Beanstalk Giant | Illustration by Jason A. Engle
Paul Bunyan. The Gigantes of Greek mythology. Bran the Blessed and other Welsh giants. The modern basketball player.
Giants have a place all over our own cultural mythologies and histories, so it’s only natural for our favorite game to have a wealth of them too. There are about 200 as of writing, but a lot of the early ones have been power crept to irrelevance.
As you’d expect, giants are big boys, often decked out with abilities that punish and bruise. But what else can you expect from giants in Magic? Which are the best ones, and how should you deploy them? Just take one small step…
What Are Giants in MTG?
Sage of the Beyond | Illustration by Cristi Balanescu
Giants are creatures that look like, well, giant humans. They’re often portrayed as less than bright and more than violent, but they’re also one of the most diverse tribes. There are giants on many of Magic’s planes, and they can be just as involved in mainstream society as they can be reclusive and isolated. They keep their distance from humans on Eldraine, while the giants of Ravnica are aligned to the guilds. If you have a favorite plane in Magic, giants probably have a part to play.
Giants as a creature type have been in Magic since as far back as Alpha, with the appearances of Hill Giant, Stone Giant, and Two-Headed Giant of Foriys. There are giants in all colors, but red giants are most common while blue giants are rarest.
Giants tend to come with big stats (4/4 or bigger), and don’t be surprised to find monstrosity or trample. They can have attack triggers, but they can also have restrictions on what or how they can block. Enters-the-battlefield effects, whether self-triggered or other-triggered, are another common giant trait. If it signals aggression, violence, and impulse decisions, giants can have it. And yet, depending on the location, vigilance also pops up.
Lorwyn block included four tribal cards with the giant type, which can be fetched by Giant Harbinger. Those cards are Crush Underfoot, Favor of the Mighty, Feudkiller’s Verdict, and Giant’s Ire. There are also nine giant token generating cards, including Un-sets:
- Chicken Egg
- Feudkiller’s Verdict
- Giant Opportunity
- Giant’s Amulet
- Pact of the Titan
- Quest for the Gravelord
- Warchief Giant
- Water Gun Balloon Game
Minsc, Beloved Ranger can grant the giant creature type to one of your creatures, while Opal Titan and Foriysian Totem can become giants.
And yes, there other creatures like “Giant Spider” with “Giant” in the name that aren’t giants. Go figure.
I don’t know what the devs were thinking with Cyclopean Giant, but no. Just no. So much “No” that it came back as Cyclopean Titan in Mystery Boosters. Freaking zombies, man.
If you play Modern, Legacy, or Vintage, Primeval Titan is a big guy who’ll help you ramp. It’s banned in EDH, though, which makes me hesitate to rank it among the rest. If you’re like me and were wondering why this would be banned, lemme remind you of Rite of Replication. 🤮
“487. You’re welcome.”Bucky, flavor text writer
Best White Giants
#9. Hundred-Handed One
I get to put my Greek Mythology university course to good use, goodie!
Theros is heavily inspired by Greek mythology, as evidenced by the various gods, the presence of creatures like satyrs, minotaurs, hydras, etc., and a lot of the card art. Hundred-Handed One also has its roots in Greek myth, specifically the Hecatoncheires, though they were said to have fifty heads.
I like the flavor of monstrosity granting Hundred-Handed One the ability to block a total of 100 creatures. (Its 6/9 post-monstrosity stats are also very, um, nice.)
#8. Kalemne’s Captain
An enchantment/artifact-hating monstrosity effect is nothing to sneeze at, although you’re also hitting your own. Kalemne’s Captain is worthy of a respectful salute.
#7. Oathsworn Giant
Oathsworn Giant is a solid creature that gives the others under your control vigilance and a toughness buff. Decks that like high-cost creatures and decks that make you deal damage with your toughness have a use for this.
