Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
What Are the Best Cat Cards in Magic?
In Magic, cats represent one of the most abundant creature subtypes, with many gaining extra bonuses when used alongside their feline companions. Cats come in all shapes and sizes, but are commonly found as low-cost units in the white and green factions, letting you play them early and steal a quick lead.
With effects including lifegain, vigilance, token swarming, and equipment support, cats provide several bonuses, and many bear additional subtypes to further synergize with other clans. But with hundreds of furry warriors, which troops reign supreme? These are the 10 best cats in Magic: The Gathering!
30. Black Cat
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 2
While Black Cat's stats are a puny 1/1 (one power and one toughness), he carries both the cat and zombie heritages, stacking well with two bountiful families. More than that, when Cat dies, he forces an opponent to discard a random card, a useful hand dampener that doesn't let your rival pick what to throw out.
29. Sacred Cat
Sacred Cat is another weak 1/1, but it's hard to complain since he only costs a single white mana. Also, he wields lifelink, gaining you a corresponding amount of health whenever he deals damage (whether to an opponent or their creature), and his rare embalm trait lets you (for one mana) exile him from your graveyard to create a token with the same stats and abilities, adding the zombie subtype as a bonus.
28. Oreskos Explorer
Explorer works best in multiplayer games and when you're last in turn order. Despite his unpredictable nature, he shines in his element, offering a land search that rivals even the infamous "Land Tax." When he enters the field, he searches a number of plains from your deck equal to the amount of opponents who control more lands than you! Plus, Explorer harnesses a fair 2/2 stats for his low price, and he carries scout as a second subtype, further cementing his might.
27. Adorable Kitten
As one of the Unstable expansion's wacky host creatures, Kitten can combine with cards that have augment to form mutated monsters. However, even by himself, he's a low-cost unit with a weak 1/1, but lets you roll a six-sided die upon entering the field, gaining life equal to the result. This averages 3-4 health, a sizable recovery alongside a cheap throwaway blocker.
26. Scythe Tiger
Green's Scythe Tiger offers incredible powers at low cost—for a price. When he enters the field, you sacrifice him unless you sacrifice a land. Thankfully, you can forfeit a tapped land, letting you access its resources for that turn, and Tiger enters as an daunting 3/2 considering his single cost. As icing on the cake, he wields shroud, preventing all players (including you) from targeting him with effects.
25. Sunspear Shikari
Shikari's another two-cost unit with a fair 2/2 stats, and her soldier subtype is a nice add-on. But her real advantage comes when granted an artifact equipment, at which point she'll gain lifelink and first strike (in addition to the equipment's benefits), letting her recover you health and deal damage first in combat, potentially avoiding a counterattack if she kills her foe.
24. Leonin Den-Guard
Leonin Den-Guard functions similarly to Shikari, arriving as a two-cost cat solider and rearranging her stats to 1/3. She also strengthens when equipped, now gaining +1/+1 and vigilance, letting her swing as at least a 2/4 without having to tap, ensuring she's available to block on opposing turns.
23. Qasali Slingers
At five mana, Qasali is more expensive than most felines, but remember that green's mana ramp prowess can quickly access hefty cards, and Qasali only needs one green, merging well with rainbow builds. Its stats are unremarkable at 3/5, but it bears reach, letting it block flyers (a useful boon for the ground-based green faction), and whenever Qasali or another cat enters your field, you can destroy an opposing artifact/enchantment. This makes it a continuous albeit late-game utility removal that clears the path for your army to invade.
22. Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist
As a legendary creature, Mirri can serve as commander in EDH format, and she wields a decent 3/2 stats as well as first strike and the warrior subtype. Better yet, when Mirri attacks, opponents can't block with more than one creature, and while she's tapped, only one creature can attack you each turn.
Thus, Mirri greatly rewards offensive strategies; grant her extra toughness or indestructible with auras/equipment to ensure she survives her assaults and maintains her excellent passive bonuses.
21. Watchers of the Dead
An artifact-creature blend, Watchers of the Dead arrives with a solid 2/2 stats and accepts any mana hues, blending well into multicolor decks. Plus, he carries a nice instant effect, letting you banish him to make opponents exile all but two cards of their graveyards.
Since the effect doesn't involve tapping, Watchers can use it immediately even without haste, making an excellent counterblow if an opponent throws a removal your way.
20. Pride Sovereign
Pride Sovereign (a Lion King reference?) joins the fray with only 2/2, but he gains an extra +1/+1 for each other cat you control, so be sure to swarm those tokens. Fortunately, Sovereign can do it himself, letting you spend one white mana and tap to exert. This means he won't be untapped during your next untap step, but in exchange, you receive two 1/1 cat tokens with lifelink, handy units that help boost Sovereign's power!
Sovereign's a fun card that I've used to great effect in commander, and he costs less than three dollars, but remember his color identity consists of both green and white (it includes his text symbol), so don't try squeezing him into monocolor EDH structures.
19. Stalking Leonin
Leonin possesses an appropriate 3/3 stats for his cost, bearing the rare archer subtype alongside cat. When he enters the field, you secretly choose an opponent (perhaps written on a piece of paper).
In single player, everyone knows who you'll select, but that's fine. You see, when attacked by the player you picked, you can reveal your choice and (once) exile one of their attacking creatures, a handy removal that makes opponents hesitate to swing for the mere chance that you'll banish their troops.
18. Steppe Lynx
Cats offer some of the best single-cost units in the game, and Lynx is no exception. He's initially weak at 0/1, but thanks to his landfall, he gains +2/+2 for the turn whenever a land enters the field under your control. With your normal land per turn, you can morph him into a fierce 3/2, and if you use extra-land cards from green (like "Exploration" and "Oracle of Mul Daya"), you can boost him multiple times in the same round!
17. Tethmos High Priest
A three-cost cat cleric with 2/3 stats is unimpressive, but whenever you cast a spell that targets High Priest (white auras work well), his heroic trait returns a creature with CMC two or less from your graveyard to the battlefield. Use self-sacrificing monsters like "Sakura-Tribe Elder" and our upcoming "Felidar Cub" to ensure you always have valid targets for his revival.
16. Vanguard of Brimaz
Cat-soldier Vanguard also offers a heroic ability, but he only needs two mana, arriving with a solid 2/2. This time, when you cast spells that target him, you create a 1/1 cat soldier token with vigilance, helpfully swarming your field with block fodder and empowering cards like Pride Sovereign. Brimaz himself wields vigilance, letting him attack while remaining available to block on upcoming rounds.
15. Balan, Wandering Knight
Another legendary unit, cat knight Balan arrives with a disappointing 3/3, but helps compensates with first strike. Plus, when equipped with two or more artifacts, he gains the superior double strike, letting him deal both first strike and regular combat damage! Luckily, Balan can spend two mana to instantly attach all equipment you control to himself, a handy boon that avoids the often-pricey equip costs of many weapons.
14. Nazahn, Revered Bladesmith
Another excellent equipment support, Nazahn requires a whopping six mana, but carries a respectable 5/4 stats. When he arrives, he lets you search your library for an equipment, and if that card was "Hammer of Nazahn" (one of the best weapons in the game), you get to field it for free! Even if it wasn't, you still add it to your hand, and whenever an equipped creature you control attacks (including himself), Nazahn lets you tap an opposing troop, further rewarding your relic theme.
13. Felidar Cub
Two mana for a 2/2 cat beast is nice, especially when Cub can sacrifice himself to destroy an enchantment. Again, since there's no tapping involved, this ability doesn't need haste to activate immediately. Tip: use the block-sacrifice combo to declare Cub as a blocker against an attacking unit, then immediately sac him to destroy an enemy enchantment. Even though Cub is now gone, your invader still counts as having been blocked, and won't deal damage that turn.
12. Leonin Relic-Warder
Leonin specifically needs two white mana, but when he enters the field (as a nice 2/2), he exiles an opposing artifact or enchantment until he leaves. Thus, be careful about placing him into battle, as your adversary will regain their lost unit when he dies. Still, he's a nice blocker against weak units, and his cleric subtype adds extra combo potential.
11. Qasali Pridemage
Yet another enchantment punisher, Pridemage also costs two mana, and you can sacrifice him by spending a mana to destroy any artifact or enchantment at instant speed. But no need to rush, as Pridemage offers the exalted ability, letting any of your troops that attack alone (including him) gain +1/+1 for the turn, fortifying their one-man assault. Pridemage also wields the wizard heritage, chaining surprisingly well with many of blue's best spellcasters.
10. Glittering Lynx
Lynx is a weak 1/1, but he only costs a single mana, and he's essentially indestructible, preventing all damage that would be dealt to him. Now, foes can remove this benefit for the turn by spending two mana, but that's a hefty fee just to potentially eliminate a single-cost unit, so either way, Lynx has served your cause.
9. Qasali Ambusher
For his price, Ambusher's stats are only a decent 2/3, but he carries reach, helping green block aerial assaults. More importantly, this cat warrior can be cast for free and as though he had flash (at instant speed) if your opponent attacks you while you control a plains and a forest! A free and quick-play 2/3 reach blocker? Yes, please.
8. Kemba, Kha Regent
Yet another valued equipment support, legendary Kemba bears a strong 2/4 considering her low price, and this cat cleric creates a 2/2 cat token during your upkeep for each equipment attached to her, an excellent swarm tactic that quickly overwhelms foes and makes her a strong choice as a monowhite commander.
7. Prowling Serpopard
An odd but useful cat snake blend, Serporpard only costs three mana but arrives as a formidable 4/3. Even better, he can't be countered, and he renders your other green creatures immune to countering, beautifully shielding green's soldier-heavy arsenal against blue's counterspell prowess.
Blue is a common threat in EDH; I use Serporpard in every emerald deck I craft to defend against its fierce negations; thankfully, he's a bargain deal, costing less than two dollars!
6. Fleecemane Lion
Fleecemane Lion lacks a secondary type, but for two mana, he enters as a daunting 3/3, quickly overpowering foes in the early game. His monstrosity trait requires five mana, but lets him scale well into the late-game, as it grants a +1/+1 counter, indestructible, and hexproof, making Lion immune to both damage and targeting, a formidable defense few spells can bypass.
5. Felidar Sovereign
Someone who should arguably be banned in EDH, Felidar Sovereign needs a good chunk of six mana, but his 4/6 stats, vigilance, and lifelink make him a prime combatant. Lifelink also combos with his alternate win condition, letting you immediately triumph if you begin your upkeep with 40 or more health! Use the increased starting health of commander format to gimmick this to your advantage (probably losing some friends along the way).
4. Leonin Squire
At worst, Squire is a 2/2 cat soldier with respectable stats and synergies. But, with a corresponding card available, he recycles an artifact with CMC one or less from your graveyard to your hand when he enters the field, adeptly regaining "Sol Ring" or self-sacrificing relics like "Lion's Eye Diamond".
3. Brimaz, King of Oreskos
One of the best monowhite commanders available, legendary Brimaz only requires three mana and arrives as a 3/4 cat soldier with vigilance. Plus, whenever he attacks or blocks, you create a 1/1 cat soldier with vigilance who is also attacking or blocking, further increasing his combat prowess and swarming your feline tokens.
2. Wild Nacatl
This inexpensive cat warrior needs a forest land to cast, but gains +1/+1 while you control a mountain or plains, perfect for green/red/white builds. If you control both a mountain and a plains, Nacatl jumps to 3/3, an amazing deal for such a low-cost unit. Use the valued multi-type lands to quickly meet these conditions and begin your assault.
1. Loam Lion
Similarly to Nacatl, 1/1 Loam Lion increases in strength based on your other land types, this time needing only a forest to jump by +1/+2, totaling a fierce 2/3 stats. For a single-cost unit, this is an amazing deal that utilizes the two colors (green and white) that cats most occupy, skillfully employing your best hues.
I use Lion in just about every green/white deck I craft, and you'll rarely find a competitive card for such a low price, as he costs well under a single dollar!
How to Support Cats in Magic
In addition to cat-rewarding cards like Brizal, Kemba, and Pride Sovereign, you can boost your felines with "Regal Caracal," who takes five mana but grants your other cats +1/+1 and lifelink, handily creating two 1/1 cat tokens in the process.
While not technically cats themselves, the Ajani planeswalkers employ cat's favored green and white hues, and some (like "Ajani, Caller of the Pride") can help swarm cat tokens. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of ferocious felines, vote for your favorite cat and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill