Out of all 150 current Magic the Gathering abilities, few are as useful to all colors and playing styles as protection against creatures.
Read on below and discover everything you should know about it!
How Does Protection Work?
Protection is a mechanic, or ability, in MTG that prevents, cancels, blocks, or otherwise protects a card, player, or permanent from something.
That something may be when a creature deals combat damage, direct damage from a spell, exile or destruction of a permanent, or one of the countless other possibilities.
In other words, if you are protected, there is no way for an opponent to target you, let alone deal damage to or destroy you.
Protection from Creatures
In this article, we discuss in the greatest detail possible what protection from a creature is. That means we therefore also talk about protection from combat damage dealt by other creatures as well.
Protection specifically from creatures is exactly as it seems it is: you gain protection from creatures controlled by opponents, and possibly even from your own creatures. When creatures would otherwise attack you and deal you damage, with protection from them, they are restricted from attacking let alone damaging you.
Further, with protection from creature cards, creatures can not block your creatures or deal combat damage to your attacking creatures. This form of protection is thorough, for opponents, there are few loopholes or ways of getting around it, unlike with other abilities and mechanics.
In some cases to gain protection from creature cards also means protection from the activated abilities of other creatures as well.
Protection Abilities vs Other Powerful Abilities
Protection vs Lifelink
The Lifelink ability is no replacement for protection cards, but it makes a great addition. As far as mana value goes, there are very few more affordable cards, let alone creature types, for gaining life points.
Lifelink is an ability that allows you to gain life from creatures and players that your creatures attack and successfully deal damage to. If you are protected from creatures and attack with a creature that has Lifelink, the opponent won’t be able to block and you are guaranteed to gain life.
That said, Lifelink does absolutely nothing to actually protect you from anything, let alone from creatures. A Lifelink creature type may be blocked, killed, or exiled just like any other standard creature.
Protection vs Deathtouch
The Deathtouch card type is very much different than being protected from creatures, or any form of protection, and should not be substituted as such. Sadly, it does not include protection from black, though most Deathtouch cards are mono-black.
Deathtouch is the opposite of the Lifelink ability, this mechanic enables your creatures to deal instant speed death to any creature that they deal damage to. The amount of power the creature with Deathtouch doesn’t matter. Likewise, the amount of power and toughness the defending creature has doesn’t matter either.
The second an opponent’s creature blocks combat damage from a creature with Deathtouch, it is instantly dead. Creatures blocking Deathtouch damage do not have the chance to deal damage in return, so the attack is left unscathed.
Protection vs Trample
Trample is by far one of the top fan favorites when it comes to MTG card-type mechanics. It is a fierce and awesome ability for sure, but it isn’t even in the slightest bit similar to Protection.
Creatures that have the Trample ability can not be blocked like normal creatures. Instead, when a Trample creature deals combat damage it must either not be blocked at all, or every creature available to block it(that the defending player controls) must do so until all the potential damage has been blocked.
Any combat damage the defending player’s creatures can not block is dealt directly to that player. As you could guess, Trample creatures are among the most feared in the game.
Protection from Creatures vs from Planeswalkers, Colors, or Players
Protection comes in many forms besides just from creatures, it may also work for players, planeswalkers, exile, destruction, colors, and even losing the game.
Below, we discuss a few of the most important forms of protection:
Protection from Planeswalkers
Planeswalkers are one of the most formidable card types in the entire game. Very few cards come close to the power of a Planeswalker. That’s why protection from them is a game-changing mechanic to have access to.
Otherwise, planeswalkers may deal direct damage to you, remove your creatures from the battlefield, tap your mana, and so much more. Planeswalkers are one of the most common components of total board wipes.
Protection from Colors
Gaining protection from colors is one of the best forms of protection period. Protection from colors literally prevents anything from affecting you, so long it is the color you are protected from. This form of protection prevents everything from damage and activated abilities to losing or winning the game. It also provides protection from the creatures of the stated color.
Protection from Players
Protection from players is one of the rarest forms of protection, and the reason is that there isn’t much that players can do directly to other players. In other words, there isn’t much of a need for protection from a player.
The better choice is protection from everything else, like colors, planeswalkers, and creatures. Protection from players is cool to have but isn’t worth nearly as much as other forms of the ability.
Best MTG Protection Decks
The best protection cards are generally white auras and enchantments. That said, white cards are far from the only ones that offer a superior protection mechanic.
These four deck types often have the best protection cards:
- Mono-White Decks
- Artifact Decks
- Colorless Decks
- Multi-Colored Decks
Not interested in an entire deck? Check out the individual card selections highlighted in the next section.
Best Protection Cards Against Creatures
To date, there are hundreds of cards that provide protection. That said, not all protection cards are suitable for protection from all creatures in general.
The following cards are our top picks for the best cards that protect you from creatures your opponent controls:
The Crypt Angel is one of the most preferred black creatures with protection from other creatures. The catch is, it’s only protected fully from damage dealt by white creatures, as for as combat damage goes.
The major upside, however, is that it’s also protected from white spells and abilities as well.
This Angel is also a decent attacker and blocker, as it is a 3/3 with flying. Further, when the card comes into play, you may return a blue or red creature to your hand from your graveyard. The card costs 4 colorless mana and 1 black mana to cast.
Goblin Piledriver is a rare red Goblin Warrior creature with protection from blue. That means it can’t be attacked or blocked by blue creatures. In addition, it has protection from targeted enchantments, auras, and other blue spells as well.
When this Goblin attacks, it gains a temporary +2/+0 until the end of the turn for each Goblin creature attacking under your control.
It may only have an attack power of 1, and a defense of 2, but it is also extremely affordable, at just 1 colorless and 1 red mana to cast. Plus, if you’re playing with Goblins, this little guy strengthens the horde and is practically untouchable against blue Magic decks.
Hand of Cruelty
The Hand of Cruelty is a Human Samurai of Uncommon status. It has a casting cost of 2 black mana to bring it out onto the field.
When Hand of Cruelty enters the battlefield it has protection from everything white, including targeted creatures, combat damage, spells, and more.
The best part, aside from its protection ability, is that the card is a 2/2 and has Bushido 1. That means when it has blocked targeted dealt damage or becomes blocked by the opponents, it gains a +1/+1 until the end of the turn.
Next up is the Mythic Rare red Stormbreath Dragon, a 4/4 flying creature with protection from white creatures, spells, and abilities. This card has a medium casting cost, of 3 colorless mana and 2 red mana.
The Dragon also has Haste and Monstrosity 3, with an activatable ability cost of 5 colorless and 2 red mana. If the Dragon isn’t Monstrous, you automatically add 3 +1/+1 counters to it and it turns Monstrous.
Even more, when Stormbreath Dragon is Monstrous, it deals a number of damage points to each opponent on the board. The amount of damage dealt to the targeted player is determined by the number of cards in the player’s hand.
Rarity: Mythic Rare
Akroma, Angel of Fury
Akroma, Angel of Fury is an aptly named MTG card with protection from everything white and blue, including creatures. One of the most impressive features of this bad boy is that it can’t be countered. So, if you summon the mana to play it, the opponent can’t stop you by any means.
A Legendary Angel creature with 6 power and 6 toughness, the card is a real beast. It has flying and trample in addition to the protection ability against the targeted colors blue and white.
Pay 1 mana and the Angel receives a +1/+0 boost to power until the end of the turn. This ability is stackable. So, if you have 15 mana to tap, the card may become a 20/6 creature and swoop in for the kill in a single hit.
It’s surprising this card isn’t a Mythic Rare, because, in addition to everything else, it also has Morph with a CMC of 6. That means you can play the card face down as a 2/2 creature for just 3 mana until you have the means to Morph it into a Legendary Angel.
Type: Legendary Creature
The surprisingly common Cat Scout card, Nacatl Outlander costs 1 red and 1 green mana to cast onto the battlefield, and is a protected creature, from blue attackers, spells, and abilities.
Besides its protection ability, the Cat Scout is a basic 2/2 attacker and blocker or both red and green.
With such a low casting cost, and being more than a 1/1 peon, the card is well worth the addition to your next targeted protection deck.
Color: Red and Green
The Shivan Zombie is another multi-colored creature, a Barbarian with a power and toughness of 2. You need two mana to cast it, 1 black and 1 red.
When the card hits the field it gains protection from targeted white cards including auras, enchantments, and everything else.
Like the previous card on our list, this one is more than deserving of your next protection-type MTG card collection.
Color: Black and Red
The Black Knight is one of many Human Knight-type cards that is a protected creature from specific colors. This one gains protection from white combat damage, spells, and everything else.
The Blood Knight is a carbon copy of the Black Knight, right down to being a Human Knight with protection from spells, would-be dealt damage, and everything else, from one particular color. The only difference is that it is red.
There are also white, green, and blue Human Knight cards with protection from other colors.
The Marauding Knight is another example of a Knight type card with protection. The catch is that it is only protected from white sources.
The biggest difference between it and the other Knights mentioned on our list is that it gains a +1/+1 for each of the basic plain white lands your enemies control on the battlefield. Further, it isn’t a Human Knight, it’s simply a Knight creature.
All things considered, there are few creatures that may gain so much power and toughness against white decks. Likewise, few Knights have the ability to deal so much combat damage in games with opponents playing with white decks.
The last card on our list is yet another Knight type(this one is a Zombie Knight rather than a Human Knight) creature that gains protection from everything white, including other creatures.
The card costs just two mana to cast has a power and toughness of 2/1, and has a couple of great abilities:
- Pay one black mana and the card gains the ability to fly for the rest of the turn
- Pay two black mana and the creature gains a +1/+0 boost for the remainder of the turn
FAQs About Protecting from Creatures
Magic the Gathering is ripe with abilities, skills, and mechanics. Understanding them all takes time. For those who still have questions about how protection works, we added in some of the most frequently asked questions about using protection against creatures cards, below:
Is Protection Against Creatures Really Worth it?
Protection cards that grant protection from any color or type of creature present major advantages on the battlefield. Imagine casting a blue 11/11 Leviathan creature that could end the game in a few rounds, and not being able to attack with it because the opponent has protection from all creatures or the enemy colors.
Can You Block With Creatures That Have Protection?
There is no way to block with a creature that is protected from creatures because if you have said protection, creatures won’t be able to attack you in the first place. In other words, if you have protection, there will be no dealt damage to worry about blocking.
Are Creatures with Protection Unblockable?
Creatures that are protected from creatures are indeed unblockable by other creatures. That said, there are some tricky legendary creature cards that may allow you to block one. In these cases, the creatures have an ability that allows them to act as a creature(attack and block) but not be considered as a creature.
Can a Player Have Protection from All Creatures?
There are no cards(to our knowledge) that grant players straight-up protection from all creatures. The exception is found with Sorceries and Instant spells that give you protection from attacking creatures until the end of turn.
What Happens If an Opponent Has Protection Against Creatures?
If your opponent has protection against creatures, you won’t be able to attack them with your creatures. You also won’t be able to block their creatures with your creatures when they decide to attack you. In addition, the abilities of creatures may not be used against said opponent either.
There are many ways for cards to have a protection ability that saves them from creature dealt damage. That said, most protection cards for creatures also prevent damage or abilities from one or more colors from affecting them as well.
Thanks for reading! Good luck selecting and putting together your next protection against creatures-type cards and decks!