#6. Arbiter of Knollridge
Arbiter of Knollridge is a higher-cost giant that comes with a group hug lifegain ability for an ETB. Don’t get me wrong, it can be useful to you. The issue is that it’s a restorative effect while giants usually come with destruction.
#5. Marble Titan
Marble Titan is one of the few older giants that hasn’t been power-crept away. That’s probably because its combination of a reasonable mana cost with its ability that shuts down larger creatures from untapping make it something that can still be useful. Defender decks, for example, could decide to run this.
#4. Jareth, Leonine Titan
That’s a big kitty. It doesn’t do much as a commander, but Jareth, Leonine Titan can be a big beater and blocker in decks that likes either of its types. Imagine using either or both of Arahbo, Roar of the World’s abilities on Jareth. That would be a big kitty.
#3. Realm-Cloaked Giant
(Bilbo Baggins voice) “I’m going on an adventure!” Don’t think you’d like this one, old chap.
You can Cast Off to sweep away all non-Giants, then bring out a 7/7 with vigilance in Realm-Cloaked Giant. Great card. Part of me wishes it wasn’t mono-typed. “Realm-Cloaked” suggests illusion or elemental to me, you know?
#2. Protector of the Crown
It’s a little bit funny that Protector of the Crown doesn’t require you to stay the monarch to keep redirecting damage to itself considering how other cards do. I kind of wish that it had slightly more power, but its purpose is less swinging and more absorbing anyway.
#1. Sun Titan
Sun Titan has been reprinted so many times over the last decade plus, specifically in Commander products. Like it’s not even funny. Being able to bring back your lower-cost creatures (including your commander, if applicable), is pretty darn useful.
Yes, Mother, I’m talking about one of your new pets. Sorry, Mother, I’ll keep it down…
Best Blue Giants
#6. Frost Titan
Oh, you pesky ETB tapper, you. I like the combination of freezing an opponent’s creature with being harder to target on Frost Titan. Don’t try to tap back; it’s not worth it.
#5. Surtland Elementalist
Surtland Elementalist may take a while to get to, but once you do… Oh boy. Casting free instants and sorceries opens up all of your mana for any activated abilities you may want to add to the fray.
#4. Galecaster Colossus
I like a detail of Galecaster Colossus’s wording: you can return something an opponent has stolen from you to your hand. You know, if you aren’t returning other permanents you don’t control to their owners’ hands.
#3. Sage of the Beyond
Sage of the Beyond is a good enabler if your deck uses foretell mechanics and other strats that cast spells from zones that aren’t your hand. There are all kinds of commanders that do that, so the Sage’s success depends more on how easy it is for you to cast or foretell it.
#2. Cyclone Summoner
Giants and wizards alike can make use of Cyclone Summoner and its sweeping enters-the-battlefield effect. The only thing about those kinds of ETBs is that there’s no incentive to copy them. No matter, Cyclone Summoner is a wizard, and lots of decks could use a big wizard that clears the board.
#1. Thryx, the Sudden Storm
Any deck running big spells, but especially creatures, is going to appreciate Thryx, the Sudden Storm. Oh, those stormy, big sea creature themes. Giant tribal likes it, but so does the high-cost cascade enabler, Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty.
Best Black Giants
#4. Vogar, Necropolis Tyrant
I’d like Vogar, Necropolis Tyrant a little more if its death trigger wasn’t restricted to your turn. I see Vogar as more of a mid-game set-up piece: bring it out, let it grow a bit, then let it die in combat or sac it to another effect to draw some cards and prepare for your final push.
#3. Doomwake Giant
Gotta love constellation, especially when it allows you to debuff opponents’ creatures. Or, as X/1s call it, kill! Doomwake Giant is a solid inclusion for your enchantment deck, but you probably already know that.
#2. Diregraf Colossus
Diregraf Colossus is designed to be one of the bigger hitters among your zombies. Its stats change depending on the number of zombies you have in your graveyard. Tack on some token generation and you have a serious zombie infestation on your hands.
#1. Grave Titan
Speaking of Zombie tokens…. Sigh, freaking zombies.
Grave Titan swings for six and has deathtouch. You know, just in case.
Best Red Giants
#19. Bearer of the Heavens
Known to his friends as “Atlas.” I can’t lie, the 10/10 stats make a big-creature player salivate. Destroying all permanents when it dies, though, is one of those all-in scenarios that might make me hesitate to bring Bearer of the Heavens on board.
#18. Thundercloud Shaman
This is absolutely designed to be in your giant decks, although it’s a toss-up on how many you’ll have out when Thundercloud Shaman enters the battlefield.
#17. Giant Harbinger
Giant Harbinger brings a giant closer to your hand when it comes onto the battlefield, and it can even get those tribal non-creature cards.
#16. Surtland Flinger
Surtland Flinger flings when it attacks. It doubles the power of its fling when giants are sacrificed to it. Need I explain more?
#15. Two-Headed Giant
Don’t be so flippant. Two-Headed Giant’s base of 4/4 for four is perfectly fine, but the chance to give it double strike or menace just makes it that much more fun. I love the randomness added by coin tosses, and this giant’s typing and abilities make it useful if you care about coins, menace, giants, or warriors.
#14. Sunrise Sovereign
Sunrise Sovereign is a trample enabler for your giants, and the +2/+2 can’t be ignored. But it doesn’t have trample itself. It’ll be redundant on some of your guys but welcome on the rest.
#13. Boldwyr Heavyweights
That there, that’s bait. Sure, Boldwyr Heavyweights’ ETB lets your opponents bring out a creature if they want to. But you’re playing red, so maybe you’re just asking them to bring something scary out, just so you can yank it away with whatever removal trick you’ve got up your sleeve. Let the mind games begin!
#12. Borderland Behemoth
The tribal buffing is appreciated, but it’s not like you’re flooding your board with tokens. I could be wrong, but Borderland Behemoth feels more like removal/counter bait. Good bait, mind you.
#11. Dargo, the Shipwrecker
Giant and pirate go together flavor-wise. You just know there’s some poor sod with PTSD out there who’s run into Dargo, the Shipwrecker and thought he was taller than he is.
I want to like Dargo, truly I do. Saccing creatures and artifacts to cheapen the cost is nice, especially if you can make that pay off in other ways. There’s potential for a number of different partners, and it’s not a bad card to have on its own. I dunno, I’m just not “wowed.” I guess I’m expecting more from a legendary creature, but Dargo is perfectly adequate and shouldn’t be ashamed to be so.
#10. Chancellor of the Forge
Chancellor of the Forge has an interesting mechanic that’s a preview of its ETB. You can make a Goblin token if you reveal it from your opening hand, showing your opponents the army that’s coming when you’re good and ready.
#9. Warchief Giant
Warchief Giant gives you a lot of aggression in a neat package. Power of five? Check. Haste? Check. Myriad? Check. All this for five mana, which makes this a valid piece in lots of decks that want some oomph in that slot.
#8. Basalt Ravager
Basalt Ravager comes with an X-damaging ETB effect that ties in to your creature types. Inalla, Archmage Ritualist can make decent use of this because you get to copy the ETB effect with the token.
#7. Hamletback Goliath
Hamletback Goliath’s triggered ability makes me think of it carrying your creatures’ baggage on its back, if not your creatures themselves. It’s been reprinted a bunch of times since its introduction in Lorwyn, and you can see why.
#6. Calamity Bearer
Calamity Bearer is a must-have if you’re running lots of giants. A damage doubler for your giants is great, especially since it’s not limited to combat damage. Now anything you sacrifice to Brion Stoutarm or a similar effect deals twice its power in damage.
#5. Firbolg Flutist
Yeah, I’ll buy a ticket to this enthralling performance. Firbolg Flutist brings so much value with its ETB; you just want to get more out of it. So, what do you do: find ways do have it enter again, or do find ways to copy it with tokens or clones? Or maybe you follow its lead and find a way to grant it myriad. I wonder if he knows any Jethro Tull.
Cards that affect the game from your graveyard are just so fun, don’t you think? Shutting down lifegain is powerful, but it’ll make Quakebringer a target to lots of decks if they can exile it.
#3. Bonecrusher Giant
Hehe, stompy big boi.
I appreciate that Bonecrusher Giant is a combination of red damage with a form of protection. Target my boi if you want, but he will take his pound of flesh, bone and all.
#2. Inferno Titan
You’d expect a 6/6 with any kind of abilities to cost seven mana or more. Not Inferno Titan. Firebreathing plus its combo of an ETB/combat trigger make this everything you want out of a red giant.
#1. Tectonic Giant
Tectonic Giant is one of those cards that has just so many words on it that it can become useful everywhere. Its abilities trigger when you attack or when an opponent targets it. Isshin, Two Heavens as One can double those attack triggers, which doubles your choice, not the effect you choose. Torbran, Thane of Red Fell boosts red damage sources, of which Tectonic Giant is technically two. Prosper, Tome-Bound cares about cards you cast from exile. The possibilities are endless.
Best Green Giants
#6. Undermountain Adventurer
Ho-ho-ho! This section is appealing; quick, leave a good comment before they can me.
Undermountain Adventurer gives you a vigilance/ramp combo, but that ramp gets better if you’re completing dungeons along the way.
#5. Gorm the Great
Gorm the Great is designed to distract your opponent’s creatures while its partner, Virtus the Veiled, goes directly at their face. Remember: half of 1 rounded up is 1. You could use Gorm to redirect blockers in a lot of decks, but you aren’t killing much with it unless you’re giving it deathtouch or swapping power/toughness somehow.
#4. Nylea’s Colossus
Stat doublers are appreciated, no matter the game. Nylea’s Colossus is costed just about right for its stats and its constellation effect. Enchantment decks are eyeing this one… respectfully.
#3. Beanstalk Giant
You don’t have to trade a cow for some magic beans to summon this giant. I love how the adventure ties into Beanstalk Giant’s stats. Lil’ bit of ramp, then (hopefully) a big, big creature. If you’re a fan of giants, this is high tier.
#2. Towering Titan
Towering Titan fits right in with defender and other high-toughness strategies. As in, game-ending type of “fits in.” Hello, Arcades, the Strategist. Glad you’re doing well.
#1. Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig
Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig brings some class to our giant rankings. Its combination of counters, ETB effects, benefiting from big creatures, and +3 to green devotion make it so versatile. Naturally, Yorvo can also be in charge of its own deck. Which way are you leaning: high-powered creatures or lots of creature ETBs?
Best Multicolored Giants
#11. Prophetic Titan
The two halves of Prophetic Titan’s delirium offer choices based on its red and blue identities: care to do some damage, or do you want to dig into your library? Four card types isn’t too high of a benchmark to reach for an Izzet () deck by the time you can cast this six-mana giant wizard.
#10. Storvald, Frost Giant Jarl
Storvald, Frost Giant Jarl won’t give you access to any red giants, but its ETB and attack trigger should make infect and toxic players perk up. Storvald lets you take advantage of (i.e. buff) your smaller, cheaper creatures. Ward 3 helps to keep it on board and turning your opponents’ blockers into pipsqueaks, the kind of stuff that makes them burn calories and use their brains.
#9. Kalemne, Disciple of Iroas
Kalemne, Disciple of Iroas encourages you to play high-cost creatures to buff it as you go. As luck would have it, lots of giants are high-cost. There aren’t a lot of tribal synergies across the board (can anyone really compete with slivers?), but there’s enough that you can lean into some of the better ones.
#8. Sunder Shaman
If you’re already playing green, Sunder Shaman should be easier to get out. Green and red also give you access to spells that give creatures trample, so there are ways to almost always get that artifact and enchantment hate when you want it.
