Last updated on August 17, 2023
Satyr Enchanter | Illustration by Sidharth Chaturvedi
If satyrs in Magic had a theme song, this would be it.
Yes, satyrs are truly some beasty boys. And many of the satyrs in Magic have names that point toward reckless behavior and a love of celebrating. Some might party a little too hardy… but how does that tie into how these satyrs play mechanically?
Don’t go fawning over these satyrs, now. They’re all here and hot to trot… just keep a close eye on your artifacts.
Satyr Rambler | Illustration by John Stanko
Satyr is a creature type in MTG that appears mostly on creatures from Theros, Journey into Nyx, Born of the Gods, and Theros Beyond Death. They’re part goat, part human, and are known for rollicking and celebration, which is in line with their counterparts from Greek mythology (although Magic’s satyrs can be both male and female). Willow Satyr from Legends and Lumbering Satyr from Mercadian Masques were the first two satyrs, and they were the only ones until Theros block brought a satyr boom.
On Theros, satyrs worship the god Purphoros and sometimes honor Nylea. They’re mischievous pleasure-seekers, although they like to play themselves off as joyful and benevolent folk. Xenagos is probably the most notable of the satyrs, you know, having been a planeswalker and a god and stuff.
It doesn’t feel right to talk about satyr cards without bringing up the ones that depict Xenagos, even if they aren’t satyr creature permanents. Xenagos never got a satyr creature card, which feels weird until you look at how full the type line is on all his cards.
Xenagos, the Reveler is the planeswalker iteration of this character. I’m personally biased because this was the first planeswalker I ever pulled, and I absolutely loved using it in my first Gruul aggro deck. Gruul tokens is a solid home for Xenagos in EDH since its abilities all tie into adding to your mana pool and your creature count.
Xenagos, God of Revels is the god version from Born of the Gods. It’s a popular Gruul commander that lets you swing in hard during your combat phase. Red lets you have additional combats, so why not lean into that?
Xenagos Ascended is a card from the Defeat a God Challenge Deck. It’s a legendary enchantment creature with the god subtype, but it doesn’t have the satyr subtype. But it’s still Xenagos, so it’s here. The whole point of this Challenge Deck is to defeat Xenagos and his revelers as they shout “party-pooper” and other epithets at you.
Being a rare from Legends is pretty much the only reason that Willow Satyr is as expensive as it is on the singles market. Sure, it’ll let you steal an opponent’s legend, which could be their commander, but it also dies swiftly to a ping or a board-wide -1/-1.
A trampler with one toughness is… something. Marginally stronger punch than your average Charging Badger. At least Satyr Rambler becomes a 3/2 with the satyr commander on the field (yes, that’ll come up a lot).
Heroes of the Revel has a non-keyworded heroic ability that pumps up your creatures’ power for a turn. Its ETB also gives you a Satyr token, but I’d rather it have a cheaper mana value and lower power/toughness to make it more aggressive.
The thing about running Stampede Rider with other satyrs is that there aren’t that many that reach four power without some other outside help. But I get it. The ability is meant to reflect strength in numbers.
This satyr is an Elemental token generator, although its ability is more expensive and harder to pull off than Rakka Mar. That’s pretty much the only other home for Satyr Nyx-Smith aside from a satyr build.
Apart from a dedicated satyr deck, you can almost always do better than a Nyxborn Rollicker. It’s a cheap body or a cheap way to (slightly) buff a creature. You get constellation and creaturefall triggers. Woo.
This is the kind of satyr I wouldn’t mind sacrificing. Careless Celebrant’s death trigger deals two damage to a creature or planeswalker, which can clear a pesky unblockable creature or slow down a planeswalker’s ultimate. Of course, being in red lets you pair this with damage doublers for more impact.
A 1-drop with a heroic ability that gives it counters isn’t too bad. Gallia of the Endless Dance or a Feather, the Redeemed deck are probably the best homes for Satyr Hoplite, though Feather may prefer to have a different creature or a burn spell over this lil guy.
Reckless Reveler doesn’t play well with your opponents’ toys, getting you a one-for-one trade with one of their artifacts.
