“Today, we face the monsters that are at our door.” — Pacific Rim
I don’t mean ones found under the bed or in Frankenstein’s laboratory. I’m talking Godzilla proportions. Massive monstrosities.
Periodically, Magic debuts a creature that makes even Gigantosaurus seem small. The upcoming Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths? Probably a lot more monsters coming.
Until then, let’s look back at Magic’s most colossal creatures. Here are the criteria for monsters making the list:
- Largest size, determined by the sum of power and toughness
- Monstrosity counters count toward size because we’re talking about monsters!
- No creatures with X/X, */*, or other scalable power and toughness.
- No repeating creature types! We’ve only included the largest creature of each type to prevent any given creature type from dominating the list
- No creature types that feel more sophisticated, closer to human, or otherwise derive their power from focused magic or similar aspects (i.e. elementals, demons, etc.)
With that said, let’s get kraken!
#10 — “It was big.”
Dinosaurs range from small and cute to gargantuan and…downright terrifying. Sometimes, they’re scary because they’re cunning. Other times, it’s just because they’re huge.
Magic’s Elder Dinosaurs are certainly huge, and they each have mean abilities. Well, except for the green one, Ghalta. Her power? It’s literally power (and toughness).
Waiting for an opponent to play Ghalta is like a certain scene in Jurassic Park. Each creature added to their battlefield, lowering Ghalta’s cost, is like watching a cup of water tremble as the beast approaches.
#9 — “Really, really big.”
While Dinosaurs may rule the earth, the depths of their reign don’t reach 10,000 leagues. Krakens, leviathans, octopi, and serpents are literally called “sea monsters” in Magic.
The plane of Theros is home of the largest of the bunch — the legendary Arixmethes! He’s as tremendous as an island with a city built on top of it, and that’s essentially what he is – a living, breathing island.
Arixmethes also makes for a pretty sweet commander for a sea monsters deck.
#8 — “No, bigger than that.”
When the Phyrexians waged war with the Mirrans, they stole Mirrodin’s best weapon: the Darksteel Colossus. But even compleating it to create the 11/11 Blightsteel Colossus didn’t make it Phyrexia’s largest threat. That record was already set during Mirage with Phyrexian Dreadnought.
Another record Phyrexian Dreadnought set? It’s the first — and only — Dreadnought to exist in Magic.
#7 — “Even bigger.”
In 2003, Legions was released, and it did something no set had done before. Every card in the set is a creature card!
As part of the Onslaught block, Legions had tribal synergies as a theme. The largest tribe in the set is Beasts.
So, what happens when you have a rare creature of the set’s largest tribe in a creature-focused set? You get the largest Beast Magic had ever seen!
#6 — “Keep going.”
Krosan Cloudscraper isn’t the only creature card you can turn over to reveal a 13/13. But instead of turning a morph creature into a Beast, you transform an egg into a giant lizard.
Ludevic’s Abomination became the biggest blue creature to exist in Magic. In fact, it still holds that title to this day!
#5 — “More.”
Before Emrakul became a promised end, she took the form of torn aeons.
Emrakul is the biggest baddie of the three legendary Eldrazi Titans. When titans are already…well, titanic, Emrakul needed to be even more massive. What better way to leave an impression than to break a new largest-creature record in Magic?
Emrakul is also the first and only creature to have protection from colored spells!
#4 — “No, more.”
For whatever reason, whenever we visit the plane of Ravnica, a giant wurm breaks records (and countless buildings and other city infrastructure).
With Ravnica: City of Guilds, Autochthon Wurm became the creature with the highest toughness at the time.
In Return to Ravnica, Worldspine Wurm became Magic’s largest wurm. It also tied Emrakul’s record for largest black-bordered creature.
Not to be outdone, Guilds of Ravnica’s Buy-a-Box promo became the newest, biggest wurm in Magic.
#3 — “Look, we’re talking krakens and dreadnoughts for jewelry.”
Once upon a time, Colossus of Sardia became the largest creature in Magic. It was the first time a creature had set this kind of record.
Among golems, Colossus of Sardia’s size wouldn’t be topped until Darksteel Colossus, an 11/11, was printed.
Then came Theros’s Colossus of Akros, which set a new record for this artifact creature type. This 10/10 casts a foreboding shadow with its fittingly-named mechanic: monstrosity 10. Once it becomes monstrous, its 20/20 size has nearly no rival.
#2 — “It was big!”
20/20. This terrifying base power and toughness if found on only one creature in Magic. And it’s a token!
Two cards in Magic allow you to summon Marit Lage: Dark Depths and Marit Lage’s Slumber. However, the former card has been the most popular. Waiting for the ice to thaw isn’t much of a deterrent when you have Vampire Hexmage and Thespian’s Stage!
20 power… You could knock out a Commander player in just two attacks! What could be better than that?
…How about just one swing?
#1 — The Biggest, Baddest, Nastiest, Scariest Creature You’ll Ever See
Black is all about achieving power through opportunity, even when the costs are steep. When Unglued released, it asked daring players to commit two cards and fifteen black mana.
The reward? Magic’s most enormous creature, using other “biggest creatures” for scale. It’s remained the largest for over two decades and seemingly for the foreseeable future!
But who knows what lurks within Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths?
See you then! Thanks for joining me on this monstrous journey. In the meantime, tell me about your favorite humongous creatures on Twitter at @bradleyrose.
Bradley is a co-host of a weekly Magic: The Gathering design podcast, Beacon of Creation. He was among the Top 101 contestants in Wizards of the Coast’s Great Designer Search 2. He enjoys crafting custom Magic product experiences, like Archfrenemies, and building Commander decks with creative constraints.