I use the BREAD strategy for drafting, but am unsure what exactly makes a "Bomb".

For example, in a Kahns of Tarkir draft I'm normally quite happy to pick a Mystic of the Hidden Way as a first pick, but is it a bomb? If it isn't why not, and what does qualify as a bomb?

  • This question is primarily opinion based. There is a vast amount of (also opinionated) material on this topic already out there. Read this and this, and form your own.
    – Rainbolt
    Dec 19, 2014 at 14:38
  • Agree with 'bolt, voting to close as opinion based.
    – deworde
    Dec 19, 2014 at 19:12
  • 1
    Voting to reopen. There's a pretty good consensus on what a "bomb" means. Which cards are bombs is more opinion-based, but there's still a good enough consensus to draw conclusions and write an answer. If we say this is opinion-based then questions such as how to beat X deck with Y deck are also opinion-based.
    – Allure
    Dec 19, 2019 at 0:42
  • The issue for me would be the varying definition of what the term "bomb" entails, less the vague nature of cards fulfilling any possible interpretation. As @Allure said, players usually have a good grasp on what they'd consider bombs, but those opinions won't necessarily align. I'd say bombs are usually potentially game-winning cards, not necessarily on their own - but in the context of looking at cards to identify which to pick and which not, that definition doesn't help you a whole lot, I'd say. This looks to me like the prime example for a question yielding opinion-based answers, really. Dec 19, 2019 at 11:40
  • 5
    This post is closed, re-opened and closed in 2014. It was reopened a few hours ago and now starting to collect close votes again. Maybe we should make up our mind ;-). Dec 19, 2019 at 12:58

3 Answers 3


First off, what is a bomb? According to a Limited Information article it is ... a powerful, game-ending, stabilizing card." though the author does admit that other people might have slightly different definitions. The MTG Salvation Wiki describes a bomb as "...a card, generally used in conjunction with Limited play, that always makes a large card impact on a game in which it is played."

From these definitions we can gather that 'bombs' are cards that when you play them have a high impact on the board, making it so that if you were behind you have now caught up, or even pulled ahead (stabilizing), and if unanswered will win you the game quickly (powerful, game-ending). In general I would say a bomb is anything that when played, regardless of board state, makes you go 'Oh crap' when played against you.

In general this means that a lot of bombs are creatures with high power and toughness (usually 5/5 or bigger), evasion or protection from removal is nice but not always required especially on ones with powerful 'enters the battlefield' triggers, speaking of which ETB triggers are also help make bombs because even if they have removal you still got some value out of the card. There can be other factors that that make creatures bombs but these are the big ones.

While a lot of bombs are creatures it is possible to have non-creature bombs too, most Planeswalkers are bombs, for other non-creature non-Planeswalker cards generally you want things that will have a large impact on the board for example End Hostilities or any other board wipe, Overrun or Flying Crane Technique or other things that give your entire team a boost and/or evasion. For these though it is a bit harder to define exactly what makes a bomb since bomb creatures are designed primarily to attack, but non-creature bombs can do a wide variety of things.

As for Mystic of the Hidden Way, according to the definition I've been using it is not a bomb. While it does have evasion in its 'can't be blocked', it doesn't have very impressive stats at 3/2. This means it neither helps you stabilize your board if you are behind, since it can't block most cards without dying too, and while it will inevitably win the game for you if you keep attacking it will take a long time. This doesn't mean that it is a bad card, it just means it isn't a bomb.


Bombs are powerful game-winning cards that one will just snap pick every draft if one sees it (and if they are in one's colors). They are so good that if one sees them early enough, they establish your colors, and sometimes they are so good that even if you see them in pack 2, you might switch colors or splash for them. Note "game-winning" as well - the bomb will always affect (almost) every board once in play, and often win the game on its own if it stays in play.

Examples of bombs:

  • Lyra Dawnbringer. A 5-mana 4/4 flyer is generally quite strong and one is happy to play a couple of copies. Lyra goes beyond that by 1) being 5/5, 2) having first strike, and 3) having lifelink (she has a final ability that's largely irrelevant in limited). If you're behind she stabilizes the board, if the board is equal she will kill opponent in four turns. As is typical of a bomb, if you see her P1P1 you are always picking her, regardless of what else are in the pack (masterpieces aside).

  • The Immortal Sun. It has an immediate impact on the board, and if it stays in play for more than a couple of turns you effectively win.

  • Archangel Avacyn. Again you are happy to play a 5-mana 4/4 flyer usually, and this 4/4 flyer comes with powerful abilities. Flash means she's a combat trick (a powerful one too), and even after the indestructibility fades opponent can't easily block because the flip ability is again very powerful.

  • Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. Stabilizes the board if you are behind, snowballs the board if you are ahead, wins the game if unanswered. Most (but not all) planeswalkers do similar things and are also bombs as a result.

The cards above are undoubtedly bombs - nobody will disagree with you if you call them as such. But there are also edge cases:

  • Dryad Greenseeker. It's a 2-mana 1/3, which is bad but playable. The ability however is very powerful, since it draws a card roughly 40% of the time, is instant-speed (i.e. you can block with her and then use it), and doesn't cost mana to activate. The card is very powerful and you are always happy to run it, but there are more powerful cards in a vacuum. If P1P1 you open a pack with Vivien Reid and Dryad Greenseeker, you probably should take Vivien. Some people will argue that makes Dryad Greenseeker not a bomb; others will say they are both bombs, it's just that Vivien is the "bigger bomb".

  • Tatyova, Benthic Druid. If you hold her till you have 5 mana + a land in hand, then she immediately gains you life, draws a card, and wins the game if unanswered. She is very powerful, worth splashing for and you are always happy to have her in your deck. But as a 5-mana 3/3 she might be too small to impact the board if you are behind, and there are more powerful cards in a vacuum (e.g. Lyra, Teferi above).

I never drafted Khans of Tarkir, but based on my experience in other sets I will say Mystic of the Hidden Way is not a bomb. Having to invest 5 mana into a 3/2 evasive attacker is not especially appealing - see Lyra/Avacyn above which also cost 5 mana, attack for more damage, are also evasive, and have powerful abilities besides. It is potentially a good card though. I'd have to draft the format to see for myself.

  • Note - if a card is a good bomb, many people will also hate-draft it to remove it from the pool and avoid having to face it later on, even if it's out of their color(s).
    – Andrew
    Dec 14, 2021 at 19:40
  • @Andrew in my experience that's not a good idea, since you weaken yourself and one opposing deck (out of seven). For that decision to actually be right, you need to play against the person who picks the bomb and they need to cast it at a time when it matters. Odds are you should not do that, with the exception being when the bomb is worth a lot of money and you are picking it to sell it later (or use in constructed).
    – Allure
    Dec 15, 2021 at 10:46
  • 1
    "I never drafted Khans of Tarkir, but based on my experience in other sets I will say Mystic of the Hidden Way is not a bomb. ... It is potentially a good card though. I'd have to draft the format to see for myself." According to this article by a MtG Pro player, it's the best Blue Common card in the set. strategy.channelfireball.com/all-strategy/mtg/…
    – nick012000
    Dec 17, 2021 at 22:01

Possibly the simplest way to do this is imagine yourself in a losing situation where you are dead in about 2 turns (for Limited, ex: you have a 2/2 and 10 life, your opponent has a couple 3/3s and 20 life, you are both top decking). Imagine you draw this card that you think might be a bomb and you can play it in the next turn cycle (your current turn + your opponent's turn). Does it change your losing board into a winning one? Are you at least even with your opponent? If the answer is yes, it's a bomb. If it's no, then it probably isn't a bomb. It can still be a solid card, but it doesn't have the power to make a big enough impact to be called a bomb.

  • Wouldn't this make any big creature into a bomb?
    – Allure
    Dec 15, 2021 at 2:20
  • Not necessarily. If your opponent can just swing past your beefy creature (ie you can't block enough of their creatures to keep from dying) and out race you then it isn't a terribly good bomb. OTOH in Limited a big creature can do a lot and might be a bomb. Look at most of the creatures considered bombs by other answers. Most of them aren't small. Kinda depends on the set you are playing. A 7/7 that in set filled with Doom Blade type cards isn't likely to stabilize you (and thus doesn't save you from a losing board). But a 7/7 in a set with almost no removal? That's a bomb.
    – Becuzz
    Dec 15, 2021 at 12:45
  • Also, a losing board state doesn't have to mean being down on creatures and such, though that's probably the most common thing in Limited. What that board state looks like depends on the set and thus what a bomb is depends on the set. In a set with strong red burn, a losing board might be sitting at 5 life with a 3-4 creatures staring down an Izzet player who is ready to chump block and dome you. This answer is usually my basic rule of thumb for determining how good a potential bomb could be. You have to take into account the set and how much the potential bomb will stabilize you.
    – Becuzz
    Dec 15, 2021 at 13:00
  • A big body might stabilize you a little bit. A big-ish body with evasion and an ETB will stabilize you a lot more. This provides a framework for evaluating possible bomb-ness and comparing the strength of those bombs.
    – Becuzz
    Dec 15, 2021 at 13:01
  • Well in the situation you describe, opponent only has a couple of 3/3s, and they're topdecking. So dying to Doom Blade is not an issue, and any big creature turns the board back to even (or advantaged if it's big enough for you to race). In fact a 3/4 will suffice to turn the board to even; you don't need anything especially big. I don't disagree with what you wrote about burn and ETB abilities, it's just that the description is too simplistic.
    – Allure
    Dec 15, 2021 at 13:16

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