Having the best upkeep cards in your MTG deck ensures that luck favors you more and more as the game progresses. Read on below to learn why these 10 are better than the rest!
Top 10 MTG Best Upkeep Cards
1. Indulgent Tormentor
The first card on our list of the best upkeep cards is the flying Creature – Demon, Indulgent Tormentor. This heavy-hitting rare black 5/3 Demon creature card costs 3 colorless mana and 2 swamp lands to cast.
Once on the battlefield, Indulgent Tormentor allows you to draw a card each time it’s your upkeep step (unless a target player plays 3 life or sacrifices 1 creature). Yes indeed, this upkeep card can wreak some havoc!
2. Drana’s Emissary
A beautiful black and white multi-colored uncommon Vampire Cleric Ally creature card that made our list is Drana’s Emissary. With a casting cost of 1 colorless mana, 1 plains, and 1 swamp, Drana’s Emissary is a force to be reckoned with (if played early on in the game, even better).
Drana’s Emissary hits the battlefield as a 2/2 Vampire Cleric Ally creature with flying. As if that wasn’t cool enough, she also causes each enemy player to lose 1 life and you gain that many life yourself.
3. Felidar Sovereign
Felidar Sovereign is one of the best upkeep cards of the white variety. A 4/6 Cat Beast, cat lovers brace yourselves, this rare creature comes into play with Vigilance and Lifelink. That means he doesn’t tap when attacking, and when he deals damage you gain that many life points.
The best feature of Felidar Sovereign though is by far his upkeep ability; if you have 40 or more life during your upkeep stage you automatically win the game right then and there. For a black and white vampire and healing deck, or perhaps an all-white Angel deck, this card is one of the best upkeep cards there is.
4. Curse of the Bloody Tome
Curse of the Bloody Tome is a decently affordable blue Enchantment – Aura Curse, that believe it or not, is a common card. Casting this common but versatile card costs 2 colorless mana and 1 island.
When Curse of the Bloody Tome comes into play, select a target player to enchant. At the beginning of their upkeep, each turn, that player takes two cards from the top of their deck and adds them to their graveyard.
5. Shrieking Affliction
Shrieking Affliction is one of my personal favorites when it comes to the best upkeep cards. For a single swamp land, this uncommon black enchantment causes each enemy player to lose 3 life if they have one or fewer cards in their hand.
It doesn’t get much more brutal than that. And it surely doesn’t get much better for such an insanely low casting cost to get the card into play and start hacking away at your opponent’s decks and life counters.
6. Ghirapur Orrery
Ghirapur Orrery is another really awesome upkeep card, but it’s one of the best for the opposite reasons of a card like Shrieking Affliction. This rare Artifact comes into play for a reasonable price of 4 colorless mana and allows each player to play an extra land card each turn.
In addition, at the starting phase of each player’s upkeep, that player may draw three cards, unless they already have cards in their hand. It’s perfect for causing players to burn through their deck faster.
7. Aethersquall Ancient
Perhaps the most powerful upkeep card to make it onto our list is this massive 6/6 Leviathan, Aethersquall Ancient. The casting cost of this big bad boy is 5 colorless mana and 2 islands.
Aethersquall Ancient comes into play with flying, and at the beginning of your upkeeps, you gain 3 energy counters. Spend 8 energy counters anytime to send ALL creatures (except for Aethersquall Ancient) on the battlefield to the graveyard.
8. Captive Audience
Captive Audience is a deadly and diverse mythic rare black and red enchantment card. It costs 5 colorless mana, 1 swamp land, and 1 mountain. It is a perfect example of how well red and black work together.
When Captive Audience enters the battlefield, you pick an enemy to enchant with it. During that player’s upkeep steps, they must choose one of the following:
- Your life drops to 4
- Discard all your cards
- Each enemy creates five 2/2 black zombie creature tokens
Keep in mind, the target player must choose one that hasn’t been chosen before each turn!
9. Charmbreaker Devils
For the more than reasonable price of 5 colorless mana and 1 single mountain, this card works well in pure red decks or multi-colored decks with a few mountains.
Charmbreaker Devils is a rare 4/4 Devil that allows you to return a sorcery or instant card back to your hand from your graveyard. It is a cycle that can go on for the entire game if you are lucky.
Even better, whenever you play an instant or sorcery, the card receives a booster of +4/+0 to its power and strength for the rest of the turn.
10. Keeper of Keys
Keeper of Keys is a really great example of how versatile and well-balanced blue upkeep cards are. For a casting cost of 3 colorless mana and 2 islands, this Human Rogue Mutant comes into play as a 4/4 creature.
When Keeper of Keys enters play, you become the Monarch. If you are Monarch during your upkeep stage? Your creatures gain Unblockable for the rest of your turn! This card will definetly turn the tide of the battle by allowing ALL of your creatures to deal direct damage with no chance of being blocked.
Common Questions About Upkeep Cards in MTG
How Does Upkeep Work in MTG?
Upkeep is a part of the beginning phase, each turn, directly after the untap step. That means, during upkeep, abilities that are triggered during the beginning of your turn, on the untap step, or upkeep, are activated. All upkeep costs associated with cards you control must also be paid during this step.
Can I Play a Card During the Upkeep Step?
Most cards are not allowed to be played during your upkeep step. Abilities are activated and go onto the stack, and upkeep costs must be paid, but cards other than Instants can not be played. The only exception would be a card with the specific ability to be played during your upkeep step (like Instants).
Can I Untap a Card During My Upkeep Step?
You can not untap any permanent during your upkeep step. If you didn’t untap your cards BEFORE the upkeep, they are considered tapped for the rest of the turn. If this happens, you may be forced to lose a life point for every tapped card that should have been untapped.