Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
How Does Vigilance Work in Magic?
In Magic, creatures with vigilance attack without tapping. These keeps them available as blockers on opposing turns and allows them to use tap effects during the same turn.
Vigilance favors white and green but occasionally appears in other colors—how can you best provide it? These are the 30 best spells that give vigilance (or similar untap effects) in Magic: The Gathering!
30. Heliod, God of the Sun
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 4
For just four mana, Heliod offers an indestructible 5/6, but he doesn't count as a creature until your white devotion hits at least five (you'll need four more white mana symbols after Heliod's own).
However, whether he's a creature or still just an enchantment, Heliod grants your other creatures vigilance and can spend four mana to create a 2/1 cleric creature token.
29. Ring of Thune
CMC: 2 (1 to equip)
Ring of Thune accepts any colors, but you'll want it in white decks. The equipped creature gains vigilance, and if it's white, it'll get a +1/+1 counter at the start of your upkeeps. Vigilance plus power increases mean you'll be well-primed to both attack and defend, pressuring foes to find a removal.
28. Vivien, Champion of the Wilds
Despite her low cost, Vivien enters with an impressive amount of four loyalty and lets you cast creatures as though they had flash (at instant speed). Additionally, her +1 gives up to one creature vigilance and reach until your next turn, letting them block flyers and attack without tapping. These traits work well together; reach only helps when your creature can block, which is what vigilance provides.
Vivien's -2 exiles one of your deck's top three cards and lets you later cast it (for full price) if it's a creature; an okay effect, but Vivien's passive and +1 are her highlights.
27. Arlinn Kord/Arlinn, Embraced by the Moon
Only Arlinn's first form provides vigilance, but she's still worth considering. Arlinn comes with just three loyalty, but her +1 gives a creature +2/+2, haste, and vigilance for the turn, quite the boost. Or, +0 creates a 2/2 wolf token and transforms Arlinn.
In her "Embraced by the Moon" form, Arlinn's +1 gives all your creatures +1/+1 and trample for the turn, -1 deals three damage to any target and transforms her back, and -6 creates an emblem that gives your creatures haste and lets them tap to deal damage equal to their power to any target (which works great alongside vigilance).
26. End-Raze Forerunners
Forerunners admittedly requires a heap of mana, but green's ramping and free-creature effects (think "Norwood Priestess") help pay for him. Plus, not only does Forerunners have vigilance, trample, and haste, but when he enters the field, your other creatures get +2/+2, trample, and vigilance for the turn, preparing you for a massive push that could win the game.
25. Concerted Effort
Concerted Effort spreads your creature traits to your other units; at the start of each upkeep, if any of your creatures have flying, fear first strike, double strike, landwalk, protection, trample, and/or vigilance, all your creatures gain that trait for the turn.
Effort rewards you for diversifying your deck, and you can find a similar effect packed within an actual creature...
24. Odric, Lunarch Marshal
Odric offers a similar yet superior alternative to Effort. Not only does he require less white in his cost, at the start of each combat he grants all your creatures first strike, flying, deathtouch, double strike, haste, hexproof, indestructible, lifelink, menace, reach, skulk, trample, and/or vigilance as long as one of your creatures has it.
Comparatively, only Effort shares landwalk and protection but only Odric bestows haste, hexproof, lifelink, deathtouch, indestructible, menace, reach, and skulk, making him the clear victor. And since Odric is a creature himself, he'll partake in the bonuses.
23. Always Watching
Always Watching simply provides your non-token creatures +1/+1 and vigilance. Pretty self-explanatory; for decks that don't heavily rely on tokens, you're getting two useful buffs in one.
22. Intangible Virtue
Wish Always Watching applied to tokens? Use Intangible Virtue, which provides the same rewards (vigilance and +1/+1) but now to your creature tokens. It's also cheaper, only needing two mana instead of three.
21. Sandstone Bridge
Like a standard plains land, Sandstone Bridge can tap for a white mana, but it enters tapped, so you'll have to wait for the effect. But to compensate, it gives a creature +1/+1 and vigilance for the turn on arrival, making it a great land drop on a round where you already have enough mana.
20. Song of Freyalise
Song is a unique saga that activates its first effect immediately, its second during your next upkeep, and its third on your following upkeep. Both the first and second triggers let your creatures tap for any mana color until your next turn, a helpful ramp.
But the third and final effect gives your units a +1/+1 counter plus vigilance, trample, and indestructible for the turn. This makes it practically risk-free to attack; your units won't tap and should be well-defended from blockers thanks to indestructible.
19. Brave the Sands
A strictly-better version of "Serra's Blessing", Brave the Sands gives your creatures vigilance and the ability to block an additional creature each combat. Both are relatively small benefits, but they work well together and more than justify two mana.
18. Gideon Blackblade
Gideon bears four starting loyalty for just three mana, and as long as it's your turn, he's also a 4/4 human creature with indestructible, making him great for battle. His +1 gives up to one other creature you control either vigilance, lifelink, or indestructible for the turn, while -6 simply exiles any non-land permanent.
Admittedly, most situations prefer his +1's indestructible or lifelink over vigilance, but it's still nice to have available when needed.
17. Ajani, the Greathearted
Ajani arrives with an impressive amount of five loyalty and his passive effect grants your creatures vigilance. From there, using +1 gives you two life, while -2 places a +1/+1 counter on your creatures and a loyalty counter on your other planeswalkers.
A well-rounded card perfect for any green/white deck, Ajani is also surprisingly cheap, costing well under two dollars!
16. Ajani Steadfast
Unlike his Greathearted form, Ajani Steadfast has no passive effect and only four loyalty, but only requires one color and has three loyalty traits. +1 gives up to one creature +1/+1, first strike, vigilance, and lifelink for the turn, an excellent upgrade.
-2 places a +1/+1 on your creatures and a loyalty counter on your other planeswalkers, and -7 creates an emblem that prevents all but one damage whenever you or your planeswalkers get hit.
15. Akroma's Memorial
Sure, Akroma's Memorial requires seven mana, but its colorless nature fits in any deck. More than that, Memorial gives your creatures flying, first strike, vigilance, trample, haste, and protection from red and from black! That's an enormous army-wide boost that should quickly overwhelm foes.
14. Patron of the Orochi
Patron requires eight mana, but you can reduce this with his snake offering effect, which lets you instantly sacrifice a snake to reduce Orochi's cost by its own. No matter how you cast him, Orochi taps to untap all forests and green creatures (including himself) once per turn.
This effectively grants your green creatures vigilance and refreshes mana-tappers and lands—just note it can also untap opposing units.
13. Sword of Vengeance
CMC: 3 (3 to equip)
Maybe you like Akroma's Memorial but aren't quite willing to devote to its seven-cost entry fee. Try the Sword of Vengeance instead, offering many of the same effects; its recipient gains +2/+0, first strike, vigilance, trample, and haste. Again, that's a fierce amount of power-ups, and first strike helps cover the lack of a toughness boost.
12. Angelic Field Marshal
Perfect for commander format, Field Marshal begins as a simple 3/3 with flying. But as long as you control your commander, she gets +2/+2 and grants all your creatures (herself included) vigilance.
Keep your commander out and you're sitting on a 5/5 flyer while giving everyone vigilance. And Field Marshal's not the only vigilance-granting angel...
11. Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice
Aurelia is a 2/5 with flying and mentor, letting her give an ally with less power a +1/+1 counter when both attack. More than that, at the start of your combat, Aurelia gives a creatures you control +2/+0 for the turn plus trample if red and vigilance if white.
Choose a red/white creature to get both; you can pick Aurelia herself, but you should probably choose someone else while she's recovering from summoning sickness.
