10 Most Powerful Legal Cards in Magic: the Gathering Cards, Ranked

For many years now, the ultra-popular trading card game Magic: the Gathering has been played both casually and competitively among its fanbase, and the fans have devised some truly powerful decks using the best cards in the game. While some cards are so unfair they end up getting banned, other cards are balanced just right, and prove to be true powerhouses.

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Competitive formats like Modern and Legacy, and the sometimes-competitive format of Commander, all call for the cream of the crop for deckbuilding, and some cards have really made a name for themselves. Some are creatures, while others are ultra-efficient removal spells or flexible counterspells. Some cards, when played at the right time, can lead to victory for the player. So, let’s review the ten best competitive cards that haven’t been banned or restricted in sanctioned formats.

10 Planar Cleansing

The gallery begins with a classic “boardwipe” card. While Wrath of God, Damnation, and Supreme Verdict are at a lower CMC, they only hit creatures, while Planar Cleansing can destroy anything that isn’t a land card.

Such an effect is useful for control decks that run white, so if the board state gets out of control, the entire thing can get reset, and the control player can attack with Celestial Collonade or Creeping Tar Pit (man-lands). Cards like this are also all-stars in Commander.

9 Swords To Plowshares

This card is legal in Vintage and Legacy, and it is often considered an upgraded version of the venerated Path to Exile. For the cost of just one white mana, this instant can exile any problematic creature.

That alone is too strong, so to balance things, the card grants life to the controller of that creature. But all players will agree that this price is easily worth paying for such low-cost, flexible spot removal.

8 Tarmogoyf

This is not the only Lhurgouyf in the game, but it is by far the most powerful and well-known. It was first printed in Future Sight and enjoyed guest appearances in the three Modern Masters products in a row to meet demand.

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It’s a straightforward beater, but incredibly efficient. As the graveyards fill up, it keeps getting bigger, and its mana cost is a flat 1G. By turn four or five, a player can cast a 5/6 or even a 6/7 monster with Tarmogoyf, all at a low price.

7 Archangel of Thune

This is the last white card to appear on the list, and it is perfectly symbolic of what white mana is capable of. It’s a flying beater that can deal damage, but the real power comes from its lifelink ability and that triggered ability.

In the right deck, this angel can put many +1/+1 counters on the player’s entire board, and this card can combo perfectly with some other cards (like Spike Feeder) for infinite life or similar effects. Never underestimate the angels.

6 Thrun, The Last Troll

Now it’s time for another green beater, and this troll can do things that not even Tarmogoyf can. It may be twice as expensive to cast and has a flat power/toughness of 4/4, but otherwise, it’s a total upgrade.

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This monster is downright impossible to kill. It has hexproof, to shrug off spot removal (including enchantments like Detention Sphere), it can regenerate from combat damage or boardwipe effects, and it can’t even be countered on its way to the battlefield. Thrun will never go away.

5 Thoughtseize

This black sorcery was first printed in 2007’s Lorwyn, and ever since then, it has been the king of hand control in nearly every format. Other hand control cards have been printed since, but none can match it (Inquisition of Kozilek comes close, though).

Paying 2 life is 100% worth the ability to remove any nonland card from a player’s hand, and in so doing, learn what cards they have (which is vital information). Decks like control, Jund, and even combo decks need this card so their opponent can’t disrupt their plans.

4 Batterskull

Another beater arrives on the list, but of all things, it’s an Equipment card rather than a creature, and even control decks like to use it. Powerful in Modern, Legacy, and Commander, there’s nothing Batterskull can’t do.

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With the Living Weapon ability, it creates a creature right away, and hits the ground running as a 4/4 Germ with lifelink and vigilance. Of course, it can be equipped to anything else, too, and it can be returned to its owner’s hand for {3} if things get dicey. And when it is cast again, that Germ creature comes right back.

3 Snapcaster Mage

This blue Wizard is part of an unofficial cycle of ultra-powerful cards that cost 2 mana, along with Tarmogoyf, Dark Confidant, Stoneforge Mystic, and (arguably) Young Pyromancer. But once again, blue is at the top.

With flash, this creature can appear on a moment’s notice, such as to act as a surprise blocker with 2 power. But that ETB ability is out of this world, allowing the caster to give flashback to any instant or sorcery in their graveyard. Cards like Thoughtseize, Lightning Bolt, Path to Exile, Swords to Plowshares, and Remand are some popular options.

2 Liliana Of The Veil

Many planeswalkers have been printed since Lorwyn, and Liliana was the black one of that original cycle. By Innistrad, she was back in a new form, a hundred times stronger than she was before. No planeswalker can match this thing.

It’s a cheap planeswalker, and its +1 can shred an opponent’s hand while fueling Liliana’s owner’s graveyard. Its -2 ability is vicious, and works great when the opponent has only one or two creatures at a time. And that -6 ability is a quick “gg” button for sure. In the right deck, Liliana of the Veil is impossible to beat.

1 Force Of Will

If a single card can cost more than most booster boxes, then that’s a sign that it’s the best card around. First printed in the ancient Alliances set, Force of Will finally got reprinted in Eternal Masters, and naturally, it was upgraded to mythic rare.

It may be a 5-drop, but it’s rare for players to actually pay that mana cost. Instead, they can pay 1 life and exile a blue card in their hand, allowing them to counter any spell. Normally, a control player must leave lands untapped to counter spells, but not when the #1 counterspell is involved.

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Every card in Magic: The Gathering has it's uses, but here are 10 incredible cards that have so much power it's shocking they're not illegal.

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