Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Discard Effects in Magic
Card advantage is important in every Magic format, giving land drops and spells each turn. But you can disrupt your opponent's using black spells that force discards, depleting their hand size.
Many discard spells are sorceries, but some creatures can also reduce card advantage—which reign supreme? These are the ten best creatures that make your opponent discard in Magic: The Gathering!
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 3
Like many discard-creatures, Dreamstealer has subpar stats at just 1/2. But he's got the useful wizard subtype, menace (can only be blocked by 2+ creatures), and the ability to make your opponent discard cards equal to Dreamstealer's power when he hits them with combat damage.
At base, that's just one, but with auras, equipments, and other boosts, this can skyrocket. As a bonus Dreamstealer's eternalize lets you spend six to exile him from your graveyard, creating a 4/4 token copy of him. This token has the zombie subtype, perfect in black, and forces four discards with combat damage!
9. Cabal Interrogator
Interrogator is a puny 1/1, but has both zombie and wizard subtypes. More than that, during your main phase, he can tap and spend X+1 mana to make an opponent reveal X cards from their hand, discarding one of your choice.
The more mana you pump into X, the more options you'll have, but you can simply set X as one to spend just two for a discard, a cheap and reusable disruption tactic. A staple in any black commander deck, Interrogator is surprisingly cheap, costing well under a single dollar!
8. The Haunt of Hightower
Admittedly, Hightower costs several mana, but he compensates with vampire synergy, flying, and lifelink. Plus, where many discarders need to land combat damage to trigger, Hightower forces one just by attacking, whether he's blocked or not.
Plus, whenever a card enters an opponent's graveyard from anywhere, Hightower gains a +1/+1 counter, and this'll trigger from his discard, quickly boosting his base 3/3 stats.
7. Blazing Specter/Blizzard Specter
Specters like these usually force discards upon landing combat damage. Black/red Blazing is a weak 2/2, but flying and haste let him quickly begin his assault. Blizzard doesn't contain haste, but has better 2/3 stats, the snow type, and the ability to pick between forcing a discard or having your opponent return a permanent to their hand.
Both are great for their respective colors, but if you made me pick one, I'd take Blizzard.
6. Nath of the Gilt-Leaf
A 4/4 elf warrior isn't bad for five, and at your upkeep, Nath can make an opponent discard at random, a useful auto-trigger that doesn't rely on combat damage and doesn't let your target choose what to toss.
And this combos beautifully with Nath's next effect, creating a 1/1 elf token whenever an opponent discards.
5. Lightning Skelemental
Admittedly, Skelemental needs very specific colors, only has one toughness, and has to be sacrificed at the end of your turn. But he's got trample, haste, elemental and skeleton subtypes, six power, and the ability to force two discards when he lands combat damage!
With six power and trample, very few enemies can fully block Skelemental, letting you easily score some damage alongside your discards.
4. Dimir Cutpurse
Cutpurse lacks traits that hinder blockers like flying or menace, so he might need the help of auras or removals to score direct hits. But when he does, he not only makes your opponent discard but also lets you draw, a potent two-for-one that grants incredible long-term card advantage.
3. Nicol Bolas the Ravager
Bolas here is a well-rounded and powerful card. He requires three colors, but enters as a 4/4 dragon with flying, a powerful mid-game beatstick, and he makes all opponents discard on arrival, especially useful in multiplayer.
From there, you can spend seven mana to transform him during your main phase into his Ravager planeswalker form. He'll have seven loyalty and four effects; +2 draws twice, -3 deals 10 damage to a creature or planeswalker, -4 revives a creature or planeswalker from any graveyard, and -12 exiles all but the bottom card of a deck.
So you'll only get one discard out of Bolas, but you're netting a big creature with potential to upgrade into a deadly planeswalker.
2. Hypnotic Specter
The king of all Specters, Hypnotic only needs one color, is a decent 2/2 flyer, and causes a random discard with each direct hit! Better still, you can turn-one him using black's infamous "Dark Ritual": play your Swamp, tap it for Ritual, then use your three mana for Specter, letting you swing as early as turn two.
This'll ravage most decks far before they're prepared to counter and very likely lead to your victory. If you don't have any Hypnotics around, "Hollow Specter" provides a workable substitute
1. Augur of Skulls
Needing only one black, Augur can fit in multicolor decks, and he's got some tribal support with both skeleton and wizard subtypes. Additionally, you can sacrifice him during your upkeep to make a player discard twice!
Augur has weak 1/1 stats, but he can regenerate by spending two mana, helping him survive until he can trigger if you've got excess mana.
Non-Creature Discards in Magic
Today's creatures are useful two-for-one spells that dwindle opposing hands while also providing blocker fodder when needed. Since many rely on combat damage, support them with unblockable abilities to form a fierce combo. Remember that many non-creature spells can also discard, but for now, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2020 Jeremy Gill