Mining the Crystal Quarry: The Top 101 Cards For Multiplayer, Part II – Twenty-Five To One

An article so big, it broke the database! John continues his tirade with the final (and top) twenty-five.

25. Mutilate

Black’s second Wrath of God, Mutilate came in the black expansion, Torment. Okay, Bennie. Hand over your Captain Obvious mantle to this guy. With a creature’s average toughness of four to six, Mutilate can clear the table with ease. Another bonus of Mutilate is that it is not mana-heavy at all, and can kill most creatures by turn 4.

Not mana-heavy. As long as you’re playing mostly Swamps.

Verdict: Powerful, but hardly a Wrath of God when a Giant Growth can save your guy.

24. Static Orb

The person playing it can build around the draw-back, or can counter it in many way’s on their turn. The common way is an Opposition and lots of creatures to abuse the ability of shutting off Static Orb.

Dammit, annoying does not mean good. Static Orb is tech against mana- and permanent- heavy decks. Beyond that, it’s annoying.

Verdict: No! Bad dog!

23. Winter Orb

The first of the many ways of destroying lands without actually destroying them is Winter Orb. Winter Orb has been seen in many different decks in tournament play, including major aggressive decks like Sligh and Stompy. In multiplayer, nothing has changed. It still can be used with cards like Icy Manipulator and Ring Of Gix to form a soft lockdown.

“During your upkeep (or at the end of your turn), Disenchant.” Good bye, loser.

Verdict: This card slows decks to a grinding halt and has a profound effect, but not powerful enough to be in the top 25.

22. Mageta, the Lion

Once abused you are insured victory most of the time. However, once Mageta is out, many will seek to end him before your turn. Keep him well protected and he will protect you!

Oh, REALLY. Mageta, however, I agree is quite powerful. He deserves to be high on the list.

Verdict: Ah, a change of pace, he’s right!

21. Upheaval

Blue has finally got the one thing that no one else wanted it to have: A reset button. And it’s not just a card-specific reset button like Evacuation or Sunder, but a reset button for everything. Upheaval has seen massive play in Psychatog decks, Tinker decks, and even Warped Devotion decks as an uber-way to destroy everything without using red or white!

Nevinyrral’s Disk. Powder Keg. But otherwise, no arguments here. If you don’t have a counter, Upheaval WILL reset the board.

Verdict: Should be rated possibly even higher.

20. Howling Mine

The classic card of all time, Howling Mine is just the average way to speed up a game and add more fun to the format. Howling Mine has became so popular in formats that some just make it a constant effect so every time they play multiplayer, everyone just draws two cards each turn for the remainder of the game.

Sucky card. Makes you lose more. Popular? Since when?

Verdict: The canary is dead! Get out of the mine!

19. Moat

Most of the time in multiplayer games, the only flying creatures you might see are Akroma, Angel of Wrath, Morphling, Slivers and maybe a few dragons. Outside of the minorities of flying creatures that care to join the game, your best bet is Moat. Unlike Ensnaring Bridge or Teferi’s Moat, you can just toss it out and be protected all around. If you need to stop flying creatures, white has many types of flying creatures at your disposal.

Again, who is this guy playing with? Moat is good because it has a small limitation, requires no upkeep, and is one of the easiest symmetrical cards to build around.

18. Pernicious Deed

This is the new version of the all-powerful Nevinyrral’s Disk that has been limited to green and black. Regardless, in a multiplayer game, it is not really hard to gather the mana needed to cast this and to create the sweep. The other downside to the Pernicious Deed is that the Nevinyrral’s Disk can be bounced in response so that you could use it again later: You can’t do that with Pernicious Deed. Either way, Pernicious Deed will clear the board of nasty things and allow you to decide what goes.

P.Deedy is indeed one of the most powerful cards out there. No arguments here, but it should be ranked higher.

17. Mana Flare

I bet you were all wondering if Mana Flare was even going to be on here. Of course it is! It would be sacrilege to not include the finest mana-enhancer around. (And yet strangely enough, you asked what was better than it, and then put that card in slot #35 – The Ferrett) I believe it began as a tool to pump up those old-school Shivan Dragons – and then, as Magic evolved, so did the spells and the amount of mana needed to pull off the more difficult stunts. Even today, Mana Flare is extremely abusive. If you see it on the table, don’t think twice about keeping it around. It is a fun card and will help you, but your opponent most likely uses it to fuel something massive to overcome the drawback of helping opponents.

I bet you were all wondering if Mana Flare should even be on here. Of course it shouldn’t be! This is one of the worst mana enhancers because your opponents take advantage of it before you do. Mana Flare is not abusive. Don’t keep it around, because (I don’t know how often I have to repeat this) symmetrical cards’ effects are almost never symmetrical.

16. Humility

While you can simply destroy all the creatures for the same cost, some prefer not to kill them – they just render them useless. Humility is used in a lot of combo decks that require a creature for the kill, but not necessarily a specific one. Some enjoy using it as an amusing tool to use the power of white, and then destroy everything with red damage. Whatever way you choose to use it, stripping the abilities of every creature is nothing to laugh at – in fact, it’s quite humiliating.

News Headline! Loser player gets run over by twenty 1/1s.

Verdict: A good card, but again, not this high.

15. Propaganda

Just as Humility can put all the creatures out in the nude, Propaganda can make all your opponent’s creatures useless and leave yours untarnished. Priced at a very low cost and easy to splash, it makes a nice defense for just about any deck out there. Most of the abuse of Propaganda comes from white and blue mages. Best of all, it really does not set you up as a target. Most people see it and say,”I’ll just attack someone else” – which is what you want. Many players use Propaganda in conjunction with Armageddon, and some combo it with more complexity, such as Pendrell Mists and Mana Web for a complete lockdown of creatures.

Uhhh… no. Propaganda reduces the number of creatures attacking you. They’re just going to end up sending the fattest ones at you. Propaganda slows down weenie decks, and reduces the attack force coming your way. It’s not a defense. Show me these players that combo it with Mana Web and Pendrell Mists; complete lockdown is Peacekeeper – which, for that matter, should have been on this list.

Verdict: Good, but should be rated lower.

14. Pox

Black’s BBB spell has made it on the list! No, not NecropotencePox! Though extremely difficult to be effective, when you cast Pox, it tears down all resources almost as well as Balance. Most Pox decks run some black life gain to counteract the flack from this card.

You know, why DIDN’T Necropotence make the list? How can this card be good AND”extremely difficult to be effective”?

Verdict: Send to the psych ward, and off this list, until it gets better.

13. Decree of Pain

Black’s final version of Wrath of God storms in at number thirteen. This has got to be the most powerful black removal spell in all of multiplayer; with the help of Cabal Coffers pumping these things out as fast as turn 6 (and even faster with Dark Ritual), the card advantage alone can win you the game. I suggest running those Feldon’s Canes I mentioned with this bad beast. Just when you thought killing everything and getting a card for each was enough, for only five mana you can sweep the board of annoying little creatures and nab a card – which, by the way is uncounterable except for Stifle. Decree of Pain deserves this rather high spot.

No, it doesn’t. It’s expensive, and will be more often used for its cycling ability. And you want to cast this when there are juicy targets, not as early as possible. As for Black removal spells? Terror. Dark Banishing. Seal of Doom. Chainer’s Edict. Oh, you mean MASS removal spells. Maybe, but not number 13.

Verdict: Eh; close enough.

12. Decree of Annihilation

While almost similar to Apocalypse, ripping every non-enchantment thing in play, player’s hands, and graveyards makes up for the fact that it ignores enchantments. Plus, as an added bonus, you are getting a nigh-uncounterable Armageddon at instant. What more can you ask for?

What more can I ask for? How about a decent mana cost? Uncounterability? Something that DOESN’T piss everyone off?

Verdict: Good, but not this high on the list!

11. Obliterate

While boasting that Decree of Annihilation can give an uncounterable Armageddon, Obliterate gives you an uncounterable Wrath of God, Armageddon, and Shatterstorm all in one – and might I add that it’s for less than Decree of Annihilation? Obliterate is the all-time best reset button. It will certainly be hard to top it, unless they errata Decree of Annihilation to be uncounterable as well. Wouldn’t everyone just love that?

Just you in your special little world. The rest of us like this thing called a balanced game.

Nevinyrral’s Disk. Pernicious Deed. Powder Keg. Upheaval. Balance. How can this be the best reset button if Balance is number 2? Make up your mind.

Verdict: Good, but not top 20 worthy.

10. Grave Pact

Sliding in at number ten is the freshly-reprinted Grave Pact. This black monstrosity of Stronghold shows how evil black can really be. You might as well say all your creatures have a built-in Innocent Blood. However you choose to abuse Grave Pact, you should always have a second way to win the game, because sometimes there are decks that don’t win with creatures. The safest bet is to pack a few Mortivores or Dingus Staffs.

No arguments here. Grave Pact is a threatening card that at the same time, directs attention away from you.

Verdict: Whoa.

9. Nevinyrral’s Disk

While I have mentioned some pretty powerful mass removal spells, Nevinyrral’s Disk, otherwise known as just”The Disk,” serves as a bit more useful card. It gives black and red enchantment and artifact removal with ease. It gives blue a constant way to destroy everything out there by simply casting a Boomerang or Capsize. Nevinyrral’s Disk is the multiplayer cleanup tool; it’s dominant because of its sleek cost and efficient success. You won’t see another card like this ever printed again in such a powerful and easy-to-use form, so be sure to grab your share of them to use against your group! You won’t be let down.

Forgetting the crucial point that it keeps people away from you. It is, in Anthony Alongi terms, a rattlesnake. Stay away from me, or I’ll make sure you regret it. That’s the glory of the Disk. Well, that and blowing everything up anyway.

8. Wheel of Fortune

Did you ever wish you had taken a mulligan or that your opponent had been dealt a bad hand? Maybe you just wanted to replenish your hand and make everyone else burn through their library a bit faster. For whatever reason, Wheel of Fortune is a risky (but reliable) card. You may get nothing and give your opponents the winning hands they needed – but regardless, it still slams in high on the countdown as one of the best cards in the format for its card advantage at a low cost.

See that? I edited the ability for you.

Anyway, Wheel is powerful indeed, for the discard, but mainly because it also draws you seven cards, just like you said, for a low cost. A rarity in red, which is why the Wheel is so prized. If you keep a hand you should have mulliganed because you’ve got a Wheel in hand, then you’re a chump. This goes for everyone. If you want to replenish everyone’s hand, you’re a chump. If you want to make people lose more cads than you, then you mean well.

Wheel of Fortune, like other symmetrical cards, is never truly symmetrical since you can dictate when to use it, and when it would be most favorable to you. And for that matter, how can something be reliable and risky at the same time? The use of the Wheel is to pack your deck with gas, so when you do cast it, you don’t end up with junk. If your opponents can’t use their hands, then it doesn’t matter what they’ve got. You’re also taking the chance that what they’ve got in hand is what they want.

7. Timetwister and Time Spiral

Coming in at a tie for number seven on the countdown are Timetwister and Time Spiral. Though they have the same effect, both have their distinct traits. Timetwister barely costs anything at all to play, and does exactly what a blue mage needs – which is to stall the game. Time Spiral comes in at a hefty six mana, but it also gives you seven mana in return and gives you a new hand. Either way, both supply you with a new hand and a new chance in the long game.

Okay, first: Timetwister does not stall the game. It gets the mage seven new cards, refills the library with resources, and gives the mage a bunch of new options. Second: Timetwister and Spiral do the same thing. It gives you ONLY SIX MANA IN RETURN UNLESS ONE OF YOUR LANDS PRODUCES MULTIPLE MANA. It does the same exact thing as Timetwister, except that it removes itself from the game. You just said that they have their distinct traits, but then you say they both give you a new hand and a new chance. Timetwister and Time Spiral do the exact same thing. Timetwister uses less mana but comes earlier, or, being that it costs less, you still have spare mana to use. The only differences are the mana cost, and the reusability. If you’re going to try to cite differences, it’s this: The Twister consumes some of your resources, but can be reused. The Spiral needs more initial resources, but can give you more with multi-mana generating lands and is removed from the game, which means it can’t be removed (unless it’s Wished for).

Moreover, the fact that it doesn’t improve board position means that these things are useful, but hardly top 10 worthy.

6. Cataclysm

When you don’t want to invest in three different cards to get the same result, what can you do? Grab Cataclysm. It was used heavily in single-player matches with Empyrial Armor on the caster’s one leftover creature. In today’s format, it can be used as a massive balancing tool. You can combine it with Pariah and Cho-Manno, Revolutionary as a winning lockdown, or you can always just have it as a handy white uber-Obliterate.

5. Congregate

Life is a terrible thing to waste – so harness it in every way! The most abusive life-gaining tool in the format is Congregate. It is considered the game-winning card of many decks. Test of Endurance decks can easily shoot up a good ten to fifteen life at times – and even more if pulled off in the late game. This is one of the spells that work great with Pestilence or a massive token-generating deck.

Okay, I lied. I’m going to say it again: Life gain is bad if it’s not a freakin’ win on the spot. See my article on life gain to see why Congregate is just annoying and not game winning. That said, it does put a huge chunk of your life in the bank, which keeps you safe for a bit. But Congregate is more annoying than powerful, even with Test of Endurance.

Verdict: Five? What the hell?

4. Wrath of God

How is it that Obliterate and the rest of the mighty creature crushers fail to beat Wrath of God? Wrath of God is its own force. It is what everything else is compared to. Without Wrath’s idea of killing all creatures, the others may not have even existed. It is the ultimate construct of creature-clearing spells. It is a pretty simple card: Four mana, kill all creatures. Enough said!

Actually, you missed the most important reason why Wrath is so good: It’s the CHEAPEST of the creature removal that is constantly reliable (read: not Breaking Point). So I guess there IS more to say.

Verdict: Good. Excellent.

3. Armageddon

Hands down, the power of the four-mana land killer Armageddon will never be outdone. Period. It is all that is destruction. It is the easiest card to build around, because it provides an instant card advantage. Wrong. If you are running artifact mana or just holding lands back, you will gain the advantage right away. And losing tempo as your opponents get mana and cast things like spells, creatures, etc. It is the way to reset the multiplayer table in a heartbeat. It only resets land. That’s hardly the table. Who do you play with?

And you know what? I’d pay the extra mana for Decree of Annihilation. It’s uncounterable, has a second use, draws you a card when cycled, and Red has a bit more support than White does.

Verdict: It’s high on the list to be sure, but not number 3.

2. Balance

For the lowly and very evil amount of only one generic mana and one white mana, you can do what Mind Twist, Obliterate, and Armageddon can do, to everyone, for under a tenth of the cost. Balance is worthy of second slot on the countdown for its insanely-broken power to shift the game as you see fit.

You know what? I’ve got no arguments. Balance is, without a doubt, one of the most powerful cards in multiplayer and every format in times where people truly understood its power.

Verdict: FINALLY!!! 100% right.

1. Stasis

In the right corner, wearing the blue trunks, weighing in at only three grams, the undisputed number one multiplayer card of all time is Stasis! Dubbed as an unwritten folklore, the Tolarian Academy of multiplayer, Stasis undoubtedly controls the board better than any other card will ever be able to. No other card in the game of multiplayer history has been shunned and hated more than Stasis. Groups have restricted it, banned it, and banned the people who use it or worse. My old card shop I used to play in was so hell-bent over Stasis that the shop owner would trade multiple good cards to get multiply copies of Stasis, and shred them. Even in extreme cases, the players that used them could never lay another Island without being dubbed a Stasis player. Stasis shuts down the game to a pace that is so unbearable to handle that some people just quit when it’s cast.

Oh. My. God. I don’t know what to retch over first. Stasis turns the game into”KILL ME NOW” faster than any other card. Stasis requires such an investment of resources, not to mention you’re holding off everyone – which is hard enough in duels, even harder in multiplayer. I’ve never heard of a group that restricted, banned or worse this card.

I’m going to say this now, with all due respect to your store owner: Your store owner was an idiot. He threw money away for something so blatantly useless. Stasis is the most pace-increasing card I’ve ever seen because everyone now wants to remove Stasis or the player playing it. We never banned anyone for that.

Verdict: Thank God it’s Over.

John A. Liu

“No one’s going to trade you a Mana Drain for 200 crap rares. You should be grateful I bought them from you”-Anonymous store owner**

* – I KNOW there’s gonna be a reaction to that.

** – Said in what I hope was in jest and not insult.