Last updated on March 15, 2023
Witch of the Moors | Illustration by Caio Monteiro
Your wretched little lives have all been cursed, ‘cause of all the witches working, I’m the worst! I put a spell on you… and now you’re mine.Hocus Pocus (1993)
From elves to dwarves to faeries and dragons, there are plenty of classic fairytale and fantasy creatures in Magic. They all have their own flavor, their own identity. They usually have their own creature type too, but not always.
Witches have been around in pop culture for a long time. But what do these wicked spellcasters look like in our favorite card game? Which of them comes out on top as the most powerful in the coven?
Grab your broom, summon your familiar, and let’s gather ‘round the crystal ball to scry the answers!
What Are Witches in MTG?
Wicker Witch | Illustration by Izzy
Witches in Magic are a bit complicated since there’s no actual “witch” creature type. Instead, witches as a tribe (I use this term loosely) are identified by the name of the card.
There’s some room for subjectivity here, since cards like Deny the Witch and Witchstalker have “witch” in the card name, but I think you’d agree with me that we can’t really call these cards witches. So where does that leave us in terms of identifying witches?
First, witches are creatures or planeswalkers (think sentient beings) with the word “witch” in the card name. Second, use some logic. Does “witch” in the name refer to the card itself, or something outside of it? I think you can figure it out from there.
But witches still have some identity to their little makeshift tribe despite the lack of an official subtype. While there’s quite a bit of variety in their actual creature types you’ll see a lot of humans, warlocks, and shamans running around the coven. The bulk of the witches in the game fall under the black color pie, though there’s a bit of spillover into the other colors for some more diverse flavors of magic.
There aren’t a whole lot of witches in the game, capping out at 36 (37 if you count an illegal Mystery Booster test card), so there’s a limit to what you can attribute to their collective. But before I get into it, here are a few minor highlights I wanna point out:
- Token creation
- Treefolk tribal (if you’re not a coward)
- Sacrificial lambs
Honorable Mention: Celestine Cave Witch
Remember that test card I mentioned from Mystery Booster? Let me introduce you to Celestine Cave Witch.
Warlock is another pretty appropriate creature type for a witch, I guess, and you’ve got some little Insect familiars running around waiting to be sacrificed to their creator’s cursed magic. This is a flavor win for sure.
Shame it’s not legal.
Best White Witch
#1. Candlegrove Witch
Fight with me all you want, but I absolutely adore Candlegrove Witch. It’s purely from a flavor perspective, but I need you to not disregard my attachment to good thematic design, thanks. The flavor text really pleases me considering Midnight Hunt’s candle-oriented coven story.
This is a halfway decent card if you’re going for the coven synergies in your build. It’s a bit underwhelming mechanically, but it could be worse. As it stands it’s the only white witch, so…
Top marks for its category, I guess.
Best Black Witches
#25. Divining Witch
There’s a lot of text on Divining Witch that basically boils down to “name a card, scry 6, put the named card in your hand and exile the rest.” I don’t like it.
Thank you, next.
#24. Witch Engine
Witch Engine might be helpful if you just need that extra bit of black mana to get you over the finish line. You better hope you make it, though. Otherwise you’re giving your opponent an unblockable 4/4 horror.
This is too narrow to be good unless you have a specific game plan in mind.
#23. Cackling Witch
Cackling Witch has been errata’ed since its original printing to give it the human subtype, which I guess at least gives it a place in human tribal if that’s the route you wanna go. I like the vibe of the flavor text with its power-boosting ability, even if it’s not the most practical.
#22. Caligo Skin-Witch
Six mana for a 1/3 that forces your opponents to discard two might not seem like much, and it’s not in a 1v1 format. But in Commander? That’s up to 10 discarded cards depending on how many opponents are still standing.
So, yeah. Caligo Skin-Witch is great in the early- to mid-game when you’ve still got a few opponents to screw over (and the mana to kick it). Unfortunately it’s not so great otherwise, which makes it a bit too narrow for my taste.
#21. Plague Witch
I really like Plague Witch from a pure flavor perspective. The saturated art, the name, the flavor text… just really ties it all together.
The card itself is just kind of meh.
#20. Barrow Witches
There are no other witches that interact with knight creatures, but I sort of wish there were. Barrow Witches could have been something good if it didn’t belong more in knight tribal than with its own coven.
#19. Dreamspoiler Witches
Now we’re getting to the point where the cards are okay, but I have to temper my own jank tendencies and try to look at things rationally.
Dreamspoiler Witches is fine. It’d fit in with faerie tribal, and it’s a nice little flier. But it’s nothing all that special really. Just… fine.
#18. Ragged Recluse / Odious Witch
Crimson Vow had its fair share of witchy shenanigans. You need to watch yourself around Ragged Recluse, lest you find yourself next on the menu.
Mechanically, the discard on the front side to trigger the transformation into Odious Witch isn’t the worst. The life play on the back side fits into some strategies so it’s not the worst TDFC out there.
#17. Thorntooth Witch
I really like how there’s an overlap between witches and treefolk tribal, and Thorntooth Witch is the first example. It really leans more toward the treefolk side but that’s fine. It’s a bit expensive to really be all that useful, though.
#16. Cuombajj Witches
Okay, I’m sorry, but we need to talk about the gorgeous art on Cuombajj Witches. The symmetry? The colors? The twinkly jewelry and ethereal lighting? Love it.
This enables a bit of politics in your game which can be fun if that’s what you’re going for. Definitely good for a little give-and-take action.
#15. Bog Witch
Returning to the human spellshaper coven, Bog Witch gives you some extra mana while feeding a potential discard strategy. Not bad at all.
#14. Bitterheart Witch
Deathtouch is always good, and Bitterheart Witch delivers with a fun little extra: grabbing a Curse from your library to inflict on an opponent of your choice. Of course, it has to die to do that, which means your opponents have to choose if it’s worth sacrificing their creatures, being slowly pinged to death, or just biting the bullet and hoping they’re not your target.
#13. Accursed Witch / Infectious Curse
Another on-death trigger, Accursed Witch brings its own Curse to the mix with its backside. That reverse ward helps entice your opponents to get it there, and then your targeted spells get cheaper. Not to mention the sprinkling of life play.
#12. Warteye Witch
Warteye Witch would fit right into a sacrifice deck as a nice little payoff. Also, the art and flavor text make me laugh, so. Points there.
#11. Cursebound Witch
Cursebound Witch is a cheap, small body, but its spellbook is pretty good. It’s got some good Curses and can even pull a piece of the cat/Oven combo if you’re going that route.
#10. Sedgemoor Witch
Menace is good. Ward is good. Magecraft is good.
Sedgemoor Witch is a great card. The token creation and life play is great, and for a decent cost too. We’re getting to the good stuff.
#9. Kindly Stranger / Demon-Possessed Witch
One of the older transforming cards from Shadows over Innistrad, Kindly Stranger’s delirium ability is pretty good since it gets you a 4/3 with a Murder effect.
#8. Bogbrew Witch
Bogbrew Witch is nothing special on its own; it’s the tools of the trade that make this witch shine (bubble? Brew? You get the idea).
Festering Newt can take down a 4-toughness creature when it dies, and throwing it into the Bubbling Cauldron also hits all your opponents for four life while siphoning that all into your pool.
#7. Knucklebone Witch
Goblin tribal is a force to be reckoned with, and Knucklebone Witch adds a little magic to the strategy. Growing your tiny little 1-drop 1/1 into something much more powerful can be as easy as dropping a bunch of Goblins with something like Krenko, Mob Boss or Mogg Infestation.
#6. Thoughtpicker Witch
Thoughtpicker Witch may not seem like much, but completely removing a problem card from your opponent’s deck in exchange for and a single piece of sac fodder is nothing to scoff at. Pair it with some sacrifice synergies and all it truly costs you is a single mana.
#5. Tempting Witch
Food tribal became a very popular strategy back when the Witch’s Oven and Cauldron Familiar combo hit Standard with Throne of Eldraine. Tempting Witch is just another piece of the puzzle.
#4. Chittering Witch
Rat tribal, rat tribal, rat tribal!
Chittering Witch has some great art, though the name makes me think more of spiders (Witch’s Web, anyone?) and insects than rats. Still, it’s a good card in Commander and other multiplayer formats.
And hey, look! More sacrifice synergy.
#3. Veinwitch Coven
One of the problems with witches is that they’re not an official creature type, so it’s kind of hard to build something concrete around them that’s not just… thematic flavor. Your best bet is always to pair them with another tribe for something a little more impactful.
Veinwitch Coven is a witchy vampire, where life play and resurrection abound. Menace is also always a welcome sight.
#2. Malakir Bloodwitch
Here come more vamps! Malakir Bloodwitch can absolutely devastate your opponents if you drop it in the late game after you’ve built up your board with bloodsuckers. Not to mention setting you up to be virtually unkillable through combat damage for quite some time.
And it’s a flier, and it’s got protection from white. What’s not to love?
#1. Witch of the Moors
This is the best witch art, hands down. It makes me think of Night Hags from D&D, which are among some of my favorite fey/fiend creatures in the tabletop game. So many hands.
Witch of the Moors offers a truly fantastic payoff for lifegain. Forcing all your opponents to sac one of their beloved creatures while bringing one of your own back from the dead is always fun. And the deathtouch is a nice, well, touch.
Best Multicolored Witches
#9. Spiteflame Witch
I sort of want more from Spiteflame Witch. It’s not the worst card ever, but it’s a bit underwhelming, isn’t it?
#8. Tattermunge Witch
Tattermunge Witch is another goblin, this time offering a boost to your attacking creatures in the midst of combat. Trample and a higher power go hand in hand, so don’t discount this little witch.
#7. Lyzolda, the Blood Witch
Lyzolda, the Blood Witch would be a great commander for a witchy Rakdos () sac build. Deal two damage, draw a card, and activate all your sac payoffs in exchange for two mana? Not bad. Just make sure the sacrificial lamb is both red and black to get the full effect.
The cleric subtype doesn’t quite fit in with the theme which is a bit unfortunate, but if you’re not going for creature tribal then that’s of no consequence.
#6. Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch
Rakdos cleric witches is an interesting road to go down, but at least Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch has a lot of text going for it. First strike, haste, unleash, and a little bit of synergy if you’ve got counters flying around? And it’s legendary.
#5. Seedcradle Witch
Selesnya () probably isn’t the color combo you think of when you think “witch,” but Seedcradle Witch is here to prove you wrong. The art and flavor text really bring the card together, giving a creature the ability to fight again with a boost of extra strength.
And it’s an elf, which means you can slot this into one of the most prolific tribes in the game.
#4. Mistmeadow Witch
Mistmeadow Witch should really be called Olka, Mistmeadow Witch. I guess Wizards didn’t wanna introduce an officially named character, though, unless they intended for Olka to return or be narratively relevant.
Anyway. The blink ability is great, especially since it doesn’t specify whose creature to exile. You can neutralize an opponent’s threat or flicker one of your own creatures to redo an ETB effect.
#3. Baba Lysaga, Night Witch
Could I interest you in some nice sacrifice strategy? Yes? Great!
Baba Lysaga, Night Witch offers life loss for all your opponents, and lifegain and card draw for you. Just make sure you’ve got a variety of card types to choose from or you’ll be stuck with a basically vanilla 3/3.
#2. Inkfathom Witch
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Fear is a great ability. It had some problems, sure, but mostly just because the name was a bit confusing. The mechanic itself is good.
Inkfathom Witch doesn’t just inflict fear into your opposition. It can also boost the attack power of your unblocked creatures to really hit your opponents where it hurts: right in their life total. Not to mention that it’s a merfolk, which is a pretty well-supported tribe.
#1. Tasha, the Witch Queen
Well, well, well, if it isn’t the queen of the coven herself.
Tasha, the Witch Queen is the one and only planeswalker that qualifies as a witch, and that’s only thanks to D&D’s Battle for Baldur’s Gate tie-in. Dimir () loves to steal cards, and Tasha does just that.
I doubt we’ll see any more noncreature witches in the future if I’m being honest, which is a bit unfortunate. Still, Tasha is a great representation of the witch tribe and gets #1 just out of respect for her title.
Best Colorless Witch
#1. Wicker Witch
Okay, look. I know what Wicker Witch is going for. The art and flavor text are clearly trying to weave a tale of terror, but I will protect this witch with my life. Which it needs considering its 3/1 vanilla body.
I don’t know what to do with this one. Throw it in scarecrow tribal and hope for the best, I guess?
Best Witch Payoffs
There are plenty of different tribes you could just throw one or two witches into, but I prefer when you can basically build witch tribal under the guise of another tribe. Shamans would be my choice.
Gruul () is your best bet when it comes to shaman tribal, but that’s a bit out of bounds for witches. You’re probably gonna wanna go for Jund () so that you can throw the best black witches into the fray while still getting the best shaman payoffs. Think cards like Bosk Banneret (dual shaman-treefolk tribal, anyone?), Harmonic Prodigy, Rage Forger, and Leaf-Crowned Elder.
The Jankiest of Jank: Pure Witch “Tribal”
You can’t really build a tribal deck if there’s no thread of synergy between the cards, which is hard to do when there’s no concrete mechanical tie-in between them (like a creature type). So how are you supposed to build witch tribal, you ask?
It’s all about the theme. Pick whatever witches from the rankings above that spark a bit of magic in you and pair them with cards that fit the thematic tribe. Curses, familiars, cauldrons, and tomes, anything that feels a little witchy to you works just fine.
Things like Witch’s Cauldron, Bubbling Cauldron, Festering Newt, and the cat/Oven combo give you a bit of sacrifice synergy if you want some actual strategy in your deck.
On the other hand, cards like Witches’ Eye, Witching Well, Tome of the Infinite, and The Hourglass Coven don’t really have a coherent game plan, but they sure do have a lot of flavor.
Throw in Witch’s Clinic, Hedgewitch’s Mask, Witch’s Vengeance, and Witch’s Cottage for some variety in your spell and card types and you’re set!
Are There Witches in MTG?
Yes, and no. While there’s no “witch” creature type in Magic, there are witches by name. It’s all a bit complicated, though, which makes the makeshift tribe (coven?) of witches kinda tricky.
Cuombajj Witches | Illustration by Seb McKinnon
I am very into witches and magic, both in fantasy and real life. I’ve got a big cauldron filled with candy and snacks that lives in my living room year-round, warlock is my favorite D&D class, and I’m actually a practicing witch.
Suffice it to say that while I love the witches that Magic offers us, I’m also incredibly disappointed that they don’t have their own creature type. There’s at least some flavor and sprinklings of lore (thank you Innistrad twins), but I’m eager for more.
What do you think of all this? Do you think R&D should stick to relegating witches to warlocks and shamans and spellshapers, or do they deserve their own subtype? What’s your favorite witch in the game? Let me know in the comments below or @ us on Twitter.
Anyway, I’m off to collect the D&D dice I left out last night for a moon bath. Kiss your cats for me, and be nice to nature!
(EN: Know what I want to see? A Dimir or Sultai witch with an activated ability or ability that’s a Turn to Frog, maybe mixed with some creature theft. Maybe another ability that tutors for Witch’s Familiars or pumps out Frog tokens. Tack on a “whenever a frog dies” ability, make it legendary, and you’ve got yourself a creature that’s worth brewing around.)