The 10 Crappiest Magic: The Gathering Cards

By Justin Bench in Daily Lists, Miscellaneous
Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 8:03 am
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Not all Magic: The Gathering cards are created equal. There are bad cards. We're not talking about cards that seem bad, but have some narrow use, perhaps as part of a combo perhaps. We're talking about the cards so bad, so awful they wouldn't be used in any seriously competitive deck. Cards so stupefyingly awful that you ripped them apart, snarling, perhaps muttering profanity about wasting your money.

Why oh why, mighty Wizards of the Coast, would you make such dreadful wastes of paper (and money)? Mark Rosewater, the longtime lead designer of Magic expansion sets, attempted to address this back in '02. In essence, he argued there cannot be good cards without bad cards -- they are fundamental to the game --but is it really necessary to make totally useless cards? Does this really balance out the extremely good cards? Or it is just a way to make poor M:tG addicts shell out more cash? Either way, it's certain opening the cards on this list and their ilk has driven numerous players from the game forever, casualties of the bad card. So, here are our picks for the 10 crappiest magical Magic: The Gathering cards to ever see print.

10) Ornithopter
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The Ornithopter is a staple for bad players everywhere. Flying is good for attacking, not especially handy for blocking, so it's a bad wall, only able to stop weenies.  He's a non-threat, only useable in the affinity decks (Affinity was a popular mechanic that made spells cheaper relative to the number of artifacts in play) of the Mirrodin expansion block simply for being a discount artifact. Yet, it's been reprinted seven times! Much like herpes, this thing just won't go away.

9) Scornful Egotist
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This card is not especially weak, thanks to its Morph ability -- as three mana for a 2/2 beater is pretty average. It's just so... impotent. There are 114 cards in the game that include the morph ability, and they all happily improve when the morph cost is paid -- except this one. To play this card is to ignore half the cards in the same expansion set that are clearly better. It has a high casting cost simply because the set contained a few other cards (like Goblin Machinist) that work well with high casting cost spells, while the morph ability gives the player a way around actually paying that cost. So not only is this wizard scornful and egotistical, but he also cheats! What an asshole.

8) Moonlace
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This effect would be only marginally useful as a counter to an opponent's sideboard card (for the uninitiated: a sideboard is a set of cards that you can substitute into your deck... usually very specialized, rarely used) that hoses one of the colors in your deck. The other 99.9% of the time, it's utterly useless. To make things even better, it's a rare card for some unknown reason. Look, if piles of horse shit were rare, they'd still be piles of horse shit.

7) One with Nothing
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All throughout the history of Magic, there have been a great number of successful decks designed to destroy your opponent's hand as quickly and efficiently as possible, such as used by Hypnotic Spectre and Blightning, two monsters of the Pro Tour circuit. In every single expansion set, there are usually several cards designed to this end. So this spell saves your opponent the trouble and robs him of any style points, forcing him to obliterate you while you hope to draw something that will actually help you. In your face! Yet another underwhelming rare.

6) Wood Elemental
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Introducing the only Woods more sorry for itself than Tiger. Worst creature in the game, hands down. Four mana to have the privilege of sacrificing your remaining untapped forest to cast...a 1/1 weenie? And it's green of all colors, which traditionally has the best creatures. How embarrassing.

5) Aysen Highway
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Where to start? A whopping six mana for a crappy effect that delivers your opponent's white creatures the same crappy advantage as yours. Plainswalk allows your creatures to attack unblocked... if your opponent has at least one plains. Plains produce white mana. If your opponent isn't playing white creatures, he likely doesn't have any plains to cast them with, in which case Aysen Highway doesn't help you at all. Sounds racist to me. More like Aryan Highway.

4) Great Wall
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Criminy. When this was printed, there existed only one creature that had Plainswalk: Righteous Avengers, another piss-poor card from a piss-poor set. Great Wall was there to stop that card and only that card -- er, rather, take away its crappy ability. Luckily, today there are four creatures in print with plainswalk! So at last you can make a Racist Righteous Rooster Antelope Goblin deck, and the Great Wall can at last be barely usable!

3) Mudhole
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What an apt name. Lands in graveyards -- also known as the discard pile -- are simply not threatening. They're in the goddamn discard pile. Even if there were a deck using Manlands (lands that turn into creatures, ahem) and Crucible of Worlds, so that there might be a reason someone might care enough to try to bring them back into play, there are far more effective cards that can simply destroy their graveyard entirely.

2) Break Open
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Okay, remember Scornful Egotist, way back at #9? The morph ability it has is the only thing that causes cards to be face down. This card un-morphs only your opponent's creatures, turning them from vanilla 2/2s into better creatures, saving your opponent the need to spend mana and do it themselves. There is only one morph creature that this effect doesn't benefit, and he's sitting at #9. So basically, this card is only useful against one of the worst cards in the game. Words cannot describe how utterly meaningless this card is. This is the deadest of dead draws. The creme de la crap.

1) Sorrow's Path
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Weak effect, painful kickback. No other cards in the game hurt their owners quite like this. It's just not worth it. Welcome to Sorrow's Path, the land of newbs and sadomasochist planeswalkers.
Tags: CCGs, Magic

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