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Top 10 Firebreathing Cards in Magic: The Gathering

Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.

Firebreathing Dragons in Magic

Despite not being particularly competitive, the classic "Firebreathing" aura attached to a creature and let you spend a red mana to instantly give it +1/+0 for the turn. This effect inspired dozens of other "fire-breathers," often red dragons, who can similarly pump excess mana into more damage.

Useful on its own, this ability becomes deadly with infinite mana combos, letting you score a one-hit KO with a direct attack—which units reign supreme? These are the ten best firebreathing creatures in Magic: The Gathering!

Inferno Titan mtg

Inferno Titan mtg

10. Inferno Titan

CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 6

Unlike many firebreathers, Titan isn't a dragon (he's a giant), and he costs several mana. However, he has powerful 6/6 stats and the standard firebreathing trait, spending any number of red mana to get +1/+0 for the turn for each.

More than that, Titan has a nice entrance removal, dealing three damage split among any one, two, or three targets as you like.

Rakdos Pit Dragon mtg

Rakdos Pit Dragon mtg

9. Rakdos Pit Dragon

CMC: 4

Despite his black/red Rakdos guild name, Pit Dragon only needs red mana, and he's a versatile beast. He's got average 3/3 stats, and unlike most dragons, he doesn't have flying naturally but can gain it for the turn by spending two mana. Firebreathing also lets him spend one to get +1/+0 that round—remember that both work at instant speed.

Best of all, Pit Dragon's hellbent trait gives him the valued double strike ability while you have no cards in hand; use red's numerous self-discarding tactics for a dominating beatstick, especially since double strike effectively turns each +1/+0 boost into +2/+0.

8. Nesting Dragon

CMC: 5

Nesting Dragon himself lacks firebreathing, but he's a formidable 5/4 dragon with flying. More than that, his landfall ability creates a 0/2 dragon egg whenever you play a land, and when that token dies, you create a 2/2 dragon with flying and firebreathing.

While this takes time, those are some powerful tokens, offering useful blockers who only get stronger when killed. You can get the same egg in the three-cost "Dragon Egg" card, but you might as well score them for free with Nesting, whose own battle prowess shouldn't be overlooked.

7. Stillmoon Cavalier

CMC: 3

Cavalier offers a rare non-red firebreather, and his hybrid symbols accept either black or white mana. While his stats are a weak 2/1, he compensates with protection from both black and white, the useful zombie and knight subtypes, and his activated abilities.

Spending one white or black can give him flying or first strike for the turn, while spending two gives a color-shifted firebreathing bonus of +1/+0. Definitely a cool card, but if you're only running one of Cavalier's colors, you might consider "Stromgald Crusader" for black or "White Shield Crusader" for white.

Cavalier of Flame mtg

Cavalier of Flame mtg

6. Cavalier of Flame

CMC: 5

Flame specifically needs several red mana in his substantial cost but has great 6/5 stats plus both elemental and knight synergy. When he enters the field, he lets you discard any number of cards to draw that many, an excellent graveyard prep, and when he dies, he deals X damage to each opponent and each opposing planeswalker, where X is the number of lands in your graveyard.

And we can't overlook Flame's unique firebreathing; it costs two mana instead of one, but gives all your creatures (including Flame) +1/+0 and haste for the turn, a great way to have troops attack immediately.

Moltensteel Dragon mtg

Moltensteel Dragon mtg

5. Moltensteel Dragon

CMC: 6

Moltensteel's two phyrexian symbols accept either red mana or two life, so you can cast him for as little as four if you're willing to take the loss. Either way, he's a 4/4 artifact dragon with flying and phyrexian firebreathing, giving you the choice of red mana or two life to get +1/+0 for the turn.

That's a great way to spend extra life, meaning Moltensteel can very easily win the game with one attack. Hopefully, your opponent doesn't have any flying or reach blockers; if they do, you'll want to give Moltensteel trample to pierce the damage through.

Akroma, Angel of Fury mtg

Akroma, Angel of Fury mtg

4. Akroma, Angel of Fury

CMC: 8

Akroma requires several mana, but she has solid 6/6 stats, flying, haste, trample, protection from both blue and white, and she can't be countered! She's also got firebreathing and morph, letting you cast her face-down as a 2/2 for three, then flip her over later for six, helping divide her mana cost over multiple turns.

Remember, trample works great with firebreathing because it means infinite damage regardless of blockers if you pull off an infinite mana combo.

Kargan Dragonlord mtg

Kargan Dragonlord mtg

3. Kargan Dragonlord

CMC: 2

Kargan is a human warrior rather than dragon, and he doesn't begin play with firebreathing. But he can level up for one red mana, and from levels 4-7, his 2/2 stats increase to 4/4 and he gains flying.

But at level 8 and beyond, his stats again double to 8/8, he keeps flying, and he gains trample and firebreathing, again giving the perfect tools for an infinite-mana to infinite-damage win.

2. Hellkite Overlord

CMC: 8

Overlord requires multiple colors and several mana, but he enjoys 8/8 stats plus flying, trample, and haste. He's also got firebreathing plus a built-in defense, letting him spend a black and green mana to regenerate (tapping him and removing all damage the next time he would be destroyed that turn). The dragon subtype also works well alongside dragon commanders like "The Ur-Dragon."

Best of all, you can tutor Overlord and avoid his mana cost using the effect of "Dragon's Herald", a one-cost creature who can play Overlord from your deck by sacrificing a red, black, and green creature.

Steel Hellkite mtg

Steel Hellkite mtg

1. Steel Hellkite

CMC: 6

Artifact-creature Steel Hellkite accepts any mana colors, fitting into any deck, and carries solid 5/5 stats plus flying. His firebreathing takes two mana, but it can be of any types, and his second effect spends X mana to destroys all non-land permanents of cost X whose controller took combat damage from Hellkite that turn.

You can only use the destruction ability once per turn, but it's a great removal that doesn't target and devastates tokens—set X as zero (for free) to destroy all an opponent's tokens!

A staple in any dragon or infinite-mana deck, Hellkite is surprisingly cheap for such a competitive card, costing well under two dollars!

Infinite Mana Combos in Magic: The Gathering

Since firebreathing abilities can activate multiple times each turn, you can endlessly trigger them with infinite mana (usually red), offering an infinitely-strong attacker. To go infinite with red, try combos like "Grand Architect + Pili-Pala" that can limitlessly produce any colors.

Even without infinites, firebreathing can drastically increase your damage output and pressure foes, but for now, as we await Wizards of the Coast's next set of flame-spitting dragons, vote for your favorite and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!

© 2020 Jeremy Gill