Ultimate Guide to Vigilance MTG card ability - Strategies & Top Cards

Vigilance card art
The Vigilance card art illustrated by Tsutomu Kawade

Exploring the Vigilance Ability in Magic: The Gathering

In the strategic universe of Magic: The Gathering (MTG), the vigilance ability stands out as a powerful tool for players. This potent keyword allows creatures to attack without tapping, keeping them ready and alert to defend against incoming threats. It represents a perfect balance between aggression and defense, offering a dynamic approach to gameplay. Lets dive deeper into how vigilance shapes the battlefield.

Benefits of Vigilance in MTG

The beauty of the vigilance ability lies in its dual-purpose nature. Creatures equipped with vigilance pressure opponents by participating in attacks while remaining untapped to block enemy forces. This creates a psychological advantage, as adversaries must consider the risk of counterattacks before proceeding with their own strategies. Vigilance effectively transforms the game, pushing players towards a more calculated and defensive style of play.

Moreover, vigilance synergizes superbly with other abilities and mechanics. For instance, combining it with lifelink or deathtouch enhances the creatures value, making them more formidable on both offense and defense. The vigilance ability encourages innovative deck building, stimulating players to explore various combinations and strategies.

Strategies and Combo Potential

In MTG, creating a formidable defense while applying offensive pressure can significantly tilt the game in your favor. Vigilance serves this dual purpose elegantly. It pairs well with other abilities like lifelink and deathtouch, making creatures with vigilance invaluable in both aggressive and control decks. The ability to remain untapped also synergizes with card effects that require tapping creatures as a cost, offering inventive ways to maximize your resources.

Understanding when to incorporate vigilance into your deck is crucial. It is especially effective in multiplayer games, where the ability to block multiple attackers becomes exponentially more valuable. Vigilance enables a style of play that keeps opponents guessing and forces them to consider their attacks more carefully, knowing that a vigilant creature can always retaliate.

Top Magic: The Gathering Cards with Vigilance ability

A multitude of MTG cards feature the vigilance ability, each bringing unique advantages to the table. Here is a list of some top vigilance cards that have made a significant impact in gameplay:

Brimaz, King of Oreskos

This card is a legendary creature card from the Born of the Gods expansion of Magic: The Gathering, released in February 2014. Representing white mana, Brimaz is a powerful embodiment of leadership and valor in the plane of Theros, a world deeply inspired by Greek mythology. As a 3/4 Cat Soldier with a casting cost of one generic and two white mana, Brimaz offers exceptional value.

His abilities exemplify his kingly stature; whenever Brimaz attacks or blocks, he creates a 1/1 white Cat Soldier creature token with vigilance that is tapped and attacking or blocking, respectively.

This unique ability to generate tokens mirrors his lore as a commander rallying his troops, making him not just a threat on his own but a force multiplier that can quickly overwhelm opponents with an army of vigilant soldiers. Brimaz, King of Oreskos, is celebrated for both his strategic depth in gameplay and his vivid representation of leadership and martial prowess in Theros.

Brimaz, King of Oreskos - Born of the Gods (BNG)

Serra Angel

The Serra Angel card is one of the most iconic and enduring cards in Magic: The Gathering (MTG), first introduced in the game initial set, Alpha, in 1993. This card depicts a majestic angel wielding a sword, embodying both grace and power. As a white creature card, Serra Angel represents the quintessential qualities of its color: light, justice, and protection.

The angel is a 4/4 flyer, meaning it can bypass ground-based creatures to deal damage directly to opponents, and it possesses the vigilance ability, allowing it to attack without tapping. This means Serra Angel can also defend during the opponent turn, making it a versatile and valuable asset in both offensive and defensive strategies.

Over the years, Serra Angel has been reprinted in numerous MTG sets, each time featuring different art but always maintaining its status as a beloved and powerful card in the game. Its enduring popularity is a testament to its effective design and the evocative imagery of a guardian angel steadfast in the protection of the innocent.

Serra Angel - Limited Edition Alpha (LEA)


The Vigilance is a white instant card from the Champions of Kamigawa set, which was released as part of Magic: The Gathering exploration into a world inspired by Japanese mythology and lore. The card is notable for its simplicity and utility, encapsulating the keyword ability it is named after.

For a modest mana cost, it allows a player to grant any target creature vigilance until the end of the turn. This means that the creature can attack without being tapped, hence it can also block during the opponent next turn, significantly enhancing its defensive and offensive capabilities.

The artwork and flavor of the Vigilance card reflect the set thematic focus on honor and readiness, traits synonymous with the samurai culture that deeply influences the Champions of Kamigawa set.

Vigilance - Champions of Kamigawa

Konda, Lord of Eiganjo

The Konda, Lord of Eiganjo is a prominent legendary creature card from the Champions of Kamigawa set of Magic: The Gathering. Symbolizing the epitome of honor and strength in the Kamigawa block, Konda is a 3/3 Human Samurai with a casting cost of five mana—two of which are generic and three white.

His card is notable not just for its high individual power level but also for embodying the keyword ability, vigilance. This ability allows Konda to attack without tapping, signifying his readiness and unyielding nature in battle, as he remains on guard to defend against any threats.

Moreover, Konda is fortified with bushido 5 (whenever this creature blocks or becomes blocked, it gets +5/+5 until end of turn), enhancing his combat capabilities and making him a formidable opponent in any confrontation. The presence of vigilance on Konda, Lord of Eiganjo, thus, reflects his strategic acumen and valiant leadership, making him a powerful and resilient commander on the battlefield.

Konda, Lord of Eiganjo - Champions of Kamigawa

End-Raze Forerunners

End-Raze Forerunners is a compelling green creature card from Magic: The Gathering, featured in the Ravnica Allegiance set released in January 2019. This powerful 7/7 Boar creature requires eight mana to cast, including five generic and three green.

One of its key attributes is vigilance, allowing it to attack without tapping and remain ready to block, showcasing its relentless nature on the battlefield. Beyond vigilance, when End-Raze Forerunners enters the battlefield, it provides a significant boost to your other creatures, granting them +2/+2, vigilance, and trample until the end of the turn.

This surge in power often turns the tide of the game, making the Forerunners a game-ending threat by magnifying the offensive capabilities of your entire army. The card perfectly embodies the might of green creatures, not just in its formidable presence but also in its ability to lead and empower a wide swath of creatures for a decisive strike, making the End-Raze Forerunners a symbol of overwhelming force and vigilance on the battlefield.

End-Raze Forerunners - Ravnica Allegiance (RNA)


Batterskull is a potent artifact equipment card from Magic: The Gathering New Phyrexia set, released in May 2011. This card is renowned for its versatility and power within various formats, particularly for its role in enhancing creatures to formidable levels. Batterskull requires five mana to cast and equips for five, but its high cost is justified by the substantial benefits it provides.

The equipped creature gains +4/+4, lifelink, and importantly, vigilance, enabling it to attack without tapping and stay available for defense, thus maintaining pressure on opponents while guarding against counterattacks. Notably, Batterskull also comes with the unique ability to return to its owner hand for three mana, ensuring its resilience against removal spells.

Moreover, if cast with no creatures to equip, Batterskull brings its own Germ creature token into play, essentially creating a threatening, self-reliant entity that embodies the artifact aggressive and enduring nature. The inclusion of vigilance not only heightens the tactical flexibility of the equipped creature but cements Batterskull status as a staple artifact in decks seeking to dominate through sustained power and resilience on the battlefield.

Batterskull - New Phyrexia (NPH)

Ajani, the Greathearted

Ajani, the Greathearted is a planeswalker card that commands attention with its unique ability to bolster teamwork across an army of creatures. Included amongst Ajani myriad abilities is the powerful attribute of vigilance.

A creature granted this ability can exert its power on the offensive without having to tap, all the while remaining ready to defend on the adversary turn. Ajani vigilance ability has a tremendous influence on the strategic depth of gameplay, as it allows a balancing act between robust offense and steadfast defense.

This enables players using this card to maintain an active, versatile combat posture at all times without compromising their defensive stance. Therefore, the presence of Ajani, the Greathearted and the granting of his **vigilance** ability can play a decisive role in maintaining continuous pressure on one opponents while securing one own defenses, adding an extra layer of excitement and strategy to Magic: The Gathering gameplay.

Ajani, the Greathearted - War of the Spark (WAR)

Other cards with vigilance ability

Building decks around Vigilance

Building a deck around vigilance involves more than just including creatures with the ability. It is about creating a cohesive strategy that leverages the untapped state of your creatures. Enchantments, equipments, and sorceries that grant vigilance can turn an ordinary creature into a formidable threat. Moreover, focusing on card synergy can amplify the effectiveness of vigilance, providing opportunities to exploit untapped creatures for various effects and benefits.

Attention should also be given to the metagame when considering vigilance. In a fast-paced, aggressive meta, vigilance can slow down opponents significantly. In a slower, more control-oriented game, it can apply consistent pressure without leaving your defenses down. Recognizing the shifts in gameplay style and adjusting your deck to include vigilance can often give you a strategic edge.

Vigilance stands as a testament to the strategic complexity of MTG. It offers a blend of offense and defense, providing players with continuous opportunities to affect the game state. Whether through undertaking aggressive attacks or fortifying your defenses, vigilance ensures that your creatures remain a constant threat on the battlefield. For those looking to enhance their gameplay experience, mastering the use of vigilance can be incredibly rewarding.


Vigilance in your deck provides a robust defense mechanism while maintaining offensive capabilities. Selecting the right mix of cards with vigilance can turn the tides of battle in your favor, offering continuous engagement in the game.

Implementing vigilance into your repertoire requires a nuanced understanding of its strategic potential. Players should consider how it fits within their overall strategy, ensuring that the ability to stay untapped aligns with their gameplay objectives. Vigilance enhances the dynamics of MTG, inviting players to think ahead and anticipate their opponent moves. It is a testament to the complex, yet intriguing nature of deck building and strategy within the game.

BurnMana Recommendations

In conclusion, the vigilance ability in Magic: The Gathering offers an intriguing twist to conventional gameplay. Whether you are aiming to fortify your defenses, maintain offensive momentum, or intimidate your opponents with the promise of unwavering guardians, incorporating vigilance into your deck can significantly elevate your game. Explore the myriad of cards with this remarkable ability and craft a strategy that showcases the true power of remaining vigilant on the magical battlefield.