Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
The Best God Cards in Magic
Gods in Magic come in several flavors. The Amonkhet Egyptian-themed deities return to hand when destroyed, the Theros gods are indestructible but don't count as creatures until devotion is filled, the God-Eternals return to deck when destroyed or exiled, and the Norse-inspired Kaldheim deities let you play one of two halves.
While they differ in mechanics, gods in general are a powerful set, wielding fierce stats, abilities, and defenses—which reign supreme? These are the 30 best god cards in Magic: The Gathering!
30. The Locust God
Even with flying, Locust's 4/4 stats are mediocre for his price. However, he returns to your hand at the end of a turn where he dies, making him hard to keep down. More than that, Locust creates a 1/1 flying and haste insect token whenever you draw a card, and you can spend four mana to both draw and discard one.
While weak individually, these tokens overwhelm foes in swarms and make good fodder blockers.
29. Ephara, God of the Polis
Like the other enchantment gods, Ephara has indestructible and doesn't count as a creature until her devotion is satisfied; in this case, you need your blue/white devotion to be at least seven. Counting herself, this means you'll need at least five other blue or white symbols in your other permanents before she can enter combat.
But it's worth the effort for an indestructible 6/5 beatstick. Plus, Ephara's passive remains active whether a creature or not, letting you draw a card at any upkeep (even opposing ones) where you had another creature enter your field on the previous turn. Hint: use troops with flash on opposing turns to draw extra cards during your own upkeep.
28. Phenax, God of Deception
Phenax's 4/7 stats are a mixed bag; that's a lot of toughness, but you rarely need it thanks to indestructible. Either way, Phenax gives all creatures you control (including himself once black/blue devotion reaches seven) the ability to tap to make any player mill cards from their deck equal to the tapped creature's toughness.
So Phenax's excess toughness does have a use, edging foes towards deck-out losses. Or, pick yourself to fill your graveyard with fodder.
27. God-Eternal Bontu
Like the other God-Eternals, Bontu can place herself (yep, she's a girl) in your deck's third position when destroyed or exiled, so it's only a matter of time before she comes back. She's also got menace, impressive 5/6 stats, and the ability to sacrifice any of your permanents on arrival, drawing a card for each.
Plus, while all the God-Eternals share the zombie subtype in addition to god, Bontu makes best use of it since most zombie tribal supports exist in black.
26. Nylea, God of the Hunt
Mono-color enchantment gods like Nylea need their devotion—green in this case—to reach five before becoming creatures. So you'll need four or more green mana symbols in your other permanents.
While this can take time, you're rewarded with a mighty 6/6 indestructible beatstick. Plus, Nylea's effect gives your other creatures (sadly not herself) trample, and she can spend four mana to give a creature +2/+2 for the turn.
25. Ilharg, the Raze-Boar
Ilharg is red's off-brand God-Eternal, not carrying the zombie subtype but having the same death/exile effect of returning to your deck's third position. He's a fierce 6/6 trampler, and when he attacks, you can place a creature from your hand tapped and attacking!
The card returns to your hand at the end step, but it's a great way to temporarily field high-cost behemoths or repeatedly trigger entrance effects.
24. Erebos, God of the Dead
Erebos is tricky to gauge. Once your black devotion reaches five or more, his 5/7 stats are good but unfortunately lean towards toughness on a creature that's already shielded by indestructible. And his effect prevents foes from gaining life, which can be devastating or worthless depending on what you're up against.
But either way, Erebos lets you spend two mana and pay two life to draw a card, giving some appreciated card advantage when your hand starts to dwindle.
23. Rhonas the Indomitable
For just three mana and with no devotion needs, Rhonas offers a tempting 5/5 with deathtouch and indestructible—what's the catch? Well, he can't attack or block unless you control another creature with at least four power.
Thankfully, Rhonas can build towards this criteria, instantly paying three mana to give another creature +2/+0 and trample for the turn. Useful benefits in their own right, more so by helping Rhonas enter combat.
22. Kruphix, God of Horizons
Yet again, we see an oddball creature with 4/7 stats—good, but usually redundant with indestructible. You'll need blue/green devotion to reach seven total before Kruphix can enter combat regardless, but his abilities are what you're really after.
Kruphix gives you an infinite hand size (great with blue draw spells) and lets you keep mana (albeit turning it colorless) as turns and phases pass (great with green ramp engines). Two useful bonuses in one potent package.
21. The Scarab God
The Scarab God isn't a zombie, but he meshes with their theme, scrying X at your upkeep and having opponents lose X life, where X is the number of zombies you control.
To maximize this, Scarab can spend four mana and exile a creature from a graveyard to create a token copy of it, except it's a 4/4 zombie. Plus, Scarab himself is a 5/5 who returns to hand at end of turn when killed—just watch out for exile effects.
20. Xenagos, God of Revels
Xenagos enters as a 6/5 indestructible enchantment god who can't fight until your red/green devotion reaches seven. But even if he's just an enchantment, at the start of your combat Xenagos gives another creature you control +X/+X and haste for the turn, where X is its power.
This not only doubles a creature's stats, but lets it swing immediately, perfect supports for Gruul aggro.
19. Mogis, God of Slaughter
The aptly-named God of Slaughter carries incredible 7/5 stats and indestructible for just four mana. He can't attack until red/black devotion reaches seven, but at the start of each opponent's upkeep, Mogis deals them two damage unless they sacrifice a creature.
They get to choose which option to pick, but both put you ahead, edging them towards death or chipping away at their field.
18. Keranos, God of Storms
Though he won't count as a creature until red/blue devotions hits seven, Keranos serves as a 6/5 indestructible guardian. Additionally, he reveals the first card you draw during your turn, drawing another card if it's a land, or dealing three damage to any target otherwise.
While a bit chaotic, you win either way, either scoring card advantage or a free Lightning Bolt against any target.
17. Egon, God of Death/Throne of Death
Inspired by Norse mythology, the Kaldheim gods can be distinguished by their unique art and two-sided faces, letting you pick which half to play. Egon arrives as a deadly 6/6 with trample, but she sacrifices herself at your upkeep unless you exile two cards from your graveyard. Still, this offers a good defense against prominent rogue decks, and she'll give you a draw if she does end up offing herself.
Throne of Death works great in self-milling builds, It's cheap, mills a card at your upkeep, and taps while spending three to exile a creature from graveyard and draw a new card.
16. Alrund, God of the Cosmos/Hakka, Whispering Raven
Alrund costs five and his base stats are a puny 1/1, but he gets +1/+1 per your card in hand or foretold into exile. So he's much stronger than he looks, and at your end step, you pick a card type and add any of your deck's top two cards matching that type to hand, putting the rest on bottom. That's some nice card advantage, especially in spellslinger decks that tend to emphasize one type.
Whispering Raven isn't amazing, but stalls against aggro builds. 2/3 flying impresses on a blue two-drop, and if Raven hits your opponent, he scries two and bounces himself back to hand, so you can potentially play the Alrund half later.
15. Cosima, God of the Voyage/The Omenkeel
Cosima's a fair defender against aggro at 2/4, and he can exile himself at your upkeep, gaining a lore counter whenever you play a land. After a land play, you can return him to the field with +1/+1 counters and bonus draws equal to his lore counters in exile. Basically, the longer you keep him away, the stronger he gets on return.
Omenkeel isn't bad either. It's cheap at just two, and is easy to crew for a 3/3 creature; you just need to tap a creature with one power. Then, if it hits an opponent, they exile the top three cards of their deck, and you can play lands among them for the rest of the game (following normal land play restrictions).
14. Reidane, God of the Worthy/Valkmira, Protector's Shield
Reidane can be crippling or useless depending on what your opponents run. She has their snow lands enter tapped and makes their non-creatures of cost four or more need an extra two mana. These are amazing bonuses in their element, but against non-snow builds, she's mostly just a 2/3, though even then, flying and vigilance help justify her.
Valkimira is interesting, preventing one damage any time you or your creatures take damage and countering effects used against you unless one extra mana is paid. A useful option when Reidane won't stall much, but she's usually the better half.
