Last updated on March 28, 2024

Graeyard Trespasser / Graeyard Glutton - Illustration by Chris Rallis

Graveyard Trespasser / Graveyard Glutton | Illustration by Chris Rallis

The graveyard might be Magic’s most powerful card zone. Many of Magic’s strongest strategies Rise from the Grave, from reanimation decks putting Griselbrand into play for next to no mana to Dredge decks that dump 20 power on board faster than you can blink. Cards like Underworld Breach and Yawgmoth's Will take these even further by turning the graveyard into an extra hand.

With so many powerful strategies lurking six feet under, a plethora of graveyard hate cards become necessary to ensure those threats stay buried! Every Commander deck should run a little graveyard hate, but what are the best cards to bury the opposition?

Let’s get a shovel and find out!

What Is Graveyard Hate in MTG?

Crypt Incursion - Illustration by Svetlin Velinov

Crypt Incursion | Illustration by Svetlin Velino

Graveyard hate cards interact with your opponent’s graveyard. They often exile one or more cards from the graveyard as seen on Rest in Peace, but some hate cards shuffle graveyards into their owner’s library, like Endurance. Other effects don’t remove cards from the graveyard but restrict how players can use them by preventing them from casting spells from or targeting spells in graveyards.

This range of effects means there’s a graveyard hate card for every deck in every situation. The challenge is picking the right one. Which form of hate you’ll want depends on how your deck uses the graveyard and what strategies you want to inhibit; for example, Grafdigger's Cage stops Dredge decks from putting Bloodghast and Prized Amalgam into play. It does nothing against Living End because the namesake card puts creatures from exile into play; thus, Cage can be a useful graveyard hate piece for Living End to combat Dredge.

Not all graveyard hate is all-or-nothing, either. Some cards have incidental graveyard hate, like Armored Scrapgorger and Graveyard Trespasser. These exile cards from the graveyard while doing other things. You also have targeted removal like Faerie Macabre and Lion Sash that hit specific cards.

Entomb Reanimate

The best graveyard hate cards are fast and cheap. You want it to be cheap to disrupt your opponents as soon as possible. Decks can fill their graveyard very quickly. Firing it off at instant speed is also important, especially for targeted removal. A sorcery-speed spell won’t do much when your opponent casts Entomb and Reanimate in the same turn. This list is weighted towards Commander, but Constructed players can find some gems here.

Misery's Shadow Nemata, Primeval Warden

I also want to give an honorable mention to cards that exile opposing creatures when they die like Misery's Shadow and Nemata, Primeval Warden. They shut down aristocrat strategies, which can overlap with graveyard strategies. While these effects are graveyard-hate adjacent, I largely find them too narrow to include.

#40. Primal Command

Primal Command

Primal Command lacks speed or efficiency but makes up for it with flexibility. This plays best at casual tables rather than competitive and primarily disrupts decks maintaining a full graveyard for grindy value, like Muldrotha, the Gravetide. This should never be your only graveyard hate card.

#39. Armored Scrapgorger

Armored Scrapgorger

Armored Scrapgorger is Fine with a capital F. Getting graveyard hate with your mana ramp and color fixing gives this Phyrexian beast a role in casual decks. It might not look like much but adding incidental hate cards to your decks does a lot to flesh out an interactive suite.

#38. Anafenza, the Foremost

Anafenza, the Foremost

Most of the scary things that happen in the graveyard concern creatures. Anafenza, the Foremost handles those while fueling +1/+1 counter strategies, although this Abzan soldier can be slow since it does nothing about creatures binned before it comes into play.

#37. Tormod’s Crypt

Tormod's Crypt

Tormod's Crypt isn’t… bad. Free graveyard interaction at instant speed that any deck can play has value. I just can’t get behind it when colorless artifact hate has so many options that replace themselves.

#36. Scavenger Grounds

Scavenger Grounds

Scavenger Grounds works best in decks that utilize lands going to the graveyard. Commanders like Lord Windgrace and Titania, Protector of Argoth can do a lot with this.

#35. Dire Fleet Daredevil

Dire Fleet Daredevil

Red has very few ways to deal with the graveyard. Dire Fleet Daredevil handles a card with extra value.

#34. Crypt Incursion

Crypt Incursion

Lifegain decks can leverage Crypt Incursion. You should only play this hate piece when you know the graveyard decks are creature-based; it does nothing against decks leveraging the likes of Past in Flames to give flashback to noncreature spells, or similar strategies.

#33. Learn from the Past

Learn from the Past

Blue has about as much graveyard hate as red. Learn from the Past is a fine option if you don’t want to play any of the colorless cards available to you.

#32. Ashes of the Abhorrent

Ashes of the Abhorrent

Ashes of the Abhorrent might be too narrow an answer; this white enchantment doesn’t stop your opponents from shuffling creatures around or anything. It does answer Underworld Breach, plus some decks do a lot with incidental lifegain.

#31. Phyrexian Scriptures

Phyrexian Scriptures

Phyrexian Scriptures works well with artifact creature decks. This black saga handles threats on the board and in the graveyard over several turns and does it faster with proliferate effects.

#30. Gaea’s Blessing

Gaea's Blessing

We love to see hate cards that replace themselves. Gaea's Blessing does good work, especially if you care about instants. The shuffle clause provides incidental protection against mill decks.

#29. Cling to Dust

Cling to Dust

Cling to Dust might be the grindiest option on the list. This doesn’t just impact graveyard decks, but it also gives a midrange-control deck card advantage in the late game. Constructed players can even maindeck this in the right meta.

#28. Remorseful Cleric

Remorseful Cleric

Remorseful Cleric works well with decks that benefit from a small creature dying. That could be typical aristocrat synergies like Blood Artist and Midnight Reaper or cards like Serra Paragon and Lurrus of the Dream-Den that can recast the Cleric.

#27. Ravenous Trap

Ravenous Trap

Ravenous Trap can be great against decks milling huge chunks of cards via Mesmeric Orb or dredge cards. It’s far less effective against decks using Entomb or similar abilities to play precisely.

#26. Weathered Runestone

Weathered Runestone

Weathered Runestone can be excellent in decks using their graveyard for mechanics like delve or delirium that want to shut down creature-based graveyard strategies like Dredge and Reanimator.

#25. Ground Seal

Ground Seal

Ground Seal is narrow but shutting down Reanimate and Regrowth variants while replacing itself makes for an acceptable card. This green enchantment is fantastic alongside enchantresses.

#24. Kunoros, Hound of Athreos

Kunoros, Hound of Athreos

Grafdigger's Cage on a stick with lifelink makes Kunoros, Hound of Athreos a respectable inclusion for hatebears and other creature-focused strategies.

#23. Kaya, Orzhov Usurper

Kaya, Orzhov Usurper

I’d only play Kaya, Orzhov Usurper if I knew there would be ample targets for the -1 ability. If that’s the case, this planeswalker becomes an effective removal spell that pressures graveyards while providing incidental lifegain. Thumbs up.

#22. Soul-Guide Lantern

Soul-Guide Lantern

Soul-Guide Lantern hitting the graveyard twice offers surprising utility. The ETB trigger gives immediate value while the first activated ability hits everything. Only exiling your opponents’ graveyards gives this tons of utility in graveyard-centric decks and it cycles if you don’t need the graveyard hate. All around, a solid player.

#21. Nihil Spellbomb

Nihil Spellbomb

You need to be in black to play Nihil Spellbomb—for color identity and because this artifact isn’t worth much if you can’t draw a card. But graveyard hate that replaces itself works well. Delaying your opponent’s strategy without going down a card never hurts.

#20. Bojuka Bog

Bojuka Bog

Perhaps the freest graveyard hate in Commander, many black decks reach for Bojuka Bog as a utility land. I find it plays best in Golgari alongside Crop Rotation since this card’s biggest drawback is that you can only use it at sorcery speed.

#19. Tranquil Frillback

Tranquil Frillback

Tranquil Frillback just provides good value. It’s graveyard hate, a Disenchant, or a lifegain trigger, or all three if you have the mana to spare. It offers flexible value and sees a lot of play in Standard.

#18. Kaya’s Guile

Kaya's Guile

I love having options, and this Orzhov card provides them in spades. Kaya's Guile is one of those cards that doesn’t do any one thing super well, but it does several things at a solid rate. I’d really want to leverage either the token or lifegain before playing this, but I don’t mind it as a very flexible option.

#17. Faerie Macabre

Faerie Macabre

Faerie Macabre sees lots of play in Legacy as a great answer to cards like Reanimate and Vengevine. Free, pinpoint interaction works well in many scenarios, plus it puts a creature in the yard for nothing.

#16. Klothys, God of Destiny

Klothys, God of Destiny

Klothys, God of Destiny grinds opponents out of games. This functions more as incidental graveyard hate. The trigger timing stops it from hurting some of the faster strategies, but it’s great at handling decks using the graveyard as a general resource.

#15. Soulless Jailer

Soulless Jailer

Soulless Jailer intrigues me. It’s obviously solid graveyard hate, but preventing players from casting spells from exile offers a pretty unique effect—many similar effects only stop players from casting spells from their library. This restricts effects like cascade and impulse draws, which seem to gain more and more support each MTG set.

#14. Stone of Erech

Stone of Erech

This legendary artifact hates out those aristocrat strategies while serving as real graveyard hate and replacing itself? Very nice. It’s also important to consider that Stone of Erech and almost all the other artifacts on this list can be found with Urza's Saga.

#13. Graveyard Trespasser

Graveyard Trespasser Graveyard Glutton

Graveyard Trespasser feels like the poster child for incidental graveyard hate. This black creature is just so efficient! A 3-mana 3/3 that provides additional pressure and transforms into a stronger version of itself and forces your opponent to 2-for-1 themself to remove it with incidental lifegain attached to the incidental graveyard… it’s rather absurd to think about.

#12. Ashiok, Dream Render

Ashiok, Dream Render

I love Ashiok, Dream Render. It’s a self-mill enabler that hates on your opponents’ graveyards at the same time. If you can defend this Dimir planeswalker, you should be able to exile opposing graveyards three or four times, making it hard to build a full graveyard.

#11. Scavenging Ooze + Lion Sash

Scavenging Ooze Lion Sash

Scavenging Ooze has been a Constructed sideboard staple forever. Lion Sash is an interesting iteration on the effect; both are close enough to count together. Efficient creatures that grow as they hate on the graveyard are powerful. I’d probably play Lion Sash if given the choice, but you can’t go wrong either way.

#10. Farewell


I struggled with where to put Farewell. You’re never putting this white sorcery in your deck specifically as graveyard hate, yet part of its strength comes from hitting the graveyard in addition to being one of the best, most brutal board wipes in the game. This might be the ultimate example of flexible graveyard hate and a worthy inclusion in any controlling deck interested in resetting the game.

#9. Deathrite Shaman

Deathrite Shaman

The 1-drop planeswalker had to make the cut! Deathrite Shaman goes well beyond the expected duties of a mana dork to stabilize your life total and drain your opponent’s. Make sure you have plenty of fetch lands or other ways to get lands in your graveyard to maximize this Golgari elf.

#8. Unlicensed Hearse

Unlicensed Hearse

Unlicensed Hearse is one of my favorite graveyard hate cards. The design of this vehicle interests me more than your typical “exile a bunch of cards” effect because it does something with them. A cheap hate piece that becomes a late-game threat hides a lot of bodies.

#7. Dauthi Voidwalker

Dauthi Voidwalker

Modern Horizons 2 introduced tons of busted cards to Magic, including powerhouse Dauthi Voidwalker. A 2-drop creature that exiles everything your opponents play is potent enough without the ability to cast one of them for free. This shadowy rogue has been pushed so far that it’s practically in orbit.

#6. Agatha’s Soul Cauldron

Agatha's Soul Cauldron

Agatha's Soul Cauldron enables as many decks as it hates out. I wouldn’t run this Wilds of Eldraine card if you don’t have some interest in using it yourself, but it doesn’t take much to make it a force to be reckoned with that also handles opposing graveyards.

