Retiring the Most Underused Cards of All Time: Volume II

Good day and welcome to the second installment of the Underused Card Hall of Fame. This is the place where I retire 30 cards, placing them in the Underused Card Hall of Fame. There are six categories, one for each color and another category for everything else. Five cards are retired from each category.
This is my excuse to write about one of my favorite topics — cards that you aren’t playing, but you should.

Good day and welcome to the second installment of the Underused Card Hall of Fame. This is the place where I retire 30 cards, placing them in the Underused Card Hall of Fame. There are six categories, one for each color and another category for everything else. Five cards are retired from each category.

This series of articles is my excuse to write about one of my favorite topics – cards that you aren’t playing, but you should. I make no excuses about enjoying underused cards.

I have numerous stories about finding a treasure and exploiting it until everybody else in our playgroup decides to use it as well. Everybody is now running around with Tortured Existence, for example, which is a card that I once declared the absolute most underused card of all time.

In order to qualify as an underused card, said card must be good. Adventurer’s Guildhouse is not underused because despite its rather intense paucity of playing time, it is, in fact, a really lousy card. Underused cards are those that are deemed really good, and yet see little to no play,

For the most part, I’m a casual writer, so these cards will focus on casual magic. I’m looking for cards that have significant power in multiplayer, team games and duels. Note that Portal and Unglued cards are currently not eligible for inclusion into out hall.

We have a great group of cards for you to review and consider for your decks. Just because they are underplayed doesn’t mean that they have to stay that way.

In our first article I inducted the inaugural class into the Underused Card Hall of Fame. That class is:


Tombstone Stairwell

Forsaken Wastes

Desolation Angel


Tortured Existence


Whirlpool Warrior

Ertai’s Familiar

Riptide Mangler

Alexi, Zephyr Mage



Krosan Tusker

Spike Feeder


Holistic Wisdom



Lightning Surge

Mogg Infestation

Wildfire Emissary

Starke of Rath




Null Chamber

Hand of Justice

Witch Hunter

Soul Sculptor



Snake Basket

Elemental Augury


Vhati il-Dal


Black is very much a mixed smorgasbord this time around. We get two utility creatures, a removal spell unlike any other, and two grab bag cards. This black is arguably a bit more powerful than the cards that were included in the last installment.

5. Do or Die (Rare, Invasion):

I like cheap cards that kill lots of creatures. Do or Die will never kill an opponent’s best creature, unless he wants to pop it. It can, however, take out multiple creatures for a low cost.

In multiplayer, Do or Die is rarely dead, and you can almost always send it at some player who has five or six creatures gallivanting around. Watch as half of said player’s army suddenly ceases to be. Yes, multiplayer is the best place for Do or Die. This is a cheap sorcery that can play havoc with an opponent’s creatures. Additionally, a good player can really set up a devastating choice that can be hard to figure out. This is a card that shines in the right hands.

4. Crypt Angel (Rare, Invasion):

Back when we were discussing good White cards, I mentioned that Green is arguably the most played casual color, but that White is right up there with it. That is what makes Crypt Angel so deadly.

Crypt Angel has several things going for it. Being a Gravedigger for Red and Blue creatures is pretty swell, all things considered. In a deck with those colors, that ability is just gravy on the…er…cake? (Gravy on the meatloaf? That sounds good. Meatloaf. With mashed potatoes: Yum). I find Crypt Angel to be especially useful in red/black decks with a variety of great recursions targets in Red, ranging from Skizzik and Blistering Firecat to Ghitu Slinger and Avalanche Riders.

However, its best ability is the coveted combination of flying and protection from White. With White being so heavily played, Crypt Angel becomes a great blocker who can swing for the win. The combination of three abilities on a solid 3/3 body for a reasonable mana cost make Crypt Angel one tough nut to crack (One tough meatloaf to chew? That old, thrice-cooked leftover meatloaf that is no good at all? Ick.)

3. Ill-Gotten Gains (Rare, Urza’s Saga):

Do you like Restock? Sure, we all do. How much would you pay for a Restock that retrieved three cards from your graveyard? Would it take seven mana? Maybe eight? Isn’t that simply too much to pay for a great recursion spell?

How about if we made everybody discard their hands, including yourself? Wouldn’t that make the card cheaper? And if we allowed everybody to return three cards as well, the symmetry would likely drive the cost down to a reasonable four mana. Isn’t that a great deal?

Ill-Gotten Gains can make opponents discard their hand, but keep the best cards, so nobody minds too much in multiplayer. Since it is your turn when you play the Gains, you can be the first to use those three goodies. In multiplayer, recurring something like, say, Unnerve, after playing the Gains can really push the table around. You can also get Broken Cards of Doom! Returning Time Walk (or Time Warp, Temporal Manipulation, or Capture of Jingzhou), Regrowth and Demonic Tutor can lead to hours of playing by yourself as you take turn after turn.

2. Tainted Pact (Rare, Odyssey):

Not only is Tainted Pact a good card, but you can sing Soft Cell’s most famous song when you play it. Tainted Pact is a great card normally, but there is a casual format where it really shines.

One of the most common deckbuilding variants in casual Magic is a little thing called highlander. If you or someone you love plays highlander, then you should really meet your new best friend, Tainted Pact of Brokenness. Unless you double on a basic land, you are going to tutor for something. A good highlander decks builds in redundancy just for cards like this. If you need to kill a creature, just take the first creature kill on the left, thank you very much. If you are looking for countermagic, enchantment removal, discard, or any other of a variety of effects, look no further than Tainted Pact to fill one of your searching needs.

1. Krovikan Horror (Rare, Alliances):

Krovikan Horror is another card that can do it all. Krovikan Horror can come back at the end of each turn if you place it in your graveyard correctly. It can act as a creature-based Goblin Bombardment. And it is a relatively well-costed bear that can trade with other creatures very well.

Krovikan Horror’s ability to keep coming back can be a major irritant to opponents. I love his Bombardment ability because having a backup is very handy, and having a Black source, as opposed to the red Bombardment can get past the occasional Circle of Protection: Red.

Black recursive decks have been around since Nether Shadow first saw print. Krovikan Horror fits snugly into these decks, including a variety of Survival of the Fittest decks that use him to recur every turn – even faster than Squee, Goblin Nabob can be recurred.


Blue continues creature dominance with 60% of this installment’s inductees having the creature type. Add to that one draw spell and one bit of removal and you have a well-rounded blue. Blue has removal and a pair of beaters, which makes this a very uncharacteristic class for blue.

5. Three Wishes (Rare, Visions):

Three Wishes is a solid card drawing spell without actually drawing cards. There is obviously the restriction that you never draw a card and that they must be played virtually immediately or they’ll be lost. Still, you have to seriously consider three cards for three mana at instant speed.

Three Wishes is usually used on your own turn, so you can lay a land, play a creature and whatnot. However, I’ve often used it to try and find a Counterspell or removal in a pinch. Typically, I am able to use two of the three cards, and just one goes to the graveyard.

Note that the cards not used go to the graveyard, so you’ll never accidentally remove an important recursive card from the game permanently.

4. Icy Prison (Rare, Ice Age):

I hear those intakes of air. “Icy Prison?” you exclaim. Icy Prison is a very interesting card in Blue. Remove one of your opponent’s creatures from the game, and then pay three mana each turn. It’s not the best solution, but Blue can hold on until something better comes along. Likewise you can remove one of your own creatures prior to, say, playing a Wrath of God. Then your opponent has to decide whether to pay three mana each upkeep or allow you to have your own creature back.

My favorite Icy Prison trick is to Prison a person’s Phage. Then they are forced into paying three mana for the rest of the game. Does somebody from Wizards of the Coast want to explain to me why Oubliette and Tawnos’s Coffin were errata’d to phase a creature out but Icy Prison was never similarly errata’d? Icy Prison and Oubliette are the exact same card except for the three mana in the upkeep part. Why would they be treated differently due to errata?

3. Tolarian Serpent (Rare, Weatherlight):

Tolarian Serpent is not for every deck. However, in this age of incarnations, flashback, threshold, and a host of other cards that have uses in the graveyard, Tolarian Serpent can be a powerful tool. Tolarian Serpent single-handedly gives you threshold after one turn. He can fuel a recursive deck in perpetuity.

That’s not all. He can fuel comborific decks like Shared Fate. He’s also a 7/7 beater in Blue, which is not common at all. Be careful of him in your typical sixty-card deck, because a Pacifism or some such will deck you.

2. Possessed Aven (Rare, Torment):

I love Possessed Aven for a variety of reasons. My favorite reason is that this innocent little bird is a Bird Soldier Horror. Fear the Possessed Aven, M’CAWK!!!

Possessed Aven is essentially a 4/4 flying Black creature that can tap to kill Blue creatures with just Blue mana in its casting cost. In casual Magic, I have rarely had the Aven at just a 3/3 flyer, and even there, it is still a pretty good deal. Of the Possessed Creatures from Torment, the Aven probably has the worst or second worst tap-kill ability (Maybe Possessed Barbarian is worse), but it has the best secondary ability with flying. Vigilance, trample, and first strike simply do not stand up to flying.

1. Man-o’-war (Common, Visions/Uncommon, Portal):

One of only three commons to make it to the Underused Card Hall of Fame this time, Man-o-war has fallen on hard times over the past few years.

There was a time when Man-o-war was the Tempo God and all players were its thralls. Fallen Askari? Back to your hand. Wildfire Emissary? Back to your hand. Talruum Minotaur? Back to your hand. Nekrataal? Well, okay, you can stay out.

Man-o’-war has ever been the Blue card that put bounce on the tournament map. What bounce was played prior? Unsummon? Boomerang? Outside the occasional Stasis build, bounce hardly saw play at all. All of that changed with Visions (which also had Undo).

Man-o’-war is still a great “comes into play” creature (can we still call them 187 creatures? I know not all actually kill stuff, but the legacy lingers). In casual Magic, it’s tempo powers are everything they used to be. With the addition of creatures with kicker, token creatures, good creature enchantments, and oodles of 187 creatures of your own, bouncing things has never looked better. Doing so with your own 187 creature – that’s gravy.


In our first installment, only Blue had four creatures out of their five cards. This time around, green retaliates with four creatures of its own. All of these creatures are included because of their utility, while only one can also serve as beatdown.

5. Silklash Spider (Rare, Onslaught):

Let’s imagine, for a second, the typical Friday night Magic game. Imagine some multiplayer fest at a big table. Imagine that you are seeing some typical, normal creatures, artifacts, lands, and enchantments running around. What creatures are you envisioning?

If your multiplayer is anything like the incalculable number of multiplayer games I’ve played, then there are a bunch of flyers running around. Akroma the Best Creature Ever Printed, Visara the Overplayed, Kokusho the Broken, Avatar of Furious Smiting, and the ubiquitous Birds of Mana Production That Should Have Been Pulled Out of the Basic Set Years Ago. In this environment, Silklash Spider is an MVP.

First of all, few flyers have protection from Green, thus allowing the Spider’s damage to get through. Secondly, the Spider’s pseudo-Hurricane ability doesn’t harm you at all, thus making it a better defensive choice. Thirdly, it’s seven toughness behind means that at five mana you have a creature that can successfully block Akroma and live. That is always an important point.

4. Mulch (Common, Stronghold):

I once read that Wizards was considering reprinting Mulch in Odyssey block. However, it filled up the graveyard a little too well for their tastes. That should give you ideas on how to use it.

Mulch can be a bit of a crapshoot. You could get the broken three lands or get nothing. With a forty percent land deck, you should average one and three fifths lands on top of your deck (1.6 lands for you fractionally challenged people). Even when Mulch doesn’t grab you lands, it still fills up your graveyard. You can also use it to clear off the top four cards of your deck after using Scroll Rack or Sylvan Library. Mulch really shines when used in tandem with other cards and strategies. Playing it in a Green threshold deck would be an ideal home.

3. Kavu Titan (Rare, Invasion):

Kavu Titan scores well in performing two tasks admirably. In can be played as a quick Grizzly Bear. That will allow it to put up pressure early or establish a quick a defense in multiplayer. Or, it can be played as a 5/5 trampler for five mana, which makes it a bigger threat or a better blocker.

Unlike a lot of kicker creatures, the Kavu Titan is very cost effective both with and without kicker. You either get a 2/2 for two mana or a 5/5 for five 5/5. It is very elegant and very simple, yet very powerful.

2. Scarwood Bandits (Uncommon, The Dark):

Because Scarwood Bandits is one of my all time favorite cards (I even wrote an entire article about it!), I really wanted to bump it up to number one, but I couldn’t justify it. Ah well.

Anyway, Scarwood Bandits have increased significantly in power in the past couple of years. Green has moved up the rankings from dead last to one of the most powerful colors. Artifacts have exploded on the scene. As such, both of Los Banditos abilities are even more useful than ever.

Sure, forestwalk is boring. You deal two damage to Forestwielders, but there’s not too much else there. However, stealing artifacts, that is a thing of beauty.

Stealing multiple artifacts on a semi-permanent basis is simply très potente. You can always use the double tap trick in case someone is keeping less than four mana open. Tap it at the end of your last opponent’s turn, then when they tap two colorless mana, simply untap, use your Bandits again, and take their stuff.

1. Veteran Explorer (Uncommon, Weatherlight):

The Veteran Explorer remains an enigma for some. Why play an effect that helps everyone out equally? The Veteran Explorer is simply great because of its potential to do several important things.

People will kill Veteran Explorer with any removal available to them. Veteran Explorer is like a Duress for creature removal that makes people feel good about it. The Explorer also increases goodwill around the table. In multiplayer, there is always a person or two that are mana screwed. Veteran Explorer really helps them out, plus everybody loves more land. These lands come into play untapped and ready for use, which is valuable for such a cheap effect.

If you are the better player, than virtually any effect that reduces the randomness of the game is good for you. Having more mana allows more cards to be played, thus reducing the randomness of the game. It increased the value of skill in the match. Sure, the Explorer is subtle, but it is an amazingly powerful tool.


Red gives us a couple of removal spells, a pair of creatures that can double as removal, and a tutoring engine. Two cards are from Invasion block and two more from Tempest block, so these cards are clumped together, temporally. Without further ado, let’s look at Red!

5. Illuminate (Uncommon, Apocalypse):

When I cast Illuminate on a creature, I like to say, “Light it up!” Light it Up is a great card that has major card drawing potential. Sure, not everybody likes the idea that Illuminate can just target creatures, but you can draw a bunch of spells. Nothing feels quite as good tapping out to play like killing something for four and drawing four cards to replenish your hand.

Illuminate is a tool, but it is rarely the featured card of a deck. Nobody says that they want to build an Illuminate deck (unlike a couple of red cards later in our list.) However, as a tool, I find Illuminate to often be a better choice than a traditional X burn spell in control decks, merely because of the huge potential card drawing.

4. Blood Frenzy (Common, Tempest):

Commons have a hard time charting on the Underused Card Hall of Fame. Last time only two commons made the list, and this time only three more join the ranks. The simple fact is that commons are typically simple cards, which makes them more difficult to underuse. Additionally, lots of casual players play commons heavily, making many more commons appear in casual decks.

Blood Frenzy is a great because t is unilaterally good. Pumping a trample creature or getting an extra four damage in is always a nice play. Additionally, Blood Frenzy kills the attacking creature, allowing it to be decent, if a tad awkward, creature kill. You can also use Blood Frenzy to pump creatures for a variety of affects, like Spikeshot Goblin, Bloodshot Cyclops, and so forth.

There’s nothing like morphing up an attacking Blistering Firecat, tossing a Blood Frenzy on it, hitting for 11, then sacrificing the Kitty to a Bloodshot Cyclops for an additional 11. Can anybody say, “Dead player Walking?” In many ways, Blood Frenzy is better than the classic Bloodlust, simply because it kills attackers too, it’s a little worse on offense, sure, but it makes passable defense as well.

3. Wild Research (Rare, Apocalypse):

Wild Research is a major disappointment to me. Not really the Research, but how players have failed to utilize its greatness. As a major tutoring engine, I think we have collectively failed to harness its true power.

Sure, you have a random discard which may result in the loss of a card. That’s not important, though. If you need countermagic, go get Circular Logic. Even if you are forced to discard it, you can still counter whatever you are responding to. Go Research up Accumulated Knowledge. If you discard it, oh well, now your next AK will be even bigger.

Searching up just the right enchantment is no problem even with a random discard. After all, you can just Replenish all of those discarded enchantments back into play. Wild Research can be used as a lynchpin in several types of decks, from Counter-burn to and enchantment-based strategy. For real fun, try combining them.

2. Ancient Hydra (Uncommon, Nemesis):

I want to point out, for the record, that I believe that Ancient Hydra is a bit less subtle than a lot of cards that make my list. Wild Research has to be used correctly, Tainted Pact needs to be played in the right deck, and Pursuit of Knowledge needs to be used with the right cards. Ancient Hydra, however, needs no friends.

There are a couple of ways to view Ancient Hydra. The first is as a 5/1 creature that clears its own path to attack for mad damage. The second incarnation is as a mobile creature sweeper, taking out a pair of 2/2s and a 1/1 or something like that.

While the Hydra does not need any assistance, other cards, like recursion, like the Hydra. Zombify it back up and kill a few more creatures. Although removing Fading counters to shoot things takes a colorless mana, the Hydra has more potential damage than a Triskelion with its three counters. Note also that a Hydra comes out sooner and swings for more damage. The Hydra can use its counter to clear a path and still deal five damage. A 1/1 Triskelion that just cleared a path merely massages your opponent’s life total.

1. Shard Phoenix (Rare, Stronghold):

Maybe with its return in Ninth Edition the Phoenix will sneak out from behind piles of crap rares and into deck sleeves and tournaments. The Shard Phoenix is, in my opinion, one of the best red cards ever printed.

What can Shard Phoenix do? Well, as a 2/2 flyer, it can block a lot of stuff. Additionally, it can block any ground creature, and after damage goes on the stack, you can sac it to deal an additional two damage, thus killing any creatures with a four power or less. So, on defense, Shard Phoenix is solid.

But wait, there’s more! Shard Phoenix’s ability to virtually Pyroclasm (with no mana commitment) is golden. The Phoenix can sit back on defense and wait to exchange itself for several of your opponent’s creatures. Combined with modest burn, like Shock, the Phoenix can take out a four toughness ground creature, or a six toughness ground creature if it is blocked by the Phoenix.

But wait, there’s even more! Shard Phoenix’s significant recursive ability allows for it to generate massive card advantage over time. In addition, it’s recursive ability goes very well with cards like Intuition. Intuition will stock your graveyard with a pair of Phoenixes (Phoenixen? Phoenices? Phoenii?) while also putting one in your hand.

That’s not all, there’s more! Since the Shard Phoenix flies, after you use it to establish control, you can use it to win the game as well! Just keep attacking until your opponent’s life total is 0 or less and you win! So, to recap, you get the flying evasive ability, the decent 2/2 body, the recursive ability, you get the winning condition, the stabilizer, the defensive guru and the synergetic creature all in one neat package! How much would you expect to pay for all of this?

That’s right, just five mana (around two bucks here on StarCityGames).


This time White gives us three creatures and two useful spells. All three creatures excel at playing defense, but can also have evasive abilities designed at getting in a bit of damage as well. Having creatures that can fulfill either role is very important in deckbuilding, and white is very good at that with Vigilance creatures, and in this case, creatures with great abilities.

5. Spectral Lynx (Rare, Apocalypse):

Which color is the most commonly played casual color? I’d argue that it is a claim that either Green or White can stake. Certainly Black and Red are played in decent numbers, but I think that the ultimate casual crown has to go to either Green or White. At the end of the day, my vote goes to Green. From casual players at the Magic store to multiplayer in basement rec rooms, I believe that Green is the most commonly played color.

That makes Spectral Lynx a highly valuable card. Silver Knight and White Knight can help against the forces of death and chaos, but White often needs to stave off the forces of nature. That’s what makes the cat so special – there are few creatures with protection from Green, and even fewer on a good creature. Add in Black for regeneration, and you have a pretty good deal.

I simply cannot imagine a Black/White deck that would not want to include Spectral Lynx. As a defensive or offensive tool, it is simply hard to compare it to many creatures out there. It’s is arguably better than River Boa due to it’s ability to play defense so well.

4. Pursuit of Knowledge (Rare, Stronghold):

Welcome to White’s own Opportunity. Skip drawing three cards (-3 card advantage) plus the Pursuit itself (-4 card advantage) and draw seven cards (+3 card advantage).

Quite frankly, Pursuit of Knowledge has a lot going for it. It is one of the few ways that you can skip drawing cards. When the inevitable Wheel and Deal/Megrim/Underworld Dreams/Prosperity deck pops its head at your table, use the Pursuit to actually survive. It also can keep you from being decked, a minor but important ability.

However, you usually use Pursuit of Knowledge to draw a bunch of cards. Combine with Sylvan Library to draw seven cards on your next turn, and not have to discard any to the Library. Use with Brainstorm or other card drawing sources to instantly draw a heap of cards. The beauty of this card is that, unlike other draw-7 cards, this one does not impact other players. No extra cards for anyone other than you.

3. Lieutenant Kirtar (Rare, Odyssey):

Kirtar is probably one of my favorite legends, ranking right up there with such greats like Vhati il-Dal, Rasputin Dreamweaver, Captain Sisay, and Akroma, Angel of Wrath. Kirtar does one thing, and does it very well.

Kirtar is like a Seal of Order (from the split card Order/Chaos). He is also a 2/2 flyer for three mana, which is a pretty strong combination. He can block, and then Order another attacker. He can swing for two and still hold down the fort with his ability.

However, the part about his ability that I like the most is that Kirtar does not remove himself from the game either. Wizards so frequently creates cards that do things like that. Instead, Kirtar goes to the graveyard where he awaits being reused. That puts him over the top.

2. Commander Eesha (Rare, Judgment):

Commander Eesha is everything you want in a creature. Getting a 2/4 flyer for four mana is on par with an established set of creatures, like Azure Drake, Ghost Ship and Fighting Drake. Commander’s Eesha’s other ability, however, is nothing short of amazing.

Getting such a relatively cheap flyer with protection from creatures is pretty good. You can block anything with virtual impunity. You can swing, always certain that no creature will be able to block. If Spectral Lynx has great offensive and defensive potential, then Eesha is the overlord of working both sides of combat.

The sheer number of times that I have seen people stupidly attack into Eesha would drown a mule. Her high defensive value makes her even more sturdy, making burn work even harder to take her down.

1. Oblation (Rare, Onslaught):

Let’s play one of those mathematical, logical, Magic-related games. Here goes:

In terms of sheer versatility, ??????? > Commander Eesha > Spectral Lynx

Solve for ???????.

If you guessed Oblation (probably because you read the header), then you are right. Oblation is the king of versatility. They might as well print a card that reads “2W, Instant, Nuke any permanent, except for lands, cards with protection from white, protection from instants, or untargetability. Oh, and let the poor guy draw a couple of cards in compensation for his loss.”

Oblation will take out any offensive permanent on the board (with the above quid pro quos). No regeneration, no indestructible, just straight into the deck we go making it cheap and efficient. They draw a couple of cards, sure, but it’s usually worth it.

Additionally, you can always Oblation one of your own permanents to draw a couple of cards yourself. I have Oblated a Darksteel Colossus of my own in order to prevent that mean Swords to Plowshares from doing it in. I promptly played the Tinker in my hand to get it back, making a very attractive play and completely demoralizing my opponent.


A Land, an artifact, and three gold cards make up this class. This is our first land to make it into the Underused Card Hall of Fame, so brown lands of the world unite!

5. Mystic Compass (Uncommon, Alliances):

I bet that a lot of you have to click on the link in order to find out what Mystic Compass even does. Go ahead, I’ll still be here when you return…..

Errata on Mystic Compass allows it to target any land, not just mana-producing lands. Now you can turn any land into a Swamp or a Forest. Why would you want to do this?

Maybe you need a color of mana. You might need a third Blue for Future Sight, or a Green mana so you can play Kodama’s Reach. Maybe you want to turn one of your lands into a basic land so that Wasteland or Dust Bowl can’t take it out. Maybe you want to forestwalk your opponent with Scarwood Bandits. Maybe you want to have more basic lands types so that domain spells like Ordered Migration and Global Ruin will be even better for you. Maybe you want to turn your opponent’s Maze of Ith or Kor Haven into a basic land so that you can attack with impunity. Maybe you want to use it during an opponent’s upkeep as a pseudo-Icy Manipulator, denying that person a color of mana.

The simple truth is that there are scads of uses for Mystic Compass, more than enough to warrant it being played.

4. Yavimaya Hollow (Rare, Urza’s Destiny):

In the list of powerful legendary land effects, Yavimaya hollow falls behind powerhouses like Tolarian Academy, Gaea’s Cradle, Kor Haven, and Volrath’s Stronghold. Yet, the Hollow has a very powerful ability.

An untapped Hollow with Green mana available will turn observant players away from your side of the table. I cannot tell you the sheer number of times that I saved a creature with the Hollow’s simple ability. Yavimaya Hollow appears to be a grand card, but one that is often overshadowed by sexier lands.

3. Aether Mutation (Uncommon, Apocalypse):

In the list of all powerful bounce effects, how many can also serve as winning conditions? There are lots of good bounce spells out there: Recoil is clever, Man-o-war is great tempo, Capsize is the uber-bounce spell of brokenness, and Upheaval is the bouncing reset button.

No bounce spell puts you in a better position to win like Aether Mutation. No bounce spell continues to protect you from other players around the table after you bounce the one creature. Simply put, there is a case to be made that Aether mutation is the best bounce spell ever printed (although some might argue the sheer utility of Capsize and the ability of Upheaval to swing the game).

Getting a bunch of 1/1s with your bounce effect is better in casual Magic than it is in the tournament game because the numbers are generally higher in the upper right corner of the card.

2. Rasputin Dreamweaver (Rare, Legends):

The text of Rasputin is a bit awkwardly written, so I’ll briefly explain. Rasputin comes into play with seven counters. You can remove a counter at any time for no cost to either add a colorless mana to your mana pool or to prevent a damage to Rasputin, who’s 4/1 physique sometimes requires it. You get to put one back every upkeep, up to the original seven, but only if you didn’t have to untap Rasputin in the untap step.

Rasputin shines in a variety of ways. I love getting him in play after a resolved Living Death and making a bunch of mana in order to continue to go off. Play him when you have six mana, and on the next turn you have at least thirteen mana available. He really helps the occasional Death Grasp or Stroke of Genius. You can use him to play a big creature or effect and still have mana available for countermagic. With Recurring Nightmare abuse, Rasputin can really make oodles of mana for you. He has massive potential, so take a look at him.

1. Captian Sisay (Rare, Invasion):

The last card on our countdown and boy, am I ready to wrap things up! Sisay is a broken tutor engine, and you’d better get that.

My favorite thing to do with Sisay is to tutor for mana I need in a five color deck. She can get any of the uncommon cycle of Legendary Lands in Legends and the rare cycle in Champions. Both tap for a specific color of mana, so she really helps to smooth your mana base. Additionally, Sisay can tutor for a copy of any legendary permanent in play under another’s control, assuming that you are running one as well. If your opponent’s Mirari is getting out of hand, tutor for your own, play it, and they both go elsewhere.

Of course, you can always tutor for a simple legendary permanent that you would like to play. Make Akroma, Angel of Wrath ready to play at the party. Perhaps Rorix, Bladewing, Kamahl, Pit Fighter or Commander Eesha are looking to fill a current need on the board. Perhaps a Verdeloth the Ancient could be a beneficial mana sink, followed by Nemata, Grove Guardian to provide a bit more punch. Maybe you need a Shivan Gorge or Keldon Necropolis to deal that last bit of damage to an opponent. Would a Tolarian Academy break open the game?

The short of it is that Captain Sisay is a reusable tutor of death and destruction. Use her well.

Fourteen pages of Word and thirty cards later brings us to the conclusion of another article. Good luck finding and using several of these cards!

Until Later,

Abe Sargent

Magic Note of the Day: If you simply reverse two letters in its name, mean angry red creatures like Possessed Barbarians and Barbarian Lunatics become hapless Barbarina. Nobody is scared of a Barbarina…