Last updated on January 19, 2023

Defiler of Vigor - Illustration by Chase Stone

Defiler of Vigor | Illustration by Chase Stone

In 1884, Gunnar Olof Hyltén-Cavallius offered a cash reward for evidence to prove the reality of his cryptid passion, the lindwurm (or lindworm). He was unsuccessful.

More than 100 years later, these creatures can be discovered in packs of Magic cards. Wurms, that is. Ready to dive in and hear all about it? Let’s get started!

What Are Wurms in Magic?

Worldspine Wurm - Illustration by Richard Wright

Worldspine Wurm | Illustration by Richard Wright

As opposed to worms IRL and “wyrms” in D&D, wurms in Magic are “green’s size and savagery epitomized” according to Doug Beyer, and have been since the first wurm was printed in Alpha, Craw Wurm. Although most wurms are giant green creatures connected with Scandinavian and German traditions of giant forest lindwurms, there are a few in other colors and one banger of a colorless one.

While a big wurm is a staple stabilizer for green beatdown decks in Limited (preferably one that grants some life), are there any that can make the cut for Constructed? Spoiler alert: yes.

Let’s find out.

Best White Wurm

Bet you didn’t know there was a white wurm in Magic! Why is there only one? Lovecraft called and said this is a flavor fail.

#1. Saltskitter

Saltskitter

One of those old-timey Magic cards where the annoying drawback has become a (slight) bonus, Saltskitter is fine in the decks where you’d expect it: Ephara, God of the Polis and Ranar the Ever-Watchful. But I don’t think there’s really room for this card anymore given the enormous number of blink cards printed in the last four years.

Best Blue Wurm

Just one. You can skip the blue section if you hate the history of Magic.

#1. Water Wurm

Water Wurm

Unplayable! But look at Water Wurm. There’s a mono-blue wurm all the way back in The Dark.

Best Black Wurms

There aren’t too many wurms in black, but one of your favorites is lurking here!

#2. Trench Wurm

Trench Wurm

This can’t be good. But if you’re like me you had no idea that Trench Wurm existed. Someone has a janky EDH deck that’s looking for just this effect. Don’t stop being you, janky Commander brewers!

#1. Massacre Wurm

Massacre Wurm

A wrath effect on a (really, really big) stick, Massacre Wurm enjoys being reanimated to kill the table with that life loss ability in decks with Araumi of the Dead Tide or Meren of Clan Nel Toth.

Best Red Wurm

There’s only one wurm in red, which feels like a flavor fail.

#1. Reckless Wurm

Reckless Wurm

Reckless Wurm is almost an auto-include in Anje Falkenrath madness decks. Other than that it’s kinda meh.

Best Green Wurms

Most wurms are green. I guess that makes sense given green’s propensity for big dumb beaters.

#17.Tempting Wurm

Tempting Wurm

Tempting Wurm is about the best rate you’ll get on a mono-green group hug card.

Yeah. Cool. That’s a thing.

I don’t know how to rank cards for group hug decks, send help!

#16. Symbiotic Wurm

Symbiotic Wurm

This isn’t that great, I know, but this is a PSA for all the EDH players out there with sacrifice decks in green. Symbiotic Wurm belongs in a deck that’s rolling with Evolutionary Leap and Greater Good.

#15. Endless Wurm

Endless Wurm

This is most likely a meme, but hear me out. You could do worse than Endless Wurm paired with things like Rancor, Aspect of Mongoose, Fortitude, and Spreading Algae if you’re looking for enchantment casting triggers. Those are all decent enchantment effects if you’re going for wurm tribal anyway, and all of them trigger your Defiler of Vigor.

#14. Conifer Wurm

Conifer Wurm

Most snow decks have green, especially in Commander. Conifer Wurm is a lower tier, but real threat in those decks.

#13. Bookwurm

Bookwurm

A house in Strixhaven Limited, Bookwurm still finds its way into EDH decks that like the recursion.

#12. Pelakka Wurm

Pelakka Wurm

Even better than the previous card for similar purposes is Pelakka Wurm.

#11. Penumbra Wurm

Penumbra Wurm

If you’re cheating this into play in any way, it stabilizes things nicely. But there are like 500 better 7-drops to cheat into play than Penumbra Wurm.

#10. Arrogant Wurm

Arrogant Wurm

A classic top-end threat in the Simic () madness decks way back in the Odyssey block, Arrogant Wurm is still a decent rate for its madness costs and was fantastic 20 years ago.

This is no longer relevant for EDH unless more madness cards are printed again outside of Rakdos ().

#9. Boneyard Wurm

Boneyard Wurm

Boneyard Wurm is budget Lhurgoyf at home and is cheap enough to find a decent home in Golgari () self-mill decks with a Commander like Old Stickfingers. I’ve been known to pair Boneyard Wurm with Wild Mongrel in my day.

#8. Soul Swallower

Soul Swallower

I know Soul Swallower isn’t that good, but I’ve lost to it in Commander more than any other wurm on this list. You’re thinking, “How? Steve must be really bad at Magic,” and you’re not totally wrong.

Or maybe I just play more recursion-oriented Sultai () decks than you do, and it’s like clockwork. I use the last piece of removal in my hand. Opponent plays Soul Swallower.

#7. Panglacial Wurm

Panglacial Wurm

If you play a lot of fetch lands to fix your mana in EDH and worry about top decking lands late game, slot a Panglacial Wurm into your deck and go back to sleep when you wake in a cold sweat from Commander-related nightmares at 3 a.m.

#6. Elderscale Wurm

Elderscale Wurm

A green Platinum Angel, I can see how you’d use Elderscale Wurm, but it feels like green is bad at playing from behind like this. Green wants to stomp and hulk smash and can do a lot more with seven mana.

#5. Bellowing Tanglewurm

Bellowing Tanglewurm

This isn’t a terrible rate for a card, and it’s the only green card that grants intimidate. So Bellowing Tanglewurm is pretty important if that’s a part of your go-wide beatdown plan.

Green commanders that reward you for hitting an opponent like Fynn, the Fangbearer, Sakiko, Mother of Summer, and Toski, Bearer of Secrets are big fans of this.

#4. Grothama, All-Devouring

Grothama, All-Devouring

Grothama, All-Devouring is a bit of an all-in build-around commander. You protect it or make it indestructible with whatever tools you want, but equipment like Darksteel Plate works best because you can unequip it as needed.

You fight it with your own big indestructible creatures and then let this die to draw mass cards. Add in a few wincons like Paradox Engine, Stuffy Doll, even Psychosis Crawler and then supplement the deck with card draw, bounce effects, and whatnot. It’s janky fun.

I’m not sure this card is ever worth including in a non-build-around deck, but it’s fun to play with.

#3. Impervious Greatwurm

Impervious Greatwurm

This is the go-wide wincon of choice in a lot of cubes. It can work for EDH as well, but Impervious Greatwurm is also a lot of fun as a lottery ticket in decks built around commanders like Volo, Guide to Monsters, Hans Eriksson, and Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty.

#2. Worldspine Wurm

Worldspine Wurm

Worldspine Wurm is the ultimate creature for Mayael the Anima, Atla Palani, Nest Tender, and similar Commander decks that just drop creatures onto the battlefield.

#1. Defiler of Vigor

Defiler of Vigor

Defiler of Vigor is a bit of a house in a green stompy +1/+1 counters or wurm tribal build. This may be the best green creature printed in 2022.

Best Multicolored Wurms

#4. Armada Wurm

Armada Wurm

Two 5/5s for six mana is good if you’re in Selesnya () so it’s easier to cast all those pips. It’s so much better if you’re blinking with a commander like Emiel the Blessed.

#3. Shivan Wurm

Shivan Wurm

I don’t see many people playing Shivan Wurm, but any Gruul () deck that resets ETB triggers probably wants to consider this. Ravager Wurm, for example?

#2. Novablast Wurm

Novablast Wurm

Novablast Wurm can do some work if you have haste effects and either reanimation (which gets easier in white with every release, it seems) or Mayael the Anima as your commander.

#1. Ravager Wurm

Ravager Wurm

There are some decent abilities on Ravager Wurm, especially if you’re running Nikya of the Old Ways and need your creatures to be spells. The mana is a bit intensive, but it still finds a solid home in Neyith of the Dire Hunt and Rienne, Angel of Rebirth Commander decks.

Best Colorless Wurm

#1. Wurmcoil Engine

Wurmcoil Engine

Wurmcoil Engine. There are a few green wurms that are similar (if still not quite as good) in their chonky death triggers. But this is a colorless artifact, so it can go in artifacts-matter decks across the rainbow, from Daretti, Scrap Savant to Muzzio, Visionary Architect. The deathtouch and lifelink also help a lot.

This Cube stalwart is the most-played wurm in EDH, so it’s the champ of the list today.

Best Wurm Payoffs

So many of the just over 100 wurms in Magic are vanilla or French vanilla 6- and 7-drops, like Canopy Gorger and Rootbreaker Wurm. What else can we get from these monstrous creatures aside from the few really good cards in the clew (that’s a group of worms)?

Go Wide, Go Wurms!

Craterhoof Behemoth

Wurms are expensive to cast, so the idea of going wide with them is odd for sure, but there are a number of wurms with convoke as well as others that make more wurms when they die. Nothing is Craterhoof Behemoth here, but wurms’ stock in the green stompy beater portfolio is rising, especially with the printing of Defiler of Vigor. Very, very, very slowly.

Wurm Cheaters

Whether it’s the Naya () commanders Atla Palani, Nest Tender and Mayael the Anima, cards like Fauna Shaman, Monster Manual,  Evolutionary Leap, or Birthing Pod and its buddies, a lot of these wurms are great targets to cheat into play.

Wurm Tribal

Baru, Wurmspeaker

The commander for this sort of deck is Baru, Wurmspeaker. It buffs your wurms, can tap to make Wurm tokens, and gets better the bigger the wurms on the field are. Adding effects to cheat wurms into play speeds this up, but this is a deck for budget-minded dreamers or a starter for a new EDH player.

Wrap Up

Ravager Wurm - Illustration by Svetlin Velinov

Ravager Wurm | Illustration by Svetlin Velinov

I’d like to see more wurms in Magic. I’d also like to see them branch out into other colors, especially after Dread Linnorm (which is basically the same word as “lindworm” etymologically) was printed as a “snake dragoncreature type in The Battle for Baldur’s Gate.

D&D certainly has a different set of dragon vs. wurm lore, but I’d like to see more creative wurm expressions as WotC continues to push the lore together. I mean, the best wurms aren’t green forest dwellers, unless Massacre Wurm and Wurmcoil Engine live in really weird forests.

What do you think of these wurms? Are you going to make a wicked wurm tribal deck with some of these bad boys? Let me know in the comments below or over on the Draftsim Twitter.

Until then, wurms will be the underappreciated top end to decks across the spectrum from draft to EDH. Unless this helped them, um, wurm their way into your heart!

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