Last updated on February 1, 2023

Wrexial, the Risen Deep - Illustration by Eric Deschamps

Wrexial, the Risen Deep | Illustration by Eric Deschamps

Krakens are, without a doubt, one of the most daunting kinds of creatures. And not just in Magic. Krakens dominate the scene in movies, games, and tabletop games alike. But they’re not all made equal, which is why I’m coming to you today with a complete ranking and comparison of every kraken in Magic.

I’ll go over what krakens are in general, a rankings list for each color, and then explain briefly how to capitalize on their power. Ready? Let’s go!

What Are Krakens in MTG?

Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle - Illustration by Dimitar Marinski

Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle | Illustration by Dimitar Marinski

“Kraken” is a creature type in Magic that typically is reserved for expensive blue or black creatures that have incredibly impactful effects on the game. They’re big, they’re mean, and they leave nothing left to be desired with the name kraken.

While there are only 25 unique kraken cards in the game, you probably already know of a few. Hullbreaker Horror currently dominates Standard and even sees play as a combo piece in competitive EDH. Thing in the Ice is also a Pioneer staple which offers up Awoken Horror when the counters are all removed. Both creatures completely dominate the battlefield and offer incredible and often game-winning effects.

Best Blue Krakens

#21. Kraken Hatchling

Kraken Hatchling

First up on the list is Kraken Hatchling. This is just a 0/4 little fella for and not much else. It has the kraken creature type so it could technically be filler in a kraken-tribal deck and function as both an early blocker and later threat once some other card buffs it, but I’m not too happy with this card overall.

#20. Polar Kraken

Polar Kraken

Next up we have Polar Kraken, an 11/11 for 11 that also has a cumulative upkeep cost that demands a land be sacrificed. It even comes into play tapped.

If the previous kraken being ranked wasn’t a 0/4 for , this card would be dead last. The only thing it has going for it is that it’s a massive body with trample, but you’d be playing green if you wanted that in the first place.

#19. Reservoir Kraken

Reservoir Kraken

In 19th place we have a newer kraken from Streets of New Capenna, Reservoir Kraken. This is a 6/6 with trample and ward 2 for four, but it has some serious drawbacks. It can be shut down in exchange for generating a 1/1 unblockable, which is actually pretty terrible.

Most creature decks will run you over with this non-existent blocker. And I’m not too worried about a few unblockables being made in a format like Commander where you start at 40 life.

#18. Isleback Spawn

Isleback Spawn

Up next is Isleback Spawn, a simple 4/8 with shroud that gets +4/+8 if a library has 20 or fewer cards in it. You’ll never activate that in Commander, at least not more than once in a few dozens game at most, so I’m judging this card based on its power on rate.

But even as a 4/8 for 7 with shroud this card leaves plenty to be desired. Maybe a line of text that mills a massive number of cards or something. Regardless, this is one you can pass on.

#17. Kraken of the Straits

Kraken of the Straits

Things start to get a bit more interesting with Kraken of the Straits. This is a 6/6 for 7 and can’t be blocked by creatures with lower power than it. That’s basically protection from creatures if you’re in a mono-blue kraken deck, which is pretty sweet.

Unfortunately that’s all there is to this card. It’s just one triggered ability away from being “good” instead of “okay,” but then again it’s an uncommon, not rare.

#16. Icebreaker Kraken

Icebreaker Kraken

Icebreaker Kraken is the only snow-related kraken on today’s rankings. It’s an 8/8 for a whopping 12 mana, but costs less for each snow land you control so this thing could be cast on turn 6. It also taps down your opponents’ boards for a turn cycle and can then be bounced to your hand in exchange for three lands.

I like the idea of this card but I’m a little disappointed in its power level. You won’t really be slamming this turn after turn, maybe once or twice if you’re lucky, but that’s it. It also only taps down your opponents’ artifacts and creatures, not their lands, so it’s not some insane Stasis on a stick.

#15. Tolarian Kraken

Tolarian Kraken

Tolarian Kraken has a big name backing it up, but its oracle text might disappoint you a little. It gives you the option to tap or untap a creature by paying whenever you draw a card. This can be somewhat effective in mono-blue where you’ll be drawing plenty of cards and may have excess mana to spend.

I could see this being your engine to connect with your other krakens like Spawning Kraken, but not much beyond that.

#14. Spawning Kraken

Spawning Kraken

Next up is Spawning Kraken, a somewhat vanilla kraken that creates 9/9s whenever it connects with one of your opponents. The biggest downside to this creature is that it doesn’t have islandwalk or trample, which would make it significantly more powerful.

But luckily it doesn’t have much competition to face, which lands it the #14 spot today.

#13. Tidal Kraken

Tidal Kraken

A similar story to Spawning Kraken can be told for Tidal Kraken, a simple unblockable 6/6 for eight. This is a much more aggressive card that ends up connecting more often and won’t just be chump blocked like other krakens that require combat damage to function.

But again, my first thought if I was facing down this card wouldn’t necessarily be “oh man, that’s a scary threat,” but, “wow, you’re playing that?”

#12. Trench Behemoth

Trench Behemoth

Trench Behemoth is a much scarier card in both name and ability. It’s a 7/7 for seven, which is much better than some of the other deals offered by previous krakens. And it has the ability to be untapped and given hexproof in exchange for returning one of your lands to your hand.

It also forces your opponents’ creatures to attack whenever a land enters the battlefield next turn, which both opens up their board while also possibly running those creatures into your Trench Behemoth.

#11. Tromokratis


Another kraken that cares about blocking, Tromokratis takes today’s #11 spot. It’s an 8/8 with hexproof as long as it isn’t attacking or blocking, and it can’t be blocked unless all available blockers do so.

This is an aggressive card that can easily chop down the token player’s board a few notches while also acting as removal for the opponent whose only creature is their commander.

#10. Brinelin, the Moon Kraken

Brinelin, the Moon Kraken

Brinelin, the Moon Kraken has quite an interesting name but not as interesting of an ability. It notably has the partner mechanic which makes it a somewhat decent option as a commander, assuming it can be carried by the other partner.

Brinelin is just a bounce engine that returns nonland permanents whenever it enters the battlefield or when you cast a spell with mana value six or greater. I don’t really see the purpose of having this as a commander, but I’d always want to have this in play to maximize tempo and mana advantage in a big-mana kraken tribal deck.

#9. Shoal Kraken

Shoal Kraken

Shoal Kraken is one of the lower costing cards on today’s rankings, and it interestingly functions well with enchantments, allowing you to loot a card whenever one enters the battlefield. This kind of mechanic is usually reserved for enchantress cards and actually draws you the card rather than just giving card selection.

But I can see this actually being a great mid-game creature in a kraken deck that runs some powerful enchantments as a subtheme. Imprisoned in the Moon, Leyline of Anticipation, Shark Typhoon, and Teferi’s Ageless Insight especially are all more than playable and would work well.

#8. Stormsurge Kraken

Stormsurge Kraken

Another 5-drop, Stormsurge Kraken takes the #8 spot today as a 5/5 for five with hexproof and a lieutenant mechanic that gives it +2/+2 and the ability to draw you two cards when it’s blocked. As long as you have your commander in play.

Stormsurge is a great kraken for commander since it nearly always has its buff up so long because your commander itself isn’t an overpriced kraken. I like this card as an idea and it’s good to see a decent kraken that doesn’t try to be the most expensive card in your deck.

#7. Shipbreaker Kraken

Shipbreaker Kraken

Monstrosity is a great mechanic for krakens. It’s both on-theme for the card type and very flavorful, so I’m surprised that Shipbreaker Kraken is the only one with the mechanic in existence.

That said, Shipbreaker is a decent creature for the price. And it taps four creatures forever once it becomes monstrous. That’s a very powerful mechanic, especially to noncreature-based decks that are particularly weak to parity being broke in that way.

#6. Nadir Kraken

Nadir Kraken

Nadir Kraken is perhaps the most value-oriented kraken in Magic, and that’s earned it the #6 spot today. It’s a 2/3 for that lets you put a +1/+1 counter on it and make a 1/1 whenever you draw a card and pay .

Nadir will quickly grow out of control in just a few activations. Even a 5/6 is a sizeable body. I’m glad to see that this doesn’t have some weird downside like “activate only as a sorcery” or “once per turn” because that would completely cripple the card.

The 1/1s can also be used as sacrifice targets, which is especially good because you’re probably in Dimir () anyway if you’re playing with more than a few krakens.

#5. Scourge of Fleets

Scourge of Fleets

Starting off the top five is Scourge of Fleets. On top of loving the art on this card I also love the ability. It bounces each creature with toughness lower than the number of Islands you control. That almost always means the entire board.

If Cyclone Summoner has taught me anything, it’s that Cyclonic Rift on a stick is always great.

