There are a handful of creature tribes in Magic: the Gathering that stand head and shoulders above all others. This may be for any reason, such as having ample support, powerful individual members, or simply large numbers of options to choose from for your decks.
Dragons are undoubtedly one of the top tribes in the game. These beastly creatures have a range of abilities that are deadly and keep the pressure on your opponents.
If you’re looking for a few must-have dragon cards for your collection, you’re in the right place. In this guide, we’ll show you several of the best MTG dragon cards currently in the game.
What are Dragons Like in MTG?
As we said above, dragons are one of the strongest creature groups in all of Magic: the Gathering. But what exactly makes them so powerful?
There are many reasons. One of the most obvious, though, is that dragons are typically aggressive attackers with a high power and toughness, in addition to flying. They can soar right over many of your opponents’ defenders if they haven’t accounted for the possibility of flying attackers.
Beyond their combat prowess, dragons also have a huge breadth of abilities and effects they create. Some generate mana, others buff themselves or other dragons, and still others make dragon tokens to grow your army.
In other words, dragons do pretty much everything under the sun. When you start with dragons, you’re not limiting yourself to a small range of themes or playstyles. You can play them in an easy-to-understand combat deck as attackers or pick dragons with unique abilities to make more complex combos.
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Best MTG Dragon Cards
It would be impossible to have a list of the greatest dragon cards in Magic: the Gathering without discussing the titan that is The Ur-Dragon. If you’re considering building a Commander deck, there’s an extremely strong case for The Ur-Dragon, even if you never cast it.
This is because of its eminence ability. Regardless of whether it’s on the battlefield or in the command zone, The Ur-Dragon makes it cheaper for you to cast other dragons. Given that dragon cards tend to cost a lot of mana, this makes it an amazing Commander.
If you actually get The Ur-Dragon out onto the battlefield, then you’ll be wielding a great threat. With a power and toughness of 10, one hit from it can reduce an opponents’ life by a quarter if you’re playing Commander.
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The best thing about Balefire Dragon is that it’s like a mini one-sided board wipe. Provided you can get it past your opponents’ defenders, it will deal an equal amount of damage to each of that person’s creatures as it does to that person.
Keep in mind that this powerful dragon has mighty 6/6 stats. Dealing 6 damage to every single creature a particular person has is devastating and will likely get rid of most that player’s creatures. If it doesn’t, then you’ve got bigger problems to deal with.
You can make Balefire Dragon even more effective by buffing it. By boosting its power stat, you increase the amount of damage it does both to players and to the creatures they control.
Hellkite Tyrant has what’s called a built-in win condition. That just means the card has some sort of condition which, when met, immediately wins the game for you. For Hellkite Tyrant, that win condition is having twenty or more artifacts at the beginning of your turn.
But even without that win condition, it’s still a horrifying card for your enemies to deal with. The fact that it steals all your opponents’ artifacts whenever it gets through and damages them is immensely powerful, especially against artifact-heavy decks.
As the gruesome cherry on top, Hellkite Tyrant has trample. Even if your opponents manage to block it, damage can still get through to steal their artifacts if their creature doesn’t have a toughness equal to or greater than Hellkite’s power.
After Nicol Bolas, Niv-Mizzet might be one of the most iconic dragons in the game. This Izzet (red and blue) dragon is a popular Commander, thanks to powerful 5/5 stats, built-in card draw, and the ability to ping people for damage.
This is an excellent Commander for a spellslinger deck, or one designed to cast as many spells as possible. He’s even more effective whenever you cast instants or sorceries, as he will draw you a card each time you do so and deal damage to an opponent.
If worst comes to worst, you can use Niv-Mizzet, Parun as a beater card to attack your opponents with. If they’re unable to block, taking 5 damage to the face is always painful.
Whenever you cast Terror of the Peaks, everyone in your group is going to fight to get rid of it. This is because, whenever you cast other creatures after it, Terror of the Peaks does a number of damage to a target of your choosing equal to that creature’s power.
Basically, you don’t even need to attack when you have Terror of the Peaks out. Just cast a lot of creatures and watch your opponents squirm as you target their permanents or even them with the damage.
And if anyone tries to play a kill spell to get rid of it, Terror of the Peaks takes three points from their life total before they can cast it. Depending on how low your opponents are in life, they may not be willing or able to pay that cost.
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Skithyrx, the Blight Dragon, affectionately nicknamed Skittles by some players, is an infamous dragon. When it was first released, Skithiryx was used in a number of decks designed to get the dragon out quickly and attack with it right away using its haste.
Ideally, Skithiryx is a one-hit kill. This is because it has infect, and players can only take ten points of infect before they lose the game. Put another way, all you need to do is get Skithiryx’s power up to ten, then hit an opponent with it to force them to lose the game in one fell swoop.
You can rest assured people who know what Skithiryx does will try to target it the moment it hits the battlefield. Fortunately, Skithiryx has an integrated insurance policy: you can pay two black mana to regenerate it, which means you can stop it from going to your graveyard from effects that would otherwise destroy it. If you’re playing with Skithiryx, be sure to leave at least two black mana open at all times.
Ramos, Dragon Engine
Although five-color decks can be deadly, there’s one big issue with building one: creating a consistent mana base. It’s not uncommon to find that, as you actually play your five-color deck, you don’t get all the colors you need for your spells.
Ramos, Dragon Engine helps lessen the difficulty of building a five-color deck. It gets a +1/+1 counter for each color of each spell you cost, and you can remove five of those counters to create two mana of each color once per turn.
If you get to that point, removing those five counters for mana generation will allow you to cast most cards in the game. This makes Ramos, Dragon Engine a popular choice in Commander games.
Nicol Bolas is, without a doubt, the most recognizable dragon in Magic: the Gathering. He’s featured all over in official art and is well-known as a sort of ultimate evil in the lore. Given his prevalence in the story, Nicol Bolas cards are almost always popular, and this one is no exception.
This is an extremely interesting card. It enters as a creature that forces opponents to discard a card. If you can pay four generic, one blue, one black, and one red mana, he transforms into Nicol Bolas, the Arisen, another strong Bolas planeswalker.
As a planeswalker, Nicol Bolas, the Arisen is ahead of the curve. He has four loyalty abilities, and all of them are good. You can use him for card draw, to dish out damage to creatures and planeswalkers, to steal from graveyards, or to exile basically entire libraries.
When the Strixhaven set came out, players were excited to see more elder dragon cards like this one. Elder dragons typically make excellent Commanders, and Beledros Witherbloom is an example of that.
Beledros will generate pest tokens for you each upkeep. When those pests die – either by your hand or by someone else’s – you gain life. You can then pay 10 life to untap all your lands, so the more lands you have out, the more effective Beledros is.
There are tons of different strategies you can do here, but you’ll probably want to focus on ramping and life gain in Beledros decks. It’s a fairly expensive card to cast and getting to untap all your lands once per turn is a powerful ability. It means you can always have mana ready to protect yourself – provided you can afford the cost.
You might want to check out our list of the best life gain cards in MTG for some ideas on cards to use in a Beledros deck.
Lathliss, Dragon Queen is a simple dragon card. Put simply, she will double the number of dragons you have by creating a 5/5 dragon token whenever you cast a dragon creature card.
You can also use her to buff all your dragons by paying one generic and one red mana. However, we feel it is her token generation ability that makes her most effective. If you’re running a dragon tribal deck, Lathliss is an essential card that will help you build up a draconic army even faster.
Common Questions about Dragons in MTG
What is the best MTG dragon?
The best dragon card in all of Magic: the Gathering is a difficult decision. Like choosing the “best” card of any specific type in the game, there are many that can be powerful in different decks. The same is true for dragons. One dragon may be incredibly effective in a specific deck, but worthless in others.
To answering this question, we’re going to define “best” as the most overall useful and flexible. By this definition, we’d choose Ramos, Dragon Engine as the best one on this list.
You can use it to generate absurd amounts of mana in slow formats like Commander. On the other hand, if your concern is attacking or blocking, you can use Ramos as a simple, straightforward body that gets stronger every time you cast a spell.
Is The Ur-Dragon a Good Commander?
If you’re playing a dragon tribal deck, The Ur-Dragon is just about the best Commander you can possibly use. Dragons are notorious for costing loads of mana to cost. The Ur-Dragon reduces this cost for you, even if it’s in your command zone.
What is a dragon spell in MTG?
What constitutes a dragon spell can vary based on who you ask. In this article, we chose to define dragon spell as dragon creature spells.
However, if you want a more flexible definition, you could argue that spells that affect dragons specifically are also dragon spells even if they’re not necessarily dragon-type creatures. One example is the above-pictured Dragonlord’s Servant, which makes it cheaper to cast dragons but is itself not a dragon.
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Dragons are one of our personal favorite creature tribes. These immense monsters aren’t just terrifying in the lore – they’re terrifying on the battlefield, too. They are also flexible, allowing you to play the game in many different ways.
Sure, it can be difficult to get them on the battlefield due to their often-high mana cost, but there are plenty of ways to get around that.