Last updated on October 2, 2023

Shigeki, Jukai Visionary - Illustration by Anna Podedworna

Shigeki, Jukai Visionary | Illustration by Anna Podedworna

Hello planeswalkers! Everyone is always welcome to read, but I do have to give a warning to all the ophiophobes out there. Snakes are objectively terrifying creatures that are often depicted as evil itself.

In MTG, these serpents are known for their venomous or constricting attacking style. So what can these snakes do for you and your decks? Don’t make any sudden movements, let’s find out what the snake creature type can do for you!

What Are Snakes in MTG?

Hooded Blightfang - Illustration by Uriah Voth

Hooded Blightfang | Illustration by Uriah Voth

The snake creature type is used to represent the scaled and legless reptiles in MTG. Many snakes are renditions of real-life snakes, but MTG also has snake-hybrid creatures that often have arms, but no legs.

The very first snake was River Boa from Visions. The snake creature type is common nowadays, with some new snake creatures coming out almost every set.

Best Blue Snakes

#2. Broodbirth Viper

Broodbirth Viper

Myriad is a keyword that has more value in multiplayer games. Not only can you swing at every opponent, but you may draw a card for each iteration of Broodbirth Viper that deals combat damage to an opponent.

#1. Yuan-Ti Malison

Yuan-Ti Malison

Venture is a fun trigger, and one that I hope returns to MTG in some form. Yuan-Ti Malison makes great use of this unique mechanic.

Best Black Snakes

#5. Hagra Constrictor

Hagra Constrictor

I think it’s worth including the Alchemy version of Hagra Constrictor in this snake ranking. The reduced mana value from three to two makes it playable in tempo decks.

There are lots of aggressive and powerful creatures like Quirion Beastcaller and Tenacious Pup in Alchemy that can benefit from gaining menace.

#4. Zagoth Mamba

Zagoth Mamba

Zagoth Mamba fits exclusively into the mutate deck made possible by Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths. You have a good chance to remove your opponent’s creatures for every mutation added onto the Mamba.

The mana value and removal ability makes this card a nice addition to mutate decks, but it has little value outside of that.

#3. Thieving Amalgam

Thieving Amalgam

Thieving Amalgam is a nice way to steal and use your opponent’s cards against them. The upside of this card is the chance to manifest one of your opponent’s best creatures.

But the downside of the massive mana value does make this a tough card to play in a lot of decks.

#2. Hooded Blightfang

Hooded Blightfang

Hooded Blightfang is the key card to build a deathtouch-centric deck. This should be a consideration if you’re considering any sort of deathtouch strategy.

#1. Gravebreaker Lamia

Gravebreaker Lamia

Gravebreaker Lamia is a fantastic addition to graveyard decks. It’s basically an Entomb on a stick with a cost reduction ability.

Kess, Dissident Mage, Brawn, and Woe Strider all synergize nicely with this snake.

Best Green Snakes

#19. Shisato, Whispering Hunter

Shisato, Whispering Hunter

Shisato, Whispering Hunter is an intriguing addition to snake tribal decks. You have to sacrifice a snake each turn, which includes Shisato, Whispering Hunter if it’s your only one, but the payoff may be well worth the sacrifice.

If your opponent has to skip multiple untap steps then they’ll end up in serious trouble. Being a legendary creature also makes this an interesting option for Commander.

#18. Jukai Liberator

Jukai Liberator

Alchemy-only cards aren’t so relevant to you paper players, but these cards should get some love nonetheless. Jukai Liberator is a great ninjutsu card to generate some much-needed value by seeking a card whenever it deals combat damage to a player.

#17. Seshiro the Anointed

Seshiro the Anointed

Seshiro the Anointed pumps all your snakes and can turn your them into potential card draws. The big downside is the mana cost, but it shouldn’t be too big of a problem for you with cards like Orochi Sustainer as options for your deck.

#16. Sabertooth Cobra

Sabertooth Cobra

Sabertooth Cobra is a nasty serpent that packs a toxic punch. It fits well into any poison counter deck with the cumulative upkeep effect your opponent becomes burdened with.

#15. Ohran Viper

Ohran Viper

You can attack with the idea of removing an opponent’s blocker or drawing a card with Ohran Viper. This hopefully puts some pressure on your opponent so that it at least soaks up one of their removal spells.

#14. Nemesis of Mortals

Nemesis of Mortals

Would you like the chance to have a 10/10 creature for only four mana? Nemesis of Mortals may be that card with a cost reduction in cost and its monstrosity ability for every creature in your graveyard.

So grab cards like Satyr Wayfinder and Skull Prophet and then use Nemesis of Mortals to destroy your mortal opponent.

#13. Orochi Sustainer

Orochi Sustainer

A small creature that can tap for mana is always useful in plenty of decks. Orochi Sustainer isn’t the best as far as mana dorks go, but it’s still good for a snake tribal deck.

#12. Ramunap Hydra

Ramunap Hydra

Get your desert lands ready! Ramunap Hydra is full of valuable keywords and gets boosts from owning deserts, on and off the battlefield.

You have the chance to get a 5/5 creature with three great keywords for four mana. What’s not to love?

#11. Teachings of the Kirin

Teachings of the Kirin

Teachings of the Kirin has been a sneaky good card in Standard. It has a little bit of everything, and can fit into many playstyles. It has self-mill for reanimator decks, creates tokens for swarm decks, adds counters for modify decks, and even has some graveyard removal to disrupt opposing strategies.

This may not be the game-winner you’re looking for, but it's a solid support card.

#10. Prowling Serpopard

Prowling Serpopard

Protecting your spells from counterspells is an underrated ability if you ask me. You can basically make some cards in your opponent’s hands useless and protect your valuable creatures with just one card.

Prowling Serpopard still has some decent stats for its cost if you aren’t playing against counterspells.

#9. Sakura-Tribe Elder

Sakura-Tribe Elder

Mana ramp is one of the most powerful effects in Magic. Sakura-Tribe Elder is a simple but effective card in this category. It can even be used as a chump blocker before you sacrifice it for a land.

This has seen play in Modern, Pauper, and other eternal formats.

#8. Hooded Hydra

Hooded Hydra

Hooded Hydra has an intriguing playstyle to it. It can be a straightforward hydra creature with X in its mana cost, or you can play it facedown to morph later. The morph saves you some mana in the long run by giving Hooded Hydra five counters for five mana.

#7. Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro

Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro

Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro can fit well into snake or shaman tribal decks. It gives some good acceleration of mana production for all of your shamans.

This is how you can get to massive payoffs like Orochi Hatchery or Tishana, Voice of Thunder. I don’t think you need four copies of this card in your deck, but one or two may be enough to speed up your strategies.

#6. Ambush Viper

Ambush Viper

Ambush Viper has to be the most “snake-y” snake in MTG. It’s a cheap small creature that has the speed and deadliness we often associate with snakes. Flash and deathtouch can be a deadly combo if used well.

#5. Ohran Frostfang

Ohran Frostfang

This is a better version of Ohran Viper. It gives your attacking creatures deathtouch, which could also benefit from cards like Bite Down, and gives all your creatures the ability to draw if they deal damage to a player.

#4. Weaver of Harmony

Weaver of Harmony

Weaver of Harmony pumps enchantment creatures and can copy abilities from enchantments for cheap. There’s virtually no reason not to include this if you’re building an enchantment deck.

#3. Lotus Cobra

Lotus Cobra

Lotus Cobra is a crazy good mana fixer and source of mana ramp. Not only do you get extra mana when you play a land, but it can also be any color. This ability can easily get you to your bomb cards ahead of schedule.

#2. Hexdrinker


Hexdrinker costs only one mana and has a cheap level up cost to play alongside your normal curve plays. Plus, who doesn’t want a creature with protection from everything?

It may take a while to get to the final level, but it should be a deadly card with the right build.

#1. Shigeki, Jukai Visionary

Shigeki, Jukai Visionary

Shigeki, Jukai Visionary fits into the long-game player’s deck. It’s a blocker that can return to the safety of your hand while putting lands onto the battlefield and filling up your graveyard.

In the later game it can return your most important nonlegendary spells from the graveyard to maximize their payoffs.

Best Multicolored Snakes

#8. Xyris, the Writhing Storm

Xyris, the Writhing Storm

Xyris, the Writhing Storm is one of those group hug commanders for all you casual EDH players out there. Drawing cards and generating tokens are two of Magic’s most popular effects.

Maybe you should look further down this list if you’re looking for a competitive card.

#7. Lorescale Coatl

Lorescale Coatl

Lorescale Coatl can get bigger for every card you draw. The low mana value makes it fit well into your curve, and the only major worry is that it can be easily removed.

#6. Ice-Fang Coatl

Ice-Fang Coatl

Ice-Fang Coatl is another Ambush Viper, but with a few more benefits and deficits.

The benefits are that it has flying and you can draw a card when it enters the battlefield. The unfortunate downsides are you need at least three snow permanents to make it deadly, and it may be harder to play with the cost.

#5. Winding Constrictor

Winding Constrictor

Winding Constrictor is a wonderful addition to counter-based decks. It adds an extra counter to your creatures or artifacts when you give them any number of counters. This is great for creatures like Kalonian Hydra, but also artifacts like Darksteel Reactor.

#4. Mystic Snake

Mystic Snake

Mystic Snake is a Simic () flash player’s dream. It’s a fantastic play to counter an opponent’s move and get a creature on the board.

This snake fits well with cards like Rewind and Wilderness Reclamation.

#3. Kaseto, Orochi Archmage

Kaseto, Orochi Archmage

Kaseto, Orochi Archmage is a fantastic snake tribal centerpiece. You can make a creature unblockable while pumping it if it’s a snake for two mana. This card can easily work as your snake tribal commander, or just as a great build-around.

#2. Coiling Oracle

Coiling Oracle

Coiling Oracle is a fantastic ramp card and stabilizer. It can add to your mana pool ahead of schedule, or draw you a card. While it doesn’t have great stats, it more than makes up for it with its ETB effect.

#1. Chishiro, the Shattered Blade

Chishiro, the Shattered Blade

Chishiro, the Shattered Blade is a great commander to use in an aura or equipment deck. It generates creatures for your auras and equipments and then it buffs them every turn along with every other modified creature you control.

Best Colorless Snake

#1. Stonecoil Serpent

Stonecoil Serpent

There’s only one colorless snake I want to highlight, but it’s packed with value. Stonecoil Serpent is a wonderful creature packed with keywords, protection, and can be as big as you can afford.

It’s just a great card that can fit into almost any deck.

Best Snake Payoffs

If you’re looking for a snake tribal deck, you want to boost it with Snake token creators like Cobra Trap, Sosuke's Summons, and Orochi Hatchery.

Snakes have deadly poisons, so pair your snake creatures with deathtouch cards like Pharika, God of Affliction and Vengeful Pharaoh, or poison counter cards like Hand of the Praetors and Inkmoth Nexus.

You can also take advantage of your snakes' deathtouch with cards like Bite Down, Viridian Longbow, and Lure.

Wrap Up

Xyris, the Writhing Storm - Illustration by Filip Burburan

Xyris, the Writhing Storm | Illustration by Filip Burburan

Snakes are quick, deadly, and toxic creatures that can work as standalone stars or support cards for a snake tribal deck. They can be big or small, but they all have their uses.

Well, don’t sit there and look so snakebitten! Feel free to disagree with my rankings, leave a nice word, or just engage with our community. You can find us on Twitter or over on Discord. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

Stay safe, have fun, and may the luck of the draw be with you!

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