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Top 10 Shrines in Magic: The Gathering

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

Shrine Enchantments in Magic

As of this writing, only eleven shrines exist in Magic, legendary enchantments with a unique subtype that provide various effects at the start of your turn. These scale in power based on the number of shrines you control, so the more you have, the bigger your advantage.

Found across all colors, most shrines need only one mana of their faction, making them easy to run in multi-color decks—which reign supreme? These are the ten best shrine cards in Magic: The Gathering!

Honden of Life's Web mtg

Honden of Life's Web mtg

10. Honden of Life's Web

CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 5

Like all shrines, Life's Web is legendary, so you can only control one, and it requires a big chunk of mana. But it offers a strong effect, creating a 1/1 colorless spirit token at your upkeep per shrine you control.

This include Life's Web itself, so you're guaranteed at least one, but in tangent with other shrines, you'll soon be swarming the field with excellent blocker fodder. Plus, unlike many tokens, they're colorless, meaning they can't be thwarted by color protection abilities.

Sanctum of Shattered Heights mtg

Sanctum of Shattered Heights mtg

9. Sanctum of Shattered Heights

CMC: 3

Unlike other shrines, Shattered Heights doesn't automatically trigger at your upkeep. Instead, you manually activate its effect by paying one mana and discarding a land or shrine, dealing damage to any creature or planeswalker equal to the number of shrines you control.

While this unfortunately requires you to spend mana and card advantage, it offers instant-speed removals, and you can use its effect multiple times each turn (while you have mana and discard fodder in hand).

Honden of Night's Reach mtg

Honden of Night's Reach mtg

8. Honden of Night's Reach

CMC: 4

Four mana nets you a shrine that forces an opponent to discard per shrine you control at your upkeep. Losing a card each turn is a big deal, and with numerous shrines out, Reach makes it almost impossible for foes to stockpile spells—be sure to exile their graveyard with other black cards (try "Leyline of the Void" for enchantment synergy) to ensure they can't reclaim their lost units.

Sanctum of Fruitful Harvest mtg

Sanctum of Fruitful Harvest mtg

7. Sanctum of Fruitful Harvest

CMC: 3

Fruit Harvest doesn't trigger at your upkeep, but the start of your first main phase, giving you mana of any one color equal to the number of shrines you control. This is the only mana-ramp shrine, and its ability to provide any color helps color-fix shrine decks to ensure you can include all types, even if you don't have corresponding lands.

Sanctum of Tranquil Light mtg

Sanctum of Tranquil Light mtg

6. Sanctum of Tranquil Light

CMC: 1

As enchantments, shrines can't block like creatures can, making their theme vulnerable to fast aggro decks. To help them stave off foes, Tranquil Light lets you pay six mana to instantly tap a creature. However, this costs one less per shrine you control (including Light itself), so when considered with its low base cost, it's a much cheaper stall tactic than it first appears.

Honden of Seeing Winds mtg

Honden of Seeing Winds mtg

5. Honden of Seeing Winds

CMC: 5

While hefty in mana price, Winds lets you draw a card at your upkeep per shrine you control. That's at least one per turn, but can soon skyrocket with other shrines. Just remember the effect isn't optional, so you can't decline (like you might want to against mill decks to avoid a deck-out loss).

Sanctum of Calm Waters mtg

Sanctum of Calm Waters mtg

4. Sanctum of Calm Waters

CMC: 4

Calm Waters offers a great alternative to Seeing Winds. At the start of your precombat main phase, it gives you the option to draw cards equal to the shrines you control, then discard any card from your hand. Sure, you have to toss one, but this works well for graveyard-stockpiling, the effect is optional, and Waters has a lower casting cost than Winds.

Sanctum of All mtg

Sanctum of All mtg

3. Sanctum of All

CMC: 5

All is the hardest shrine to cast, needing all five colors. However, it rewards you with an amazing effect, letting you search your library or graveyard for a shrine at your upkeep and placing it onto the field for free. Try to find shrines that trigger at your precombat main phase, which can activate the same turn you tutor them.

And that's not all (well, literally it is), while you control six or more shrines, All triggers your shrine abilities (including its own) an additional time, rapidly swarming your field with loads of enchantments.

Honden of Infinite Rage mtg

Honden of Infinite Rage mtg

2. Honden of Infinite Rage

CMC: 3

Sanctum of Stone Fangs mtg

Sanctum of Stone Fangs mtg

1. Sanctum of Stone Fangs

CMC: 2

Stone Fangs is cheap yet powerful, draining each opponent of one life per shrine you control at your upkeep and giving you that amount. Even by itself, that's one life siphoned each turn, which not only pressures opposing decks, but also refills your health, essential for outlasting faster themes.

Simple yet potent, Stone Fangs is a must in shrine decks and costs less than a single dollar!

Building a Shrine Deck in Magic

In addition to shrines themselves, you'll need other tools for a functional shrine deck. Multi-color lands help provide needed colors (though you don't necessarily need all five if you're not running All), board wipes eliminate threats, and enchantment supports (try the constellation cards) add synergy.

Since most shrines are only of uncommon rarity, they're a good choice for constructing a competitive yet affordable deck. But for now, vote for your favorite legendary enchantment and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!

© 2020 Jeremy Gill