Last updated on March 15, 2023

Neverwinter Dryad - Illustration by Donato Giancola

Neverwinter Dryad | Illustration by Donato Giancola

Dryads are the often-forgotten green sylvan even though they first appeared in Alpha. Maybe it’s that they’re so closely associated with the dusty old landwalk mechanic while elves and druids leaned into mana ramp and counters, two things that still matter a lot in Magic.

But there are some truly powerful dryads that can be useful in a variety of green and green-aligned decks, and it’s worth checking all 45 dryads in Magic to find some forgotten gems. Let’s get into it!

What Are Dryads in MTG?

Trostani Discordant - Illustration by Chase Stone

Trostani Discordant | Illustration by Chase Stone

Dryads are nature spirits that inhabit trees, usually oak, in Greek myth. In Magic they’re a creature type that’s existed since Shanodin Dryads was printed in Alpha, the very first set. But they’ve never really become a popular tribe. All dryads are green or multicolor with green, which makes sense given their lore.

A lot of dryads are underpowered cards that highlight the old forestwalk ability, but quite a few are good cards. You might also be surprised to find out which of your favorite Cube all-stars are dryads, not druids.

Best Green Dryads

#37. Folk of the Pines

Folk of the Pines

For sale: Magic card. Never played.

Apologies to Ernest Hemingway. No apologies to Folk of the Pines.

#36. Llanowar Vanguard

Llanowar Vanguard

Let’s say Llanowar Vanguard always had the tap toughness bonus. Even then it’s still below the rate of bulk commons like Grizzled Leotau.

#35. Oakheart Dryads

Oakheart Dryads

One of the weakest constellation cards, Oakheart Dryads didn’t make the cut in Theros Draft and isn’t getting any better with age.

#34. Rime Dryad

Rime Dryad

Rime Dryad was the best rate for a 1/2 in the game at the time. That stats level was insufficient in a Necropotence meta, but those stats have never been good enough.

The overly-specific landwalk on this dryad was a joke even at the time.

#33. Wormwood Dryad

Wormwood Dryad

This fragile 3-drop has two landwalks if you pay a mana and a life. Hard pass for Wormwood Dryad.

#32. Old-Growth Dryads

Old-Growth Dryads

Old-Growth Dryads is an interesting concept. But I can’t see playing this card unless you’re in group hug land or try harding multicolor Opposition Agent style control.

#31. Ivy Dancer

Ivy Dancer

Hold me closer Ivy Dancer…

(Apologies to Elton John)

There aren’t that a lot of ways to grant forestwalk, but I still don’t see Ivy Dancer as a playable.

#30. Willow Dryad

Willow Dryad

A Portal re-skin of the next card, Willow Dryad is a card you can sleeve up if you can find a way to make forestwalk matter.

#29. Shanodin Dryads

Shanodin Dryads

The first dryads from Alpha! Shanodin Dryads and its forestwalk have been holding down the fort in boomers’ boxes of old Magic cards for decades now.

This is an auto-include if you’re running dryad tribal because you aren’t running that archetype to win anyway.

#28. Rushwood Dryad

Rushwood Dryad

Again with the forestwalk. I guess that’s what dryads do? Mythologically they live in their tree, and it doesn’t seem like forestwalk exactly follows from that. Then again what is landwalk anyway, and how does it make sense with anything besides islandwalk?

If you’re forestwalking, Rushwood Dryad does two damage.

#27. Somberwald Dryad

Somberwald Dryad

Somberwald Dryad is strictly better than Rushwood Dryad. Cool story, bro.

#26. Unseen Walker

Unseen Walker

Unseen Walker is better at giving forestwalk than Ivy Dancer. I imagine you want both cards if you build a deck that needs that.

#25. Transluminant


A sacrificial bear for Selesnya () decks? Not sure Transluminant has a home. If your sac deck colors pull in green for some impossible-to-imagine-at-the-moment domain synergies, this is arguably better than a staple like Doomed Dissenter if your mana is easy.

#24. Leafcrown Dryad

Leafcrown Dryad

It’s a bear with reach at worst, and that’s bad. Leafcrown Dryad is in fewer than 1% of Sythis, Harvest’s Hand EDH decks, which tells you all you need to know about its rate.

#23. Heartwood Dryad

Heartwood Dryad

Heartwood Dryad wasn’t a good enough answer to the shadow creatures of the Tempest block at the time, and I don’t think this is an answer to Dauthi Voidwalker now.

#22. Blossom Dryad

Blossom Dryad

The days of Ley Druid are likely over with Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner out there to untap your Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx‘ and Nyx Lotus‘ in those devotion decks.

Sorry, Blossom Dryad.

#21. Conclave Naturalists

Conclave Naturalists

Hardly playable as an uncommon in Magic Origins Draft, Conclave Naturalists demonstrates that the weaker but much cheaper Reclamation Sage is the sweet spot for this effect.

#20. Vine Dryad

Vine Dryad

Vine Dryad is an understated green creature with flash that you can pitch when tapped out. That seems okay, but what exactly does a 1/3 get you when you do that?

#19. Gnarlwood Dryad

Gnarlwood Dryad

This decent uncommon from Eldritch Moon Limited is almost an auto-include if you’re running deathtouch tribal in Commander. I guess Gnarlwood Dryad is an okay rate for a deck that can get delirium otherwise, but does a French vanilla 3/3 even matter at that point?

#18. Saruli Caretaker

Saruli Caretaker

Useful in the Arcades, the Strategist walls tribal deck or decks that care about tapping like the strange stax deck helmed by Archelos, Lagoon Mystic. There are combos to be had here, but they all work better with cards like Overgrown Battlement.

I’m not sure how important this is to any of these decks.

#17. Tanglewalker


This is janky and sees virtually zero play. Don’t you just want to play Tanglewalker with something that can give your artifact land to an opponent while you hit them with infect cards? It just can’t be me!

Vedalken Plotter? Political Trickery? Anyone?

#16. Silverglade Pathfinder

Silverglade Pathfinder

Another Mercadian Masques card that seems better than its almost nonexistent level of EDH play, I don’t see why you wouldn’t be interested in Silverglade Pathfinder for lands-in-the-graveyard Sultai (), Golgari (), or Simic () decks.

Maybe the rate isn’t good enough, but I’d seriously consider this for Slogurk, the Overslime and Uurg, Spawn of Turg.

#15. Deepwood Elder

Deepwood Elder

The fever dream of janky combo masters: tap Deepwood Elder, make enough things Forests, Pyroclasm. Got ‘em.

I guess that works if you’ve got a forestwalk theme going? Is that really a thing you’re trying to do in EDH? Dryads really want to lean into that, but I don’t think Deepwood Elder matters for most decks even if everyone were to always play green.

#14. Quirion Dryad

Quirion Dryad

A Limited powerhouse, Quirion Dryad was shifted from a Planechase rare to a Core Set 2021 uncommon, and that’s about right in terms of power level.

This probably deserves more play in tokens matters Selesnya decks in Commander.

#13. Dryad Sophisticate

Dryad Sophisticate

Dryad Sophisticate is straight-up unblockable in most games of Commander. That isn’t easy to get in green, especially for only two mana. If you’re the kind of player who runs a Toski, Bearer of Secrets deck, you should be the kind of person who sleeves this card up.

#12. Dryad Greenseeker

Dryad Greenseeker

There are only about 50 creatures that let you look at the top card of your library, so having a low-cost one in green can be very useful in a deck that cares about that, like if Rulik Mons, Warren Chief is your commander. Dryad Greenseeker seems like the worst ramp otherwise.

#11. Rushwood Legate

Rushwood Legate

Rushwood Legate is probably a free creature in Commander. Although the best of this Legate cycle from Mercadian Masques is probably Deepwood Legate, the only reason this isn’t an auto-include in Chulane, Teller of Tales decks is that players forgot about it.

#10. Dawnstrider


Did you know this card existed? I didn’t.

The age of Dawnstrider, never reprinted from Mercadian Masques, must be the reason Spore Frog is in 33 times more decks on EDHRec. These days the discard bit is a bonus if anything!

If you need a repeatable fog and can protect or recur a creature, this is your card.

#9. Yavimaya Dryad

Yavimaya Dryad

Yavimaya Dryad is a fine ramp on a creature comparable to the classic Wood Elves. It’s a bit harder to cast and the joke is that it enables your forestwalk. That seems useful if you’re trying to make fetch happen in EDH.

Expect Yavimaya Dryad to soar if they ever print cards with basic land types with real drawbacks.

#8. Neverwinter Dryad

Neverwinter Dryad

A surprising ramp element of Koma, Cosmos Serpent decks during their time in Standard, Neverwinter Dryad has a solid place in a lot of decks. A sac trigger and ramp in one, it’s especially nuts in Yedora, Grave Gardener decks.

#7. Loam Dryad

Loam Dryad

Springleaf Drum effects are always decent, most recently in Jaspera Sentinel. Loam Dryad in another good pick if you need that kind of effect.

#6. Quirion Beastcaller

Quirion Beastcaller

This card is sweet in an aggro or counters-matter shell. It seems like the sort of card that produces a decent aggro alternative to black The Meathook Massacre control decks in Standard. Maybe. Someday.

Until then Selesnya tokens/counters decks in EDH will be in the market for Quirion Beastcaller.

#5. Bramble Sovereign

Bramble Sovereign

Bramble Sovereign is sneaky, sneaky good! There aren’t that many cards that let you copy your nontoken creatures like this. It’s miles better than something like Dual Nature.

You can also play a group hug or political game with this card because it lets you choose to spend mana to outfit your opponents.

#4. Tendershoot Dryad

Tendershoot Dryad

This Cube staple is fantastic in Commander where there are more turns and therefore tons more Saprolings. But Tendershoot Dryad is fragile for the investment, so you’ve got to find a way to protect it.

#3. Dryad of the Ilysian Grove

Dryad of the Ilysian Grove

The most played dryad in Commander is quite good at ramping, and Dryad of the Ilysian Grove is an enchantment to boot. It’s a body and also fixes, so you’d rather draw this on EDH turn 8 than your 3-mana ramp spells.

#2. Dryad Arbor

Dryad Arbor

There are lots of reasons to play this card other than gunning for infinite combos like Dryad Arbor plus Squirrel Nest and Intruder Alarm. Being able to reanimate, untap, and/or sacrifice a creature that’s also a land allows you to break things. Even something as simple as using this in a sac deck with a Ramunap Excavator is a reasonable source of value.

Note that it’s green, in accordance with its color indicator.

#1. Sanctum Weaver

Sanctum Weaver

This is straight up busted in enchantress decks. You’re likely already running Sanctum Weaver in whatever flavor of such decks you choose, from Sythis, Harvest’s Hand to Tatsunari, Toad Rider.

Best Multicolored Dryads

#8. Chorus of the Conclave

Chorus of the Conclave

Terrible. You should win the game for eight hard-to-cast mana. There are quite a few other legends besides Chorus of the Conclave if you’re doing dryad tribal in Commander.

#7. Dryad Militant

Dryad Militant

Do Savannah Lions stats matter anymore? The trouble with Dryad Militant is that the go-wide aggro deck it probably wants to live in needs to win the game before something like a Hullbreaker Horror or Underworld Breach appears.

Spellslinger decks also have lots of cheap removal cards that can handle this dryad as needed.

#6. Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage

Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage

Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage is the cheapest creature that can populate. It’s also one of the few creatures that can generate a populate effect without tapping. That’s pretty good for two mana.

#5. Trostani Discordant

Trostani Discordant

A popular card in the EDH 99 rather than as a commander, Trostani Discordant is good in all the Selesnya tokens decks you can imagine that have space for a 5-drop. The final ability makes it valuable as an answer in certain Cube builds, but they usually sacrifice your yoinked thing before you can get it back in Commander.

#4. Willowdusk, Essence Seer

Willowdusk, Essence Seer

This is fine, but slow. You’re activating Willowdusk, Essence Seer after combat unless you’re gaining life with spells, which just leaves value on the table when the board wipe comes.

This would be awesomely busted if that sorcery clause weren’t there.

#3. Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice

Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice

This is harder to cast but more popular than the other Trostani. Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice has that sweet lifegain trigger. More importantly, this is one of only two legendary creatures that have a populate ability. The other has a red pip which is nice as a commander, but its trigger is an ETB.

Trostani is one of only six creatures that can populate. It also compares favorably to the best of the others, Scion of Vitu-Ghazi and Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage.

#2. Dina, Soul Steeper

Dina, Soul Steeper

Dina, Soul Steeper is an annoying commander to play against. Take Soul Warden plus Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose types and Zulaport Cutthroat effects, dozens of which can be found on cheap creatures.

All you need are a stack of Deadly Dispute effects and you’ve got a reasonably low-budget, low-to-the-ground EDH deck that’s hard to kill. Toss in some tutors for your Exquisite Blood to up the price and the number of wins.

#1. Knight of Autumn

Knight of Autumn

This Cube staple is a must-include for any Bant () blink deck. Knight of Autumn is a topdeck you’d be happy to have at most points in the game.

Best Dryad Payoffs

There’s not a lot of these, collectively, but most of the good cards find their way into other decks.

Dryad Tribal

This is a definite nostalgia deck just for fun. Usually helmed by one the Selesnya dryad legends, this deck is what you play when you’re trying to power down your EDH experience.

Selesnya Tokens

Trostani, Selesnya’s VoiceParallel Lives

Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice is currently the most popular Selesnya tokens commander by far, and there are certainly other dryads that fit into that theme. These are fun and fast decks that can still win on-budget builds without expensive classics like Parallel Lives.

Forestwalk, Let’s Go!

Toski, Bearer of Secrets

Hardly anyone is really leaning into a forestwalk tribal theme. Maybe that’s because Jedit Ojanen of Efrava, the card that seems like the marquee commander, is kind of bad. There are just under 50 cards with forestwalk and this could be a really powered-down way to run Toski, Bearer of Secrets as your commander given how ubiquitous green and Simic is at Commander tables.

Wrap Up

Conclave Naturalists - Illustration by Howard Lyon

Conclave Naturalists | Illustration by Howard Lyon

I would welcome more dryads in Magic. There are 500+ elves and almost 300 druids, but there’s something flavorful about dryads that has yet to be unlocked.

Why not go back to the Shanodin Dryads basics and power up forestwalk? How about giving green a few Tidal Warrior effects and maybe some ways to tutor up a new generation of treefolk?

Which are your favorite dryads, and how do you use them? What would like to see from them in the future? Let me know in the comments or over in the official Draftsim Discord.

Until next time, happy brewing!

Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates:

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *