Last updated on April 22, 2021
Ring of Three Wishes | Illustration by Mark Winters
Did you ever lose a game because you couldn’t draw that one card that could’ve changed everything? Actually, forget that one card, have you ever failed to draw those three sets of cards that are crucial to execute your deck’s gampelan, even though you put four copies in your deck? Well, unless you have the favor of Lady Luck, this happens a lot. You mulligan, end up with a bad start, and eventually lose the game. But fear not! Magic actually has a lot of decent remedies for that.
Today I’m going to talk about how you can search for and draw the cards that are essential to your game so that you have more control over your deck. This is called “tutoring,” which takes its name from the famous Demonic Tutor released back in 1993. Most tutors have limitations on what you can look for, and some of them just let you pick a card regardless of its type.
But that’s enough talk. Let’s get right into it!
How Do Tutors Work?
Eye of Ugin | Illustration by James Paick
Well, tutors work in a pretty straightforward way. They let you look for a card in your deck and then place it in your hand or on top of your deck. You’d think that blue would have the most tutor cards based on its usual theme, but black actually has the biggest variety of tutors. If the card you used lets you look for a specific card type, you need to reveal the card you picked to your opponent, then you shuffle your deck and keep playing the game. Simple enough.
With the explanation out of the way, you’re probably here to find out which tutors are the best in different formats. So, let’s get on with it!
As usual, let’s start with colors.
Best White Tutors in MTG
For white, your tutoring options are limited to equipment and auras most of the time. This isn’t necessarily a weakness since your deck will probably rely on them if you’re going mono-white, but there are better options if you have a multicolored deck or don’t want to use equipment.
At first glance, Auratouched Mage appears to be very, very costly, but it would be too OP otherwise. It’s an average 3/3 creature, but you can pull out any aura card from your deck and attach it to the Mage without paying its cost, so it’s a pretty good option for white.
Weathered Wayfarer is a 1-mana, 1/1 creature that shines when you don’t start the game. You can avoid getting land-locked, plus it just says “land card,” so you’re not restricted to basic lands.
Idyllic Tutor is a sorcery that let you look for an enchantment for just three mana and put it directly into your hand. Keep in mind that it can also look for enchantment creatures, so it’s pretty strong in the recent meta.
Another creature card with tutoring, Stoneforge Mystic allows you to search for an equipment card when it enters the battlefield. But its true power doesn’t lie in its tutoring ability: you can actually cast your equipment without paying its initial casting cost, which may help a lot with more expensive equipment. No wonder this card was banned!
Steelshaper’s Gift is one of the most cost-effective tutors in the game. It only costs one mana to tutor an equipment from your deck. Pretty straightforward.
This is one of the strongest tutors out there. Enlightened Tutor costs only one mana, is an instant, and allows you to search for either an artifact or enchantment. The only downside is that you put the card on top of your deck, but you can play it very early and gain an advantage.
Best Red Tutors in MTG
Red is probably the worst color for tutoring in MTG. There’s just no sugarcoating it. However, there are still at least a few decent options.
Arguably the best option for red, Gamble lets you search for a card of your choice. Then you need to literally gamble by discarding a card at random. It’s best you use it when you have three or four cards in your hand because you probably don’t want to discard the very thing you searched for.
Imperial Recruiter is a great tutor for red decks in EDH. It costs three mana to look for a creature card with power 2 or less, regardless of its cost. It’s very vulnerable against single target removals since it’s a 1/1 creature, but it’s still a nice value for tutoring.
Goblin Engineer is a tricky card to play. It puts an artifact card of your choice in your graveyard when it enters the battlefield, and then you can sacrifice another artifact to swap it with that one. You can do that indefinitely for one mana each turn. It’s really useful when combined with a variety of artifacts that’ll match the game’s flow.
Best Green Tutors in MTG
Now we’re getting serious. Green has a pretty good selection of tutors and they’re mostly focused on lands or creatures. You’ll also have the option to put the creatures you tutored directly on the battlefield most of the time.
Right off the bat, Worldly Tutor is one of the most awesome tutors in MTG. Similar to Enlightened Tutor, it puts the card you searched for on the top of your deck, but it’s an instant and costs just one mana. Just revealing a major threat can force your opponent to be on guard and save some removals while you start bashing with other creatures and spells.
Green Sun’s Zenith
Green Sun’s Zenith doesn’t just let you tutor a creature, but you can actually put it on the battlefield right away. Of course, the mana cost depends on which creature you want to search for, but you’re playing green. You’ll have the mana.
There are a lot of land tutors out there, but Scapeshift is on a different level. You can completely change the set of basic lands you have on the battlefield with better combinations and alter the course of the game. It costs a hefty fee of four mana, but it’s quite useful.
Chord of Calling
This one is another tutor that lets you put a creature right onto the battlefield. You’ll probably have a lot of creatures on the battlefield, so you can use convoke to reduce the cost of Chord of Calling and release a behemoth way before its time.
Tooth and Nail
Tooth and Nail doesn’t look that great when you look at just the cost, but it actually has a great value. It allows you to tutor two creature cards or put two creatures from your hand onto the battlefield without paying their mana cost. Aside from its flexibility, you can also pay its entwine cost for two mana to choose both options. Considering green usually doesn’t have too many mana issues, it’s definitely worth considering.
Best Blue Tutors in MTG
Players usually have a love/hate relationship with blue because of its control theme. Tutoring with blue focuses on instants and sorceries and makes the game even more difficult for your opponent.
All the tutors we mentioned up to this point let you search for a card from your deck, but Bribery does the opposite: it searches your opponent’s deck. Not everyone plays it, but you should consider keeping it on your sideboard because it’s particularly powerful if you know your opponent has behemoths. It’s an unorthodox choice, but I’m the one ranting about tutors, so there it is.
Intuition lets you look for any three cards in your library and put one into your hand. Your opponent is the one who chooses which card will go to your hand, but you can easily force a difficult choice. There are also ways to cast spells from the graveyard, so you potentially win either way.
Blue decks are frequently centered around artifacts and Fabricate makes it easier to ensure you have the artifacts you need before it’s too late. It has a decent cost of three mana and it puts the card you picked directly into your hand.
Playing blue is like a chess game. You need to have Long-Term Plans. Terrible pun aside, it’s a great card for blue. It let you search for any card you want and place it third from the top. If your opponent doesn’t have any milling solutions, it won’t be long before you bring out the big guns.
Another awesome tutor with a low mana cost, Mystical Tutor searches for an instant or sorcery card and puts it on top of your library. You can easily use it on your first turn and start manipulating the game in your favor with miracles. There’s also Personal Tutor, which is essentially the same card but as a sorcery.
Ah yes, Tinker, one of the most broken tutors ever. Turning your mana rock into a Inkwell Leviathan or Sundering Titan is completely game-breaking. It’s no wonder this is one of the sweetest build-arounds in Cube!
Best Black Tutors in MTG
Okay, now we’re finally here with the very best tutoring can offer. Like I said earlier, blue should be the one with more library and hand manipulation abilities, but black has the best variety of tutors available. Even more, there are plenty of options that let you look for any card you want. But you might lose some life in the process.
Grim Tutor is a combination of Demonic Tutor and Vampiric Tutor. It’s pretty useful if you don’t have the other two at your disposal since you can, once again, pick any card you want for three mana and three life.
Diabolic Intent lets you put a card of your choice into your hand for just two mana, with the additional cost of sacrificing a creature. You’ll probably want some cheap skeletons or zombies for this one.
Since black decks usually like tampering with the graveyard, Entomb is a great choice. You can instantly use the card you searched for from the graveyard. The only downside is that you need to build your deck around graveyard mechanics to maximize its potential.
Demonic Tutor is widely considered to be the best tutor in MTG. It costs just two mana to search your library for any card you want and put it into your hand without any life-loss or other disadvantages. It’s recently back as a Mystical Archive in Strixhaven: School of Mages so now you can even D-Tutor in draft!
If you’re playing black and looking for a tutor, Vampiric Tutor is the best choice in my opinion. Some would say the Demonic variant is better, but hear me out.
You’re playing Simic with at least a splash of black and you have Vampiric Tutor. You also have Temporal Mastery in your deck. Since you just pay its miracle cost on your next turn, you get an extra turn for the cheap cost of three mana and two life. Same goes for all other types of miracle cards. There’s also a sorcery variant called Imperial Seal.
Best Colorless Tutors in MTG
Colorless tutors are a thing, but I have to say that they’re not as good as the others. Don’t get me wrong, some of them are pretty good, but their cost makes them less viable.
Eye of Ugin
Tutors are rarely seen as lands, but Eye of Ugin is a welcome surprise. It costs a lot and only tutors colorless creatures, but it reduces the mana cost of Eldrazi spells. It’s a very situational land to play, but really good in Eldrazi decks.
Ring of Three Wishes
Ring of Three Wishes comes with three wish counters, and you can tap it for five mana to tutor any card you want. It costs a whopping ten mana to tutor your first card, but since it is any card, it’s pretty useful to get that critical piece you need.
Citanul Flute is a very flexible tutor for colorless decks. Its initial cost is somewhat high, but you can use it repetitively afterwards to tutor any creature as long as you have the mana.
Planar Bridge is an absolutely brilliant card. It needs a lot of mana, but then you can put any permanent card you need directly onto the battlefield. But it doesn’t even end there! You can use it again and again if you can pay its steep eight mana cost. Keep in mind that it’s susceptible to removal, though.
Best MTG Land Tutors
Land tutoring is one of the strongest and easier forms of tutoring in Magic. It’s particularly important in EDH as you usually need more mana of various types. Even if you’re playing monocolored decks, it’s a solid safety net so you won’t suffer from mana drought.
Green is well-known for its land tutors and Nissa’s Pilgrimage is one of the strongest. It looks for two basic lands, puts one of them onto the battlefield, and one in your hand. It also comes with spell mastery, which means that you can even look for three lands if you’re playing an instant/sorcery-heavy deck.
Expedition Map is a common land tutor in EDH. There’s no restriction, so searches for any land, so it’s especially good in multicolored decks. Or even a colorless deck if you’re searching up, say, Urza’s Tower.
Tempt with Discovery
Another green tutor, Tempt with Discovery is a great option if you’re playing with more than one opponent. It allows you to tutor an initial land card (non-basics included) to put onto the battlefield and you can put an additional one for every opponent who wants to do the same. Of course, it’s very cost-efficient even in 1v1, as your opponent will most probably be tempted.
Green might be famous for its land tutors, but white has a great challenger. Land Tax works wonders if your opponent has more lands than you and makes sure you’re never behind on the mana curve.
There are a lot of great green land tutors like Crop Rotation, Sylvan Scrying, and Sakura-Tribe Elder, but I’ll finish with Harrow. It’s an awesome land tutor that gives you two lands directly on the battlefield with the price of three mana and one land. It can help you rapidly outpace your opponent in a couple of turns.
Best Tutors for EDH
Okay, now that we have examples to some of the best tutors in Magic, let’s break it down into different formats. EDH is the most popular format there is, so here are the 10 best tutors for Commander.
Eladamri’s Call is a very cost-efficient tutor. You get to tutor any creature card with just two mana.
Chord of Calling
Chord of Calling lets you tutor and put any creature from your deck onto the battlefield. What’s more, it has the convoke keyword, so you can easily put a behemoth to play early in the game if you have a lot of cheap creatures or tokens.
After its initial cost of one mana, you can use Weathered Wayfarer to repeatedly tutor up any land you want as long as you have fewer lands than your opponent. It’ll make sure you’re never behind the mana curve.
I’m going to say something controversial: I don’t like Crop Rotation that much. Sure, it lets you tutor any land card, it’s an instant, and it opens the way for many plays, especially in multicolored decks, but I still don’t like the idea of sacrificing lands. Keep in mind that this is something of a personal quirk, though. It’s still one of the best tutors out there for lots of players. I’d still go with Sylvan Scrying instead.
Instant tutors are without a doubt very powerful cards. Worldly Tutor lets you instantly hunt a creature from your deck, so you can wait for the right moment to make sure it doesn’t get interrupted.
Every color except for red has a very powerful instant tutor. White has Enlightened Tutor, which is great for artifact- and equipment-heavy decks.
It has quite the cost with three mana and three life, but Grim Tutor still lets you search for any card you want. It’s pretty strong in EDH as you have higher starting life.
Just a single mana to start rigging miracles in your favor, Mystical Tutor is easily one of the strongest tutors in MTG.
Tutor any card you want and put it into your hand with just two mana. What else is there to say?
As I already explained, Vampiric Tutor can be used in a variety of ways. You have higher starting life in EDH, which makes its life cost negligible. You can easily use miracle cards to your benefit with this Tutor, so it’s very, very powerful.
Best Tutors for Modern
I’ll be honest, Modern certainly can’t be compared to EDH when it comes to tutors. Your options are somehow limited, but not having tutors doesn’t impact your game like EDH. Still, there are some powerful tutors you can choose from.
Idyllic Tutor makes the list with its low mana cost. It’s very useful in enchantment-heavy Modern decks.
Infernal Tutor isn’t very versatile as you need to already have one copy of the card you want to tutor, but it can help you capitalize on some strong cards. Plus its hellbent ability comes in handy if you have no cards in your hand and want to deal the finishing blow.
There are just too many artifacts you can use in Modern, so Fabricate is definitely a good card to have in your deck to get prepared for your mid-game.
Glittering Wish is a phenomenal card if you have a good sideboard. It only costs two mana and searches for multicolored cards, but you wouldn’t be using this one for mono decks anyway.
I didn’t rank Gifts Ungiven in best tutors for blue because it would find its way onto the list anyway. It has a cost of four mana but lets you pick four cards and force your opponent to choose which two you’ll get. You can even combine it with something like Noxious Revival or Past in Flames to still use the other two.
Another low-cost tutor, Eladamri’s Call works at instant speed and is great for combo decks. It’s legal in both EDH and Modern, so you should definitely get your hands on this one.
Life is much more valuable in Modern compared to EDH, but Grim Tutor is still a powerful option since you can tutor any card you want.
Best Budget Tutors
We talked about the best tutors in MTG, so let’s wrap this up with budget tutors. We all know MTG can be quite expensive sometimes and constructing that perfect deck can feel like burning your wallet. Here are some tutors you can find at a low price:
- Crop Rotation
- Mausoleum Secrets
- Shared Summons
- Dark Petition
- Mystical Teachings
- Ignite the Beacon
- Diabolic Tutor
- Traverse the Ulvenwald
- Scheming Symmetry
- Expedition Map
- Relic Seeker
- Open the Armory
- Long-Term Plans
This list only includes the best ones, but there are plenty of other tutors. If you haven’t noticed yet, I didn’t even include most cards with the transmute keyword, which lets you pay the transmute cost of a card and search your library for a card with the same CMC after discarding it. If I wanted to include transmute as well, this would be a much, much longer bit.
And the #1 Tutor Overall: Arena Tutor
Draftsim’s MTGA tracker Arena Tutor helps you level up your game using AI
Haha, very funny right? But hear me out. Arena Tutor is Draftsim’s MTG Arena application that will track your decks, give you in-game stats, give you AI draft recommendations, help you draw sample hands with decks, etc, etc.
Tell me that’s not more fully-functioned than even my favorite Demonic Tutor!
OK maybe a stupid joke, but seriously check out the free app. It’s going to change your life if you play MTGA.
MTG has so many cards to choose from, so tutoring is a must if you’re going for some sweet combos. Of course, you can do without them if you have a pretty straightforward deck, but I definitely recommend having a couple of tutors if you’re going for combos. It’s much better than draw mechanics, but it’s also a bit more costly.
You need to have a solid mana base if you want to use tutoring. Some newer players make the mistake of tutoring too early without any board presence and losing the game with all their best cards waiting in their hand. The perfect combo in your hand doesn’t mean anything if you can’t put it into play.
Well, I think this covers quite a lot about tutors, so try them for your next game and see if it works for you. As usual, feel free to let me know if I missed anything in the comments down there, or head over to our discord if that’s more your style. If you want to support us in making more awesome content, consider checking out our Patreon.
Stay healthy, and stay safe!