Noxious Gearhulk - Illustration by Lius Lasahido

Noxious Gearhulk | Illustration by Lius Lasahido

Not all creature “words” in Magic are creature “types”. There’s plenty of witches, but most of them use the warlock creature type. And while we’re still a ways off from Magic’s team-up with Marvel, I want to take a moment to celebrate the hulks of MTG.

I think it’ll be a flavor loss if we don’t get a double-faced transforming card named Bruce Banner / The Incredible Hulk, and however many other Marvel hulks we wind up with. Red Hulk, She-Hulk, Skaar, Abomination… there’s all kinds of potential if they, uh, hulk out during this collaboration.

‘Til then, we’ll have to make do with the Gearhulk cycle and a few others, but which of these hulks should you be sleeving up?

It’s clobbering time! Wait… right catchphrase, wrong big-guy.

What Are Hulks in MTG?

Marsh Hulk - Illustration by Raf Sarmento

Marsh Hulk | Illustration by Raf Sarmento

Hulks in Magic are simply cards that have the word “hulk” as part of their name. There isn’t much synergy across hulks, apart from the ones that happen to be artifact creatures or have high power and toughness.

#32. Waterlogged Hulk / Watertight Gondola

Waterlogged Hulk Watertight Gondola

As a non-creature, Waterlogged Hulk feels out of place here. It’s not really using the definition of “hulk” that you’d expect if you were looking at only hulk cards. Was it supposed to be “Waterlogged Hull”?

#31. Ronom Hulk

Ronom Hulk

Snort. Protection from snow? I love how this job still introduces me to combinations of text I’ve never seen. Ronom Hulk also has a cumulative upkeep? Ha. Haha. No.

#30. Hulking Cyclops

Hulking Cyclops

I think that the flavor text on Hulking Cyclops describes this card perfectly. “Anyone can get around a cyclops, but few can stand in its way.”

#29. Hulking Ogre

Hulking Ogre

Considering that Brothers Hildebrandt art has been turned into a collectors’ item for the LOTR Holiday Release, you can at least admire the artwork on Hulking Ogre.

#28. Hulking Goblin

Hulking Goblin

The only worthwhile thing about Hulking Goblin is that its Portal printing reminds us of when “blocking” was “intercepting.”

#27. Tangle Hulk

Tangle Hulk

Shrug? Tangle Hulk sure feels like a common from its era, by golly.

#26. Rotted Hulk

Rotted Hulk

Vanilla creatures like Rotted Hulk don’t give you much to talk about. Except maybe the flavor text. I can’t believe it’s taken this long to figure out that “The Theriad” is probably a riff on The Iliad, especially considering that I was getting into Magic around the time I read it for an elective course.

#25. Scaled Hulk

Scaled Hulk

Scaled Hulk also feels like a product of its time, this time with a spirits and arcane theme going for it. Most of the commanders from its block, like Bounteous Kirin and Kodama of the South Tree, have been pretty much power-crept into obscurity.

#24. Unstable Hulk

Unstable Hulk

“You skip your next turn” is some of the scariest text to read on a card, and not for the good reasons. Unstable Hulk is only ever good if you plan on closing out the game with it. Which… yeah, you probably have a more, uh, stable win condition.

#23. Marsh Hulk

Marsh Hulk

Maybe I should’ve bunched up a lot of these lower entries because I’m running out of ways to talk about these commons. Marsh Hulk is certainly a Magic card.

#22. Hulking Devil

Hulking Devil

I can only really see Hulking Devil in a devil typal build, and even then, it’s a vanilla 5/2.

#21. Gnottvold Hermit / Chrome Host Hulk

Gnottvold Hermit Chrome Host Hulk

Chrome Host Hulk has the same ability as Creeperhulk, except it’s as an attack trigger rather than an activated ability. Takes too much time and mana to get there, in my opinion.

#20. Craven Hulk

Craven Hulk

“Giant Coward” is right. Craven Hulk just reminds me of that Okk I once pulled in a pack of bulk rares.

#19. Phyrexian Hulk

Phyrexian Hulk

Another vanilla artifact creature. The Oracle text on Gather confirms that Phyrexian Hulk is indeed a Phyrexian golem, unlike the physical printings of this card.

