Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
How Do Hexproof and Shroud Work in Magic: The Gathering?
In Magic, hexproof is a superior form of the shroud trait, both of which are usually seen on creatures. Shroud prevents all players (including yourself) from targeting a card with effects, but hexproof only disables opponents from doing so, leaving you free to attach equipments, auras, or other boosts to your unit.
While these traits generally benefit creatures, a rare set of spells grant you the effects, preventing your opponent from targeting you with their malicious abilities and spells. Shroud and hexproof defend against effects ranging from direct damagers (like "Lighting Bolt") to curses to forced discards. But with dozens of options available, which fortifications reign supreme? These are the ten best player-hexproof and shroud cards in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Ivory Mask
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 4
Like many player-concealing cards, Ivory Mask belongs to the white faction and costs four mana. This enchantment doesn't provide any extra abilities, and it grants the slightly-less desirable shroud, but it's still a handy barrier against enemy tricks, and was especially useful as part of the Ninth Edition set it released in (back in 2005).
9. Orbs of Warding
Orbs of Warding costs a substanial chunk of five mana, but as a colorless artifact, it's compatible with any deck and often catches opponents by surprise. Plus, it not only grants hexproof, but also reduces any damage creatures deal to you by one.
Note that this handy trait reduces both combat and effect damage, and since it works on all monsters, not just your opponent's, even your own self-harming troops will inflict less injuries against you.
8. Witchbane Orb
Another sphere that grants hexproof, Witchbane lacks Warding's creature damage reduction, but it costs one less mana, grants hexproof, and immediately destroys curses attached to you when it enters the battlefield. Curses are a rare set of enchantment auras that inflict a variety of disadvantages; Witchbane not only prevents further jinxes thanks to hexproof, but also eliminates anything already ailing you (which attaining hexproof won't do on its own).
7. Imperial Mask
Seems orbs and masks are ruling the day so far. Imperial Mask is a more expensive but superior form of Ivory Mask—at least in multiplayer. In 1v1, most players will prefer Ivory's slightly lower mana cost over Imperial's advantage of offering hexproof rather than shroud.
However, in two-headed giant games, when Imperial comes into play, each of your teammates also gains a token duplicate of it, granting your entire squad the hexproof trait in one fell swoop.
6. Leyline of Sanctity
Leyline of Sanctity is similar to Ivory Mask, serving as a four-cost white enchantment, but helpfully offering hexproof instead of shroud. Even better, if you begin the game with Sanctity in your opening hand, you can immediately place it on the battlefield for free! This offers a fierce beginning advantage; utilize mulligans and the smaller deck sizes of standard (compared to commander) to optimize your odds of drawing a Sanctity in your initial hand.
5. Sigarda, Heron's Grace
Switching things up a bit, Sigarda's neither an artifact nor enchantment, but a legendary creature capable of serving as commander in EDH format. This green/white duo offers one of the game's strongest angels, entering the field as a sturdy 4/5 with flying, letting her soar over ground-based blockers.
Sigarda grants not only you hexproof, but also any human-type creatures you control! Thankfully, human is one of the most abundant subtypes (especially in the white faction), superbly shielding several of your troops. Finally, Sigarda can spend two mana of any hue and exile a card from your graveyard to create a 1/1 human soldier token. Not an overwhelming ability, but still a nice way to spend leftover mana, especially since the token will have hexproof through Sigarda.
4. Solitary Confinement
White's Solitary Confinement offers a formidable defense—for a price. Confinement only needs three mana and gives you shroud, preventing any player (including yourself) from targeting you with spells or abilities. Even better, it prevents all damage that would be dealt to you, including combat, effect, and even from sources you control!
That's several incredible barriers for only three mana; however, you skip your draw step and have to sacrifice Confinement during your upkeep unless you discard a card. Still, if you have other units fielded that can draw cards (like "Staff of Nin" or several members of the wizard clan), you'll have a continuous defense opponents will struggle to break through.
3. Shalai, Voice of Plenty
Shalai's another legendary angel with an impressive barricade. For just four mana, she's a 3/4 with flying, and she grants you, your planeswalkers, and your other creatures hexproof! Beyond that, Shalai can spend six mana (two of which must be green) to place a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control. That's a rather pricey ability, but it's just icing on the cake for an already-stellar unit.
2. True Believer
True Believer mandates both of his mana specifically be white, so he can be hard to fit into multicolor decks. However, he's much cheaper than most of his peers, providing the shroud effect for just two mana. Plus, for his low price, he wields a respectable 2/2 battle stats, and his human and cleric subtypes give him numerous synergies.
True Believer's not only an inexpensive and competitive troop compatible with several themes (he's an easy pick for many of my EDH decks and works well with Sigarda), but he's blessedly cheap, often costing less than two dollars!
1. Aegis of the Gods
Aegis of the Gods functions similarly to Believer, costing just two mana. Although his stats are slightly worse at 2/1, he only needs one mana to be white, and he grants hexproof rather than shroud. Toss in the type duo of enchantment creature and the subtype blend of human soldier, and you've got one heck of a versatile warrior who empowers several categories of spells while adeptly shielding you.
I've used Aegis to great effect in several white decks, as he provides a low-level beatstick and early-game hexproof. Fortunately, despite his rarity and power, Aegis is far from unattainable, costing well under five dollars! Trust me, after looking at Leyline's price tag, Aegis's is a bargain catch.
How to Counter Hexproof and Shroud in Magic
Since hexproof and shroud aren't often granted to players, it's not easy predicting their arrival, although facing a white deck can give some clues. Still, even if an opponent is hexproofed, you can still attack them, winning through sheer militant force. Alternatively, look for effects that impact "each opponent," useful not only for their multiplayer applications but also for their non-targeting, meaning they work even on shrouded foes.
Hexproof and shroud remain valuable keywords for both yourself and your creatures, and today's spells have you well on your way to a defensive victory. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of player-concealing shelters, vote for your favorite card, and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill