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Top 10 Curses in Magic: The Gathering

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

What Are Curse Cards in Magic: The Gathering?

No, we're not referring to the expletives you'll yell when your opponent pulls a "Sol Ring" on you; here, curses are a special subtype of enchantment. Similar to auras, you attach them, but to an opponent themselves rather than a specific creature.

Auras come in many shapes and sizes, offering a variety of debuffs sure to heckle any adversary. But with dozens of potent jinxes, which black magic reigns supreme?

These are the ten best curse cards in Magic: The Gathering!

  1. Curse of Vengeance
  2. Curse of the Nightly Hunt
  3. Curse of Inertia
  4. Curse of Exhaustion
  5. Accursed Witch/Infectious Curse
  6. Curse of Predation
  7. Trespasser's Curse
  8. Curse of Bloodletting
  9. Curse of Opulence
  10. Curse of Bounty
Curse of Vengeance

Curse of Vengeance

10. Curse of Vengeance

CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 1

Curse of Vengeance is a nifty little long-term gimmick that's really only useful in multiplayer. It only costs a single black mana, and, like many curses, can adhere to any player, but you should definitely target an opponent. Whenever they cast a spell, Vengeance gains a spite counter, and when that player loses the game, you gain X life and draw X cards, where X was the number of spite counters on Vengeance!

Assuming you've survived thus far, you now have a big health and card advantage. Try to use diplomacy to your advantage, because when opponents see a player about to lose, they may be inclined to team up against you, realizing the huge boost you'll soon receive.

Curse of the Nightly Hunt

Curse of the Nightly Hunt

9. Curse of the Nightly Hunt

CMC: 3

Curse of the Nightly Hunt needs three mana, one stemming from the red faction, and the player it targets has to attack with as many creatures as possible each turn. It might sound bad to force opponents to swing, but this goads weak utility units into unwanted combat and ensures your foe can't keep units untapped to later use as blockers. An interesting tech option for red, but note your opponent still gets to choose whether to attack players or their planeswalkers.

Curse of Inertia

Curse of Inertia

8. Curse of Inertia

CMC: 3

When blue's Curse of Inertia adheres to a player, anytime someone attacks them, the attacking player can tap or untap any permanent. Sadly, this only applies once per combat (swinging with multiple creatures won't strengthen the effect), but it's a versatile ability that lets you exhaust an enemy or refresh an ally.

Inertia's also helpful when you're falling behind in multiplayer. Form an alliance with other stragglers, then curse the leader with Inertia. Now, you and your temporary allies can make use of Inertia's trait when you gang up, offering numerous chances to dull the ringleader's forces.

Curse of Exhaustion

Curse of Exhaustion

7. Curse of Exhaustion

CMC: 4

Fittingly enough, white's Exhaustion curse costs more resources than most of its peers, but it ensnares a rival with a powerful net: as long as they're hexed, they may only cast a single spell each turn. Thus, even if they have the cards and resources for multiple units, they'll have to pick and choose, drastically slowing their strategy.

Remember, Exhaustion also works even when it's not their turn, letting them interrupt you with only a single instant or flash spell each round, giving you more security during your own plays.

6. Accursed Witch/Infectious Curse

CMC: 4

Accursed Witch starts as a four-cost creature with a mediocre 4/2 stats (four power and two toughness). Even worse, any spell your opponent casts that targets her costs one less mana, giving them inexpensive removal options. Thus, Witch is easily killed—exactly what you'll want to happen, as when she dies, you return her transformed into Infectious Curse and attached to any player.

Any spell you cast against that player costs one less mana, and at the beginning of their upkeep, they lose a life while you gain one, continuously draining health and making them easy pickings for debuffs. A powerful disadvantage; but watch out for cards that can remove Witch without killing her (by exiling or bouncing her back to hand), which will prevent her transformation.

Curse of Predation

Curse of Predation

5. Curse of Predation

CMC: 3

Green's forests access Curse of Predation. Whenever a creature attacks a player jinxed by it, that creature gains a +1/+1 counter. These are useful ongoing permanents that indefinitely boost your troops, and they arrive right when you need them most—before battle. In multiplayer, remember that your opponents can take advantage of the counters as well, but again, this offers some nice diplomacy tactics.

Trespasser's Curse

Trespasser's Curse

4. Trespasser's Curse

CMC: 2

Trespasser's Curse provides an inexpensive black hex that saps a life from its victim whenever a creature enters the field under their control, giving that health to you. While swarming monsters is an effective tactic, your adversary will have to think carefully before fielding troops, as each warrior will cost them in blood and heal your injuries. A powerful check on any structure, and especially handy against token-swarming clans like goblins and zombies.

Curse of Bloodletting

Curse of Bloodletting

3. Curse of Bloodletting

CMC: 5

The appropriately-named Curse of Bloodletting costs a substantial chunk of five mana but inflicts a brutal handicap on your prey. Once cursed, they'll receive double damage from all sources, not only boosting the strength of your strikes but also those of any self-harming effects they control! Good luck lasting long when everything hits you for twice the pain.

Curse of Opulence

Curse of Opulence

2. Curse of Opulence

CMC: 1

Curse of Opulence offers a rare red mana ramp options, and its low price of one mana makes for an excellent first turn play. If you attach Opulence to an opponent, whenever they're attacked, you create an artifact token named "Gold" that you can sacrifice for a mana of any color!

This helps boost the power of artifact-dependent effects while giving you units to sac at any time for resources. Plus, if you predict your opponent is using an offense-oriented deck, you can even attach Opulence to yourself, now attaining the Gold token whenever they attack you!

Curse of Bounty

Curse of Bounty

1. Curse of Bounty

CMC: 2

Similar to the legendary artifact "Paradox Engine", Curse of Bounty can untap your nonland permanents, triggering whenever you attack an opponent. That's a powerful boost for just two mana, letting you refresh your attackers (they'll keep attacking) and other exhausted units.

Despite its inability to replenish lands, this gets a second use out of pivoting artifacts like "Sol Ring" or the "Signet" cards while essentially giving your army vigilance, ensuring they're available to block on your opponent's round even after attacking. Bounty's an excellent unit even for decks not specializing in curses, and it's served me well in a variety of structures (I'm particularly fond of playing it in my "Omnath, Locus of Mana" commander deck). Best of all, it's surprisingly affordable, costing well under a single dollar!

Cards that grant you hexproof in Magic: The Gathering

CardColor/CMCType

Aegis of the Gods

White/2

Enchantment Creature

Leyline of Sanctity

White/4

Enchantment

Sigarda, Heron's Grace

White-Green/5

Legendary Creature

Orbs of Warding

Colorless/5

Artifact

How to Support and Counter Curses in Magic

Due to their variable colors and mana costs, curses fit well in a variety of decks. Still, you can support them with enchantment and aura-related abilities, like the search and fielding of "Zur the Enchanter".

Alternatively, you can guard against curses (and other strikes) by granting yourself hexproof; some of my favorite cards that grant it are listed above. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of haunted auras, vote for your favorite curse and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!

© 2018 Jeremy Gill