Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
What Are Wall Defenders in Magic?
In Magic, not all creatures with defender are walls, but all walls operate using the defender mechanic, meaning they can't attack. However, most walls bear low power scores anyway, but what they lack in strength they make up for in toughness, forming sturdy shields against your opponent's incoming attacks.
Walls come in a variety of shapes and sizes across all colors, and they're generally inexpensive, allowing early-game blockers to adeptly defend your life points. But with hundreds of potent barriers, which fortifications reign supreme? These are the ten best wall cards in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Jeskai Barricade
White's plains land unlock this potent wall, who (like many of his brethren) only costs two mana and arrives as a 0/4. Zero power means he won't hit blockers back, but four toughness is conveniently just high enough to survive the common red "Lightning Bolt" removal.
Jeskai also offers the rare flash trait, letting you cast it at instant speed, and when it enters the battlefield, you can return another creature you control to your hand. This saves a unit from a removal by nestling them in your hand (where you can recast them) and helps reactivate field entrance effects.
9. Wall of Nets
Another white guardian, Wall of Nets is today's most expensive card, though three mana is still easily afforded. Not only does Nets wield an impressive 0/7, but it also exiles any creatures it blocks at the end of combat!
Exiling is a brutal removal that prevents graveyard recoveries, but note that if Nets dies, it returns all creatures it banished to the field. Thankfully, its impressive toughness means it's not easily defeated; just watch out for insta-kill deathtouch creatures or field-wipe sorceries.
8. Overgrown Battlement
Like Jeskai, Overgrown Battlement is a 0/4 wall, but stems from the forests of green. Battlement bears an excellent tap effect that adds a green mana for each defender you control. Counting itself, this should be at least one, but dedicated defender themes can amass huge amounts of mana with every tap!
Additionally, tap abilities are particularly useful on walls thanks to the infamous "block-tap" technique. Basically, when an opponent swings at you, you can declare untapped blockers and simultaneously tap them, successfully blocking the attacks and triggering your tap abilities. This advanced move can catch opponents off guard, but in Battlement's case, note that you'll need to spend your mana before the combat phase ends (using instants, flash cards, activated abilities, etc.) or it'll fade from your pool.
7. Wall of Razors
The mountains of red access this high-risk, high-reward protector. Like its kin, Wall of Razors can't attack, but its surprisingly high power of four shreds most foes foolish enough to strike. However, a toughness of just one means Razors can't take any punishment in return; fortunately, its first strike trait lets it hit preemptively, usually dealing enough damage to avoid a counterattack and thus survive.
Razors offers a potent offensive element to your walls, as he generally destroys units he blocks, but watch out for enemies with first strike, double strike, or -1/-1 counters, all of which can counteract Razors's speedy defense.
6. Wall of Omens/Wall of Blossoms
Wall of Omens and Wall of Blossoms offer the same CMC and effects, the only main difference being their color allegiance. Regardless of whether you favor white or green, each join the fray with a hearty 0/4 and draw a card upon entrance, adeptly maintaining your card advantage.
Each are worthy additions to their respective hues, though Blossoms impresses slightly more thanks to its added plant subtype, offering a few extra combos with plant-based effects.
5. Steel Wall
Steel Wall's a basic defender, lacking any other notable effects. Still, its 0/4 status skillfully defend against foes, and it's remarkably cheap, costing just one mana!
This mana can stem from any color, letting you easily adopt Steel into any build, and its dual typing as both an artifact and creature afford you extra synergies. This admittedly also makes Steel vulnerable to numerous removals, but if your opponent is desperate enough to eliminate something that only costs you one mana, you're in a strong position anyway.
4. Sunscape Familiar
Sunscape Familiar isn't quite as durable as its peers, bearing just 0/3 for two mana, but this white structure lowers the CMC of green and blue spells you cast by one! Now, don't get too greedy, as blue-green duos still only receive a single discount, but this superbly fuels your spells in multicolor decks.
What else can I say? White makes a great complementary color to your cyan builds thanks to its wealth of excellent supports like Sunscape.
3. Shield Sphere
Another artifact creature blend, Shield Sphere is today's cheapest card, as it can be cast for free! That's right, you don't need any mana to summon Sphere, and it arrives with an astonishing 0/6 stats despite its nonexistent price.
The only downside is that Sphere receives a -0/-1 counter when it blocks, gradually weakening in toughness, but that's more than enough blocks to justify its negligent fee.
2. Wall of Tears
Wall of Tears inflicts a hefty punishment on soldiers it defends, which often deters them from attacking in the first place. Tears bears the standard 0/4 stats and requires a blue mana, but whenever it guards a creature (or creatures), you bounce them back to your opponent's hand at the end of the battle—even if Tears was destroyed in combat.
This forces opponents to recast their creatures (and wait for summoning sickness to wear off before attacking again), drastically slowing their strategy and buying you valuable time. An excellent defender, but like most walls, Tears doesn't possess either flying or reach, so remember that aerial units can still bypass it.
1. Tinder Wall
Like Wall of Blossoms, Tinder Wall stacks well with both plant and wall creatures, and for its single green mana, it maintains a respectable 0/3 stats. Better yet, it can sacrifice itself to add two red mana to your pool, an impressive mana ramp tool that you can use instantly despite not having haste (since it doesn't require tapping).
Alternatively, you can spend a red mana and sacrifice Tinder to deal two damage to a creature it's blocking, but its mana ramp effect is nearly always preferable. Here's another advanced move: use Tinder to block a creature, then sac it for mana (spend it on an instant since it'll fade at combat's end); even though Tinder has now exited, your opponent's creature still counts as being blocked and won't assign combat damage.
A free defense and two mana in one potent package, making Tinder a staple to any red-green deck I use. Fortunately, despite its fierce powers, it's surprisingly inexpensive, costing less than a single dollar to purchase!
How to Support Wall Cards in Magic
Here are some tips to keep in mind when constructing your ultimate wall deck. Some potent members like "Fog Bank" can block flyers, but most walls remain grounded, so watch out for aerial assaults. However, you can support your team with the aura "Animate Wall," which lets a wall attack even with defender, and the enchantment "Fortified Area," which grants a power increase and the banding effect to your walls.
Watch out for anti-wall units like "Chaos Charm" and "Battering Ram," but unless your opponent has advanced knowledge of your theme, they're unlikely to include such specific counters, meaning you can often sneak your walls into play unchecked. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of powerful defenders, vote for your favorite wall, and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
Questions & Answers
Question: "Wall of Souls" is a worthy edition to "Top 10 Walls in Magic: The Gathering," don't you think?
Answer: Definitely; in fact, it's in my notes for cards that almost made the cut. For those that don't know, Souls is a black two-cost 0/4 wall that deals combat damage it receives to a target opponent, discouraging non-aerial assaults.
Question: How about "Wall of Frost"?
Answer: Yep, he's another great card, bearing seven toughness and preventing creatures he blocks from untapping at their next upkeep.
© 2018 Jeremy Gill