Top 10 Banding Cards in Magic: The Gathering

Updated on June 3, 2020
Jeremy Gill profile image

Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.

How Does Banding Work in Magic?

Despite being hailed as a colorful ability, Magic's banding trait still confuses many players, explaining its absence in newer releases. Basically, any number of creatures with banding, and up to one without, can attack as a group. Your opponent chooses whether to block the entire group or let them all pass by undefended. However, if they block, you get to assign their blocker's damage, letting you band weaker units and redirect their damage towards your sturdier warriors.

Confused yet? A similar rule applies on defense; when a creature with banding blocks an attacker, you (and not they) now get to decide how to distribute their unit's damage among your blockers. Basically, banding helps protect your units on both offense and defense, and though it's unlikely to reappear, we still experienced many potent battalions in the Alpha set.

10 Best Banding Cards

So, which allied groups reign supreme? These are the ten best banding cards in Magic: The Gathering!

  • Formation
  • Wall of Shields
  • Benalish Hero
  • Camel
  • Errand of Duty
  • Fortified Area
  • Timber Wolves
  • Soraya the Falconer
  • Baton of Morale
  • Helm of Chatzuk


10. Formation

CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 2

Like most banding spells, Formation belongs to the white faction. It only costs two mana and operate at instant speed, letting you cast it at any time. Formation grants any creature you control banding for the turn, making it a useful tool to temporarily ally with stronger troops.

Plus, you get to draw a card at the next turn's upkeep, skillfully replenishing your hand for future plays.

Wall of Shields
Wall of Shields

9. Wall of Shields

CMC: 3

Wall of Shields is both an artifact and a creature, qualifying for all corresponding supports (and removals). Like many walls, he's a 0/4, bearing low power but impressive toughness, and he of course carries the banding trait.

Use Shields to blend with other blockers and assign your opponent's damage as you see fit; for instance, you could direct three power towards Shields and the rest towards another blocker, injuring them but not taking enough damage to die.

Benalish Hero
Benalish Hero

8. Benalish Hero

CMC: 1

Many white creatures with banding come with extra abilities. These are nice, but they're lost when you band with creatures that don't have them; Benalish avoids this by simply possessing banding. She's a weak 1/1, but her low cost and grouping make her a helpful teammate to attack or block with, letting you control the flow of battle. Her human and soldier subtypes offer some interesting synergies as well.


7. Camel

CMC: 1

Camel is basically a weaker Benalish, bearing 0/1 stats, but with an added effect. When he attacks in a band, all creatures in the group (including himself) are immune to damage from desert lands, offering a useful barrier to your united force.

Back when the banded cards were released, they weren't nearly as many lands are there are now, meaning your likelihood of coming up against (and wanting protection from) deserts was much higher.

Errand of Duty
Errand of Duty

6. Errand of Duty

CMC: 2

Similar to Benalish, Errand places a 1/1 creature token with banding into play, but this spells needs one more mana. However, you can cast it at instant speed, granting some nice tactical advantages. Additionally, its status as an instant makes it useful for "spell mastery" graveyard conditions, helping it age better than most of its banding peers.

Fortified Area
Fortified Area

5. Fortified Area

CMC: 3

The enchantment gives all wall creatures you control +1/+0 and banding. Walls bear defender, meaning they can't normally attack, but that extra power boost comes in handy for counterattacking invaders.

Even today, Magic maintains many powerful walls who could benefit from Area's boost; I only wish it were slightly less resource-draining.

Timber Wolves
Timber Wolves

4. Timber Wolves

CMC: 1

Green troopy Timber Wolves offers a rare degree of banding outside the white faction. Similar to Benalish, it's a simple 1/1 with banding, differing only in color and creature subtype. Still, like other bands, Timber scales well into the late game despite its weak stats because it can partner with stronger monsters to swing with little concern over counterattacks.

Soraya the Falconer
Soraya the Falconer

3. Soraya the Falconer

CMC: 3

Soraya herself doesn't bear banding, and her stats are a puny 2/2, but this legendary champion grants all birds you control an extra +1/+1, sculpting them into capable fighters. Additionally, she can spend two mana to grant a bird banding for the turn, letting you spend leftover mana to fortify your assaults or defenses when needed.

For such an old card, Soraya still offers some decent bird supports that hold up far better than most of her kin.

Baton of Morale
Baton of Morale

2. Baton of Morale

CMC: 2

Like most relics, this colorless artifact can blend into any deck. It needs two mana to cast and two more whenever apply its effect, granting any creature banding for the rest of the turn.

Since Baton doesn't tap for its trait, you can activate the boost multiple times in the same round if you have the mana. A useful tool, but one relic offers even better banding ability . . .

Helm of Chatzuk
Helm of Chatzuk

1. Helm of Chatzuk

CMC: 1

Helm of Chatzuk offers a much cheaper Baton, taking half the mana to both cast and trigger its identical effect, granting any creature banding until the end of the turn. The only downside is that Chatzuk must tap for its ability, a more than welcome trade-off for its diminished mana cost.

Helm of Chatzuk is easily the best banding card yet that I still enjoy playing in some EDH builds, and it's saved my bacon more than once. Use it for decks that rely on sheer stats more than keywords for combat prowess; thankfully, despite its age and rarity, you can can often buy Chatzul for less than a single dollar!

Which card do you prefer?

See results
Banding Sliver MTG
Banding Sliver MTG

How to Use Banding in Magic

We've now covered the basic rules for banding and seen its best applicants, but keep these advanced tips in mind when using the trait. As great as banding is for protecting your squad, remember that it can negate blocker-hindering abilities. For instance, if you band a creature with shadow and one with flying together, and your opponent can (and chooses to) block the flying creature, they will also block the creature with shadow. Thus, you'll often have to weigh the pros and cons of banding when deciding whether to ally.

Though banding was abandoned long ago, we did briefly see it reemerge in the test card "Banding Sliver", but for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion set, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!

© 2018 Jeremy Gill


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)