As the year draws to a close and Mariah Carey gets unwittingly blasted through every speaker known to mankind, there’s no doubt that the holidays are fast approaching. As a time of grand celebration, there are innumerable reasons to be excited that the holidays are here at last. With presents, grand feasts, and time with family and friends on the agenda, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Thankfully for MTG players, the holiday season also promises a well-needed break from Magic’s relentless spoiler season. Unfortunately, the problematic pace of releases picks back up in January; however, until then, players have a few weeks to sit down and enjoy their beloved game. What better way to do that than by embracing the holidays and building a festive-themed MTG deck?
To help you with that noble pursuit, we’ve sat down, wrapped ourselves in tinsel, and concocted a list of the most festive cards in MTG. So, without any further ado, let’s get right into that list!
Honorable Mentions – Happy Holiday Cards
When it comes to festive cards in MTG, some are simply without comparison. Explicitly designed by Wizards of the Coast to celebrate the festive season, the Happy Holiday MTG cards are undeniably perfect for this list. The latest card in this series, Chaos Wrap, for instance, has players physically wrap up one of their MTG cards to make it a 4/4 red Present creature. Having started in 2006, this series has been around for a good portion of MTG’s nearly 30-year lifespan, so there are plenty of Happy Holiday cards to choose from. In truth, we could have filled this list with nothing but Happy Holiday cards, but since they’re purely celebratory novelty cards, that felt like cheating. Nevertheless, we couldn’t resist spotlighting some of these cards in his Honorable Mentions section.
10 – Arctic Treeline
When it comes time to build a festive-themed MTG deck, it’s essential to set the scene. To do just that, thankfully, Magic: the Gathering features plenty of snow lands and creatures to fill your deck with. Subsequently, in this first list slot, we had many cards to choose from, although admittedly, some are more fit for purpose than others. Blood in the Snow, for instance, isn’t quite what you’d hope for during the holidays. Thankfully, Arctic Treeline offers a much more festive and less gory vista for players to enjoy. With evergreen trees and a dusting of snow, all that’s missing from Arctic Treeline is the trees being covered in lights.
9 – Gingerbrute
Alongside bringing a Nordmann Fir indoors and decorating it without remorse, Gingerbread men and their similarly decorated houses make for fittingly festive iconography. Thankfully, to spice up your festive deck, MTG features a surprising number of gingerbread cards. Admittedly, there aren’t many gingerbread-themed cards in MTG, but it’s nevertheless weird that there’s more than one. Out of the two available choices Gingerbrute is undeniably the more festive option when compared to the Astrotorium’s Storybook Ride. That said, however, we’ve played Gingerbrute relatively high up on this list, as we’re pretty sure it’s evil.
8 – Goblin Snowman
While a dusting of snow across evergreen trees, as seen in Arctic Treeline is nice, it’s nothing compared to going out and properly enjoying that scenic vista. Thankfully, Magic: the Gathering has a card for just that. Providing another icon of festivity, Goblin Snowman has precisely what the name suggests, a goblin and a showman. In the Secret Lair art, that snowman even looks like a goblin for bonus points! Originally released all the way back in 1995’s Ice Age, Goblin Snowman isn’t exactly good or popular, but you can’t deny its festive appeal!
7 – Gifts Ungiven
For some people, nothing quite beats the act of giving and receiving gifts throughout the holiday season. Thankfully for MTG players looking to emulate that feeling in their games, thankfully, cards like Gifts Ungiven exist. While admittedly not the perfect representation of gift giving, since GIfts Ungiven puts two presents into the graveyard, the gorgeous Double Masters 2022 art more than makes up for this injustice. You’re also technically giving the gifts to yourself when playing Gifts Ungiven, but shhh, they keep focusing on the art.
6 – Harmless Offering
Better suiting the act of gift giving in MTG is Harmless Offering from Eldrich Moon. Unlike Gifts Ungiven, Harmless Offering allows you to actually give one of your permanents to an opponent. Theoretically, this can be a wonderful gesture of goodwill, giving your opponent something they need or will enjoy. In reality, however, Harmless Offering is usually used to bring about your opponent’s demise with cards such as Nine Lives. Despite that minor detail, however, we can’t deny the festive feeling of Harmless Offering, even if you shouldn’t give adorable kittens as presents.
5 – Strutting Turkey
Depending on where you live, festive holiday meals can come in all shapes and sizes. Some countries and cultures, for instance, choose to celebrate with roasted ham, while others enjoy game meat such as venison. Traditionally, in the United Kindom, at least, nothing quite beats a roast turkey with all the trimmings. Surprisingly, while there are a lot of chickens, Turkeys are somewhat underrepresented in the world of MTG. Thankfully, there is one, however, Strutting Turkey from Unsanctioned. Sure its mechanics might have nothing to do with the holidays, but you can’t deny that Strutting Turkey is indeed a Turkey. The only thing that’s left to do with this bird is cook it!
4 – Witch’s Oven
While a Strutting Turkey on its own is good, we wouldn’t advise eating it raw. Thankfully, to save you from salmonella, MTG has a variety of cooking methods. One such option is using burn spells such as Dragon’s Fire for cooking both creatures and your opponent. While this is undoubtedly an effective method, we’d recommend utilizing Witch’s Oven as a more food-safe alternative. Generating Food Tokens, Witch’s Oven can make quite the feast! Just make sure that you don’t put the Cauldron Familiar in the oven.
3 – Frogify
Once all the cooking is said and done, it’s time to sit down and enjoy the meal. While there are a variety of food-themed cards in MTG with gorgeous artwork, nothing comes close, in our opinion, to Frogify. Sure Frogify turns you into a frog, which is arguably less than ideal, but just look at that spread! With roasted meats and vegetable charcuterie, the feast on display is potentially worth being turned into a frog for! Thankfully, even after being turned into a frog, you won’t be missing out on the feast. As per Frogify’s flavor text, a “gnat was still hovering by the venison, and now both looked delicious.”
2 – Infernius Spawnington III, Esq.
Alongside the snow, the presents, and the feasting, the holidays are a time for family to come together in celebration. While there are several family-themed cards in MTG, such as The Space Family Goblinson, none represent the holiday period better than Infernius Spawnington III, Esq.. Featuring evergreen trees, plenty of snow, hot cocoa, and the family coming together, Infernius Spawnington III, Esq. is a surprisingly lovely holiday portrait.
1 – Extremely Slow Zombie
Finishing off our festive list, there is only one MTG card that’s unquestionably deserving of the most festive title. That card, of course, is Extremely Slow Zombie. Sure, other cards may better embody the festive spirit of celebration. However, Extremely Slow Zombie has something all the other cards on this lack; a hat. This adorable Santa Hat undoubtedly makes Extremely Slow Zombie the most festive card in all of MTG. Just look at him! Self-preservation be damned, I can’t help but want to invite this festive fella in for the holidays!
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