#7. Brion Stoutarm
Brion Stoutarm is a lifelinker with a sac engine built in. Combine this with Serra Avatar and you can take out any player that has less life than you. And you’re lifelinking. Greeaat.
#6. Ruhan of the Fomori
If you’re looking to build a Ruhan of the Fomori EDH deck, you’re reading the right article. Ruhan gives you access to three colors of giants and all their combos, so you can choose lots of the best and most tribal ones. It’ll be a deck where your commander isn’t doing much unless it’s attacking a random opponent, but the rest of your deck is yours to experiment with.
#5. Aegar, the Freezing Flame
Aegar, the Freezing Flame is one of the top commanders to go for if you’re looking to focus on giants. You could call it your quarterback. It provides you some giant and wizard tribal boosts in the form of card draw when you deal excess damage. Many of the giants you’ve just read about are staples of Aegar decks.
#4. Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger
Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger plays right into discard strategies. Its escape ability lets it come back to the field while avoiding commander tax, but that doesn’t limit it to fronting a deck. Wherever you use it, Waste Not that which Kroxa provides.
#3. Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
Excuse me? Lifegain, card draw, and ramp? On an ETB/attack trigger?
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath is so powerful, it’s laughable. It can head its own deck, or it can give you value elsewhere in any of the above ways. Uro just does a little bit of everything.
#2. Osgir, the Reconstructor
You aren’t going to be using Osgir, the Reconstructor with many other giants, but your artifacts decks will thank you for its presence. Both of Osgir’s abilities play into artifacts, as well as each other. Unless they’re tokens, the artifacts you sacrifice can then be tokenized and exiled with the second ability. Now, which artifacts should you start copying…
#1. Oloro, Ageless Ascetic
To be clear, you aren’t using Oloro, Ageless Ascetic in the 99 of your deck. You also aren’t using this to build a giant tribal deck. But the decks you do build with Oloro? Those are going to be good. I mean, it enables lifegain and lifeloss triggers, so, you know. Exquisite Blood + Sanguine Bond combos lurk nearby.
Best Colorless Giant
#1. Crystalline Giant
I like a little bit of chaos here and there, and Crystalline Giant doesn’t disappoint. I can just imagine modules flying out of seemingly nowhere at the beginning of combat to install a new feature, kind of like how you get periodic powerups in video games.
Best Giant Payoffs
If you’re not specifically focused on giants, they can slot into your decks’ higher-cost spots as mid-to-late game plays. You’ll be looking for effects that are cost-effective and fit into the other parts of your strategy.
Giants make for good sacrifice fodder when you can tie the benefit into their power or toughness stats. Whether you’re gaining life, dealing damage, drawing cards, or generating tokens, saccing a giant to the effect can make it so much more powerful.
Among the many giants that can be your commander, Aegar, the Freezing Flame is probably the one that pays you off most for running other giants. Many of the list’s blue and red heavy-hitters are staples of Aegar decks.
Kalemne, Disciple of Iroas likes high-cost creatures while Brion Stoutarm likes big stats, which are giant-tribal-adjacent strategies.
There’s a bunch of mono-typed giants, but it’s a type often paired with something else to fit the flavor of the giants’ role in the story. Wizards, barbarians, berserkers, warriors, soldiers, and zombies are among the most common, but there’s other scattered giants in almost any creature type. Lovisa Coldeyes buffs three for those types, just as an example of an effect that can care about your giant’s second typing.
Storvald, Frost Giant Jarl | Illustration by Campbell White
Giants are a surprisingly well-supported tribe. While there isn’t an overwhelming amount of synergy among giants themselves, the tribes they pair with often find ways to take advantage of or benefit their giant members.
Do you use giants more as support or as the main focus? Which are your favorites to see at work? Let me know in the comments below or over on the official Draftsim Twitter.
Now if you’ll excuse me, my wood elf has some giant encampments to clear out.Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: