Last updated on January 25, 2023

Prized Amalgam - Illustration by Karl Kopinski

Prized Amalgam | Illustration by Karl Kopinski

You’ve probably heard the expression “but it dies to Doom Blade,” right? MTG is a game of threats and answers, and the harder it is to answer those threats, the harder it is to win.

Some threats are unkillable creatures that pose a challenge to spot removal like Doom Blade and sometimes Path to Exile. They’re creatures that survive wraths or are indestructible, or that offer some advantage in case the board gets wrath’ed.

Creatures like that are important as good mirror breakers, midrange threats, and control wincons, but how do they stack up against each other? Let’s jump in and find out!

What Are Unkillable Creatures?

Scrapheap Scrounger - Illustration by Jason A. Engle

Scrapheap Scrounger | Illustration by Jason A. Engle

Unkillable creatures are creatures that have some resistance to common removal. This can range from high toughness, protection from a certain color, abilities like ward and hexproof, indestructible and regeneration, and cards that return from the graveyard. Some creatures have a “when this creature dies” effect that helps resist removal.

Some old cards that I’d like to use as examples and honorable mentions are Ihsan’s Shade and Spiritmonger. These cards are black, which helps them evade the likes of Terror and Doom Blade. They also have high toughness, so they survive most red removal. Ihsan’s Shade also has protection from white spot removal like Swords to Plowshares while Spiritmonger regenerates so it can survive a wrath effect.

Best White Unkillable Creatures

#5. Avacyn, Angel of Hope

Avacyn, Angel of Hope

Once a premier control card and even reanimator target, it’s hard to deal with Avacyn, Angel of Hope except for exiling. This angel also makes all other creatures you control indestructible.

You’ll still see this played in EDH because the format is slow enough to let Avacyn grant its powerful bonus.

#4. Guardian of New Benalia

Guardian of New Benalia

Guardian of New Benalia is seeing some play in Standard. White weenie decks are in the market for a creature that can get indestructible if you discard a card and offers card selection with scry 2.

Overall this is a good resilient creature.

#3. Adanto Vanguard

Adanto Vanguard

One of the most annoying creatures to deal with when you’re a control deck, Adanto Vanguard has the instant activation to become indestructible. Your life total isn’t being pressed so paying four life is almost free.

A 3/1 when attacking is also a staple of Cube, and it’s a vampire to boot. You need narrow cards like Disfigure to deal with this one.

#2. Sanctuary Warden

Sanctuary Warden

A big flier that comes with one shield counter is already very resilient, let alone two. Sanctuary Warden has been played in Standard as a win condition for blue control decks because it’s hard to kill and provides card advantage.

You can trade a counter for a 1/1 and a card. The Warden holds the ground, attacks opponents, and offers you some cards while giving black decks relying on Doom Blade effects a hard time.

#1. Heliod, Sun-Crowned

Heliod, Sun-Crowned

Heliod, Sun-Crowned has taken formats like Modern and Pioneer (oops, banned) by storm. It’s hard to deal with because it’s indestructible, and it allows infinite combos with cards like Walking Ballista.

You don’t need the combo though. Just playing Heliod with white creatures in a weenie strategy creates a 5/5 indestructible that hits hard.

Best Blue Unkillable Creatures

#6. Stormsurge Kraken

Stormsurge Kraken

Stormsurge Kraken is a 5/5 hexproof that can be a 7/7 if you control your commander. You either attack for five to seven or draw two cards, and both seem reasonable.

There are a bunch of EDH decks searching for reasonable krakens to play, and there aren’t that many good ones.

#5. Sphinx of the Final Word

Sphinx of the Final Word

Ditto for sphinxes if you’re browsing for your sphinx tribal EDH deck. Sphinx of the Final Word has hexproof, can’t be countered, and helps your instants and sorceries resolve without opposition.

#4. Aetherling

Aetherling

An evolution of Morphling that costs more, the main difference is that Aetherling can be blinked for a single mana, which is usually better than shroud because it avoids more effects. It can attack without punishment and avoid most problems with some mana available.

#3. Nezahal, Primal Tide

Nezahal, Primal Tide

Nezahal, Primal Tide lives in a similar space as Hullbreaker Horror. It’s a huge creature that can’t be countered, and you can return it to your hand.

You draw cards that can help you to protect Nezahal every time a noncreature spell is played, and win. There are three opponents to cast spells so that you can draw a bunch of cards if you’re playing EDH.

#2. Hullbreaker Horror

Hullbreaker Horror

When Hullbreaker Horror hits the battlefield, the game might be over. It can’t be countered so the card already satisfies the “control mirror breaker” prerequisite because your control enemies often hold counterspells forever.

You can constantly return it to your hand when the Horror hits the battlefield, so opponents usually need one or more removal spells. You can even wrath the board and return it to your hand.

#1. True-Name Nemesis

True-Name Nemesis

It doesn’t get more unkillable than this in 1v1 games. You can’t target it or block it if this card has protection against you, and True-Name Nemesis can block your creatures at will.

You can, however, deal with it with a “destroy all creatures” effect or a “target player sacrifices a creature” effect. That’s it. I’m sure a blue player will just casually let you do that.

Best Black Unkillable Creatures

#6. Geralf’s Messenger

Geralf's Messenger

Geralf’s Messenger is a 3/2 that hits your opponents for two, and that’s it. It also returns as a 4/3 to claim two more damage if it’s killed.

It’s also a zombie for zombie synergies, and you can easily retrieve it from the grave to continue the chain.

#5. Gravecrawler

Gravecrawler

Gravecrawler is a 1-mana 2/1. Innocuous, right? But you can recast it if you control a zombie.

This is your typical zombie that refuses to stay dead, and one of the many horror tropes well-used in the Innistrad block. Tons of infinite combos in EDH abuse the Gravecrawler recursion.

#4. Bloodghast

Bloodghast

Do you know how easy it is to get your Bloodghast back from your graveyard? Just play a land. Simple as that.

This is one of the best sacrifice outlets: it just keeps coming. Your opponent better exile it for good. You can even keep a fetch land uncracked to protect it from graveyard hate.

#3. Cauldron Familiar

Cauldron Familiar

I don’t think WotC knew what they were doing with Cauldron Familiar plus Witch’s Oven. It’s even easy to pull it off in Draft, let alone Constructed formats.

This cat can be put back into play by sacrificing a Food which is easy to do in Food-based decks, especially when enabled by Witch’s Oven. You have a mechanism to infinitely chump block and slowly drain your opponent.

#2. Tenacious Underdog

Tenacious Underdog

It’s hard to kill a 3/2 that keeps coming back for more. You can cast Tenacious Underdog by paying four mana and two life from your graveyard, and it’s even got haste.

What’s more, you get an extra card for the effort. Getting your enemies’ Underdog in their graveyard is sometimes even worse than keeping it alive.

#1. Graveyard Trespasser

Graveyard Trespasser

Multiformat all-star Graveyard Trespasser offers your opponent a choice: how bad do you want to kill this 3/3? You can do it, but it costs you an extra card.

This is a good midrange creature that offers you life and free graveyard hate on a body with good stats.

Best Red Unkillable Creatures

#4. Purphoros, God of the Forge

Purphoros, God of the Forge

Purphoros, God of the Forge is indestructible, and you damage all your opponents for two every time another creature enters under your control. This works with token makers in red and Boros (), so Purphoros is very good in EDH.

Any combo that lets you play a creature repeatedly in a loop kills everyone in sight. It also survives red damage-based wraths no matter who plays them.

#3. Phoenix Chick

Phoenix Chick

Although weak on the surface, Phoenix Chick is annoying to play against. It keeps coming back tapped and hitting for two from the air. Then things get much, much worse. It’s become a staple of Standard red decks.

#2. Hazoret the Fervent

Hazoret the Fervent

Hazoret the Fervent is indestructible and it hits hard. In decks like mono-red where you usually don’t hold many cards in hand and play to the board, the downside is almost none.

Hazoret shines in formats where you don’t have cheap spot removal like Swords to Plowshares, Path to Exile, or Dismember. Other colors like red and green often don’t have good answers.

#1. Arclight Phoenix

Arclight Phoenix

“Yes, I finally destroyed all those phoenixes! Wait. Opt, Shock, Curate, there they are again. All three of them.”

Playsets of Arclight Phoenix have seen play in all formats, from Pioneer to Modern and Legacy. All you need is a bunch of cantrips and looting effects to combo it and attack your opponents for 6, even 12! Even if they manage to exile one there’s often another phoenix or two lurking around.

Best Green Unkillable Creatures

#7. Mitotic Slime

Mitotic Slime

Kill a 4/4 without any protections and restrictions? Easy, but now you need to deal with two 2/2s. Each one dies into a 1/1.

Besides its resilience, Mitotic Slime offers chump blockers and pieces of sacrifice fodder (seven, to be specific).

#6. Carnage Tyrant

Carnage Tyrant

Like Thrun, the Last Troll, Carnage Tyrant used to be quite the hard card to deal with. You need that wrath ASAP when you’re a control deck or else you won’t deal with the Tyrant that easily.

There was a good answer in Standard with The Eldest Reborn, which could also reanimate your opponent’s dino and put it to good use.

#5. Thrun, the Last Troll

Thrun, the Last Troll

Thrun, the Last Troll used to be quite the midrange trump card from Modern because it can’t be countered and has hexproof and a regenerate ability. But Modern has taken quite a jump in power level so you won’t be seeing it as much.

A very tough guy, that’s for sure.

#4. Avabruck Caretaker

Avabruck Caretaker

It’s a huge creature, puts counters on other creatures, and has hexproof. Sold.

Avabruck Caretaker is a huge bomb in Limited and a nice card in EDH for human and werewolf decks. Decks with +1/+1 counter synergies can also make good use of it.

#3. Rhonas the Indomitable

Rhonas the Indomitable

A 3-drop with indestructible is hard to deal with, and all it asks is a power 4 creature to start attacking. Opponents are in trouble when that happens since Rhonas the Indomitable itself is a 5/5.

You can wrath the board, but guess what! Send in another 4/4 for another hit from Rhonas the Indomitable. GG.

#2. Titan of Industry

Titan of Industry

Titan of Industry is one of the main targets available to cheat into play in formats like Standard and Explorer. You can use Fight Rigging or reanimation spells, but the result is all the same: a creature that comes into play with multiple benefits like a shield counter to protect it from some types of removal.

It’s also a 7/7, so the Titan won’t fall that easily.

#1. Vengevine

Vengevine

Vengevine got decks named after it, like Dredgevine, where you’d dredge (self-mill) lots of cards into your graveyard, mill some vines, then return them to attack.

It’s a 4/3 with haste that returns if you play two creatures during the same turn. Play a zombie, cast a Gravecrawler, return all your Vengevines attacking, and that’s the way it goes.

Best Multicolored Unkillable Creatures

#13. Ephara, God of the Polis

Ephara, God of the Polis

Besides being indestructible, Ephara, God of the Polis only asks that you play creatures every now and then (preferably with flash). You draw a bunch of cards and even attack with Ephara if it becomes a creature.

#12. Fleecemane Lion

Fleecemane Lion

You have a short window to deal with Fleecemane Lion because it gains hexproof and indestructible when it activates its monstrosity effect. A good card to have in your aura and Selesnya () cat decks.

#11. Geist of Saint Traft

Geist of Saint Traft

Ironically the best way to stop Geist of Saint Traft is to block it because it’s only a 2/2 without any support.

This card shines against control since it’s hard to interact with and you attack for at least six. Against creature decks, you may play auras on it and make short work of your enemies.

#10. Progenitus

Progenitus

Progenitus certainly costs a lot so you’re better off cheating it into play with Natural Order or other effects. It has protection against everything while on the battlefield, so it’s like True-Name Nemesis applied for all the players.

#9. Narset, Enlightened Master

Narset, Enlightened Master

EDH is the fancy format of doing splashy and hard-to-pull-off stuff, right? Enter a commander that’s a 6-drop with hexproof: Narset, Enlightened Master.

It’s not big or anything, but you get free spells if you can attack consistently with it. That could include expensive targets like Approach of the Second Sun or Omniscience.

#8. Karametra, God of Harvests

Karametra, God of Harvests

Karametra, God of Harvests, like most Theros gods, is indestructible and a fantastic ramp spell as a commander or in a Selesnya lands/creatures deck. You can play creatures to tutor lands, which also thins out your deck to keep you playing more creatures and expensive spells.

#7. Pharika, God of Affliction

Pharika, God of Affliction

Don’t underestimate the political power of Pharika, God of Affliction. The 3-mana god can create 1/1 deathtouch tokens in the middle of any fight, and you can add to it some death trigger synergies and defend yourself well.

It’s a cheap commander that’s tough to deal with. Worth considering!

#6. Koma, Cosmos Serpent

Koma, Cosmos Serpent

With each turn you get a 3/3 with Koma, Cosmos Serpent, so it’s a good ramp target. You can even sacrifice a serpent to make it indestructible. It’s a powerful midrange threat that can also pose problems to control.

#5. Sigarda, Host of Herons

Sigarda, Host of Herons

Sigarda, Host of Herons has hexproof and gets around Edict effects. You usually play it from the sideboard whenever your opponents don’t have wrath effects. It’s also interesting against players that make you sacrifice permanents.

#4. The Scarab God

The Scarab God

Like its brethren The Scorpion God and The Locust God, The Scarab God goes to the graveyard and back to your hand if you kill it. This has nice implications in EDH because you don’t need to pay the commander tax.

That’s on top of a 5/5 that can eternalize any creature on the battlefield and has synergies with zombies, already a powerful tribe.

#3. Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis

Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis

Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis is a card that you can play from your hand or graveyard, so you don’t care that much if it dies. You’ll find other Hogaaks and graveyard fuel to cast them in a self-mill deck.

#2. Prized Amalgam

Prized Amalgam

Prized Amalgam is one of many on this list that you recur from your graveyard. It’s a zombie for graveyard and zombie EDH decks.

Cards like Gravecrawler, Vengevine, and Prized Amalgam all work on the same axis. You mill those creatures into your graveyard to get them “back” online.

#1. Slippery Bogle

Slippery Bogle

Slippery Bogle is the premier 1-drop for hexproof/auras decks, commonly called bogles because of this card. Play this on turn 1, put some auras on it, and that’s all you need. It’s hard to interact with a 1-drop that has hexproof because other effective answers cost more than two mana.

Best Colorless Unkillable Creatures

#8. Stuffy Doll

Stuffy Doll

Stuffy Doll, besides being indestructible, is a card that no one wants to attack into because it blocks to redirect the damage. It also has synergies with red damage to all creatures, cards like Star of Extinction and Blasphemous Act.

You can damage the board and then hit a player in the face.

#7. Etched Champion

Etched Champion

There was a time in Modern when Etched Champion plus an equipment was GG. The Champion has protection against all colors when you hit the metalcraft condition.

It’s a mix of hexproof and unblockable, considering how few colorless threats and answers are played.

#6. Blightsteel Colossus

Blightsteel Colossus

Premium cheat-into-play targets have been a theme, and Blightsteel Colossus joins the others. One hit from this and the game is practically over thanks to infect.

Opponents have very few outs outside of countering the combo or exile spot removal.

#5. Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

“Protection against colored spells.” This unique line of text on Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is scary, and it’s like the text on Etched Champion. Opponents have a hard time targeting it with spot removal so they better try to stop you from getting it into play.

The extra turn you get lets you untap your mana and get over Emrakul’s summoning sickness. I’ll let you ponder the possibilities.

#4. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger is a huge threat that’s likely to be cheated into play by Aetherworks Marvel or something similar, and it belongs in Tron decks or 12-post decks.

You get a huge indestructible body that generates a card advantage by exiling two permanents whenever it’s cast. Be sure to add effects to your deck that allows you to cast it without paying the mana cost.

#3. Wurmcoil Engine

Wurmcoil Engine

Wurmcoil Engine is a pain to deal with for almost every nonwhite deck (exiling is very effective, though). It’s a huge 6/6 that gains you life and trades itself to become two bodies: a 3/3 with deathtouch and a 3/3 with lifelink.

Decks looking to play a good midrange threat, gain some life, or up their artifact count should look into this.

#2. Scrapheap Scrounger

Scrapheap Scrounger

“End of turn, I’ll pay two mana and get back my 3/2, then attack you for three.”

For those playing in the Kaladesh block, this was routine and difficult to deal with in the aggro/vehicle decks. Like Tenacious Underdog, Scrapheap Scrounger keeps coming back for more. Formats like Explorer/Pioneer usually have room for those kinds of creatures.

#1. Batterskull

Batterskull

Batterskull has seen a lot of play over the years as a prime target for Stoneforge Mystic. A 4/4 lifelinker that you can tutor and cheat into play is a strong combination, and you can even return it to your hand to play again.

The equipment survives when the Germ dies thanks to the living weapon mechanic, leaving this extra threat laying around.

Best Unkillable Creature Payoffs

The need to have an unkillable creature relies on the rules of engagement. More specifically, how are your opponents interacting with your cards and creatures? That leads to some situations.

Sweepers based on damage and “destroy all creatures” wording are good for you if your creatures are indestructible. Sweepers based on red damage work well with creatures that have protection against red, since the damage will be zero.

If your creature is indestructible or is a hexproof creature with a big aura, fight effects are ideal. You’re probably not getting two-for-one’d in those scenarios.

If your creatures have graveyard recursion, you want to mill yourself. There’s abundant self-mill in Sultai () colors, and you can also rely on dredge.

These unkillable creatures are ideal to play in midrange grindy or control decks because you already have more resources than your opponents: your creatures dodge their interaction. If my opponent only has Lightning Bolt and Fatal Push in hand then I want a threat that dodges these kinds of removal spells.

Koma, Cosmos SerpentImpulse

If your creature is a game-winning threat that’s difficult to deal with like Koma, Cosmos Serpent, you want mana rocks and a hard ramp to play it as fast as possible. You also want card selection like Impulse to find what you need most.

Wrap Up

Sigarda, Host of Herons - Illustration Chris Rahn

Sigarda, Host of Herons | Illustration by Chris Rahn

We live in an MTG era of increasingly better threats and each set has its share of unkillable creatures, some bad, some better. I included cards from the original Innistrad to Streets of New Capenna, so these creatures have been consistently good for over a decade.

What unkillable creatures do you like most for your decks? Did I miss any of your favorites? Please tell me what you think in the comments below or take the discussion to the Draftsim Discord.

Keep a Terminus around to deal with the problems, and I’ll see you around!

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