Best MTG Removal Cards – 10 Greatest Removal Cards Ever Made

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Best MTG Removal Cards

Removal cards help you put an instant stop to the moves your enemies make in MTG. Read on, discover 10 of the very best MTG removal cards to keep in your library, deck, or sideboard.

Top 10 Best Removal Cards

1. Lightning Bolt

Magic The Gathering - Lightning Bolt - Magic 2010

I’ve already made my bones about Lighting Bolt here on the Amazing Game Room. It is by far one of the most potent MTG cards ever made, and is absolutely the top removal card in my book.

For just 1 mountain, you are granted the ability to deal 3 damage points to a target creature of player. It doesn’t get any better than that for quickly and affordably removing a creature from the battlefield, or life points from your enemy 

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2. Path to Exile

Magic: The Gathering - Path to Exile - Mystery Booster - Explorers of Ixalan

Path to Exile is another extremely powerful and popular removal card with MTG players. And, like Lightning Bolt, it costs a single mana (a plains land, rather than mountain) to bring into play.

The Path to Exile allows you to remove any creature from the battlefield by placing them in exile. It also causes the target player whose creature you exiled to pull a land card out of their deck and put it into play (as well as shuffling their deck).

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3. Go For The Throat

Go for the Throat

At a slightly higher price than the top two cards on our list of the best MTG removal cards, Go for the Throat is still very affordable. It costs 1 colorless mana and 1 swamp to bring it into play.

Once on the board, you can destroy a nonartifact creature (which is 99-percent of creatures) that you choose. It’s short, it’s sweet, and it’s effective for removing a strong creature quickly.

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4. Defile

Magic: The Gathering - Defile - Modern Horizons

The Defile card is yet another great removal card that deserves as high a place on this list as possible. Costing a single swamp, this instant comes into play blasting.

When you play Defile, choose a creature that an enemy controls and equip it with a -1/-1 counter for each swamp land that you control at the time. This ability makes Defile one of the best creature removal cards ever.

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5. Vindicate

Magic The Gathering - Vindicate (210/249) - Eternal Masters

Vindicate is another of the very best MTG removal cards. I personally run an average of two copies in my black and white Orzhova/Ravnica deck that’s been undefeated for several years. 

For 1 colorless mana, 1 plains, and 1 swamp, Vindicate grants you the sorcery power of destroying any target permanent you choose. That includes lands, creatures, enchantments, artifacts, and more.

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6. Swords to Plowshares

Magic: The Gathering - Swords to Plowshares - Theme Deck Exclusive - Commander Legends

Our list of the best MTG removal cards wouldn’t be complete without a mention of this iconic card. Swords to Plowshares is another awesome uncommon removal card that allows you to exile a creature of your choice.

The downside to the card is that the target controller gains life equal to its power. So, you can see, you can use it to destroy a huge creature of the enemies, of for removing your own creature in exchange for gaining life.

Pro Tip: play Swords to Plowshares on your own creature, and follow up with an instant card that allows you to return target creature fom exile straight to the battlefield.

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7. Chaos Warp

Magic: The Gathering - Chaos Warp - Mystery Booster - Commander 2017

This rare red card is a good removal card with a casting cost of 2 colorless mana and a 1 mountain. When Chaos Warp hits the battlefield, choose a target permanent and it gets shuffled into it’s owners deck.

Once Chaos Warp has been activated, and a card returned to a deck, the deck is shuffled and the owner reveals the top card. If it is a permanent type card, it goes onto the battlefield. You can see why this card made our list!

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8. Assassin’s Trophy

Magic The Gathering - Assassin39;s Trophy (152/259) - Guilds of Ravnica

Assassin’s Trophy. Doesn’t this card’s name just have a ring to it? Yeah, we thought so too!

When Assassin’s Trophy comes into play, destroy a target permanent an enemy controls. It doesn’t get much better than that!

The drawback is that the controller of the permanent you destroyed gets to pull a basic land out of their deck and put it straight into play and then shuffle their cards.

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9. Fall From Favor

Magic: The Gathering - Fall from Favor - Foil - Commander Legends

This classic card may not be even an uncommon, but it firmly belongs here on our list. Fall from Favor allows you to enchant any enemy creature and cause it to tap. You also become Monarch when this card hits the board.

The best part about the card is that the enchanted creature doesn’t get to untap during its owners untap step unless they are the Monarch. Ha! How’s that for removing a creatures ability to threaten you, attack you, block you, or even activate abilities?

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10. Seal of Removal

Magic: the Gathering - Seal of Removal - Nemesis

Seal or Removal is a card I thought of as soon as I started putting this list together. When you sacrifice Seal of Removal, you may return a target creature to its owner’s hand.

For a single island as a casting cost, removal cards don’t get any cheaper than this one, or more powerful and diverse. You can easily use this card on your own creatures for a slick trick when an enemy tries to kill them!

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Common Questions About Removal Cards in MTG

What is Removal in MTG?

Removal refers to the multi-fauceted ability of removing, blocking, canceling, or otherwise “removing” an action, ability, creature, spell, enchantment, or another tactic employed by the enemy. Cards that have such abilities are known as removal cards in MTG.

What is the Best Removal Card in MTG?

There is no single best removal card in MTG, because the game just doesn’t work that way. But, the general consensus dictates that Lightning Bolt, Path to Exile, Defile and Vindicate are among the very best removal cards ever made in MTG. 

How Many Removal Cards Go in Your Magic Deck?

Depending on your standard deck, playing style, and other factors, anywhere from 5 to 10 removal cards should suffice. That said, if you are putting together a Removal deck, specifically, you’ll want to have no less than 20 to 25 removal cards.

If you want to go all out, make sure that each creature as a built-in removal ability, like “can’t be the target of spells and abilities.”