My All-Time Favorite Magic Cards

A lot of Magic players have been sharing lists of their favorite Magic cards on social media recently. Looking through these lists has been fun—lots of sweet cards, historical cards, forgotten cards, and hidden gems.

I figured that by sharing my list of favorite cards with you it may give you some ideas of cards to build around—sweet, historical, forgotten, and hidden.

Travis’ All-Time Favorite Magic Cards

This is a list of some of my favorite Magic cards. The list does not have an order, and I am leaving out some of my favorite cards. I’ve been playing for a long time and it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few.

But each of these cards has given me immense life value—lots of fun in gaming and brain expanding in general.

Basic Lands

First let’s start with the basic lands. I’ve gotten more Magic out of these than any other cards—more mana. I always try to build around the basics whenever possible. They are so cheap to play with and do so much work for so many Magic decks.

I have to give special nod to Island and Forest, as coastline and Forest are my favorite terrains to live around. While I love Plains, Swamp, and Mountain, those aren’t my favorite places to live.

Aether Vial

Aether Vial is my single favorite nonland. There are a lot of sweet cards I like to play with, but none so versatile as this one.

Aether Vial produces so much creature mana. A turn-1 Aether Vial can produce 21 creature mana by turn 7. For one card that is crazy.

That creature mana can be used to summon creatures of any color or at instant speed… this card is just essential for many creature-heavy decks.

As long as Aether Vial is legal in Modern, I will be building creature decks with it. I love creatures and Aether Vial goes with creatures. If you don’t have this card, it’s something to put on the wish list—it’s useful in so many decks.

Simian Spirit Guide

I love mana and I love creatures, and Simian Spirit Guide can be both! I love how versatile Simian Spirit Guide can be as fast mana, how tricky it can be as instant mana, how useful it can be as a 2/2 body.

This Spirit Ape is the embodiment of red tricks, and I will keep building decks with it as long as it’s around.

Crazy X-Spells

I am a sucker for “Pay X, Do X Awesome Things.” Whether it is Epic Experiment, Sphinx’s Revelation, or Genesis Wave, I will build decks around them and I will have fun… X fun.

I hope Wizards continues to produce epic X-spells like this, because they are so much fun to build around, ramp to, and cast.


Omniscience is really a head-scratcher. The thing costs 10 mana which is an almost unreachable amount, and it doesn’t even win the game! It requires more spells in hand to play—for free!

I love Omniscience for how difficult it is for deckbuilding—there are so many hoops to jump through to make this card work, and I will gladly jump through them.

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Emrakul is the biggest, baddest creature in the game. At 15 mana we get an extra turn, a 15/15 with flying, protection, and annihilator 6?!

When I play Magic I like to win DEFINITIVELY, and getting out an Emrakul is a great way to do that. I will always be looking for ways to get to 15 mana or cards like Polymorph and Through the Breach to cheat this monster out.

Big Bad 6-Drops

I am a sucker for 6-drop creatures, and these are some of my favorites. While I do like getting to 15 mana, 6 mana is much more realistic.

I’m glad Wizards has printed crazy 6-mana haymakers like the Titans—simple, clean fun that is definitely worth building around.

Patriarch’s Bidding

Before there was Living End I used to love playing with Patriarch’s Bidding. I love big splashy effects, and bringing all creatures back is a big effect!

I also love having to work through obstacles, and Patriarch’s Bidding forces you to be creative in picking a creature tribe. What do we want to return—Goblins, Zuberas, Zombies, Snakes?

Patriarch’s Bidding spawned many, many decks in its time.

Primal Command

I like cards that can do a million things, and Primal Command is one of them. All of the Commands are great, and Cryptic Command is amazing to play with, but Primal Command is more interesting to build around.

We can use it to search up Enlisted Wurm, Eternal Witness, Primeval Titan, or whatever. Lots of deckbuilding choices for this card!

Pale Recluse

Finally, we have cards from the Living End deck.

The truth is, Living End is kind of meh to me. It’s exciting as a build-around, but it’s inflexible. The suspend for 4 mana doesn’t come up too often and while there are a variety of Living End variants to play it in, they’re all Living End variants.

Pale Recluse is actually my favorite card from the Living End deck, because of its versatility.

For 2 mana we can dig up any Forest or Plains and get a 4/5 reach Spider into the graveyard. Or for 6 mana we can get a 4/5 reach, which is not a great rate, but respectable stats. What makes this card great is its versatility.

Pale Recluse works great in a Living End deck… but it also works great in a white Emeria, the Sky Ruin/Martyr of Sands deck—and it works great as a land-thinner/fatty creature in an Elf Belcher deck.

All-Time Favorite Magic Cards

When going through my all-time favorite Magic cards it seems that I love having to struggle to make something work and I love having versatile options. My favorite cards are split between cards that do a million things and cards that do one really big, unique thing.

I hope this got your MTG brewing juices flowing, as there are so many amazing cards to build with and these are just a few of my favorite.

What are your favorite cards? And what kind of cards make for your favorites?


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