Last updated on August 29, 2023
Decanter of Endless Water | Illustration by Titus Lunter
Magic isn’t like Crazy 8s, where the goal of the game is to get rid of the cards in your hand. Cards are a resource, so you should naturally want more of them to impact the game. A balanced game limits your hand size. But what if you could get around that?
I’ve got your complete guide to an infinite hand size in Magic. Just like a basketball player with big hands has a better grip on the ball, these cards should help you get a better grip on your matches!
Tishana, Voice of Thunder | Illustration by Anna Steinbauer
Infinite hand size, or “no maximum hand size,” cards allow you to ignore the maximum hand size rule. Your maximum hand size is usually seven, and you have to discard down to that number during your cleanup step. These cards get around that.
Some have a temporary effect, but most continually grant the effect while they’re on board or until the end of the game.
Stairs to Infinity
Stairs to Infinity is a plane from Planechase 2012 Edition and Planechase Anthology that gives all players no maximum hand size. The Planechase format is already primed for maximum chaos, so it makes sense that this would be one of the effects granted by a plane.
Mine, Mine, Mine!
It may be a green spell, but this one belongs to Larfleeze and the Orange Lantern Corps. Or maybe latter-day Daffy Duck. Mine, Mine, Mine! is all about keeping your cards close to your vest. If you have a big enough grip to hold everything, that is. Maybe everyone should just agree that your hand is a zone that doesn’t literally have to fit in your hand.
Choice of Fortunes is an Alchemy- and Historic-only card that makes use of the seek mechanic. It’ll let you see a bunch of cards while stripping away your hand size requirements until the end of the game. Given how it’s limited to Arena, I have a hard time quantifying it against paper cards. If you play those formats, sound off in the comments!
Graceful Adept from Champions of Kamigawa is one of the most underwhelming infinite hand size effects compared to the others. It’s just a creature with 1/3 stats and a “no maximum hand size” ability, but it counts as a human and a wizard, in case your deck cares.
If there’s anything that cop, mob, and spy media have taught me, it’s that information comes at a cost. Price of Knowledge reflects that; nobody has a maximum hand size, but everyone loses life based on the number of cards in hand. Make the most of it with forced draw and bounce spells to keep your opponents’ hands full.
Anvil of Bogardan has received errata granting each player an infinite maximum hand size. It gives everyone extra cards during their upkeep, although everyone must discard too. It’s cheap to cast and doesn’t cost anything to trigger, so it’s one of the rare older artifacts that can still pull its weight today.
Mordenkainen is a planeswalker whose ultimate ability switches your hand with your library and gives you an emblem that lifts your max hand size restriction. The tokens that its -2 loyalty ability creates care about the number of cards in your hand. If you manage to keep any Dog Illusions around before popping that ultimate, that’s a chance for some pretty big tokens.
I love this Gatecrash card, conceptually. Enter the Infinite draws your full library and places one card back in that zone to prevent you from losing… unless someone forces you to draw a couple of times. Its effect only lasts until your next turn, but you’re planning on ending the game before then anyway.
I really like how Tamiyo, the Moon Sage’s abilities tie into each other. Positive loyalty taps a creature, negative loyalty draws cards based on the number of tapped creatures an opponent controls (hello, mass tappers), and the emblem turns your maximum hand size infinite and (optionally) returns anything that hits your graveyard to your hand. There’s plenty to like here, which just goes to show how premium that “no maximum hand size” text is.
Ixalan’s Tishana, Voice of Thunder is multiple big-hand payoffs in one. It gives you the infinite hand size benefit, but it also has power and toughness that care about the cards in your hand. Oh, and it can draw you a bunch when it enters the battlefield.
Yup, this is definitely how green does “no max hand size.” Praetor's Counsel returns your graveyard to your hand and has a permanent hand size effect, so it persists throughout the lategame. What are you pairing this with? Landfall, creaturefall, ETBs, or something else?
I always find that creatures with a star in their stats like Body of Knowledge perform differently from game to game and add some variety to your Magic life. This one’s power and toughness depend on the number of cards in your hand, and it takes away your maximum hand size. It’ll also draw you cards any time it’s dealt damage. Try giving this creature indestructible to maximize its impact. You want your Body of Knowledge to be pushed around, not killed.
Throne of Eldraine gave us The Magic Mirror. It may not tell you who’s the fairest of them all, but it’s a neat artifact for getting extra cards. The cost reduction means it’ll be cheaper to bring out as the game continues, and the draw power amplifies as it sticks around.
A lot of no maximum hand size cards tie into the theme of knowledge, so Library of Leng is right at home. It lets you discard to the top of your library rather than to your graveyard. If the discard is random, Library lets you look at the card before deciding where it goes. This thumbs its nose at forced discard strategies.
Folio of Fancies fits more into the political side of infinite hand sizes: sharing the perks with the table. This artifact can be used to fill everyone’s hand, but it can also be used to mill everyone. I’ve got the most crooked of grins just thinking about it.
Sooo… I guess we’re doing Bird tokens. Curiosity Crafter gives you card draw benefits when your tokens deal combat damage to players. Whether you’re preventing the damage dealt to your tokens or doubling them with something like Adrix and Nev, Twincasters, there’s lots of possibilities here. I have a feeling this will do good work in Birds and Beasts with Radagast, Wizard of Wilds.
One of the Elder Dragons from Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate, Ancient Silver Dragon swoops in at a hefty 8/8 for eight mana. It needs to deal combat damage to remove your maximum hand size, but the effect lasts for the rest of the game. Every time your Ancient Silver Dragon deals combat damage, you get to roll to determine how many cards you draw. Such good fun!
Here’s an X spell that’s pretty much designed as a setup to a big finish. Finale of Revelation requires 12+ mana to get all its perks, but that includes untapping some of your lands, shuffling your graveyard into your library, and removing your maximum hand size for the rest of the game.
#11. Jin-Gitaxias / The Great Synthesis
We care about the saga on the flip side of Jin-Gitaxias for today’s purposes, and the first chapter of The Great Synthesis gives you an infinite hand size for as long as it’s on board. It’ll also double the cards you already have in hand. The second chapter is a mass-bounce effect for all non-Phyrexian creatures, and the third chapter lets you cheat-cast your spells for free. Since it’s an alternative casting cost, you can’t use this chapter to cast an overloaded Cyclonic Rift, but there are plenty of other options.
Wrenn and Seven’s ultimate gives you an infinite hand size from its emblem. Its +1 loyalty ability puts cards into your graveyard that are ready for you to grab with the ultimate, while the emblem ensures that you won’t lose your hand size perks if you lose your planeswalker.
Venser's Journal gives you a steady lifegain payoff for keeping a full hand. Heck, for keeping an overflowing hand. If you already plan on drawing a bunch, Venser's Journal could be an artifact for you.
Banker, stockpiler, hoarder. However you describe it, Kruphix, God of Horizons is a champ for your mana pool. And for your hand size. What I really like is that there’s no alternative casting cost, so you can use this mana to pay for an overloaded spell. Or, you know, hold onto it for a massive X spell.
Say that ten times fast.
Triskaidekaphile from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt gives you an alternate win condition, although an exact one. You need exactly thirteen cards in hand, and this wizard also gives you the infinite hand size to get there. Oh, and its activated ability draws you a card. If your draw step doesn’t quite get you to victory, you can activate your Triskaidekaphile at instant speed to close things out.
Wizard Class is a class enchantment from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, with a rebalance for Alchemy called A-Wizard Class. The first level of this class gets you an infinite hand size, which is tidy for a 1-drop. The second level nets you two cards, while the third level pays you off in +1/+1 counters every time you draw a card.
Nezahal, Primal Tide is uncounterable and gives you an infinite hand size, but it seems that it’s designed to keep Nezahal alive. You can exile it temporarily by discarding three cards, which can help protect it from lethal combat damage, removal, and lots of other horrible, no good, very bad situations.
#4. Sea Gate Restoration / Sea Gate, Reborn
Sea Gate Restoration is a modal double-faced card that essentially doubles your hand when its front face resolves. It eliminates your maximum hand size until the end of the game, but it’s especially useful when Sea Gate, Reborn saves you from being mana-locked early on.
Oh look, a Decanter of Endless Water that costs two but only taps for colorless. Being lower on the mana curve helps it play more quickly and be more efficient. Thought Vessel is second best, but when you’re competing with something that isn’t a spell and can’t be countered, runner-up is pretty good.
Reliquary Tower is the most consistent way to ignore the hand size rule. Having this kind of effect on a land is solid, not to mention uncounterable (watch out for that land destruction, though). Reliquary Tower doesn’t come in tapped and generates colorless mana, so you can play it regardless of your commander’s color identity. It’s not surprising that this land is often reprinted for Commander products and still worth a few bucks.
Best “No Maximum Hand Size” Payoffs
Infinite hand sizes are more useful as a late-game play. Some cards like Enter the Infinite and Finale of Revelation are pretty much designed to close out a match. Besides, it’s no use having no maximum hand size if you don’t have the mana to play those cards (thanks, Kruphix, God of Horizons) or the ability to cheat them out.
The risk of running card draw engines is that you can wind up drawing so many cards that you have to discard some during your cleanup step. Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur is a prime example. Maybe you want to discard a bunch of cards. Maybe you don’t. Running an infinite hand size effect can help to reduce those self-inflicted rake-stepping moments when it’s unintentional. Given the number of cards you’ll draw in a long match with Zedruu the Greathearted, you’ll probably want to maximize your hand size there, too.
Your opponent might also try forcing you to draw too many cards, or they may bounce most of your board back with a Cyclonic Rift. You won’t have to choose between keeping any useful pieces if you have an infinite hand size effect to rely on. Better yet? Have it on Reliquary Tower.
Alandra, Sky Dreamer buffs itself and your Drakes when you draw your fifth card each turn. With no maximum hand size, the sky’s the limit. Body of Knowledge and the Maro cycle of legendary spirits from Saviors of Kamigawa have power and toughness that rely on the number of cards in your hand, another reason to want a mittful of cardboard. More recently, there’s The Archimandrite from The Brothers’ War Commander that gains you life on upkeep based on the number of cards in your hand.
Looking for something aggressive, impulsive? Fateful Showdown deals damage equal to the number of cards in your hand. Just make sure you have enough cards to draw. Or perhaps a Laboratory Maniac. The safer play may be just to kick Fires of Victory. Spiraling Embers and Runeflare Trap can also burn based on the cards in your hand.
The shared hand size effects of Price of Knowledge, Anvil of Bogardan, and Folio of Fancies each have their perks. One of Balor’s modes can deal damage equal to the number of cards in a player’s hand, as does the “foe” part of Khorvath's Fury. Emberwilde Captain punishes anyone who attacks you while you’re the monarch, or you can have a death trigger from Vicious Shadows to burn anyone with too many cards.
Your maximum hand size is normally seven cards, and you typically start with an opening hand of seven cards. You can have more than seven cards in hand at any time, but you have to discard down to your maximum hand size during your cleanup step at the end of your turn.
Reliquary Tower is the land that grants you an infinite hand size. It first appeared in Conflux and has been a common Commander product reprint since.
Venser's Journal | Illustration by Christopher Moeller
You gotta love effects that almost let you cheat the rules of the game. “Look at hand” effects let you rubberneck, some cards let you cheat out permanents without paying their mana cost, and infinite hand size cards let you keep more resources than normal. These cards are legal, so you’re not quite a rebel or a rulebreaker. It’s the spirit that counts.
You know, we’ve got planeswalker emblems, planes, artifacts, and even lands that give you an infinite hand size, but we didn’t get any battles that do it. Considering all the other things these permanents do, I’m a little surprised. Something for the future, maybe?
Which decks do you like for running no max hand size cards? Are there any payoffs that I’ve left out? Let me know in the comments below, or over on Draftsim’s official Twitter.
Thanks for reading, and in the words of Falco Lombardi, “Hands off my prey!”
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