Portent Tracker is like a Voyaging Satyr with extra text for the post-battle world. Time will tell if those permanents return in future sets, but a mana dork that lets you untap utility lands should have its place. It’s less hardy than its Voyaging cousin, though.
“It’s better to burn out than to fade away,” or so I hear. Satyr Hedonist costs a total of 3 mana to give you back, so it’s mana neutral in the end. Unless it dies before you can sac it.
Not bad, but nothing outstanding here. Irreverent Revelers would be a 2-mana creature if its ETB were fixed rather than modal. Artifact hate is nice, but the freedom of choice makes it a little slower.
The rare satyr in black, Returned Reveler is a zombie that has all kinds of usefulness when you care about creature cards entering the graveyard. Its own death gets you one such trigger, while the milling it gives you has the potential for many more. I’m thinking of pairing it with Dreadhound or Syr Konrad, the Grim, just to start.
Firedrinker Satyr is less useful in EDH, but a 1-mana 2/1 can make hay in lots of aggro strategies elsewhere. It can pump up its own power, and you can pair it with other effects like Goblin Bushwhacker to take it even higher.
Green self-milling is always good for graveyard strategies, although Skola Grovedancer isn’t the most efficient at it. Certainly useful in the sense that it can slot into many decks as a placeholder for a more powerful card you haven’t laid your hands on yet. It gains lots of points for how cheap and versatile it is for the different commanders it can follow.
Boon Satyr is useable in decks that care about enchantment creatures or about creatures that are enchanted. It has no keywords aside from flash, which helps you get it out as a surprise if nothing else.
Composer of Spring from Commander Masters has a constellation ability that enchantment decks should find useful. It lets you put tapped lands into play when your enchantments enter the battlefield. Six or more enchantments let you put out creatures too! And if you’re running enchantment creatures… oh boy.
Your only choice for a satyr commander. Gallia of the Endless Dance has a lord ability, as well as haste itself. And you can discard a card to draw two if you attack with three or more creatures. Gallia is in the right colors for almost all the satyrs plus the Satyr token generators. I’m getting some very mischievous ideas….
Keep your burn spells handy! Satyr Firedancer helps to take the damage you deal to an opponent’s face and slap it onto one of their creatures, too. Great when you have spell copying and damage doubling onboard.
Nessian Wanderer is the best of the constellation satyrs. You don’t have to have lands in hand for it to work, and getting to check the top three cards is a good middle ground between under- and over-powered.
Untapping lands is a neat way to ramp since you get to reuse utility lands. Voyaging Satyr is a bit slower than the 1-mana dorks that tap directly, so it’s the type of card you might trim as you’re improving most decks. Still, it’s a solid card to use while you wait to find the cards you really want to play.
If you’re at least part green and you care about having cards in your graveyard, Satyr Wayfinder is a solid way to do it. Its ETB lets you put three to f our cards into your graveyard, depending on if you can snag a land from it. At 2 mana, you’ll appreciate it as an early play, and your late game will like the extra cards in your graveyard.
Satyr Enchanter is perfect for refilling your hand whenever you’re casting enchantments. Its white and green colors make it perfect for the archetype, whether you’re playing normal Commander or having this druid front your Pauper Commander deck.
Otherwise, individual satyrs are complementary pieces to your strategy. Satyr Wayfinder and Voyaging Satyr, among others, are some ramp options for you. Wayfinder plays especially well when you care about cards in your graveyard.
Between the satyrs that generate tokens and the satyrs that give you a perk when they die, there are more than a few that can be right at home in a sacrifice deck. Jund sacrifice with Korvold, Fae-Cursed King lets you use any satyr you’d like, although you’ll probably only use a few.
Skola Grovedancer | Illustration by Josh Hass
And that’s the story of Magic’s satyrs! I’m sure they’ll return the next time we visit Theros, and I’m curious to see if some other plucky individual will make their mark on history. We need more legendary satyrs!
Which is your favorite of Magic’s satyrs? Which formats and themes do you play them in? What kinds of satyrs do you want in future Magic sets? Let me know in the comments below or hop on over to Discord.
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