Last updated on February 27, 2024

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 offer some advantage in case the board gets wiped.

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 are really, really hard to deal with. They're those creatures that immediately make you think: “How am I getting rid of this?” The way you’ll deal with these creatures depends on the style of deck you’re playing. If you’re aggro or combo, you’re probably going to ignore it and try to win via combo or direct damage. However, your midrange/control/attrition deck can’t simply ignore these in the long run.

Many mechanics make a creature “unkillable”. If you want to deal with creatures using spot removal (Lightning Bolt, Path to Exile, Doom Blade), then mechanics like protection, ward, hexproof and shroud will give you a hard time. Cards that have abilities like indestructible or regeneration won't be easily destroyed or wrathed off the board. In this case, you’ll need exile-based effects. Finally, there are unkillable creatures that'll return to the battlefield or back to their owner’s hands so they can be cast again and again. In this case, you’ll probably need mass exile, Terminus, counterspells that exile, discard, or other similar effects.

These rankings will reflect how hard it is to kill a creature and its general playability. With that out of the way, let’s see the best unkillable creatures MTG has to offer, across multiple formats like EDH, Standard, Modern, and more.

#47. Iona, Shield of Emeria

Iona, Shield of Emeria

Iona, Shield of Emeria is quite unkillable if you choose a color that negates spells your opponents might play to kill it. That usually includes white or black, seeing as they’re the colors with the most spot removal and sweepers. It’s currently banned in Commander due to fun reasons – it’s easy to lock one or more players out of the game with it, especially ones with mono-colored commanders.

#46. Avacyn, Angel of Hope

Avacyn, Angel of Hope

Being indestructible and giving all your board the same bonus is quite the feat for our favorite angelic protector. Unfortunately, Avacyn, Angel of Hope costs a lot of mana and it’s a subpar reanimate target, so we’ll only see the card played in some casual EDH or Angel decks.

#45. Stormsurge Kraken

Stormsurge Kraken

A 5/5 hexproof for 5 mana is very efficient even before it becomes a 7/7. Stormsurge Kraken presents a nice dilemma for your opponents blocking it because they’d rather take the damage than give you the cards most of the time, until they can’t anymore.

#44. Purphoros, God of the Forge

Purphoros, God of the Forge

Purphoros, God of the Forge, like many Theros gods is indestructible, and it comes down early. You’ll usually build a deck to support its damage ability, usually by playing lots of creatures and spells that make tokens. You can hit hard with Purphoros as a creature, deal two damage to everybody else, and even pump your token army.

#43. Nezahal, Primal Tide

Nezahal, Primal Tide

Nezahal, Primal Tide‘s persistence relies on you having enough cards to discard to blink it and dodge removal or wraths. In addition, you’ll draw cards whenever your opponents cast noncreature spells, constantly having a full grip of cards in hand to save Nezahal.

#42. Progenitus


Protection from everything is quite a feat, actually, but have you seen how much Progenitus costs? Progenitus used to see play in some Natural Order decks and even in Commander decks, but there are way better alternatives at the 10-mana value range and in five colors these days.

#41. Geist of Saint Traft

Geist of Saint Traft

Not only does Geist of Saint Traft have hexproof, but it comes down early at the 3-mana range. Once the card starts attacking, it’s time to hurl angels at our opponents. As fragile as Geist is as a 2/2, it’s easy to give evasion to it via equipment or buff via auras. 

#40. Zurgo and Ojutai

Zurgo and Ojutai

Zurgo and Ojutai follows the same principles as Geist of Saint Traft – hexproof and hits hard. You’ll cast it, attack with hexproof, and return it safely to your hands via dash. Or you can leave the card on the battlefield, using your spells to protect it. Some Jeskai decks in Standard use Zurgo and Ojutai as a win condition, and it’s a fine dragon to include in EDH decks too.

#39. Wurmcoil Engine

Wurmcoil Engine

Wurmcoil Engine can be destroyed easily, but then you’ll have to deal with two 3/3 creatures, which is very annoying, to say the least. It’s better in ramp decks and in 1v1 matches, of course, and the card sees sideboard play in some formats due to its resilience, especially when you know your opponents won’t have Path to Exile in their hands. You can also gain a ton of life against aggressive decks.

#38. Gravecrawler


Gravecrawler is an efficient 2/1 zombie for 1 mana, and you can recast it from your graveyard while you control another zombie. It’s a threat that keeps returning to the battlefield, and in sacrifice decks, you can sac it, recast it, and do it again as long as you have the mana.

#37. Prized Amalgam

Prized Amalgam

Prized Amalgam will return from your graveyard to the battlefield whenever you cast a creature from your graveyard, or you return a creature from your graveyard. That makes the Amalgam a perfect card to discard or to mill to your graveyard. Of course, it gets worse against graveyard hate or effects that exile all copies of a certain card. Play it alongside cards that keep returning to the battlefield like Gravecrawler, Bloodghast, or Arclight Phoenix.

#36. Bloodghast


Bloodghast can’t block, but who cares? The most important thing here is that this vampire will return to the battlefield each time you play a land. It’s also a common play pattern to fetch a land at the end of your opponent’s turn, returning this card from your graveyard to the battlefield. It’s extremely annoying to deal with, and it gains haste when they have 10 or less life. It’s also a good creature for vampire decks and black devotion decks.

#35. Edgar, Charmed Groom

Edgar, Charmed Groom Edgar Markov's Coffin

Edgar, Charmed Groom sees play in Standard midrange decks as a very resilient threat. If it dies, you’ll return it to the battlefield as Edgar Markov's Coffin and makes 1/1 vampires, and later you’ll get Edgar back. It’s also a vampire lord, so it sees play in vampire typal decks in EDH and Brawl. 

#34. Thrun, the Last Troll

Thrun, the Last Troll

Thrun, the Last Troll was designed to literally troll control decks. It can’t be countered and has hexproof, so it’s really hard for / control decks to answer it on the battlefield. The card can also regenerate to survive a wrath effect, so aside from mass exile and edict effects, it’s best to put creatures in front of it.

#33. Graveyard Trespasser

Graveyard Trespasser Graveyard Glutton

Graveyard Trespasser is better positioned on the list because it sees a significant amount of play, whether in Standard or Pioneer. This werewolf is annoying to answer with spot removal because you’ll have to two-for-one yourself. Red-based damage sweepers and white wraths will do the trick, though.

#32. Scrapheap Scrounger

Scrapheap Scrounger

Scrapheap Scrounger is your typical black creature that returns from graveyards, and at instant speed no less. Ok, it’s technically an artifact, and the return cost isn’t free. You will, however, deliver many punches with the card even against opponents with hands full or removal. Besides, it’s a 3/2 for , which is already a good rate for aggro decks.

#31. Ojer Pakpatiq, Deepest Epoch

Ojer Pakpatiq, Deepest Epoch Temple of Cyclical Time

The Lost Caverns of Ixalan (LCI) has a cycle of mythic creatures that return to the battlefield transformed as a nonbasic land when they die. So, exile effects are the cleanest way to get rid of these. Ojer Pakpatiq, Deepest Epoch is the blue LCI god. It’s decent-sized as a 4/3 that gives rebound to your instants, so you'll get massive value while it's alive. If it dies, you’ll wait for three turns for it to come back, but you get Temple of Cyclical Time in the meantime. Not bad for a blue control deck.

#30. Sanctuary Warden

Sanctuary Warden

Sanctuary Warden comes into play with two shield counters, as one instance wasn’t enough. Talk about a guy that doesn’t die to Doom Blade that easily. Plus, you can turn counters into cards, so it has that +1/+1 counters and proliferate synergy that casual players (myself included) love. It’s a perfect fit in a Giada, Font of Hope deck since Giada will gift it extra counters.

#29. Sigarda, Host of Herons

Sigarda, Host of Herons

In Avacyn Restored, Sigarda, Host of Herons was designed as a resilient creature. A 5/5 flier for 5 mana is quite the Baneslayer Angel, and you can’t target it or make their owner sacrifice it, the anti-Liliana of the Veil clause.

#28. Dream Trawler

Dream Trawler

As long as you have cards in hand, your opponent won’t be messing with Dream Trawler. What’s more, if the Trawler is attacking, you’re getting more cards. So you can use specific cards like counterspells to stop your opponents from ruining your plans while discarding less important cards like lands to protect your big sphinx from harm.

#27. Sliver Hivelord

Sliver Hivelord

Sliver Hivelord is indestructible and it gives your other slivers the ability. It’s very interesting, considering that slivers is a creature type that wants to go wide on the battlefield and share their abilities with other slivers. It’s not the best sliver, but it comes close. And it’s surely a strong asset to these decks; compare it to other slivers that give trample or vigilance.

#26. Thassa, Deep-Dwelling

Thassa, Deep-Dwelling

Half the value of Thassa, Deep-Dwelling comes from the fact that it can blink one of your creatures every turn. Not to mention the indestructibility and the devotion part. Thassa can be a very good blink commander, and it’s a nice addition to or EDH blink decks.

#25. Xenagos, God of Revels

Xenagos, God of Revels

Another indestructible god, Xenagos, God of Revels has one of the best passive abilities on the Theros gods, making it a hell of a cheat-into-play target. Xenagos is used alongside cards like Worldspine Wurm to give it haste and +X/+X, almost always winning a game from there. “Xenagod” can also be quite an effective commander when there are lots of big Gruul creatures around. 

#24. Titan of Industry

Titan of Industry

Good creatures with some protection and ETB effects tend to be heavily played, whether in ramp decks, control decks, or blink decks. Titan of Industry is no exception, and like Sanctuary Warden, it can come into play with a shield counter. But it can also stabilize your board by gaining life and making an extra 4/4 token. In either case, you can choose the best for each situation. It’s also got reach to prevent flyers from getting directly to you, making Titan good in many different scenarios.

#23. Narset, Enlightened Master

Narset, Enlightened Master

Narset, Enlightened Master needs quite the setup to be good, but it's devastating when it works. Being able to Voltron Narset and cast one or more noncreature spells for free is very strong, and can often win a game in a few turns if left unchecked. You’re mainly looking to cast extra turns spells or extra combat spells.

#22. Carnage Tyrant

Carnage Tyrant

Like Thrun, the Last Troll, Carnage Tyrant trolls control decks with many similar features like hexproof and “can’t be countered.” The major difference is that here we have a big freaking 7/6 dino with trample. Tyrant is massive and it leaves opponents a tiny window to draw that sweeper before they fall.

#21. Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger

Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger

Each time you cast Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger, your opponents will lose a card and maybe some life, and you can escape it later in the game. If Kroxa lives, you’ll beat them and their cards in hand, usually dealing 6 to 9 damage. If it dies, you get to escape and keep pressuring them. All of this in a tiny package.

#20. Batterskull


The only member of the list that isn't technically a creature card, Batterskull is for all purposes a 4/4 vigilance and lifelink creature. The unkillability comes from the fact that you can return the card to your hand and cast it again. Also, if the  living equipment Germ dies, you can transfer the equipment to another creature, keeping the threat in play. Of course, you can deal with it using Naturalize effects, but few players will have that effect available.

#19. Koma, Cosmos Serpent

Koma, Cosmos Serpent

Koma, Cosmos Serpent is a massive serpent that can’t be countered and makes other serpents every turn. In Commander that’s quite a lot of 3/3s. What’s more, each Koma's Coil can be sacrificed to make Koma indestructible. It’s nice to have Koma as your commander because you can ramp into it, and if it dies you can recast it again and again, producing more and more serpents along the way.

#18. Blightsteel Colossus

Blightsteel Colossus

Besides being indestructible, Blightsteel Colossus only needs to connect in combat once for you to win, or at least take out an opponent. The fact that you can cheat it into play via Tinker or some kind of Polymorph effect makes the playability and power of the Colossus skyrocket.

#17. Tenacious Underdog

Tenacious Underdog

Tenacious Underdog is a strong ally to black decks. It comes down as a 3/2, and if it dies you get to blitz it, attack with a 3/2 haste, and also draw another card. It pressures planeswalkers and synergizes with symmetric discard, like Liliana of the Veil’s +1 ability. In fact, it’s almost as if the card is better in the graveyard than in play.

#16. Mosswood Dreadknight

Mosswood Dreadknight

Mosswood Dreadknight is an adventure that gives you a card, becomes a 3/2, and dies into an adventure. Outside of counterspells and removal that exiles, it’s tough to deal with the Dreadknight, and as such the card is seeing heavy play across multiple formats.

#15. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

How can you improve upon a 10/10 indestructible that ends the game in a few attacks? Well, by adding a double exile effect when it’s cast, of course. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger is one of the premium expensive haymakers out there, and it’s even good when reanimated. It sees play in Cube, in decks like Legacy 12-Post where it’s easily castable, and in colorless EDH Eldrazi decks.

#14. Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is probably the most valuable creature to have in play or to cheat into play. It does so much. With Annihilator 6, a single attack makes all the difference and sends your opponent back to the stone age. You’ll also take an extra turn when you cast it, so the window to deal with Emrakul before getting attacked is very narrow.

#13. Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath

Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath

Like with Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger, the escape ability of Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath is what defines the power of the card. You’ll cast it, draw a card, gain life, and later you may escape it. Your opponent can’t deal with Uro effectively, because you’ll be up so many cards and life from just this one card. Uro’s been banned from many formats ever since its printing due to its sheer power and format-warping abilities.

#12. The Scarab God

The Scarab God

The Scarab God is a very scary commander, being able to transform any dead creature into a 4/4 with their innate abilities. Plus you’ll get a huge bonus if you’re playing a zombie deck. If you kill it, their owner will simply return it to their hand and cast it again. And if someone manages to exile it, well, it just returns to the command zone.

#11. Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis

Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis

Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis can be cast from your graveyard, whether using cards from delve or tapping creatures via convoke. That alone makes it extremely hard to get rid of Hogaak for good, seeing as their owner will almost always have the card on the battlefield again. Outside of mass exile effects like Farewell, it’s tough to deal with a Hogaak deck because it’s designed to fight spot removal, counterspells, and wrath effects due to all the reanimator shenanigans going on. 

#10. Slippery Bogle

Slippery Bogle

Slippery Bogle is probably the simplest member on the list and the one that caused the most damage overall. Bogle already had hexproof before it was cool. Just following this 1-drop with a lot of auras means certain doom to your opponents.

#9. Vengevine


A 4/3 with haste is already an annoying threat, and Vengevine will be even better when it comes back from the graveyard without having to spend any mana. The only requirement is casting two creature spells, and they can even be cast from your graveyard to get the dredge theme going strong.

#8. Hazoret the Fervent

Hazoret the Fervent

Being a 5/4 haste for 4 mana is already strong and pushed. Add indestructibility and the right deck and you’re set. Hazoret the Fervent went on to dominate the tournament scene for a while, even creating the “Hazored” deck and provoking many bannings. Its playability gets worse if more exile removal effects are played in the format.

#7. Cauldron Familiar

Cauldron Familiar

If there's one adjective that defines Cauldron Familiar, it's annoying. In decks with Witch's Oven or decks that can produce Food regularly, Cauldron Familiar simply won’t stay dead. With sacrifice outlets lying around you can’t target it with exile effects. It only gets worse in multiples too.

#6. Aclazotz, Deepest Betrayal

Aclazotz, Deepest Betrayal Temple of the Dead

Aclazotz, Deepest Betrayal is a big guy to have around. The 4/4 flying, lifelink body is serviceable, and if you manage to attack, opponents have to discard cards, strengthening your position. It turns into Temple of the Dead if it dies, and this ability in black even has synergies with sacrifice effects too.

#5. Hullbreaker Horror

Hullbreaker Horror

Hullbreaker Horror is an extremely versatile threat. It comes down with flash and threatens to end the game quickly. And if you have some instants to protect it, it won’t die ever. The horror decides control mirrors effectively, and it’s a good tool to destabilize a board.

#4. Heliod, Sun-Crowned

Heliod, Sun-Crowned

Heliod, Sun-Crowned is very impactful in many formats as a combo piece, mainly with Walking Ballista. It’s easy to tutor and set up this combo, sometimes even achievable with a Collected Company. But that’s just scratching the surface, as this indestructible and versatile card can be played in stax decks, white devotion, lifegain decks, and much more.

#3. Ojer Taq, Deepest Foundation

Ojer Taq, Deepest Foundation Temple of Civilization

I’m really overrating this guy because tripling every creature token produced is awesome. Add this effect to a 6/6 with vigilance and I don’t even care if it costs 6 mana to cast. Outside of exile effects, the worst that can happen with Ojer Taq, Deepest Foundation is for it to become Temple of Civilization for a few turns.

#2. Arclight Phoenix

Arclight Phoenix

Arclight Phoenix is a 3/2 flying haste that refuses to die. You just need to cast three instants or sorceries in a given turn and all your phoenixes will return from the graveyard to play, hitting your opponents in the face. It’s very easy to build a spellslinger deck around Arclight Phoenix’s ability. You just fill it with cheap spells, loot effects, or discard and draw effects. Spells that have delve fit into this game plan like a glove. The card’s been a staple of many formats including Legacy, Modern, Pioneer, and Standard.

#1. True-Name Nemesis

True-Name Nemesis

When a creature has protection against the chosen player, you know that it’s going to be annoying as hell. True-Name Nemesis, or TNN, is a machine in 1v1 MTG, but gets more tame in EDH since more players can target it. With some lords, counterspells, and equipment lying around, you’ll have a very narrow margin to answer opposing TNNs.

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 weak against 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 grindy midrange 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 Serpent Impulse

If your creature is a game-winning threat that’s difficult to deal with like Koma, Cosmos Serpent, you want mana rocks and 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 through Murders at Karlov Manor, 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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