It’s time to flap those wings and take to the skies – as we check out the best Angels in MTG!
The very first Angel in Magic: The Gathering (MTG) was, incidentally, in the very first set to be released, way back in 1993.
Since then, Angels have mostly been associated with White coloured mana – giving the colour a much needed boost when it comes to bigger, more powerful creatures, which is something that White often lacks – but that’s not to say that different coloured Angels don’t exist of course!
Hundreds of Angels have appeared in MTG over the last three decades.
With so many to choose from, which ones do we think are the best?
Let’s find out, as we check out the best Angels in MTG!
1. Akroma, Vision of Ixidor
One of the most appealing aspects of MTG is its detailed lore, which is often surprising in its depth.
Akroma is an Angel with various forms in MTG, yet in the beginning she was dreamed into existence by the illusionist Ixidor.
Ixidor’s newly created Angel took the form of his lost love, Nivea, who was killed in a battle by a deadly pit-fighter named Phage.
Which is just the beginning. Seriously, there’s so much more to Akroma’s story; that’s before we get into her alternate forms, such as Akroma, Angel of Fury or Akroma, Angel of Wrath!
So why have we chosen Akroma, Vision of Ixidor to be in such a prominent place on our best Angels in MTG list?
One look at her card should reveal all; though she’s expensive, with a total cost of seven mana, the bonuses she can apply to other creatures on the battlefield barely even fit in her text box.
Suffice to say that she will beef up a collection of creatures until it becomes a deadly army that can take on just about any threat. Planeswalkers beware!
Yet it’s not just other creatures that can terrify an opponent thanks to Akroma’s presence on the battlefield.
With Flying, First Strike, Vigilance and Trample, as well as 6/6 Power and Toughness, Akroma herself is certainly quite tough to deal with on her own.
As the leader of an army of creature cards, she’s incredibly formidable.
The case could be made for countless other Angels to be in this spot, thanks to the clever combos and card play they allow, but for sheer force and intimidation, it’s hard to beat that feeling of getting Akroma, Vision of Ixidor into play!
2. Liesa, Forgotten Archangel
Though we’ve covered the best mono-white Commanders in MTG on Card Gamer, the restriction on colours meant that we had to leave out some Angels that would have been perfect Commanders for a mostly-white, rather than mono-white, deck.
Liesa, Forgotten Archangel certainly fits that bill.
With a total mana cost of five – which includes two white and one black mana – Liesa, Forgotten Archangel isn’t too prohibitive to get into play.
Her abilities are really straightforward, but actually pretty devastating.
Firstly, she enables her controlling player to take their non-token creatures back into their hand when they die, rather than sending them to the graveyard.
Secondly, whenever an opponent’s creature dies, it’s exiled from the game – so any opponent banking on being able to resurrect their creatures from the graveyard will be foiled with Liesa in play.
Liesa also has Lifelink in addition to the expected Flying keyword, to go with her 4/5 Power and Toughness.
3. Archangel Avacyn
When timed right, Archangel Avacyn can prove to be absolutely devastating – we chose her as one of our picks for the best mono-White Commanders for a reason!
She’s another fairly no-nonsense Angel card – aside from one thing: she’s double-faced!
Need a primer on how to deal with double-faced cards? You can check out our how to use double-faced cards in Magic: The Gathering guide!
With the keyword Flash – allowing Archangel Avacyn to be cast just like an Instant (ie, pretty much at any time, even on your opponent’s turn!) – as well as Vigilance and (naturally) Flying, Archangel Avacyn is a pretty enticing Angel card.
Yet she also gives creatures the Indestructible keyworld until the end of turn when she enters the battlefield. Given the Flash keyword, that can be a game changer if timed well!
Also, if any of your non-Angel creatures dies while you have Archangel Avacyn on the battlefield, she becomes so angry that she transforms – triggering her card’s second side!
That’s right, Archangel Avacyn then becomes Avacyn, the Purifier.
Though she loses Vigilance, she deals 3 damage to each other creature and each opponent too.
This second-face wrath is deadly to your own creatures too, so do be careful that Avacyn isn’t angered at the wrong time!
4. Avacyn, Angel of Hope
Wait, Avacyn again?
That’s right – here’s another Avacyn card, though this time it’s just a standard, single-faced card!
With Avacyn, Angel of Hope’s amazing ability, you’d think we would rank the card higher on this list.
After all, not only does it have the expected Flying and the common (at least among Angels!) Vigilance, but the card also has Indestructible.
Best of all? Its ability text also gives Indestructible to all other permanents under your control.
It’s a hugely powerful card, but that does come at quite a cost – eight mana in total.
Still, with those abilities and – just to add to that – a pretty impressive 8/8 in Power and Toughness, this is definitely a card that’s worth waiting to get into play!
5. Empyrial Archangel
I must admit that I have a real soft spot for MTG set, Shards of Alara.
Though I’d played MTG pretty casually and infrequently for many years, the 2008 release of Shards of Alara really captured my attention.
It was thanks to a mixture of the fascinating lore, unique settings and imaginative creatures – all based around three colour combinations of the MTG mana colours – that really caught my eye.
As such, I have real nostalgia for an awful lot of the Shards of Alara-era cards – and Empyrial Archangel is definitely one that I adore!
On the face of it, there’s not a great deal that’s special about Empyrial Archangel, especially as – being a Shards of Alara card – it requires three different colours of mana to play.
Along with Flying though, it does have Shroud – which stops Empyrial Archangel being the target of spells or abilities.
It also soaks up damage that would normally be dealt to the player – coupled with 8 Toughness, that’s not bad at all.
Perhaps one of the best aspects of Empyrial Archangel is something that doesn’t appear on the card at all.
Confused? Allow me to explain.
The fact that Empyrial Archangel isn’t a Legendary Creature means that you can play up to four of these in your deck.
Yes, that three colour, eight mana cost would make it difficult to get the most use out of them – let alone just one – but if you do happen to get multiple copies of Empyrial Archangel into play, they’ll soon prove why I’ve included them here on the best Angels in MTG list!
6. Reya Dawnbringer
At a cost of nine mana in total, Reya Dawnbringer isn’t likely to be around until it’s pretty much too late, at least in a Standard format game of MTG – but if you’re able to pull off some clever shenanigans (and let’s face it, plenty of MTG players are well versed in the art of shenanigans), it’s a brilliant card to hit your opponent with in the mid or late game.
Even – or maybe especially – if you’ve been on the back foot and have lost plenty of creatures up to that point.
That’s because Reya Dawnbringer, in addition to a not too shabby 4/6 Power and Toughness (though you may be expecting more for such an expensive card), can bring one creature per turn back from your graveyard, returning it straight to your battlefield.
It’s a card that can really turn the tide, hopefully wiping that smug grin off your opponent’s face in the process.
7. Legion Angel
Even if Legion Angel only had its 4/3 Power and Toughness and the Flying keyword, it wouldn’t be seen as a particularly bad card.
The very unusual ability that Legion Angel has is what earns it a spot on the best Angels in MTG list, however.
So what does Legion Angel do that’s so special?
Well, Legion Angel’s ability allows you to bring another Legion Angel card into the game and put it in your hand.
That’s correct: you can have Legion Angel cards stacked up outside of normal play, completely aside from your deck – and every time you add a Legion Angel card to the battlefield, you can bring another one in.
It’s a card that we are big fans of here at Card Gamer, for obvious reasons!
Do note that in a casual game, not only does the four copy limit not apply to Legion Angel (except within your deck, as normal) and nor are there any rules as to where the copy outside of the game comes from – meaning you can just pull it from your personal collection of cards, as long as you have them with you), in a Tournament there are restrictions on how Legion Angel works.
In a Tournament, the ‘outside the game’ Legion Angels must come from a pre-constructed sideboard of cards, which also follows deck building rules.
This does mean that you can’t have more than four copies of Legion Angel between your deck and sideboard – but, due to the way it works, the card still offers opportunities for some clever deck building.
8. Iona, Shield of Emeria
Got yourself an opponent who loves to rock a mono colour deck?
Or do you have a particular colour that you’re having difficulty dealing with?
The nine mana Iona, Shield of Emeria is the Angel you need.
As the card’s ability states:
“As Iona, Shield of Emeria enters the battlefield, choose a color. Your opponents can’t cast spells of the chosen color.”
In the right hands and against the right opponent, this 7/7 Legendary Creature can definitely prove its worth.
It’ll take time to get there, of course – unless you have access to some decent mana accelerator cards – but Iona, Shield of Emeria is definitely worth the wait!
9. Platinum Angel
There’s nothing special about Platinum Angel when you first see it.
It also costs a fairly eye-watering 7 mana to use too.
The fact that Platinum Angel’s mana cost is entirely devoid of colour is the first clue that there’s something special about this 4/4 creature, however.
It has Flying, which isn’t unusual – but then there’s that ability text:
You can’t lose the game and your opponents can’t win the game.
Which is a pretty bold ability, right?
Of course, you’ll need to have some sort of plan – though just waiting for your opponent to get through their deck works nicely enough.
Its biggest issue is that it’s an Artifact Creature – and Artifacts are, as many players know, usually fairly straightforward to remove from the battlefield – which explains its low placing on the list of the best Angels in MTG.
10. Serra Angel
We couldn’t have a best Angels in MTG without highlighting the very first Angel in MTG – and one that’s a solid, if unspectacular, card three decades on.
A 4/4 card with Flying and Vigilance is still not one to dismiss outright – though at a cost of 5 total mana, there’s likely numerous other Angels, potentially cheaper in mana terms, that are better.
Yet in MTG’s 30th anniversary year, there’s just something cool about being able to play one of the cards that featured in its original set.
Times have changed, the world and even MTG itself has moved on – but (and this particularly applies if you were there from the beginning) having a no-nonsense, effective Angel that first made an appearance in the early 90s on the table can feel like nothing short of, well, magic.
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