Last updated on May 23, 2023
Kura, the Boundless Sky | Illustration by Donato Giancola
If you could choose, what would your kindred spirit be? For me, it might be a koala or Labrador. For the more valiant of you, it might be a dragon. The spirits of dragons are powerful, noble, and full of energy. MTG has taken this thought and created the dragon spirit creature type.
Dragon spirits dominate the stars and skies of all five colors. They represent the elements of their planes and are dominant creatures. But what can these creatures do for your builds? Do they interact with regular dragon effects, or do they have their own tribal style?
Let’s answer these questions and check out these rad spirits!
What Are Dragon Spirits in MTG?
Kyodai, Soul of Kamigawa | Illustration by Daniel Zrom
The dragon spirit creature type mostly represents the dragon-kami from Kamigawa. There are a few other dragon spirits on the list, but when describing the dragon spirits I refer to properties of the kami of Kamigawa. These dragon spirits are less like their winged reptilian brothers and more like flying wurms. They represent the five colors of Magic and have pledged to protect several important realms of the mortals.
The first dragon spirits were released in 2004’s Champions of Kamigawa. The newer release of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty showed the reborn forms, or saga enchantment versions of the dragon spirits. The Kamigawa dragon spirits all have some sort of dying trigger that can be used to pressure your opponent during combat. The other examples of dragon spirits have different abilities but still represent the mystical energy of dragon spirits.
Best White Dragon Spirits
#4. Eternal Dragon
I believe Eternal Dragon would be a wonderful card except for one bit of text. The plainscycling is a useful addition to an expensive card to stabilize your hands. You may also bring Eternal Dragon back to your hand from the graveyard, which gives it and the plainscycling ability even more value.
I don’t like that you can only do this during your upkeep. This greatly limits your mana pool and slows you down to the point that this is a detriment more than an advantage.
#3. Yosei, the Morning Star
Yosei, the Morning Star isn’t as good for the aggressive white mana player as Ao, the Dawn Sky, but the value is still there for some builds. You gain a much larger margin of advantage if you can gain an advantage over an opponent and make them unable to untap their permanents.
#2. Kyodai, Soul of Kamigawa
Kyodai, Soul of Kamigawa isn’t one of the five colored dragon spirits, but a representation of the soul of Kamigawa. She has an important connection to The Wandering Emperor and may be analogous to the real Japanese kami Amaterasu.
As a card, Kyodai works well as a combat or protection trick. It can also be a massive flying creature for you if you have opportunities to produce the five different colors of mana.
#1. Ao, the Dawn Sky
Ao, the Dawn Sky has been making its rounds in the current Standard meta. It adds a massive flying creature with vigilance, and its dying effects fit perfectly into mono-white strategies. This card is the mid to late game curve out for the aggressive mono-white players.
You finish a game attacking with Ao, the Dawn Sky or have it removed and increase your board presence in some way.
Best Blue Dragon Spirits
#2. Keiga, the Tide Star
Trading creatures is often the most practical defensive strategy when needed. Keiga, the Tide Star can turn a trade of creatures into a net win for you. When it dies, you can take an opponent’s creature with no time limits on it.
The value here is high, but it’s vulnerable to board wipes that remove all creatures.
#1. Kairi, the Swirling Sky
Kairi, the Swirling Sky is a wonderful creature for the noncreature decks. I can see that hypocrisy there, but many noncreature decks do very well with a select few creatures to highlight their strategies.
Kairi has some protection and forces your opponent to decide between a big creature and returning your spells from the graveyard. Tough decisions for your opponent usually lead to great outcomes for you.
Best Black Dragon Spirits
#2. Kokusho, the Evening Star
Kokusho, the Evening Star is a card that benefits from having more opponents in a game. You can deal damage to every opponent and gain life equal to the total amount of damage done. This dragon spirit can help finish off mono-black or Rakdos () strategies by dealing five direct damage when it dies.
Kokusho fits well into the strategies of sacrifice and pinging your opponent into submission.
#1. Junji, the Midnight Sky
Now, this is my type of dragon!
Junji, the Midnight Sky is a flying creature that’s hard to block and can have huge impacts on the game if it’s sent to the graveyard. It’s a discard card, reanimator, and even direct damage kind of card. It can help with whatever you need in the moment.
As with all these dragon spirits, exiling nullifies their true upside.
Best Red Dragon Spirits
Honorable Mention: Vengeful Ancestor
Technically Vengeful Ancestor is a spirit dragon, so semantics aside we’ll include it.
This card is a goad expert. You can force opponents to attack with creatures they don’t want to and deal damage when they do it. The flying ability here should free up the chance to goad a few more creatures in a match.
#2. Atsushi, the Blazing Sky
Bring on the aggressive red dragon spirits! Atsushi, the Blazing Sky can act more like a ramp card than a deadly force like some of the other dragon spirits. It allows you to continue attacking aggressively, and if it’s removed you can build your mana pool or play with more cards.
I’ll say that Atsushi, the Blazing Sky may be the one reborn dragon spirit that isn’t better than its original counterpart.
#1. Ryusei, the Falling Star
“Falling Star” is an apt name for this dragon spirit.
Ryusei, the Falling Star can act like a ticking time bomb for your opponent. If it dies, it deals five damage to creatures without flying. Your dragons can stay strong while most creature decks are hard-pressed to keep their creatures.
Best Green Dragon Spirits
#3. Jugan, the Rising Star
Jugan, the Rising Star fits well into aggressive creature green decks, but the cost is a problem. I don’t think its mana value makes it curve friendly and will often lessen its value.
Here’s an example: you build your board presence during the first five turns, and an opponent uses a board wipe (they’re often played around turn 4 or 5). Now Jugan, the Rising Star ETBs alone and loses value for its dying trigger.
#2. Kura, the Boundless Sky
I love the choices that the reborn dragon spirits of Kamigawa can give you.
With Kura, the Boundless Sky, you can ramp up your mana pool or make a potentially massive creature when it dies. The deathtouch keyword isn’t as good as some of the other keywords the “sky” dragons have, but you’re probably willing to trade this creature with an opponent’s biggest creature.
#1. Jugan Defends the Temple / Remnant of the Rising Star
Jugan Defends the Temple is a saga that depicts the ancient Jugan, the Rising Star. The lore abilities are solid. You can gain a mana producing creature, give counters, and then Remnant of the Rising Star.
This is a wonderful saga that leads to a creature and helps modify big creature and even puny creature decks.
Best Multicolored Dragon Spirits
#3. O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami
Get your mana fixers and fetch lands ready! O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami is a massive 5-color dragon spirit that provides great removal when it deals combat damage to a player. The trample keyword helps greatly with this combat damage trigger.
This card has a great combat damage trigger, but the five colors force you to focus your build on fixing your mana. It’s not impossible, and 5-color decks can be strong, but I feel like O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami only makes it into a few decks.
#2. The Kami War / O-Kagachi Made Manifest
The Kami War is another saga representing the ancient dragon spirits. The lore counters help remove some serious threats you face. O-Kagachi Made Manifest is a big dragon spirit that returns cards to your hand and pressures your opponent.
If you can reliably get the five mana colors, this card can help you remove threats and apply pressure. Beware of cheap removal spells sacking your advantages of this card.
#1. Miirym, Sentinel Wyrm
I don’t believe anyone is saying that dragons are lacking and need more firepower. Well, dragon tribal lovers have received another bomb addition with Miirym, Sentinel Wyrm.
This card is great at making tokens of strong dragon cards, but if they’re legends, the token isn’t legendary. Miirym, Sentinel Wyrm makes for a great dragon commander, or just a nice addition to your next Historic or Modern Temur () dragon build.
Best Colorless Dragon Spirit
#1. Scion of Ugin
Scion of Ugin is a dragon spirit, but not one you have to pay attention to. The 6-mana value for a 4/4 flying creature just isn’t worth the investment.
I include it on this list to do my due diligence, but you can find much better dragons, spirits, and dragon spirits.
Best Dragon Spirit Payoffs
The five different colors of the dragon spirits all fit well into mono-color builds. Pair them with mono-color staples like Eternal Witness, Adeline, Resplendent Cathar, Mana Geyser, Temporal Mastery, and Invoke Despair.
These dragon spirits have wonderful dying effects, so reanimating them exponentially boosts their value. Cards like Emeria, the Sky Ruin, The Cruelty of Gix, Finale of Devastation, and Reanimate can help you get the dying trigger multiple times.
Commanders like Scion of the Ur-Dragon, Rivaz of the Claw, and Lathliss, Dragon Queen can benefit from these dragon spirits.
Dragon spirits are dragons, so pair them with Crux of Fate, Dragonspeaker Shaman, and Scourge of Valkas to create synergies.
They’re also spirits, so pair them with Drogskol Captain, Karador, Ghost Chieftain, and Nebelgast Herald for even more synergies.
If you want some more dragon spirits, you can create Dragon Spirit tokens with Goro-Goro, Disciple of Ryusei, Vrondiss, Rage of Ancients, Tatsumasa, the Dragon's Fang, and Goro-Goro and Satoru.
Are Dragon Spirits Considered Dragons in MTG?
Yes, dragon spirits are dragons. The “dragon spirit” creature type isn’t an individual classification, but a combination of the dragon and spirit typings. They satisfy any ability or text that specifies “dragon” or “spirit” individually.
O-Kagachi Made Manifest | Illustration by Kieran Yanner
Because dragons are mythological creatures, we often depict them as something we want for our spirits. The dragon spirits of MTG portray the forces that surround the five colors of mana. When they die, their fighting spirits help you gain advantages over your opponent. The dragon spirits are usually great late game plays and can be the finishers of your strategies.
Which dragon spirits are your favorite? Do you run them as a theme, or insert them into other strategies? It would warm my heart like dragon fire if you would leave a nice comment below, or let us know over on the official Draftsim Twitter.
Have fun with your builds and show off your spirit well!
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