Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
What Are Drakes in Magic?
In Magic, drakes are a creature subtype reminiscent of dragons, except they're weaker but cheaper to cast. Like their larger brethren, drakes carry the flying trait, letting them soar over ground blockers, but where dragons favor the red faction, drakes heavily prefer blue.
10 Best Drake Cards
In addition to their aerial prowess, many drakes can bounce enemy creatures, draw cards, or increase in power as you cast sorceries and instants, making them a versatile clan. But with hundreds of winged reptiles to choose from, which members reign supreme? These are the ten best drake monsters in Magic: The Gathering!
- Thunderclap Wyvern
- Peregrine Drake
- Loyal Drake
- Whirlpool Drake
- Enigma Drake
- Crackling Drake
- Viral Drake
- Spiketail Drakeling
- Spiketail Hatchling
- Gilded Drake
10. Thunderclap Wyvern
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 4
Thunderclap needs both white and blue mana, and like many drakes, his stats don't impress; he wields just 2/3 (two power and three toughness). However, Thunderclap carries both flying and flash, which lets you cast him at instant speed. More than that, he boosts the stats of your other flying creatures by +1/+1, making him a great support for dedicated drake or dragon decks.
9. Peregrine Drake
Peregrine's 2/3 stats are especially bland on a five-cost unit. However, he possesses flying, and when he enters the field, you can untap up to five lands! Thus, if you paid for him with basic islands, they'll all refresh, and you'll essentially have cast Peregrine for free. But if you untap lands that can provide multiple mana (like "Azorius Chancery" and "Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx"), you'll have actually gained mana with his summon.
8. Loyal Drake
One of Magic's rare lieutenants, Loyal Drake is specifically designed for EDH format. His stats are a mediocre 2/2 (with flying, of course), but as long as you control your commander, Drake lets you draw a card at the beginning of combat on your turn.
This offers continuous card advantage, and since it triggers at your combat (and not upkeep), you can access it immediately if you cast Drake during your first main phase. Combo him with partner commanders like "Thrasios, Triton Hero" and "Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix," as having either fielded will activate his effect.
7. Whirlpool Drake
Whirlpool is a weak 2/2 with flying, but when he enters the field or is put into a graveyard, you shuffle your hand into your deck, then draw that many cards. This can replace a weak hand, but it's especially useful when you have effects in play that reward you for drawing, like "Diviner's Wand" or "Horizon Chimera"; you'll trigger their effects as many times as the number of cards you just drew.
6. Enigma Drake
Blending red and blue yields this fierce drake. He bears flying, a surprisingly impressive four toughness, and a power that matches the number of instant and sorcery cards in your graveyard. Of all Magic colors, red and blue most emphasize these one-off spells, making it easy to stock your discard pile and empower Enigma.
5. Crackling Drake
Crackling Drake works similarly to Enigma, but with a few tweaks. He also enters with four toughness and flying, but he needs one more mana to cast. To compensate, his power now tallies the instants and sorceries you have in both the graveyard and exile, letting your flashback and rebound spells count towards your total.
Plus, when Crackling enters the field, you immediately draw a card, making him a versatile unit for any instant and sorcery-focused blue and red deck.
4. Viral Drake
Viral Drake is disappointingly weak at 1/4, but he bears the valued infect trait, letting him deal damage to creatures as -1/-1 counters (which persist across turns) and to players as poison counters. A player loses when they amass ten of these, and since Viral has flying, he presents a big threat for ground-based assortments, who will struggle to defend against his assault.
Plus, by spending four mana, Viral can proliferate, letting you select any number of permanents and/or players and add a counter of a type they already possess, combing excellently with the -1/-1 and poison counters Viral will be dishing out.
3. Spiketail Drakeling
Drakeling's stats are a mere 2/2, but he has flying and the ability to sacrifice himself to counter an opposing spell unless its controller pays an extra two mana. Since the effect doesn't require him to tap, you can use it immediately even without the haste trait, making it an excellent shield to thwart your opponent's best spells.
Plus, unlike most blue counterspells (which you need to cast right after the spell you intend to negate), you can set Drakeling ahead of time, a great tactical advantage that most counter cards simply lack.
2. Spiketail Hatchling
Hatchling provides a cheaper Drakeling: He has lower stats and only requires an opponent to pay one extra mana, but you can play him with just two islands. This discount gives him a slight edge, making him even better than his elder sibling. Use him to negate your opponent's early-game plays and steal a quick lead they may never catch up to.
I run Hatchling in nearly every blue commander deck I craft, and (unlike our next entry), he's surprisingly cheap, costing well under a single dollar!
1. Gilded Drake
Before getting too excited, note that Gilded Drake's impressive 3/3 stats actually work against you: When he enters the fray, you swap control of him with an opposing creature (and you sacrifice him if you can't).
Thus, your opponent gains a 3/3 with flying; however, you've not only denied them one of their aces, but also acquired it yourself, more than justifying the price. For just two mana, you can play Gilded early in the game, but sometimes it's best to hold off until your rival can afford their strongest titans—which you'll then steal for yourself.
How to Build a Drake Deck in Magic
Drakes rarely if ever bear any secondary subtypes, so they don't particularly synergize with other clans. However, their powerful effects mean they can still adeptly support blue's merfolk or wizard factions, especially since they add an aerial dose to those generally grounded groups.
Drakes remain an often-overlooked faction that definitely deserves more attention, but for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of scaled wyverns, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill
Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on December 06, 2018:
I'm so excited for you getting your 1000 article accolade, Jeremy! Thank you for your recent communication and I'm always cheering you on and your speedy, expert writing.