Last updated on September 18, 2023
Natural Order (Mystical Archive) | Illustration by Anato Finnstark
Creatures are essential to Magic. Most games come down to creature beatdown to get the opponent down to zero, and many creatures have effects that are far more powerful than just some stats. Green benefits the most from this as the primary color of Magic that deals in creatures.
Green doesn’t just have big creatures, but access to the best mana production as the color of verdancy and growth. Getting a mana advantage is a great way to pull ahead of your opponents and defeat them with your massive monsters. These are the best green cards to live out your inner Timmy dreams.
What Are Green Cards in MTG?
Primeval Titan | Illustration by Aleksi Briclot
Green cards are cards with green in their mana cost that triggers abilities that care about green spells like Natural Order or Emerald Medallion. Green cards are often characterized by caring about either creatures or lands in most cases.
This list only looks at cards with a mono-green color identity. That excludes multicolor cards as well as cards with other colored mana symbols in their text box like Chatterfang, Squirrel General, so any Commander deck with green can use any of these cards.
Speaking of Commander, Cultivate has been a staple of the format for some time. It’s fantastic fixing and mana ramp that lets you jump from three mana on turn 3 to five on turn 4 with a guaranteed land drop. The extra land drop is especially what makes this a powerful two-for-one.
#34. Dryad of the Ilysian Grove
This is a great ramp piece and a great fixer. Dryad of the Ilysian Grove is a powerful card that gives you multiple land drops each turn while giving unlimited mana fixing. It’s especially useful with effects that care about land types like domain or converge and has found a home in decks looking to combo off with Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle.
#33. Elder Gargaroth
Green is defined by its stat sticks and Elder Gargaroth is a fantastic example of what green creatures can do. Even as a 6/6 for five mana it would be oversized, but it’s also got three keywords and a stack of abilities. Reach and vigilance make this a powerful defender while trample gives it offensive powers. The diverse abilities on attack or block really make the card, bringing this awfully close to a planeswalker on an efficient body.
#32. Questing Beast
If Elder Gargaroth is a planeswalker on a creature, this is a planeswalker assassin. Questing Beast manages to have an even more impressive range of abilities than Gargaroth with evasion, haste, defensive ability, and the ability the smack a planeswalker and a player at once. Deathtouch is what really makes this card; that and not being able to be chump blocked make it impossible to block Questing Beast profitably.
#31. Nature’s Lore + Three Visits
These are effectively the same card, so they’re here together. These are great ramp pieces that also function as fixing. Putting the land into play untapped makes these really strong; they effectively only cost one mana since they recoup half the cost instantly. Grabbing shock lands like Breeding Pool allows you to fix while you ramp and you really can’t get a much better effect for two mana.
#30. Nissa, Who Shakes the World
We’ve looked at a few ways to ramp a land or two, but what about doubling your mana? Nissa, Who Shakes the World is a great ramp piece that doubles as a threat by turning all of your lands into beaters, but she also defends herself and can ramp even further by untapping a Forest that tapped for two mana already. She’s a great way to suddenly burst ahead of your opponents.
#29. Garruk Wildspeaker
Garruk Wildspeaker doesn’t ramp as hard as Nissa, but he’s still got a lot of value. He’s essentially a two-mana planeswalker thanks to his untap ability and also defends himself with 3/3s. It also only takes a turn to get to his ultimate, which can easily end a game. If you’ve got a board developed enough for the Overrun effect to finish an opponent, you’ve likely got sufficient board presence to keep him defended.
#28. Primeval Titan
In many ways, Primeval Titan embodies everything green wants to do. A 6/6 for six with trample is a pretty fine body, and the ability to put any two lands into captures the growth and land-based bits of the color. This is an incredibly strong effect that makes excellent use of powerful lands like Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle.
A fairly recent printing, Endurance is a very strong and flexible card. A 3/4 for three with flash is a fine rate on a body, and the ability that forces a player to shuffle their library into their deck makes it a great answer to some really unfair strategies like reanimator or anything running Underworld Breach. Having evoke for free is what really pushes this card over the top as a fantastic answer to a variety of decks.
#26. Nature’s Claim
There’s really not too much to say about Nature's Claim. It’s one of the best artifact and enchantment removal spells ever printed. You can’t do much better than unconditional destruction at instant speed for a single mana. Giving your opponent four life is a bit of a drawback, but it’s inconsequential enough for this to be a powerful card.
#25. Beast Whisperer
One thing green doesn’t always excel at is card advantage. Much of its card draw is tied to creatures and Beast Whisperer does a fantastic job of drawing plenty of spells. This is at its best in a deck with lots of small creatures that produces tons of mana and can make great use out of the cantripping. This is everything green wants to be doing.
#24. Beast Within
This gets a shoutout mostly for EDH players. Beast Within doesn’t see a ton of play outside Commander, but boy is it good in that format. Games go long enough and spells are explosive enough that the 3/3 isn’t nearly as much downside as it would be in a 1v1, 20-life format. This is the kind of unconditional removal that’s often reserved for other colors like black and white, making this an invaluable staple for decks not running those colors.
#23. Golgari Grave-Troll
A frequent flyer on the Modern ban list, Golgari Grave-Troll isn’t universally powerful but specifically insane. It’s only good if you care about getting cards into your graveyard but it does so incredibly efficiently. Dredging for six anytime you would draw a card is often akin to drawing six cards for decks that can utilize it effectively, making this a card worth building decks around.
Exploration is a great ramp spell, but it does have a significant weakness: Oftentimes, you’ll just run out of lands. Getting ahead on lands is absolutely great, but you really need a steady stream of card draw to go along with this. If you play it on curve and play another land, you’ll be ahead, but only for a turn. If you miss a land drop after playing an extra land, then you’re just on par with the rest of the table.
Fastbond suffers from many of the same drawbacks as Exploration. It’s stronger, however, because of two things: The infamous combination of Strip Mine and Crucible of Worlds to get rid of all of your opponents’ lands and powerful synergy with cards like Oracle of Mul Daya to play tons of lands. Fastbond is a fantastically powerful card, but only if you put in the work to build around it, which does keep it in check and a little lower on this list.
#20. The Great Henge
Speaking of steady sources of card draw, The Great Henge keeps cards flowing and creatures big. It also produces a ton of mana and gives you some incidental life gain. This is a house of a card that instantly stabilizes you by gaining a bunch of life and making all of your creatures larger and making them cantrip. Its high mana cost is offset by both the cost reduction ability and by tapping for two the turn it comes out.
#19. Carpet of Flowers
Carpet of Flowers is a card with a very high ceiling but low floor. Against most blue decks, this reliably produces large amounts of mana each turn to both ramp you and fix your mana if needed. Against non-blue decks… well, there’s a reason this tends to hang out in the sideboard. That said, Carpet is a solid card that offers lots of ramp for little investment.
#18. Collector Ouphe
Much like how Endurance is a fantastic answer to graveyard strategies, Collector Ouphe offers a similar level of control to stopping artifact strategies from functioning. It’s Null Rod on an efficient, easily tutorable body. It presents a threat that must be dealt with if the artifact player wants to advance their gameplan at all, making this a fantastic sideboard card and a generally good stax piece.
#17. Birthing Pod
Birthing Pod is an incredibly powerful tutor that puts cards straight into play for the low cost of a single mana and two life; because nobody ever pays green for this card. It’s not the most versatile green tutor. It requires you to have a carefully structured “Pod curve” to ensure you’ve always got something to hit and is susceptible to hate cards like the Ouphe above, but it’s a fantastic card in a toolbox-style deck full of silver bullets that can build around it.
#16. Sylvan Library
Part of what makes Sylvan Library so powerful is how blue it feels. Top deck manipulation isn’t something green has much access to, and this functions as a strong source of card draw to boot. Four to eight life is a lot to pay to get ahold of two extra cards, but life is a resource after all. On top of all of this, the Library has an incredibly low mana investment of two mana for repeated value turn after turn.
