Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
What Are Wizards in Magic: The Gathering?
In Magic, the wizards represent a creature subtype mostly scattered among the blue faction. Wizards are generally weak in battle, but they have tricky effects that counter spells, draw cards, bounce creatures, and more, making them excellent control tools.
10 Best Wizard Cards
Many wizards build off each other, rewarding you for devoting to their clan, and they often bear human or merfolk secondary subtypes, offering additional combo potential. But with hundreds of potent spellcasters running rampant, which sorcerers reign supreme? Factoring in the aces of all formats, these are the ten best wizard creatures in Magic: The Gathering!
- Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
- Stonybrook Banneret
- Zur the Enchanter
- Patron Wizard
- Jace, Vryn's Prodigy/Jace, Telepath Unbound
- Trinket Mage/Trophy Mage
- Naban, Dean of Iteration
- Vendilion Clique
- Snapcaster Mage
- Baral, Chief of Compliance
10. Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 5
Teferi costs a fair chunk of five mana, and like many wizards, he carries the human subtype. As a legendary creature, he's also an option for a monoblue commander deck. Teferri's 3/4 stats (three power and four toughness) are decent for his price, but he offers three essential traits that really prove his worth.
First, Teferi bears flash, letting you cast him at instant speed on any phase. Then, he grants your other creatures flash, fielding them at a similar quick-play rate. Finally, he mandates opponents only cast spells when they could play sorceries, restricting them to their main phases. With one fell swoop, you can now field creatures at any time and disregard counters or other tricks during your turn, letting your rounds proceed unhindered.
9. Stonybrook Banneret
Not only one of the top wizards but also one of the best merfolk, Banneret adeptly supports both her clans. Her puny 1/1 stats are disappointing, but she only costs two mana, and her islandwalk trait makes her unblockable to opponents who control island lands, helping score direct hits.
Better yet, Banneret reduces the price of your merfolk and wizard spells by one. Don't get too greedy, as cards bearing both subtypes still only receive a single discount, but this excellently cheapens two of blue's most abundant types. Beyond that, Banneret makes useful tap fodder when an ally of either of her subtypes provides a multi-tap ability.
8. Zur the Enchanter
Legendary Zur remains an excellent general for EDH format, providing the valuable blue, white, and black colors to your wizard deck. 1/4 stats are a bit disappointing, although his toughness is just high enough to survive a red "Lightning Bolt" removal, and Zur enjoys the flying trait, making him unblockable to creatures without flying or reach.
But Zur's real strength lies in his attack trigger: when he swings, you can search and cast an enchantment with a CMC of three or less from your deck! This saves you the trouble of both drawing and casting the spell, and it's particularly effective at placing aura enchantments on Zur to empower his impending strike.
7. Patron Wizard
Patron Wizard requires all three of his mana be blue, so he's hard to mix into multicolor decks, and his stats are a fragile 2/2. However, he provides a mighty boost to himself and his kin: you can tap any wizard any wizard you control to counter a target spell unless its controller pays an additional mana.
At best, this completely negates an incoming threat, and at worst, you're still depleting opposing mana. Plus, you can use Patron's effect to tap himself even on the turn he arrives; he doesn't need haste since it doesn't bear the tap symbol in its cost. Swarm wizard tokens to construct an army of minions ready to disable any potential spell.
6. Jace, Vryn's Prodigy/Jace, Telepath Unbound
While Jace has zero power, he enjoys a nice two toughness (letting him survive a -1/-1 debuff); he probably won't be attacking anyway. At just two mana, he's an inexpensive human/wizard blend, and Jace can tap to draw a card, then discard a card. This finds what you need while tossing what you don't, and it can set your graveyard for revivals or flashback traits.
Additionally, when your graveyard collects five or more cards, you exile Jace and return him transformed into his Telepath Unbound planeswalker form! He arrives with an impressive five loyalty and three planeswalker abilities. Most notably, his -3 lets you cast an instant or sorcery from your graveyard, then exile it, recycling your spent one-offs for an extra usage.
5. Trinket Mage/Trophy Mage
Trinket Mage and Trophy Mage share a slot since they're almost identical. Both are 2/2 human wizards who only need one blue mana and fit well into multicolor structures. When Trinket enters the field, you may add an artifact with a CMC of 0 or 1 from your deck to your hand; Trophy Mage does the same but find an artifact costing three mana.
Thus, use Trinket to sniff out "Sol Ring," "Black Lotus," or other inexpensive staples, and have Trophy discover relics like the valuable "Sword of" equipments. Both are handy entrance triggers; once you've added your card, you don't need to overly concern yourself with defending your Mages, so feel free to have them block big attacks.
4. Naban, Dean of Iteration
Naban's a legendary unit whose effect is easy to build around. He's only a 2/1, but costs just two mana, and whenever your wizard entering the field would trigger an effect, you now replicate the ability and activate it again! Thus, Trinket and Trophy Mage would search two artifacts instead of one, cards like "Exclusion Mage" would bounce two units, and so on.
You're getting double the triggers for no extra cost, and Naban also carries the human subtype for additional combos. Use him to radically boost your entrance-effect wizards, another good example being . . .
3. Vendilion Clique
Clique costs a fair three mana, but this pixie bunch bears flash, letting you cast them at instant speed. With 3/1 stats, they're likely to die when hit, but can take most early-game foes down with them, and their flying ability lets you battle in any arena, land or sky.
Plus, when Clique enters the field, you look at a target player's hand, move a nonland card from it to the bottom of their library, then have them draw a card. This lets you banish an incoming threat and peek at your opponent's hand (other than their new card), giving you a nice tactical edge, and you can even use it on yourself to replace a dead card in your hand. Finally, Clique carries the rare but useful faerie subtype, strengthening appropriate clan members.
2. Snapcaster Mage
Snapcaster is similar to Clique, bearing decent power but low toughness (2/1) as well as flash, letting you cast him at instant speed. He also possesses an entrance effect (remember to use Naban) that grants an instant or sorcery card in your graveyard flashback until the end of the turn, letting you cast and exile it (you still need to pay its CMC, of course).
A 2/1 human wizard with flash would already be a decent card; throw in the spell recycling, and Snapcaster's an often-underestimated blue staple who excels in a variety of Magic formats.
1. Baral, Chief of Compliance
Like many cards we've seen, Baral harbors both the wizard and human subtypes, and he wields a nice 1/3 stats for his low price. Baral's also a legendary unit, offering another strong choice for a monoblue general, and he reduces the price of your instant and sorcery cards by one!
Ending it there would already have him as a terrific unit, but Baral also lets you draw and discard whenever you use one of blue's many counterspells, rewarding you for negating opposing plays and helping fill your graveyard for Jace's planeswalker transformation. Whether he's serving as commander or not, Baral's a staple for any blue EDH deck I craft who has won me several victories, and I'm amazed he's as cheap as he is, costing well under ten dollars!
How to Support Wizard Decks in Magic: The Gathering
Unsurprisingly, many of the best wizard supports are, well, wizards. In addition to the units we've already seen, creatures like "Adeliz, the Cinder Wind" can boost the fragile stats of your members, while the land "Riptide Laboratory" can return one to hand, saving it from a removal and letting you reuse its entrance ability. Wizards remain a competitive force for their unparalleled control, and I definitely recommend giving their theme a try.
With so many amazing magicians to choose from, narrowing the list to just ten wasn't easy, and we'll undoubtedly return to tackle more of Magic's best. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next batch of spellshaping sorcerers, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill