Top 10 Best Demons in MTG – Riley Ranks

Powerful Demons have control of New Capenna, and a familiar demonic face in Ob Nixilis is back in the mix as well! Demons, as black’s headline creature type, have been around in Magic for a long, long time, all the way back to Demonic Hordes and Lord of the Pit. They’re an EDH favorite as well, and have also played a big role in various Constructed formats over the years. With a whole host of new Demons joining the fray very shortly, let’s remind ourselves of some of the best ones printed so far!



10. Rune-Scarred Demon

Rune-Scarred Demon

Rune-Scarred Demon is an absolute classic, more or less an auto-include in any EDH Demon deck. Tutors are a huge part of the Commander format, and here’s a Demonic Tutor that hits for six in the air every turn. Sure, it costs seven, but you can’t blink a Demonic Tutor with Yarok or a Panharmonicon out, can you? No, you can’t. In fact, Rune-Scarred Demon goes a long way in encapsulating the spirit of the Commander format as a whole – a huge creature that’s too expensive and clunky for 60-card formats that tutors. Big creatures, high mana costs, and tutors – that’s EDH, baby!

9. Soulflayer


Remember this card? People put in a lot of effort to make it work alongside Chromanticore, delving Chromanticore away as well as Sylvan Caryatid to make the Soulflayer an absolute monster. Unfortunately, the deck was never very good, although it was undoubtedly very sweet, and Soulflayer lives on in the memory as the centerpiece of one of the coolest deck concepts in recent years. Some people still play it in some EDH lists – Kathril, Aspect Warper, typically – but you’d have to think Soulflayer’s glory days are behind it (and weren’t all that glorious to begin with).

8. Reaper from the Abyss

Reaper from the Abyss

There are some pretty powerful Demons that offer tremendous payoff if you can bargain with them successfully, and one such demon is Reaper from the Abyss. He drives a hard bargain and needs a constant supply of fresh meat in order to keep triggering, but if you provide it, you can pick off your opponents’ creatures, one by one, every turn, not every turn cycle. Of course, the Reaper compromises with no-one, and will kill stuff even if you don’t want him to – no “up to one” clause in this contract – so is best used in a deck filled with other Demons, so as to minimize potential friendly fire on a battlefield empty of opposing creatures.

7. Dream Devourer

Dream Devourer

Not all Demons are enormous flying monsters (just most of them), and Dream Devourer might not pack the punch of its seven-drop brethren, but it still provides a very potent effect you don’t always get in black: the ability to land huge cards a couple of turns ahead of schedule. As most Demons are quite expensive, being able to foretell a six-drop on turn three and play it on turn for is something that a lot of Demon decks are interested in doing, and so Dream Devourer is a great inclusion. Mono-black decks don’t always get the best acceleration, but Dream Devourer provides it, after a fashion.

6. Bloodgift Demon

Bloodgift Demon

Phyrexian Arenas are always of interest to people in EDH, and Bloodgift Demon is a 5/4 flying Phyrexian Arena that has the occasional upside of finishing off an opponent who’s on the ropes. 99 percent of the time, however, you’re targeting yourself with its ability, and unusually for Demons this one doesn’t ask for all that much – a single life point per card, a very fair deal (especially when you start with 40 of ’em). Bloodgift Demon is also relatively cheap – for a Demon – at just five mana, and as a result is a popular curve-filler in Demon-based EDH decks. 

5. Demon of Dark Schemes

Demon of Dark Schemes

Energy is what’s known as a parasitic mechanic, in that it doesn’t play well with other Magic mechanics from other sets. Demon of Dark Schemes, however, is an energy card that doesn’t need much support from other Kaladesh cards – it slices and dices perfectly well on its own. Coming in with a small sweeper effect, Demon of Dark Schemes quickly collects energy as you mow down opposing creatures (or sacrifice your own), and is good enough to return those slain creatures to the battlefield. From any graveyard, too!

4. Harvester of Souls

Harvester of Souls (Timeshifted)

Harvester of Souls has one job, and it does it exceptionally well. This card will draw you so many cards. It goes harder than Grim Haruspex or Midnight Reaper, triggering off not just your creatures but everyone’s (although like any good Demon ability there’s a catch: no tokens), and if left unanswered, it will pull you ahead on cards very quickly indeed. Harvester of Souls is a huge lightning rod, so when you play it, expect it to die quickly – but those times it doesn’t, ohoho, you’re going to have a good time. 

3. Archfiend of Depravity

Archfiend of Depravity

Another cheapish demon, Archfiend of Depravity bucks the trend for Demons in offering a no-frills, no-tricks, all-upside ability that can absolutely tear an EDH battlefield to pieces while leaving your stuff alone. Being restricted to just two creatures in Commander makes it very tough for most decks to enact a game plan, while you can just sit there building up your board while the Archfiend contains everyone else’s. This is one of the most-played Demons in EDH, and let me tell you, there’s a good reason for that. 

2. Rakdos, the Showstopper

Rakdos, the Showstopper

But where would Demons be without their leader? Quite honestly, there aren’t a huge host of great options for Demon commanders, with many decks running non-Demon generals like K’rrik, Son of Yawgmoth or Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath. The most popular Demon commander, however, is undoubtedly Rakdos, the Showstopper, and a lot of that is probably because he offers 50 percent of a Plague Wind every time you play him. Rakdos flips can lead to some extremely tense and exciting moments – will you clear the board, or will you whiff horribly? – and he’s an incredibly entertaining commander to play both with and against. 

1. Griselbrand


But no Demon comes close to the power level of the Griseldaddy. Griselbrand is, unquestionably, the best Demon ever printed, so good he’s banned in Commander. An iconic reanimation target across multiple formats, Griselbrand does everything you’d want – stabilize the board with a huge lifelinking flyer, kill opponents very swiftly in the air, and, most importantly, draw as many cards as your life total can afford. Funnily enough, most of the time it doesn’t seem like Griselbrand actually has lifelink, as you almost always immediately use any life he gains to draw cards!


3 thoughts on “Top 10 Best Demons in MTG – Riley Ranks”

  1. Jeremy Phillips

    Razaketh, definitely deserves a mention over most of these, dudes in so many edh and cedh piles its crazy

  2. William J Lamping

    Butcher of the Hoard and Abyssal Persecutor were a lot more relevant than all these except Gristlebrand.

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