Top 10 Sylvan Cards in Magic: The Gathering

Updated on December 20, 2018
Jeremy Gill profile image

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

What Is the Sylvan Archetype in Magic?

In Magic, the Sylvans (who also happen to be a Yu-Gi-Oh archetype) are a group of green cards ranging from creatures to enchantments to instants. Sylvan isn't a card subtype, simply being part of a card's name; that said, Sylvan spells are a powerful set with few duds among their elite ranks.

When you need to boost elves, morph lands into creatures, or replenish your hand, the Sylvans offer several fierce tools to accomplish your goals at affordable mana prices. But with dozens of members available, which spells reign supreme? These are the ten best Sylvan cards in Magic: The Gathering!

Sylvan Reclamation
Sylvan Reclamation

10. Sylvan Reclamation

CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 5

Sylvan Reclamation needs a hefty sum of five mana, but it's one of the best artifact/enchantment removals in the game, not just destroying but exiling up to two, making them nearly impossible to recover. It also activates as an instant, letting you banish threats immediately on any turn without having to wait for your next main phase.

Additionally, thanks to its basic landcycling trait, you can discard Reclamation and spend two mana to add a basic land from your deck to your hand, useful for helping find all mana types in rainbow decks.

Sylvan Offering
Sylvan Offering

9. Sylvan Offering

CMC: X

Offering is an interesting spell that works best in multiplayer games where you can utilize its diplomatic potential. It needs one green mana plus an X value of your choice; it then creates an X/X treefolk token for you and an opponent and X 1/1 (one power and one toughness) elf tokens for you and an opponent.

You can select different opponents for the different tokens if you like; either way, Offering's a powerful tool that can turn enemies into temporary allies, and note that the tokens bear useful synergies (treefolk and elves are some of green's strongest clans).

Sylvan Awakening
Sylvan Awakening

8. Sylvan Awakening

CMC: 3

Normally I'm not a big fan of land-creature strategies, as your precious terrains become vulnerable to creature removals, but Awakening excellently mitigates the issue. Until your next turn, this sorcery turns your fields into 2/2 land creatures with reach, indestructible, and haste.

Haste lets them attack immediately even if they just arrived, reach lets them block opponents with flying, and indestructible prevents them from being destroyed, a superb barrier that makes the land-creature strategy much less risky.

Sylvan Caryatid
Sylvan Caryatid

7. Sylvan Caryatid

CMC: 2

For just two mana, Caryatid adeptly fills two roles. As a 0/3 with defender, it can't attack, but makes an excellent blocker against early-game invaders, and its valued hexproof trait prevents your opponent from targeting it with spells.

Caryatid can also tap for one mana of any color, an excellent ramp tool that's especially useful in multicolor decks. Utilize the powerful block-tap combo to simultaneously guard an attacking enemy and exhaust Caryatid for mana, letting you harness both its strengths in the same round (although you'll need to spend your mana before it fades).

Sylvan Messenger
Sylvan Messenger

6. Sylvan Messenger

CMC: 4

The elf counterpart to red's "Goblin Ringleader", Messenger is a disappointingly weak 2/2, but he carries the useful elf lineage and trample trait, letting him bleed excess damage through blockers. Even better, when he enters the field, you reveal the top four cards of your deck and add any elves to your hand, moving the rest to the bottom of your deck in any order.

In devoted forest builds, this can really buff your hand, and it works especially well if you previously scry (partner with blue for this) to rig the top cards to your advantage.

Sylvan Ranger
Sylvan Ranger

5. Sylvan Ranger

CMC: 2

Ranger's another weak troop at just 1/1, but she enjoys both the elf and the scout subtypes. Plus, when she enters the field, you can search your library for a basic land and add it to your hand. It's as simple as that; Ranger skillfully empowers spells that reward elf swarming (like "Elvish Archdruid" or "Priest of Titania") while stockpiling land.

Sylvan Primordial
Sylvan Primordial

4. Sylvan Primordial

CMC: 7

Banned as of this writing in commander, Primordial is still legal in most other formats. He drains seven mana, but arrives with a fierce 6/8 stats and reach (plus the rare avatar subtype). More than that, when Primordial enters the arena, for each opponent, you destroy one noncreature permanent they control and place a forest from your deck onto the field tapped.

This effect is brutal even in just 1v1, and it's absolutely monstrous in multiplayer, eliminating opposing lands or planeswalkers while buffing your own resource production for future turns. As icing on the cake, the forests you search don't even have to be basic, letting you pull twin-type lands like "Savannah" or "Tropical Island".

Sylvan Advocate
Sylvan Advocate

3. Sylvan Advocate

CMC: 2

Advocate is an often-underestimated elf who is especially useful for land-creature strategies. He bears not two but three subtypes, comboing well with other elves, druids, and allies, and he's an impressive 2/3 for just two mana. He also possesses vigilance (a rarity outside white), which lets him attack without tapping, Advocate boosts both himself and your land creatures by +2/+2 while you control six or more lands.

A 2/3 with vigilance, synergies, and potential to grow makes Advocate an easy choice for my own green EDH decks; fortunately, despite his powers, he's surprisingly cheap, costing well under a single dollar!

Sylvan Tutor
Sylvan Tutor

2. Sylvan Tutor

CMC: 1

One of the best tutors in Magic, this single-cost sorcery searches a creature from your deck not to your hand, but to the top of the deck, ensuring your next draw is exactly the monster you need.

A prime bargain for a single mana, this also quickly stocks your graveyard with a sorcery, useful for satisfying the conditions of cards with spell mastery, delirium, or threshold effects.

Sylvan Library
Sylvan Library

1. Sylvan Library

CMC: 2

To any who can afford its expensive (in terms of real money) cost, Library is one of the best commander cards in the game. For two mana, this enchantment lets you draw two additional cards at your draw step, nabbing a total of three. Then, you either place two of the cards drawn that turn back on top or lose four life for each extra.

With the higher starting life values in EDH, you'll have plenty of leeway for the bonus draws, making it one of the best hand-increasing spells available. Plus, even if you elect to return some, you can keep any of the cards, not just the first, letting you manipulate your hand with whichever of your deck's next few cards will most help you.

Which card do you prefer?

See results

More of Green's Best Cards in Magic

If you favor the 100-card decks of commander, remember that each non-basic land card has to be unique, and the Sylvans are a great place to begin looking when constructing a green EDH deck. Since green emphasize creature-boosts, and since commander offers legendary monsters throughout the match, the two pair well. Green also contains several mana-ramping tactics and spells that field creatures for free, letting you play your aces without suffering their expensive costs.

In short, Sylvans are a versatile group useful for both monogreen and multicolor decks, but for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of forest-powered spells, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 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://hobbylark.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      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)