Top 10: Best One-Drop Creatures in Old School MTG

By: Luis Eguizábal

Then, I present a list with the best creatures with CMC = 1 in Old School MTG, the best creatures, in my opinion, we can put into play on the first turn.
Being honest, we all know that the best «creature» of turn 1 is the Mishra’s Factory, but leaving aside the over-played “manland”, I present my ranking:

TOP 10 – Brass Man

For me, a really underrated and underplayed creature, because for one mana of any color we have a solid 1/3. It is true that Brass Man demands 1 mana for be untapped, but as a defensive method he is tremendously effective, and he can also serve as an attacker in decks that are not too mana-intensives. I’ve seen Brass Man in white control decks sideboards, especially against moboblack to keep the Black Knights and Order of the Ebond Hand until you can destroy the Gloom. And I’ve also seen it in Atog Budget strategies, both with very good results. I think it has much more potential than what has been taken out.

TOP 9 – Will-O-The-Wisp

This “fatuous fire” has also been used in defensive strategies very effectively, keeping at bay any creature no matter how big it is, and especially the Serendib Efreet as it flies. Very difficult to kill (except with Swords to Plowshares), and its combination with Nevinyrral’s Disc is simply delicious. A real annoyance for the rival if what you need is to take turns.

TOP 8- Llanowar Elves

In one color and a format where ramping is essential, the elves become a staple of green color. Not only do they attack, but they also give mana, they are creature and Mox Emerald at the same time (with the defect that they are easy to kill). Nor will they ever be a bad top deck especially combined with Pendelhaven. The best acceleration possibility for decks without moxen!

TOP 7- Flying Men


For one blue mana a 1/1 creature with evasion. What was missing from the blue, a more than decent aggressive creature in turn 1, very played in UR and mono blue strategies, to scratch at least three points of life and have done, after all, its function.

TOP 6- Scryb Sprites

This time the green goes over the blue. Although they are exactly the same as the Flying Men, their possibility to combine with Giant Growth makes them much more dangerous.

TOP 5 – Scavenger Folk


For a mana hits one, and as soon as it comes out of summon sickness can destroy any artifact, in a format full of wonderful artifacts… You have a Crumble and a creature in a single card, which will never be a bad topdeck. The disadvantage, which demands green and is only played in decks that do not have access to Disenchant or Shatter.

TOP 4 – Icatian Javelineers


It is incredible the amount of creatures that destroy these javelineers. Of course 90% of the creatures on this list. But, to these we must add: Argothian Pixies, Order of Leightbur, Elvish Archers …). A nightmare for small creature decks, and an annoyance to control decks, for the possibility of throwing his javelin through the Moat pit. Combined with Crusade makes it a tremendous creature, which is already quite powerful by itself.

TOP 3- Birds of Paradise

The chicks have been giving hapiness from the basic collection, and being the pillar of many strategies, both to ramp in zoo decks, to build strategies around them as Erhnamgeddon, and cast Armageddon with the peace of mind of having mana after. Its main advantage: to give you mana of any color in a format in which many times the color mana is a problem.

TOP 2- Kird Ape

If I did not demand forest to grow, it would logically be the Top 1 on this list. Combined with Taiga is logically the most powerful, having for a single mana an authentic 2/3 beast capable of killing knights, mishra’s attackers, and number of other creatures 2/1 of the format. A classic of Old School and Magic in general for more than 20 years. Respect the Ape.

TOP 1- Savannah Lions

There is no one “CMC=1 creature” more powerful by itself in Old School. The only one of the format that for one mana hits two, without any restriction. It has no disadvantage for its power, and they are perfect in fast decks. If they enter on turn one, before the opponent realizes, they may have easily do 4 or 6 damage points to the opponent. The traditional kings of the jungle, and the kings on this ranking too.

The list with the 10 best CMC = 1 creatures in Old School finish here. I hope you liked, it and of course tell us… what do you think? Which should be on the list? In what order should they appear?

I await your comments, and I expect you all of course at the NATIONAL (and INTERNATIONAL) WEEKEND OLD SCHOOL in Alicante on the 1st and 2nd of June.


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