The 11 best Legendary Creatures in MTG

The 11 best Legendary Creatures in MTG
Johnny Garcia Updated on by

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Legendary creatures in Magic: The Gathering are some of the most popular cards in the game. For many, it is because being a legendary creature is a requirement to run as your commander in the Commander format. However, there are plenty of legendary creatures that see play across every format from Commander to Pioneer and even Legacy.

Be sure to also check out the Best Mana Rocks in Magic: The Gathering. You can also check out the best artifacts in Magic: The Gathering.

The inherent downside of a legendary creature is that you can only ever control one of the same creature. Despite this downside, many legendary creatures see widespread play due to just how strong they are. These are the 11 best legendary creatures available in Magic. 

11. Uzra, Lord High Artificer

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Urza, Lord High Artificer is great because it turns all of your untapped artifacts into mana. When it comes into the battlefield, it comes in with an extra mana ready to be tapped for blue mana as it makes a construct when it does. There are many other cards that create constructs that have better stats depending on the number of artifacts you control to use as attackers or mana dorks, whichever the situation calls for. 

What makes Urza so good is that its ability to turn all untapped artifacts into mana rocks feeds into his ability that costs five mana. Being able to create five mana becomes trivial and allows you to cast free spells on the top of your library. While you can whiff on a land, the ceiling for Urza is so high that the benefits severely outweigh the risks. Urza’s effect isn’t once per turn, so if you have a way to create infinite creatures or mana you could play out your whole deck if you wanted to in order to win the game through a combo you drew into.

10. Omnath, Lotus Of Creation

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Omnath, Lotus Of Creation holds the record for one of the quickest bans after it was released, lasting only a few weeks in Standard before being banned. While this is the only format it was ever banned in, Omnath sees play in Pioneer and Modern in decks built around it. 

Omnath gives you a ton of value, replacing itself in the hand when it enters the battlefield and giving you a ton of bonuses for every land hitting the battlefield. In decks running Omnath, it is also playing ways to get multiple lands onto the battlefield a turn such as with fetchlands to trigger all the landfall abilities. Thanks to the aforementioned fetchlands, having all four colours that Omnath needs to be cast is very easy, especially with triomes in the picture that can tap for three different mana colours.

9. Griselbrand

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Griselbrand is one of the best reanimation targets that have been released in Magic. For just seven life, you can draw seven cards. This effect is not once per turn either, so as long as you have the life to it you can keep drawing cards. You are almost never actually casting it for its casting cost, but rather cheating it into play with a reanimation spell like Reanimate or Animate Dead.

Griselbrand has lifelink with a power of seven as well, letting you immediately get the life you just lost back. Generally speaking, if you are drawing seven cards you are winning the game because you will draw into the answers to whatever your opponent is doing. Griselbrand is such a strong card it is even banned in the Commander format.

8.  Yawgmoth, Thran Physician

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A card that turns a creature into card advantage and removal is fantastic, and that’s exactly what Yawgmoth, Thran Physician does. There are many ways to create sacrifice fodder, many of which can keep coming back from the graveyard to infinitely use Yawhmoth’s effect. It costs one life to pay, although there are ways to get around this by having effects that gain life when a creature dies. 

You can even turn dead cards in your hand into proliferating. This can give creatures more -1/-1 counters or force more counters onto other permanents. Yawgmoth is a cornerstone of multiple combo decks with Yawgmoth as their namesake card. When Yawgmoth is paired with Hapatra, Vizier Of Poisons which creates a 1/1 Snake token when a -1/-1 counter is put on a creature, this lets you always have creatures to draw cards with to get you to your key cards quicker.

7. Uro, Titan Of Nature’s Wrath

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A staple of any midrange decks running green and blue, Uro, Titan Of Nature’s Wrath draws you cards and gains you life. It feeds into the late-game as you can escape it from the graveyard to keep getting this effect whenever it attacks. Uro’s strength was much too strong for most formats to handle, being only legal in Legacy, Vintage, and Commander. 

Uro being a 6/6 on top of all the effects it has is what pushes it over the edge over other legendary cards. It gives you value and there’s almost never a time you wouldn’t want to see Uro in your hand. Even in a high-power format like Legacy decks see success running the card. Uro, Titan Of Nature’s Wrath is also common in ramp decks as a way to quickly get a ton of lands onto the battlefield, which also lets you escape Uro even faster to continue getting value off of it. 

6. Lavinia, Azorius Renegade

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In many Magic formats, there are plenty of spells that are having their casting cost cheat around. Lavinia, Azorius Renegade is a way to prevent this from happening as unless your opponents have the amount of lands needed to cast it normally, they won’t be casting it at all.

Lavania and you

An important note is that Lavinia only affects opponents, not yourself. So you can still take advantage of cheating around mana costs without having to worry about them being countered from Lavinia. This is one of its biggest strengths as one-sided stun effects are among the best in the game.

Lavinia punishes free spells even more, directly countering any of them that are even attempted to be cast. While Lavinia isn’t great in every matchup, it is amazing in many and makes it a sideboard staple in decks playing white or blue. It’s also amazing in Commander with how much ramp is done through mana rocks, slowing everyone but yourself down when it comes to casting noncreature spells.

5. Sheoldred, The Apocalypse

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Sheoldred, The Apocalypse is a very basic card with a ton of power. It punishes your opponents for drawing cards while gaining life when you draw. This effect stacks with each card, so one Sheoldred, The Apocalypse turns your opponent’s Brainstorm into six burn damage. The lifegain effect is great as well as it allows you to get back into the game after taking in damage from creatures before you can get Sheoldred on the battlefield. 

For just four mana, Sheoldred can hit the battlefield early and it is very hard to remove through combat thanks to its great statline. Even if a block is forced, the deathtouch can take out a problem creature with it. Sheoldred, The Apocalypse sees play in every format, from Standard all the way to Vintage play. In formats with heavy card draw, Sheoldred is very beneficial to you and detrimental to your opponents, meaning they have to act quickly to remove it or else lose the grind game to it.

4. Thalia, Guardian Of Thraben

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Thalia, Guardian Of Thraben makes all noncreature spells cast one more mana. This simple effect is so good Thalia sees play in every format. It’s a staple of “Death And Taxes” decks, which shut down your opponent from playing the game by making their spells cost more mana, preventing more than one spell from being used, and using removal on any creatures that hit the battlefield. 

Since Thalia affects both players, it generally only sees play in decks that are not running many, if any noncreature spells in the first place. While Thalia would be great just with its static effect, first strike makes it solid in combat as well to make a great blocker for any creatures with two or less toughness.

3. Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer

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The one-mana Monkey is one of the best one-drops ever printed. For just one mana, you get a threat that has to be answered immediately or else you will gain a drastic advantage. Each time it gets combat damage in you get a Treasure token and can cast the top card of your opponent’s library. This not only gives you information on what deck your opponent might be playing, but you are ramping yourself with Treasure to get ahead on mana in the first few turns. 

Since Ragavan is a 2/1, it also trades with a lot of creatures that can block Ragavan early. It almost forces your opponent to block because of how much Ragavan’s effect pushes you ahead in advantage. Ragavan was so powerful it was banned from Legacy but is still legal in all other formats that allow Modern Horizon cards.

2. Atraxa, Grand Unifier

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This list has mentioned that Griselbrand is as good as it is because of the strength of drawing seven cards. What makes Atraxa, Grand Unifier even better than that is that it can get you up to eight cards into your hand. While this is rare, what makes Atraxa so good is that you get to choose what cards go into your hand rather than hoping you draw what you need. Atraxa looks at the top ten cards of your library, which is useful in knowing the cards that may come in the future and which ones are on the bottom.

Like many high-mana cards, Atraxa, Grand Unifier rarely gets played by casting it. Instead, it is being cheated out early, either with transmute effects or through reanimation spells. As if all these effects aren’t already amazing, Atraxa has four different keyword abilities, all amazing as they gain you life and lets you attack in the air. If the opponent doesn’t have any removal available, Atraxa can snowball quickly with card advantage.

1. Lurrus Of The Dream Den

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Lurros Of The Dream-Den is one of the main reasons that the companion rules had to be changed so that you have to pay three mana to put it into your hand as opposed to being able to cast it directly. Despite the restriction on Lurrus, it would be played in decks that were already built that way. As such, you had a way to get back cards from the graveyard that got removed and keep recycling your best cheap permanent spells.

The only vintage ban

Vintage is a format where no card is banned. Instead, they are restricted meaning you can only play one copy of them in your deck. Since Lurrus was played only as a companion, restricting it would not do anything to hinder its power. As such, Lurrus Of The Dream-Den was outright banned in Vintage until the rules for companions changed. This led to Lurrus being the first card ever banned in Vintage for power-level reasons after only one month in the format.

Lurrus is such a powerful card that the only format you can play it in is Commander and Vintage (and Historic for Arena players). One of the best uses of it was combined with Mishra’s Bauble, a zero mana artifact that you can sacrifice to draw a card next turn. Looping Mishra’s Bauble with Lurrus Of The Dream-Den.

That concludes our list of the 11 best legendary creatures. If you are a fan of any of them, you can always run them as your commander if you’re looking for a new Commander to build. For those who don’t play Commander, all of these are amazing in all the formats you can play them in (except the ones that are well, banned). The power of legendary creatures is higher than most due to the downside of being a legendary permanent. Many of the best ones can be cast early so you can quickly start taking advantage of them as all are beneficial as early as the first few turns of a game.

Be sure to check out the best budget Commander Decks for Magic: The Gathering. You can also check out our tips for Sideboarding in Magic: The Gathering.

MTG Best Legendary Creatures – FAQ

Can you play multiple of a legendary creature in Magic: The Gathering?

The inherent downside of a legendary creature is that you can only ever control one of the same creature.

Why was Lurrus of the Dream Den banned in Vintage?

Since Lurrus was played only as a companion, restricting it would not do anything to hinder its power. As such, Lurrus Of The Dream-Den was outright banned in Vintage until the rules for companions changed.