#15. Chord of Calling
Chord of Calling is another powerful tutor that puts cards right into play, which is generally stronger than putting them into hand. It does have some pretty hefty mana requirements as it’s four mana just to get a one-drop, but it does this at instant speed. Convoke is also a helpful keyword, allowing you to turn all of your creatures into mana dorks to help pay for this. Like Pod, it’s great at finding one-of answers like Collector Ouphe and Endurance at the perfect time.
#14. Veil of Summer
Isn’t it funny how there was a period in Standard where the best piece of countermagic was green? Veil of Summer is an impressively powerful card. For a single green mana it protects your spells and permanents from danger while replacing itself. Needing to play against blue or black opponents is a bit restrictive, but this card punches well above its weight as a cheap, interactive two-for-one. One line to keep in mind is casting this at the start of the turn you want to win the game, forcing your opponent to either counter this or let you combo off in peace.
#13. Heroic Intervention
This is very much another Commander staple, as Heroic Intervention gives you a lot of flexibility. It provides your entire board with indestructible and hexproof, blanking any form of targeted removal or board wipe your opponents try to pull off. It can also enable better blocks for you, letting you turn a tight corner. And it’s incredibly cheap for all this versatility.
#12. Llanowar Elves + Elvish Mystic + Fyndhorn Elves
Rather like Nature's Lore and Three Visits, these friends are grouped together as they’re the same card down to cost and typing. And they’re all great. Getting to ramp from turn 1 lets you get much further ahead of your opponents than it may seem. There’s a reason on of the oldest and most repeated Magic heuristics is “Bolt the Bird.”
#11. Finale of Devastation
Finale of Devastation gives us the range of a tutor while doubling as a fantastic finisher if you can pump enough mana into it. And if there’s one thing green is good at doing, it’s pumping mana into things. This finds you pretty much whatever you need throughout the game and in the later stages offers a pretty easy kill condition.
#10. Birds of Paradise
Speaking of Birds worth Bolting, Birds of Paradise kicks off the top ten as one of the best mana dorks ever printed. There’s an argument for putting the Elves we looked at before in this slot solely for having better creature types, but the mana fixing that Birds offers is incredibly powerful. This is also just a classic green creature and an elegant design that shows off green’s ability to ramp and fix and shows how life is at the root of all colors.
#9. Greater Good
Card draw is good, and many decks can benefit from dumping cards into their graveyard. Greater Good does both. In the color of massive creatures, you can draw enough cards to offset discarding three. Lots of cards regularly produce 3/3s you can sacrifice for pure card filtering, and once you get to 4/4s about above, you start raking in the cards. It’s also a fantastic enabler for cards that care about filling your graveyard quickly.
#8. Survival of the Fittest
Where Greater Good offers you the ability to churn through your deck and fill your graveyard in large, variable amounts, Survival of the Fittest offers precision. You can only add one creature to your graveyard and only get one in return, but you’re always getting the one you need. It’s a repeatable tutor that takes a bit of investment but offers better and better value the longer the game goes.
#7. Glimpse of Nature
Glimpse of Nature is an incredibly strong card draw engine. You’ll rarely want to play this for simple value but instead as an enabler for some like an elves deck that will generate massive amounts of mana and small creatures. But most green decks that aren’t exclusively focused on deploying one massive spell a turn can benefit from this burst of card advantage.
#6. Worldly Tutor
Worldly Tutor is a one-off ability, but it offers the most versatility out of the tutors on this list by costing a single mana and being at instant speed. Putting the creature on top of your library isn’t much of a downside since you can just play this at the end of the turn before yours or even in your upkeep to draw the card straight away. The only thing that could make this card better would be if it put the creature into play.
#5. Green Sun’s Zenith
Speaking of tutors that put creatures into play, Green Sun's Zenith does so about as efficiently as possible. It only adds one green to the mana cost of whatever you’re getting, making it far more efficient than Chord of Calling or even Finale of Devastation. You can go for Dryad Arbor as soon as turn 1 or find your silver bullets. It also shuffles back into your library so you can find it again later. It only finds green creatures, but that’s rarely a downside in decks that want to play this.