#5. Grafdigger’s Cage

Grafdigger's Cage

Grafdigger's Cage has lots of utility. Some graveyard decks run this artifact as their hate piece of choice, like in the Living End example. Grafdigger's Cage relies on the opposing strategy focusing on creatures, but that’s the case often enough to run this. It also hits things like Green Sun's Zenith and Bolas's Citadel for extra value.

#4. Rest in Peace

Rest in Peace

Rest in Peace destroys graveyard decks. This white enchantment exiles everything played before and after it; a pretty unique effect given that many cards do one or the other. It’s efficient, basically always relevant against graveyard decks, and one of the best graveyard hate cards you can play, provided you don’t care about your own graveyard.

#3. Leyline of the Void

Leyline of the Void

Leyline of the Void works well out of the sideboard of combo decks that don’t want to invest mana in exiling graveyards or are interested in keeping theirs fully stocked for Underworld Breach and its ilk. I wouldn’t run this black enchantment in Commander since the odds of it being in your opening hand are terrible.

#2. Relic of Progenitus

Relic of Progenitus

You could tell me that Relic of Progenitus is the most played graveyard hate card and I’d believe it. It sees at least some play in most formats it’s legal in. It eats away at opposing graveyards early, you can crack it to handle more fearsome threats at instant speed, and it replaces itself. If you’re in doubt about what graveyard hate piece you want to play, you can safely default to Relic of Progenitus without being too wrong.

#1. Endurance


Who’d have thought that an evoke elemental from Modern Horizons 2 is busted? Casting Endurance for free provides, well, free graveyard hate, which is quite powerful. Endurance is still efficient at full price. A 3-mana 3/4 with flash can be an effective beater or Ambush Viper should the graveyard hate become irrelevant. You can even use it to protect yourself against mill decks or save your graveyard from exile if you want to prevent a specific combo piece from going away forever.

Best Graveyard Hate Payoffs

Since most graveyard hate exiles cards, the best way to leverage it as a payoff involves exploiting cards in exile. The exile zone isn’t commonly used the way the graveyard is, but we still have choices.

Oblivion Sower Blight Herder

One option is the Eldrazi from Battle for Zendikar. A handful of them, like Oblivion Sower and Blight Herder, interact with your opponent’s exiled cards for value. These are rather niche.

If you really want to build around exiling cards, Umbris, Fear Manifest can be a horror commander that plays around with Voltron themes, if only for how quickly it grows. A few other payoffs for this strategy include Ashiok, Wicked Manipulator and Ashiok, Nightmare Muse for additional finishers.

How Do I Protect My Graveyard from Hate?

Ground Seal

You have a few options. Funnily enough, some graveyard hate can double as graveyard protection. Cards like Ground Seal can protect your graveyard from targeted removal, assuming you don’t want to target the cards yourself.

Another protective option involves getting cards out of your graveyard in response to Rest in Peace and friends. Instant-speed Raise Dead effects like Reaping the Graves and Tortured Existence save your most important cards. You can use effects like Gaea's Blessing and Endurance to shuffle key pieces back into your deck to tutor or redraw later.

However, the best way to protect your graveyard is with ample interaction. Your opponents will have some graveyard hate, so you should bring interaction for their interaction. Many common graveyard hate pieces are artifacts or enchantments, so various Nature's Claim or Abrupt Decay effects answer them. You can also interact on the stack with countermagic, Stifle effects, and even cards like Deflecting Swat to prevent your opponents from messing with your graveyard.

Wrap Up

Kaya's Guile - Illustration by Jason Rainville

Kaya's Guile | Illustration by Jason Rainville

The graveyard might be Magic’s most broken zone. All sorts of nasty strategies crawl their way from the loam; Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis and Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath are prime examples of cards that enabled such powerful graveyard strategies it took the ban hammer to keep them buried.

One of Magic’s best features is that there’s always an answer somewhere. That might look like exiling all cards in all graveyards forever or taking a more surgical approach, so you leave your own graveyard strategy untouched. However you do it, make sure you can interact with this powerful zone!

What’s your favorite way to keep the graveyard down? How much graveyard hate do you usually run in EDH? Let me know in the comments or on the Draftsim Discord!

Stay safe, and thanks for reading!

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