Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Aura Enchantments in Magic
In Magic, auras are spells that attach to other permanents, generally creatures. Most auras bestow various boosts, though some are detrimental and designed to inhibit opposing cards.
Unlike artifact equipments, you can't reassign auras once cast, but their singular fee offers a cheap way to buff creatures—which reign supreme? These are the 30 best aura cards in Magic: The Gathering!
30. Kenrith's Transformation
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 2
Green doesn't have many removal options, making Transformation especially valuable to it, morphing the enchanted creature into a green elk with base 3/3 stats. You also get to draw a card when Transformation enters, replacing itself in hand.
You could place Transformation on one of your weenies to power it up, but it's usually best for opposing units, dampening their effects, stats, and subtypes.
Seeing play across several rotations, you'll find Pacifism in many sets. Cast it on an opposing to creature to prevent them from attacking or blocking. Their effects remain active, but this takes a big threat out of the fight for little mana.
28. Octopus Umbra
While higher on the mana curve, Octopus Umbra provides three tempting benefits. First, the enchanted creature has base 8/8 stats, a huge upgrade for weaker troops. Then, whenever they attack, you can tap a creature with eight or less power, shutting down blockers and dodging deathtouch.
But even if your opponent scrapes together a removal, Umbra's totem armor sacrifices itself to prevent its bearer from dying; just watch out for non-death removals like exile or returning to hand.
27. Hyena Umbra
Like the other Umbra auras, Hyena grants totem armor, protecting its wearer from a single destruction by sacrificing itself. Until then, the recipient gains +1/+1 and first strike, worthy bonuses for a spell that only needs one mana.
26. Flickering Ward
Many white auras give protection from certain colors, but Flickering Ward lets you choose with color to guard against on entry, adapting to counter opposing decks. It also avoids the classic aura disadvantage (losing two cards when the enchanted creature dies) by letting you pay a mana to return it to hand.
This can also be used to empower cards with storm, who duplicate themselves based on the number of spells played before them that turn.
25. Unquestioned Authority
Authority protects its wielder from all creatures, making them completely unblockable and giving you a near-invincible blocker. Plus, its cantrip gives you a draw on entry, and since only one of its mana needs to be white, you can splash it alongside other colors.
24. Shielding Plax
With its hybrid mana symbol, Plax accepts either a blue or green mana (plus two of anything), making it easy to cast. On entry, you draw a card and the enchanted unit basically gains hexproof, preventing foes from targeting them with spells or abilities—use this to shield your ace monsters.
However, since this isn't actually hexproof, on rare occasions you might want to enchant an opposing creature, preventing your opponent from targeting them with beneficial spells.
23. Gaea's Embrace
Embrace needs several mana, but grants +3/+3 and trample. Additionally, by spending one mana, you can instantly regenerate the enchanted creature, saving them from their next death that turn. While you're still vulnerable to non-destruction removals, Embrace nonetheless provides an excellent way to buff a creature and make it hard for opponents to kill.
22. Daybreak Coronet
Coronet's restriction is that you may only attach it to a creature that already has an aura, so you're really putting your eggs in one basket. But for a mere two mana, Coronet provides first strike, vigilance, lifelink, and +3/+3, more than justifying the risk.
Combine with auras that give protection or hexproof to ensure your unit lives long enough to make use of its boosts.
21. Ethereal Armor
For just one mana, Armor gives its holder +1/+1 for each enchantment you control plus first strike. It counts itself, so that's at least +1/+1, but in enchantment-focused decks, you can really see those numbers skyrocket.
20. Soul Link
Whenever its bearer deals or is dealt damage, Soul Link gives you that much life. Sort of like lifelink except you're getting it from both ends of the damage, and since it isn't technically lifelink, it stacks with it. Plus, like actual lifelink, this triggers with both combat and non-combat damage, offering even more applications.
19. Paradox Haze
Haze enchants a player, giving them an extra upkeep step each turn. Cool thing is, you can either use this to punish players who have negative effects triggering at their upkeep, or enchant yourself to double beneficial effects from cards like "Followed Footsteps". This can be brutal with the right setup, but admittedly depends on other spells to get going.
18. Bear Umbra
Bear Umbra justifies its higher cost with several effects, starting with totem armor alongside +2/+2. Even better, when the enchanted creature attacks, you untap all lands you control! Yep, you can basically double your mana output each turn and now have fresh lands to cast instants before the combat damage actually hits.
Pariah redirects any damage you would take towards its holder. Put this on a creature you control with indestructible to essentially become invincible (at least to lifeloss) until foes can find an answer, or equip it to an opposing unit to defend your health while dooming an enemy creature.
16. Angelic Destiny
Destiny bestows +4/+4, flying, first strike, and the angel subtype (which has slowly but steadily gained more tribal support). These boosts paint a big red target on Destiny's benefactor, but when the enchanted creature dies, you return Destiny to your hand, letting you recast the aura after death-related removals.
15. Squee's Embrace
Embrace strengthens its creature by +2/+2, a solid boost for an inexpensive card. It also returns them (but not itself) to your hand when they die, making them hard to permanently dispose of and giving another chance to apply entrance triggers.
14. Curse of Bounty
This versatile card lets you untap all your non-lands whenever the enchanted player is attacked. Placing this on an opponent basically gives your creatures vigilance and lets you refresh mana-tappers plus any other tapped cards.
As icing on the cake, Bounty's curse subtype has extra synergy, and you can cast the card on yourself if you think you'll get attacked more than you'll be attacking.
13. Threads of Disloyalty
Disloyalty steals control of a creature with cost two or less, which both takes down a threat and builds your own field. Sure, the cost restriction is unfortunate, but moderate-sized creatures with the right abilities can make a huge difference. And since tokens have cost zero, they're easy pickings.
12. Splinter Twin
Splinter Twin grants the ability to tap to create a token copy of the enchanted creature, give that token haste, and exile it at the end step. Since you're losing it at end of turn, you might as well swing with it, and bonus points for enchanting soldiers with entrance effects.
Just be careful not to duplicate legendary creatures or you'll end up having to sacrifice your copy.
11. Pattern of Rebirth
Rebirth offers a high-risk high-reward play perfect for formats like commander with no set rotation. There's no immediate boost, but when your enchanted creature dies, Rebirth lets you search your deck for a creature and play it for free!
To avoid the wait, use self-sacrificing creatures like "Sakura-Tribe Elder", letting you play high-cost eldrazi or other titans while evading their costs.
10. Wheel of Sun and Moon
Wheel enchants a player, putting any card(s) sent to their graveyard on the bottom of their library instead. While the effect's usefulness admittedly depends on what you're facing, it's pretty versatile; cast on yourself for an excellent anti-mill tactic, or enchant an opponent to prevent them from using graveyard-activated effects. The hybrid mana symbols also avoid getting color-screwed.
9. Power Artifact
True to its name, Power Artifact adheres to an artifact, reducing the cost of its activated abilities by two mana (although the cost can't fall below one). Since the blue faction heavily support artifacts, there's plenty of fun combos to be had here, like "Basalt Monolith" and "Grim Monolith".
8. Eldrazi Conscription
Today's most expensive aura, Conscription requires a whopping eight mana, but its colorless nature suits any deck. And boy is it a threat, granting +10/+10, trample, and annihilator 2, forcing the defending player to sacrifice two permanents when the enchanted creature attacks.
Eldrazi creatures are naturally big threats, but at least foes have a turn to find a removal while their summoning sickness wears off; with Conscription, they don't even get that time since you're presumably targeting a creature ready to attack. As a bonus, Conscription is a tribal enchantment with the eldrazi subtype, qualifying for family-related supports.
7. Control Magic
For one extra mana, Control Magic gives Threads of Disloyalty without limit, stealing absolutely any creature. Remember that unless it has haste, it won't be able to attack until your next turn, but it's still a brutal play. For an especially nasty trick, try stealing enemy commanders in EDH format.
6. Quicksilver Dagger
Dagger's recipient gains the ability to tap and deal one damage to a player while drawing you a card. Simple yet effective, you'll be scraping foes while gradually increasing your card advantage.
5. Pemmin's Aura
"Pemmin's Aura" is actually an anagram of "I am Superman", with Superman being the fan-name for Morphling, whose abilities inspired this card. Aura's holder can spend a blue mana to instantly untap itself or gain flying or shroud for the turn. They can also spend any type of mana to get +1/-1 or -1/+1 for the turn.
Boy is this versatile. With creatures that tap for multiple mana including at least one blue (like "Gyre Engineer"), you've got infinite mana. Flying and shroud make you hard to block and target, and in emergencies, you can even enchant enemy creatures to spam the -1 toughness until they die.
4. Dance of the Dead
Dance of the Dead revives a creature from a graveyard tapped and under your control. It attaches to that creature and makes you sacrifice them it you lose Dance, and they don't untap at your untap step like usual.
So what makes Dance so good? Well, its low price and ability to target any graveyard, plus the resurrected unit gets +1/+1 and can be untapped at your upkeep by paying two mana.
3. Animate Dead
Animate Dead works similarly to Dance, needing two mana to revive a creature from either graveyard. This time, they get -1/-0 instead of +1/+1, but there aren't any untap shenanigans to worry about, leaving your future mana intact. From there, it's the same powerful card, enchanting the restored creature and having you sacrifice them if Dead leaves the battlefield.
Treachery does what Control Magic does for an extra mana, stealing control of a creature. However, this time you also get to untap up to five lands, essentially making this a free play once you can afford it. Heck, you might gain mana with double-tapping lands like "Azorius Chancery" or "Coral Atoll".
Rancor has just about everything you need in an aura. It's super-cheap and boosts a creature by +2/+0 while giving it trample, which ensures the extra strength isn't wasted. Plus, when Rancor enters a graveyard from the field, it returns to your hand, negating the aura hand-disadvantage drawback by continuously recovering itself.
A must-have in any green deck, Rancor is surprisingly inexpensive for such a competitive card, costing less than two dollars!
Building Aura Decks in Magic
To make ideal use of the best auras, use aura-supporting creatures like "Bruna, Light of Alabaster" to quickly find them from your deck. And of course, since auras are enchantments, you'll also want general enchantment supports like "Herald of the Pantheon". And don't forget about cards with bestow, who can serve as either creatures or auras based on how you cast them.
Do your best to protect enchanted creatures since losing one means losing multiple cards, but for now, as we await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of auras, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill