Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
What Are Archers in Magic?
Only a handful of Magic creatures carry the archer subtype, typically as a supplement to more common lineages. But while archers are rare, many offer respectable stats and anti-flying abilities, making them superb additions to green's generally grounded armies.
Most archers are seen in white or green, with many carrying the useful elf subtype. But with dozens of snipers available, which arrow-carrying warriors reign supreme? These are the ten best archer cards in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Stalking Leonin
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 3
Leonin carries a solid 3/3 stats plus both the cat and archer subtypes, synergizing with white's numerous felines. Additionally, when he enters the field, you secretly select an opponent (try writing it on a hidden piece of paper to later prove you weren't lying).
At any time, you can reveal which opponent you chose, and then you exile a creature they own that's currently attacking you. In 1v1, it'll be pretty obvious which rival you selected, but this is still an excellent removal that deters attacks until your opponent can remove Leonin.
9. Jolrael's Centaur
Particularly for the time of his release, Centaur offered a powerful warrior whose twin abilities made him difficult to stop. While his stats are only 2/2, Centaur wields flanking, reducing the power and toughness of blockers without flanking by -1/-1 for the turn.
Additionally, his shroud ability prevents all players (including you) from targeting him, shielding against instants and other tricks. Centaur isn't quite as formidable in today's modern arena, but he's one of few early cards that still holds up, showcasing just how potent he was upon release.
8. Matsu-Tribe Sniper
Sniper only carries 1/1 stats, but she wields three separate subtypes, blending well with snakes, warriors, and archers. Better yet, she can tap to deal one damage to a creature with flying, and whenever she damages a unit, you tap it and prevent it from untapping during its owner's next upkeep.
This applies to both Sniper's effect and any combat damage she deals, so even against non-flying themes, she can dull anyone who dares engage her in battle.
7. Daybreak Ranger/Nightfall Predator
Like many archers, Ranger punishes flying units, and he carries three subtypes (human, archer, and werewolf). His stats are just 2/2, but he can tap to deal two damage to a creature with flying. Additionally, at the start of an upkeep where no spells were cast in the prior turn, Ranger transforms into his pure-werewolf Predator form.
Here, he enjoys a fierce 4/4 plus the ability to tap and spend a red mana to fight an opposing creature, forcing weaker enemies to engage in battle. A formidable warrior, but remember that his color identity includes red, excluding him from mono-green commander decks, and he'll transform back to his human mode after a turn where a player cast at least two spells.
6. Jagged-Scar Archers
In addition to her archer status, Jagged-Scar carries the useful elf subtype, blending with green's most abundant family. Her power and toughness are each equal to the number of elves you control; counting herself, that's at least one, but potentially many more in forest-focused decks.
Additionally, she can tap to deal damage to a creature with flying equal to her power, an excellent and reusable removal against green's aerial enemies.
5. Titania's Chosen
Like Jagged-Scar, Chosen is a three-cost elf archer, although he's slightly more accepting with mana color. And while he begins as a weak 1/1, he gains a +1/+1 counter whenever any player (including you) casts a green spell.
This skyrockets his power in mono-green builds, and if any opponents happen to use green, they'll be playing right into your hands.
4. Hallar, the Firefletcher
Yet another three-cost elf archer, this legendary creature carries a fierce 3/3 stats, especially considering his trample effect. Stopping there, you'd already have a good card, but Hallar also gains a +1/+1 counter when you cast a kicked spell, then he deals damage to each opponent equal to the number of +1/+1 counters he has.
Remember, kicked spells are ones where you pay optional "kicker" costs for additional effects, and since the ability hits each opponent, it works great in multiplayer. Use proliferate traits to rapidly multiply Hallar's counters and deal continuous effect damage.
3. Ezuri's Archers
Yet another elf archer, Ezuri's Archers only needs one mana and arrives with an impressive 1/2 considering. Additionally, her reach trait means she can block flying enemies, and when she does, her effect provides +3/+0 for the turn.
Only aerial combatants with at least five toughness will survive this hefty blow, meaning Archers will dramatically stall your adversaries' air raids—pretty impressive for a potential turn-one play.
2. Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile
For her price, this kithkin archer's stats are only 2/3, but her first strike lets her hit first in battle and avoid a counterattack if she kills her challenger. Better yet, Brigid can tap to deal two damage to all blocking or attacking creatures a player controls, an excellent rebuttal that weakens or outright kills invaders or defenders.
And remember that you can perform a "block-tap," simultaneously declaring Brigid as a blocker while utilizing her tap effect. This will hit all incoming attackers for two, then Brigid's first strike will add two more to a specific enemy, meaning she can safely block and kill anything with four or less toughness (assuming it lacks first strike) while scraping other foes.
1. Longbow Archer
While he's a bit mana-restrictive, specifically needing white resources, Longbow offers the best bowsman yet. He wields a respectable 2/2 stats plus first strike and reach, meaning he can defeat early-game warriors (including flyers) before they can respond.
Throw in not two but three subtypes (human, archer, and soldier), and Longbow qualifies for an impressive number of supports. A mainstay in my own mono-white commander decks, he's surprisingly affordable for a top-tier card, costing well under a single dollar!
Supporting Archer Decks in Magic
Since they possess other subtypes, archers are often used as supplements to other themes, but you can support their faction with cards like "Greatbow Doyen," who increases their power and copies damage they deal to creatures onto opponents.
Whether you're using them to mitigate a flying weakness or support your elf allies, archers are a versatile and underestimated bunch, often catching opponents by surprise. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of ranged warriors, vote for your favorite card, and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill