Last updated on January 19, 2023
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!
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.
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.
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.
Just one. You can skip the blue section if you hate the history of Magic.
Unplayable! But look at Water Wurm. There’s a mono-blue wurm all the way back in The Dark.
There aren’t too many wurms in black, but one of your favorites is lurking here!
There’s only one wurm in red, which feels like a flavor fail.
Most wurms are green. I guess that makes sense given green’s propensity for big dumb beaters.
Yeah. Cool. That’s a thing.
I don’t know how to rank cards for group hug decks, send help!
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.
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.
Even better than the previous card for similar purposes is Pelakka 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.
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 ().
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)?
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.
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.
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.
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 dragon” creature 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!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: