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10 best card-draw cards in Magic: The Gathering

More options are always good.

Image credit: Wizards of the Coast/Willian Murai

The best card-draw cards in Magic: The Gathering can always grant you a big advantage, because more cards means more options. With so much strategy going into not just the playing of MTG, but also how you build your deck, being able to draw more cards can often be the difference between finding the card you need, or failing to do so and losing.

Best card-draw cards MTG

There are a lot of ways to draw cards in MTG. Some are obvious, such as Blue Sun’s Zenith letting you draw as many cards as you can pay mana for, while others are more subtle, like Light Up the Stage exiling cards and being able to play them. As such, there could be 1,000 different configurations of this list - but we’re confident that these are some of the very best card-draw cards in Magic: The Gathering.

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1. Treasure Cruise

One mana for three cards

Treasure Cruise is such a good card-draw card that it's banned in several formats - use it where you can! | Image credit: Wizards of the Coast

Treasure Cruise is at the top of our list of the best MTG card-draw cards because it’s so powerful that it’s banned in Pauper, Modern and Legacy, and restricted in Vintage. For a common card, that’s an astounding number of places to be illegal to play, but there’s a good reason for it.

Treasure Cruise is an eight-mana card that lets you draw three. However, it also has Delve. Delve is an ability that allows you to exile a card from your graveyard to reduce the cost of the spell by one mana. What this means is that most people who cast Treasure Cruise will do so for just one mana. That’s why it’s a banned card - because one mana for three cards is an overwhelmingly good value proposition.

2. Skullclamp

Some sacrifices may be needed

Skullclamp grants one of your creatures the power to draw cards when they die. | Image credit: Wizards of the Coast

Skullclamp is a one-mana equipment card that costs one to equip, and grants the creature to which it’s equipped +1/-1. If it was +1/0, it would be terrible, but it’s not. The reason for this is that it also lets you draw two cards whenever the equipped creature dies.

All you need to do is flood your board with plenty of creatures with one toughness, and suddenly you can pay one mana to draw two cards as often as you want. If you then add on card effects that punish your foes when your creatures die - using something like Blood Artist - you’ve got card-draw and a winning game strategy all because of this one card.

3. Brainstorm

A classic

Brainstorm is one of the older MTG card-draw cards on this list, but remains a favourite for a reason. | Image credit: Wizards of the Coast

Brainstorm is a one-mana instant card that reads: “Draw three cards, then put two cards from your hand on top of your library in any order.” This is another card that’s restricted in Vintage, so you know it’s the real deal.

On the face of it, it’s easy to think of this as just drawing two cards, but what it actually lets you do is keep all three of the cards you drew if you want to and put a couple of land cards back on top of your deck - or cards you can’t afford to cast yet but can next turn. It’s an absurdly powerful effect.

4. Sylvan Library

Better than a normal draw step

Sylvan Library's card-draw effect is similar to Brainstorm, but you can do it on every turn. | Image credit: Wizards of the Coast

Sylvan Library is a two-mana enchantment that reads: “At the beginning of your draw step, you may draw two additional cards. If you do, choose two cards in your hand drawn this turn. For each of those cards, pay 4 life or put the card on top of your library.” Effectively, it’s a bit like Brainstorm, but on every turn.

The option to also pay life to get a few extra cards is a huge boon, but just being able to control your draw steps as you go is so good for strategising. All of that is for two mana as well, meaning you can do this every turn from turn three onwards - or even earlier if you can generate the mana for it.

5. Faithless Looting

Good luck

Faithless Looting is arguably the best red card-draw card in Magic. | Image credit: Wizards of the Coast

Faithless Looting is probably the best red card-draw spell in MTG. As with so many of the great card-draw spells it only costs one mana, but it gets a little bit more complicated after that. For starters, while it does let you draw two cards, you also have to discard two cards afterwards.

It means you’ve got to be a little more savvy when building your MTG deck, and either include cards you want in the graveyard or be able to decide on the spot what you’re not going to need. Faithless Looting also has a flashback cost of three mana, which means you can pay three mana to cast it again from your graveyard before exiling it. It’s two-for-one, which is great.

6. Phyrexian Arena

Pain for pleasure

Phyrexian Arena is a common sight in many Commander decks thanks to its ability to spend life for card-draw. | Image credit: Wizards of the Coast

Phyrexian Arena is a Commander staple because this three-mana enchantment is black and lets you draw a card at the beginning of your upkeep for the cost of one life. Losing one life a turn sounds scary, but in Commander you’ve got so much life anyway it’s really not a big deal.

You can also pump your deck full of ways to gain life, which means you’re not going to notice the tiny single damage a turn anyway. If you’ve got a deck with black in it in Commander, you should probably be playing Phyrexian Arena.

7. Beast Whisperer

Creatures = cards

As the name implies, Beast Whisperer is the card-draw card to have in any green deck with lots of creatures. | Image credit: Wizards of the Coast

Green has some very good card-draw cards, but it’s generally thought of as the MTG colour of creatures. If you’re building a deck that’s all about casting creatures, Beast Whisperer, a four-mana 2/3 creature, is going to be incredible for you.

While in play, this card will allow you to draw a card every time you cast a creature. That means that not only will you likely be gaining at least one more card a turn, but even if your creature is countered, you’ll still get to draw because of Beast Whisperer.

8. Rhystic Study

Do you want to pay the two?

Rhystic Study lets the player draw a card whenever their opponents cast a spell - annoying to face, vital to use yourself. | Image credit: Wizards of the Coast

Rhystic Study is one of the most annoying cards in Magic, but only if you’re the fool not playing it. That’s because this three-mana blue enchantment lets you draw cards whenever an opponent casts a spell as long as they don’t pay one mana to counter the effect.

Aside from being an absolute monster of a card-draw engine, Rhystic Study allows you to annoy your opponents into submission. What usually happens in a multiplayer Commander game is that everyone will start-off paying the cost, but when one person breaks, they all will, and then you’ll be buried under your own cards.

9. Esper Sentinel

A rare white card-draw spell

Esper Sentinel is one of only a few white card-draw options in MTG, making it essential for decks built around the colour. | Image credit: Wizards of the Coast

White traditionally struggles with card-draw. While things have gotten a little bit better in recent years, it’s still pretty slow-going. Thankfully, when Modern Horizons 2 released, it brought with it a white one-mana 1/1 called Esper Sentinel, which is a very cool card indeed.

Aside from being a human, which is a very relevant creature type in Commander, Modern and basically every other MTG format, Esper Sentinel is good because it reads: “Whenever an opponent casts their first noncreature spell each turn, draw a card unless that player pays X, where X is Esper Sentinel’s power.” It’s a bit like Rhystic Study, but the cost can be far higher if you’ve got things that make humans stronger or you can put +1/+1 counters onto Esper Sentinel.

10. Sphinx’s Revelation

Have some life too

Card-draw AND life? Sphinx's Revelation is, indeed, a revelation. | Image credit: Wizards of the Coast

While not quite as overwhelmingly potent as it used to be, Sphinx’s Revelation is still one of the best card-draw cards in MTG. For starters, it’s flexible - costing X plus three mana - making it easy to scale up or down accordingly.

You get to draw X cards when you cast it, but you also get to gain X life. The duality of this means that you can go from having an empty hand and being at death’s door to having a full hand and enough life to set up a game-winning turn, all because of one spell.

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