50 of the Most Powerful MTG Cards in History
MTG App Staff
23 Jan 2023
The top 50 most powerful Magic: The Gathering (MTG) cards can vary depending on the format and the current meta-game. However, here are a selection of 50 of the best cards from MTG history.
1. Black Lotus
The iconic and most expensive MTG card of all time. It’s undoubtedly the most powerful cards in Magic: The Gathering history, Black Lotus is an artifact card that taps for three mana of any one color. It is considered one of the most powerful cards ever printed because it provides a huge mana advantage and can be played on turn one.
2. Ancestral Recall
Ancestral Recall is an instant card that allows the player to draw three cards, it is considered one of the most powerful draw spells ever printed and is banned in most formats.
3. Time Walk
Time Walk is a blue sorcery card that allows the player to take an extra turn, it is considered one of the most powerful time manipulation spell ever printed.
Moxen are a series of artifact cards that each tap for one mana of a specific color. They are considered powerful because they provide a lot of mana acceleration and can be played as early as turn one.
The Moxen, known for providing free and permanent mana, are among the strongest cards in the game. Ranking fourth on the list, they are a must-have in any deck. Although Sapphire is considered the best among them, there are still other cards that surpass it in terms of power.
5. Time Vault
Time Vault is an artifact card that allows the player to take an extra turn by tapping it and sacrificing a land, it is considered one of the most powerful time manipulation spell ever printed.
Timetwister is an instant card that allows the player to shuffle their hand and graveyard into their library and draw seven new cards. Timetwister is a powerful blue card that is similar to the red card Wheel of Fortune. It is not as well-known as some of the other cards in the Power 9, but it is still incredibly strong. It is often used in combo decks, particularly in Commander decks featuring Urza, Lord High Artificer, but its strength should not be underestimated.
7. Dual Lands (Original)
The original dual lands are a series of lands that can tap for one mana of two different colors. They are considered powerful because they allow the player to play spells of multiple colors without having to sacrifice consistency.
8. Library of Alexandria
Library of Alexandria is a land card that allows the player to draw a card at the beginning of their draw step, it is considered one of the most powerful draw engine ever printed.
9. Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer
Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer is considered one of the strongest red cards in Magic: The Gathering, and is a powerful force in Mondern and Commander formats. There have been ongoing discussions about banning the card since it was first released, and it has already been banned in Legacy.
In Modern, Ragavan’s power is less problematic than in Legacy, as there are no cards like Force of Will or Daze to protect him in the early turns. Being on the draw against a turn one Ragavan can be a difficult situation, and many decks struggle to respond to him early.
Ragavan’s ability to exile cards and generate card advantage makes him particularly powerful in the Modern format, which has a low mana curve. Additionally, his 2/1 body makes him an efficient creature, making him one of the most powerful one-mana creatures ever printed. His impact on the game will likely continue to be a topic of controversy among players.
10. Mana Crypt
You might be seeing a theme here. Mana acceleration and mana fixing are incredibly powerful. Mana Crypt is another powerful mana rock. It’s high price demonstrates the demand.
It can provide two mana for free, but it comes at a cost. The card requires you to flip a coin, and if you lose, you have to pay three life points. This can be a drawback for decks that aren’t able to win quickly, as it can put them at a disadvantage.
11. Mana Vault
Mana Vault is a powerful artifact that can tap for extra mana, making it a valuable addition to many decks.
12. Fetch Lands
We’ve talked at length about Fetch Lands around here. There is a reason they are so ubiquitous in the all formats where they are legal. Fetch Lands are a type of land card that can be used to search for a specific basic land card, which can help players to quickly find the colors of mana they need.
13. Demonic Tutor
Among Tutor cards, Demonic is perhaps the most iconic and still remains among the most powerful, along with its sibling, Vampiric Tutor. These are powerful tutors that can help players to find specific cards from their deck.
14. Vampiric Tutor
Vampiric Tutor is close to Demonic Tutor in power level, it’s cheaper to play as it’s only one mana, but the fact that you put the card on top of your library rather than to your hand drops it down just a notch.
15. Cyclonic Rift
Cyclonic Rift has earned a negative reputation for its powerful effect, which can wipe out all non-land permanents, making it a one-sided board wipe in Commander. This card can either win the game for you or significantly set back your opponents when it successfully resolves.
16. Yawgmoth’s Will
Yawgmoth’s Will is a powerful spell that can be used to replay other spells from the graveyard, giving players a second chance to use powerful spells that have already been used.
17. Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune is a potent red card known for its ability to draw a large number of fresh cards for aggressive decks, regardless of how many cards have been discarded by either player.
18. Dockside Extortionist
Dockside Extortionist is a creature that can produce extra Treasure tokens when it enters the battlefield, which can be used to produce extra mana or to be sacrificed for other effects.
19. Gaea’s Cradle
For creature-heavy decks, Gaea’s Cradle could be considered broken. Gaea’s Cradle is a powerful land that produces extra mana for each creature that a player controls, making it a valuable tool for creature-based decks.
20. Strip Mine
Strip Mine is a powerful land that can be used to destroy an opponent’s land, making it a valuable tool for controlling the battlefield.
21. Mishra’s Workshop
Mishra’s Workshop is a powerful card that enables decks to be built around it, known as “shop decks.” This card is so impactful that the deck archetype it enables is named after it.
22. Tolarian Academy
It’s well known that artifacts are among the strongest card types in Magic. This is evident by looking at any Vintage decklist.
Tolarian Academy generates an excessive amount of mana, making it a highly relevant card in the right deck. It enables you to cycle through your deck faster and be more advanced than your opponent.
23. Sol Ring
Sol Ring is an artifact card that taps for two mana, it is considered powerful because it provides a lot of mana acceleration and can be played as early as turn one.
24. City of Traitors
City of Traitors is considered strong because it allows players to produce two mana of any color for the cost of sacrificing a land, which can be very powerful in decks that rely on specific colors of mana.
24. Force of Will
Force of Will and similar cards like Force of Vigor are considered some of the strongest in the game, as they provide instant-speed interaction at no mana cost. The cost of discarding a second card is outweighed by the tempo advantage and protection gained through the exchange. These two-for-one cards are powerful tools that can help players protect their strategies and gain an edge in the game.
25. Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Once the great terror of Modern, Jace, the Mind Sculptor has since fallen to the wayside as a sideboard card with a few copies being played here in there in Modern Azorius control decks.
This is still one of the most powerful planeswalkers in the game and can easily win a game on an equal board state if it goes uncontested.
26. Mana Drain
Mana Drain is considered one of the top counterspells in the game, second only to its predecessor, Counterspell. The ability to produce extra colorless mana on top of what you already spent makes it a powerful addition to any deck, though it can be challenging to find ways to utilize the extra mana efficiently. Despite this, the overall power level of the card makes it well worth the inclusion.
27. Shock Lands
Shock Lands are considered strong in Magic: The Gathering because they provide players with a fast and efficient way to produce multiple colors of mana. They enter the battlefield untapped as long as the player pays 2 life, which can be a valuable trade-off for the ability to cast spells of different colors.
Additionally, the Shock Lands are able to be fetched with dual lands, which further increases their versatility and value. They are also considered to be a staple in most constructed formats. They are key in many decks and widely played in tournaments, making them a very important card to own in the game.
Damnation is a powerful card because it is a board wipe spell that can destroy all creatures on the battlefield at instant speed, regardless of their toughness or other abilities. This allows it to be a versatile and efficient answer to a wide range of creature strategies, making it a valuable card in many different deck types and formats.
29. Rhystic Study
A turn 3 Study is powerful, and a Sol Ring into a Study on turn 2 is back breaking.
Rhystic Study is a ridiculous and powerful card. The problem is, it’s lose/lose for anyone facing a Study. If a player lets the card draw occur, they probably just win.
30. Parallel Lives
Parallel Lives provides a similar effect as Doubling Season for one less mana, effectively doubling the value of any token-generation effects in play. This card is extremely powerful for any deck that utilizes tokens, such as creature tokens, Treasure tokens or any other kind, making it twice as strong when in play.
31. Force of Negation
A weaker version of Force of Will. The decks that will benefit the most from playing Force of Negation are those that can handle its drawback. These types of decks typically include control and tempo-aggro strategies.
For example, Azorius-based control decks have early disruption and rely on resolving planeswalkers to regain card advantage, so they can use Force of Negation to stay alive and then protect their planeswalkers after tapping out to play them. Additionally, we may see Delver of Secrets decks make a comeback, as they can disrupt combo decks while also playing their own Arclight Phoenixes.
32. Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is considered the most powerful of all Eldrazi cards, and is often banned in many tournament formats. With 15 power and 15 toughness, as well as abilities such as flying, protection from colored spells, and Annihilator, she can quickly decimate opponents’ permanents.
Furthermore, she cannot be countered and allows her controller to take an extra turn after she is summoned, ensuring at least one attack. Additionally, if an opponent manages to put her in the graveyard, her controller can shuffle their entire graveyard back into their library, making her an endless threat.
33. Jeweled Lotus
34. Ancient Tomb
35. Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale is one of the most brutal and game-impacting stax effects of all time. It taxes each player one colorless mana for each creature they have and quickly force players to determine what creatures they control are worth keeping around.
36. Teferi’s Protection
37. Land Tax
38. Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
39. Oko, Thief of Crowns
While War of the Spark brought a large number of powerful Planeswalkers to the game, none were as impactful or controversial as Oko, Thief of Crowns, which was released in the autumn set of 2019. Unlike many other Planeswalkers from the set, Oko quickly became known for being overpowered and was a frequent subject of discussion for potential bans.
40. Wren and Six
Wrenn and Six is a powerful planeswalker that can provide an immediate impact, whether it’s dealing with an early threat or taking control of an empty battlefield. Its ability to repeatedly use a land’s ability makes it a must-answer threat that can quickly turn the tide of a game. It deserves a greater presence in the Modern metagame.
41. Fierce Guardianship
Fierce Guardianship is a powerful counterspell that has received criticism in recent years for being perceived as an “auto-include” staple in contemporary Commander decks.
Ponder, while not quite as powerful as Brainstorm at its best, is a strong contender for the title of the best cantrip in the game. It provides a significant amount of card selection without the need for a fetch land, making it an ideal turn 1 play in situations where Brainstorm would not be cast.
43. Enlightened Tutor
Enlightened Tutor is a powerful white card that allows for instant-speed retrieval of any enchantment or artifact, adding a significant level of consistency to white combo decks. Its versatility and effectiveness are comparable to Vampiric Tutor, making it one of the best tutors in the game.
Brainstorm is one of the most versatile and powerful cards in the game. Its ability to draw three cards and put two back on top of the library makes it a great card selection tool. Its true strength lies in its synergies with other cards and mechanics.
For example, when used in conjunction with a shuffle effect like a fetch land, Brainstorm allows you to shuffle away unwanted cards, while keeping the best card of the three drawn. Additionally, Brainstorm can be used to hide cards from spells like Thoughtseize or protect them from mill effects by placing them on top of the library.
It’s worth noting that this list represents the most powerful card of all time, but the power level of each card can be affected by the current meta-game and the format it is being played in.