Top 10 Enchantments in Magic: The Gathering
Enchantments in Magic
Similarly to artifacts, enchantment cards in Magic: The Gathering are permanent effects that typically give you a dramatic buff or hinder your opponents. In exchange for requiring specific mana colors (unlike most artifacts), enchantments provide incredible effects that often make or break your duel, and learning how to play them is crucial to your success.
But with many hundreds of cards to choose from, which enchantments reign supreme? These are the ten best normal enchantment cards (no auras or enchantment creatures allowed) in Magic!
10. Sanguine Bond/Exquisite Blood
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 5 each
These cards are paired so often I couldn't resist letting them share the same slot. Sanguine Bond and Exquisite Blood both belong to black's arsenal and require five mana; Bond damages an opponent a corresponding amount whenever you gain life while Blood gains you health whenever an opponent loses life.
Not only are these effects viable on their own, together they form the most infamous "infinite" combo in the game. With both cards out, all you need to do is either gain life or nick an opponent to set an infinite loop of gaining life, damaging an opponent, gaining life, damaging an opponent, and so on until you win. Powerful on their own, absolutely lethal in tangent.
9. Legion's Landing/Adanto, the First Fort
Unlike the above entries, this isn't two cards but a single double-sided entry. Legion's Landing begins as a simple one-cost legendary enchantment that acts more like a creature since it places a 1/1 white vampire with lifelink onto your field. Then, if you ever attack with three or more creatures while Landing remains out, you can transform the card into the legendary land Adanto, the First Fort. This card can either tap for a white mana just like a normal Plains or pay three mana and tap to create another 1/1 vampire token.
A 1/1 creature with lifelink (regenerating health whenever damage is dealt) is already a decent deal for one mana, the potential of a future land that doesn't use up your land play for the turn adds some much-needed ramping to white, and the vampire creature type offers additional synergies to vampire builds. All this for a single mana!
8. Phyrexian Arena
An infamous black staple, Phyrexian Arena seizes one life at your upkeep, but lets you draw an extra card. In most games, forfeiting one life is a more than welcome price for adding to your hand, especially if you're using common black creatures with lifelink to help make up the difference.
Particularly with the gradual limiting of the tutor cards (like Demonic Tutor) that add to hand, Phyrexian Arena offers a reusable and fairly inexpensive draw engine that isn't subject to creature removals; make sure you don't trade this away if you're lucky enough to find one in a booster box or the online game.
7. Doubling Season
For a fair chunk of mana, Doubling Seasons provides two awesome effects. The first states that whenever a number of tokens would be placed onto the field under your control, twice that number of tokens are placed instead. This helpfully doubles any artifact or creature tokens you can amass, especially if you're using a green-blue mashup.
However, the real treat is the second ability: if an effect would place one or more counters an a permanent you control, twice that many counters are placed instead. Not only does this boost the common +1/+1 power and toughness counters of green (use hydras), it also doubles the amount of loyalty counters that planeswalkers enter with! This amazing effect allows you to build a "superfriends" deck where planeswalkers can often trigger their ultimate effects as soon as they enter the field, giving you emblems that should virtually guarantee your victory.
6. Raiders' Wake
Here's yet another black enchantment, this time costing a reasonable four mana (three of which can be any color). Its first trait forces opponents to lose two life whenever they discard a card, and its raid secondary effect makes a target opponent discard at the end of your turn if you attacked with at least one creature.
What else can I say? The first ability combos with black's numerous discard options as well as Wake's own secondary effect. As long as you're consistently swinging, you'll be forcing opponents to lose their hand while simultaneously sapping their life.
5. Land Tax
This enchantment works best when you're the second player. Once activated, at the beginning of each of your upkeep steps (the start of your turns), if an opponent controls more land than you, you're able to search your library for three basic lands and add them to the hand.
Three cards to hand is no joke, especially since Tax costs only a single mana and stays out even once used; if the condition applies again, you can add even more land to hand. As a final bonus, the card doesn't specify the lands have to be Plains, so in multicolor builds you can add other basic land types beyond Plains to hand.
4. Frontier Siege
Frontier Siege's first boon is its choice between two effects. The "dragons" selection lets you have a creature with flying that just entered the field under your control fight a target opposing creature. A neat trick for flying-heavy decks, but in most cases players will opt for the amazing "khans" option.
With this, during each of your main phases, you add two green mana to your pool. Remember that players get two main phases in each of the turns, meaning you actually add a total of four mana every turn! This drastically ups your ability to play your game-changing costly spells, especially if you can store mana as phases and turns end with cards like Omnath, Locus of Mana.
3. Mayael's Aria
Mayael's Aria only costs three mana, but demands one of green, white, and red, so be sure to employ the valued lands that can give multiple types of mana to ensure you're never without the proper color. Depending on your strongest creature's power, Aria provides up to three benefits at your upkeep:
- If you control a creature with five or more power, put a +1/+1 token on each creature you control
- Then, if you control a creature with ten or more power, gain 10 life
- Then, if you control a creature with twenty or more power, you win the game
All these are great abilities. +1/+1 counters to all your creatures drastically strengthens your army and helps you build power to achiever the second two traits. Extra life is always nice, and that win condition gives you a shot at victory even if your opponents are stalling your gargantuan creatures. As a final benefit, unlike many of today's cards who cost dozens of dollars thanks to their prowess, Mayael's Aria can usually be bought for single-digit prices.
A card surprisingly unrestricted in most formats, Humility takes four mana yet applies an insane lockdown effect to all creatures on the field: they lose their abilities and become simple 1/1 monsters.
This impacts your army as well, but this simply means you should construct a deck focusing on other card types and watch as your opponents lose access to their best units. With their essentially useless team, they'll be easy pickings for your planeswalkers, enchantments, and other noncreature tricks. Be sure to make the most of this card before Wizards of the Coast realize their folly and alter the rules to ban Humility.
In many ways, Magic matches are races to see who can amass enough mana to cast their game-winners first. This especially applies to green, and few cards aid in this endeavor as much as Exploration.
For a single mana, you can simply play an extra land per turn. As long as you have enough in hand to make use of the effect, you'll be acquiring resources much faster than your foe (be sure to incorporate some draw power into your deck). And since the card hardly costs a thing, your opponent will probably spend more mana taking it down than you did constructing it, and it may already be too late to stop your massive land swarming. Keep an eye out for rare cards like Courser of Kruphix to play lands from the top of your deck as well as your hand, further ensuring you make good use of the bonus.
Which card do you prefer?
With so many awesome options (not to mention the other enchantment subtypes), we've only scratched the surface of formidable enchantments. Still, these guys should get you started and easily prove the worth, and the online Magic card database can help you easily search for more entries suiting your deck's colors.
But for now, as we eagerly await Magic's next enchantment-employing booster set, vote for your entry and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
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© 2018 Jeremy Gill