I have been playing Magic: The Gathering since 1994 and have won a few draft tournaments in MTGO and MTG Arena.
1. Llanowar Elves
Llanowar Elves has a lot going for it. First of all, it is one of the most iconic creatures in all of Magic: The Gathering and has been around since Alpha. Secondly, it is a creature with a popular creature type—elf. Third, Llanowar Elves produces green mana and quickly ramps up your ability to summon large creatures or expensive spells.
Getting the first turn and plopping down Llanowar Elves on the very first turn gives you a huge advantage and many times this may be too huge for your opponent to overcome.
Because of the huge advantage given by this card, it is often a lightning rod for removal spells and effects.
Llanowar Elves have functionally identical brethren in Fyndhorn Elves and Elvish Mystic. While, at first glance it seems to serve no purpose, having essentially twelve copies of Llanowar Elves can quickly ramp up your deck.
Llanowar Elves also inspired the card Llanowar Tribe, a Modern Horizons card, which is essentially three Llanowar Elves fused into a single creature with its three power and three toughness and ability to produce three green mana.
2. Birds of Paradise
Though Magic: The Gathering is supposed to be a fantasy game, birds of paradise or Paradisaeidae actually exist.
They are native to Papua New Guinea and Eastern Australia. What distinguishes these birds is their exquisite colors and long feathers.
In line with the rich colors of the birds, Magic: The Gathering has granted Birds of Paradise the ability to produce any color of mana. The birds also have the ability to fly.
While the birds do not have any attack value, their ability to fly gives them an evasion ability. You can easily augment them temporarily with cards such as Giant Growth or permanently with Blanchwood Armor.
Birds is a good mana fixer as it gives you access to any color of your choice. You can easily play multiple colors or can splash in spells of another color and make your deck more versatile.
Just like its fellow mana dork Llanowar Elves, this card has been a staple since Alpha.
3. Sylvan Caryatid
While Sylvan Caryatid may not be as quick as a Birds of Paradise, it is much more durable. The knock with birds is that it dies to almost everything. Sylvan Caryatid solves that by being 2 points tougher and by having hexproof.
This makes caryatid an excellent blocker and a durable mana producer.
A drawback though, is that the caryatid cannot attack as it has defender. Also, the creature type of plant is not a popular tribal creature type and does not have much in terms of support as say elves, knights or goblins.
4. Priest of Titania
The Priest of Titania is a Llanowar Elves on steroids. On its own, it is just a more expensive Llanowar Elf. With more elves, it becomes a walking Gaea's Cradle.
In an elf tribal deck, Priest of Titania is absolutely nuts. It can easily ramp up your mana to summon a huge beefy creature or cast a game-breaking spell.
A good use for this much mana is a huge direct damage spell such as Fireball or Banefire.
The priest was originally printed in Urza's Saga as a common. It was illustrated by iconic Magic: The Gathering artist, Rebecca Guay.
This card became the blueprint for the elflord Elvish Archdruid. The difference being that the archdruid costs one more mana, has one more point of power and tougher and has the ability to bestow a boost of one power and one toughness to your elf army.
5. Noble Hierarch
In a way, the Noble Hierarch is a more offensive-minded version of Birds of Paradise. It has exalted and this enables the hierarch to become a 1/2 creature or helps pump up a solo attacker.
The hierach is excellent in Bant decks or exalted themed decks. Exalted is a mechanic that came out in the Shards of Alara block and enabled a solo attacker to get a power and toughness boost for each other creature you control with exalted.
It is not as good a mana fixer as birds though. It can only produce Bant colors—green, white and blue.
This card has been a tournament staple since its debut in the Conflux expansion.
Just like most mana dorks though, it is easily taken out by most forms of creature removal.
Best Green Mana Dork
© 2020 Jan Michael Ong