Mining the Crystal Quarry: The Top 101 Cards For Multiplayer?

Okay, I’m sure that Brandon Moore means well – and that I’m sure that in his mind, he really thinks that his 101 Top Multiplayer cards work well. And you know what? They do! But to call these the best of the best is very misleading – and so let me go through his choices, card-by-card, to show you what I think are the best of the best for multiplayer…

Okay, I’m sure that Brandon Moore means well – and that I’m sure that in his mind, he really thinks that his 101 Top Multiplayer cards work well. And you know what? They do!

But to call these the best of the best is very misleading. Ferrett and my more-and-more-I’m-discovering-like-minded multiplayer article writing fellow Californian Tony Costa have observed, there are some glaring omissions. For those who haven’t been following in the forums, among the items missing are”No Gaea’s Cradle? No Sylvan Library? No Replenish? No Nemata, Grove Guardian? No Recurring Nightmare or Survival of the Fittest? No Akroma, Angel of Wrath? No Phyrexian Processor? No Intruder Alarm? No Spiritmonger? No Tormod’s Crypt? No Misdirection? No Avatar of Woe?”

I’ve got my own list of glaring omissions… but I will leave that till after I put my response to the list. Like Mr. Moore, I don’t claim to be a Magic Champ, but I do know why some cards don’t belong here, and I know some cards that should. Numbers aside, I guess it was because I was raised in a very discipline-based household and school. I am infinitely better at pointing out flaws in an analysis than starting one (see my criticism of a universal ban list for multiplayer). And even though maybe I should have started my own list first, some of these cards don’t deserve to be here, and there are tons of glaring logic gaps and playstyle errors and misconceptions here.

I would like to refer everyone to Anthony Alongi multiplayer halls of fame, because there are defined criteria for the evaluations of the top cards. I will inevitably bow down to Alongi – he came up with a very good, if goofily named, system to rank and rate. (Plus, there’s no weasel ranking – The Ferrett) My comments are in Italics. I’m going to apologize in advance, because there’s so much to correct and straighten out here. I also find myself being more high and mighty lately, and I don’t mean to, but geez… Stretch a guy’s patience, why don’tcha?

The Ferrett was right to publish this list, though, since it does generate discussion on something that needs more discussion – what really is good in multiplayer? This kind of article gets people thinking. This is how we learn – from other’s mistakes or our own, and especially our experiences applied. So, Brandon, for what it’s worth, you did a very good thing in the end. Get your asbestos on, folks, this is gonna get toasty. I’ll get ready for the flames that will come my way after this too.

101. The Prevention Cycle – Moment’s Peace/Fog/Tangle/Constant Mists/Respite

Constant Mists I see, Tangle, I see, Moment’s Peace, I see. Of these, Moment’s Peace and Constant Mists most deserve mention, since Fog means nothing after it gets cast, and Respite gives you a usually insignificant amount of life. Tangle leaves your opponent wide open for others to swoop in for the finish. Moment’s Peace and Constant Mists (when bought back) tell your opponent: Send those things somewhere else, which could indeed be a valuable thing.

Verdict: No issues here.

100. Flame Rift

“When you need burn, you don’t need single-targeted rubbish… Flame Rift tends to have good synergy with the format due to its massive targeting range.”

It also screams, look, everyone, hit me, hit me! The other issue is that it hits you for four as well. Make enemies of everyone AND weaken you? No thanks. By this logic, Sizzle should take this card’s place. The higher mana cost is offset by the slower multiplayer pace, and doesn’t do damage to you. The reason people run the limited target of Bolt, Chain Lightning, etc. is because it REMOVES SPECIFIC THREATS FROM THE BOARD.

Verdict: Everyone go research the theory behind Sligh before putting Flame Rift in. Out.

99. Wash Out

Wash Out admittedly is a pretty good card, but it is pretty limited. How it makes the list and Capsize doesn’t is beyond me, however.

Verdict: Good, but not that great. Does not deserve to be on the list.

98. Wheel and Deal

“Whether you’re using it because it can discard or because it can draw, Wheel and Deal will at least help you Millstone your opponent’s libraries, or even mess up that arrogant player’s hand. Best of all, it allows you to choose who gets it. That might gain you a couple friends down the road.”

Let me guess: Arcane Denial is good because it lets you draw cards, too?

The discard is not a good thing. That arrogant player probably isn’t that good if he’s telegraphing a good hand. It’s a waste of card space. Drawing cards is a good thing, and you never want to let your opponent do it for a cheap price. And what is this doing here when Memory Jar exists? Verdict: the card’s acronym says it all: WAD. As in,”This card is a.”

97. Mana Breach

When you have to look up a card, that’s a sign that it’s no good. Look, it’s a cute little combo with Exploration and Fastbond, but losing one life per land had better do me something good (see: Future Sight, Type 1 Psychatog of yore).

Verdict: Let this card suffer in obscurity where it belongs. Get it off the list.

96. Eureka and Show and Tell

Eureka and Show and Tell are card disadvantage for you unless you can either set up your hand or make sure that your opponents have nothing to play. Either of which are difficult thing to do, and the times that you would be screwed over by this are going to be WAYYYYYYYYYYY more often than when you benefit. At least with Tempting Wurm, you’re guaranteed a nice 5/5, and Hunted Wumpus you have a cheap 6/6 that will more than likely outsize whatever your opponents drop.

Verdict: Eureka! I’ve discovered that if you play these cards, you’ll Show and Tell the world that you’re not Einstein!

(Oh, Tony Costa gonna disagree with you… – The Ferrett)

95. Multani’s Decree

I have no arguments here.

Verdict: Good Choice. Worth the extra mana cost, but still not sure if this belongs on the list. Why not Cleansing Meditation?

94. Abyssal Gatekeeper

Ah, yes; the Innocent Blood before we had an Innocent Blood. Abyssal Gatekeeper is probably one of the most underrated creatures in multiplayer Magic. It keeps people from attacking you. If anyone does attack you, and you block, then that attacking player just causes possibly four to six other people to lose a creature. It takes the focus off you – but at the same time, it did exactly what you needed.

That is, cause you major card disadvantage. You waste a card to cast this, and you lose another creature when this dies. It’s ALL players sacrifice a creature. And that’s before you get beat down by flyers and other things that get around this little bug.

Verdict: Easy to get around, not good.

93. Innocent Blood

How good can a card be if it causes all sorts of negative attention to be drawn to you? It’s good creature kill for problack things and untargetable things. Verdict: Good for creature kill, but I don’t know if it’s worthy.

92. Kaboom!

Though it never saw much play due to its easier-to-cast brother Erratic Explosion, Kaboom! blew Erratic Explosion out of the water. Some people use it as is, and some even run the mighty Draco just for his massive mana cost. There is nothing bad about delivering a whopping sixteen damage to each of your opponents.

Erratic Explosion can target creatures. Most people don’t play Erratic Explosion in Multi. Erratic Explosion comes out on turn 3. Kaboom takes much longer.

Verdict: Ka-Nope!

91. Radiate

Fun, not powerful.

Verdict: You’ve been voted off the island.

90. Caltrops

There are a lot of cards that can fend off huge creatures or render them useless, but it is always the little guys that get past your defenses. Caltrops ensure that even they have to pay the price of war!

Hey Tony, did you slap this guy around with your Poison deck one too many times? Caltrops renders your one-toughness creatures useless, too. If you’re worried about 1/1s, try Juntu Stakes, which keeps the utility bastards away, too.

That said, I tried four of these with Gratuitous Violence and Powerstone Minefield, but it takes too much for too little return.

Verdict: Crap Slot.

89. Anvil of Bogardan

First and foremost, Howling Mine is card disadvantage enough, but this makes you discard too. It’s not a substitute for Howling Mine. Grafted Skullcap and Ensnaring Bridge are infinitely better and worth the extra slots.

Verdict: What is it with people’s obsession with Howling Mine?

88. Nature’s Revolt

It does nothing significant unless you have more lands or a way to make your lands better (ahem ahem Death Pit Offering). The Armageddon thing doesn’t work all that well because it kills your lands too, buddy. Use Kamahl, Fist of Krosa and Goblin Sharpshooter. Suckage.

Verdict: There’s a reason this thing sells for a dollar or less.

87. Ivory Tower

Though it fell out of the sight of most tournaments, Ivory Tower is a sure win in multiplayer. It allows all colors the ability to have the most amazing lifegaining power around. Blue and Black mages tend to abuse it the most with their powerful card drawing spells.

News flash! Ivory Tower gains you about ten life, then becomes useless, because if you’re holding cards, you’re not casting spells and improving the board position. Granted, however, he’s right – Blue card drawing means that you consistently gain life. It offsets black’s card drawing drawback of losing life, as well. Unless you draw this early, you’re not going to get much life from this, and it becomes just another wasted slot – or just another U for Tolarian Academy.

Verdict: Hardly powerful enough.

86. Blatant Thievery

Do you sometimes wish you controlled that Worship or Mortivore? Perhaps that Ensnaring Bridge or Form of the Dragon is driving you mad! Well, today is the day to take what is rightfully yours… At least in this format. Blatant Thievery can turn the tables on many decks, especially combo decks that rely on certain cards to be in sync for a final blow.

Combo decks will just draw another part – but despite that, Blatant Thievery is indeed strong in multiplayer, so I’m not going to argue this.

Verdict: Strong card.

85. Thieves’ Auction

No Brand, no use. Unless, of course, you plan to cast pathetic permanents that no one will want like Filthy Cur – but if you do, then you’ve got bigger problems.

Verdict: I hope someone steals this card from me if I ever put it in a deck.

84. Insurrection

I do not recommend this as the best way to make friends. Insurrection will net you a bunch of creatures, but it also nets you a lot of enemies as well. Some like using this card as a gamewinner; some like using it to feed their Nantuko Husk. Either way, Insurrection screams multiplayer in this format.

No arguments here. An uncountered, unanswered Insurrection means the death of several players. I want to add that when you cast this, the priority is to kill the person who owns the strongest permanents you’ve stolen. Additionally, this is a pretty cool thing to use against that Worship player.

83. New Frontiers

Anyone in multiplayer who doesn’t suspect something and sees this as sheer goodwill is a fool. That said, I like using this, followed by a Radiated Frenzied Tilling on the next turn. Lots of fun.

Verdict: Fun, but not powerful. Off the list, I tells ya!

82. Breaking Point

SOMEONE will take six life, making this useless. The chances of someone having a Circle of Protection: Red in play are more likely. It just makes this card more useless, though a Furnace of Rath makes the decision more difficult…

Verdict: Not powerful enough. Get off the list.

81. Pendrell Mists

It cannot be stressed enough that in multiplayer games, the number one way of winning is with an army of creatures. To deal with these creatures, you either need some serious removal or serious lock-down… And Pendrell Mists can do both.

This card is not worth it. An upkeep of one is worth the price to keep your good creatures. Vile Consumption, except for the multicolor cost, is insanely better than this, mainly because it will eventually force your opponents to give up their creatures.

80. Sulfuric Vortex

Sometimes games can come down to just having more life than someone else and running them out of cards due to the impossibility of dealing enough damage to kill them before that happens. Lifegaining is taken very seriously in multiplayer, and serves as a great alternative when you don’t run removal.

I’ve never seen someone so unclear on the concept of why Sacred Nectar and just about every other pure lifegain spell out there is crap. The Vortex, except in races and heavy infinite lifegain combo decks, speeds up the clock but is too often turned against its caster when an opponent changes the tide. I’m going to say this only once: LIFEGAIN IS BAD. IT SUCKS. It just delays the inevitable and wastes your cards or other resources doing it.

(You’re sooooo wrong – The Ferrett)

Verdict: I want to play against his group.

79. Teferi’s Puzzle Box

Just as the name says, it is a puzzle. Most people can’t figure out a good use for it other than a way to aid in triggering drawing effects. Some people use it just for the fact that it can force their opponents into a Brain Freeze and make them just not want to deal with the card anymore. A very different way to win, but it works.

It took me a second to realize that he was talking about the noun, not the card Brain Freeze (damn your precise editing, Ferrett!!!!) But there’s no puzzle here. Teferi’s Puzzle Box is a way to get a new hand every turn. What kind of opponent just leans back and goes, oh well, can’t touch this. And Teferi’s Puzzle Box is NEVER a win condition. It’s not a decking mechanism because you get the same number as you put in, it doesn’t do damage, it doesn’t have an alternative win condition on it, yada yada.

Actually, that’s a lie. It and Underworld Dreams are a kill condition together. But other than that, the Box has no real use.

78. The Circle of Protection Cycle

These innocent little enchantments have been some of the most annoying things multiplayer games have ever seen. If you don’t have anything to deal with them, and you happen to be the color on the card, that already-lengthy multiplayer game has now gotten longer.

So true. But the circles are so narrow that you’ll likely only lock out half of an opponent’s damage.

Verdict: A better choice would be Story Circles, or even Runes of Protection, if only because they can be cycled. Move down the list.

77. The Color Hosers (Karma, Chill, Gloom, Flashfires, Light of Day…)

Sometimes cards that are considered limited due to color restrictions are used only in tournament sideboards. Some use them in multiplayer in conjunction with #76, or just out of caution. Though these hosers may not see any use, it is better to be safe than dead.

Here’s more of that contradictory logic. If they don’t see use, how can they be good? The hosers are useless without a combo of some sort – and thus, are not useful at all.

Verdict: Shouldn’t be on the list.

76. The Manipulators (Magical Hack, Mind Bend, Sleight of Mind…)

You can combine these spells with the color hosers or Circles of Protection, and have defenses for each of your opponent’s strong sides.

Niche cards that have little use. Unique, but hardly the best cards. Most often used AGAINST the hosers. The most unique and notable ones are the ones that can change land types, and even then they’re not used that often. There are other, better, color changers.

Verdict: Niche cards are in a niche for a reason. Not worthy.

75. Aether Flash

Aether Flash can safely be called one of the greatest direct damage spells around

That’s it. Only one-quarter through the list and then this? What about Starstorm? Earthquake? Lightning Bolt? Fireball?

Okay, I’m going to lay the course summary for Sligh 1A. Direct damage is damage that can be directed at targets of your choice, or can be manipulated to be one-sided. Aether Flash is not direct damage. Pandemonium might be, but this is not.

Verdict: I wonder if Team Academy will beat me to this list?

74. Plague Wind

Ask any player:”What’s better than destroying all creatures on the board?” They’ll most likely say,”Destroying all creatures except for mine?” Simply put, Plague Wind is the ultimate black card for a mid-game shift. However, it comes at a steep price.

I agree with the initial statements, with the caveat that Plague Wind is a later-game card.

Verdict: Sure, whatever. This works on the list.

73. The Words Cycle (Words of Worship, Words of Wind, Words of Waste, Words of War, and Words of Wilding)

Since multiplayer games take a very long time to finish, the Words can be abused to set up a nice finisher. Usually, Howling Mine plays a large part in these combos.

All the Words do on their own is stunt your development. I’m going to pose this question – what is people’s obsession with Howling Mine? It’s card disadvantage and helps your opponents more than it does you. There are only two common instances of Words being abused: UG Enchantress and Arcanis the Omnipotent. Beyond that, they’re mana hungry, slow your draws, and are all in all, win-more cards.

Verdict: Limited in scope to prevent unwanted draws or to win more. Not worthy of the list.

72. Teferi’s Moat

More useful in duels where the colors you will face are less varied.

Verdict: Very limited in its application. Shouldn’t be on the list.

71. Last Laugh

Just like its name implies, this newborn to the old-school Pestilence will leave only you laughing last – usually because you’re the one who combined it with Zuran Orb and started something nasty!

Last Laugh is another one of those non-symmetrical symmetrical cards like Wrath of God. It’s a great and fun card, but not worthy of the list.

Verdict: Maybe one of the 101 most fun cards.

70. The Muse Cycle (Windborn Muse, Dreamborn Muse, Graveborn Muse, Lavaborn Muse, and Seedborn Muse)

Okay, that’s it. Windborn can be removed at the worst possible time, since it’s a creature, but is pretty good. Dreamborn requires the deck to be built around it and is a very niche card. Lavaborn Muse is also a niche card, but more useful. Graveborn Muse is Card Advantage on a solid body for a solid cost, not just a small advantage. Seedborn Muse is one of the better cards for multiplayer, so it deserves to be on the list.

Verdict: Partially Right.

69. Upwelling

When I first saw this card, I saw two things written all over it: Mana Flare and multiplayer. I will tell you that Mana Flare is to come, and with this new enchantment, the fat critters and spells can really come out much faster. However, some players prefer to use Upwelling in a rather evil manner: They do this by simply watching all the greedy people abuse it, then destroy it, laugh, and watch everyone mana burn.

Gee whiz! You think!?? How freakin’ original. Because it will help your opponents until you Disenchant this, your opponents are going to be breaking your figurative balls – and by the time you do remove it, you’ll be too beat on for it to matter.

Verdict: Well, you can’t blame a guy for thinking positive.

68. Pandemonium

Sometimes a multiplayer game can get out of hand, and take hours to finish. Some people don’t mind; some do. This card makes for a very fast game. It also stirs up a lot of hatred between people, because many players don’t like being forced to be aggressive – but they have to destroy things that they may not have wanted to when Pandemonium comes into play. Politics are so fun!

Someone doesn’t understand the whole point of politics is to shift the blame away from you.

67. Dueling Grounds

Not bad, but not that great. Verdict: No.

66. Death Pits of Rath

Creatures are a must in multiplayer at least 75% of the time. Some prefer to be a rebel and win with combo and control decks, of course… But most of the time, there are creatures around. Death Pits of Rath gives creatures a reason to be afraid. No one will attack or block unless they have to

Isn’t this why people attack anyway? (Actually, it stops the random attackers who just like sending with what they have – The Ferrett)

65. Beast of Burden

As stated above, creatures are always around. This is one artifact creature that everyone can use and enjoy. Some even like to enchant it with things such as Pariah, Regeneration, Rancor, or a simple Spirit Link!

No! No! No! For pity’s sake, if you’re so dependent on this card for the beatings, you’re getting overrun by creatures. At least Stag Beetle doesn’t change it’s power and toughness… And it’s not that great. Guh.

64. Lifeline

Once printed, this card confused so many people. Is it my graveyard? Who does it affect? Can I discard a creature and bring it back? After a few errata, it now affects everyone and all creatures. Lifeline is definitely a contender in the format.

Abusable. Powerful. No arguments here.

Verdict: Great with Grave Pact.

63. The Win Condition Cycle (Test of Endurance, Battle of Wits, Mortal Combat, Chance Encounter, Epic Struggle, and Coalition Victory)

No, no no no. Strictly fun. And chance encounter? Adsl;hadslhfahd. Sorry, brain meltdown.

Verdict: Even I’m not that casual.

62. Desolation Giant

And what happens if you can’t play this without its kicker (like, say, from an Exhume)? Without it, it’s a one-sided Wrath of God – and with, it’s a Wrath for 2WWRR. There are better spells.

61. Desolation Angel

This Angel has to be one of the most killer angels ever to see play. If I can just figure out some way to cast this and Desolation Giant in the same turn, I’m set!

Desolation Angel is such a cool card. It’s not the most powerful card, but it’s so much fun. I can’t bad-mouth it, but I can say that it’s not worthy of the list.

60. Powder Keg

When you need to kill things, you want to have control over what dies whenever possible. Powder Keg does just that. It allows a nice way for blue and even red to have a straight creature removal while giving black an outlet to kill some artifacts. The key to this card is control. With you putting the counters on it, you can build a deck around it.

This guy’s schizophrenic. See Upheaval below.

59. Megrim

Giving discard decks a huge edge never seen before since The Rack, Megrim has been underrated for a long time. When Planeshift brought us Urza’s Guilt and Warped Devotion, followed by Onslaught’s Wheel and Deal, blue and black Megrim decks can have some games over within five turns or less!

God. Niche card.

Verdict: A critical component in discard decks, but that’s it.

58. Prosperity

Some use it to draw everyone out of cards. Some use it to hurt everyone with Underworld Dreams. Some use it to have something to discard to a Cadaverous Bloom. However, some just use it to be nice. Whichever way you choose to use Prosperity, it will be a prosperous time for everyone!

This guy needs to be pun-ished.

Finally! He gets the Underworld Dreams! Who the hell uses Prosbloom in multiplayer? And who uses this to be nice, unless they like to lose? This guy has misused almost all the card draw cards he’s listed.

57. Syphon Mind

Interesting way to draw cards. Not this high up the list though. Verdict: Movin’ on up. Up, up, up, maybe to the triple digits.

56. Syphon Soul

Waste of a card slot.

55. Engineered Plague

This is probably the best tribal hoser ever created. Engineered Plague is just a marvelous tool to fend off Soldiers, Elves, Goblins, Elves, Birds, Merfolk, Elves, Slivers – oh, and did I mention Elves!? Just like Syphon Soul, it’s here at a cheap mana cost, making it easy to use with other decks.

I may not place it this high, but Engineered Plague is super fun, usable even at worst as spot removal.

54. Evacuation

Blue mages have it the hardest in multiplayer. From the moment they lay down that second Island, they know they’re in for a fight. So to aid you blue mages out there, I share with you the blue Wrath of God.

Use Nevinyrral’s Disk or Powder Keg. Evacuation comes down as a bad Fog, or a way to reuse”comes into play” abilities. But it’s out of place here.

Verdict: there are better choices.

53. Braids, Cabal Minion

Well, well, well. The crazy pilot lady made it on the list. Basically, she is a nasty way to slow the game down. With the many ways to get around her drawback, you can easily pass it on when it comes to your turn to sacrifice. Many people use her with a Squirrel Nest and call it a day.

Braids does not slow the game down. Braids is a way to apply pressure and in fact, speed up the game. And Braids is a hottie.

Verdict: A niche card. Hottie. Thus, deserves to be higher on the list.*

52. Dual Nature

Having your creatures come out in doubles (and sometimes more, if you can get out multiples of this), is always a treat! Though it can give you opponent’s playing tribes a massive advantage, some prefer to just abuse it with certain creatures like Clone or even a Crater Hellion! Regardless, its true place is in a multiplayer deck.

This is a fun card, but not that powerful. A well-timed Disenchant removes half your forces. At the worst possible time. If you need it to produce more creatures, you’ve lost a lot of tempo waiting for it.

Verdict: Get off the damn list!

51. Biorhythm

Out of all the odd ways I have ever seen a person win, this has got to be the strangest. If you add a Mageta, the Lion or a Desolation Giant, you win! Biorhythm is a great multiplayer card, and green certainly has gotten a boost from it. Who says green doesn’t get direct damage?

Fun, but costly. Certainly potentially devastating – but so reliably devastating to make it halfway up this list? No sir.

Verdict: No way.

50. The Lhurgoyf Cycle (Cantivore, Cognivore, Lhurgoyf, Magnivore, Mortivore, Terravore)

Right smack in the middle of our countdown, the Lhurgoyf cycle certainly feeds off of a multiplayer game. The ones that shine the most are the original Lhurgoyf, Mortivore, Terravore, Cognivore, and then the Magnivore. Sorry, Cantivore, you did get included – but you just don’t see that many enchantments filling the graves. (Except if someone’s playing Replenish, and then it’s not nearly enough – The Ferrett) These get bigger mainly because of all people. Have you ever faced a 77/77 Terravore? It’s not fun!

Fun, but shouldn’t be on the list. A 77/77 Terravore? Someone dreamt that game.

(No, they didn’t – The Ferrett, who’s seen a lot bigger than that)

49. Tangle Wire

Oh yes – the notorious Tangle Wire managed to squeak its way to number 49! It made it because it can lock down every player the same way it would a single player. That is a hard task to do! I know I always follow this menace with an Umbilicus or some other form of a return spell so I can abuse it more and more.

Good God. Not on this list.

48. The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale

When I told some of my friends I was doing this, I told them there was only one land on the countdown. I asked them what they thought it was. Tolarian Academy came up a lot, so did Gaea’s Cradle. Heck, even the storage lands like Bottomless Vault came up. Though they are good choices they were incorrect. The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale is probably the best non-basic land in multiplayer. It is an uncounterable and almost unkillable (since you don’t usually see land destruction in multiplayer) first-turn source of creature control.

A good card – but the only land? God.

47. Feldon’s Cane or Thran Foundry

Sometimes the best way to win in these long games is to just last. That is right, a lot of multiplayer games come across so many lock-downs that it comes down to who will run out of cards first. Ask yourself one question: Do you want to be that person? No way! So run at least one of these in your decks.

Verdict: Not this high. Should be lower

46. Helm of Awakening

People love playing with big stuff in multiplayer. Whether it is the Winds Cycle from Prophecy, Wurms, Dragons, or just big stuff in general, Helm of Awakening pleases everyone. After all, having seven Howling Mines, three Mana Flares, and an Upwelling just does not appease players these days I guess.

Be right back, gotta vomit.

45. Call to the Grave

The neo-The Abyss! What a nice way to destroy creatures. If you run zombies, then you push it over the edge. As always, though, use with caution: It may work well, but you will get hated out of the game quickly if you can’t protect yourself.

It also dies if you have no creatures, which limits its usability.

Verdict: good stuff despite that drawback.

44. Multani, Maro-Sorcerer

The reanimator’s delight! I usually steer clear of him at first and grab Verdant Force – but once ol’ Verdy hits, Multani is next. He usually climbs to the likes of 35/35, or even as high as 80/80 if you can get in the right games.

Good stuff.

Verdict: Sweet.

43. Verdant Force

Just barely beating out the King of the Forests, our fungus-covered friend Verdant Force edges on top. Though he is a beatstick at an amazing 7/7, it is his ability to generate the Saproling tokens that makes him shine. Since it is during each player’s upkeep, the more players you have the more Saprolings, you get, and more people that wish they could stop it!

Good placement, between good fatties.

Verdict: No issue.

42. Forgotten Ancient

This has got to be the most annoying creature in this format. When you have an average of six or seven people flinging spells around all game, he grows very large. Some like to attack with him straight out, some like to use the Spike creatures from the Tempest block. However you use him, it will always be in a big way.

One of the good creatures.

Verdict: High, but the likelihood of someone packing Black removal is higher than usual these days.

41. Worship

To be an immortal or not to be an immortal: That is the question. Are you kidding? Worship is everything Ali from Cairo wished he could be. White offers so much protection, that once you get this out it might as well say you win the game as long as you have a single creature. Granted, a few party poopers will ruin it for you – like Subversion, Guiltfeeder, and Massacre – and there are other ways to rid someone of Worship in a game, but black has some of the best ways.

Worship is not immortality. There are tons of ways around it, but it certainly is a major nuisance.

Verdict: A great card nevertheless.

40. Akroma’s Vengeance

While we have gone over some cards that blow up all the artifacts, lands, or creatures, this newborn card of Onslaught has given white another edge. Before, you always had to pack Purify and Wrath of God. In today’s games, you still see those – but this card tends to edge out Purify. This ruins not only creature-heavy decks, but a lot of combo decks rely on certain artifacts and enchantments as part of their set-up for a finisher.

And it cycles to boot.

Verdict: right on!

39. Pestilence

Given that it’s the original Last Laugh, Pestilence must have seen play at least once in every multiplayer group. The sheer power black has over creatures is amazing. Most tend to combine the power of Pestilence with the protections of white. This is best used with lifegain and a creature with protection from black. Honor the Fallen is probably the best way to gain life from the massacre – and you will also be able to clear the board from each turn forward. So no more worries!

GODDAMMIT. Pestilence is not Last Laugh. Last Laugh is a fun card that’s a combo piece; Pestilence is creature control, damage, a way around Circle of Protection: Black, and generally ends games.

And what’s with your obsession with lifegain? More specifically, why do you think it’s good?

38. Windfall

Though it seems like a simple card that just tends to give people new hands, when mixed with some of the ingredients of Wheel and Deal, you can certainly start some massive damage and milling. However, sometimes you might just want to replenish your hand. Windfall will do that, too.

Damage is not milling, unless you’re playing with Underworld Dreams. Windfall’s proper use is to get you more cards when you’re down.

Verdict: Will someone define card advantage to Brandon? He downplays the draw effect so often that he’s wearing a chained Galapagos island Iguana on his shoulder.

37. Subversion

I really don’t think black’s massive damage and life gain combinations can get much worse than Subversion. It is the epitome of every black mage’s method of gaining life in the nastiest way. Once out, it seems like a minor drawback in the eyes of each player because they only lose one life… But meanwhile, you are gaining tons of life. This only gets worse as you stack on the effect of Subversion. Subversion is usually a favorite among Grave Pact-driven decks and Pestilence decks as a way of staying alive when disrupting everyone’s game play

Worse or better? Any player worth his salt will see this as a threat, because every point they lose brings them much closer to losing. You’re right, though; they won’t care about your life gain.

And how does this combo with Grave Pact? Grave Pact is you using your creatures, then getting rid of them for that extra effect, not”leave you with no creatures so that you need another way of not getting killed.”

36. Coat of Arms

While Engineered Plague may have been the best tribal hoser, Coat of Arms is the winner for the best tribal booster. Since most games are creature-driven, this simple artifact thrives from it. However, with the recent additions of tribal themes to the game, you will want to play this very strategically: You may wind up giving a bigger boost to your opponent!

No arguments. Coat of Arms is fun – but at the same time, it serves a useful purpose.

Verdict: Sweet.

35. Mirari’s Wake

What can better than a Mana Flare? A personal Mana Flare. Though a little steep at five mana, in a multiplayer game you should have this out in no time. Mirari’s Wake has served as an amazing mana engine ever since its release. It has its own deck dedicated to it. With its personal effects and creature boosts, you can jump ahead of the game relatively quickly.

If this is better than Mana Flare, why is it all the way up here?

34. Nether Void

While the all-powerful Counterspell may ruin a person’s day in single play, Nether Void certainly can upset a person’s day in multiplayer. While it is limited because you can only have one out at a time, it should prove very useful as a black mage’s source of countermagic when powered out with a Dark Ritual.

That explains a bit. This guy is an anti-blue whinemage. Nether Void won’t counter jack, because people will be playing around it. They may be slowed down by it, but it’s not countermagic in any sense of the word. And how many Nether Voids do you need out before it hinders you, too? One is bad enough. (And yes, I know it’s an Enchant World).

For Black Countermagic, see Stromgald Cabal, Withering Boon, and Thrull Wizard. For people unclear on the concept, see the original article.

Verdict: Not good.

