Last updated on February 9, 2023

Soulherder - Illustration by Seb McKinnon

Soulherder | Illustration by Seb McKinnon

I ain’t afraid of no ghosts. At least when I’m playing them!

Spirits can be a powerful tribe on the other side of the battlefield, whether that’s the mono blue or Azorius () tempo decks in various Constructed formats or some of the synergistic decks in Commander. There are plenty of spirits with unique and powerful abilities even if you don’t want to join the ghostly procession and want something for your 99.

Have a look at one of my very favorite creatures in MTG!

Table of Contents

What Are Spirits in MTG?

Eternal Dragon - Illustration by Justin Sweet

Eternal Dragon | Illustration by Justin Sweet

Spirits are a creature type that first appeared in Legends, but the first spirit after the Grand Creature Type Update was Arabian NightsDancing Scimitar.

Powerful spirits have been printed in Azorius colors for a number of years, but they appear in multiple colors and color combinations. It’s the fifth most common creature type in the game with over 600 spirits printed.

Best White Spirits

There are a lot of great spirits in white, which makes sense since this is the classic way MTG uses the undead in this color.

#23. White Spirit Tribal Must-Haves

Each of these cards is a must-include in a white or Azorius spirits deck, but they may not have much use outside of that.

#22. Kataki, War’s Wage

Kataki, War's Wage

A niche card right now, Kataki, War’s Wage is only going to get better as artifact tokens become more powerful.

#21. Wall of Reverence

Wall of Reverence

This is a lot of life to be gained in the right deck. Does that mean Wall of Reverence is good? For sure in Evra, Halcyon Witness decks.

Outside of that I might rather have the next card.

#20. Lunarch Veteran / Luminous Phantom

Whatever happened to Lunarch Veteran, the lost lead singer of the Soul Sisters band, the most popular act in the lifegain genre? Their big comeback as Luminous Phantom was a surprising breath of fresh air in a stale genre.

#19. Kami of False Hope

Kami of False Hope

Kami of False Hope and Spore Frog walk into a bar…

Someone help me finish that joke.

#18. Voice of the Blessed

Voice of the Blessed

Because Ajani’s Pridemate needed a buff? If you hate seeing lifegain decks then you definitely hate seeing Voice of the Blessed hit the playmat.

#17. Eidolon of Countless Battles

Eidolon of Countless Battles

Eidolon of Countless Battles isn’t as good as Katilda, whom you’ll meet in a bit, but a nice addition to an auras deck nonetheless.

#16. Hokori, Dust Drinker

Hokori, Dust Drinker

Have you played this card? More like Hokori, Salt Drinker than Hokori, Dust Drinker, but sometimes that’s the game you bring. This is a key piece of that kind of ‘90s style Stasis build.

#15. Bygone Bishop

Bygone Bishop

It sounds like the name of a Garbage Pail Kid from the 80s, but Bygone Bishop works in lots of builds including investigate tribal, affinity, go-wide decks, and even party.

#14. Yosei, the Morning Star + Ao, the Dawn Sky

Yosei, the Morning StarAo, the Dawn Sky

Yosei, the Morning Star and Ao, the Dawn Sky have such a powerful death triggers that they’re almost better than a 5/5 flier!

#13. Hanged Executioner

Hanged Executioner

Removal, check. Tokens, check. A body for spirits tribal, check!

Join the spirit party, Hanged Executioner.

#12. Remorseful Cleric

Remorseful Cleric

Graveyard removal on a body is good and flexible, and Remorseful Cleric is also a cleric so that’s a bonus!

#11. Windborn Muse

Windborn Muse

A useful stax card, Windborn Muse can also just funnel go-wide decks’ attacks to another player.

#10. Spirit of the Labyrinth

Spirit of the Labyrinth

Spirit of the Labyrinth is a fair version of the passive effect on Narset, Parter of Veils. It’s good for miserable control strategies and bad for the Day’s Undoing combo.

#9. Eidolon of Rhetoric

Eidolon of Rhetoric

One more stax piece for the road: Eidolon of Rhetoric! Sometimes fun isn’t fun, and you have just the deck for that.

#8. Selfless Spirit

Selfless Spirit

Selfless Spirit is for when you want an Unbreakable Formation effect on a body. And go-wide decks will want that.

#7. Guardian of Faith

Guardian of Faith

Guardian of Faith is Selfless Spirit but waaayyyyy better.

#6. Eternal Dragon

Eternal Dragon

Cycle Eternal Dragon for a land early and then return it to your hand later. And later. And more later. And forever until they kill your graveyard.

#5. Drumbellower


This effect on Drumbellower is useful in most decks and broken in quite a few others, like Belisarius Cawl, The Archimandrite, and Shorikai, Genesis Engine.

#4. Katilda, Dawnhart Martyr / Katilda’s Rising Dawn

Katilda, Dawnhart Martyr is powerful in spirits tribal, and it’s a great bit of card advantage for auras decks.

#3. Strict Proctor

Strict Proctor

Annoying control card or enabler for your Lotus Field nonsense? Strict Proctor is both!

#2. Karmic Guide

Karmic Guide

Karmic Guide is one of the premier white reanimator cards.

#1. Skyclave Apparition

Skyclave Apparition

Awesome removal. Skyclave Apparition is so much better than cards like Fairgrounds Warden. It’s permanent exile even if it’s removed. Flickering this is murderous.

Best Blue Spirits

Another great spirits color.

#14. Blue Spirits Tribal Must-Haves

Key cards for the spirits tribal deck you likely won’t play outside of that. But really good in that deck!

#13. Malevolent Hermit / Benevolent Geist

It’s only a spirit on its reverse side after it dies countering a spell, but that side is money for a control war! Ask your doctor if Malevolent Hermit is right for you.

#12. Cemetery Illuminator

Cemetery Illuminator

Cemetery Illuminator is really underrated. It’s not anywhere near as good as Augur of Autumn, but it plays one on TV.

#11. Hunted Phantasm

Hunted Phantasm

In a world that’s finally decided Secret Rendezvous is a great card in EDH, Hunted Phantasm is a powerful card at a great rate that’s fun to play, politically.

#10. Niblis of Frost

Niblis of Frost

Niblis of Frost can easily tap down a side in a spellslinger deck, for a recurring Sleep at home.

#9. Kairi, the Swirling Sky

Kairi, the Swirling Sky

Kairi, the Swirling Sky is another great death trigger. The spells are nice, but wiping tokens off the board is great. Especially for blue, which struggles for board wipes.

#8 Ethereal Investigator

Ethereal Investigator

Makes artifacts. Those draw cards. And it makes creatures. You play Magic, right? Don’t you like all those things?

Ethereal Investigator is the sixth member of the Scooby Team you didn’t know you needed.

#7. Spectral Adversary

Spectral Adversary

Spectral Adversary is the most underrated card on this list of spirits. It won’t win a game by phasing a side as efficiently as March of Swirling Mist, but this card does work both offensively and defensively.

#6. Kami of the Crescent Moon

Kami of the Crescent Moon

You need Kami of the Crescent Moon for your Alandra, Sky Dreamer deck. Add a Narset, Parter of Veils while you’re at it, you big jerk!

#5. Mirrorhall Mimic / Ghastly Mimicry

Mirrorhall Mimic is a good-rate clone on the front and absolute Helm of the Host-style insanity on the back.

#4. Keiga, the Tide Star

Keiga, the Tide Star

Keiga, the Tide Star has one of the scariest death triggers in the game. Expensive to cast, but fun.

#3. Spectral Sailor

Spectral Sailor

I always want Spectral Sailor in just about every blue deck I play in any format. My vote for the second best blue uncommon creature ever printed, right behind Delver of Secrets.

#2. Deadeye Navigator

Deadeye Navigator

So. Many. Combos.

Think about Deadeye Navigator with, say, Dockside Extortionist? Peregrine Drake? Village Bell-Ringer? Plenty more to choose from.

#1. Kira, Great Glass-Spinner

Kira, Great Glass-Spinner

Kira, Great Glass-Spinner really makes opponents’ spot removal seek out targets on other players’ playmats.

Best Black Spirits

A few bangers in here as well.

#13. Black Spirits Tribal Must-Haves

The mono-black spirits deck is full of more expensive and harder-to-use stuff from the original Kamigawa block. These cards are the best things in it.

#12. Hateful Eidolon

Hateful Eidolon

I still don’t think Orzhov () auras is quite there in Commander, but Hateful Eidolon will be there when it arrives.

#11. Harbinger of Night

Harbinger of Night

This is your public service announcement that this old card exists, The Scorpion God and Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons players. Harbinger of Night also does nice work against 1/1 tokens decks.

There’s also Midnight Banshee, which is too hard to cast to make the list, but you might want it as well.

#10. Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker

Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker

A fun budget commander. Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker is a nice enabler in sac decks.

#9. Horobi, Death’s Wail

Horobi, Death's Wail

This is a really fun commander to brew around, and Horobi, Death’s Wail loves hanging out in a Killian, Ink Duelist deck when you get tired of that.

#8. Graveborn Muse

Graveborn Muse

Graveborn Muse draws a lot of cards in a zombie or tribal tribal deck.

#7. Moira, Urborg Haunt

Moira, Urborg Haunt

Moira, Urborg Haunt is gonna be a big deal when people discover it. You heard it here.

#6. Dreadhound


You probably need a backup if you need one Syr Konrad, the Grim or Blood Artist effect. This is an expensive one, but it serves.

#5. Tormented Soul

Tormented Soul

Tormented Soul is a ninjutsu classic. Also fun for Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor.

#4. Nether Traitor

Nether Traitor

The haste and shadow make this best version of Nether Shadow valuable for the same purposes as the previous card.

#3. Bloodghast


Bloodghast is a great card to fuel an aristocrats deck like He Who Hungers, as well as things like Anhelo, the Painter.

#2. Junji, the Midnight Sky

Junji, the Midnight Sky

An amazing death trigger! Hard to want to kill Junji, the Midnight Sky when they’ll just reanimate the best thing in your graveyard.

#1. Crypt Ghast

Crypt Ghast

Crypt Ghast: for when you need a Bubbling Muck but also need to be able to reanimate it to go off again.

Best Red Spirits

These go big and go fast, like red cards should.

#11. Red Spirits Tribal Must-Haves

Blood Age GeneralSkyfire Kirin

Blood Age General and Skyfire Kirin are your spirits tribal cards. Not as good as the entries from the previous colors, but solid.

#10. Malignus


Yes, you read that right. Malignus can be a 20/20. Better pack some trample enablers.

#9. Eidolon of the Great Revel

Eidolon of the Great Revel

Eidolon of the Great Revel is a Modern burn staple that has a place in red burn decks in EDH. Those decks are hard to make work given how much life there is, but this will get better as decks get lower to the ground.

#8. Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient

Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient

Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient is a bit durdly, but in Mishra, Eminent One decks, which are already packing Ashnod the Uncaring… maybe?

#7. Kami of Celebration

Kami of Celebration

An odd riff on Laelia, who you’ll meet in a sec, Kami of Celebration can still help a counter-heavy beatdown plan.

#6. Thundering Raiju

Thundering Raiju

Red aggressive decks in Commander need hasty creatures, and Thundering Raiju is a great one.

#5. Laelia, the Blade Reforged

Laelia, the Blade Reforged

A strong card across formats, Laelia, the Blade Reforged hits fast, grows in stats, and draws cards. Yep.

#4. Vengeful Ancestor

Vengeful Ancestor

Vengeful Ancestor: a card this annoying to play against has got to be goad. I mean, good.

#3. Ryusei, the Falling Star

Ryusei, the Falling Star

Ryusei, the Falling Star is a huge dragon with a partial board wipe as a death trigger. Cool.

