Break This Crappy Card And Win Some Crap!

Read The Ferrett every Monday... at StarCityGames.com!
Monday, April 14th – A lot of people submitted cards that, thanks to careful tweaking, would almost be useful in certain circumstances. I couldn’t quite rule these out as crap rares because, well, it seemed like there might be some way to make a good deck out of them. So I’m now chaining one contest into another, and asking you to break the “terrible” cards that others have sent me!

The crap contest has been a resounding success… And for that, you can thank Mike Johnson.

See, he emailed me to tell me he’d been reading me for over seven years, and had even placed an entry in my original Crap Rare Contest. At which point I looked back at my original Crap Rare Contest, and said, “Why shouldn’t I hold another one?”

And I’m glad I did, because it’s been like old-timers week! I have old Magic writers who I haven’t heard from in years, each emailing me absolutely terrible cards for my perusal! Their names may not mean a lot to you — but considering all the articles I edited in my time as the actual editor of SCG, it’s like suddenly we’re back to the days of awful Magic strategy, tons of casual submissions from complete strangers, and endlessly boring tournament reports.

Yessiree, SCG has come a long way in eight years. Because back then, in SCG’s early evolution, I got a mere sixty entries — now, my mailbox is stuffed with close to two hundred crap-laden emails, each competing for the title!

I got so many, that I actually have to hold another contest to narrow them all down. But first, let’s discuss the most-submitted crap rare idea, one sent in by at least ten people — so common that I’m sure we’ll see it from Wizards in the next couple of years:

“Draw the bottom card of your library.”

Obviously, pretty easy to set up with the various “Send this card to the bottom of your library” effects. But generally, you’ve put the crappiest card you have on the bottom after some sort of positive effect off the top — so doing this allows you to recoup the worst card after a filtering effect. And lo, it could be crap!

But that brings up another problem: the crap rare submissions I got fell into several distinct categories and subcategories. Let’s analyze them, as well as why they didn’t win… And be warned that I got so many that I’ll have to round up the actual winners next week.

But first we have to get through the contest.

Totally Useless
These were the cards that Wizards would never print mainly because they’re so obviously awful that there’s no conceivable use for them. Yes, Pale Moon is the greatest crap rare of all time because it does next to nothing… But even then it has some effect that could, conceivably, be positive at some point in time.

These cards were so bad they’re actual liabilities. (That, or so terrible there’s no way that it would work.) These are proof that anyone can create an unplayable card… But no worries! Some entertainingly unplayable cards lie ahead!

Legendary Creature — Hound
Scrappy-Doo attacks if able.
Creatures block Scrappy-Doo if able.
If a source would deal damage to Scrappy-Doo, that source deals twice that much damage to you instead.
“Lemme at ’em! I’ll splat ’em!”
– Douglas S.

Zero With Nothing
Remove all cards in your hand from the game.
– Aaron B.

Bolt Thrower
At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Bolt Thrower if you have any cards in your library.
At the end of your upkeep, put a 3/1 red Elemental token with haste and trample into play.
– Dave D.

Altar of Suck
At the end of turn, you lose the game.
5, sacrifice an artifact, a creature, an enchantment and a land, discard a card at random, skip your next end of turn step, your next untap step and your next draw step: Take an additional turn after this one.
– Luis A.

Jolly Giant
Creature — Giant
Whenever any player adds G to his or her mana pool, each opponent gains one life.
Whenever Jolly Giant attacks, add GGGGG to your mana pool.
Its laughter brought entire valleys into bloom.
– A. W.

Grandfather Sengir
Creature – Human Geezer
BW, T: Tap Target Legendary Creature, Grandfather Sengir does not untap during your next upkeep. Use this ability only on your turn, during your upkeep step.
“When I was a wee Whippersnapper, I’d have to walk 10 miles from Castle Sengir to the Wizards School, uphill both ways, through 3 feel of snow, with Spectral Bears chasing me the whole way…..”
– Mike B., channeling the spirit of Homelands absolutely perfectly.

Totally Useless, But Entertainingly So For Rules Junkies
These cards look like they might have a purpose, until you read them close and realize that no, thanks to rules shenanigans they’re completely nerfed. And if weren’t for the fact that Wizards doesn’t print nonfunctional cards, lemme tellya, “Preventable Catastrophe” almost took the prize.

Preventable Catastrophe
Destroy target untapped land. It deals 8 damage to its controller.
“How could we have let this happen?”
– Aaron W.

Learn from Others
Draw three cards. Each opponent may draw a card. If an opponent does, repeat Learn from Others.
The Orgg

Split Second (As long as this spell is on the stack, players can’t play spells or activated abilities that aren’t mana abilities.)
You lose the game.
Nothing could be simpler.
– Jacob O.

Insurmountable Wealth
You may have any number of copies of Insurmountable Wealth in your library.
Draw 1,000,000 cards.
(You must be able to shuffle your deck with no assistance.)
“You have fifty minutes… Begin shuffling!”
Tim A.

Rage of Murganda
Whenever a creature comes into play under your control, if it has no abilities, it gains trample and shroud until end of turn.
The races of Murganda were quick to anger. No one ever seemed to notice, though.

Disciple of Destruction
Creature – Human Wizard
You can attack yourself.
He fosters destructive tendencies, especially self-destructive ones.
– Matthew A., who wins at creating unplayable rules-benders, and totally wins for his flavor text on Rage of Murganda.

Totally Useless: Epic Shenanigans
It’s amazing to see how many people independently realized that almost any card can be made utter crap by tacking the word “Epic” onto the rules text.

Total Recall
Target player draws three cards.
Epic (For the rest of the game, you can’t play spells. At the beginning of each of your upkeeps, copy this spell except for its epic ability. You may choose a new target for the copy.)
“What about the guy you lobotomized? Did he get a refund?” – Douglas Quaid, Martian Hero
– Alex K.

Naf’s Curse
Target player gains a poison counter.

Dream of Sheep
Put a 2/2 green Sheep token into play.

Ancestral Curse
Draw three cards

– Glenn P.

Close to Useless
A lot of people submitted cards that, thanks to careful tweaking, would almost be useful in certain circumstances. I couldn’t quite rule these out as crap rares because, well, it seemed like there might be some way to make a good deck out of them.

And that’s what truly defines a good crap rare — it looks like it might be useful in some circumstance, but those circumstances never really pan out.

So I’m going to hold another contest!

That’s right – submit one deck to [email protected] by next Saturday, April 24th, utilizing one of the cards from the “Close to Useless” section. I want you to take one of these cards and snap it in half, creating some crazy powerful combo — or at least useful circumstance — that makes this card not crap.

You get one deck. Make it good. I don’t wanna sort through a thousand terrible decks, folks. And if it’s a combo, explain how it works. (And if it contains a card from Unglued or Unhinged, don’t bother. Sorry, I’m going to hold you to a Vintage-legal set on this one.)

If you win? Four crap rare cards of your choice! A full playset of crap! And the person whose card is broken? Why, he’ll get a crap rare of his very own!

Don’t say I never gave you guys crap.

In any case, here are the cards that are on the bubble. I dare you to pop them.

Until end of turn, “may” abilities are no longer optional. (Unless they are impossible.)
“Because I said so, that’s why!” – Squee, Goblin Nabob

“Honestly, I have no idea if there are any genuine uses for this card. There might well be something you could do with it, but I suspect not. It was originally an enchantment, but that seemed like it might have had a chance to live the dream and see play, so I made it a Sorcery instead.”
– Jacob O.

Deadly Dawn
Split second (As long as this spell is on the stack, players can’t play spells or activated abilities that aren’t mana abilities.)
Remove all cards from the game. This includes all permanents in play, hands, libraries, and graveyards.
Take an extra turn after this one.
“Some say it’s best to go down fighting. I’m not one of them.” — Norin the Wary

“There’s no such thing as defeat, so long as Norin survives to see another day: thanks to his skills as an escape artist, he’s bound to be the last man standing, if only briefly.

“It is — and I say this optimistically — a Final Fortune / Last Chance / Warrior’s Oath that can’t be countered, hence the additional colorless mana in its cost. This could someday be a very powerful card if the game ever reaches a critical mass of direct damage spells with Suspend.

“It borrows on some of the same design space as Leveler which was too easily gamed (at least in a casual Magic sense) with the ‘Words of…’ cycle and Wishes. Trying to counteract infinite Chronosavant activations from the graveyard and other shenanigans took away some of the elegance of the card; I believe split-second alleviates most of the obvious concerns. It’s clumsy on a sorcery, but at least it fits nicely within the current rules, as opposed to some of the other solutions that came to mind.

“Someone who actually understands Timesifter (and put it into one of his or her decks on purpose) might be able to come up with a better version.”
– Richard L.

Mana Freezer
Snow Enchantment
Mana burn doesn’t cause players to lose life.
– Douglas S.

Plague of Ferretts
Plague of Ferretts deals X damage to each creature you control. You gain life equal to the damage dealt this way.

“Now, this card is initially misleading, because it does have the potential to gain you lots and lots of life. If you have 5 creatures out, and pay X = 10, that’s 50 life!

“Unfortunately, then you realize that A. You’re killing all of your creatures. B. You’re probably tapping yourself out. C. Damage prevented doesn’t gain you any life, so no protection loopholes.”
– Herbert L.

(Note that I, The Ferrett, think this is terrible, but in multiplayer it seems like there should be some way of at least utilizing it.)

Possessed Soldier
Creature – Zombie Soldier
At the beginning of your upkeep, put a +1/+1 counter on Possessed Soldier.
Whenever Possessed Soldier attacks or blocks, sacrifice X permanents, where X is the number of +1/+1 counters on Possessed Soldier.
At the end of your turn, if Possessed Soldier didn’t attack this turn, sacrifice a permanent.

“Turn 2 – 3/3, 2 permanents sacrificed (one at the end of your first turn, one when you attack this turn), 1 counter on this, 3 damage dealt.
“Turn 3 – 4/4, 4 permanents sacrificed, 2 counter on this, 7 damage dealt.
“Turn 4 – 5/5, 7 permanents sacrificed, 3 counter on this, 12 damage dealt.

“(Good luck getting seven permanents in play by turn 4, only to have a 5/5 being chumped.)”
– Jacky L.

No Pain, No Gain
Casting Cost: (R/B)(R/B)
All opponent’s creatures gain +1/+0.
Whenever a creature does combat damage to you, the creature’s controller loses 2 life.
They only think they’re stronger.
– Mike J.

Blind Ambition
If a spell or effect would put a +1/+1 counter on a creature an opponent controls, put that many -1/-1 counters on a creature you control instead.
“He cunningly planned to claim the success of his adversaries as his own at every turn, not realizing it would lead to his own inevitable failure.”
– Ben D.

Tyranny Shield
Permanents your opponent controls can’t be the target of spells or abilities your opponent controls.
“Now your poor Fungusaur will never feel the lash of that Bullwhip again!” — Verdeloth, Fungal Rights Activist
– ? (He didn’t sign his name, just his email address.)

Tome of Malignancy
Whenever you draw a card, put a charge counter on Tome of Malignancy. At the beginning of your upkeep, draw a card and loose 1 life for each charge counter on Tome of Malignancy.
– Keith D.

Haven of the Meek
Whenever a creature attacks, remove all creatures you control from the game. Return them to play at end of turn.
“Norrin’s where?”
Zac Hill, who wins for his flavor text on this one.

Slash and Burn
Sacrifice a land: put a charge counter on Slash and Burn.
At the beginning of your precombat main phase, add X mana of any color to your mana pool, where X is the number of charge counters on Slash and Burn.
– Bart P.

Deathly Gamble
(Nonexistent mana costs can’t be paid.)
Deathly Gamble is black.
If Deathly Gamble is in your opening hand, you may remove Deathly Gamble from the game and put a copy of it onto the stack. Else, discard Deathly Gamble, lose 2 life, and draw a card.
Your life total becomes 1. Until end of turn, you may play cards in your hand without paying its mana cost. At the end of turn, if you have cards in hand, you lose the game.
– Blah B. Lah.

Note that this card in particular needs some severe rules tweaking to make this work — the ability he’s looking for probably involves several clever shenanigans to force the discard-and-draw of Deathly Gamble to happen, since a player could simply not reveal that they’ve drawn it. But assume, for the purposes of this contest, that this card has some very well-worded Oracle templating that allows for the spirit of the spell — namely, that if you’re unlucky enough to draw it during the game, you automatically lose 2 life and draw a card whether you want to or not.

Pulsing Obelisk
Creature spells cost you 2 less to play.
Whenever a creature comes into play under your control, return it to its owner’s hand.
“With a touch, it flashed, and then they disappeared. Then it flashed again, and I was home.” Rasheer the Journeyman

“It was originally going to make creatures cost 3 less to play, and then I realized that broke the heck out of Avalanche Riders. So it’s 2, and still pretty terrible. Reusing comes-into-play effects is cool, but then you need to actually win the game, which it’s a little counterproductive at. “
– Tyler H.

Now, next week? We’re going to have to go over the genuinely good cards — a.k.a. “People who tried to create crap rares, and wound up creating things I might play in Limited or Multiplayer games.” There are some genuinely potent cards out there…. So tune in in seven days to see when one man’s crap is another man’s gold!

The Weekly Plug Bug
On My Name Is Might Have Been, the final member of the band shows up. Who is the mysterious bassist who will complete the foursome who must journey to the Cloven Lands to save the world from ruin?

Signing off,
The Ferrett
[email protected]StarCityGames.com
The Here Edits This Here Site Guy
Older than dirt and Homelands