Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
What Are Praetors in Magic?
Praetors are an elite creature subtype in Magic, with only seven existing as of this writing. While they cost large chunks of mana, praetors overwhelm foes with a variety of nasty effects, making them great late-game spells to secure your victory.
Many are legendary and they're spread throughout all colors, giving any deck access to at least one member. But which mask-wearing monsters reign supreme? These are the 10 strongest praetor cards in Magic: The Gathering!
7. Sanguine Praetor
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 8
Even for a praetor, Sanguine requires an especially-hefty fee of eight mana, and while his stats are a respectable 7/5, his effect doesn't quite warrant the effort. By spending a black mana and sacrificing a creature, you can destroy all creatures with the same CMC.
While this can potentially remove multiple units, it's too unpredictable to count on, and if you're not careful, you can exterminate your own units.
6. Ebon Praetor
Ebon isn't quite as mana-taxing and arrives as a 5/5 with first strike and trample, an impressive start. Unfortunately, he automatically gains a -2/-2 counter during your upkeep, quickly weakening his battle prowess.
That said, by sacrificing a creature during your upkeep, you can remove a -2/-2 counter, and if you forfeited a thrull monster, Ebon also gains a +1/+0 counter. Thus, Ebon works fine in black decks that can spawn thrulls or expendable zombie tokens, but in other decks, you're probably better off with different monsters.
5. Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Norn's 4/7 stats aren't ideal for such an expensive creature, but she carries vigilance, letting her attack without tapping. More than that, she automatically boosts your other creatures by +2/+2 and debuffs your enemies by -2/-2.
That's enough to outright kill your opponents' weaker units, and your own increase helps you invade with swarms of buffed tokens. In the meantime, try getting hexproof, shroud, or indestructible onto Norn (equipment spells do the trick) to help protect her from removals.
4. Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur
To avoid Jin's absurd mana cost, consider free-creature effects like "Elvish Piper" to gimmick him into play. His stats are a disappointing 5/4 considering his cost, but he has flash, letting you cast him at instant speed. Better yet, you automatically draw seven cards at the end of your turn, and your opponents have their hand sizes reduce by seven, generally meaning they can't hold onto any cards!
When either using or facing Jin, use the land "Reliquary Tower" to receive an infinite hand size, ensuring you never have to discard.
3. Urabrask the Hidden
Compared to other praetors, Urabrask is surprisingly cheap, needing only five mana for a 4/4. Additionally, he grants all creatures you control (including himself) haste, letting them act immediately, and he forces opposing creatures to enter tapped. This skillfully prevents them from blocking or swinging if they themselves have haste.
Urabrask's ability lets your army outmaneuver opposing dulled units, and he often adorns my own red commander decks since he's much cheaper than most legendary praetors, costing less than four dollars!
2. Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
Eight mana is definitely steep, but green offers several ramping and free-creatures abilities (try "Defense of the Heart" or "Norwood Priestess"), letting you cast Vorinclex sooner than you might think. He arrives as a daunting 7/6 with trample, and whenever you tap a land for mana, you gain an extra resource of any color the land could produce!
Not only that, when your opponents tap lands for mana, those lands won't untap during their next upkeep. Thus, your mana production is nearly doubled while your opponents' are slowed, and any affected opposing lands remain dulled even if Vorinclex leaves the field, ensuring he won't go down without a fight.
1. Sheoldred, Whispering One
The definitive black praetor, Sheoldred justifies her bulky cost with 6/6 stats and swampwalk, making her unblockable when attacking a player who controls a swamp land. More than that, your opponents have to sacrifice a creature at the start of their upkeep while you get to revive one from your graveyard at the start of yours!
This is simply an amazing and continuous removal that neither targets nor destroys, bypassing many defenses. And free creatures from your own graveyard is just as tempting; with black's self-milling prowess, you'll have plenty of units to revive.
How to Support Praetors in Magic
As a small group spread throughout all colors, it's not feasible to build a devoted praetor deck. Instead, use them to supplement other themes, as their terrifying powers work well in just about any structure.
That said, praetors tend to forgo defense in favor of all-out offense, meaning you should protect them by using auras or equipments to grant hexproof, shroud, protection, or other defenses. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of fiendish creatures, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill