Top 10 Creature Steals in Magic: The Gathering

Updated on October 3, 2019
Jeremy Gill profile image

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

What Are Creature Steals in Magic?

Creatures form the backbone of most Magic decks, providing both unique effects and combat capabilities. But rather than summon your own units, you can instead steal them with a variety of spells. These vary in price and color, but they're usually red or blue; some permanently pilfer a unit, others gain control for a single turn.

Often, the unit will also be untapped and given haste, ensuring they're ready to act while under your command. But with dozens of monster-thieving spells available, which heists reign supreme? These are the 10 best creature steals in Magic: The Gathering!

Conquering Manticore mtg
Conquering Manticore mtg

10. Conquering Manticore

CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 6

A creature himself, Manticore needs a large sum of mana but offers a hearty 5/5 with flying, a prime threat in battle. Additionally, when he enters the field, he lets you gain control of a target creature for the turn, untapping it and granting it haste.

A nice two-for-one combo, and since the ability triggers whenever Manticore arrives (not just when cast), it'll resolve even if he's revived from the graveyard or otherwise gimmicked into play.

Wrangle mtg
Wrangle mtg

9. Wrangle

CMC: 2

Compared to standard red three-cost steals like "Act of Treason," Wrangle requires one less mana, offering a bargain deal that similarly dominates, untaps, and hastens a creature for a single turn. The only catch is the unit must have four or less power, but that's a minuscule restriction that accesses most mid-game aces (and even some late-game arrivals).

Merieke Ri Berit mtg
Merieke Ri Berit mtg

8. Merieke Ri Berit

CMC: 3

Merieke needs thee specific colors and only arrives as a 1/1. However, she can tap to gain control of a creature for as long as you control Merieke and she remains tapped. And she won't untap during your upkeep, letting you indefinitely control the unit.

But the best part is that if Merieke is untapped or leaves the field, you destroy the stolen unit and prevent it from regenerating. Thus, even if an adversary kills Merieke, they won't regain control of their creature. And while Merieke won't untap naturally, you can manually shift her with cards like "Crab Umbra" to repeatedly steal and destroy enemy units.

Insurrection mtg
Insurrection mtg

7. Insurrection

CMC: 8

Insurrection requires a hefty sum of mana, but untaps and seizes all creatures for the turn, granting them haste along the way. This steals every opposing monster at once, particularly useful in multiplayer, and it'll untap/hasten your original creatures as well.

Plus, since Insurrection doesn't target, it even works on troops with hexproof, shroud, or protection from red. Try avoiding its demanding price by using cards like "Jhoira of the Ghitu" to finagle it into play.

Bringer of the Red Dawn mtg
Bringer of the Red Dawn mtg

6. Bringer of the Red Dawn

CMC: 9 (5 with discount)

Red Dawn accepts either nine mana or just five if you can provide one from each color. Either way, his color identity includes all five hues, so be sure to run him only in rainbow commander decks.

But five mana is a nice price for a 5/5 troop with trample, especially since he automatically steals a creature for the turn at the start of your upkeep. That's right; each round, you'll score a free haste-given and untapped unit to direct as you see fit.

Old Man of the Sea mtg
Old Man of the Sea mtg

5. Old Man of the Sea

CMC: 3

Old Man works similarly to Merieke, but he requires only one color and has better 2/3 stats. You can tap him to gain control of a creature whose power is less than or equal to Old Man's, and you retain control until Old Man untaps or the creature's power is boosted above his.

Unfortunately, the creature isn't destroyed if Old Man is, but his higher stats, less demanding color needs, and ability to choose whether to untap during your upkeep make him generally superior to Merieke.

Control Magic mtg
Control Magic mtg

4. Control Magic

CMC: 4

This aura's about as simple as they come, adhering to a creature and gaining control of it. Compared to red's standard sorcery steal, Control Magic is slightly more expensive and doesn't untap your hostage or grant it haste, but it's an ongoing theft that continuously assists you throughout your match.

Reins of Power mtg
Reins of Power mtg

3. Reins of Power

CMC: 4

This one's great for decks with few or no creatures. Reins of Power activates as an instant, letting you cast it at any time, and it untaps all your creatures plus those of a target opponent, also granting them haste. Then, you switch control of the creatures for the rest of the turn.

In enchantment or artifact-focused decks, this lets you pilfer an entire army while handing your opponent nothing in return, and since it doesn't target, few units can ignore the effect. I enjoy using Power in Oloro commander decks, and it's much cheaper than our upcoming spells, costing less than a single dollar!

Vedalken Shackles mtg
Vedalken Shackles mtg

2. Vedalken Shackles

CMC: 3

Don't be fooled by this card's colorless nature—it's designed for the blue faction. Shackles takes three mana to cast and two more to tap, but when it does, you gain control of a creature whose power is less than or equal to the number of island lands you possess.

You lose control if Shackles untaps, but you choose whether to refresh it at your upkeep. This gives you the option of exchanging stolen creatures, useful for pilfering late-game behemoths. Use Shackles in mono-blue decks to quickly swarm islands and ignore its minor restriction.

Treachery mtg
Treachery mtg

1. Treachery

CMC: 5

This intimidating aura simply adheres to a creature, indefinitely gaining control of it. But more than that, as Treachery enters, you can untap up to five lands, essentially negating its cost and letting you cast another spell that turn.

Your opponent can potentially regain control by eliminating Treachery with an enchantment removal, but even if this happens, they're down a card while you've gained a free casting—you win either way.

Which Card Do You Prefer?

See results

Graveyard Recoveries in Magic

Today we examined many spells that commandeer units from the field, but don't overlook the black faction's ability to rejuvenate creatures (even opposing ones) with its graveyard revivals.

Yet stealing from the field is especially useful, as it both removes a soldier from your opponent's army while adding one to your own. Let them meet the casting fees of high-cost behemoths only to despair as you pilfer their titans. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of monster-corrupting cards, vote for your favorite spell and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!

© 2019 Jeremy Gill

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hobbylark.com 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: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    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 googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    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)
    Marketing
    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.
    Statistics
    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)