Last updated on January 20, 2022
Kess, Dissident Mage | Illustration by Izzy
Wizards are one of the staple creature subtypes in Magic. There are over 800 wizard cards that span the entirety of Magic’s history. That’s quite a lot to say the least. Some of them are great. Some of them aren’t great at all.
Let’s go over some of the best out there!
What Are Wizards in MTG?
Thassa’s Oracle | Illustration by Jesper Ejsing
Wizards are spellcasters and characters who’ve spent their lives studying and becoming versed in magic. A lot of them have effects that help cast spells, benefit from you casting them, or interact with those spells in some way. Other wizards have a prevalent focus on drawing cards. But there are still a lot of wizards that simply have a variety of abilities.
Wizards can also vary in power and toughness. They go from 0/1 creatures like Apprentice Wizard to 8/8 giants (quite literally) like Surtland Elementalist. The only consistent part of wizards is the fact that they share a creature type.
You’ll find wizards in every color in Magic. That being said, there are more wizards in blue than there are in every other color combined. Almost half of all wizard cards are mono-blue, and a significant bunch are blue with another color. Second on the list is black followed by white and red. Green is the color with the fewest wizards.
#27: Cyclone Summoner
The best and most obvious way to play this wizard is on a field where you have a lot of giants and wizards and your opponents have none. It’ll act as a controlled board wipe and you get to swing at your opponents with everything you’ve got.
#26: Disciple of Bolas
At this point I just assume that almost any card related to Nicol Bolas is gonna be good in some way or another. While far from being the best wizard out there, Disciple of Bolas can bring a lot of utility to a deck.
Being able to sacrifice a big creature that was targeted by something like Pacifism while also gaining life and drawing cards is always good. Even if what you target isn’t that big, being able to draw three or four cards is already a considerable advantage.
#25: Azami, Lady of Scrolls
This is probably the starting point for any player that wants to build a wizard tribal Commander deck, either as part of the 99 or as a commander. Azami, Lady of Scrolls can enable a ton of fun interactions if you play it right. You can always play Azami as part of the 99 in an Inalla, Archmage Ritualist build and use the copies to draw yourself a more-than-reasonable amount of cards.
And if you feel like being a huge threat to your table, you can use Azami and any wizards you have on the field to draw yourself a huge number of cards then play the infamous Isochron Scepter and Dramatic Reversal combo. Just draw into whatever you need to have a proper advantage over your opponents.
#24: Goblin Electromancer
Another pretty straightforward card that cares about spellcasting. Having creatures that benefit from you casting spells is always good, but sometimes you need your creatures to help you cast those spells. That’s what Goblin Electromancer is for.
Reducing the cost of your spells grants some much-needed advantage in spell-heavy decks (read: Storm), especially if you plan on casting expensive, game-ending spells like Insurrection.
#23: Naban, Dean of Iteration
Enter the battlefield (ETB) abilities have gotten a lot of support over the past few years. Things like Yorion, Sky Nomad and Teleportation Circle make for some cool new interactions. Naban, Dean of Iteration takes advantage of that as long as you’re playing a ton of wizards.
Doubling your wizards’ ETB triggers is already great with cards like Cloudkin Seer and Archaeomancer, but it also doubles the triggers in cards like Door of Destinies. It’s really easy to see how doubling these abilities for free can quickly build you a strong board.
#22: Kaza, Roil Chaser
This card is more on the not-so-powerful end of things, and it certainly won’t single-handedly win you a game. But I think it can be extremely good in a wizard tribal deck. Lots of wizard cards synergize with instant and sorcery spells. After all, it’s one of the tribe’s most common archetypes. Having Kaza, Roil Chaser in a deck that plays plenty of wizards and plenty of expensive spells can lead to some really fun shenanigans.
On the one hand, I wouldn’t recommend playing Kaza in most competitive settings because it’s not exactly a powerhouse card. I do recommend playing it either in the current Standard meta or as part of your 99 in a spell-centric wizard tribal EDH deck.
#21: Aven Mindcensor
Everyone likes control decks, right?
Let’s not answer that. But if you do like playing control, then Aven Mindcensor is not only really good but also annoyingly original. Being able to put a massive restriction over which cards your opponents get to tutor can be absolutely game-breaking in a tutor-heavy format like EDH.
Any deck that aims to aggressively restrict its opponents benefits from this card. And it’s a wizard that isn’t red, black, or blue, which adds a nice bit of variety to my list.
#20: Puppeteer Clique
Yet another great example of wizards with powerful ETBs that benefit from being able to repeat them. Puppeteer Clique can get you a powerful (or useful) creature from your opponent’s graveyard. And it also exiles once you’re done with it which means you can ruin your opponent’s recursion strategy by removing their creature for good.
This card also has persist, which means you get to put it onto the battlefield and trigger the ETB a second time once it dies. You’ll have lots of fun pushing this wizard’s power level to the limit if you can create copies or remove the -1/-1 counter from its persist ability.
#19: Aegar, the Freezing Flame
The amount of support that giants have seen these past years is still astounding. I feel like they came out of nowhere and became a force to be reckoned with in just a year or two. I also think Aegar, the Freezing Flame doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. Checking for excess damage dealt to creatures isn’t exactly a new thing (trample has been around since Alpha, after all), but cards like Aegar bring an interesting new dimension to it.
Combined with cards like Toralf, God of Fury and a nice assortment of powerful spells, giants, and wizards, Aegar can get you significant card advantage really quickly if you play it right. It’s similar to Vadrik, Astral Archmage in that it takes advantage of mechanics in unique ways that add depth to the game.
#18: Archmage Emeritus
We once again care about spellcasting with this wizard. Being able to draw a card every time you cast or copy an instant or sorcery is an easy way to get card advantage. Combine this card with something like Niv-Mizzet, Parun and you’ll be drawing a ton of cards and dishing out a ton of damage to your opponents and their permanents.
#17: Riku of Two Reflections
Riku of Two Reflections comes with some abilities that spice up the whole wizards-that-care-about-spellcasting bit. While most wizards focus on spellcasting, others care more about creatures. This attention to creatures usually relates to other wizards or giants in the case of Aegar, the Freezing Flame.
What makes Riku stand out is that it cares about creatures in a non-tribal way. It interacts with your creatures in almost the same way it interacts with your instants and sorceries: by copying them. This immediately makes it a powerful commander since almost everything you cast can become repeatable for just two extra mana. And having green in its color identity means that ramping won’t be that much of a problem.
#16: Jodah, Archmage Eternal
I personally run it as my commander in a deck built around planeswalkers. Being able to cheat absurdly expensive cards as long as you pay one mana of each color can be really good when you’re playing Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker or Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh. And if you want to be kicked out of your game group, you can also cheat Omniscience onto the field for half its actual mana value.
#15: Drannith Magistrate
Let’s wrap it up with another white wizard. And what represents white better than some obsessive control? Drannith Magistrate can be useful by itself as a way to counter decks that play tons of cards from their graveyards or from exile. It basically makes decks like the ones built around Prosper, Tome-Bound almost useless.
But that’s not what makes this wizard particularly strong. This is a great combo piece if you want to keep your opponents from playing anything. Combine Magistrate with cards like Uba Mask and Possibility Storm and your opponents can no longer play any of their cards. You effectively make it impossible to play from their hand so they basically can’t play anything at all since you (typically) can’t play cards from anywhere else.
#14: Arcanis the Omnipotent
This is a creature that lets you draw three cards on each of your turns at the very least, maybe more if you have ways to untap it before your next turn. It’s an amazing way to create card advantage and you can even return it to your hand if an opponent tries to get rid of it. What’s not to like?
#13: Derevi, Empyrial Tactician
Let’s move away from spellcasting for a little bit. I like Derevi, Empyrial Tactician because it exists outside of a wizard’s usual colors. Derevi also has huge potential for combos (infinite or otherwise) with its ability.
Being able to blink this wizard allows you to untap a permanent. That may not seem like much at first glance but you have an infinite mana combo on your hands if you have a repeatable way to blink it like Deadeye Navigator and any mana generator that makes enough mana like Gilded Lotus or Bloom Tender. And Derevi’s final ability that lets you cheat on commander tax can also come in handy.
#12: Havengul Lich
If there’s anything better than being able to cast creatures from your own graveyard, it’s being able to cast creatures from any graveyard. That’s exactly what Havengul Lich does. It also gains any abilities the creature you cast has.
There are several combos with this card. Most of them include any zombie (but ones with ETB abilities are your best choice), Ashnod’s Altar, and Rooftop Storm to create infinite mana and exploit any ETB abilities the zombie might have.
#11: Vadrik, Astral Archmage
While I don’t think Vadrik, Astral Archmage is the most powerful wizard out there, I really like how it takes advantage of the day/night mechanic. One thing I really like about this mechanic is that it allows cards other than werewolves to use it. Vadrik is a great example of that.
The way this card uses the day/night cycle is really interesting considering wizard decks often have an instant and sorcery subtheme. Being able to control what you cast and when you cast it lets you use the day/night cycle to your advantage. This makes your spells easier to cast and your initiative can snowball from there.
#10: Dualcaster Mage
Sometimes recursion is too slow. Sometimes what you need is to cast the same spell twice at the same time. That’s exactly what Dualcaster Mage is for. Instants that copy other spells usually cost (Reverberate, Doublecast, Dual Strike, etc.). That means you’re getting a 2/2 creature for , which is a pretty good deal.
Dualcaster Mage (and Archaeomancer) are great examples of wizards that can take advantage of abilities like Naban, Dean of Iteration and Inalla, Archmage Ritualist. Having their ETBs trigger twice (if not more) can grant you a significant advantage if you play them right.
#9: Bloodline Necromancer
Having recursion in your vampire and wizard decks is always a good thing. You never know when you’re gonna need to bring back an essential piece of a combo or a powerhouse creature that just got destroyed.
Bloodline Necromancer is also great in Inalla, Archmage Ritualist decks if you pair it with Ashnod’s Altar or Phyrexian Altar. Infinite mana and tokens in the first case and infinite tokens with lifelink and haste in the second. It’s a really quick way to overpower your opponents if you play it right.
#8: Inalla, Archmage Ritualist
Commander 2017 is still considered pretty controversial by a lot of EDH players. Eminence is an incredibly powerful ability that lets you take advantage of the command zone in a way that’s basically impossible otherwise. I know Oloro, Ageless Ascetic technically did it first, but it still wasn’t at the level of most eminence commanders so Inalla, Archmage Ritualist takes this spot.
Being able to create temporary copies of wizards you control means being able to double any ETB abilities that may trigger. Not to mention you get a free attack with the copy which helps put pressure on your opponents. These copies also allow for some expensive (yet interesting) combos.
I haven’t forgotten about wizards’ love of spellcasting. I’ve already mentioned that having recursion for your spells is always a good thing. Archaeomancer brings exactly that to any and all decks that run blue and important spells. Another advantage this card has is that you can actually create copies that keep bringing spells back without having to sacrifice any of them to the legend rule since it’s not a legendary.
#6: Laboratory Maniac
We all know that milling is a great way to get rid of opponents. This is a strategy that doesn’t work in Commander. Having several opponents and 99-card decks means that milling each of them is next to impossible.
But this isn’t a problem with Laboratory Maniac. Build that mill deck you’ve been wanting to and make sure to include this wizard. That way you can spend all of those mill spells and abilities on yourself to win the game. It sounds (and is) quite crazy, but it’s probably one of the most original alternate win conditions out there and it’s always really funny when it works. And even funnier when it doesn’t.
#5: Niv-Mizzet, Parun
I was tempted to include every Niv-Mizzet card here except for Niv-Mizzet Reborn since it’s not a wizard, but I decided to stick with the latest version of the draconic genius. Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius plus Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind is already an absurdly good combo if you manage to play both of them. Tapping to draw a card and deal one damage is amazing and being able to deal one damage for which in turn draws you a card is also a very valuable ability. If you combine the two you instantly go infinite
as long as you have enough cards in your deck.
I think that Niv-Mizzet, Parun is the best of the three because it manages to be a huge threat while also being a soft way to control what your opponents do. Any time an opponent might want to cast an instant or sorcery spell, they’ll have Niv-Mizzet’s ability to consider. You’ll also have plenty of instants and sorceries of your own to play if you need to draw cards or do some damage if you’re playing Izzet.
#4: Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
What I find curious about Teferi is the way his abilities work: one benefits you and the other restricts your opponents. It reminds me a lot of the original five phyrexian praetors, especially Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite and Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger.
#3: Thassa’s Oracle
There’s one main combo that you can pull of with Thassa’s Oracle that wins the game pretty quickly. If you play this wizard followed by Demonic Consultation and then name a card that’s not in your library, you’ll exile your entire library and the Oracle’s ability will then resolve, winning you the game. All for three mana.
Even if you don’t want to play in such a combo-y way, this card is a great addition in plenty of decks, including high-devotion and self-mill ones.
#2: Zur the Enchanter
The thing about wizards is that there’s such a wide variety of them. Some of them are great on their own and don’t need any tribal synergy. Zur the Enchanter is one of those wizards. It wouldn’t be so great in a tribal deck since it gives little to no advantages to other wizards. But it’s amazing in enchantment decks.
Being able to tutor an enchantment into play each turn allows for an absurd range of strategies in Commander. The most common builds for this card revolve around infinite combos but you can also build Voltron and pillow-fort decks. It’s a really versatile creature that probably sets you as a threat at almost any EDH table.
#1: Kess, Dissident Mage
Graveyard recursion for non-permanent spells is always a great thing to have, especially in a format like Commander where you can only have a single copy of each non-basic land in your deck. And having a 3/4 flyer for four mana isn’t exactly terrible either.
There’s clear support for instants and sorceries within the wizard tribe, and Kess, Dissident Mage is only one among many other wizards that work within that support.
Best Wizard Payoffs
Wizard’s Lightning | Illustration by Grzegorz Rutkowski
Since wizards as a tribe offer such great variety, so do the cards that support and synergize with them. I’ve already mentioned some as combo pieces or specific strategies, and you’ll notice that a lot of them are really different from each other. It all depends on what the wizard does and needs.
You could say that most instants and sorceries work really well with a lot of wizards as a general rule. Reducing the casting cost of instants and sorceries and benefiting from spellcasting are common themes among the subtype, so those are a safe bet if you’re looking to build a wizard-heavy or even tribal deck.
Best Wizard Accessories
Demilich Ultra Pro Playmat
Demilich wasn’t good enough to make the cut for this list (although who knows with its Alchemy rebalancing…), but only by a slight margin. But it has some great art. I think it represents the demilich from Dungeons & Dragons really well while also looking amazing on its own. This Demilich playmat is a great backdrop for a spellcasting deck full of wizards.
- Officially licensed for Magic: the Gathering
- Features exclusive art from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms featuring Demilich
- Approximately 24 in. x 13.5 in. and lays flat
- Soft fabric top helps protect cards during gameplay
- Non-slip rubber backing keeps the playmat from shifting during use
A very well-liked (and disliked) card in the Magic community that also made it as a runner-up, Snapcaster Mage is a classic and has really sleek art. The card was designed by Tiago Chan, the 2007 Magic Invitational champion.
This Mage has a whole bunch of stories behind it, but I’ll save that for another time. What’s important now is that you can use these Snapcaster Mage sleeves to protect your wizard tribal deck.
- Deck Protectors with Ultra PRO’s hologram quality seal.
Teferi got his first properly named card (we don’t talk about Disruptive Student) in 2006 with the previously mentioned Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir. The next time we’d see him was in Commander 2014 as one of the planeswalker commanders. We’ve since only seen him represented as a planeswalker.
You either love or hate Teferi’s cards. But he’s a more-than-likeable character who’s shown up time and time again. So why not use this Teferi-themed bundle to make your wizard (or control) decks look absolutely amazing?
- Ignite your spark with the Teferi Accessory Bundle for Magic: the Gathering!
Wizard’s Spellbook | Illustration by Iris Compiet
Wizards have a long history in the game. They’ve been here from the start and they’ll probably be here for as long as Magic continues. My rankings are just a handful of the most powerful wizards out there right now.
So, what are your favorite wizards? Do you think I missed any important ones that you would’ve liked to see? Feel free to leave a comment down below, and follow our blog for more content like this.
That’s all from me for now, folks. Stay safe, and I’ll see you next time!
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