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Top 10 Looters in Magic: The Gathering

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

Merfolk Looter mtg

Merfolk Looter mtg

Looting and Rummaging in Magic

In Magic, looting refers to drawing and discarding one or more cards, mostly found in the blue faction. Usually, it doesn't change your overall hand size but helps you find answers and set graveyard effects.

Red utilizes a similar effect, called rummaging or "red looting," where it discards before drawing, slightly worse since there's no option to toss what you draw. Either way, looting helps stock your graveyard and prep your plays—which of its spells reign supreme? These are the 10 best loot cards in Magic: The Gathering!

Thrill of Possibility mtg

Thrill of Possibility mtg

10. Thrill of Possibility

CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 2

Thrill discards a card to draw twice, so your hand size remains the same, but it's great for prepping your graveyard and triggering draw-related effects. The instant speed is nice, too (Tormenting Voice offers a sorcery alternative), but watch out for counterspells, as you basically lose two cards if Thrill gets negated.

Teferi, Master of Time mtg

Teferi, Master of Time mtg

9. Teferi, Master of Time

CMC: 4

Teferi only starts with three loyalty but acquires it quickly since he can use his abilities at instant speed, one per each player's turn. +1 is the loot, drawing then discarding, while -3 phases a creature out for the turn, helping stave off aggro. Ultimate -10 is the real treat, giving two extra turns, more than enough time to win most games.

Teferi's Tutelage mtg

Teferi's Tutelage mtg

8. Teferi's Tutelage

CMC: 3

Tutelage loots a card on entry, drawing then discarding, which triggers its excellent two-card mill on an opponent whenever you draw. From there, use blue's wealth of draw power to rapidly deplete opposing decks.

Definitely a useful card but better suited to 1v1 since only one foe gets milled at a time.

Collective Defiance mtg

Collective Defiance mtg

7. Collective Defiance

CMC: 3

Defiance lets you pick one of three options, but you can escalate it by paying one extra mana for two choices or two extra for all three. It can make a player toss their whole hand, then draw that many cards, ping a creature for four damage, and ping an opponent for three. All useful options packed into a versatile spell.

The Royal Scions mtg

The Royal Scions mtg

6. The Royal Scions

CMC: 3

Will and Rowan have an oddly high starting loyalty of five considering their low cost, and they actually have two +1 effects. The first is the classic draw-discard; the second gives a creature +2/+0, first strike, and trample for the turn, an excellent aggro boost.

If you build to -8, the Scions draw four cards, then hit any target for damage equal to the cards in your hand.

Dack Fayden mtg

Dack Fayden mtg

5. Dack Fayden

CMC: 3

Like the Scions, Dack is a three-cost red/blue planeswalker, though he only starts with 3 loyalty. Still, his +1 is a great loot, having a player draw twice and discard twice. -2 can be even better, gaining control of an artifact (snag Sol Rings or such in commander). Ultimate -6 is interesting, granting an emblem that gives you control of any permanent you target with a spell.

Careful Study mtg

Careful Study mtg

4. Careful Study

CMC: 1

Study's a cheap play to manipulate your hand at any point in the game, drawing twice and discarding twice. Technically, you only gain two cards while losing three (counting Study itself), but when used to ensure land drops and set up flashback effects, it proves it worth, although red has a superior version…

Faithless Looting mtg

Faithless Looting mtg

3. Faithless Looting

CMC: 1

Faithless Looting is a red Careful Study, but with the bonus of a flashback effect, letting you cast it from your graveyard into exile for three. So not only does it help prep graveyard effects, it has one itself, making it a useful spell you'll always be happy to see.

Jace, Vryn's Prodigy mtg

Jace, Vryn's Prodigy mtg

Jace, Telepath Unbound mtg

Jace, Telepath Unbound mtg

2. Jace, Vryn's Prodigy

CMC: 2

Like Merfolk Looter, 0/2 Jace taps to draw and discard a card. However, if your graveyard has at least five cards after his ability resolves, he transforms into his five-loyalty Telepath Unbound planeswalker form.

Here, +1 gives a creature -2/-0 for the turn, -3 lets you cast an instant/sorcery from your graveyard into exile that turn and -9 gives an emblem that mills an opponent for five whenever you cast a spell.

Frantic Search mtg

Frantic Search mtg

1. Frantic Search

CMC: 3

Frantic Search works like Careful Study, drawing twice and discarding twice, but with a few distinct advantages. While it technically costs more mana, it untaps up to three lands, meaning you basically cast it for free, and you can even gain resources with multi-mana lands.

Also, it works at instant speed, so you can save it in hand, useful when you're not sure if you'll need to counter a big threat that turn. A staple in any commander deck, Search is also surprisingly affordable, costing less than two dollars!

Strixhaven's Learn Cards

We've seen several awesome looters, and you can find a similar effect in the Strixhaven expansion's learn mechanic. This lets you either add a lesson card from your sideboard to your hand or discard a card to draw a new one.

Looting's a great way to fill your graveyard while finding whatever play you need, but for now, vote for your favorite card, and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!

© 2021 Jeremy Gill

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