Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Drawing Cards in Magic
Like many trading card games, Magic players automatically draw a card at the start of their turn, but your hand quickly depletes as you play lands and spells. To ensure you don't run out of options, maintaining card advantage is crucial to any deck, especially in the extended matches of commander format.
But extra cards aren't always easy to come by—which spells work best for increasing your hand? These are the ten strongest colorless draw spells in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Well of Lost Dreams
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 4
Despite being colorless, Lost Dreams really belongs in black or white decks since its effect relies on gaining life. But it's still a great draw engine; whenever you gain life, you can pay an amount of mana less than or equal to the amount of health gained to draw that many cards.
One mana per draw is an extraordinary deal, and don't forget your creatures can help trigger the ability if they have lifelink.
9. Coercive Portal
Portal's "will of the council" effect has each player (starting with you) vote for carnage or homage during your upkeep. If carnage wins, you sacrifice Portal and destroy all non-land permanents, but if the vote is tied or homage wins, you draw a card.
In 1v1 games, this means you're guaranteed a draw each turn if you want it. Things are a little trickier in multiplayer where you might get outvoted, but even then, you can use Portal politically with other players to gang up on the leader (just don't cast it when you're ahead).
8. The Immortal Sun
At six mana, Immortal Sun is today's most expensive card, but it grants several awesome traits and you only need to pays its price once. First, planeswalkers can't activate loyalty effects, making Sun one of the best anti-planeswalker spells available. You also draw an extra card during your draw step, your creatures get +1/+1, and your spells cost one less mana.
Simply put, four bonuses in one potent package make Sun an excellent choice for any deck that doesn't heavily rely on planeswalker abilities.
7. Solemn Simulacrum
Calling Simulacrum a draw engine might be misleading, but he's too tempting to ignore. Four mana grants you a mediocre 2/2, but when he enters the field, Simulacrum lets you place a basic land from your deck onto the field tapped. Additionally, when he dies, you draw a card.
Basically, Simulacrum eventually scores an extra two cards (including a bonus land drop), and since he has a death trigger, he's excellent fodder for sacrifice-needing effects.
6. Mask of Memory
CMC: 2 (1 to equip)
An equipment artifact, Mask needs two mana to cast but just one to attach to a creature. And whenever the equipped unit deals combat damage to a player, you can draw two cards, then discard a card.
So each time Mask triggers, both your hand and graveyard increase, making it great for graveyard-reliant themes (like zombie decks). It also works well with trample, which helps you reliably land the combat damage.
5. Infiltration Lens
CMC: 1 (1 to equip)
Lens is another super-cheap equipment, needing one mana to cast and one to equip. From there, whenever its recipient becomes blocked, you can draw two cards.
That really backs foes into a corner; do they repeatedly take combat damage or give you insane amounts of card advantage? Bonus points if you combine Lens with infect creatures, units that force enemies to block, or to edge you towards a commander-damage win. It's also nice that the effect is optional, letting you decline in the rare cases you want to (perhaps against mill decks).
A frequent member of my own EDH decks, Lens is also surprisingly cheap, costing less than a single dollar!
4. Endless Atlas
Endless Atlas is tricky to employ outside mono-color decks, but boy does it work inside them. It costs two mana plus two more to tap and draw you a card, offering a discounted version of "Arcane Encyclopedia".
The only restriction is that you have to control at least three lands with the same name to use the effect, but in mono-color decks, you'll almost certainly have them ready by the time Atlas is ready to tap.
3. Karn, Scion of Urza
Karn is one of few colorless planeswalkers, and for his reasonable mana cost, he enters with an impressive amount of loyalty counters (five). Additionally, his +1 reveals the top two cards of your deck, then has an opponent choose one to add to your hand, exiling the other with a silver counter.
Basically, you get an extra card each turn (not to mention additional loyalty), and you can recover one of the exiled cards by using Karn's -1. You can also use -2 to create a 0/0 artifact token that gets +1/+1 per artifact you control, making Karn especially potent in artifact-based decks.
2. Tome of Legends
Endless Atlas discounts Arcane Encyclopedia's costs from 3-3 to 2-2, but Tome can bring it down to 2-1. Yep, Legends only needs two mana to cast, and by tapping it ans spending one, you can draw a card.
The catch is that you have to remove a page counter from Legends to do so, but it enters the field with one and gains another whenever your commander enters the field or attacks, so it's usually pretty easy to keep stocked. Use with partner commanders like "Thrasios, Triton Hero" or proliferate-oriented ones like "Atraxa, Praetors' Voice" for even more counters.
CMC: 1 (1 to equip)
Yet another amazingly cheap equipment, Skullclamp only needs one mana to cast and one to equip. Its bearer gets +1/-1, and whenever it dies, you draw twice. Most situations value power over toughness, making +1/-1 a welcome trade, and you can purposefully kill expendable one-toughness tokens by attaching Skullclamp for an easy two draws.
Simple, reusable, and available to any theme, Skullclamp isn't just one of Magic's best draw engines, it's one of its best cards ever.
Colored Draw Spells in Magic
In addition to today's spells, be sure to review the extra-card options available to your colors. While blue reigns supreme in draw prowess, don't overlook aces like green's "Sylvan Library" and black's "Phyrexian Arena".
Extra draws ensure you always have a land drop as well as spells to use your mana on, and they're an essential part of any long-term strategy. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next set of card-drawing abilities, vote for your favorite spell and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill