Top 10 Shadow Cards in Magic: The Gathering

Updated on October 8, 2019
Jeremy Gill profile image

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

How Does Shadow Work in Magic?

Magic creatures carrying the "shadow" trait can only block or be blocked by other units with shadow. Since few decks incorporate the mechanic, this generally means your shadowed allies are unblockable, letting you easily pile on the hurt and trigger direct-damage effects.

As you'd expect, many members are black, but we'll see that white and blue also contain a surprising number of shadow cards. So, with dozens of assassins available, which cloaked creatures reign supreme? These are the 10 best shadow cards in Magic: The Gathering!

Stronghold Overseer
Stronghold Overseer

10. Stronghold Overseer

CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 6

Flying generally isn't needed when a creature has shadow, but it only makes Overseer that much harder to block. While he needs a hefty fee of five mana, his twin abilities and 5/5 stats (five power and five toughness) make him the strongest shadow warrior in terms of raw power.

Additionally, by paying two black mana, you can grant all shadow creatures +1/+0 for the turn and weaken non-shadow units by -1/-0, a small but appreciated boost. Throw in synergies with the demon clan and you have a surprisingly versatile beatstick.

Temporal Isolation
Temporal Isolation

9. Temporal Isolation

CMC: 2

This aura's flash trait lets you cast it at instant speed, and you'll usually want to attach it to an enemy, as it prevents all damage its recipient would deal. It also grants the unit shadow, making the unit incapable of blocking any of your non-shadowed cards.

Isolation can also be used on your own units to continuously trigger abilities that rely on attacking without being blocked (like the effect of "Bone Dancer"); just remember you won't be dealing any combat damage when used this way.

Dauthi Ghoul
Dauthi Ghoul

8. Dauthi Ghoul

CMC: 2

In addition to the rare dauthi subtype, Ghoul also carries the zombie lineage, adeptly blending with black's most prominent faction. While his stats begin at a weak 1/1, he gains a +1/+1 counter whenever any creature with shadow (even an opponent's) dies. Thus, use Ghoul in devoted shadow decks that gradually build his strength, punishing foes who leave him unchecked.

Spirit en-Dal
Spirit en-Dal

7. Spirit en-Dal

CMC: 3 (2 to forecast)

Even with shadow, a 2/1 for three isn't an especially-tempting deal. However, Spirit offers a great forecast ability, letting you reveal her from your hand and spend two mana to grant a creature shadow until the end of the turn. A useful effect; just remember you can only trigger it at your upkeep and only once per turn.

Thalakos Deceiver
Thalakos Deceiver

6. Thalakos Deceiver

CMC: 4

In addition to thalakos, Deceiver belongs to the wizard faction, offering many blue synergies. While his 1/1 stats are abysmal for his price, Deceiver carries shadow, and you can sacrifice him when attacking and unblocked (which shadow should allow) to permanently gain control of a target creature!

It's as simple as that; seize command of a rival's strongest monster with this deceptively-powerful spy.

Soltari Foot Soldier
Soltari Foot Soldier

5. Soltari Foot Soldier

CMC: 1

Neither of Soldier's subtypes (soltari and soldier) offer many combos, and his stats are a poor 1/1, but his low cost makes a nice first-turn play. After that, shadow lets him slip by unchecked, and you can devote your other mana towards boosting him with auras, equipments, or other supports.

On his own, Soldier isn't particularly intimidating, but you can pair him with direct-damage effects for enormous early-game advantages.

Looter il-Kor
Looter il-Kor

4. Looter il-Kor

CMC: 2

Looter carries interesting if not particularly-abundant synergies with kor and rogue subtypes, and while his stats are only 1/1, he carries a sweet direct-damage ability. When successfully landing combat damage on a player (which should be easy with shadow), Looter lets you both draw and discard a card.

Sure, your overall hand size doesn't change, but this rapidly cycles through your deck, keeping what you need and tossing what you don't. It also fills your graveyard, useful for the bonus conditions of cards with "spell mastery," "delirium," or "threshold."

Nether Traitor
Nether Traitor

3. Nether Traitor

CMC: 2

Traitor justifies his 1/1 stats with both shadow and haste, executing swift and typically-unblockable strikes. Even better, you can revive him from your graveyard by paying a black mana when another creature you control dies, making him great discard or mill fodder.

Soltari Visionary
Soltari Visionary

2. Soltari Visionary

CMC: 3

A 2/2 with shadow isn't a bad deal for three mana, especially with Visionary's terrific effect, automatically destroying an enchantment whenever he damages a player! Of course, shadow lets him easily swing unchecked, quickly eradicating opposing spells.

For his decent stats and excellent removal prowess, Visionary remains a consistent member of my own white commander decks, especially since he's surprisingly cheap, costing well under a single dollar!

Dauthi Embrace
Dauthi Embrace

1. Dauthi Embrace

CMC: 3

This formidable enchantment grants a creature shadow for the turn by spending two black mana, turning any monster into a nigh-unblockable warrior. But in addition to its obvious offensive capabilities, Embrace can also give enemy units shadow, useful when you need one of your own cloaked creatures to guard a big threat.

You can even force shadow on foes to qualify them for removals like "Dauthi Cutthroat," which can destroy any stealthed creature.

Which Card Do You Prefer?

See results

How to Support Shadow Decks in Magic

Since shadow creatures rarely engage other troops and have little need for defense, utilize supports that boost power over toughness, increasing your army's offensive capabilities. Additionally, combo with cards that activate special abilities when you land direct-damage on a player (like the powerful "Sword of" equipments) for easily-obtained bonuses.

Remember that shadow creatures can only block fellow shadow cards, so you might want some walls or other blockers to defend your own health. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of monsters lying in the dark, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!

© 2019 Jeremy Gill

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hobbylark.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)