Last updated on May 23, 2023

Jewel Thief - Illustration by Joe Slucher

Jewel Thief | Illustration by Joe Slucher

Rogues are among the most annoying creatures to play against, and among the most satisfying to play with. You know that the game is lost when you’re suddenly being poked for one or two damage, but you can’t touch the enemy with wraths or removal. Oh, and they’re usually evasive to boot. Now there are three more creatures to deal with and… oops, you’re dead.

There are lots of rogues in Magic, but which ones are the best? And what does a rogue-based deck look like? Let’s sneak in and find out!

What Are Rogues in MTG?

Extraction Specialist (Streets of New Capenna) - Illustration by Irina Nordsol

Extraction Specialist | Illustration by Irina Nordsol

Rogues are a creature type in MTG, and one of the most common ones. There have been more than 400 cards printed with the rogue type, usually in blue and black colors. The Dimir () guild in the Ravnica sets are an example; they’re a guild of spies, thieves, and assassins. Rogue tribal usually shows up in this color combo.

Some sets may have more rogues than usual and in all colors as flavor, like Streets of New Capenna. Others have more rogues than usual because of tribal themes, like Morningtide and Zendikar Rising.

Best White Rogues

#2. Extraction Specialist

Extraction Specialist

Rogues aren’t usually in the white portion of the color pie, but there are some highlights.

Extraction Specialist has synergies with cards like Spirited Companion, where you have a decent body in Specialist and good recursion. It also synergizes with cards like Ravenous Rats. Either way you have card advantage.

#1. Illuminator Virtuoso

Illuminator Virtuoso

Illuminator Virtuoso is a card that’s getting some traction in Voltron/heroic strategies and Feather, the Redeemed decks. A creature with double strike that grows with combat tricks is good. The Virtuoso can steal some games here and there.

Best Blue Rogues

#12. Pestermite


A 3-mana 2/1 with flash isn’t good enough to see play, but then there’s a card called Splinter Twin. Oh, and Kiki-Jiki, the Mirror Breaker. Those form infinite combos with Pestermite that anyone that’s played Modern, Cube, or Izzet () EDH decks should know.

That makes Pestermite relevant.

#11. Aarakocra Sneak

Aarakocra Sneak

Initiative is very impactful in some formats, with most 4-drops banned in Pauper for instance. Aarakocra Sneak was one of those banned cards, and it incentivizes a ramp strategy where you want to cast it as soon as possible. You’ll basically have a strong defender in a 1/4 flier and reap the initiative rewards.

I’m ranking this low because it’s seen less play since its ban.

#10. Sakashima of a Thousand Faces

Sakashima of a Thousand Faces

Sakashima of a Thousand Faces is a Clone that lets you clone other legends. It also has the partner mechanic, so you have a guaranteed copy effect for your partner commander to double its effectiveness.

#9. Invisible Stalker

Invisible Stalker

Hexproof is a nightmare for many players because the controlling player can slap tons of auras and equipment on it without downside. Invisible Stalker is that and unblockable, so you can’t chump or block it with deathtouch creatures to trade.

It’s very difficult to deal with Stalker once it gets going, especially in Draft.

#8. Merfolk Windrobber

Merfolk Windrobber

A 1-drop that’s evasive, contributes to the mill theme, and can be cashed back for a card isn’t brilliant. But Merfolk Windrobber does enough good things to merit consideration.

#7. Suspicious Stowaway

Suspicious Stowaway

Suspicious Stowaway is a 2/1 that loots. You can even draw extra cards if it’s transformed. Some Standard decks play this as an answer coming from the sideboard in certain matches.

#6. Faerie Miscreant

Faerie Miscreant

It’s a niche card in a niche format, but Faerie Miscreant is good in Pauper mono-blue tempo decks and faerie decks. It’s a little beater, helps Spellstutter Sprite, and can even draw cards sometimes.

#5. Glasspool Mimic / Glasspool Shore

It’s a land! It’s a Clone! It has two sides!

You should play Glasspool Mimic when you can add a cheap Clone effect on a land to your deck and have good ETB creatures to copy, like Siege Rhino (although in other colors). The opportunity cost to include the card is very low, and the upside can be very high.

#4. Blighted Agent

Blighted Agent

Blighted Agent is one of the cornerstones of the infect deck, joining forces with Glistener Elf. The Agent is already unblockable, so pumping it is a good way for a quick kill.

#3. Agent of Treachery

Agent of Treachery

Some polymorph combo decks need a good creature to cheat into play, and what’s better than a creature that steals something from your opponents?

Agent of Treachery permanently steals a opponent’s permanent. Your opponent is already at a disadvantage even if it’s killed. It can also be blinked so you’ll steal even more permanents.

#2. Brazen Borrower

Brazen Borrower

Part bounce spell, part Vendilion Clique, Brazen Borrower is value that perfectly fits blue flash/tempo strategies. Adventure is powerful, and this is one of the better cards with it.

This is also a way to interact with the board early when you have mana value restrictions in your deck because of cascade or companions.

#1. True-Name Nemesis

True-Name Nemesis

Frequently considered a print mistake, True-Name Nemesis (or TNN) is very hard to deal with in 1v1 games because it has protection from your opponent. That’s fine in a Commander game because the other players can interact with it.

You have a 3/1 merfolk, get bonus from tribal merfolk cards and usually equipment, and kill your opponent in some hits. You can counter or wrath it away, but that’s it. Oh, and merfolk decks usually have counterspells for your Wrath of God, so there’s also this element to be aware of.

Best Black Rogues

#13. Oona’s Blackguard

Oona's Blackguard

Give a +1/+1 counter to every single rogue you play after Oona's Blackguard, why don’t you? Creatures with counters have the saboteur ability to discard cards.

You know that Golgari () deck full of +1/+1 counter synergies and trample creatures? It works just as well, so give it a try.

#12. Morbid Opportunist

Morbid Opportunist

Morbid Opportunist is a big bomb in Draft and an interesting card in aristocrats decks. Being able to draw a card almost every turn keeps the deck moving, and opponents won’t want to trade since you get the best part of it.

#11. Acquisitions Expert

Acquisitions Expert

In a long line of 2-drops that make your opponent discard a card, Acquisitions Expert can offer you some selection in the card that’s being discarded: it’s scaled with the party mechanic.

This was a staple in its Standard format, both in party and Orzhov () recursion decks.

#10. Gonti, Lord of Luxury

Gonti, Lord of Luxury

Gonti, Lord of Luxury is a fine way to steal cards from your opponents. You can do it once more every time you blink it. It can be a commander on its own or support other Dimir themes of stealing cards and playing them.

You can even get nice card advantage and selection with Panharmonicon.

#9. Thieves’ Guild Enforcer

Thieves' Guild Enforcer

Thieves' Guild Enforcer is a nice support for rogue strategies that want to mill your opponent. If you mill eight cards you get a 3/2 deathtoucher for a single mana.

This also has flash to ambush enemy creatures.

#8. Balustrade Spy

Balustrade Spy

Balustrade Spy can be a combo win condition in formats like Pioneer because you’ll mill out your whole deck if built properly. You’ll have cards in your graveyard like Narcomoeba and Prized Amalgam to win the game from there.

This a piece of self-mill that’s also a decent body in a normal deck.

#7. Tinybones, Trinket Thief

Tinybones, Trinket Thief

The only thing Tinybones, Trinket Thief requires is that you make any of your opponents discard a card. That fits perfectly with discard-themed decks in EDH, either in the 99 or as your commander.

There are lots of cards that already reward you when you opponents discard like The Raven Man and Waste Not, so it should be a natural fit for those decks with Tinybones.

#6. Glint-Sleeve Siphoner

Glint-Sleeve Siphoner

Glint-Sleeve Siphoner is basically “Dark Confidant we have at home.” This 2/1 menace body gives you energy when it enters and when it connects. You basically get an energy, attack, more energy, and a drawn a card.

This is best played in sideboards after opponents take out removal, or in Sultai () energy decks.

#5. Zulaport Cutthroat

Zulaport Cutthroat

A substitute or an extra Blood Artist in many formats, Zulaport Cutthroat is a neat addition for aristocrats and Orzhov bleeder/lifegain decks. That’s what you want to do there: sacrifice creatures and gain/drain some life.

#4. Nighthawk Scavenger

Nighthawk Scavenger

Vampire Nighthawk was already good, but Nighthawk Scavenger is a little bit better. It has two relevant types, vampire and rogue, and can be a good defensive and offensive creature.

You’ll need some mill effects to back it up, but don’t worry too much.

#3. Opposition Agent

Opposition Agent

It’s hard to fight opponents that tutor lots of cards and combo off or just get an advantage.

Enter Opposition Agent, a 3/2 flash rogue that lets you control what opponents tutor for and steal the revealed cards in the process. They won’t tutor for anything anymore after the Agent hits play.

#2. Okiba Reckoner Raid

Okiba Reckoner Raid

You’ll drain your opponents for two life and get a 2/2 menace that’s also a rogue with Okiba Reckoner Raid. Simple enough, but it’s also filled with synergies that make it more playable. It only costs one mana and you’ll damage your opponent and gain life twice to trigger whatever effects you may have.

It’s also an enchantment which matters for cards like Roadside Reliquary. You might even kill opponents with the damage.

#1. Rankle, Master of Pranks

Rankle, Master of Pranks

Rankle, Master of Pranks should be considered good because it’s a 3/3 flier with haste. Not only that, but you get to choose what happens after the damage is dealt.

A beating Rankle can give you lots of resource advantages and inflict pain on your enemies.

Best Red Rogues

#3. Hobgoblin Bandit Lord

Hobgoblin Bandit Lord

A goblin lord is always playable and is the cornerstone of goblin decks in formats like Standard, not to mention EDH. You’ll have reach to close out games with Hobgoblin Bandit Lord‘s tap ability.

#2. Conspicuous Snoop

Conspicuous Snoop

You’ll cast cards from the top of your library pretty much all the time in a goblin deck. Expect to get one or two cards out of it a lot with Conspicuous Snoop.

#1. Robber of the Rich

Robber of the Rich

Robber of the Rich is one of the best 2-drops printed in recent times. You get a 2/2 haste creature that can generate card advantage when it hits, and that’s very valuable in a deck with a bad late game.

Playing removal, a counterspell, or a good planeswalker from your opponents’ decks is very, very satisfying.

Best Green Rogues

#3. Yisan, the Wanderer Bard

Yisan, the Wanderer Bard

A creature that can be a nice commander and it’s a tutor, Yisan, the Wanderer Bard can do nice stuff even if it’s slow because you can tutor a 1-drop, then a 2-drop, and so on. You can combine this effect with cards like Seedborn Muse and untap it for maximum value, or even proliferate to fasten the chain.

#2. Jaspera Sentinel

Jaspera Sentinel

1-mana dorks are very rare in formats like Standard and Pioneer. There aren’t any in Standard right now, and only Llanowar Elves in other formats.

Jaspera Sentinel is good with cards like Magda, Brazen Outcast because you can tap it for mana and make a Treasure. Plus it’s an elf when you need more.

#1. Jewel Thief

Jewel Thief

Jewel Thief has seen play in Standard as a good creature. A 3/3 with vigilance is very good, and it comes with a Treasure. It also has synergies with blink effects, recursion, etc.

Playing a good creature on turn 3 and ramping a 5-drop is nice.

Best Multicolored Rogues

#15. Sygg, River Cutthroat

Sygg, River Cutthroat

Sygg, River Cutthroat is a nostalgic commander in Dimir colors that asks you to do what rogues do best: attack your opponents or drain their life constantly. It’s cheap to recast if it dies, and you draw a bunch of cards here and there.

#14. Grenzo, Dungeon Warden

Grenzo, Dungeon Warden

Grenzo, Dungeon Warden is a source of card advantage in a deck filled with cheap creatures and sacrifice synergies, or even in goblin decks. It’s also a mana sink that allows you to play self-mill and reanimator.

#13. Black Market Tycoon

Black Market Tycoon

Black Market Tycoon has seen some play in Standard as a cheap way to make Treasures and interact with them. You can sacrifice Treasures at will to make mana (and mana burn is long gone), so you only pay life if you want to.

You can ramp freely against a control deck, but you want to respect your life total against aggro decks. This is a fine addition to decks that revolve around Treasure, ramp, and permanent sacrifice.

#12. Evelyn, the Covetous

Evelyn, the Covetous

Card advantage on a 2/5 with flash is somewhat nice. Adding vampires like Corpse Appraiser and Bloodtithe Harvester to the list makes Evelyn, the Covetous a good card in vampire decks and midrange decks. It’s also has seen some play in Standard.

You can play this in Grixis () EDH decks as a vampire commander, or as a fine addition in vampire EDH Commander decks.

#11. Cunning Nightbonder

Cunning Nightbonder

Cunning Nightbonder had its time to shine in Standard as a good card in a flash-oriented deck, especially in mirror matches. It’s a fine addition to casual flash decks as well as EDH decks that revolve around the mechanic.

#10. Notion Thief

Notion Thief

It’s easy to get significant card advantage with Notion Thief. Flash it in response to a big draw spell or a wheel effect to get lots of cards while your opponents get none whatsoever.

#9. Eloise, Nephalia Sleuth

Eloise, Nephalia Sleuth

One of the premier investigate/sacrifice commanders, Eloise, Nephalia Sleuth couldn’t be less rogue than the others on this list. Investigate is roughly equal to drawing a card, so you want to investigate a bunch. And there are lots of cards that can take advantage of those Clues, like Tamiyo's Journal.

#8. Zareth San, the Trickster

Zareth San, the Trickster

Zareth San, the Trickster gives other rogues you control the ninjutsu ability, and cheating it into play this way is very scary and dangerous to your opponents. Tons of Standard matches were over as soon as this card hit play.

#7. Edric, Spymaster of Trest

Edric, Spymaster of Trest

Edric, Spymaster of Trest was once synonymous with EDH and Cube, and it was easy to flood the board with small creatures and add the Curiosity ability to every one of them. It’s a good card to play with evasive creatures that already have saboteur because you’ll reap the extra benefits.

Still, it’s a cheap way to give this ability to other creatures, though other options like Toski, Bearer of Secrets exist. Edric is also already in the desirable Simic () colors for the format as a commander.

#6. Chevill, Bane of Monsters

Chevill, Bane of Monsters

What do you want in a Golgari deck other than to kill your creatures? If it’s to draw cards while doing it, Chevill, Bane of Monsters delivers, even when it blocks a creature and they both die.

Chevill can generate a constant source of card advantage for a midrange deck.

#5. Soaring Thought-Thief

Soaring Thought-Thief

A central piece in a rogue flash-style deck that wants to mill your opponent, Soaring Thought-Thief is quite the glue. A creature that’s also a lord, mills your opponent, and delivers the beatdowns deserves to be one of the top rogues from the list.

#4. Rogue Refiner

Rogue Refiner

Rogue Refiner is a glue card that makes energy decks shine. You get to draw a card and get energy on a good 3/2 body.

The sheer efficiency made WotC ban the card in Standard to weaken energy decks. It’s hard to interact with a “free card.”

#3. Anowon, the Ruin Thief

Anowon, the Ruin Thief

Anowon, the Ruin Thief helps your rogue deck get moving. You boost your rogues (which are usually quite evasive), deal damage to opponents, and mill them. If they mill a creature, you draw a card.

Boosting your creatures and getting card advantage by attacking is quite interesting for a commander, and that’s why Anowon is one of the most popular Dimir commanders.

#2. Corpse Appraiser

Corpse Appraiser

Corpse Appraiser has been shining in Grixis midrange decks in Standard and other formats. You can have a 3/3 for three that’s graveyard hate in a format with blitz.

You also get card selection and draw a card, which justify its cost. You’re playing three colors and getting rewarded for it.

#1. Shardless Agent

Shardless Agent

Shardless Agent is a very influential 3-drop, recently legal in Modern thanks to a printing in Modern Horizons 2. It isn’t playable as a mere 3-drop, but the cascade ability makes it shine.

Midrange decks like this, or you can abuse free spells with suspend like Living End or Crashing Footfalls. There aren’t that many cascade spells that cost three or more, so Shardless Agent is at a premium.

Best Rogue Payoffs

When I think about a rogue deck it’s usually a bunch of small and evasive creatures that want to connect, and powerful stuff related to mill themes and saboteur effects. I’m thinking lords, ways to abuse the mill effects, and ways to abuse the saboteur abilities.

Anowon, the Ruin Thief

Anowon, the Ruin Thief screams “play rogues!” It’s a rogue lord that also supports the mill theme.

Zareth San, the Trickster

Zareth San, the Trickster can give rogues ninjutsu and you a free card from your opponent’s graveyard, the best card you can choose. You just need to mill your opponent and connect with an evasive creature to do it. It’s backbreaking when it happens.

Soaring Thought-Thief

Soaring Thought-Thief is a rogue lord that also helps to mill your opponents, if you’re into that.

Into the Story plays into the theme of milling your opponents, allowing you to pay four mana to draw four cards. Drown in the Loch is a similar powerful card that serves as a modal Counterspell or Murder.

Silver-Fur Master

Silver-Fur Master is a ninja and rogue lord, joining the “not-only ninja tribal” theme from Neon Dynasty.


Mindcrank is a way to turn damage into mill, which is very thematic with what you’re aiming to do. Suddenly your Merfolk Windrobbers are milling two cards per turn, and your bigger creatures are taking huge chunks of their libraries.

Notorious Throng

Notorious Throng allows you to make use of prowl. Deal damage with a rogue, pay the prowl cost, make lots of Faerie tokens, and play again.

Bident of Thassa

Bident of Thassa and others give you lots of cards. Each creature gives you a card since your evasive creatures connect.

Memory Lapse

Memory Lapse is interesting in a mill deck since your opponent can lose the card they put on top, denying the eventual downside.

What Do Rogues Do in MTG?

Like rouges in D&D (and probably inspired by them), rogues are small and stealthy and want to land a critical hit. This is connected to the “saboteur abilities” in MTG, that is; do X whenever a creature deals combat damage to a player.

There are lots of rogues that deal combat damage to a player and let you draw cards, make an opponent discard cards, or mill their library. This ability can be found among many others in Jhessian Thief and Krydle of Baldur's Gate.

Rogues have cared about the number of cards your opponents have in the graveyard in recent years, like Soaring-Thought Thief and Merfolk Windrobber. They can be used as the backbone of a mill deck that isn’t just aiming to mill your opponent but can also win via combat damage. Rogues are also a part of party that also cares about warriors, wizards, and clerics.

Are Rogues Good in Magic?

Sure they are. Rogue decks are very popular in EDH and also see some play in formats like Explorer. Some are even multiformat all-stars, like Brazen Borrower and Robber of the Rich.

What’s a Rogue Deck in MTG?

A rogue deck has tribal rogue components and incentives to play lots of rogues since they’re enhanced by a lord or something like it. You can have an EDH deck captained by a powerful rogue that cares about other rogues, the prime example being Anowon, the Ruin Thief.

In Zendikar Rising Standard, anyone playing at that time played against a rogue deck like this one:


This build is a Lurrus of the Dream Den deck, but it didn’t need to be. Without Lurrus you can play cards like Zareth San, the Trickster.

It’s a typical deck that can win either via milling or combat damage. You use counterspells to protect your guys and Into the Story to refill your hand once you’ve established your rogue engine. It plays like faerie decks from the Lorwyn block.

Wrap Up

Notion Thief (Dragon's Maze) - Illustration by Clint Cearley

Notion Thief (Dragon’s Maze) | Illustration by Clint Cearley

Rogues are a fine inclusion to lots of decks, especially those including blue or black, and in either 60-card formats or in EDH decks. I hope you liked this stroll through the MTG rogues’ gallery!

What do you think? Do you play rogue tribal decks in EDH?  Please tell me what you think in the comments below or take the discussion to the Draftsim Discord.

In the meantime, keep hitting your opponents for one or two and slowly getting card advantage!

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