Last updated on April 26, 2023
Volcanic Strength | Illustration by Izzy
Mountainwalk, like most landwalk abilities, isn’t as popular as it once was. This is likely thanks to the risk of including a card that may end up being useless if your opponent isn’t playing a specific color. While it may be a little more useful in a multiplayer format like Commander, there’s still a chance it ends up being an overpriced vanilla creature.
Luckily you can increase the effectiveness of Mountainwalk cards by using Blood Moon. If you want to include some Mountainwalk cards in your deck, it’s worth taking a look at them all in relation to each other.
Of all landwalk abilities, Mountainwalk is actually the second least common with only 27 printed cards that have or mention the ability. The only landwalk ability less common is the confusingly worded Plainswalk. To help you evaluate whether any of these Mountainwalk cards are worth including, I took a look at each one to determine their relative power level and usefulness.
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What Is Mountainwalk in MTG?
Goblin King (Secret Lair) | Illustration by Mike Uziel
Mountainwalk is a keyword ability that makes creatures unblockable if the player they’re attacking controls a Mountain. This can be a useful way to get some of your smaller creatures past your opponent’s defenders.
Honorable Mention: Crevasse
Crevasse doesn’t have or grant Mountainwalk. Instead, it shuts it down if your opponent has it.
This ability is a little too niche to be consistently helpful. Unless you play in a pod where you know another player runs a lot of Mountainwalk, I wouldn’t recommend including this card.
#26. Cavern Crawler
Cavern Crawler isn’t really a great deal when it comes to Mountainwalk creatures. It starts with no power, forcing you to pay mana each time you want to attack with it and do damage. After spending three mana on a creature I’d like for it to at least have some power on its own instead of forcing me to consistently waste resources on it.
#25. Vug Lizard
Vug Lizard has good power and toughness for its mana cost, but that’s somewhat ruined by its echo ability. This is a good inclusion if you’re running enough haste enablers that you’ll likely be able to swing with it on the first turn. Otherwise you’re basically looking at a 6-mana 3/4 that may or may not be able to attack unblocked.
#24. Rock Badger
Rock Badger is one of the strongest Mountainwalk creatures, but it’s also pretty expensive. A 3/3 unblockable creature is still a good tool to have, but it’s probably not the best use of five mana.
Rock Badger could be a good choice if you’ve built a deck that grants extra damage to creatures or gives them abilities like double strike, but it might not be worth it otherwise.
#23. Sokenzan Bruiser
Sokenzan Bruiser is pretty much in the same boat as Rock Badger, though the one advantage it has is that it’s also a warrior. Commanders like Lovisa Coldeyes and Najeela, the Blade-Blossom grant additional abilities to warriors, and it’s a relatively popular tribe to build a deck around.
Sokenzan Bruiser can probably slot into more decks than Rock Badger.
#22. Cave People
The nice thing about Cave People is that it isn’t over-reliant on Mountainwalk. It’s still a creature that you can use as an okay defender if it turns out Mountainwalk won’t do anything for you in a particular game.
That said, it’s an underwhelming creature, so you might want to just skip it if you aren’t confident you’ll be using its ability much.
#21. Hillcomber Giant
Hillcomber Giant has a better mana value-to-power and toughness ratio than some other Mountainwalk cards, and its cost isn’t too restrictive in a mono-white or 2-color deck.
One downside is that the card isn’t red, so you’ll need to at least splash some red if you want to run it with Blood Moon to increase the chances of being able to use its Mountainwalk ability.
#20. Dwarven Pony
Dwarves aren’t the most common tribe in Magic, but Dwarven Pony still has its uses. It’d be a decent tool to have in a shapeshifter Commander deck since it could give any of your creatures Mountainwalk. It’s still a body for only one mana even if that doesn’t pay off, so this is still useful if you’re running a Coat of Arms or something similar.
#19. Enslaved Scout
Enslaved Scout is slightly behind on the mana curve in terms of power and toughness. A static Mountainwalk ability could make up for this, but having to pay for this card to gain it makes it less of a good deal. Still, two mana can be worth it if you have abilities that trigger on combat damage, so Enslaved Scout has its uses.
It’s also a goblin, which means it fits into some powerful tribal decks.
#18. Glissa’s Courier
Glissa's Courier is a decent Mountainwalk creature in terms of power and toughness relative to cost. Unfortunately it doesn’t really have a lot of other benefits.
Most horror tribal decks are in Dimir () coloring so this card wouldn’t really fit into them. A mono-green deck would have the easiest time casting this card, but you’d need to at least be in Gruul () to include Blood Moon. Otherwise you’ll just have to hope your opponent is playing red.
#17. Goblin Scouts
Goblin Scouts gives you a pretty good deal on three Mountainwalk creatures. This is a great tool for any goblin tribal deck since the token creatures are also Goblins. It won’t matter too much if you aren’t able to make use of their Mountainwalk abilities because you’ll still likely have a good use for three goblins.
#16. Zodiac Dog
Zodiac Dog is a pretty basic Mountainwalk creature. It has decent power and toughness for its mana cost, making it better than some of the more expensive options.
This card would work well in a dog tribal deck or a Rin and Seri, Inseparable dogs and cats deck.
#15. Goblin Spelunkers
Goblin Spelunkers has all the same benefits as Zodiac Dog. The spelunkers get the edge for a few reasons.
One is that goblins are a more powerful tribe than dogs, meaning they’re more useful in better decks. This card is also a warrior, so it works well in a goblin or warrior deck, giving it a little more versatility.
#14. Cliff Threader
Cliff Threader has a solid power-to-mana value ratio. Even though it only has one toughness, that isn’t a big deal if it can attack without being blocked. A lot of equipment– or aura-based decks use white, so having a cheap white creature with a form of built-in evasion can be useful even if it doesn’t always pay off.
#13. Canyon Wildcat
Canyon Wildcat is basically the same card as Cliff Threader, just in red and with a different creature type. Really the only reason I consider Canyon Wildcat higher on the list is that it’s in red, which most Mountainwalk cards are. You’ll have an easier time including this one if you’re building a deck around the theme.
That said, which one is better comes down to which better fits the needs of your deck.
#12. Colos Yearling
Though Colos Yearling is pretty weak when it enters the battlefield, its firebreathing ability makes it a pretty powerful card. You can end up doing some serious damage if you can swing with this card unblocked and pump it up with a lot of mana.
This is a great card to include in a deck where you’re running Braid of Fire because it’s always a good mana sink if you have nothing else to cast at instant speed.
#11. Mountain Goat
Mountain Goat is one of several 1/1 creatures with Mountainwalk that only cost one red mana. These are decent inclusions for an aggro deck because you’re still getting a cheap body for your early turns even if you don’t get to use the ability.
There are better 1-drop red creatures out there, like Fervent Champion, but these are some of your better options in terms of Mountainwalk cards.
#10. Zodiac Goat
Zodiac Goat is actually just a functional reprint of Mountain Goat. The reason I like it more is that it’s part of a cycle of cards from Portal Three Kingdoms that depicts the different animals of the Zodiac. This makes it a more aesthetically interesting card to me, and it’s also the rarer of the two given how hard it is to track down English copies of Portal Three Kingdoms cards.
#9. Dwarven Grunt
Dwarven Grunt is another 1/1 Mountainwalk creature for just one red mana. The reason it’s slightly better than the Goat cards is that there are more dwarf creatures than there are goat ones. This means its creature type is more likely to matter along with the other aspects of the card.
#8. Goblins of the Flarg
Goblins of the Flarg is a cheap Mountainwalk creature with a very minor downside. In reality it won’t likely matter to you too much since you’re most likely putting this in a goblin deck that already isn’t running dwarves.
Goblins being a more prevalent creature type than either dwarves or goats is what gives this card the edge over similar Mountainwalk creatures.
#7. Goblin Mountaineer
Goblin Mountaineer is just Goblins of the Flarg without its negative stipulation. While the Flarg’s downside isn’t that big of a deal, Mountaineer is technically a little bit better of a card by not having it. It also allows you to steal one of your opponent’s dwarf creatures without worrying about sacrificing your own creature in the process.
#6. River Merfolk
River Merfolk is a bit of a weird one. Though its flavor text explains that these creatures reside in mountain streams, it’s still strange to see a blue merfolk card with Mountainwalk. This is also the only blue card with the ability on it.
Why I think River Merfolk deserves a higher spot is that evasion is a huge part of the strategy of a merfolk deck. With Islandwalk heavily covered by many other merfolk creatures, it’s nice to see one with a unique version of evasion that can add a little more variety to your merfolk decks.
#5. Mountain Yeti
One of the very few yeti in Magic, Mountain Yeti offers a little extra benefit on top of Mountainwalk. This card can be a very effective blocker or just have a second form of evasion thanks to its protection from white.
A 3/3 with two pretty powerful abilities makes Mountain Yeti a great deal for only four mana.
#4. Cave Sense
As you may have noticed by now, most Mountainwalk creatures don’t have much going for them besides just having Mountainwalk. That’s why auras like Cave Sense that grant Mountainwalk can be much more effective. This way you can add Mountainwalk to an already powerful creature at a pretty low cost instead of having to include an underwhelming creature just for the evasion.
#3. Volcanic Strength
Volcanic Strength is a strictly better version of Cave Sense since it does the same thing but also grants an extra +1/+1. You’ll probably want to run both if you’re playing Commander and can only have one copy of each.
Burrowing is a cheaper way to grant Mountainwalk. While it doesn’t grant the additional buff if you’re enchanting the right creature, a little bit of extra power and toughness likely won’t matter too much. I’d rather have the extra mana to spend on something else while just using one to grant a creature Mountainwalk.
#1. Goblin King
Even without its Mountainwalk ability, Goblin King would be a good card for any goblin deck thanks to its anthem effect. This card could end up winning you the game in the right circumstances by also granting all other goblins a form of evasion.
It also doesn’t have too high of a mana value for all the benefits it gives you.
Best Mountainwalk Payoffs
Probably the best cards to payoff Mountainwalk abilities are Blood Moon or Magus of the Moon. There’s a very good chance your opponent is playing at least one nonbasic land if they’re not playing red. These cards not only shut down any abilities those lands might have, they also allow you to use your Mountainwalk abilities.
Since Mountainwalk is a form of evasion, any cards that make combat damage more effective are also good payoffs. Damage doublers or triplers like Dictate of the Twin Gods and Fiery Emancipation pair well with Mountainwalk creatures, especially since a lot of them are relatively weak on their own.
Granting your evasive creatures infect with something like Grafted Exoskeleton or Triumph of the Hordes can also be pretty effective.
Cave Sense | Illustration by Mark Romanoski
Mountainwalk isn’t the most prevalent landwalk ability, but it does have some good uses. While some of these cards aren’t really worth their mana value, others can be effective at dealing damage. Ones that fit into established tribes like goblins, warriors, or dwarves also have an edge since they can benefit from tribal support cards to make them more powerful.
Which Mountainwalk cards would you use in a deck? Which landwalk ability do you think is most powerful? Do you like landwalk abilities, or prefer those that are more consistent? Let me know in the comments below or over on Draftsim’s Twitter.
Thanks for reading, and I look forward to seeing you in the next one!
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