Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
How Does Mentor Work in Magic?
Exclusively seen among red and white as of this writing, several Magic creatures possess the mentor ability. When a mentor attacks alongside at least one creature with less power, you add a +1/+1 counter to one of those weaker units, fortifying them before blockers are declared.
This helps your smaller units and tokens swing with more gusto and endurance, but remember you have to mentor other troops once a unit's power equals its teacher's. Only a few dozen instructors exist as of this writing; which advisers reign supreme? These are the ten best mentor creatures in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Hammer Dropper
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 4
Hammer Dropper wields an excellent power rating of five, especially appreciated for mentors, as this lets you buff nearly any comrade. Unfortunately, his toughness is only two, so you're trading vitality for strength.
Still, if you can make him unblockable or simply remove potential defenders with red's vast array of damaging spells, Dropper's raw power lets him reinforce nearly any simultaneous attacker (even other mentors, provided their current power is lower).
9. Parhelion Patrol
For the same price as Hammer Dropper, Patrol only offers 2/3 stats, disappointing on a four-cost creature, especially since his low power makes it difficult to take advantage of mentor. That said, he enjoys flying, vigilance, and mentor, letting him soar over ground blockers, attack without tapping, and supplement weaker units.
Patrol also only needs one color, and most of his symbols accept mana of any type, blending well in multicolor decks.
8. Light of the Legion
Legions requires a substantial fee of six mana, but arrives as a respectable 5/5 with flying and angel synergies. Her impressive stats let you easily take advantage of mentor, tutoring weaker allies before they strike.
And even if she falls Legion doesn't go down without a fight, placing a +1/+1 counter on your surviving white creatures. Remember this boost impacts multi-color troops as long as they're partially white; they don't need to be solely devoted to the faction.
7. Wojek Bodyguard
Wojek's stats are surprisingly solid for a mentor, offering a handy 3/3 for just three mana. He also only needs one color and provides several colorless slots. The caveat is he can't attack or block alone, but that's a small price to pay—harnessing mentor requires multiple attackers anyway.
6. Sunhome Stalwart
For just two mana and one color, Stalwart grants a nice 2/2. Two power isn't high enough to mentor many creatures, but it's still useful when you're swarming weak tokens in the late-game with cards like "Leonin Warleader."
Additionally, Stalwart wields first strike, attacking preemptively and avoiding a counterattack if he kills his foe, an excellent way to circumvent deathtouch-brandishing threats.
5. Boros Challenger
Though he specially needs a red and white mana, Challenger compensates with a fierce 2/3 stats, a hefty score considering his low fee. Beyond that and his mentor, he can spend four mana at instant speed to gain +1/+1 for the turn.
That's an expensive price for such a minor effect, but it's nice when you have leftover mana and opens up additional candidates to mentor. A mainstay in my own Boros themes, Challenger is also much cheaper than our upcoming cards, costing well under a single dollar!
4. Legion Warboss
Like many mentors, Warboss is weak for his price, carrying just 2/2 stats. However, he has mentor, a flexible cost, and the goblin subtype, stacking well with red's most abundant faction.
Even better, Warboss automatically creates a 1/1 red goblin token with haste at the start of your combat step, and the token must attack that round if able. This handy trait provides prime candidates to mentor, throwaway blockers in later rounds (if the tokens survive), and helps trigger creature-entrance effects on cards like "Purphoros, God of the Forge."
3. Truefire Captain
Truefire Captain wields today's most restricted price, specifically demanding two red and two white resources. Thus, he's unwieldy outside Boros themes, but enjoys a solid 4/3 ratio that lets him mentor most companions.
Additionally, he carries an effective blocker-deterrent, reflecting any damage suffered onto a targeted player. This even includes damage from your own sources, letting you exploit mass-nukes for extra oomph.
2. Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice
Red and white Aurelia's stats initially seem a mediocre 2/5, but at the start of combat on your turn, she grants any creature you control (possible herself) +2/+0 for the turn plus trample if it's red and vigilance if it's white. Thus, when she targets herself, you'll command a 4/5 with flying, trample, vigilance, and mentor—an excellent bargain for four mana.
This makes it easy to tutor weaker allies, and it's nice that you can apply the bonuses to a different creature when desired (pick red and white duos for maximum effect).
1. Tajic, Legion's Edge
This well-rounded legendary offers numerous abilities to quickly pressure foes. For three mana, you've got a fair 3/2 with both mentor and haste, letting him attack immediately and bolster smaller units. Additionally, he offers a fierce shield to your army, preventing all non-combat damage your other creatures would suffer. That's a prime defense, especially in formats like standard where red removals run rampant.
As icing on the cake, you can spend two mana to grant Tajic first strike for the turn, deterring would-be counterattackers.
Auras and Equipments on Mentors
Despite its fairly-recent introduction, mentor remains a fun ability that rewards both aggression and swarming, perfect for red and white builds. And you can strengthen more units by boosting your mentors' power; attachable auras and equipment spells do the trick, especially since red and white emphasize these card types.
Combine mentors with proliferating to quickly overwhelm foes with your martial dominance, but for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of ally-empowering creatures, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill
Carolyn-Kelley Williams on April 14, 2019:
I really don't know alot about Magic, other than my son used to collect them.