#2. Atsushi, the Blazing Sky

Atsushi, the Blazing Sky

Hits fast and hard, like a good red creature should. Atsushi, the Blazing Sky makes Treasures or draws cards. It’s also a dragon. So that’s a lot of good stuff.

#1. Simian Spirit Guide

Simian Spirit Guide

If Simian Spirit Guide looks abusable, you’re right.

Best Green Spirits

Ramp and card draw. What else?

#11. Green Spirits Must-Haves

The green spirits deck is an odd one. Not sure it comes together, but these are the must haves.

#10. Liege of the Hollows

Liege of the Hollows

Liege of the Hollows is a must for squirrel tribal. Otherwise meh, but I couldn’t resist including it.

#9. Kami of Transience

Kami of Transience

Kami of Transience is super pesky. You have to keep dealing with it if you don’t exile it. That’s less cool in EDH than in Standard, but it still matters.

#8. Willow Geist

Willow Geist

This card is sneaky good and underrated. Willow Geist is perfect for Dina, Soul Steeper decks that use the graveyard.

#7. Generous Visitor

Generous Visitor

Generous Visitor makes a lot of counters for enchantress decks.

#6. Patron of the Orochi

Patron of the Orochi

By the time you get to eight mana, do you still want Patron of the Orochi? Sure. You’re a green mage. ABR (always be ramping)!

Plus, you grabbed this from the deck with Fauna Shaman anyway.

#5. Eidolon of Blossoms

Eidolon of Blossoms

Eidolon of Blossoms is happy to be invited to the enchantress party. It’s an honor just to be nominated.

#4. Kura, the Boundless Sky

Kura, the Boundless Sky

Another big dragon with a sweet death trigger, Kura, the Boundless Sky can yoink all three Tron lands from your deck if you want. Or something else, sure, but it gets three land cards, no restrictions.

#3. Kodama of the West Tree

Kodama of the West Tree

Kodama of the West Tree: ramp!

#2. Primordial Sage

Primordial Sage

You’d rather have Beast Whisperer, but Primordial Sage is good too.

#1. Seedborn Muse

Seedborn Muse

If Seedborn Muse looks abusable, you’re right.

Best Multicolored Spirits

Half of this is Azorius. Go figure!

#19. Dimir Infiltrator

Dimir Infiltrator

Dimir Infiltrator is a great transmute card in colors that want it. As a spirit? Meh.

#18. Hofri Ghostforge

Hofri Ghostforge

This will be great when we return to Strixhaven and get better Boros () spirits. Hofri Ghostforge is probably strong enough commanding a Boros/Lorehold ETB deck, which is a lot better of an archetype than players think.

#17. Sovereigns of Lost Alara

Sovereigns of Lost Alara

Sovereigns of Lost Alara seems janky to me, but I say that as a player who hasn’t used this in a Rafiq of the Many deck to one-shot someone when I grab and snap on Colossification.

#16. Spell Queller

Spell Queller

This popular control and spirits tribal card just has a lot of uses in Standard builds. It’s less good in EDH, but I do like saving my board wipe in response to a Teferi’s Protection with this.

That’s niche, I guess, but it’s wicked cool.

#15. Karador, Ghost Chieftain

Karador, Ghost Chieftain

Karador, Ghost Chieftain is the default Abzan () spirits leader, and it’s powerful but doesn’t quite keep pace.

#14. Agrus Kos, Eternal Soldier

Agrus Kos, Eternal Soldier

This Jumpstart 2022 card seems like a cool riff on Zada, Hedron Grinder. So are there targeted abilities that we’d want besides Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker?

I don’t hate using Agrus Kos, Eternal Soldier and building around things like Fallaji Vanguard, Duke Ulder Ravengard, Blessed Hippogriff, etc.

#13. Karlov of the Ghost Council

Karlov of the Ghost Council

Karlov of the Ghost Council is your Orzhov () lifegain commander for when your playgroup soft bans Liesa, Shroud of Dusk.

#12. Drogskol Reaver

Drogskol Reaver

This card is popular, but I’m not a believer. Drogskol Reaver feels like battlecruiser Magic to me.

There aren’t that many cards that draw cards for lifegain, so I understand. I’m probably wrong. Maybe.

#11. Drogskol Captain

Drogskol Captain

The hexproof spirits lord is good! Drogskol Captain is good in any spirits deck that can run it.

#10. Ethereal Valkyrie

Ethereal Valkyrie

This card looks goofy, but Ethereal Valkyrie is almost an engine itself in a blink deck.

#9. Brago, King Eternal

Brago, King Eternal

Brago, King Eternal, that old blinky warhorse, has been power crept out of the command zone for these decks, but it still does a lot of blinking when you get it going!

#8. Empyrean Eagle

Empyrean Eagle

The MVP of the next deck we’re looking at is Empyrean Eagle.

#7. Millicent, Restless Revenant

Millicent, Restless Revenant

Millicent, Restless Revenant is your Azorius go-wide spirits commander. It’s a good fliers deck that can go really fast.

#6. Kykar, Wind’s Fury

Kykar, Wind's Fury

Kykar, Wind’s Fury is a great Jeskai () spirits commander for when you absolutely need to pack some red, but it’s also a nice Young Pyromancer tokens deck leader.

#5. Vega, the Watcher

Vega, the Watcher

Vega, the Watcher draws a lot of cards in a blink deck. Might actually be better than the next card, honestly.

#4. Ranar the Ever-Watchful

Ranar the Ever-Watchful

This is my favorite blink commander. I know that other cards are better than Ranar the Ever-Watchful on raw power, but I have a lot of fun with the janky foretell synergies.

#3. Hinata, Dawn-Crowned

Hinata, Dawn-Crowned

The bonkers leader of its own unique deck, Hinata, Dawn-Crowned is very, very powerful.

#2. O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami

O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami

O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami is your 5-color spirit commander. Sometimes it’s even a 5-color dragon commander, although the competition is pretty steep there.

#1. Soulherder


Soulherder is a Cube staple for a reason. A great enabler for blink decks!

Best Colorless Spirits

Dancing Scimitar, Sorcerer’s Broom, and Ugin’s Conjurant don’t really have EDH homes, so we’ll just wrap this up.

Best Spirits Payoffs

Kamigawa Block Brews

Iname as One

The original Kamigawa block really increased the number of spirits. A lot of them were costly and difficult to cast but worth it if you could get them down, like Iname as One or any of the Myojins. There are various synergies on the best cards from this block, but some of those synergies are just a bit too inefficient, like the soulshift mechanic.

O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami

Still, the faithful play the mono-black versions of these decks as well as O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami soup.

Fliers Decks

Millicent, Restless Revenant

It doesn’t have to be a dedicated Millicent, Restless Revenant deck. Any Azorius fliers deck is likely to be running some of these cards.

And fliers decks often want spirit-adjacent cards like Storm of Souls, Haunted Library, and Angel of Flight Alabaster.

Blink Decks

Preston, the Vanisher

A staple Commander deck since they printed Brago, King Eternal in Conspiracy, Azorius blink decks make heavy use of spirits. And there are enough good spirits for this deck that you could run all spirits if you wanted to leave off, you know, Preston, the Vanisher and other flicker allies.

Wrap Up

Kodama of the West Tree - Illustration by Daarken

Kodama of the West Tree | Illustration by Daarken

Spirits decks can be powerful. And they’re flavorful. Their best abilities (blink, flying, and recursion) are totally on theme. You can’t play a full four-player Innistrad creature feature matchup of vampires vs. werewolves vs. zombies vs. spirits if you don’t have a spirits deck, and hopefully this list has piqued your interest. Perhaps it’ll, you know, haunt you later?

Did I miss any of your favorite spirits? Let me know in the comments or on the Draftsim Discord.

Happy haunting, friends!

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