Mentor of the Meek - Illustration by Jana Schirmer & Johannes Voss

Mentor of the Meek | Illustration by Jana Schirmer & Johannes Voss

The Brothers’ War short stories flipped the focus of Magic’s main stories. The focus of the stories fell on the lives of civilians and common soldiers instead of on the grand acts of mighty characters. And it’s soldiers that I’m here to talk about today.

There’s over 800 cards with the soldier creature type. They’re one of the most common and universal types and have shown up in almost every Magic set and plane. But I’m here to select the best ones. Let’s get into it!

What Are Soldiers in MTG?

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben - Illustration by Magali Villeneuve

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben | Illustration by Magali Villeneuve

Soldier is a creature class used to depict trained, disciplined characters that are usually part of a formal army. Soldiers don’t really have any shared mechanics or characteristics that unifies them besides their creature type, but a lot of them usually have abilities that reflect either combat prowess (like first strike or vigilance) or strategic abilities (with Propaganda-like abilities and other ways to have more control over combat).

Soldier is an almost quintessential white creature type. They focus on combat and strength in numbers. They’re predominantly white with 60% of soldiers being white followed by blue and red. There are also a few green and black soldiers, but they’re only a small minority. The soldier creature type first appeared in Fallen Empires, but cards as early as Alpha have been retroactively given the type.

It’s also worth noting that Soldiers are the second most common type of token with more than 90 cards that produce them. This is pretty flavorful since it makes it relatively easy to build massive armies of soldiers.

Honorable Mentions

The spoilers for The Brothers’ War showed a ton of good soldier cards and support for the tribe. Myrel, Shield of Argive, Siege Veteran, and Harbin, Vanguard Aviator are all really good soldiers at first glance.

Best White Soldiers

#26. Thraben Inspector

Thraben Inspector

Thraben Inspector isn’t the strongest soldier out there, but it is a decent way to go for card advantage in white thanks to its ETB effect.

But the honest truth is that this is basically an honorable mention because I laugh every time I look at the character’s face. But I promise it’s still a good enough card.

#25. Captain of the Watch

Captain of the Watch

Captain of the Watch has a pretty high mana cost for a 3/3 body, but it makes up for it with its lord effect and the fact that it also brings three other creatures along with it. It’s a very tribal card but one that can easily create an advantage with the right field.

#24. Darien, King of Kjeldor

Darien, King of Kjeldor

Darien, King of Kjeldor is a great way to keep your opponents from attacking you. This card fits right into any pillow fort deck and shines brighter if you have decent ways to recover the life you may lose to create those soldiers.

#23. Aegis of the Gods

Aegis of the Gods

I remember a lot of players being heads over heels for Aegis of the Gods when it first came out. Having hexproof can make things like discard and mill decks completely useless.

The Aegis did fall behind a bit since a ton of cards that would’ve made you target an opponent now have more global effects thanks to Commander and other multiplayer formats. It’s still a greatly useful card against a lot of annoying effects, though.

#22. Selfless Squire

Selfless Squire

Another great card for pillow fort decks, a Selfless Squire played at the right time can come onto the battlefield as a massive creature for only four mana. It’ll probably come in as something reasonable but not too broken, but you can have it grow consistently and build it into a decent threat if you have a good pillow fort deck that regularly prevents damage.

#21. Nykthos Paragon

Nykthos Paragon

Getting some extra advantages when you gain life is a very common theme for white cards and decks. Nykthos Paragon makes your creatures grow every time you gain life.

The only drawback is that this can only trigger once per turn, but that still leaves you with a pretty powerful card.

#20. Prava of the Steel Legion

Prava of the Steel Legion

Prava of the Steel Legion is a great commander for token-focused decks and it has a lot of extra flexibility thanks to its partner ability. And Soldiers are the second most common token creatures so they can easily be considered a plain good soldier commander.

#19. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

This is actually a bit of a double cheat. First of all, Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is technically not a soldier most of the time, but it can turn into one thanks to one of its abilities. And on the other hand it’s more an entry for every Gideon planeswalker since all of them have a way to turn into indestructible soldiers.

#18. Baird, Steward of Argive

Baird, Steward of Argive

Baird, Steward of Argive is another great card for any pillow fort-type deck. Its Propaganda-style ability makes it a great way to prevent opponents from swinging with too many creatures. And in the case they choose to do so anyway they’ll be punished reasonably enough for it.

I’d also like to give an honorable mention to Baird, Argivian Recruiter since it has a fun and interesting ability that makes it a great addition to soldier tribal and Soldier token decks.

#17. Leonin Warleader

Leonin Warleader

I’d honestly add Leonin Warleader in any EDH deck that plays white and can run it. This card is a pure advantage without feeling too unbalanced. Add to that some way to protect it during combat and you’re left with a consistent way to refill your battlefield while gaining life and putting pressure on your opponents.

#16. Ajani’s Pridemate

Ajani's Pridemate

Do any of you remember the meta of Standard when Ajani’s Pridemate was still in rotation a couple years ago? This card is obviously not that strong in EDH or Modern, but it’s still a pretty strong card in any deck with consistent lifegain.

#15. Ajani’s Chosen

Ajani's Chosen

Ajani’s friends really made a place for themselves on this list.

Ajani’s Chosen turns away from the lifegain strategies usually associated with the leonin planeswalker and has a stronger focus on enchantments. Getting a 2/2 creature every time you play an enchantment can create an overwhelming board state absurdly quick.

#14. Abzan Falconer

Abzan Falconer

+1/+1 counters are a really fun strategy in EDH thanks to the great support they’ve gotten throughout the years. Abzan Falconer can be an incredible card in one of those decks. Not only do your creatures grow thanks to your deck’s strategy, they also gain a massively useful evasion effect.

#13. Kor Outfitter

Kor Outfitter

Kor Outfitter may be less flashy than some of the other cards, but its ability makes it a wonderful addition in any deck that plays a significant amount of equipment. If you have a way to blink this card you can move equipment around at instant speed without paying their equip cost.

#12. Champion of the Parish

Champion of the Parish

Champion of the Parish has pretty much been a staple of human tribal decks since the very moment it was released. Human tokens are some of the most common around so it’s particularly easy to have this creature grow into a massive size really quickly.

#11. Thalia’s Lieutenant

Thalia's Lieutenant

So apparently WotC thought that Champion of the Parish wasn’t a good enough card, so they decided to double down on the design with Thalia’s Lieutenant. Aside from growing whenever another human enters the battlefield under your control, it also grows your other humans when it enters the battlefield.

#10. Odric, Master Tactician

Odric, Master Tactician

Odric, Master Tactician’s ability can prove extremely useful in a properly built deck. Being able to choose your opponent’s blockers doesn’t just mean being able to surpass them, but also that you can get rid of pesky threats by forcing them to block creatures that can get rid of them.

#9. Cathar Commando

Cathar Commando

Cathar Commando is good not because it’s the strongest or most game-changing card, but because it’s a great utility card. Having a direct and relatively low-costed way to rid yourself of artifacts or enchantments at instant speed can change the tide of a game.

#8. Odric, Lunar Marshal

Odric, Lunarch Marshal

Combat evasion abilities are way more useful than we usually give them credit for, and Odric, Lunarch Marshal is a great way to realize that. Having only a couple cards with keywords like first strike and flying and this card on the ‘field can turn your attack into an impossible-to-block onslaught.

#7. Thalia, Heretic Cathar

Thalia, Heretic Cathar

Forcing every creature and nonbasic land your opponents play to enter the battlefield tapped can be an awful setback. Thalia, Heretic Cathar is especially good in Commander where players insist on having almost no basic lands in their decks.

#6. Recruiter of the Guard

Recruiter of the Guard

Recruiter of the Guard earns this spot because it’s basically a must-have for various combos that are pretty popular in EDH. And even beyond the combos, it’s still a more than decent way to tutor some useful creatures into your hand.

#5. Keeper of the Accord

Keeper of the Accord

I really like that Keeper of the Accord is basically a way to keep your side of the field at par with your opponents’. Cheating a Plains into play at the end of each opponent’s turn can really help you not fall behind.

And you also get to create Soldier tokens as a nice bonus so you don’t get overwhelmed by your opponents’ attacks.

#4. Kor Firewalker

Kor Firewalker

Kor Firewalker fits into this list thanks to its utility in duel formats more than its utility in EDH. Gaining life whenever any player casts a red spell means greatly reducing the effectiveness of a bunch of burn spells.

And you’ll be gaining life pretty consistently if you have this card in a Boros () deck.

#3. Ranger-Captain of Eos

Ranger-Captain of Eos

Ranger-Captain of Eos’ first ability can work as part of several combos, not unlike Recruiter of the Guard. But its second ability also means you can protect yourself against things like counters or removals that could stagger or even ruin your combo.

#2. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

Who doesn’t love stax decks, right?

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is an absolutely undeniable staple of this type of deck. Making every noncreature spell cost a single extra mana may seem like a small threat, but it can set back spell-heavy decks a lot.

#1. Mentor of the Meek

Mentor of the Meek

White is known for not having the strongest forms of mana draw out there.

Mentor of the Meek may not be the single greatest form of card advantage but it’s a really solid way to fix your hand if you’re playing a deck with enough low-stats creatures. And white specialized in those so it shouldn’t be too hard to get yourself some card draw.

Best Blue Soldier

#1. Merrow Reejerey

Merrow Reejerey

This merfolk may feel kinda out of place in a soldier deck but it’s definitely a great addition to any merfolk deck. Merrow Reejerey doesn’t only act as a lord for your other merfolk but it also allows you to tap or untap permanents whenever one enters the battlefield, which can easily be exploited.

Best Red Soldiers

#3. Hanweir Garrison

Hanweir Garrison

Hanweir Garrison is a pretty decent card by itself thanks to it creating tokens every time it attacks. This can make this card pretty useful with some decent protection.

But it shines even brighter when you’re able to meld it with Hanweir Battlements and you get to create two Eldrazi tokens whenever you attack.

#2. Legion Loyalist

Legion Loyalist

Battalion was a really fun mechanic in its time. It rewarded a hyper-aggressive outlook for Boros decks by inviting you to attack with tons of creatures.

Legion Loyalist can absolutely change the result of a combat thanks to its battalion ability.

#1. Legion Warboss

Legion Warboss

Soldiers and goblins are two creature types that actually share a ton of similarities in how they play. They both value aggressive strategies, large numbers of creatures, and tokens.

Legion Warboss perfectly represents these two types by creating Goblin tokens and forcing them to attack while also having mentor.

Best Multicolored Soldiers

#6. Oloro, Ageless Ascetic

Oloro, Ageless Ascetic

Oloro, Ageless Ascetic used to be a huge deal back when Commander precons were an annual product. It’s actually the first card to have an ability that can be triggered from the command zone, and it’s actually a kind of precursor to the eminence commanders from a few years later.

This card is a really fun commander to build around and play, but it’s really hard to place it in the 99 in any other deck because of its abilities. It’s also far from the most flexible card.

#5. General Ferrous Rokiric

General Ferrous Rokiric

General Ferrous Rokiric is a wonderful addition to any deck that focuses on multicolored spells. I’d personally place it among the 99 and not as the commander, but it can turn casting a couple of cheap multicolored spells into a great threat on the battlefield.

#4. Sisay, Weatherlight Captain

Sisay, Weatherlight Captain

Sisay, Weatherlight Captain may not be the single best 5-color or legendary-tribal commander, but it definitely is a great one. Its second ability can be a bit slow and underwhelming early in the game but a complete game-changer in later turns.

#3. Diregraf Captain + Stromkirk Captain + Drogskol Captain

I’m placing Diregraf Captain, Stromkirk Captain, and Drogskol Captain together since they share very similar effects. They all act as lords for their respective tribes. They also have abilities focused on the way those tribes play.

Zombies tend to die a lot. Vampires, especially their Innistrad version, play very aggressively and combat oriented. Spirits are in Azorius () colors which usually allows for greater and better protection for your creatures.

#2. Lavinia, Azorius Renegade

Lavinia, Azorius Renegade

This is a really interesting card. Lavinia, Azorius Renegade aims at punishing opponents who reduce the costs of their spells or even cheat them into play. It’s a response to a very specific type of play, but one that can stop a ton of very powerful strategies across several formats.

#1. Esper Sentinel

Esper Sentinel

And we close this list with another source of card draw for white.

Esper Sentinel is a really solid way to keep drawing cards almost every turn. It may not be as absurdly good as Rhystic Study, but its similar effect is still consistently solid. Especially if you’re able to increase the Sentinel’s power.

Best Soldier Payoffs

There are plenty of soldier cards that give great tribal support. Daru Warchief, Preeminent Captain, and Field Marshal all make for great additions to any soldier deck.

There are also plenty of noncreature spells that create or benefit soldiers like Assemble the Legion, Martial Coup, and Mobilization.

This tribe also benefits from cards that give combat advantages. Soldiers are a tribe that’s heavily focused on combat strategies, so Boros Charm, Iroas, God of Victory, Unbreakable Formation, and Akroma’s Will can all find a home in a good soldiers deck.

Wrap Up

Thraben Inspector - Illustration by Matt Stewart

Thraben Inspector | Illustration by Matt Stewart

I really like how soldiers work thematically. Most of them have a strong focus on combat with a heavily strategic outlook. Their mechanics tend to reflect this along with a benefit from group efforts and tactics, which makes the tribe really feel like a well-trained and organized army.

But enough about me. Do you agree with my picks for this list? Did I leave out your favorite soldier card? What do you think of this tribe? Leave a comment down below or join the discussion over in the Draftsim Discord.

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

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