Last updated on March 31, 2023
White Plume Adventurer | Illustration by Joseph Weston
The term “white weenie” from the early Magic days is used to describe white decks that fill the board with small creatures and try to win early and fast. One of the most defining aspects of white’s slice of the color pie is that it’s the main creature color in MTG. It’s the color that gets the most creatures overall, and it’s a very creature-oriented color, especially for aggro decks.
Most white aggressive and midrange decks are filled to the brim with creatures, and each set adds another white rare or mythic creature to the “best white creature conversation.” Today I’m looking at the best white creatures across MTG’s 30 years of history, ones that see play in various Constructed formats from Standard to Vintage. This list has angels, hate bears, token makers, and all kinds of white creature flavor.
Let’s dive in!
What Are White Creatures in MTG?
Sun Titan (Magic 2011) | Illustration by Todd Lockwood
White creatures are creatures with only symbols in their mana cost. White creatures play lots of roles in different decks, whether attacking or blocking, and they usually disrupt your opponents’ plans along the way.
They also see play in lots of different tribal decks, like “death and taxes,” lifegain, and prison/stax. Another common characteristic is to require costs like double () or triple () white symbols in their mana costs to reinforce the “mono-color matters” or devotion builds. White creatures also tend to have lots of evergreen abilities like flying, first strike, lifelink, and more.
I’m only considering pure white creatures for this list. That is, cards that cost white mana and have a white color identity for EDH purposes. No multicolored cards here. That unfortunately means that I’m excluding powerful DFC cards like Archangel Avacyn and Brutal Cathar since they have red backsides. I’m also not including artifact creatures that have white activated abilities like Combat Thresher or Auriok Replica.
#42. Leonin Arbiter
Leonin Arbiter is a tax on tutor and search effects. Your opponents won’t be able to fetch their lands or tutor for their combo while the Arbiter is there unless they pay two mana more.
Note that this affects you too, but hey, you’re the mono-white player.
#41. Academy Rector
Academy Rector debuted in Constructed as a way to cheat expensive enchantments like Yawgmoth's Bargain into play. Today you can use it to cheat Omniscience or maybe Overwhelming Splendor, so the Rector can still be part of these combos.
#40. Resplendent Angel
Besides being a good beater as a 3/3 flier for three, Resplendent Angel is a payoff for lifegain strategies, effectively making 4/4 Angels if you gain 5+ life. It can even trigger itself via the activated ability.
#39. Aven Mindcensor
Flash Aven Mindcensor in response to your opponent trying to search their library. It’s only a 2/1 flier but has to find what they want in the top 4 cards. It gets even worse in EDH since it’s a 4 in 100 chance to find something.
From now on while the Mindcensor is in play, only you can search libraries effectively.
#38. Grand Abolisher
Grand Abolisher is worth mentioning because of its unique ability. It works like a Teferi, Time Raveler of sorts. During your turn you won’t need to worry about any trick, removal spell, or counter.
#37. Archon of Sun’s Grace
Archon of Sun's Grace is a 3/4 flying lifelink creature that makes you a 2/2 flying lifelinker every time you cast an enchantment. That’s a little army in an enchantment-heavy deck.
That’s a lot of life to be gained too if you have lifelink synergies.
#36. Hero of Bladehold
Hero of Bladehold is an army in a can. It’s a 3/4, but every time it attacks it brings two other tokens. Make sure it can attack profitably and live to tell the tale with some kind of protection.
#35. Battle Angels of Tyr
Speaking of making tokens, Battle Angels of Tyr is one of the few good cards with the myriad mechanic. Every time the angels attack, you make a copy of them attacking every other player. Not only that, but each hit from “a” Battle Angels can give you cards, Treasure, or life.
#34. Archon of Emeria
Archon of Emeria is a flying hate bear that’s reasonably stated as a 2/3 flier for three mana, and the “each player can’t cast more than one spell” text is excellent in EDH. There you are, defending yourself from combos and greedy players who want to cast lots of spells, effectively bringing a game to a halt. Which is why you’re playing the Archon in the first place.
#33. Iona, Shield of Emeria
A giant angel that locks players from casting spells from a color has got to be good, right? Too bad it costs .
Iona, Shield of Emeria used to be a good reanimation target in Modern, especially against heavy mono-colored decks. There’s also the Painter's Servant lock, where you set all spells to be the same color and now people can’t play spells at all.
#32. Karmic Guide
Karmic Guide is a 2/2 flier that’s also a reanimate spell. Usually most Zombify effects cost four to five mana, so the extra 2/2 flying is nice.
Considering that there are ways to Reveillark this (since it’s a 2/2) and other shenanigans, you can set all sorts of infinite combos and reanimations with the guide, generating extra mana, death triggers, and more.
#31. Lion Sash
Lion Sash is like a white Scavenging Ooze; the only difference is that it’s an artifact and starts as a 1/1. But it serves the same purpose, really.
You’ll exile cards from graveyards and put counters on it. And it has the reconfigure mechanic, so it can also be an equipment. Lion Sash is one more tool for the already versatile white creature decks.
#30. Serra Paragon
Serra Paragon is a 3/4 flier that gives you the Lurrus of the Dream-Den effect. It’s very powerful to cast a big flier and get a 1- to 3-drop back, or maybe replay a fetch land. It can be any kind of permanent, so you can recover artifacts like Reckoner Bankbuster, equipment, or even 3-mana planeswalkers like Liliana of the Veil.
#29. Lunarch Veteran + Soul Warden
Soul Warden has always been a staple in white lifegain decks. Lunarch Veteran is almost a strictly better version because it has the disturb mechanic, and you can play both in the same deck for effect redundancy (Soul Warden triggers from other players’ creatures too).
These little innocuous guys can gain so much life, then you trigger all your lifegain synergies. From growing cards like Serra Ascendant, Voice of the Blessed, or Trelasarra, Moon Dancer, the constant lifegain triggers are the root of those decks. You can also draw cards with Dawn of Hope more frequently.
#28. Serra Ascendant
So there’s this format called EDH, and I’ve heard it’s quite popular. There, Serra Ascendant is a 6/6 from the start for only one mana! Glorious!
Most players already call the Ascendant overpowered in EDH, and there’s some argument to it. But it also dies to Doom Blade, and there are much better threats out there. You can play it in lifegain decks in Modern too. It’s easy to get from 20 to 30 life in the right lifegain deck.
#27. Sram, Senior Edificer
Sram, Senior Edificer’s main contribution is getting a card back every time you play an aura, equipment, or vehicle. You can build a Voltron strategy full of cheap auras/equipment and draw a bunch of cards in EDH decks.
Or you can have combos with Aetherflux Reservoir and Mystic Forge, which allow you to play a bunch of cards, draw more cards, and repeat the process until the Reservoir kills everyone.
Another famous combo piece in white is Reveillark. You return up to two target creature cards with power 2 or less from your graveyard to the battlefield when it dies. That can be made via the evoke ability or a sacrifice outlet.
And then there’s a bunch of targets you can recover, from Mulldrifter to Karmic Guide. Or maybe something related to sacrifice and recursion, like Eternal Witness and Viscera Seer.
#25. Timeless Dragon
Timeless Dragon has two different modes. The first one is to cycle it for and then eternalize it for , which indirectly creates a 5/5 for four mana that draws a card. That’s already good.
The other part is to cast it for five mana, and then you can get a second body via eternalize. Either way you’re getting two dragons in one card, or a dragon and an extra card.
#24. Kytheon, Hero of Akros
A 2/1 creature for has been a playable creature since the times of Savannah Lions. Kytheon, Hero of Akros takes that concept up an extra notch.
First, you can pay to give it indestructibility. The second benefit is that Kytheon transforms into Gideon, Battle-Forged if you attack with three or more creatures. This solves a fundamental problem with a 2/1 for one mana, and that’s to be relevant in the late game.
#23. Giada, Font of Hope
Giada, Font of Hope is a 2/2 flier for two mana. But it’s also an angel lord in disguise, and angel is a common creature type in white decks, which makes Giada all the more desirable. You can ramp other angels and add +1/+1 counters on them.
#22. Anointed Peacekeeper
Anointed Peacekeeper is a 3/3 with vigilance for three, which isn’t that common in white. Besides, you get a lock effect. You’ll be able to see your opponent’s hand, choose a card, and tax it, whether casting it or using its non-mana activated abilities.
And a little detail: the chosen card doesn’t need to be in play or in hand, so even if your opponent doesn’t have that wrath, you can tax it.
#21. Drannith Magistrate
Remember that format called EDH, where people want to cast their commanders from the command zone? Except that you can’t because Drannith Magistrate won’t allow it.
The Magistrate works with other stuff too, so players can’t use red “impulsive draw effects” and you can’t cast anything from graveyards or from the top of your library, just to name a few.
#20. Containment Priest
Containment Priest’s sole purpose is to deny things from happening. It delays combos like Flash and Hulk, foil cards like Show and Tell, or effects that state “return target creature to the battlefield.” It can even be flashed in response to an effect like this.
#19. Wall of Omens
Wall of Omens is high on the list because it was such as 2-drop staple in Modern control decks. It blocks well as a 0/4, dodges Lightning Bolt, and draws you a card.
#18. Elite Spellbinder
3/1 flying is already a fast clock, but the most annoying part of dealing with Elite Spellbinder is that it makes you pay more on a given card, so it’s a nice disruptive element for aggro decks. And it’s a human, which means that it can be played in tribal decks like Modern humans.
#17. Skyclave Apparition
Skyclave Apparition has the power to exile any nonland permanent with mana value lower than four. The downside is to give your opponent a token with the same size as the mana value. That looks like a big drawback, but it isn’t.
What’s worse to deal with? A Jace, the Mind Sculptor, or a 4/4? An Aether Vial, or a 1/1? Formats like Modern and Pioneer usually require you to deal with lots of different permanents, and the flexibility of Skyclave is king in those cases.
#16. Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines
Part big creature, part Panharmonicon. Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines isn’t dying that easily thanks to the seven toughness, and it doubles all your triggers while denying your opponents’. But which triggers?
ETB triggers from permanents you play like Mulldrifter, or cards that care about other permanents entering the battlefield, like Soul Warden. As a commander this effect is very powerful because of the deckbuilding possibilities and the ability to mess with opponents trying to abuse those triggers.
#15. Mother of Runes + Giver of Runes
These two are very similar cards so I grouped them together. Giver of Runes is the Modern-legal version of Mother of Runes (also called Mom), and its role is to protect a particular creature. Usually decks that want certain creatures to stay together on the battlefield and combo off also want four copies.
Need your Devoted Druid to stay alive? Giver of Runes will protect it. Need your Puresteel Paladin alive to reduce the cost of equipment? Ditto. The two cards are almost equal; the main difference is the creature stats and the fact that “Mom” can protect itself too.
#14. Adeline, Resplendent Cathar
All-star in Standard, Adeline, Resplendent Cathar is everything WotC ever wanted with cards like Crusader of Odric and Wayfaring Temple. Adeline makes a token every time a creature attacks, so it can impact the board at the same turn.
It also has vigilance, playing offense and defense at the same time.
#13. Puresteel Paladin
Puresteel Paladin, besides drawing cards when equipment ETBs, lowers the equip cost to zero. This is great synergy with equipment that have expensive equip costs (Colossus Hammer comes to mind, but not only that).
Suddenly Skullclamp costs zero to move around, and you can abuse playing equipment that cost zero to draw cards like Kite Shield or Accorder's Shield.
#12. Mentor of the Meek
Mentor of the Meek is one of white’s best card draw engines. All it needs is that a creature with power two or less ETBs. A single token maker, playing small creatures can give you a lot of cards, and Rhys the Redeemed alone can get enough mentor fodder to draw cards.
#11. Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
White has its fair share of small creatures, so let’s talk big.
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite is high on the list because, well, it’s one of the premier reanimation targets. Elesh Norn enters the battlefield and straight up kills any number of small creatures while bolstering your own. You’ve just created a +4/+4 advantage for your team.
You’ll also shut down whatever shenanigans your opponents are planning with sacrifice outlets and small creatures.
#10. Palace Jailer
The real value of Palace Jailer and what sets it apart is that it can make you the monarch, which is free card draw every turn in white (in the worst card draw color, no less). It’s a twist on Fiend Hunter-style cards, in that you exile a creature when it ETBs, but the creature is exiled while you’re the monarch.
Palace Jailer also prevents you from quickly losing the monarchy. The monarch mechanic is very busted in 1v1, and some combo/control decks can’t really take it from you that easily. This card can also easily be flickered/blinked if you need to recover the monarch condition.
#9. Heliod, Sun-Crowned
Heliod, Sun-Crowned is a very good card in prison and lifegain decks because it can fulfill those roles very well. It’s also a nice commander.
The pushed white Theros god excels when it can be a part of a two-card creature combo that outright wins the game like with Walking Ballista. Spike Feeder and Collected Company can complement this plan well and win on the spot in a lot of games.
#8. Restoration Angel
Whether with Thragtusk or Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, Restoration Angel has been a protagonist of many powerful decks. Besides its obvious blink synergies and possible infinite combos, Restoration Angel is very nice as a surprise blocker and a threat to end the game.
#7. Stoneforge Mystic
Developer tip: tutoring a card and putting it into the battlefield is strong (Tinker), even if it requires multiple steps. Stoneforge Mystic does that with equipment, preferably those that have mechanics like living weapon or for Mirrodin!, which are put into your hand and later into the battlefield.
What’s more, you can have an equipment toolbox for each occasion. Stoneforge has been a white staple ever since it was printed, and WotC won’t stop printing more powerful targets.
#6. Esper Sentinel
MTG players cried out that white needs more card draw, especially in EDH. WotC listened.
Esper Sentinel can draw up to three cards a turn in EDH, provided that your opponents are playing spells and aren’t paying their taxes. It’s synergistic with equipment and +1/+1 counters too since that raises the taxes players need to pay and your odds of drawing cards.
#5. Monastery Mentor
Restricted in Vintage, Monastery Mentor is one of the better payoffs for a spells matter deck. You’ll make a token every time you cast a noncreature spell. And not just any token, but a token with prowess. That’s like Young Pyromancer on steroids, which can quickly win a game.
#4. White Plume Adventurer
White Plume Adventurer is the cheapest creature with the initiative mechanic. Like cards with monarch, the quicker it is to put online the better, and these multiplayer-focused mechanics tend to overperform in 1v1 scenarios.
Initiative decks dominated tournament scenes after the printing of White Plume Adventurer, to the point of putting a white creature deck in the Vintage scene. It was finally banned in Legacy and thus deserves a high spot in the list.
#3. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is a 2-drop that sees play in almost every format. The constant tax effect is annoying as hell to play against, and the 2/1 first strike body is relevant. Suddenly your 2-mana removal spell costs three, or your wrath costs five, and it’s almost impossible to deal with what your opponent is up to.
Considering that formats like Legacy and Vintage are very focused on combo, Thalia’s presence is mandatory to slow them down or prevent opponents from going infinite.
#2. Sun Titan
Sun Titan is a 6/6. It has also vigilance. In white. That’s already a good threat, but we’re talking Limited good. What sets the cycle of Titans apart from other creatures is that you’ll get a good ETB effect, and an attack effect.
What can you do with Sun Titan? You can get permanents back to the battlefield (and that includes fetch lands), creatures that ETB and draw a card, auras, and removal spells like Oblivion Ring. Combine these into a single card and you get a staple for formats like EDH, Modern, and the like.
At the very least, Solitude is a “pitch” Swords to Plowshares, an effect that’s not even available in Modern. The 3/2 flash lifelink that comes with the removal isn’t bad either since you’ll recover life loss. But that’s just the surface.
You get an elemental that can be flickered, blinked, and used to remove lots of creatures on the board. And there’s also Ephemerate. It’s a removal spell that’s also a flexible creature.
Best White Creature Payoffs and Synergies
The first way to take full advantage/bolster white creature strategies is Armageddon, and the reasoning is simple. Fast white creature strategies usually start with small but powerful creatures. If you already have a board advantage and destroy all the lands in play, your opponents have fewer resources to kill your creatures or wrath the board, so you’ll maintain your advantage. If your creatures cost one or two mana, why do you need that many lands anyway?
You can slightly mess with your opponents’ lands with Strip Mine and Wasteland.
Protect your already established board from mass removal using cards like Selfless Spirit and Teferi's Protection. White isn’t the color of counterspells, but a well-placed Mana Tithe can do the job just fine.
Honor of the Pure gives all your white creatures +1/+1. Effects like Glorious Anthem usually cost three mana, so this is a good discount. Wedding Announcement, a Standard all-star, does all of that and gives you tokens and cards.
Intangible Virtue is a good payoff for a token strategy since a lot of good white weenie strategies use creature tokens. Always Watching can be another good addition.
Oketra's Monument and Oketra the True are good cards to have in a white weenie strategy. You’ll make a lot of tokens incidentally, which benefits the god. An “online” 3/6 indestructible is no joke.
Cathars' Crusade is a good card to run if your deck is very creature-centric. Your little army will grow very, very fast with each new creature.
Planeswalkers like Gideon Jura, Elspeth, Knight-Errant, and The Wandering Emperor usually complement a creature strategy well by pumping your creatures, giving evasion, or destroying opposing creatures.
It’s common to see white creature strategies have tribal payoffs. History of Benalia is a very good card in a knights deck, while Thalia's Lieutenant is very good in a humans build.
If you have a sizable force, you can’t go wrong with mass pump effects like Rally the Peasants or Heroic Reinforcements.
Solitude | Illustration by Evan Shipard
Anyway, that’s all from me on white creatures today. White weenie strategies are as old as MTG itself, and there’s usually a Standard white weenie deck that’s at least competitive. WotC has been paying special attention to white cards lately since the color has been dragging behind the others in playability and power level. Still, this shows that the color is doing fine across all formats. And yes, a lot of the entries in this list have been printed in the last two years, showing white’s recent power creep.
Now I want to hear from you. Which of your favorite white creatures didn’t make the list? I know some of mine didn’t make it. Let me know in the comments below, or let’s take the discussion to the Draftsim Discord.
Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one!
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