black over the years. In any kind of Sultai () delirium pile, though, you’ve got to include this classic.

Bestest Bois: Top Dogs in Multicolor

#6. Pako, Arcane Retriever

Pako, Arcane Retriever

Pako, Arcane Retriever is a cute combo with its buddy Haldan, Avid Arcanist. We now have two partner sets with Dogs and Humans that play fetch.

WotC, stop trying to make fetch happen.

Neither set of cards really works. This might be a fun deck to play if Pako’s trigger wasn’t an attack trigger.

#5. Rakdos Ragemutt

Rakdos Ragemutt

This doesn’t work for the cost, but have you read the flavor text on Rakdos Ragemutt? Custom Magic cards keep being made to fill the void until Wizards makes us an actual The Butcher Clowns card. It’s been 10 years now. It’s time.  

#4. Blazing Hellhound

Blazing Hellhound

Blazing Hellhound is too expensive for the Rakdos aristocrat decks and doesn’t synergize well with Elementals decks.

#3. Underworld Cerberus

Underworld Cerberus

This is a weird mythic. I don’t know how all the abilities on Underworld Cerberus are supposed to fit together.

I can see this is a crazy wincon with a Syr Konrad, the Grim on the battlefield, which means I would try putting both into a Chainer, Nightmare Adept or Olivia, Crimson Bride deck. Maybe I’d drop an Ebony Owl Netsuke and Iron Maiden in there, too? You know if you were at a table where someone won with this “combo” you couldn’t even be mad.

#2. Kunoros, Hound of Athreos

Kunoros, Hound of Athreos

This doggo runs a mean anti-reanimator control/stax deck in Historic Brawl, but it hasn’t quite found its place as a commander. Kunoros, Hound of Athreos probably wants to tag along in your Athreos, God of Passage and Athreos, Shroud-Veiled decks just for flavor alone.

#1. Rin and Seri, Inseparable

Rin and Seri, Inseparable buy-a-box promo

Rin and Seri, Inseparable is the business. It’s the MTG Dog Cat commander! It’s a fun go-wide deck to play and there’s a slight political advantage of players not wanting to kill your creatures at some EDH tables. M21 shipped with some Dog tokens to support this card, and they’re wearing saddlebags filled with arrows so you need that in your life.

This is pretty much what you have to run for Dog tribal, even if you couldn’t care less about cats. Cat tribal can roll with lots of other commanders, especially Arahbo, Roar of the World, but we still await a solo Dog legend that’s more than two colors. Until then, Rin and Seri it is.

Bestest Bois: Top Dogs in Colorless

#6. Leashling

Leashling

The internet has been mulling over how to turn Leashling into a combo with Azorius Aethermage forever, but the art is a hollow dog and the flavor text says “irony,” so, you know…

#5. Cogwork Tracker

Cogwork Tracker

I don’t know how Cogwork Tracker worked in Conspiracy Draft, but these Mad Dog style perma-attackers are tiresome.

#4. Watchdog

Watchdog

Boarded Window but worse? Sorry, Watchdog.

#3. Dross Ripper

Dross Ripper

Dross Ripper feels like expired Draft chaff to me.

#2. Immolating Souleater

Immolating Souleater

Firebreathing that can be paid with Phyrexian mana is useful in a life loss deck like Greven, Predator Captain. I’ve never seen that deck actually, you know, win, but respect to Immolating Souleater.

#1. Corpse Cur

Corpse Cur

I feel like you’d have to put this in your infect decks like Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon, but I love a good Corpse Cur in my The Scorpion God deck.

Best Dog Payoffs

Aside from powerful individual cards like Spirited Companion or Dreadhound, MTG Dog deck tribal has yet to fully arrive. But there are two options to explore if you just need to let the dogs out.

Rin and Seri, Inseparable buy-a-box promo

You’ve got to include the cats, but Rin and Seri, Inseparable is a fun tribal deck with a nice go-wide strategy. It’s easy to play and a really fun deck to get a kid involved in Commander.

Isamaru, Hound of Konda, Mowu, Loyal Companion, and Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful can be turned into go-tall Commander damage decks. The white cards can get off to a fast start. The green one is a lot trickier to pull off. None of these decks are going to be Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest, but this is the place if you’re looking for a worthy challenge.

Is a Fox a Dog in MTG?

“Fox” is its own creature type, as is “Dog.” So unless your Fox creature also has Dog as a creature type, it’s not a Dog.

What About a Wolf?

A Wolf is also its own creature type distinct from Dog.

What About a Hound?

Hounds were all errata’d to Dogs with the release of Core Set 2021. So all Hounds are now Dogs but not all Dogs are Hounds in keeping with a longstanding wish from Mark Rosewater. And with Dog reality.

Wrap Up

Rin and Seri, Inseparable - Illustration by Leesha Hannigan

Rin and Seri, Inseparable | Illustration by Leesha Hannigan

Magic still has a long way to go to make Dogs a powerful tribe, but most of the best Dogs in Magic have been made in the last five years. I look forward to more good bois and girls as more sets are released. 

There’s a lot of design space in the “cute creatures” category, which it seems Magic has only recently embraced. The positive response to these cards indicates to me that this would be a welcome direction for the future. I mean, the Jumpstart Dog Plains card sells for more than two bucks a pop! And the Every Dog Has Its Day Secret Lair, with cute new dog-themed art and flavor text on Rest in Peace, Dig Through Time, Ancient Grudge, and Lightning Greaves was as popular as it was cute.

What’s your favorite Dog in Magic? And how do you feel about my rankings? Do you think I got the best in show right, or did your best pal get skipped over? Let me know in the comments down below or over on Draftsim’s Twitter.

Thanks for being my dogged readers for this longish piece!

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