Dragons are, of course, one of Magic’s most famous and beloved tribes, dating all the way back to Alpha. With Yuta Takahashi winning the World Championships with Izzet Dragons, I thought it would be worth counting down the 10 best Dragons in MTG history – and while Yuta might consider Goldspan Dragon to be up there with Bitterblossom in terms of personal importance to him, Goldspan still has a lot of work to do to catch up to these powerhouses from the past!
Korvold sneaks onto this list for a few reasons, none of which are to do with his Dragon-ness. Dragonosity? Whatever. Korvold isn’t really famous for being a Dragon, but is famous for being a really, really good card in sacrifice decks. He was sometimes the curve-topper in Standard Cat-Oven decks, and according to EDHRec, lives on post-rotation as one of the most popular commanders of all time. He’s not big on Dragon synergy and doesn’t really feel like a Dragon, but a Dragon he is all the same.
Most commonly in Magic, we associate Dragons with the color red. The overwhelming majority of Dragons are red, but there have been a few sets that have broken this trend – recently, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms gave us a bunch of non-red Dragons, but a few years back visiting Tarkir resulted in some extremely powerful, non-red, gold Dragons being printed. Principal amongst them was Dragonlord Ojutai, who was essentially the best control finisher available at the time.
Really, you could include all five Dragons from the Champions of Kamigawa cycle, as they’re all iconic and very powerful indeed. But these days, there’s one that has ended up rising above the rest as the best of the bunch: Kokusho, the Evening Star. No prizes for guessing why, either – Kokusho is an absolute house in EDH, where its death trigger will usually drain the table to bag you 15 life!
While Amonkhet was in Standard, Glorybringer was one of the most-played cards in the format across a multitude of decks. As a hasty beater that could also clear opposing creatures, Glorybringer brought a lot of glory in its day as a backbone of midrange strategies and a role-player in plenty of other decks. Most famously, it helped Wyatt Darby to a PT victory at Pro Tour Dominaria, back in 2018.
When it comes to Dragon Tribal in EDH, it’s hard to go past The Ur-Dragon. Some prefer Scion of the Ur-Dragon, it’s true, and there are plenty of recent converts to Tiamat. Overwhelmingly, however, people looking to play five-color Dragons in Commander rely on The Ur-Dragon. Its eminence effect is crucial in getting on the board with a deck filled with big clunky creatures, and even one attack with it out usually puts you miles ahead.
While Ugin doesn’t technically have the Dragon subtype, I mean, come on, it’s right there in the name. Ugin has been a force to be reckoned with in everything from Standard to Modern, from slow control decks to turn four in Tron, and even today in Historic is used as the top-end in some slow decks (not to mention as a card to cheat out with Tibalt’s Trickery). Love it or hate it, Ugin is an extremely powerful card.
Thundermaw Hellkite was printed with the explicit intention of harking back to the glory days of old Dragons being powerful, format-defining cards. Well, in a format that was contending with Lingering Souls, it was a very welcome addition and did a lot of work back in 2012/2013. These days we get five-mana hasty 4/4 or 5/5 Dragons as a matter of course – but it was Thundermaw Hellkite who made them cool again.
Really, it could be any of the four Niv-Mizzet cards on this list, but I picked the original to stand in for the lot of them. Niv-Mizzet has been a fan favorite for years and years, a mainstay of any Ravnica-based set and a very popular choice for Izzet mages in Commander. All of the two-color Niv-Mizzets reward you for playing a natural blue-red game, and you can even go infinite with Curiosity on two of them!
Not only is Nicol Bolas the most famous villain in Magic lore, and not only has he been printed on cards that span the decades of Magic’s history, he’s also one of the five original Elder Dragons – the cards that inspired the creation of Commander! If you’ve ever wondered why it’s called EDH – Elder Dragon Highlander – it’s because it started with Nicol Bolas, Arcades Sabboth and all the rest of them. Nicol Bolas did have the most successful solo career, however!
The original Dragon, the one that started it all – you hear people who were around when Magic began tell stories of how they traded away multiple pieces of power for a single Shivan Dragon, so sought-after and powerful this card once was. Time has made a fool of Shivan Dragon when it comes to power level, certainly, but not when it comes to much else – Shivan Dragon remains, undoubtedly, the most iconic and famous Dragon ever printed.