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Top 100 White Cards of All Time, Part 1

Top White Cards of All Time

White cards have gotten a reputation as underpowered, weak, lame and so on, to the extent it’s become a running joke among Magic players and fans. There’s certainly some truth to the jeers, considering the bonkers printings other colors have gotten (ahem, blue and green) have gotten lately in the past few years. The gist of the basic com-plain-t is that white doesn’t get goodies like it used to. Today however, I’m giving white some props by counting down the Top 100 coolest white cards of all time ever printed (so far).

Believe it or not, white has long been my favorite color to play. I find white to be deeply strategic. Sure, blue is strategic in the sense that you have to decide which instant to respond to an opponent’s plays with, but I love the way white’s “strategy” has so much to do with deckbuilding and having the right choices to face opposing decks. Good sideboards win tournaments. 

 

Header - The List

It’s no big secret people enjoy reading lists and seeing how other players rank cards relative to one another. For today’s “coolest white cards of all time” list, “coolest” is intentionally vague. I’m not rating these cards exclusively based on analytic results or raw power level data. I took these types of factors into consideration, but ultimately I’m comparing apples and oranges from different formats at different periods of time. In general, I chose to use my own insight and opinions to talk about how I see the sweetest white cards from Magic history stacking up against one another in their prime. 

I’ve played with nearly all of the cards on today’s list in sanctioned tournaments over the years and how good they were in their prime (and how often they were in their prime) matters. 

Learning, critical thinking, forming and refining ideas and opinions and applying it all to one’s enjoyment and understanding of the game is what my content is all about. It’s an abstract topic and hopefully this article will make you think a little bit about not only which cards you value highly, but also what you value about those cards. Different opinions or ways of looking at the game are always welcome in my comments. 

There are a couple of reasons I think an abstract article such as this one has value to fans of Magic:

First it’s a nice walk down memory lane. I’m sure there are some cards on the list veteran magicians haven’t cast in years and will remember fondly. I’m sure there are some older cards that newer mages may not have even seen that were important in the past. 

Second, I think putting all of the cards together creates some interesting context for thinking about what makes a sweet white card. 

Lastly, putting over a hundred sweet white cards together in one document feels like it would be a pretty solid deck-building resource for white mages to consult when looking for ideas. Keep in mind, I still have my Top 50 picks to come next week, but if it doesn’t make my list or expansive honorable mentions, feel free to drop sweet white cards in the comment for future deck builders to take a look at. 

I’m also limiting my list to mono-white cards (so no gold/multicolored spells). Here we go – the Top White Cards of All Time!

 

 

Header - #100 - 51

 

#100 – Declaration in Stone

Declaration in Stone

Declaration in Stone is a fantastic, format defining removal spell. It’s an excellent effect against tokens and big monsters alike. 

 

#99 – Shining Shoal

Shining Shoal

Before there was even an Orzhov guild to speak of, there was a pretty outstanding BW deck in Kamigawa Standard that used Shining Shoal to dominate combat and racing. Free spells are always nice. 

 

#98 – Luminous Broodmoth 

Luminous Broodmoth

I have never actually cast a Luminous Broodmoth but I feel like Tim the Sorcerer from Monty Python and the Holy Grail when I read the card: “MAN! LOOK AT THE STATS!” It’s an amazing card that suffered from not having a UG casting cost last year. 

 

#97 – Serra Ascendant

Serra Ascendant

Serra Ascendant is a straight up Commander all-star. It’s a lot of value for a single white mana.

 

#96 – Cast Out

Cast Out

The best “Faith’s Fetters/Oblivion Ring” variant of all time thanks to instant speed. Cast Out answers anything and has the utility to be cycled away when unneeded. 

 

#95 – Yosei, the Morning Star

Yosei, the Morning Star

Yosei, the Morning Star was a powerful combo lock component in a World Championship Greater Good deck. The ability to tap down and lock down an opponent’s resources up is fantastic. White doesn’t get a ton of Dragons, but it does have a few all-stars

 

#94 – Mangara, the Diplomat 

Mangara, the Diplomat

There’s nothing like a white card that punishes an opponent for having the audacity to attack. 

 

#93 – Tempered Steel 

Tempered Steel

You know a card is great when people name the deck after it. Tempered Steel dominated Scars of Mirrodin Block and Standard Constructed and continues to be viable in the present. 

 

#92 – Tocatli Honor Guard 

Tocatli Honor Guard

I played a lot of Tocatli Honor Guard in Standard. It’s a great rate for the body and it has a useful global ability. 

 

#91 – Mirror Entity 

Mirror Entity (Timeshifted)

Mirror Entity made its presence known as a combo kill (in addition to Mirrorweave) in Lorwyn Kithkin decks but it also did work in token and Elf decks. It’s a unique “Overrun on a body” variant in white that also has every creature type, making it ideal for tribal strategies. 

 

#90 – Enduring Ideal 

Enduring Ideal

Kamigawa’s white “epic” spell is another card with an entire archetype named after it. The deck ramped out the namesake spell to find Dovescape to lock an opponent out of the game and then won with Form of the Dragon. It was a very weird but cool deck. 

 

#89 – Angel’s Grace

Angel's Grace

A unique split second spell that allows a player to draw their entire deck when combined with Ad Nauseam. The strategy was a premier combo deck in Modern. 

 

#88 – Akroma’s Vengeance

Akroma's Vengeance

One of the strongest board sweeper variants to see print. The card was hugely important in Block and Standard constructed UW and RW decks. It was pretty insane to land an Akroma’s Vengeance against Broodstar Affinity’s artifact lands before Darksteel unleashed Arcbound Ravager. The fact that it also has cycling is crazy! It’s an absolute must-play in Commander. 

 

#87 – Martyr of Sands 

Martyr of Sands

Another archetype namesake card. Mono-white life gain at it’s finest! This can also be looped with Proclamation of Rebirth

 

#86 – Leonin Arbiter 

Leonin Arbiter

A staple of various Death and Taxes decks, especially in Modern. It turns out taxing an opponent to tutor is pretty good (especially when paired up with Path to Exile and Ghost Quarter). 

 

#85 – Hokori, Dust Drinker

Hokori, Dust Drinker

Winter Orb is obnoxious and so is Hokori, Dust Drinker. A great way to punish big mana tap out decks. 

 

#84 – Drannith Magistrate 

Drannith Magistrate

When an opponent doesn’t play fair, neither should you! 

 

#83 – Akroma, Angel of Wrath 

Akroma, Angel of Wrath

When Akroma, Angel of Wrath came out, it was completely mind-blowing! 

She may seem tame compared to Emrakul, the Aeons Torn or Griselbrand, but Akroma had her day as the mightiest creature in the game. I used an Akroma, Angel of Wrath and Ancient Hydra package in my Oath of Druids deck to split the finals of a SCG Vintage Power 9. Can you even imagine that was how Magic looked back then? 

 

#82. Ephemerate

Ephemerate

An amazing card from Modern Horizons and a great way to loop and recur creatures that can rebuy spells from the graveyard when they enter play. A powerhouse card in Pauper. 

 

#81 – Rally the Ancestors 

Rally the Ancestors

Another “namesake” archetype card. 

Rally the Ancestors (the best Collected Company deck in Standard at the time) was one of the most dominant Standard decks I’ve ever seen or played. It certainly helped to have Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy and CoCo in the mix, but Rally was the combo card by which the deck actually won the game. 

 

#80 – Circle of Protection: Red 

Circle of Protection: Red

One of the original “get rekt” sideboard cards, CoP was the original fun police against red mages. Well, CoP and Conversion. Alpha/Beta certainly had a lot of sweet white cards. 

 

#79 – Giver of Runes 

Giver of Runes

Turns out a powered down Mother of Runes is still excellent. 

 

#78 – Flickerwisp

Flickerwisp (Timeshifted)

A longtime staple of Death and Taxes deck. An ETB blink trigger attached to a 3/1 flying body is great value in any Aether Vial deck.  

 

#77 – Deafening Silence 

Deafening Silence

I predict Deafening Silence will be in a lot of my sideboards when I shuffle up next after the pandemic is over and paper Magic returns. 

 

#76 – Resplendent Angel

Resplendent Angel

 

Another new Mythic where I read the stats and go “wow.” 

 

#75 – History of Benalia

History of Benalia

The last time white was “great,” Andrew Elenbogen and LSV played a White Weenie mirror match in the PT finals. It’s no surprise considering they’re both talented players, but also because white was deep with powerful, sticky threats such as History of Benalia: a tailormade two-for-one that also provides an Overrun on the backside. Wowie.

 

#74 – Austere Command 

Austere Command

An amazing, flexible sweeper that lets the controller choose exactly what lives and dies. A very nice Commander card. It was also quite good in Standard and Block Constructed. 

 

#73 – Auriok Salvagers 

Auriok Salvagers

Auriok Salvagers is the namesake card of the “Bomber Man” archetype. Salvagers create an infinite loop with Black Lotus or Lion’s Eye Diamond and can then recur Pyrite Spellbomb infinitely to decimate an opponent. 

 

#72 – Serra Angel 

Serra Angel

Serra Angel was the original best creature in Magic and the primary win condition of early control decks. 

 

#71 – Hero of Bladehold 

Hero of Bladehold

Hero of Bladehold hits hard and the fourth point of toughness was really important because Lightning Bolt was in Standard at the time. 

 

#70 – Orim’s Chant 

Orim's Chant

Scepter Chant. No Stick. These are names for one of the sweetest UWR Control decks of all time that imprinted sweet instants (Counterspell, Fire // Ice, Lightning Helix and Orim’s Chant) onto Isochron Scepter. Orim’s Chant can also be “kicked” when played using Isochron Scepter. 

 

#69 – Thraben Inspector 

Thraben Inspector (Timeshifted)

One mana for two permanents? Thraben Inspector was a format-defining card in White Weenie and Mardu Vehicles and continues to be one of the best creatures in Pauper. Excellent value card. 

 

#68 – Second Sunrise 

Second Sunrise

An extremely powerful combo enabler from the original Mirrodin block, Second Sunrise was the heart and soul of the busted Modern “Eggs” deck until it was banned. The deck used cheap artifacts that sacrificed to add mana or draw cards to generate incremental value with each iteration of Second Sunrise. Unfortunately for opponents, these intricate loops took a long time to eggs-ecture, often 20 minutes or more once the combo sequence began. 

One Magic memory I will never forget is watching Brian Kibler play against an Eggs opponent in the Top 8 of a Grand Prix. His opponent started “going off” and Kibler requested he be allowed to take a bathroom break because he was F6’d and his presence was no longer necessary at the table! The judge supervised the opponent to make sure he made legal plays while Kibler left the table. The opponent literally played solitaire in Top 8. 

 

#67 – Martial Coup

Martial Coup

An extremely powerful sweeper from the Jace, the Mind Sculptor days that also brings an army along with the devastation. Martial Coup is an amazing sweeper for clearing a board to take pressure off of ‘walkers, as well as creating chump blockers to protect them and/or attack opposing planeswalkers. Let’s just say it passed the “Jace test.”

 

#66 – Legion’s Landing

Legion's Landing // Adanto, the First Fort

The PT-winning White Weeine deck had a ton of fantastic cards but perhaps none as excellent as Legion’s Landing. I love the flavor that it flips into a Kjeldoran Outpost variant (since Outpost is also an iconic white win condition from yore). 

 

#65 – Archangel of Thune 

Archangel of Thune

A powerful Mythic that doubles as a combo win condition in Collected Company/Chord of Calling strategies. It goes infinite on +1/+1 counters with Spike Feeder or Kitchen Finks with Vizier of Remedies, Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit or Melira, Sylvok Outcast.  

 

#64 – God-Eternal Oketra

God-Eternal Oketra

When you want a white monster that plays like a green monster.

 

#63 – Approach of the Second Sun 

Approach of the Second Sun

Again, a namesake deck card. Approach of the Second Sun is one of the stronger alternate win conditions printed in recent memory. 

 

#62 – Eternal Dragon

Eternal Dragon

One of my all-time favorite win conditions. Onslaught block was a keystone moment for amazing white cards. One reason white was so strong during this period was the strength of Eternal Dragon, which was a four-of staple in every UW or RW shell. 

 

#61 – Blade Splicer

Blade Splicer

Blade Splicer is an underrated card. It saw a ton of play across formats and often teamed up with Restoration Angel to create some very punishing combat steps for unwary opponents. 

 

#60 – Elspeth, Knight-Errant 

Elspeth, Knight-Errant

The first great white planeswalker, Elspeth, Knight-Errant can generate bodies and force damage through the air. A ton of efficient value, especially because it shared time in Standard and Extended with Jace, the Mind Sculptor

 

#59 – Enduring Renewal 

Enduring Renewal

Enduring Renewal was the centerpiece of the “Fruity Pebbles” loop, perhaps the first good white combo deck. 

 

#58 – Timely Reinforcements

Timely Reinforcements

Timely Reinforcements is an incredible sideboard (and even main deck) spell that absolutely halts opposing aggressive decks. 

 

#57 – Exalted Angel 

Exalted Angel

There was a time when Exalted Angel ruled the skies back when Onslaught came out. It was unheard of to have a $20 card in Standard back then, and yet the need for Exalted Angel only soared because it was just so darn good. Since it had morph, it also opened the door for a sequence where a player could cast Astral Slide on turn three, play Angel face down on turn four and cycle a land to slide the morph out and return it face up in Angel form. There’s nothing quite like a huge flying, lifelinker to take racing off the table! 

 

#56 – Kataki, War’s Wage

Kataki, War's Wage

Kataki, War’s Wage is perhaps the most infamous example of a card coming way too late! 

It was included in the third set of Kamigawa block, more than a year after Mirrodin and Darksteel unleashed artifact lands and Arcbound Ravager upon Standard. Still, Kataki has remained an effective counter to decks built around artifact synergies by taxing their mana. 

 

#55 – Auriok Champion 

Auriok Champion

There are lots of examples of white cards that punish red: Circle of Protection: Red, Burrenton Forge-Tender, Absolute Law, Warmth and Kor Firewalker. Auriok Champion is great because it doubles down against black and has seen a renaissance of play in the past year because of its great typing. In an age of power creep, it’s cool to see old heroes return to center stage. 

 

#54 – Recruiter of the Guard 

Recruiter of the Guard

A riff on the red Portal: Three Kingdoms card Imperial Recruiter, Recruiter of the Guard works well in white, a color that can nicely take advantage of tutoring for high quality, small toughness toolbox creatures. 

 

#53 – Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero 

Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero

If there’s any White Weenie deck that gives the History of Benalia/Legion’s Landing PT-winning deck a run for its money, it’s the GOAT WW 75 Rebels list. Rebels would certainly earn the checkmark as the most annoying mirror match, since the Legend Rule at the time was different ensuring the person who had Lin Sivvi first was the only one who’d get to use the card. 

 

#52 – Eldrazi Displacer

Eldrazi Displacer

Despite being colorless, I’m going to allow Eldrazi Displacer onto my list since it costs white mana to cast. One of my all time favorite creatures to play with and a fixture of the dominant UW Eldrazi Winter shell. 

 

#51 – Day of Judgment

Day Of Judgment

 

A powered down version of Wrath of God is still one of the most defining cards in the game. I love a four-mana sweeper!

 


 

That wraps up the first half of the Top 100 Coolest White Cards of All Time. I’ve also included an extensive list of honorable mentions at the end for anyone looking for ideas about sweet white cards to consider brewing around or adding to decks. 

If you think it’s sweet and didn’t make my  #100 – 51 (or the Honorable Mentions), there’s a good chance it’ll be in next week’s article counting down from #50 – #1. 

 

Header - Honorable Mentions

It was a close race and I felt all of these cards were close to making my list, but ultimately I had to cut it down to just 100 cards: 

 

Soul WardenCelestial PurgeGhostly PrisonDauntless BodyguardSelfless SaviorMagus of the MoatPorphyry NodesAven MindcensorTrue ConvictionPreacherAngel of FinalitySpectral LynxRuned HaloOblivion RingFaith's FettersOblivion RingStonehorn Dignitary (Timeshifted)Savannah LionsIsamaru, Hound of KondaSteelshaper's GiftDoomed TravelerMana TitheKytheon, Hero of Akros // Gideon, Battle-ForgedJötun GruntAdanto VanguardSoldier of the PantheonBrimaz, King of OreskosDoomskarSettle the WreckageKor SkyfisherSanctum PrelateCavalier of DawnToolcraft ExemplarAjani, Caller of the PrideReturn to DustDust to DustAbeyanceTitheAngel of SerenityHonor of the PureIntangible Virtue (Timeshifted)Story CircleApostle's BlessingAvacyn, Angel of HopeRestore BalanceSublime ArchangelSerra the BenevolentBlinding AngelBrave the ElementsKnight of the White OrchidEmeria's Call // Emeria, Shattered SkyclaveSteppe LynxSoltari PriestIdyllic TutorRemorseful ClericSacred GroundAnointed ProcessionLeonin Relic-WarderVenerated LoxodonSoulfire Grand MasterAura of SilenceWall of ReverenceRanger of EosMirran CrusaderKarmic JusticeLeyline of SanctityCatastropheFumigateBenalish MarshalNahiri, the LithomancerProclamation of RebirthAjani GoldmaneVizier of RemediesAnafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit

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