#4. Craterhoof Behemoth
Every deck needs a good finisher, and Craterhoof Behemoth reminds your opponents of what it means for green to have the biggest creatures. This is the kind of card that often kills a table by such a wide margin it’s not worth declaring blockers. You do need to have some amount of board presence established for this to end the game, but it doesn’t take too many creatures for this to overwhelm a table beneath a flurry of hooves, paws, and other things to make a lake of your table.
One of Magic’s classic combos is Channel into Fireball to obliterate an opponent. Turning life into mana, even colorless mana, is an insanely good deal. It takes a bit of building around to make this work (you don’t want to be casting cards like Gigantosaurus with Channel), but it gives you such a huge lead it’s easy to win the game following this card. It happens to get along fantastically with Eldrazi titans like Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre.
#2. Gaea’s Cradle
Okay, it might be cheating to include a land in a list like this. On the other hand, there’s no color more fitting to have a land sneak into its ranks than green. Gaea's Cradle is an incredibly powerful land that works well in any green deck looking to go just a little wide. It’s also a marvelous example of green’s color identity and ideas of growth. The world nurtures your creatures by letting you cast them which nurture the land in turn so it taps for more mana and both flourish in harmony with each other. It’s obscenely powerful and an elegant flavor win.
#1. Natural Order
Natural Order tops the list by being an effective combo piece and reasonable tutor. It turns any green creature into the best green creature for the turn you cast it, which often ends up being Craterhoof Behemoth. Four mana isn’t a ton and makes this more efficient than most of the other tutors unless you’re specifically looking for a one or two mana spell, and even then, it’s on par with Chord and Finale. Putting the creature straight into play is what really makes this card powerful, and you get some value out of sacrificing a creature depending on how you built your deck.
Best Green Payoffs and Synergies
One of the best things about green is that it works awfully well with itself. It’s got reasonable access to card draw, it’s got the best creatures, the best ways to gain a mana advantage, and it’s even got decent removal with fight effects like Prey Upon and artifact and enchantment hate like Nature's Claim.
The best payoffs are generally ones that care about big creatures like Garruk's Uprising that make use of how big green’s creatures often are.
The best reason to be in mono-green is definitely the oversized bodies. Green tends to have the biggest creatures at any point in the curve, so it lends itself well to stompy strategies that makes use of two-mana 3/3s like Werewolf Pack Leader and such to outsize your opponents and rush them down.
What Is Green Good at in MTG?
Green’s strengths tend to rely on its creatures. Creatures are everything this color wants to be doing. They defend you and pressure you opponents. Green also has lots of effects that care about creatures, including the best tutors like Worldly Tutor and Green Sun's Zenith and cards that benefit from having creatures like Rishkar's Expertise.
Having creatures that generally outsize your opponents also makes it hard for them to effectively attack you. Big creatures give you a commanding presence on the board that can be hard to overcome if your opponent is skipping on removal spells.
What Are Good Green Cards in Modern?
One frontrunner is certainly Endurance. This is great against decks trying to exploit their graveyard like Izzet () Murktide and Rakdos () Scam. It often costs nothing to get rid of their graveyard and can make them stumble in critical moments of the game. It’s also a reasonably sized blocker against things like Ragavan and can stop Hammertime for a turn or two thanks to reach.
Another fantastic green card in Modern is Veil of Summer. This is definitely more of a sideboard card to bring in against specific matchups, but it does work in those matchups. There’s a reason it was the best counterspell in Standard and while that might not hold true in Modern, it’s still incredibly efficient for the amount of value it provides.
Channel (From the Vault: Exile) | Illustration by Rebecca Guay
Green is the color of verdancy, growth, and nature in Magic. This translates to it defined primarily as the color with the best creatures and the best ramp in the game. It’s about showing your opponents just how big nature can be and how fast it can over take them.
Green gives one of Magic’s most important card types a solid home to grow as large as they’d like and stomp hard. What do you think of the list? What are your top five green cards? Let me know in the comments below, over over on the Draftsim Twitter.
That’s all from me for now. Stay safe, stay healthy, and wash your hands!
Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: