Last updated on October 25, 2023
Gamble | Illustration by Rudy Siswanto
But tutoring… well, let’s just say that’s not red’s strong suit. That’s not to say that red decks can’t search their libraries, just that they have limited options compared to some of the other colors.
Let's take a look at red tutors in Magic, and what they have to offer!
What Are Red Tutors in MTG?
Imperial Recruiter (Masters 25) | Illustration by Zack Stella
“Tutoring” is Magic slang for searching your library, famously named after Alpha’s Demonic Tutor. The color pie established early on that black would be the primary color for unconditional tutoring, but other colors have since branched out with conditional or chaotic search effects.
Today I'm exploring the best red tutors in Magic. I’ll be looking at cards with a mono-red color identity that either search your library or specifically find Mountains from your library.
Keep in mind that red tutors are usually either chaotic or random in nature, or specific to certain creatures or card types, so don’t expect too many generically powerful tutors. Instead there's a number of hyper-specific tutors that add a powerful tool for a narrower deck or archetype.
Let’s see what we’ve got!
#22. Dwarven Recruiter
Dwarven Recruiter highlights just how specific some of these cards are going to be. It’s tutor-adjacent if we’re being honest since the cards you search for don’t go directly to your hand, but it’s close enough.
#21. Alpine Guide
Alpine Guide is one of the only mono-red cards capable of tutoring a land from your library. It’s a little tricky since that land goes away when the Guide leaves the battlefield.
#20. Sarkhan, Dragonsoul
Red has quite a few dragon-themed tutors, with Sarkhan, Dragonsoul ranking fairly low among them. While the -9 ability threatens to tutor every dragon from your library and put them into play all at once, Sarkan’s expensive to cast and its other abilities are pretty weak.
#19. Flamekin Harbinger
Flamekin Harbinger is another tribal tool that sets up the top card of your library rather than actually putting a card in hand, but it’s only one mana to cast so it gives you some wiggle room to draw and cast that card.
Dragonstorm is a flashy way to do just about the same thing you’d want to do with Sarkhan, Dragonsoul. This shouldn’t be your first choice for tutoring dragons at 9 mana, but it might be a fun finisher for dragon tribal decks with enough mana acceleration and a few extra spells to power up storm.
#17. Zirilan of the Claw
I promise I’m not intentionally ranking all of the dragon support cards at the bottom of the list on purpose. Zirilan of the Claw is actually a unique and lesser-known dragon tutor that can catch people off guard for what it’s worth. The ability to sneak any dragon from your library into play is powerful, even if it only sticks around for a turn.
Oliphaunt is pretty dang sweet. It's a mountaincycler that only costs , and if you ever find yourself with 6 mana to spend, you get a sweet creature. Mountaincycling over searching up a basic on ETB is a big difference here, and it's why it's better than some of the competition.
#15. Hoarding Dragon
Another dragon, you say? Well at least this one’s less of a dragon tribal card and more of an artifacts-matter piece.
Hoarding Dragon stashes away any artifact from your library when it enters the battlefield. Once the dragon is slain you put the chosen artifact into your hand. It’s an evasive threat and a delayed tutor all in one.
#14. Chandra, Heart of Fire
Similar to Sarkhan, Dragonsoul, Chandra, Heart of Fire makes this list on a technicality. Chandra’s tutor effect is tied to a -9 loyalty ability that’s unlikely to ever come up in your typical game of Commander.
While Sarkhan has pretty lousy alternate abilities, Chandra’s +1 abilities let you pick off smaller creatures or dig towards extra action, both of which are useful at different points in the game.
#13. Cleansing Wildfire + Geomancer’s Gambit
Essentially the same card, Cleansing Wildfire and Geomancer's Gambit both provide a cantrip effect tied to a land destruction spell. While these sometimes blow up opposing lands, the real reason to include them is to target your own lands and search up a new one.
#12. Fervent Mastery
Fervent Mastery lets you search up three cards at once, but it makes no promises that you’re going to keep them. Even if the random discard works out in your favor, paying five mana for this effect won’t leave you with much mana to cast those cards, and the rest of the table is going to gun for the player who just tutored three cards.
There is an alternate casting cost, but shaving a single mana off this card isn’t worth allowing an opponent to filter away unwanted cards. There’s a political approach to this card and it can tutor up an entire combo or multiple finishers all at once, so I’m not ruling it out completely.
#11. Dragon’s Approach
Combined with combo pieces like Thrummingstone it’s possible to rattle off a flurry of Approaches, deal a bunch of damage to your opponents, and finish things off with your dragon of choice.
#10. Deathbellow War Cry
Deathbellow War Cry is such an exceptionally powerful card for such an underpowered tribe that it seems fair to put it squarely in the middle of this list. This being a quadruple creature tutor is balanced by the fact that minotaurs are typically casual Limited-focused creatures.
Replacing the minotaur text with almost any other common creature type in Magic would result in this card being utterly broken. Try running it alongside Maskwood Nexus to tutor up any creatures you want if that’s what you’re interested in.
#9. Goblin Engineer
Goblin Engineer serves as more of a red Entomb than a red tutor since it pitches the card you find to the graveyard. You’re limited to finding artifacts, but it easily sets up a reanimation effect like Trash for Treasure and Daretti, Scrap Savant.
This even works as its own self-contained engine if you’re just using it to get cheap artifacts into play.
#8. Sarkhan’s Triumph
And just like that we’re back to dragons. Sarkhan's Triumph is a nice clean tutor for any dragon in your library.
There are so many dragons in the card pool with so many different effects that this ends up being a great toolbox card for different situations. And being an instant lets you adapt your choice to whatever’s going on in-game.
#7. Goblin Matron
Goblins are one of the most well-supported tribes in Magic, so a creature that lets you tutor any goblin when it enters is worth its weight.
Goblin Matron can find the silver bullet you need for your situation, whether that’s Goblin Trashmaster to deal with artifacts, Skirk Prospector for a huge mana boost, or even just a win condition like Muxus, Goblin Grandee.
#6. Goblin Recruiter
Meet Dwarven Recruiter’s much more relevant older brother, Goblin Recruiter. Take everything I said about Dwarven Recruiter, knock one mana off the cost and make it work with a more diverse creature type, and you’ve got a powerful enabler ready to go.
Moggcatcher is less efficient than Goblin Matron but has a pumped-up version of that effect, putting the goblin you tutor directly onto the battlefield. Keep in mind that this isn’t a goblin creature itself, so it won’t exactly synergize with the rest of your deck.
That said, it still helps find the cards that do and can do so repeatedly.
#4. Magda, Brazen Outlaw
Magda, Brazen Outlaw is another card where the tutor effect is secondary to the rest of the card. But as an early-game threat that can ramp you with Treasure tokens, Magda earns its keep even if you never search for an artifact or dragon.
Magda is excellent alongside other dwarves, and it also works just fine as a solo attacker.
#3. Godo, Bandit Warlord
All you need is to resolve Godo’s ability, find the Helm and equip it, and give Godo haste to win out of nowhere.
#2. Imperial Recruiter
“Power 2 or less” might sound like a huge limitation, but Imperial Recruiter can fetch a huge swath of creatures from your library, from utility creatures to combo pieces. The card is best friends with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, so much so that the borderless Modern Horizons 2 art for Recruiter features a silhouette of Kiki-Jiki in the background.
You’re definitely taking a Gamble when you cast this tutor. On one hand you’re only paying one mana to find the best card for your situation. On the other you might immediately discard it to the graveyard. You want to cross your fingers when you cast this, but more often than not you get away with the card you wanted and still have mana left over to cast it.
Keep in mind that Gamble works especially well with cards that don’t mind being in the graveyard. It often gets played alongside cards like Past in Flames or Life from the Loam since they still work if they’re the target of the random discard.
That’s a wrap on red tutors. As you can see, red doesn’t get the lion’s share of tutor effects in Magic. It focuses on specific card types or includes an element of randomness. Dragons and goblins get the majority of search effects, with generic red tutors being few and far between.
Still, there’s probably something here for the mono-red players out there, and I hope this list helps you find your new favorite tutor. Let me know if you agree with the list or what your personal favorites are in the comments or the Draftsim Twitter.
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