Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
What Are Sphinxes in Magic: The Gathering?
Sphinxes are some of my favorite Magic creatures since, well, they're generally pretty good. Most are blue and only have decent battle stats, but they compensate with flying, draw/scry effects, or the ability to bounce opposing creatures back to the hand. Thus, they hold their own in battle while providing a variety of utility effects, and they help support blue's general martial weakness.
10 Best Sphinxes
But with dozens of winged beasts available, which mythical monsters reign supreme? These are the ten best sphinx cards in Magic: The Gathering!
- Sphinx of Foresight
- Sphinx of the Steel Wind
- Arbiter of the Ideal
- Dream Eater
- Magister Sphinx
- Consecrated Sphinx
- Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign
- Sphinx of Lost Truths
- Sphinx Ambassador
- Yennett, Cryptic Sovereign
10. Sphinx of Foresight
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 4
Four mana nets you this solid 4/4 with flying, and as a bonus, Foresight automatically scries at your upkeep, letting you peek at your deck's top card and move it to the bottom if you wish.
More than that, Foresight offers a rare opening-hand effect, letting you reveal him from your starting cards to scry three at your first upkeep, setting your upcoming draws however you like (useful to ensure you don't run out of lands).
9. Sphinx of the Steel Wind
Steel Wind isn't easy to field, costing eight mana and needing three different colors. To help her arrive sooner, try using spells that cast cards for free or recover them from your graveyard; since Steel Wind is an artifact creature, she qualifies for numerous supports.
Thankfully, she justifies your efforts, offering a fair 6/6 stats plus flying, first strike, vigilance, lifelink, and protection from both red and green! If you pay for a foil, she'll also do your laundry and wash your car.
8. Arbiter of the Ideal
Ideal's stats are a decent 4/5, she has flying, and whenever she becomes untapped, she reveals the top card of your deck, playing it for free (with enchantment as an added type) if it's a land, creature, or artifact.
Thus, if your build emphasizes creatures and artifacts over planeswalkers and enchantments, Ideal will access your strongest titans without paying their prices. For a fierce combo, use scries from other cards to rig your deck, gimmicking eldrazi or other behemoths to the top.
7. Dream Eater
Dream Eater bears a disappointing 4/3 considering his price, but he offers a multitude of great secondary effects. In addition to flying, he has flash, letting you cast him at instant speed, and surveil four, letting you rearrange the top four cards of your deck and place any number of them into your graveyard.
Additionally, when he arrives, Dream Eater bounces a non-land card back to its owner's hand, an excellent removal that can affect nearly any card type (including planeswalkers) and circumvents the indestructible defense. Finally, unlike most sphinxes, Dream Eater carries a second subtype (nightmare), offering additional clan synergies.
6. Magister Sphinx
Magister is another expensive sphinx that needs white, blue, and black mana, and she only carries 5/5 considering her hefty price. However, she offers both flying and the ability to set a target player's life to 10 when she arrives, particularly effective against the higher starting life in commander format.
Alternatively, if you're hanging on by the skin of your teeth, you can even target yourself to raise your health to 10, hopefully gaining enough to survive the next few turns. Either way, it's a brutal effect that's especially deadly against lifegain strategies, and note that Magister's artifact status offers additional supports.
5. Consecrated Sphinx
At 4/6, Consecrated enjoys better stats than similarly priced sphinxes, and she offers flying and the ability to draw twice whenever an opponent draws a card. This drastically increases your hand, ensuring that no matter how quickly your foes accumulate spells, you'll obtain twice as many.
Combo with spells like "Reliquary Tower" that give unlimited hand size to hold as many cards as you like, overwhelming foes with sheer numbers and adaptability.
4. Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign
Most sphinxes function fine on their own, but legendary Unesh rewards you for building a devoted deck. His stats are a poor 4/4, but he offers flying and reduces the price of your other sphinxes by two colorless mana, an excellent discount that often lets you cast multiple monsters in the same round.
Additionally, when he or another sphinx arrives under your control, an opponent separates the top four cards of your deck into two piles; you add one to your hand and send the rest to your graveyard. Thus, even on his own, Unesh buffs your hand, and he'll continue to do so as you cast your now-discounted sphinxes.
3. Sphinx of Lost Truths
Lost Truths's stats aren't great at 3/5, but he has flying and both draws and discards three cards. Your overall hand size doesn't change, but you get to keep what you need and toss what you don't, simultaneously stockpiling your graveyard.
Plus, if you pay the additional kicker fee of two mana, you don't have to discard at all, simply drawing three cards upon arrival. Thus, Truths adapts to your current mana output, making him a frequent entry in my own blue decks, especially since he costs less than a single dollar!
2. Sphinx Ambassador
Ambassador demands a hefty fee, and her 5/5 stats aren't amazing, but she has flying and a fierce effect, letting you search an opponent's deck when you score combat damage against that player. Not only does this let you peek at their entire deck list, you also get to choose a creature. Your opponent guesses which card you chose, and if they're wrong, you get to play their monster for free!
Often it's best to select their second or third best unit rather than their strongest, increasing the odds they'll guess wrong and you'll score a free titan. Use blue's numerous unblockable spells to help land your direct damage and repeatedly trigger the effect.
1. Yennett, Cryptic Sovereign
Yennett's trio of needed colors and legendary status make her a prime sphinx commander in EDH, especially considering her fierce powers. While her stats are only 3/5, she offers flying, vigilance, and menace, meaning she can attack without tapping and only be blocked by two or more creatures.
Even better, when she swings, you reveal the top card of your deck; if it has an odd CMC, you may cast it for free! Try exploiting this amazing effect by stocking your deck with odd cards and using scries to your advantage. As icing on the cake, even if the card's CMC is even (like with lands), you still get to draw it, ensuring you gain a benefit either way.
Sphinx Decks in Magic
With over 50 members, there are more than enough sphinxes to craft a dedicated deck. Alternatively, use their best troops to supplement other themes; either way, their aerial prowess, draw power, and respectable stats quickly ravage foes.
That said, sphinxes aren't the cheapest cards, so look for spells that reduce their prices (and remember, many sphinxes cast other units for free). But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of half-human beasts, vote for your favorite creature and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
Questions & Answers
Question: Is "Sphinx of Magosi" a good Magic: The Gathering card? By paying three mana, he gets both a draw and +1/+1 counter, and he has flying like other sphinxes.
Answer: Definitely not a bad card, but remember that his initial cost of six means you have to devote nine total to trigger a single instance of the effect. It's a nice way to spend leftover resources, but at that late stage of the game, you're probably looking for game-enders rather than utility effects.
© 2019 Jeremy Gill