10. God-Eternal Rhonas
Like the other God-Eternals, Rhonas can place himself in your deck's third position if exiled or killed on the field, making him hard to permanently remove. Additionally, he has both the zombie and god subtypes plus 5/5 stats and deathtouch.
But Rhonas's biggest threat comes from his entrance trigger, doubling the power of your other creatures for the turn and giving them vigilance! This can very easily win you the game, especially considering green's devotion to trample.
9. Samut, Voice of Dissent
Samut's a weird but very useful card. Her 3/4 stats look poor but are easily compensated by flash, double strike, vigilance, and haste. She also gives your other creatures haste, letting everyone attack as soon as they arrive.
And while Samut's cost needs red and green, her tap effect needs one white, simply untapping another creature, effectively sharing her vigilance when needed.
8. Prophet of Kruphix
Kruphix has low 2/3 stats, but carries the wizard subtype and untaps all your creatures and lands during other players' untap steps. This is as good as if not better than field-wide vigilance, and Prophet also lets you cast creatures as though they had flash. Unfortunately, Kruphix is banned in commander format, but similar creatures remain legal...
7. Seedborn Muse
Compared to Kruphux, Muse has better 2/4 stats, only needs one color, and untaps all permanents you control during other untap steps. No creature flash or wizard subtype this time around, but it's hard to complain considering her strengths (and legality). But blue/green players can still turn to...
6. Murkfiend Liege
Compared to the last two cards, Murkfiend Liege has much better 4/4 stats, and he'll boost your other green and blue creatures by +1/+1 (+2/+2 with both colors). Additionally, he untaps all green or blue creatures you control during other untap steps, another tempting pseudo-vigilance, especially valuable outside white.
5. Paradox Engine
The infamous Paradox Engine rightfully makes commander players sweat, untapping all non-lands you control whenever you cast a spell. This applies even if the spell is countered and can be used multiple times per turn.
It's often smart to wait until your second main phase before casting spells (so opponents have less information during combat), and Engine's effect will refresh anyone who swung that turn, maintaining blockers.
4. Response // Resurgence
This split spell lets you pick which half to cast as you play it. Response deals five damage to an attacking or blocking creature, a handy instant-speed removal. Resurgence only triggers at sorcery speed, but gives all your creatures vigilance and first strike for the turn, also providing an extra combat and extra main phase.
Don't underestimate the danger of consecutive combat steps, especially when an army is bolstered by vigilance and first strike.
CMC: 5 (5 to equip)
Batterskull's living weapon creates a 0/0 germ token on arrival, attaching itself to it. Thankfully, Batterskull's bearer gets +4/+4, lifelink, and vigilance, so you've basically got a free creature plus potential to reattach.
Additionally, Batterskull can return itself to your hand by spending three mana, a great defense against removals or if you need to create a new germ token.
2. Curse of Bounty
Bounty is my favorite of the unique aura curses, only requiring two mana. Whenever the enchanted player is attacked, you untap all non-lands you control. Not only does this effectively grants your creatures vigilance, it also refreshes mana-tappers, artifacts, and other non-lands.
Heck, you can even enchant yourself to untap when opponents swing at you, an interesting tech option when they've got the field advantage.
1. Loyal Unicorn
A 3/4 with vigilance isn't terrible for four, but Unicorn really shines while you control your commander at the start of your combat. When you do, his lieutenant effect gives your other creatures vigilance and prevents combat damage that would be dealt to them that turn! This means you've got vigilance alongside near-indestructibility, vigilance's best friend since it lets everyone swing without fear.
A staple in my own white EDH decks, Unicorn is also surprisingly cheap, costing well under two dollars!
Using Vigilance in Magic
If not the strongest trait in the game, vigilance is always nice to have available, protecting you without sacrificing your aggression. But for vigilance to help, you need to actually be able to block, so watch out for blocker-limiting effects like flying, shadow, menace, and skulk.
But for now, as we await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of vigilance-granting upgrades, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill