Top 10 Creatures That Draw Cards

(Beast Whisperer | Art by Matt Stewart)

Oops, All Rutstein

Welcome to Too-Specific Top 10, where if there isn’t a category to rank our pet card at the top of, we’ll just make one up! (Did you know that Undead Butler is the only creature that both mills and Raise Deads upon entering and dying?)

Well, that's it. The last straw.

Honest Rutstein is replacing my oldest commander, Sapling of Colfenor. I love the old Treefolk, but when they print a commander that does everything your deck is already doing, you've gotta at least try it out.

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Commander (1)
Companion (1)
Creature (65)
Land (33)
Planeswalker (1)

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With that said, we do now have a problem: Where I used to have card draw in the command zone, now I have ramp instead. We're gonna have to find more card draw... In my Golgari deck that only plays creatures.

Top 10 Golgari Creatures That Draw Cards

Before we start on that, though, how about we look at the other colors real fast? This is honestly an area that just about everyone is gonna be interested in, so I don't want anyone's favorite color to feel left out.

Top 10 Creatures That Draw Cards

  1. Solemn Simulacrum
  2. Esper Sentinel
  3. [REDACTED] (On actual list)
  4. Etali, Primal Storm
  5. Professional Face-Breaker
  6. Archmage Emeritus
  7. Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer
  8. [REDACTED] (On actual list)
  9. [REDACTED] (On actual list)
  10. Mulldrifter

It is hard to believe that in 2024, long after it has been removed from most precons and has largely been declared by everyone to be overrated, that Solemn Simulacrum is still at the top of this list. Don't get me wrong, I'm not any happier that Esper Sentinel, a card with a $30 price tag and annoyance as a mechanic, is what will eventually take it over. If anything, I long for the days when Solemn Simulacrum was a card that was good enough. But much as I wish that EDH was still a place for nostalgic old standard cards to go and have a good time, it just isn't anymore, and we should stop pretending it is when it comes to the robot.

As for the rest, we're looking at the natural design trend we've been seeing ever since Dark Confidant: Creatures are easily removable, so it's easy to put powerful card advantage mechanics on them for cheaper than you'd see them otherwise. Shall we see if that's true of Golgari creatures, as well?

Criteria: Non-artifact (yes, I'm that sick of the bot) Golgari creatures with the ability to draw cards or grab cards off the top of the deck or from your graveyard, either by allowing you to play them or by putting them in your hand, without an additional mana cost. As is tradition, all results are ordered by EDHREC score.

10. Midnight Reaper

(86,780 Inclusions, 4% of 1,995,077 Decks)

Midnight Reaper has been an Aristocrats staple for years now for a reason. Drawing a card anytime one of your nontoken creatures dies may seem like a pittance of a deal where you're only cantripping repeatedly, but when you have creatures and effects that allow you to get creatures back from the graveyard repeatedly, this gets out of control quickly. The only problem? There's a better Midnight Reaper further up this list, and spots in decks these days are limited.

9. Selvala, Heart of the Wilds

(Helms 4,692 Decks, Rank #230; 83,032 Inclusions, 5% of 1,800,702 Decks)

Outlaws of Thunder Junction confirmed that Wizards isn't planning on printing any bad Selvalas anytime soon, but there's still an argument to be made that the original is still the best. Aside from her brief career as a cEDH commander, Selvala, Heart of the Wilds has also just been a mainstay of any deck with big creatures for all of the history of EDH. Put simply, consistent card draw with mana to boot is a heck of a combination. For our purposes in Honest Rutstein, however, I'm not sure that that card draw is all that consistent, nor do I think that the mana will be all that good. When you're storming off two mana creatures non-stop, you're probably not putting down world-beaters. That means it's likely that your opponents will have larger creatures, meaning they'll be drawing the cards, and that you'll only be adding two to three mana off of Selvala's ability, most times. In short, Selvala is a great card, that just isn't really for this deck.

8. Ohran Frostfang

(88,344 Inclusions, 5% of 1,800,702 Decks)

Ohran Frostfang, on the other hand, seems great for what we're doing. Five mana is steep, and is going to be difficult to find a spot for, but winning via combat damage in a deck that can throw down a half-dozen creatures every turn is a very real outlet that needs to be considered. Deathtouch will both make it more likely that those creatures are getting through for consistent chip damage, and will also have us trading up with our various Elvish Visionariess and Viridian Emissaries.

7. Morbid Opportunist

(93,885 Inclusions, 5% of 1,995,077 Decks)

Seeing Morbid Opportunist beat out Midnight Reaper came as a true surprise for me. Don't get me wrong, I see the appeal of being able to draw from your tokens in addition to your creatures, but that once a turn restriction is going to be a millstone around your neck more often than I think people give it credit for. While it's easy to imagine the situation where you've got a bunch of tokens and a sac outlet to draw a card during each player's turn, you're also going to have a lot of times where you don't have that and you're simply going to draw a single card off of combat or a High Market and then pass. Phyrexian Arena is fine, but why settle for it when there are more consistent options?

The thing I really don't like about Morbid Opportunist, though, is that it fails to do the most important thing for a creature deck: Help you recover or even punish a board wipe. Getting hit for 14 by Midnight Reaper when someone Blasphemous Acts is less than ideal, but you do draw 14 cards when it happens. If you aren't threatening a win the next turn with those kind of resources, then you just aren't building your deck right. Drawing one, however? That's barely even worth mentioning.

6. Grim Haruspex

(98,663 Inclusions, 5% of 1,995,077 Decks)

What is worth mentioning (again) is that there is still a better Midnight Reaper, and I'm not talking about Grim Haruspex's Morph ability. While I can't use the dreaded "strictly better" words because Midnight Reaper draws off itself dying and Grim Haruspex doesn't, the life loss can add up quickly when you're going wide or have an Aristocrats engine going, so most times if you had to pick between the two, you're going to choose Haruspex. That the numbers bear that out is not surprising, nor would I argue against it.

5. Oracle of Mul Daya

(103,431 Inclusions, 6% of 1,800,702 Decks)

The term "draw" is being stretched here, but the fact is that if you can play lands off the top of your library, you're effectively drawing a card. That you might be able to do that twice in a turn only makes it all the better. With that said, if you're not doing the lands thing or the top-of-library manipulation thing, then I'm not sure that it's worth spending the space on this staple anymore. There is better ramp and better draw effects for cheaper, and we're long past the age of Henry Ford bringing us specialization. Take my deck, for instance: When we were still forcing Sapling of Colfenor as commander, this card was worth the four mana because I could see that I had a creature on top to draw, or could get a land off the top of my deck so I didn't whiff. Now that we're switching it out to Honest Rutstein, however, we're much better off grabbing lands out of our deck with the likes of Tower Winder, and ramping with the likes of Deeproot Wayfinder or Primal Druid, especially when they're one mana apiece rather than a tempo-halting three.

4. Realmwalker

(108,426 Inclusions, 6% of 1,800,702 Decks)

There was a time when I leaned this deck super hard into Aeve, Progenitor Ooze, which is precisely why I started dubbing it Creature Storm. While Aeve does stubbornly remain in the list as a pet card, however, filling the decklist with Oozes turned out not not actually be that great an idea. Which is precisely the weakness of Realmwalker: If you're doing Kindred things, then this is going to be one of the best cards in your deck. No amount of incidental Humans will make it good enough to consider in anything else, however.

3. Toski, Bearer of Secrets

(Helms 1,975 Decks, Rank #557; 129,627 Inclusions, 7% of 1,800,702 Decks)

Ah, the problem with Ohran Frostfang that we didn't mention. Don't get me wrong, the deathtouch is nice, and will pump up those damage numbers. But when you have the same draw effect for a whole green pip cheaper with an extreme resistance to almost all forms of removal tacked on, it gets harder and harder to pay that extra mana. Put simply, Toski, Bearer of Secrets is ridiculously pushed. What's crazy is, when it comes to Honest Rutstein, I'm not actually sure that that's enough.

As previously mentioned, taking a break from pumping out four to five creatures with various enter and dies triggers to pay three to four mana for an engine just grinds things to a halt. Sure, Toski is amazing. Even if you get board wiped, it's likely it will survive and continue to draw you cards in the long run. But when you can be casting creature after creature that draw you cards, ramp you lands, and remove problems from the board, the fact that this relies on combat damage just gets to be kind of a nuisance. Specifically in this deck, I'm just not sure that the juice is worth the squeeze.

2. Braids, Arisen Nightmare

(Helms 6,270 Decks, Rank #132; 128,715 Inclusions, 7% of 1,785,872 Decks)

In similar fashion, Braids, Arisen Nightmare double black pips can be a bit of a grind when you're really moving with a cost reducer. With that said, the juice here is absolutely worth the squeeze, no matter what deck you're playing. Braids, Arisen Nightmare is so flexible and oppressive that it will never be a card you're unhappy to see. As a 3/3 for three, it does great on curve. In a creature deck, it will keep your opponents' boards empty enough that you can consistently swing through on someone, not to mention it being a sac outlet for your Aristocrats shenanigans. In anything else, you'll be consistently drawing cards and having opponents lose life once they run out of artifacts, enchantments, planeswalkers, or lands to spare. No matter your deck, this card is amazing.

1. Beast Whisperer

(238,128 Inclusions, 13% of 1,800,702 Decks)

Beast Whisperer may not be the jack of all trades that Braids is, but that's simply because it's the specialist here. If you're playing a lot of creatures, you want Beast Whisperer, it's that simple.

Or is it? Because after playing several decks with both Beast Whisperer and Radagast the Brown in them, I've started to actually prefer the latter.

Radagast is an enter-the-battlefield trigger, not a cast trigger, meaning that it can help abuse blink and recursion effects. He also draws off himself, not to mention that he doesn't draw, so he gets around Orcish Bowmasters and Narset, Parter of Veils. Combine all that with the fact that he digs deeper as well to choose a creature, and we're really starting to wonder why Beast Whisperer is so much more popular. The answer is, of course, that Radagast can only find creatures, and can whiff routinely while doing so. Even if you're not playing a Kindred theme that will just take Radagast out of consideration entirely, you will eventually hit a happenstance of creatures in play that will have you putting creature cards on the bottom, not to mention the likelihood that you'll pull all non-creatures. In short, to be considering Radagast, you need to be a very diverse, creature-heavy deck. If that is you, however, then I would seriously consider the Brown over the more conventional Beast Whisperer.

Honorable Mentions

First off, there are a ton more great creatures that draw cards in Golgari, so let's keep going.

Top 25 Golgari Creatures That Draw Cards

11. Eidolon of Blossoms
12. Yawgmoth, Thran Physician
13. Setessan Champion
14. Ayara, First of Locthwain
15. Courser of Kruphix
16. Vilis, Broker of Blood
17. Augur of Autumn
18. Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
19. Gonti, Lord of Luxury
20. Soul of the Harvest
21. Disciple of Bolas
22. Harvester of Souls
23. Apex Devastator
24. Rankle, Master of Pranks
25. Twilight Prophet

While there are a ton of playables in this list, I do find myself nodding my head along to a different deck's beat, given that the deck I'm trying to build is trying to stay as low to the ground as possible, with as many two-drops I can play for one as possible. So, let's give that a shot too, shall we?

Top 10 Golgari Creatures That Draw Cards and Cost Two

  1. Priest of Forgotten Gods
  2. Dark Confidant
  3. Elvish Visionary
  4. Satyr Wayfinder
  5. Wall of Blossoms
  6. Argothian Enchantress
  7. Keen Duelist
  8. Dusk Legion Zealot
  9. Zenith Chronicler
  10. Undead Butler

There's the list I've been looking for! While there is now some discussion over the best Bob, given that we now have Dark Confidant, Keen Duelist, and the newly minted Caustic Bronco, there's no question that this deck and many others like it will want several of them. We'll also take every Elvish Visionary we can get, which is why I'm surprised not to see other decks in the same vein looking at Clattering Augur and Dogged Detective over Wall of Blossoms and Dusk Legion Zealot. Finally, I could rant on how poor a plan it is to rely on opponents with Zenith Chronicler, but why do that when I could instead harp on just how good Undead Butler is? It's... really good. You should play it in your Aristocrats builds.

Speaking of, let's take a look at the new build, shall we?

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Commander (1)
Draw (24)
Aggro (10)
Removal (16)
Ramp (15)
Land (32)
Tokens (2)

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Having held on to Sapling of Colfenor for a long time, it's a little sad to see the life-gain synergies leave the deck right as they were really starting to pay off. With that said, this new version is undeniably better, and feels much more like the creature Storm deck I was always going for. Once you get a card draw engine, it's not uncommon to just sit there with a full grip, drawing a card or two every time you play one, not even caring if you see a board wipe. While Honest Rutstein can get pricey quickly as the table kills him over and over again, there's also your companion in Umori as a beefy backup to keep you slinging down two-mana creatures for one (and even a few one-mana creatures for zero). In short, initial returns look great, and I'm looking forward to getting cards in the mail to actually play this in paper.

Nuts and Bolts

There always seems to be a bit of interest in how these lists are made (this seems like a good time to stress once again that they are based on EDHREC score, NOT my personal opinion…), and people are often surprised that I’m not using any special data or .json from EDHREC, but rather just muddling my way through with some Scryfall knowledge! For your enjoyment/research, here is this week’s Scryfall search.

What Do You Think?

Despite everything looking better about the deck, I do find myself still a little melancholy, perhaps even a tad traitorous, at the thought of removing my original commander from my original Commander deck. So I figured I'd put it out there, as I'm sure I'm not the only one whose done this with the firehose of new legends coming out lately.

And finally, what is your favorite creature that draws cards? Is it pricey, or low-to-the-ground? Do you have any spicy tech that might be better than a top contender on this list in the right brew, like Radagast the Brown?

Let us know in the comments, and we'll see you at the trolley full of folding tables. Show up early so we can get 'em all set up, will ya?

Read more:

Top 10 (X) Cheerios

Myth Realized - What if Any Planeswalker Could Be Your Commander? (Golgari)

Doug has been an avid Magic player since Fallen Empires, when his older brother traded him some epic blue Homarids for all of his Islands. As for Commander, he's been playing since 2010, when he started off by making a two-player oriented G/R Land Destruction deck. Nailed it. In his spare time when he's not playing Magic, writing about Magic or doing his day job, he runs a YouTube channel or two, keeps up a College Football Computer Poll, and is attempting to gif every scene of the Star Wars prequels.

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