33. The Abyss

The original Call to the Grave, The Abyss is a mighty creature control card. As with any card, the quicker you can get this out, the better. It is also under the legendary restrictions of the Enchant World cards, but the upside is you never have to watch it leave play when it’s cleared out everyone’s creatures, unlike Call to the Grave.

No arguments here. The Abyss is insanely powerful, and takes care of many problem creatures.

Verdict: I feel a little better now.

32. Jokulhaups

This is the first reset button on the list. When Armageddon was a great way to end all lands, and Wrath of God a great way to end all creatures, red deserves the spell that can do both and more. Jokulhaups has been put into the shadow of some of the later mass-killing machines of today… But it’s still powerful.

Agreed. The ‘Haups is yet another symmetrical card that is rarely symmetrical in effect.

31. Apocalypse

However, the drawback of discarding your hand keeps it out of the format sometimes.

Sometimes? SOMETIMES?

Verdict: Try 99% of the time.

30. Defense of the Heart

This enchantment is overlooked many times when building a simple Elf deck or a full-blown five-color menace. Since most multiplayer games will always have at least two people playing some kind of creatures, Defense of the Heart is sure to trigger and open up a world of hurt. There is nothing like a possible fourth-turn Akroma, Angel of Wrath, Iridescent Angel, Multani, Maro-Sorcerer or even just some simple creatures like a couple of Birds of Paradise when your mana is hurting.

If you have the mana to cast this, and the conditions to set it off, why in the world would you be getting a Birds of Paradise? Not to mention, it would be the fifth turn, as this enchantment costs 3G and triggers on your upkeep.

Verdict: A good card with a poor explanation.

29. Ensnaring Bridge

Red and Black mages tend to use it the most, since green mages have their own creatures to fight creatures, while white and blue have better methods to keep those critters locked down. When there is an Ensnaring Bridge, it will most likely be followed by a Null Brooch or Grafted Skullcap to prevent any slight mishaps from getting through. This is definitely a good choice for colorless creature control.

Sigh. Locking down has taken such a downgrade.”Can’t attack” is not the end-all-be-all to creatures. What about things like Wellwisher, or Weathered Wayfarer? And the reason this gets cast with Grafted Skullcap is that you now have a shield against creature attacks, and can afford to spend your burn killing players and utility creatures so that they don’t bother you again.

For locking down creatures, try removing it, Stupefying Touch, Lost in Thought, Pacifism, and Arrest; not this. And red and black have quality creatures too. I just listed why red uses this (see Grafted Skullcap) and I’ve not seen the black deck that uses this.

Verdict: First this guy can’t understand Sligh and Direct Damage, and this trend continues with failing to grasp the full concept of Burning Bridge (Skullcap/Bridge)

28. Furnace of Rath

A red mage loves three damage for one mana- but a red mage also loves six damage for one mana. Furnace of Rath is a card that can speed up a game faster than anything else. When 1/1s start dealing two to sixteen damage to each other and players, you know the game is over in a matter of minutes. Some enjoy the speed; some cannot handle it. The Furnace gives the ones who can’t handle it only two options: Remove me or lose.

Well, it also says,”Remove me or take advantage of me.” If you manage to get four Furnaces out, congratulations! Your opponent’s creatures and spells will rock you and thank you.

Verdict: Gratuitous Violence is often better.

27. Living Death

Black’s first version of Wrath of God, but with an excellent twist. You can completely clear the board and have the only creatures on the table. When first printed, it saw a lot of play; in today’s format, it can be used with those slivers, or just use the cycling abilities of some creatures and fill your graveyard up that way. Whichever way you choose, you will see instant results – and most likely the win!

You also want to make sure that your opponent doesn’t have a good yard of his own. Living Death loses a little power in Multiplayer, since there’s more likely than in duels that a player will be able to take advantage of this spell when you cast it too.

Verdict: Good, but limited.

26. Aluren

Players love to get the most from each turn. Playing spells for free is one of those ways to get the most from each turn. Most of the time when Aluren hits, it is not because the controller is a nice player – it is because it serves for some of the most brutal infinitely-large loops. (All right, judges – arbitrarily large.)

No, really? Aluren requires a specific deck to be built around it, and is once again another niche card.

Verdict: Niche: n. A special area of demand for a product or service.

(I call shenanigans. Pandemonium and Replenish are cards that demands that a deck be built around it, and both deserves to be higher on this list – or even on it, in the case of Replenish. Just because it’s a niche card doesn’t mean that it’s not listworthy – The Ferrett)