Candy’s Top 15 Dragons for EDH

Trogdor, the Burninator
Trogdoooooooooor! Trogdoooooooor!

It’s pretty much a given that most Timmies love dragons, and, well, I’m pretty solidly in the Timmy camp. So yeah. Dragons. Gimme some dragons! They’re stompy (flappy?) and they (well, many of them) [card Firebreathing]firebreathe[/card], and the vast majority of them have some kind of evasion. When I see a sweet dragon, somewhere deep in the recesses of my brain, the Trogdor song starts playing, and I’m wanting to burninate me some peasants.

I’ve divided this list into two groups: my personal top 5 dragon Generals, and then the top 10 dragons that are fantastic utility creatures, but who either aren’t legendary and therefore can’t be Generals, or who are legendary but would make pretty terrible generals—the Kamigawa spirit dragons being the case in point, because they have to hit the graveyard in order to trigger, and the one spirit dragon that can be reanimated in any kind of efficient way is [card Kokusho, the Evening Star]just a little too efficient[/card] and is therefore banninated.

But enough prefacing. Dragons? DRAGONS!

Top 5 Dragon Generals

[card]Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund[/card]:

This is probably the most popular General I’ve seen, and for good reason. That green mana symbol in his casting cost? Yeah. That allows you to ramp the hell up in no time and get this bad boy out as fast as turn 5. Black gives you access to lots of efficient creature removal; red gives you access to first strike, double strike and other damage enhancers; green gives him trample effects and embiggeners, with anything from good old [card]Giant Growth[/card] to [card]Vines of Vastwood[/card] to [card]Might of Oaks[/card] to [card]Berserk[/card]. Naturally having haste and evasion don’t hurt none, either. The problem I’ve seen with most Karrthus decks: they have a hard time taking down a table with four or more players, since everybody else is pretty well invested in killing him before he makes contact with a face, because you know that the next face is going to be yours.

[card]Scion of the Ur-Dragon[/card]

If you want to swarm with a battlefield full of dragons vs. beating face one-on-one, then the Scion is your dude. Throw a bunch of dragons in your graveyard with his activated ability, then mass-reanimate them with [card]Patriarch’s Bidding[/card], [card]Living Death[/card],  [card]Living End[/card], [card]Balthor the Defiled[/card], or [card]Liliana Vess[/card]’s ultimate. Or use Black’s massive suite of cheap, cheap [card]reanimate[/card] effects to resurrect select dragons—including stupidly efficient plays like sacrificing a mana dork or a [card]Dragon Broodmother[/card] token to [card]Victimize[/card] to bring back [card]Bladewing the Risen[/card] who can then bring back [card]Teneb, the Harvester[/card] who can then bring back anything you damn well please for the delicious, delicious cost of 2B—and you still have one other dragon to resurrect. You can also perform all sorts of tricks with the Scion. Somebody’s targeting him with a kill, bounce or take control spell? Assuming he’s still a Scion (because remember, once his activations have resolved, he’s stuck as whatever dragon you chose until end of turn), turn him into a [card]Quicksilver Dragon[/card] and pay one blue to redirect it. Nobody’s blocking him? Well, howzabout turning him into a [card]Dragon Tyrant[/card], activating the tyrant’s [card]Firebreathing[/card] ability 5 times and killing that opponent in one shot? Or turning him into a [card]Steel Hellkite[/card], paying X and killing all non-land permanents that person controls with converted mana cost X? The Scion’s rainbow casting cost can make him a bit of a challenge to play, but if you’re a fan of flooding the battlefield with dragons who are ready to beat them some face, then trust me: he’s the way to go.

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind
Drawin' some cards, burnin' some face. Because that's just how he rolls.

[card]Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind[/card]

Yes, we all know about [card]Ophidian Eye[/card], and [card]Curiosity[/card]. No, it’s not an especially fun combo, but good luck killing a table of 4 to 5 opponents without decking yourself first or pissing everyone else off. That aside: Niv is a lot of fun. Blue gives you access to all sorts of control and copying effects ([card]Dominus of Fealty[/card] dropped in early game is just debilitating), as well as a ridiculous number of card draw mechanics, and red gives you access to burn, baby, burn, as well as fun beatyface spells like [card]Dragonstorm[/card] and [card]Insurrection[/card]. As far as I’m concerned, Niv’s best buddies are [card]Consecrated Sphinx[/card], [card]Jushi Apprentice[/card]  (especially after you’ve flipped him), [card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/card], [card]Rhystic Study[/card], [card]Memory Jar[/card] and [card]Psychosis Crawler[/card]. For extra lulz, pop a [card]Credit Voucher[/card] to shuffle your (no doubt girthy, if not downright turgid) hand of cards into your library to draw that many cards and deal a fuckton of damage, then shuffle the Voucher back in with an [card]Elixir of Immortality[/card], [card]Feldon’s Cane[/card], [card]Reminisce[/card] or [card]Mnemonic Nexus[/card]. Hey, it’s not like blue is good at artifact tutoring. If you have your [card]Academy Ruins[/card] out, you can skip the shuffling malarkey altogether.

[card]Teneb, the Harvester[/card]

Would you like to see dredge abused for fun and profit? Step right up to Teneb, the Harvester. If you’re up against a Teneb deck, be prepared to pack a lot of graveyard hate—and be prepared to hate on your own graveyard if you have to. Teneb decks are some of the most resilient I’ve ever seen, especially if they drop a [card]Survival of the Fittest[/card] turn 2. They have fifty hojillion ways of reanimating everything in their graveyard (and I do mean everything because green is amazing at grabbing any card you want from your graveyard) and everything in yours, and another fifty hojillion ways to recover from graveyard hate. All I can say is: once the [card]Worm Harvest[/card] and [card]Golgari Grave Troll[/card] hit their graveyard, play that [card]Bojuka Bog[/card] fast as you can.

Rith, the Awakener
He's secretly a hippie, because what other kind of dragon poops saprolings? I mean, really.

[card]Rith, the Awakener[/card]

The thing with Rith is, he’s in the perfect colors for a token deck—perhaps even better than [card]Rhys the Redeemed[/card]. White and green love to poop out little dudes and making them bigger, while red loves to give them first strike, double strike or just outright double their damage with cards like [card]Gratuitous Violence[/card], not mention give them extra combat phases, because if there’s one thing more fun than hitting your opponents with a million saproling tokens, it’s hitting them [card World at War]twice in a row for two turns[/card] with your million saproling tokens. Between the ramp possibilities and a General with evasion as well as the ability to make little dudes for your team when he hits your face, Rith is a general to be reckoned with.

Honorable mentions:

[card]Intet, the Dreamer[/card]: I haven’t seen anyone use him (her?) as a General yet, but every time I see that card, my brain starts popping and fizzing at the possibilities. With a little scrying and a little deck finagling, you can cast all kinds of ridiculous stuff for a total converted mana cost of 3.

[card]Bladewing, the Risen[/card]: Most people who go the dragon reanimate route use the Scion, and Bladewing is an invaluable roleplayer in any Scion deck, but he’s actually a pretty sweet general all on his own if you want to go with a more focused reanimate route and prefer to avoid the headaches of building a rainbow deck. For extra fun, add [card]Conspiracy[/card] and stir briskly. Just remember not to choose, like, kavu or dwarves or something.

Top 10 Utility Dragons

1. [card]Yosei, the Morning Star[/card]: People quail in fear at Keiga. People say Keiga’s the best dragon in town. People say Keiga wrecks shit. You know what? Nobody wrecks shit like Yosei. Basically, his triggered ability reads: “When Yosei is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, some poor bastard is going to skip the entirety of her next turn except for her draw step. If she’s exceptionally lucky, she’ll get to play a land.” For my money, one of the most powerful and most disruptive dragons in the game.

2. [card]Keiga, the Tide Star[/card]: What can  I say about Keiga? He’s just plain amazing. Unless you’ve given your dudes shroud, you have four choices in terms of dealing with him permanently if you allow him to be resolved: a) Get hit in the face repeatedly with a big blue beatstick. With flying. b) Throw some poor flying chump under the bus over and over and over again. c) Block with something big enough to kill him, and watch him grab the best dude on the battlefield. d) Exile his big blue ass and pray the spell isn’t countered. Or, if you’re playing black, here’s a fifth option: play [card]Sudden Spoiling[/card], block it with, I don’t know, frigging [card]Bloodghast[/card] or [card]Nantuko Husk[/card] or something, and watch the blue mage cry. If Yosei is the epitome of massive negative tempo for your opponent, Keiga is the epitome of  card advantage for you . In big blue beatstick form. With flying.

3. [card]Scourge of Kher Ridges[/card]: You know what would be an awesome ability for a dragon to have? A [card]Pyroclasm[/card] at instant speed! And you know what would be even more awesome? Hitting all other flying dudes for 6 in their faces.  I’m pretty sure that’s even more awesome.

4. [card]Dragon Broodmother[/card]: This card is downright silly in multi-player. She’s a [card]Verdant Force[/card], except the little guys she pops out a) have flying, and b) every third turn can effectively be a 5/5. The only downside to dropping the Big Bad Mama: be prepared to face a lot of hate and fend off a lot of kill spells and cockblock a lot of thieving as soon as she hits the board, just because she’s so insanely efficient.

5. [card]Hoard-Smelter Dragon[/card]: A [card]shatter[/card] effect that you can repeat for as much mana as you have, which also makes him bigger with every smash? Um. Sure. Sign me up! Subscribe me to your newsletter! EDH, and especially multi-player EDH, is all about repeatable abilities, because they’re pure card advantage: you can use the ability turn after turn, instead of burning through a bunch of spells. And this ability happens to be attached to a 5/5 flying dude—all for the bargain price of 4 and 2 red.

6. [card]Flameblast Dragon[/card]: As KrazyCaley put it once in a Tapped Out article about dragons, other dragons make Chuck Norris jokes about the Flameblast. He’s a flying [card]fireball[/card]. That’s the essence of dragonliness. Fuck firebreathing—this is the real deal, right here. There’s no such thing as evolution. There are only the creature cards that Flameblast Dragon allows to live.

7. [card]Steel Hellkite[/card]: Sweet Sally Mae. First of all, he’s colorless, which means pretty much any deck can make use of him. Second of all, if you don’t have an answer to this guy before he makes contact, get ready to see your shit blowed up. Your [card]Privileged Position[/card]? Gone. Your [card]Eldrazi Monument[/card]? Also gone. Oh hey, token decks? How ’bout paying absolutely dick squat and blowing all of you up? Conclusion: blowing things up is fun. Ergo, Steel Hellkite is fun. Unless somebody has an artifact destruction spell in hand. Then the Steel Hellkite is mostly a sad pile of smashed dragon.

8. [card]Dragon Mage[/card]: [card]Wheel of Fortune[/card] on legs if it hits. You get seven cards. Even the discard isn’t a bad deal, if you’re playing a Scion deck and you need more enablers to help you toss your dragons into the graveyard. Yeah, everyone else gets seven cards too, but it’s kind of funny to see the blue mage with the massive hand o’ cards drop her hand.

9. [card]Broodmate Dragon[/card]: You know what’s better than a 4/4 dragon? Two 4/4 dragons. And if you have any way to sac and reanimate him, or play with [card]flicker[/card] effects, he quickly becomes King Daddy Pimp Dragon, trailing a harem of dragon tokens.

10. [card]Hellkite Charger[/card]: Wooooo extra combat steps woooo! Look, when you’re playing a tribal dragon deck, you’re going to try and win in the red zone. Something that gives you more than one chance at that is pure gold. If you want to be downright ridiculous, [card]Bear Umbra[/card] gives you infinite combat steps, or [card]Sword of Feast and Famine[/card] if you can make sure the Hellkite hits.

Honorable mentions

[card]Vampiric Dragon[/card]: Not amazing by himself, but equip him with something deathtouchy, like a [card]Quietus Spike[/card], a [card]Gorgon Flail[/card] or a [card]Basilisk Collar[/card], and, well, you can have a real big dragon, real damn quick.

[card]Bogardan Hellkite[/card]: Yes, he’s spendy, but a) he has flash, and b) you can spread that 5 points of burn to as many targets as you like, which is pretty sweet for either finishing somebody off or to take down some bothersome enablers or utility creatures. If you have [card]Gratuitous Violence[/card] or [card]Furnace of Rath[/card] out, even better. It’s also an enters-the-battlefield trigger, so if you can cheat him into play, bounce him and then cheat him back out, or reanimate him, or flicker him in and out, you can burn the world up and cackle with glee.

5 responses to “Candy’s Top 15 Dragons for EDH”

  1. Found your blog through MTGSalvation, very nice work so far. I play Scion and run it differently then graveyard recursion, really liked your rundown of the other dragons.

    Interestingly enough I picked Scion because you can run other dragon combo’s like Niv inside of the Scion deck in a hopefully less suspicious manner.

    Look forward to seeing more posts, you may want to start optimizing your tags now. After a few hundred posts you may be kicking yourself later lol

  2. Candy, I really like your list of dragons 😀

    That being said… where is [card]Eternal Dragon[/card]?

    • Ha, I think the lack of Eternal Dragon in this list reveals one of my prejudices: I like my dragons with abilities (burn, shatter, steal other people’s crap) or really, really obnoxiously big and trampley, preferably with firebreathing ([card]Hellkite Overlord[/card], [card]Dragon Tyrant[/card]). Eternal Dragon’s best ability, in my opinion, is the plainscycling. Auto-recursion is also super-sweet, but the fact that I have to use it only during my upkeep hurts it a little, and in the end she’s too vanilla to be a utility dragon.

      And that’s when you know know you’re a jaded EDH player: when Eternal Dragon strikes you as a bit too vanilla. Because she’s awesome, but in my opinion, she doesn’t net enough card advantage for me or disrupt my opponent’s board enough.