Top 10 Vanilla (Effectless) Creatures in Magic: The Gathering

Updated on July 26, 2020
Jeremy Gill profile image

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

Standard Creatures in Magic

Most Magic creatures play two roles, serving in battle with their power/toughness, but also utilizing unique effects to gain an advantage. Some might be weak in battle, but compensate with powerful tap abilities or keywords like vigilance.

But some slackers (called "vanilla" creatures) don't have any effects. This makes most of them practically unplayable, but some compensate with impressive battle stats—which reign supreme? These are the ten best effect-less creatures in Magic: The Gathering!

Kalonian Tusker mtg
Kalonian Tusker mtg

10. Kalonian Tusker

CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 2

Tusker is a simple 3/3 for two, bulky enough to begin pressuring foes early in the game. Like most vanillas, he's also not legendary, so you can control multiple, and his beast subtype has a few tribal supports.

Watchwolf mtg
Watchwolf mtg

9. Watchwolf

CMC: 2

Just like Tusker, Watchwolf is an impressive 3/3 for two, though this time, you'll need white alongside green. But I'll take his wolf subtype over beast, fitting well in a slowly-but-surely growing tribe.

Metallic Sliver mtg
Metallic Sliver mtg

8. Metallic Sliver

CMC: 1

Sure, Metallic is a weak and effect-lacking 1/1, but sliver decks almost always run five colors, so his colorless nature gives you an easy spell even if you're still color-hunting. More than that, almost all slivers give each other added abilities, so Metallic can be surprisingly tough once your field starts filling out, and his artifact status provides even more supports.

Indomitable Ancients mtg
Indomitable Ancients mtg

7. Indomitable Ancients

CMC: 4

Four mana is a hefty price for a basic monster, but Ancients compensates with amazing 2/10 stats. To take advantage of his outstanding toughness, use him in beatdown decks that apply toughness for damage instead of power using cards like "Assault Formation" and "Doran, the Siege Tower".

Leatherback Baloth mtg
Leatherback Baloth mtg

6. Leatherback Baloth

CMC: 3

For one more mana than Tusker, you get another hefty beast, this time with 4/5 stats! If you play a mana-elf on turn one, you can get Baloth on turn two and be swinging hard by three.

Admittedly, Baloth's specific symbols make him unwieldy outside mono-green, but they're good for satisfying the devotion needs of god cards.

Savannah Lions mtg
Savannah Lions mtg

5. Savannah Lions

CMC: 1

For a single mana, Savannah gives an easy 2/1 cat, not only strong stats for low cost, but another useful subtype with several tribal options. Great for any cat theme, Lions is also one of today's cheapest cards, costing less than a single dollar!

Isamaru, Hound of Konda mtg
Isamaru, Hound of Konda mtg

4. Isamaru, Hound of Konda

CMC: 1

For Savannah's cost, Isamaru provides an even-stronger 2/2, although since he's legendary, you can only have one at a time. Still, the once-ignored hound subtype has since been changed to dog, and it's gradually gaining more supports, helping Isamaru fit into a tribal theme.

Gigantosaurus mtg
Gigantosaurus mtg

3. Gigantosaurus

CMC: 5

If you thought Baloth was locked into green, check out Gigantosaurus, who only accepts five green mana, no other colors allowed. However, not only does he belong to the dinosaur bloodline, Gigantosaurus wields phenomenal 10/10 stats.

Get trample onto him (and hexproof or shroud for defense) and your opponent is in big trouble.

Phyrexian Walker mtg
Phyrexian Walker mtg

2. Phyrexian Walker

CMC: 0

Our last two creatures lack effects but have the artifact type and don't cost any mana! Walker here is a simple 0/3 blocker, which might not sound great but is surprisingly impressive considering his free entrance and lack of color needs.

Plus, despite his wall-like stats, he doesn't have defender, so you can attack with him (useful once you've boosted his power with other cards).

Memnite mtg
Memnite mtg

1. Memnite

CMC: 0

You could argue whether Memnite's 1/1 is better than Walker's 0/3, but it lets Memnite hit for something without any other boosts. While he might seem weak, don't underestimate the power of a free card with no color necessities and artifact synergy.

Which creature do you prefer?

See results

French Vanilla Cards in Magic

Today we explored true vanilla creatures with no abilities whatsoever, but you'll also encounter similar "french vanilla" creatures who only have keywords (like deathtouch or trample), lacking unique effects.

While some are unremarkable and unusable in constructed play, others compensate for their blandness with raw power, and when done well, can be just as exciting as other cards. But for now, vote for your favorite simpleton and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!

© 2020 Jeremy Gill


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)