Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
How Does Regenerating Work in Magic?
In Magic, regeneration offers a powerful albeit temporary defense generally provided to creatures. When a unit regenerates, you prevent its next destruction that turn, tap it, and remove it from battle if it was in combat. Some monsters can naturally regenerate themselves by spending mana, but today we'll examine a variety of instants and enchantments that grant the trait to other soldiers.
Typically found on white, black, and green cards, regeneration helps endure removals and continue the fight. But with hundreds of second winds available, which spells reign supreme? These are the ten best regeneration-granting cards in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Full Moon's Rise
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 2
While it only benefits a specific theme, you'll find few better supports for the transforming werewolves than this inexpensive enchantment. Full Moon's Rise grants your lycanthropes +1/+0 and trample, boosting their power and letting them pierce through blockers.
You can also sacrifice it at any time to regenerate each werewolf you control. While foes should see this coming, it's nice that you can set it in advance (allowing activation even when mana-drained), potentially saves multiple creatures, and empowers them in the meantime.
9. Mad Auntie
Red generally harbors the goblin faction, but they occasionally delve into black, and Mad Auntie allows several colorless slots that accept red resources. She herself carries the subtype, comboing with several spells, and while she's a weak 2/2, she boosts your other goblins by +1/+1, useful in such a swarm-heavy clan.
Additionally, Auntie can tap to regenerate another goblin, letting your minions safely swing. If she's ever targeted by a removal, you might as well apply the effect before she dies, shielding an ally with her final act. Better yet, if you can field duplicates or clone Auntie, your copies can protect each other, forming a daunting blockade.
8. Crypt Sliver
Slivers are perhaps the most clan-dependent cards in the game, with each empowering their peers as well as themselves. Crypt here is a weak 1/1, but grants all slivers (including himself) the ability to tap and regenerate any sliver.
A powerful army-wide defense that doesn't need mana, but note you'll also grant the benefit to opposing slivers, so watch out for similar decks.
7. Loxodon Hierarch
Combining green and white yields this sturdy 4/4 warrior, who offers four life upon arrival. Beyond that, you can spend one green and one white mana to sacrifice Hierarch and regenerate each creature you control.
You'll still lose him, but this offers an excellent anti-nuke counter, and since the effect doesn't require tapping, you can use it without forfeiting Hierarch's attack.
6. Welding Jar
Welding Jar costs a whopping total of zero mana, making it a great way to trigger the reduced prices of surge spells. It offers a rare artifact regeneration, which you can trigger by sacrificing Jar (it doesn't even need to tap).
While fielded, it also discounts spells with affinity for artifacts, and you can continuously revive Jar with "Salvaging Station," making your relics near-invincible.
5. Sedge Sliver
While slightly more expensive than Crypt Sliver, Sedge offers two benefits in one and maintains several colorless slots (useful for rainbow sliver decks). He grants all slivers +1/+1 as long as you control a swamp as well as the ability to regenerate for one black mana.
With the right land out, Sedge boosts himself to a solid 3/3, and his army-wide effects greatly enhance your other monsters. Again, just be aware the bonuses also apply to opposing slivers.
Unlike basic lands, Swarmyard can only tap for a colorless mana. However, it can alternatively tap to regenerate an insect, rat, spider, or squirrel. While not the most abundant factions in the game, you're still getting free revivals for any of four subtypes, adeptly supplementing infested green and black themes.
3. Dawn Charm
Admittedly, Dawn's regeneration effect is perhaps its least-used feature. Still, like the other Charm spells, this instant lets you pick between any of three options:
- Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt this turn
- Regenerate target creature
- Counter a spell that targets you
Versatility is the key here, with Dawn skillfully adapting to suit your needs. Few spells can defend against both aggro creature decks (with combat damage prevention) or burn decks (by blocking player-targeting spells) like Dawn, making it a frequent member of my own commander themes. It also won't break the bank, costing well under two dollars!
2. Debt of Loyalty
While more expensive than most single-target regenerations, Loyalty has two potential applications. You can use it on your own troop to simply negate their death, but it's often best cast on an enemy—Loyalty regenerates and grants you control of its target!
Unlike many creature steals, this functions at instant speed, permanently provides command, and discourages retaliation thanks to the traitor's regeneration.
1. Yavimaya Hollow
We've covered many powerful revival tools, but most either only affect a single unit or a single subtype, with few able to repeatedly save any creature. Enter this legendary land, which taps for a single colorless mana just like Swarmyard.
However, you can also speed a green mana and tap Hollow to regenerate any creature, regardless of subtype. Few terrains offer such a powerful secondary benefit, especially without entering tapped, and since land removals are rare, you'll likely proceed unchecked. An excellent supplement to creature-heavy green decks.
Anti-Regenerate Cards in Magic
While regeneration is a powerful tool, some removals prevent it as they destroy permanents, so watch out for threats like "Avatar of Woe" and "Consume the Meek." Additionally, regeneration won't stop a monster from being exiled, bounced back to hand, or sacrificed, so don't assume you're invincible just because you can revive.
For similar single-use defenses, examine the totem armor auras, but for now, as we await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of creature-rejuvenating spells, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill