Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
What Are God Cards in Magic?
While they don't contain many members, gods are some of Magic's strongest creatures. Many carry indestructible or return themselves to your deck if killed, making them difficult to permanently remove. Most require a substantial amount of mana but carry impressive abilities and battle stats, though some can't fight until your devotion to a color (the number of its mana symbols in permanents you control) reaches a certain threshold.
Gods are generally pretty competitive, but they're not all-powerful; which deities fall short? These are the ten worst god cards in Magic: The Gathering!
10. The Scarab God
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 5
Here, five mana nets a solid 5/5, and The Scarab God automatically scries X cards and has opponents lose X life (where X is the number of zombies you control) during your upkeep. He can also spend four mana to exile a creature from a graveyard and place a 4/4 zombie copy of it onto the field, and like Scorpion, he returns to your hand at the turn's end when killed.
Unfortunately, Scarab himself lacks the zombie subtype, so his passives depend on other units (though his revival can help field more zombies). Like many of today's spells, Scarab is far from bad, just not as helpful as other gods.
9. The Scorpion God
Scorpion offers a sturdy 6/5 who lets you draw whenever any creature with a -1/-1 counter dies. You can also spend three mana to place a -1/-1 counter on a target creature, both weakening foes and preparing a draw.
Additionally, when Scorpion himself dies, he returns to your hand at the start of the next end step—but watch out for exiling removals, which he can't block.
8. God-Eternal Bontu
Bontu arrives as an impressive 5/6, and unlike many of his peers, there aren't any limits on when he can attack or block. He also has menace, meaning it takes at least two creatures to block him, and his secondary zombie subtype offers numerous synergies.
But his abilities fall short. When he arrives, Bontu lets you sacrifice any number of permanents to draw as many cards. This can be a nice way to spend excess tokens or leftover lands, but generally, you're not gaining much more than you're losing. And if Bontu dies or enters exile, you can instead move him into your deck third from the top. Helpful, but not as much as the other Eternal gods.
7. Oketra the True
Since Oketra has the rare double strike trait, he essentially swings as a daunting 6/6, and he's also indestructible—an excellent bargain for four mana. However, he can't attack or block unless you control at least three other creatures, which can really limit his potential against removal-filled decks.
Oketra can also spend four mana to create a 1/1 with vigilance. This is really just a tool to enable Oketra's own attacks, as that's an expensive price for such a weak unit.
6. Bontu the Glorified
Like Oketra, Bontu carries formidable stats (4/6) for his price, especially when loaded with menace and indestructible. However, he can't attack or block unless one of your creatures has already died that round. Sadly, your units are most likely to die during battle—too late to trigger the effect.
Bontu can spend two mana and sacrifice a creature to scry one, drain a life from each opponent, and grant you one. This also enables him to strike, but losing units is a big drawback just to swing, even in token-swarming builds.
5. Kruphix, God of Horizons
Kruphix requires two colors and doesn't count as a creature until your green/blue devotion reaches seven. Additionally, his power is rather low for a god, and his impressive toughness is usually redundant thanks to indestructible.
That said, he lets you keep unspent mana between phases and turns (though it becomes colorless) and grants you an infinite hand size, both neat benefits. However, you can obtain similar effects with cheaper cards; three-cost "Omnath, Locus of Mana" works better for stockpiling green mana and colorless land "Reliquary Tower" offers an unlimited hand size.
4. Ephara, God of the Polis
A 6/5 indestructible beatstick is especially appreciated in blue's generally monster-weak themes, but Ephara doesn't count as a creature until your blue/white devotion reaches seven. Including her own symbols, you'll need five more to meet condition.
Whether she's a creature or still just an enchantment, Ephara lets you draw an additional card at your upkeep if another creature entered your field since your last turn. Thus, she dabbles in both battle prowess and draw support but excels at neither since both depend on other conditions.
3. Phenax, God of Deception
Like Kruphix, Phenax's 4/7 stats are disappointing for his price, as indestructible should sufficiently shield him. He requires your blue/black devotion to reach seven before counting as a creature, but he grants all creatures you control (possibly including himself) the ability to tap and have a player mill cards into their graveyard equal to that creature's toughness.
This can be handy in mill decks (which seek to win via deck-out), but outside the theme, the ability isn't particularly useful.
2. Pharika, God of Affliction
Three mana is a bargain for an indestructible 5/5 god, but once again, Pharika needs seven green/black devotion before she can attack or block. Unfortunately, her ability isn't great, spending two mana to exile a creature from a graveyard and grants its owner a 1/1 snake token with deathtouch.
The problem here is you're either exiling your own cards (generally not desirable) if you want the token, or handing foes insta-kill troops if you target opposing graveyards.
1. Karametra, God of Harvests
Karametra provides a 6/7 giant on top of being indestructible, so what's her problem? Well, like the other multi-color enchantment gods, her devotion to green/white must be at least seven before she can engage in combat. And her ability simply isn't very useful, placing a plains or forest land from your deck tapped when you cast a creature.
This doesn't trigger when you play Karametra herself, and by the time you can take advantage of it, you'll probably already be able to afford most spells anyway, making it an often-redundant boost.
The Best Gods in Magic
While today's units have their place in certain decks, they generally lag behind more-impressive entities like "Athreos, God of Passage" and "God-Eternal Rhonas." Still, you can have your devotion-based entities quickly become creatures by playing symbol-loaded cards (like "Oversoul of Dusk"), and you can even have a god serve as your leader in commander format.
Good or bad, gods are a rare set, so count yourself fortunate when you find them in packs. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of omnipotent deities, vote for your favorite card, and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on February 18, 2020:
Thank you, I updated the text to ensure clarity of Scorpion's draw ruling. He's far from bad, but I find he usually takes too much time to get going.
Compare him to creatures like "Ravenous Chupacabra" (a mere uncommon), who only needs one color and gives an immediate creature destruction for just four mana.
If your deck emphasizes -1/-1 counters, that'll certainly increase Scorpion's playability, but otherwise, black and red offer many superior creature removals to pick from.
Dakkon Blackblade on February 17, 2020:
Not much of a question just pointing out an inaccuracy as I interpret it.
For the scorpion god, you state that you only draw 1 card if there is a board wipe.
This is untrue. You draw 1 card for EVERY creature that dies with a -1/-1 counter on it. Other cards such as Midnight Banshee, places a -1/-1 counter on every creature in play that is not black. This sets up for a huge card draw. Plus this ability pairs amazingly with wither and infect cards.
The ruling is a little vague, but wizards posted rules read "If a creature with a -1/-1 counter on it dies at the same time as The Scorpion God does, you’ll draw a card. The same is true if The Scorpion God dies with a -1/-1 counter on it."
This indicates to me the point of card draw for each creature dying with a -1/-1 counter on it, including the Scorpion God of you were to ping him with a counter aswell.
This god's ability to cycle your deck through card draw, reanimation, or graveyard dependant abilities (Threshold, flashback, escape) make it an undervalued powerhouse. Additionaly -counters make sure things stay dead that have regenerate (even though this ability is becoming more rare).