#4. Deep-Sea Kraken

Deep-Sea Kraken

Next up we have Deep-Sea Kraken, a 6/6 unblockable that has suspend 9 for . You’ll always want to suspend it since the only other ability it has is to remove a time counter whenever an opponent casts a spell.

This is obviously tremendously more powerful in multiplayer formats. And this could very well come out on turn 3 or 4 if you manage to turn 1 this with an Island and Mana Crypt.

#3. Gyruda, Doom of Depths

Gyruda, Doom of Depths

The companion Gyruda, Doom of Depths may not measure up to something like Yorion, Sky Nomad when it comes to dominating Constructed formats, but it certainly has some strength of its own. It mills each player for four when it enters the battlefield and then lets you take a creature milled this way and put it onto the battlefield under your control.

Dimir loves stealing cards, and it’s going to be good whenever it does it in addition to letting you play it for free. Gyruda is no exception.

#2. Thing in the Ice / Awoken Horror

Thing in the Ice is a staple in Pioneer, and for good reason. It’s an exceptional early blocker that transforms if you cast four instants or sorceries. That’s pretty easy to do in any blue deck, which means you’ll be greeted with a 7/8 that returns all non-horror creatures when it transforms.

As mentioned earlier, Cyclonic Rift is a superb card and getting a slightly nerfed version for free is beyond good.

#1. Hullbreaker Horror

Hullbreaker Horror

Finally, in the #1 spot today is none other than Hullbreaker Horror. This card wins games on its own, allowing blue tempo or control decks to maximize value by turning every spell into a bounce spell that can even hit spells on the stack.

Paired with infinite mana combos like Urza, Lord High Artificer and two low-cost artifacts like Sol Ring and Lotus Petal, this card can completely lock out the game at instant speed.

Best Black Kraken

#1. Rot-Tide Gargantua

Rot-Tide Gargantua

There’s only one kraken in black so while this isn’t even really a contest, the award still goes to Rot-Tide Gargantua! This is a 5/4 for five that causes each opponent to sacrifice a creature when you exploit it.

I can see this as a somewhat decent filler kraken in a Dimir kraken EDH deck, but there isn’t much to be excited about here other than that.

Best Multicolored Krakens

#3. Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle

Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle

First up we’re looking at the only green kraken in the entire game, Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle. This kraken is actually a land until you cast five spells, removing the five slumber counters it enters the battlefield with.

You’re looking at a nice 12/12 for four once those counters are removed. But you can enjoy a free each turn in the meantime, which makes this a perfect addition to any casual Simic () big-mana deck.

#2. Runo Stromkirk / Krothuss, Lord of the Deep

Next up in the middle is Runo Stromkirk, a vampire cleric until it’s able to transform into the 3/5 kraken horror on the back side.

#1. Wrexial, the Risen Deep

Wrexial, the Risen Deep

Finally, after a long list of rankings, we’ve come to the #1 spot inhabited by none other than Wrexial, the Risen Deep! Wrexial is a kraken with both islandwalk and swampwalk that’s all about casting your opponents’ instants and sorceries for free whenever it deals combat damage to a player.

While this mechanic is god-tier, it’s also entirely reliant on the graveyards and spells of your other opponents. One Bojuka Bog on the Izzet () spellsinger and your hopes of casting a free Bribery or Cyclonic Rift are gone forever.

Best Kraken Payoffs

Krakens don’t have any particularly strong payoffs but they do synergize really well with fast mana and ways to clear the board. Green does both of these and does the first incredibly well. Krakens are balanced with their stupidly high mana costs in mind, so being able to get these cards out three to four turns early dramatically improve them overall.

As for clearing the board, black and blue both do that well. Cyclonic Rift, Cyclone Summoner, and even Scourge of Fleets can help do this on top of cards like Damnation and Toxic Deluge coming down the turn before.

Wrap Up

Icebreaker Kraken - Illustration by Chris Cold

Icebreaker Kraken | Illustration by Chris Cold

That’s all there is to know about krakens in Magic. I hope you enjoyed the list! I loved looking through them all, and even if some are pretty poor by comparison, there are still quite a few banger creatures in there floating around.

What did you think of my rankings in particular? Obviously there isn’t much to be said about black or multicolored, but there are without a doubt a few different changes you could reasonably make to blue. I want to hear your thoughts, so let me know down in the comments or over in the official Draftsim Discord.

Until next time, stay safe and stay healthy!

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