Last updated on February 28, 2023

Nashi, Moon Sage's Scion - Illustration by Valera Lutfullina

Nashi, Moon Sage’s Scion | Illustration by Valera Lutfullina

For hundreds of years it was believed that rats were responsible for the plague that ravaged Europe during the 14th century. Rats were the default face of plague and sickness until it was proved that the plague was carried not by rats, but by fleas. Rats have retained that “plague carrier” element in pop culture to this day, including how the rat creature type appears in MTG.

Rats have been in Magic since Alpha and don’t seem like they’re going away any time soon. Which have been the best rats in the game, and what can you expect from them in your decks? Read on to want to keep your teeth sharp!

What Are Rats in MTG?

Ashcoat of the Shadow Swarm - Illustration by Christina Kraus

Ashcoat of the Shadow Swarm | Illustration by Christina Kraus

Rat is a creature type in Magic that’s been around since the very first set. There are around 70 cards with the rat creature type, and they’re almost all mono black. A handful are Rakdos (), and there are just one each in Dimir () and in Orzhov ().

Most rats have low mana values and aren’t particularly powerful. There are quite a few rats that have effects that focus on rat swarms by giving them advantages when you have more rats in play, or allowing you to have any number of the same card in your deck.

#30. Ruin Rat

Ruin Rat

Most rats are great expendable creatures, and Ruin Rat is proof of it. The ability to exile a card from a graveyard can be pretty useful, and a 1/1 with deathtouch is always a decent early drop.

#29. Gnat Miser

Gnat Miser

I like Gnat Miser for its highly specific ability. Reducing all your opponents’ hand limits by one isn’t the strongest ability, but it’s a fun and original way to annoy your opponents and give them some disadvantages.

#28. Kuro’s Taken

Kuro's Taken

Bushido was a controversial ability back in its time because of the weird and unfun board states it created. Kuro’s Taken can be a decent filler card. Its regenerate ability lets you attack or block without having to worry too much.

#27. Nezumi Bone-Reader

Nezumi Bone-Reader

The main issue with Nezumi Bone-Reader is that its ability can only be used as a sorcery. Sacrifice outlets are some of the most useful things a deck can have, and discarding from an opponent’s hand is a great way to increase the pressure.

This card is still good and useful, but it’d be better if its ability was at instant speed.

#26. Rancid Rats

Rancid Rats

Rancid Rats can be a great card if you manage to raise its defense. Having skulk with a low attack makes it basically unblockable while having deathtouch with a high defense can make for an amazing blocker.

#25. Mukotai Ambusher

Mukotai Ambusher

There’s not much to say about Mukotai Ambusher. It’s a good filler card to ensure some combat tricks and lifegain thanks to its ninjutsu.

#24. Scrib Nibblers

Scrib Nibblers

Scrib Nibblers’ ability is a decent way to consistently remove a card from the top of an opponent’s library every turn. Its landfall ability also allows you to use this ability twice most turns.

#23. Nezumi Bladeblesser

Nezumi Bladeblesser

Neon Dynasty had a strong focus on equipped and enchanted creatures with cards that benefited your modified creatures, and cards that benefited from them. Nezumi Bladeblesser is at its best if you control both an enchantment and an artifact, but it’s still worth it when you just have one of them.

#22. Typhoid Rats

Typhoid Rats

A 1/1 with deathtouch for a single black mana is always a great filler for any deck. Typhoid Rats is a perfectly decent blocker for your early turns.

#21. Relentless Rats

Relentless Rats

You could technically build an EDH deck where every creature save the commander is just Relentless Rats. I’m not saying it’d be a good deck, but this card can make for some fun strategies in more casual decks.

#20. Locust Miser

Locust Miser

Locust Miser is basically a slightly stronger version of Gnat Miser. Reducing your opponents’ hand limit by two can make a more interesting difference when it comes to hurting their play, so it earns a higher spot.

#19. Rotting Rats

Rotting Rats

The main disadvantage of Rotting Rats is that it makes every player discard, including you. Luckily black has tons of ways to turn that into an advantage (or at least mitigate the damage), so this card can be a fun addition to your black decks.

#18. Wave of Rats

Wave of Rats

Wave of Rats stands out because of how aggressive its abilities are compared to other rats. Trample and blitz plus the ability to return it to the battlefield if it dealt damage to a player are a great mix of abilities to put pressure onto an opponent while also drawing cards.

#17. Okiba Reckoner Raid / Nezumi Road Captain

The back side of this saga is the important part here. Giving all your vehicles menace can turn a decent boardstate into a serious threat to your opponents, and that’s exactly what Nezumi Road Captain guarantees.

#16. Greasefang, Okiba Boss

Greasefang, Okiba Boss

Let’s keep with the vehicle subtheme. Greasefang, Okiba Boss is a great support in any vehicle deck thanks to its ability to brings it back from the graveyard.

#15. Crypt Rats

Crypt Rats

There are better ways to deal large amounts of damage to creatures and players, but Crypt Rats can be a really fun way to take out the battlefield if you have some spare black mana.

