Last updated on May 14, 2024

Gyome, Master Chef - Illustration by Steve Prescott

Gyome, Master Chef | Illustration by Steve Prescott

Like many little bookworms, my first exposure to trolls came from a fairy tale about Three Billy Goats trying to cross a bridge. Then I met another one in a girls’ bathroom. And I met a few more on an adventure in Middle-earth. I got to beat up some trolls in Fable, and now I get to meet some when we visit new planes in Magic.

There are nearly 60 trolls that are available for you to sleeve up, but which troll can give you the most bang for your buck? The best of them are all here, and they brought their appetites. Good thing there’s a master chef among them to keep everyone fed!

What Are Trolls in MTG?

Challenger Troll - Illustration by Svetlin Velinov

Challenger Troll | Illustration by Svetlin Velinov

Troll is a creature type in Magic. Uthden Troll and Sedge Troll from Alpha were the first trolls in the game, and there are 54 trolls as of Wilds of Eldraine, plus the High Troller Mystery Booster card.

Overall, trolls tend to stay in Jund () color identities, which some exceptions like Sea Troll, Charging Troll, Hedge Troll, Gnottvold Hermit / Chrome Host Hulk, and the sorcery on the back of Augmenter Pugilist. Since regeneration has been a theme for trolls, they’re mostly green+ these days since regeneration fits that part of the color pie.

Aside from regeneration, trolls come in big, medium, and small bodies. They’re often simply trolls, but there are a few troll shamans and troll druids to keep an eye on.

There are a couple of other spells that either mention or deal with trolls. Provoke the Trolls is a red spell that buffs a creature by 5 power if it survives the 3 damage the spell deals to it, while the third chapter of Waking the Trolls creates a bunch of 4/4 Troll Warrior tokens.

Honorable Mention: Masterful Ninja

Masterful Ninja

I- what? Masterful Ninja can be both in your hand and on the battlefield. This feels like it breaks physics.

23. Sporeback Troll

Sporeback Troll

Graft is an interesting mechanic. It’s one of the few ones that let you move counters around. Sporeback Troll’s abilities help you to regenerate both it and your other creatures with counters on them, but it’s a little too costly. It only comes in with two counters of its own, so you almost need Hardened Scales effects to make its power and toughness worth it.

22. Mossbridge Troll

Mossbridge Troll

Mossbridge Troll is pretty niche, but I have to admit, I like the niche it occupies. The auto-regenerate is really good, and tapping other creatures to give this troll +20/+20 feels silly. Wait, does it really say, “any number”?

21. Faunsbane Troll

Faunsbane Troll

It’s always tough to get a read on the new guy, but Faunsbane Troll feels at least serviceable. The role tokens in its home set of Wilds of Eldraine should at least make it good in its Limited environment. And I guess you can use Curse of the Werefox to give Faunsbane Troll another Monster role and a free fight.

20. Trollbred Guardian

Trollbred Guardian

Trollbred Guardian has +1/+1 counter synergies that let it grow on its own and give trample to your other creatures with counters. It’s also a big frog for Grolnok, the Omnivore, although that deck doesn’t naturally lead in the counters direction.

19. Challenger Troll

Challenger Troll

Here’s what I’d like to call a “trample payoff.” Challenger Troll makes your high-powered creatures blockable by only one creature per combat, which means that token decks can’t just pump out a bunch of 1/1 Humans to lethally block your creatures anymore.

18. Troll Ascetic

Troll Ascetic

You could do a lot worse for a first mutate target than Troll Ascetic. Casting your mutate commander on it lets you have a hexproof commander that can be regenerated, which is a decent start.

17. Thrun, the Last Troll

Thrun, the Last Troll

This is an uncounterable creature that also can’t be targeted but can be regenerated. That’s Thrun, the Last Troll, in a nutshell. You’re probably more likely to be running it with the other Thrun than anywhere else these days.

16. Old-Growth Troll

Old-Growth Troll

I feel like you could make a Vince McMahon meme where you start with a 4/4 for 3, add trample, and then give it a way to boost your mana base until you want to bring back a token with 4/4 power/toughness and trample. There may not be many specific places to play Old-Growth Troll, but it’s a solid placeholder in its mana slot while you look for something with more synergy.

15. Lotleth Troll

Lotleth Troll

Discarding cards is one of the ways you can put creatures into your graveyard, so it’s pretty good that Lotleth Troll can do it to grow with +1/+1 counters.

14. Gluttonous Troll

Gluttonous Troll

Designed to get better early on in multiplayer games, Gluttonous Troll is a decent token generator and sac outlet. Its ability lets you pump it up temporarily to survive tough combats or take out a bigger threat.

13. Honor Troll

Honor Troll

10/10 for the pun in the card name. The Strixhaven Honor Troll is decent as a card that can add to your lifegain and stays strong while your life total does. Vigilance is also appreciated.

12. Varolz, the Scar-Striped

Varolz, the Scar-Striped

Varolz, the Scar-Striped is a graveyard commander that wants to use your dead creatures to buff your living creatures rather than reanimate them. Imagine using the scavenge ability on Yargle and Multani to give something 18 +1/+1 counters, plus whatever doubling/adding shenanigans you have on board.

11. Hunted Troll

Hunted Troll

If you want to have an 8/4 ahead of schedule, there has to be some kind of setback. For Hunted Troll, that setback is giving an opponent a quartet of blue Faeries. Flying faeries. Yeah. If only there were some way to pay that off….

10. Grismold, the Dreadsower

Grismold, the Dreadsower

As I was saying, opponent token payoffs. Grismold, the Dreadsower turns everyone’s token deaths into +1/+1 counters for itself. And it has trample. Good times all around.

9. Thrun, Breaker of Silence

Thrun, Breaker of Silence

Thrun, Breaker of Silence is the kind of commander you can suit up with a bunch of equipment and auras and just keep swinging at your opponents. It can’t be countered, so there’s never any fear of that. It’s indestructible during your turn, so no fear of chump blockers with deathtouch. And it’s nearly hexproof. Nearly.

8. Troll of Khazad-dûm

Troll of Khazad-dûm

Troll of Khazad-dûm comes from the “big, dumb creature” mold of trolls, but it does that job so well. Swampcycling lets you put it into your graveyard to fetch a land, then you can use a cheap effect like Persist to bring it to the battlefield ahead of schedule. It also has to be blocked by three creatures, which makes your opponent’s decisions that much tougher. Probably better in Constructed than in Commander, which is reflected in the fact that this common goes for more than a dollar.

7. Augmenter Pugilist / Echoing Equation

The flexibility of MDFCs is always their highest selling point. Augmenter Pugilist gives you the potential for an 8/8 creature that you pay 3 mana for, or you can use Echoing Equation to turn your army into clones of your best creature.

6. Feasting Troll King

Feasting Troll King

Feasting Troll King got a boost thanks to Peregrin Took and all the other Food-lovers from LotR. It’s very green in terms of devotion, but it’s yet another way that you can use Food tokens and food artifacts to your advantage.

5. Clackbridge Troll

Clackbridge Troll

Speaking of Billy goats…. I really like the flavor on Clackbridge Troll, and not just because of the Goat tokens. Each of your combat phases while it’s on the field gives opponents a chance to tap this troll and prevent it from attacking. Which sounds good, but they give you life and cards for your trouble. Feeding the troll truly is a bad habit.

The galaxy brained way to use Clackbridge Troll is by pairing it with effects that give creatures -1/-1 and some death payoffs so that you get three triggers the moment those Goats ETB.

4. Svella, Ice Shaper

Svella, Ice Shaper

Yup, a snow troll commander. What a world. Svella, Ice Shaper is actually pretty useful. Its first ability pumps out Icy Manaliths that you don’t have to sac like you do with Treasure. The second one lets you pull something from the top four cards of your library, which is a decent number to make sure it doesn’t fizzle by being all lands. Apparently Svella’s used at the helm of land destruction decks, and now I’m getting some very evil thoughts.

3. Golgari Grave-Troll

Golgari Grave-Troll

Golgari Grave-Troll is practically made for graveyard strategies, specifically the ones that care about having creatures in your graveyard. Its dredge ability lets you return it to hand in exchange for some milling, which should let you put more counters on it when you next cast or cheat it in. Removing a counter to regenerate it is just the cherry on top.

2. Guardian Augmenter

Guardian Augmenter

Guardian Augmenter should never be accused of being a big, dumb troll. This wizard has flash and does a lot of work to protect your commander(s) between a +2/+2 buff and hexproof. It’s less competitive than some cards, but it’s just so heckin’ useful.

1. Gyome, Master Chef

Gyome, Master Chef

Maître Gyome has been a popular commander on its own, but Lords of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth and its food themes have given this troll a larger market. Gyome, Master Chef gives you ways to generate more Food tokens, and its activated ability gives your token and non-token food more utility. It’s an essential card if you’re producing food, whether Gyome is the center of your strategy or you’re using someone else like Shelob, Child of Ungoliant, the best spider commander in MTG.

Best Troll Payoffs

There’s no such thing as a “troll lord,” at least, not yet. And when you think about it, it makes sense. Trolls are often depicted as solitary, territorial creatures, so they wouldn’t necessarily “play nice” with other trolls.

They do commonly have regenerate, and a bunch of them have high power. You can probably find homes for a few of them with effects that care about running high-powered creatures.

Golgari Grave-Troll
And of course, many trolls have graveyard synergies, especially Golgari Grave-Troll. But if you’re a Golgari graveyard player, you probably already knew that.

Wrap Up

Golgari Grave-Troll - Illustration by Jakub Kasper

Golgari Grave-Troll | Illustration by Jakub Kasper

And that’s the tale of trolls in Magic! Some are big, dumb creatures that just won’t die. Others are food connoisseurs. Still others are more specialized, like the sac outlets and ones that care about the creatures in your graveyard.

Which are your favorite trolls in Magic? What kinds of trolls do you want to see in future sets? Do you want any of the legendary trolls to return? Let me know in the comments below or over on Draftsim’s Discord.

Thanks for reading, and remember, don’t feed the trolls!
Gyome will want a word….

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