#18. Creeperhulk


I’m not sure if Creeperhulk doesn’t see much play because of where it was printed (Commander 2014, Commander Anthology, and Jumpstart 2022), but I like a creature with a built-in mana sink. My instinct is to stick this into a deck that generates creature tokens, but part of me also knows that there might be better things to do with 5 mana.

#17. Hulking Bugbear

Hulking Bugbear

I wonder if there’s a den of these somewhere…. Hulking Bugbear is a 3/3 for 3 with haste, in mono-red. Oh, and it’s a goblin. There are just so many goblins in this game that the Bugbear is easily overshadowed.

#16. Glassdust Hulk

Glassdust Hulk

I guess it’s like prowess, but for artifacts? Artifactfall-prowess? And it gets unblockable until end of turn, which is certainly a plus. Glassdust Hulk also has a cycling ability with a flexible cost attached, so that’s neat. Malcator, Purity Overseer and other Azorius+ artifact token generators might provide a home for this, but there’s plenty of 5-drops that give you immediate value rather than making you wait for it.

#15. Rot Hulk

Rot Hulk

Rot Hulk was only printed in Game Night as a mythic rare, which explains the price tag for a single. Definitely a multiplayer card, and I wouldn’t mind sacrificing it so that I can bring it back somehow for another ETB trigger. But my play and collecting styles mean I’m more likely to gamble on opening packs of the same value than buying one copy of this, let alone multiples.

#14. Deathbonnet Sprout / Deathbonnet Hulk

Deathbonnet Sprout Deathbonnet Hulk

I have more experience with Deathbonnet Sprout on MTG Arena than I do on paper, having spent chunks of a summer grinding out games with a slightly upgraded Golgari precon. I like the graveyard hate that Deathbonnet Hulk provides, but it takes a lot to set it up, with lots of opportunities for removal before you even place the first +1/+1 counter on the Hulk. In a self-mill strategy, this 1-drop can at least get the ball rolling early.

#13. Molderhulk


As a Golgari card that gets cheaper with each creature in your graveyard thanks to undergrowth and gets a land back on ETB, Molderhulk fits well into graveyard decks with a self-milling component. You can do better, but you can also do worse.

#12. Bloom Hulk

Bloom Hulk

Bloom Hulk lets you proliferate when it enters the battlefield, and it’s a solid, though unimpressive body at 4/4 for 4.

#11. Rubblehulk


Gruul creatures that care about lands are par for the course, and Rubblehulk is useful both on the battlefield and in your hand. I’m more likely to aim for the bloodrush ability, especially if I’ve got an evasive or trampling creature that I want to have swinging for massive damage.

#10. Threefold Thunderhulk

Threefold Thunderhulk

Threefold Thunderhulk is a huge mana investment, but it’s a token generator with a built-in sacrifice outlet. It’s a very complete card, like re-done Birthing Hulk. Being colorless lets this gnome fit into all kinds of strategies, including how Sovereign Okinec Ahau cares about your creatures that have a higher power stat than their base power.

#9. Birthing Hulk

Birthing Hulk

Birthing Hulk is three creatures for the price of one when you cast it, though keep in mind that using its regeneration doesn’t trigger its ETB again. Still, you can use Jaheira, Friend of the Forest to make the tokens into mana dorks that you don’t have to sacrifice.

You can’t use Birthing Hulk in Commander decks fronted by colorless Eldrazi: although devoid makes it colorless while in play, the in its casting cost gives our Hulk a green identity. But you can pair it with Eldrazi Displacer and other pieces to fuel infinite combos.

#8. Hulking Raptor

Hulking Raptor

Not many hulks are also mana sources, but Hulking Raptor is. Adding mana at the beginning of your precombat main phase is solid acceleration, especially considering ward 2 should help this dinosaur to stick around to start providing value. On curve, you can cast this when you have 4 mana and have another 2 plus your land drop on your next turn, bringing you up to 7.

Just mind the teeth, eh?

#7. Hulking Metamorph

Hulking Metamorph

A shapeshifter with prototype is actually interesting. I’ve been sifting through so many “Hulking Thing” cards that don’t give me much to dig into, so my brain may be a little mush, but Hulking Metamorph has my hamster back on its wheel.

Copying either an artifact or a creature can be really good when you’ve already got something impactful on the board, and the flexibility that prototype gives you means you’ll either get a mid-sized or a big copy, since it keeps its power and toughness.

#6. Verdurous Gearhulk

Verdurous Gearhulk

Verdurous Gearhulk is a big trampler that lets you distribute 4 +1/+1 counters. Pair that with your favorite counter doublers and adders and it can give you massive value when it enters the battlefield.

#5. Torrential Gearhulk

Torrential Gearhulk

The fact that you can drop Torrential Gearhulk at instant speed is really good, especially since its power and toughness aren’t out of line with its mana value. You get to grab an instant from your graveyard and recast it. What’s neat is that you can copy this artifact with Jin-Gitaxias, Progress Tyrant and snag another instant, and the Gearhulk also fits in with cards that care about casting spells on opponents’ turns.

#4. Cataclysmic Gearhulk

Cataclysmic Gearhulk

White has all kinds of sweeping effects, including ones that leave some things behind. Cataclysmic Gearhulk is arguably generous by letting everyone keep up to four non-land permanents, but sometimes you’d rather have simplification over a total sweep. Vigilance is a solid post-sweeper keyword to have on board since you’ll be able to attack with the Gearhulk while also keeping it for defense.

#3. Protean Hulk

Protean Hulk

Protean Hulk is one of the few non-Gearhulk hulks that’s strong in multiple builds. Sacrifice it to Prime Speaker Vannifar to search your library for not one, but two creatures. Oh wait, the Hulk says, “any number of creature cards.” Snap.

Sacrifice and reanimation shells are a solid place for this, especially because you can choose between bringing out a bunch of creatures or just your favorite game-changer.

#2. Combustible Gearhulk

Combustible Gearhulk

Combustible Gearhulk is more than fine when used fairly, but there’s plenty of ways to take advantage of it being anywhere other than your battlefield. Some commanders can make use of it while its in your graveyard, like how Mishra, Tamer of Mak Fawa gives it unearth or Feldon of the Third Path can make token copies of it. Ilharg, the Raze-Boar’s attack trigger is a way to reuse this Gearhulk’s ETB. Oh, and Osgir, the Reconstructor can exile it from your graveyard to make two token copies.

#1. Noxious Gearhulk

Noxious Gearhulk

Removal and lifegain in the same ETB trigger is a sweet, sweet combination. Noxious Gearhulk is black, fittin into all kinds of black, Rakdos, and Golgari strategies, just to start. It can be especially good if part of your deck has “opponent loses life equal to the amount of life you’ve gained this turn” text in it, like Gollum, Obsessed Stalker or Willowdusk, Essence Seer.

Best Hulk Payoffs

There are no basic hulk typal synergies since “hulk” isn’t a creature type in Magic (yet), but the artifact creatures among these will benefit from artifact creature payoffs and synergies. One potential Commander home for these can be the Transformers cards since a number of them care about your other artifact creatures.

Hulks tend to have high power and high toughness, so fling effects and others that care about those stats can take advantage of your army of big bois. Many hulks also have impactful ETB triggers, which means that they’re strong when paired with cards that can double those triggers. You can also use them alongside sac outlets and reanimation, or even slip them into blink builds if there’s a fit you feel like exploring.

Smashing Conclusion

Torrential Gearhulk - Illustration by Svetlin Velinov

Torrential Gearhulk | Illustration by Svetlin Velinov

And that’s all the hulks in Magic… so far! We’re still a ways off from the MTG x Marvel crossover, so there’s plenty of time to speculate on which Marvel Hulks are going to join the fray. Will they become their own creature type, or will hulks be sorted as mutants? Will they be one-sided or transforming cards? So many questions, and so few answers.

Which hulks do you use in your builds? Have you ever considered a janky, “Oops, All Hulks” deck, and how do you think that would look? Let me know in the comments below or over on the Draftsim Discord.

No, I’m not signing off with the MCU Hulk “lullaby,” no matter how low the sun is getting.

Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates:

Add Comment

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