#14. Swarm of Rats

Swarm of Rats

Rat decks tend to play lots of the little critters. They’re small and mostly weak, but they get strong with numbers.

Swarm of Rats takes that to the next obvious step by gaining power equal to the number of rats you control, which makes it a nice threat with a good boardstate.

#13. Stronghold Rats

Stronghold Rats

The idea behind Stronghold Rats is similar to Rotting Rats. It’s basically a repeatable discard effect since it triggers when dealing damage to opponents, and it has shadow.

#12. Rat Colony

Rat Colony

Rat Colony has an advantage over Swarm of Rats because it gets a head start by having a base power of 2. It also lets you have any number of copies in your deck, so you can exploit that if played right.

#11. Skullsnatcher


Ninjutsu is a controversial but cool ability because it can make for some great combat tricks. Skullsnatcher isn’t the strongest ninjutsu card, but it’s a reliable way to remove certain cards from an opponent’s graveyard.

#10. Nezumi Graverobber / Nighteyes the Desecrator

Nezumi Graverobber / Nighteyes the Desecrator

Nezumi Graverobber’s low casting cost and cheap ability make it absurdly easy to flip into its stronger version. Nighteyes the Desecrator’s ability is clearly more costly, but having a repeatable way to put creatures from graveyards onto your field is always a great advantage.

#9. Okiba-Gang Shinobi

Okiba-Gang Shinobi

Being able to force an opponent to discard two every time you deal damage to them can put a ton of pressure on them. Okiba-Gang Shinobi ensures you get a hit in at least once thanks to its ninjutsu ability.

#8. Ichor Rats

Ichor Rats

Everyone knows infect was a fun and balanced mechanic that no one hates. Ichor Rats not only has infect, it also gives your opponents a poison counter as soon as it hits the battlefield. Any proliferate card you have becomes instantly way more threatening.

#7. Throat Slitter

Throat Slitter

You need to make sure you have a way to give Throat Slitter some good evasion. That alone ensures a repeatable removal on a stick, which is always a great thing to have.

#6. Silver-Fur Master

Silver-Fur Master

We’ve already gone through quite a few rats with ninjutsu, so it had to be expected there’d be a rat with good support for the mechanic. Silver-Fur Master is a great complement for ninjutsu creatures and strategies.

It’s also a clear reference to Master Splinter from TMNT, so that instantly makes it better.

#5. Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni

Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni

Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni played at the right time can net you a game changing creature from an opponent’s graveyard. You can consistently take creatures away from your opponents if you have ways to give it evasion.

#4. Pack Rat

Pack Rat

Pack Rat doesn’t only gain power from the other rats you control, it also gains toughness. Its second ability lets you create tokens that are copies of it, which can get out of hand very quickly.

#3. Marrow-Gnawer


Rats aren’t so common that giving fear to all rats can turn into a problem for you. Marrow-Gnawer’s ability lets you sacrifice a rat to duplicate the number of rats you control. Combine that with something like Pack Rat and it suddenly becomes an absurdly threatening field.

#2. Ashcoat of the Shadow Swarm

Ashcoat of the Shadow Swarm

Ashcoat of the Shadow Swarm can turn your rats into amazing attackers and blockers. This effect creates some amazing synergies with most of the other rats I’ve mentioned.

#1. Nashi, Moon Sage’s Scion

Nashi, Moon Sage's Scion

Nashi, Moon Sage’s Scion is a great addition to almost any deck that plays black. Being able to steal your opponents’ spells is always good, and it opens up the possibility to cast basically anything you steal since you can play them by paying life instead of mana.

Best Rat Payoffs

Piper of the SwarmOgre Slumlord

There are a handful of non-rat creatures that create Rat tokens. Creatures like Piper of the Swarm and Ogre Slumlord can both ensure your field is consistently full of rats, and the Piper even lets you use them to steal your opponents’ creatures.

RatcatcherSpecies Specialist

Ratcatcher is another useful addition to rat tribal decks that lets you tutor for a rat so you can get some of the ninjutsu ones into your hand more quickly. Another great addition is Species Specialist because most of your rats are gonna die more often than not.

Karumonix, the Rat King

An honorable mention goes to Karumonix, the Rat King. This Phyrexia: All Will Be One card is definitely gonna make rat tribal way stronger with all your rats dealing poison counters alongside damage.

Wrap Up

Ruin Rat - Illustration by Shreya Shetty

Ruin Rat | Illustration by Shreya Shetty

Rats are a super underrated tribe. They’re absurdly cute animals in real life and can be a fun and more unusual strategy in Magic. They’re a viable tribe without being too broken, and most of them are even great additions in other decks.

What do you think? Do you like rats in Magic? Did I miss your favorite one? Leave a comment down below letting me know, and don’t forget to check out the Draftsim Discord to find an amazing community of Magic fans.

That’s all from me for now. Have a good one, and I’ll see you next time!

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