13. Athreos, God of Passage
For just three mana, Athreos bestows a 5/4 indestructible monster who actually rewards your creatures for dying, returning them to hand unless an opponent pays three life.
This means opponents can only keep your creatures down while their life persists. Plus, the effect can be used diplomatically in multiplayer games, where a fellow straggler might agree to let your creatures return to hand to be used against the current leader.
12. God-Eternal Rhonas
Rhonas isn't indestructible, but if destroyed or exiled, he can enter your deck's third position. Heck, that's not so bad since it'll eventually let you reuse his amazing entrance trigger, doubling the power of your other creatures and giving them vigilance for the turn!
If your opponent hasn't taken care of your tramplers yet, they're in for a world of hurt. And Rhonas himself is no slouch in combat, providing a 5/5 with deathtouch.
11. Jorn, God of Winter
Both of this deity's sides cost three, but they need different colors (remember, EDH commanders need all three to run it). Jorn's a green 3/3 who untaps all your snow permanents when he attacks, so in snow-mana decks, you effectively get double mana in each turn. And since he's snow, it basically gives him vigilance.
Blue/black Kaldring works better late-game when you need more cards, tapping to play a snow permanent from your graveyard, though it enters tapped (remember you can untap it immediately if you also have a Jorn ready to swing).
10. Esika, God of the Tree/The Prismatic Bridge
Esika works well in control thanks to defensive 1/4 stats. She also wields vigilance and the ability to tap for any color, sharing these effects with your other legendaries.
Definitely not a bad half, but when you can, go for The Prismatic Bridge. It needs one mana of every color, but automatically plays the next creature/planeswalker in your deck for free at your upkeep! If opponents don't have a removal, they won't last long against that kind of advantage.
9. God-Eternal Oketra
For a God-Eternal, 3/6 stats look poor until you consider Oketra's double strike, letting her hit twice with each attack. Again, she can reenter your deck if killed or banished, making her hard to keep down.
Despite not being black, Oketra works well in zombie decks; not only does she possess their subtype, she creates a 4/4 zombie token with vigilance whenever you cast a creature!
8. Purphoros, God of the Forge
Purphoros is similar to Mogis, but only needs one color. His 6/5 stats are great for four mana, and whenever another creature enters your field, Purphoros deals each opponent two damage.
Use this alongside goblin-swarming cards like "Krenko, Mob Boss" for insane amounts of hurt. Finish foes off with a three-cost trigger to give your creatures +1/+0 for the turn, which seems small but adds up in groups.
7. Thassa, God of the Sea
Once devotion is met, Thassa gives blue a much-needed 5/5 indestructible titan. She also scries one at the start of your upkeep, letting you tweak draws to your advantage, and her two-cost effect makes a creature unblockable for the turn.
That's one of the best activated god abilities, bearing a low cost that can affect Thassa herself and works well with commander damage.
6. Birgi, God of Storytelling/Harnfel, Horn of Bounty
Birgi excels in spellslinger builds, giving you one red whenever you cast a spell. She's also a sturdy 3/3, and she lets your creatures boast twice per turn rather than just once. That effect won't come up much since we've seen boast on a handful of worthwhile cards, but hopefully more will print in the future.
Often you'll want the Horn of Bounty artifact side. It requires several mana, but lets you instantly discard to exile the top two cards of your deck, letting you play them until end of turn. Not only does this provide card advantage, but it defends against discard effects and helps fill your graveyard with escape or delve fodder.
5. Iroas, God of Victory
Once devotion is met, Iroas battles as a fierce 7/4 with indestructible and two creature-boosting effects. He gives your army menace (requiring two or more blockers if blocked) and prevents any damage (even non-combat) dealt to your attacking creatures.
Together, both effects make it irritatingly difficult for foes to block your invincible warriors. Plus, unlike god cards like Heliod and Nylea, Iroas's menace boost actually includes himself.
4. Halvar, God of Battle/Sword of the Realms
Mono-white aggro was surprisingly strong during Kaldheim's standard run, partially thanks to this card. Halvar provides a 4/4 who grants your equipped or enchanted creatures double strike. Also, at the start of each combat (including your opponents'), he can reattach an aura/equipment that's on your creature to a different creature.
Halvar's more than good enough to deserve consideration, but it's hard to best the Sword of Realms. It's cheap to both cast and equip, and once attached, provides +2/+0, vigilance, and returns the creature to hand if they die. This provides white with great attack boosts (which it already has), but also card advantage (which it desperately needs).
3. Tergrid, God of Fright/Tergrid's Lantern
Tergrid herself is easily the star here. 4/5 with menace helps justify five mana, but her effect brings to mind It That Betrays, an eldrazi costing more than twice her cost. Tergrid lets you cards your opponents discard or sacrifice (except tokens). You don't even have to be the source triggering the sacrifice/discard; if they or another player initiate it, you still get to steal their spells.
The Lantern half is less exciting, tapping to make a player lose three life unless they discard or sacrifice, but it's always nice to have available. But whenever possible, go with Tergrid to play opposing decks against themselves.
2. God-Eternal Kefnet
The cheapest God-Eternal, Kefnet needs just four mana but enjoys 4/5 flying stats and the shared return-to-deck exit. Additionally, he lets you reveal the first card you draw each turn, casting a copy of it for two less mana if it's a sorcery or instant!
Not only are the copies cheaper, but they don't expend the original, meaning you can cast it later (for full price). As the final cherry on top, blue (after black) makes the second best use of the zombie subtype, offering potential tribal synergy.
A staple in my own blue decks, Kefnet is actually less expensive than most god cards, costing under six dollars!
1. Valki, God of Lies/Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor
Valki's twin halves make him useful both early on and in the late-game, offering some nice versatility, especially in a color pairing that doesn't normally shine at control. Valki enters as a 2/1 who looks at your opponent's hand and exiles a creature from it. They get it back when Valki leaves the field, but he can instantly pay its mana cost (using any colors) to become a copy of it. This works especially well against companions or the Theros elder giants.
Tibalt's today's most expensive spell at seven mana, but just by entering the field he creates an emblem that lets you play cards he exiles. From there, use +2 to exile the top card of each player's deck, -3 to exile a creature or artifact, or -8 to exile all graveyards and get three mana. Opponents have one, maybe two rounds to deal with Tibalt before his sheer card advantage gives you control of the board.
How to Beat God Cards in Magic
Whether indestructible or returning to hand or deck, gods carry defenses that make them difficult to eliminate, letting you concentrate on other spells while foes scramble to find removals. That said, enemies can destroy your other units to prevent devotion gods from becoming creatures, and even the God-Eternals fall prey to counterspells.
You can always fight fire with fire by employing your own deities—each color has several—but for now, as we await Wizards of the Coast's next god card, vote for your favorite and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
Questions & Answers
Question: In Magic: The Gathering, how can Keranos help you draw on your opponent's turn?
Answer: Look carefully at his text; he states that you reveal the first card you draw on *any* turn. Of course, you only draw naturally on your move, but if you use instants or tap effects that let you draw on your opponent's turn, you can access his ability even outside your own round.
© 2018 Jeremy Gill
Cory on August 11, 2019:
Yes, Scarab god is a must in zombie tribal. Also, makaeus is an excellent 6 drop.
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on March 14, 2019:
Could be worth quite a bit if it's in good condition; I see foils of "The Scarab God" running for over $90. Try checking Amazon and tcgplayer.com for current market prices.
Deb on March 13, 2019:
I have a collectors edition scarab god card and i wanted to know how much collectors will pay for it. Im a novice when it comes to things like this and im not sure if i should sell it
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on December 18, 2018:
Yes, I'm fond of The Scarab God. He's not indestructible and needs a fair chunk of five mana, but he's already a creature (no devotion condition required) and helpfully returns to your hand if killed.
His effect lets you scry X cards and has opponents lose X life at the start of your upkeeps (where X is how many zombies you control), making him a perfect support for an undead deck.
R_E_Anonymous on December 16, 2018:
Does the Scarab God contend in this list since that I would like to know if it is viable for my Zombie deck that focuses in replacing weak measly 1/1 zombies into 4/4 zombies even though the cost might be high in which I would like to hear your opinion about it.