Season’s greetings and happy holidays weary traveller. It’s been one big old mess of a year, but we’re at the end of it - and that means it’s nearly Christmas. Unlike Halloween, Christmas isn’t something that Magic: The Gathering flirts with very often outside of special promo cards such as Thopter Pie Network. Those are great and all, but in our opinion the best MTG Christmas cards are the ones you’ve got to dig a little to find.
Some of these cards are obviously Christmassy, some of them make us worry about the designers over at Wizards of the Coast - seriously, what's the deal with the Wall of Pine Needles? - and some of them require a bit of work. However, it is the season of giving - as a result, we’re going to take a few liberties with these cards and bring you a list that encompasses everything about Christmas.
Best Magic: The Gathering Christmas cards
- Blossoming Wreath: Just beautiful.
- Wall of Pine Needles: Oh! Christmas tree?
- Silkwrap: Surprise!
- Temple Bell: A present for everyone.
- Goblin Snowman: He likes warm hugs.
- Call to the Feast: Family gatherings are stressful.
- Gingerbrute: A well-balanced snack.
- Saddled Rimestag: Does this one pull a sleigh?
- Arcum’s Sleigh: The aforementioned sleigh.
- Feldon of the Third Path: I KNOW HIM!
Everyone’s Christmas is a little bit different. Maybe your family forgoes the traditional gigantic political argument and subsequent fallout. Maybe you all like to get together to give gifts before going back home to play with them. Maybe, just maybe, you all like to eat, be merry and then play a gigantic game of whatever your family likes to play at this time of year while wearing hideous sweaters. Whatever it is, in these MTG Christmas cards we’ve tried to capture everything that makes up the generic holiday celebrations that many aspire to, so enjoy.
1. Blossoming Wreath
If you go to some houses, the first thing you’ll see is a beautiful wreath adorning the front door. It’s a sign that that house is just really into the holiday spirit, and you kind of have to respect it. This card, despite what you might expect, is actually a Green instant that costs one mana. For that price, you gain life equal to the number of creature cards in your graveyard.
Sure, you might not view your wreath as a symbol of life rising from death, but the symbolism of the evergreen wreath is meant to represent eternal life and, for Christians, an invitation for Jesus into the home it’s hung upon. So, if you think about it, the card is actually very thematic - and not just because of the artwork.
2. Wall of Pine Needles
Oh! Christmas tree?
You may look at this card and think “Wow, is this one somehow about death too?” That’s fair enough. In this case, we don’t think so. Some believe that pine trees were originally used at Christmas because the evergreen nature of them reminded the pagans of spring in the harsh winter months. It wasn’t always full trees though; sometimes it was just the branches.
While we’re not 100% sure that these actually ever served as a deterrent to the beasts attempting to hunt people, they weren’t the magical trees of MTG. This card is a four-mana Green creature that can also regenerate itself to stop it from dying. It’s a 3/3 too, so it’s not actually a bad card in its own right. It is, however, kind of creepy - and it’ll have you thinking twice about running near your Christmas tree.
This is the first one that you might have actually heard of. Silkwrap is a two-mana White enchantment that exiles a creature when it enters the battlefield. It was released in the Dragons of Tarkir set, and was pretty competitive at the time thanks to its efficiency.
In terms of Christmas, it turns out that finding a Magic: The Gathering card to represent wrapping presents is actually kind of hard. However, you can’t deny the fact that the person in the picture here is being wrapped rather wonderfully. Also, while it’s a little decadent, who wouldn’t want to unwrap a silk-wrapped present?
4. Temple Bell
A present for everyone
While it’s not the yule bell you might expect, there’s something undeniably merry about the Temple Bell. For starters, its effect lets every single player draw a card. Very few things are more Christmassy than everyone getting something for free. Plus, as the person who pays the three mana required for the artifact, it’s a lot like buying a gift for all of your friends.
The bell is absolutely massive and it jingles and brings joy, so it belongs on this list. Granted, if Santa had bells this large on his reindeer we’d be a little worried, but this is more like one bell to rule them all, you know?
5. Goblin Snowman
He likes warm hugs
To be honest, we were quite surprised to even find a snowman in MTG that wasn’t inherently evil and trying to destroy a plane or eat a dragon or something. While we’re not 100% sure that this snowman has a life of it’s own à la Frozen, we reckon it’s pretty festive regardless.
For starters, it can clearly attack by throwing snowballs, as you can tap it to deal one damage to a creature it’s blocking. It also prevents all of the damage it does and is dealt to whenever it blocks, so it’s a pretty interesting creature. Again, it might just be a puppet for the goblins in the image, but maybe it’s also got some beef with everyone who keeps calling it Olaf.
6. Call to the Feast
Family gatherings are stressful
We’ve all felt the dread of knowing that your extended family is coming to dinner. The fear that this instils in the vast majority of us is something to be reckoned with. (This year, please avoid it.) We reckon that Call to the Feast represents this pretty well. After all, after your relatives leave your house having eaten all of your food and drained all of your whiskey - even the good stuff - you’ll feel completely drained and left with a big old mess to clean up.
It’s therefore fitting that this sorcery spell creates three Vampire creature tokens with Lifelink. Nothing fits quite as well as this one when it comes to the big event of the day - eating just so much food. While you might be able to feed your family members garlic without it damaging them, we’re pretty confident that a stake* would still deal some damage. *Dicebreaker does not condone staking your family members to check if they’re vampires.
A well-balanced snack
Gingerbrute is a take on the classic “You can’t catch me because I’m a sentient biscuit-based treat” thing from the wonderful fairytale plane of Eldraine. However, there are few foods more fitting than gingerbread when it comes to the latter part of the year. For starters, ginger is good for you, and it’s a root, which sort of makes it one of your five-a-day. While that might sound like a reach, you need this level of mental gymnastics to pretend you’ve been healthy this year.
There’s also the fact it’s actually an excellent card, giving you a one-mana 1/1 with Haste that you can pay to make it mostly unblockable. You can even sacrifice it to gain three life, which makes it good in a pinch. Also, if anybody rocked up to your house with a gingerbread this large you’d be stoked, so it belongs here (and possibly in your belly).
8. Saddled Rimestag
Does this one pull a sleigh?
We’re getting to the last few cards, which means we’re entering the classic mythos of Christmas stage. That means we get to talk about reindeers. Not that MTG ever calls them that; instead, they’re labelled as Elk in the card game. There are a few options for this particular part of the season, but Saddled Rimestag is just majestic in front of a beautiful snowy vista, so it fits the bill the best.
It also happens to be a pretty decent card in its own right. For only two mana, this Green creature gives you a 2/2 body that gets a +2/+2 boost if another creature has entered the battlefield that turn. That means it’ll usually be a 4/4. This makes it rather good value, and more than strong enough to pull a sleigh. Speaking of which…
9. Arcum’s Sleigh
The aforementioned sleigh
They said it couldn’t be done. Nobody believed in MTG’s ability to deliver us a sleigh for this part of the Christmas folklore, but we found one anyway. Arcum’s Sleigh doesn’t really come equipped with gifts, but it does get pulled along in the snow, so we’ll take it.
For one mana, you get an artifact that you can then pay two mana and tap to give a creature pseudo-vigilance. It’s not a bad ability at all, although it’s probably a little underpowered compared to the cards printed nowadays. That’s understandable though, as it was in a set called Ice Age which was printed back in 1995.
10. Feldon of the Third Path
I KNOW HIM!
Finally, we have the man himself. That’s right: Santa! Well, there’s no Santa Claus in Magic: The Gathering, but we think Feldon here does a pretty good impersonation. For starters, he’s got a big old beard, white hair and he even wears red. Plus, he’s trying to resurrect his lost love, or something.
Granted, that last part isn’t very traditional Father Christmas, but his ability fits quite well. For three mana, you can tap Feldon to create a token of a creature in your graveyard, and it becomes an artifact too. Santa is magic, and also omniscient, which means he’s basically God, so bringing people back to the dead fits the character perfectly. Nailed it.