Retiring The Most Underused Cards Of All Time, Volume III

Nothing is better than stories about one player dominating a Magic group with a card that no one played. After the domination begins, however, everyone starts including it in their decks. When that happens, it’s like casual group evolution right before your eyes. And here are thirty overlooked cards that might just dominate your kitchen table, if given the right chance.

Nothing is better than stories about one player dominating a Magic group with a card that no one played. After the domination begins, however, everyone starts including it in their decks. When that happens, it’s like casual group evolution right before your eyes.

Hello again, and welcome to the third installment of the quickly growing Underused Card Hall of Fame. This is the place where I retire thirty cards, placing them in the Underused Card Hall of Fame. There are six categories: one for each color and another category for everything else. I retire five cards in each category.

I love this series of articles because I can write about one of my favorite topics. These are cards that most of you aren’t playing, but you should be. These cards have a low value, and can be acquired rather easily.

Now, in order to warrant being called an underused card, it must be playable. Seafarer’s Quay, for example, is not underused – because despite the fact that you almost never see it played, it is, in fact, a really lousy card. This is a list of are cards that I have deemed good, yet no one seems to play.

How do I know if a card is underused or not? We have a large multiplayer group every week at my house, with an ever-changing cast of characters. Virtually all of them are bereft of tournament experience. Additionally, I play casual at a local store. The best way, however, of making sure that these are not just regional biases, is to check their price. This is how I know that, for example, Oblation isn’t played much, despite the fact that I really believe that it ought to be.

Remember folks, ol’ Abe is 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. By the way, please note that Portal and Un- cards are currently not eligible for inclusion into the 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.


The Black cards featured this time include four enchantments… and that’s a lot for a relatively enchantment-light color. We have three creature removal cards, a card drawing engine, and a graveyard-hosing machine. Welcome to Black.

5. Massacre (Uncommon, Nemesis)

I believe that Massacre has fallen in favor due in part to the fact that other effects have arrived on the scene and stolen its thunder. Infest costs one less, Bane of the Living is versatility at the top level, Decree of Pain cycles and has the ability to be actually played at some point, and Mutilate has the same cost but will likely work much better.

This is the crowded field that Massacre has to work against – but it has one major advantage, especially in multiplayer. It costs nothing to play. Somebody will be playing White in multiplayer. I can’t remember a multiplayer game with five or more people that did not include at least one deck playing White.

Severely impacting the creature count at the table for free is a great boon, because then you can play your own two toughness creatures afterward. You do not skip a beat or miss a stone (I think I mixed my analogies there). I have found Massacre to be an especially useful sideboard card in environments where White Weenie is a threat. I played in with great efficiency in the sideboard of my Nether-Go deck back when Rebels were the thing, for example. If White Weenie is at your table, look no further than this friendly black weenie-sweeper.

4. No Mercy (Rare, Urza’s Legacy)

Before we begin, I want to say that the one thing keeping No Mercy from charting even higher is the simple fact that I suspect that there are casual games in isolated metagame pockets around the world that still heavily use No Mercy. I base this belief on the radical difference in online pricing.

No Mercy is a house in multiplayer. Ever since Legends gave us Moat and The Abyss, we’ve wanted enchantments that do a similar thing – enchantments like Humility, Aurification, Call to the Grave, and No Mercy. (Zzzyxas’s Abyss, counts too, I guess).

In multiplayer, nothing says rattlesnake quite like a No Mercy. Attack me, and lose your creature. Attack Bob, who does not have a No Mercy, keep your creature. Not only is No Mercy an excellent signaling device, but it is hardly broken. That one player has out a No Mercy does not mean another player at the table needs to Disenchant it. It’s not hurting other players; just protecting yourself (like an Ivory Mask). Therefore, it is typically not the best target for removal at the table, and it often survives. I’ve finished out hour-long games without people Disenchanting my No Mercy. It’s definitely got the goods.

3. Vile Requiem (Uncommon, Urza’s Saga)

The sheer beauty of Vile Requiem lies in its ability to virtually Wrath of God when you need it after it’s been out a while. A Vile Requiem with just three or four counters on it can screw over any non-black player at the table, keeping them off your back.

The problem with Vile Requiem is that the procedure of placing counters on something draws attention to it. As a result, you may want to find a subtle way of marking counters.

The Vile Requiem is great at keeping options open. Pernicious Deed often requires a lot of mana be kept open to use, but the Requiem just needs a pair of mana. The result of a card that is cheap to use, cheap to find, and massive in effect is quite powerful to behold.

2. Infernal Tribute (Rare, Weatherlight)

The Weatherlight set was weak compared to the sets it was sandwiched up against. When Infernal Tribute was released, I remember InQuest saying that it was a gift for Necropotence decks, because finally you’d have a way to sacrifice Necro. The only problem was that it rarely found a home in Necro decks; sorry, InQuest.

If you are playing enough Black to run the Infernal Tribute, then think about what sort of decks benefit from it. Aggro decks need ways of continuing pressure, and here you can convert excess lands and meaningless creatures into cards. Aggro can also combine it with cards like Sarcomancy and sacrifice the enchantment after making the token.

Control and Combo like Infernal Tribute for its ability to draw cards as well. Control would love to convert dying permanents into cards. It needs to keep any edge it gains. Combo can easily find uses for sacrificing permanents – though note that you cannot sacrifice tokens to the Tribute, so no using Sengir Autocrat or Breeding Pit to make cards with the Tribute. Simply put, the Tribute is an amazing card that can really help round out decks.

1. Planar Void (Uncommon, Urza’s Saga)

Planar Void looks simple enough. In fact, it looks downright minor. However, at the multiplayer table, few cards have as significant an impact for its casting cost.

Planar Void shuts down an awful lot of silliness: No Lifeline, no Endless Whispers/put Phage the Untouchable into play under someone’s control, no recursive Kokusho the Broken Star tricks, no Bladewing the Risen reanimation, no threshold, no incarnations, no silly Time Walk recursion – none of that.

Planar Void shuts them all down.

If your multiplayer table is like ours, then every game sees half of the table abuse their graveyards. Morality Shift, Traumatize, Guiltfeeder, Mortivore, and more all rely on the graveyard. In the past month, I’ve seen tricks like Mesmeric Orb used to fuel the graveyard. Once card shuts them all down. One card ends all of this silliness. One card makes the graveyard a meaningless resource again. Say hello to Planar Void, our new best friend.


Blue only has one creature this time, but features a duo of powerful enchantments. Add in a sorcery and an instant and you have a formula for good times. There are no counterspells on this list, no creatures that double as major threats, no massive game-swinging enchantments. With the possible exception of the number one card, none of these cards will have a major game-altering effect on a game…. But these cards are the backbones of several strategies. Use them well.

5. Portent (Common, Ice Age, 5th)

Ah Portent, I love you so. Everybody has a favorite one mana Blue card that manipulates or draws cards: Brainstorm, Opt, Serum Visions, and whatnot. Me? I love Portent.

Portent is great because of its diversity. You can look at the top three cards of either your library or your opponent’s. Then you can rearrange your three cards or your opponent’s. That’s a big deal. Feel free to Portent your opponent from getting that crucial card for a turn or two (assuming it is on top of the deck at all.) Portent can be used to combat sorcery speed tutors that put cards on top of the library (like, say, the soon-to-be-legal Portal tutors). The gravy part of Portent is that if you see nothing that you like, you can make yourself or your opponent shuffle. If you are trying to keep Blue mana from your opponent, and the top three cards are all lands that make Blue, you can make them reshuffle their deck.

Add to all of that the cantrip ability and you have one strong and versatile card. I love Portent.

4. Homarid Spawning Bed (Uncommon, Fallen Empires)

It should come as no surprise to regular readers of my columns that Homarid Spawning Bed is making the charts today. The ability of the Spawning Bed to find a spot in a large number of Blue decks is uncanny.

For a Blue-based casual deck, turning any Blue creatures of yours into a variety of 1/1 tokens is a great deal – especially for just three mana. Use it is response to removal, put damage on the stack and then sacrifice, chump block then make more blockers for future turns, turn a defensive creature like a wall into an offense, and more. The Spawning Bed is good in a variety of decks with a variety of styles. Feel free to experiment and find a great place for the Spawning Bed in your decks.

3. Aura Thief (Rare, Urza’s Destiny)

The Aura Thief is one of the great signals in multiplayer. There are a variety of enchantments running around – from Mirari’s Wake to Future Sight to Sylvan Library to Treasure Trove. Aura Thief gets them all for you.

In addition to being a Blue answer for several types of enchantments, the Aura Thief can also keep players from attacking you. They don’t want to attack into an Aura Thief with a good enchantment out. They don’t want to kill the Aura Thief either, so they are stuck.

Unlike Academy Rector, which has a similar chilling effect on attackers, the Aura Thief can actually damage an opponent’s life total. As a 2/2 flyer, the Aura Thief has an evasive ability and enough power to make use of it.

2. Coastal Piracy (Uncommon, Mercadian Masques, Rare, 8th)

I like the draw cards. If you play Concentrate, then you will draw three cards for 2UU. If you play Coastal Piracy, you could draw much more for the same price.

Turning every creature into a Thieving Magpie is a great way to encourage you to play evasive creatures. Luckily for you, Blue is the king of evasive creatures, from landwalkers to flyers to shadow to creatures that are literally unblockable.

Imagine having out both Coastal Piracy and Homarid Spawning Bed. Every creature you play can be turned into several 1/1 creatures, each of which can draw you cards. That’s a pretty potent setup, and it is just one example of how abusable Coastal Piracy can be for the casual game.

1. Evacuation (Rare, Stronghold, 7th, 8th)

There are a lot of reasons to like Evacuation. As an instant, it is an answer to every creature-based threat. You can bounce all attackers in a pseudo-Fog effect that will last for several turns. Token creatures are killed. You can reuse creatures with kicker or comes into play abilities. You can Evacuation at the end of a person’s turn and make them discard a card or three. You can put expensive creatures that were tutored out back into the hand so that they cannot be cast again for a while (like returning an Akroma, Angel of Wrath or a Darksteel Colossus retrieved with a Defense of the Heart or Tinker). Feel free to bounce everything in play to save creatures from a Wrath of God or saving valuable mana creatures from an Obliterate. It keeps a Congregate from giving life. If that Congregate is targeting you after the resolution of a False Cure, you stay alive. It will kill everybody when that Biorhythm resolves. You can make players pay costs a second time for creatures like Lord of Tresserhorn. You’ll be the only one with a creature when that Faceless Butcher is bounced and you get back the Butchered creature.

In case you hadn’t noticed, Evacuation is a great card, useful in a variety of situations. For a while, Evacuation was my most commonly retrieved card with a Wish, until I decided to just put Evacuation in many of my decks. I’ve never been disappointed.


I had to work to find Green cards this time. I keep a document of potential cards and add to it as I find goodies – and when it comes time to write these articles, I flip through it. This time, I had just four Green cards, and I had to really look to find the fifth. I searched my deck binders, cardlists online, even my previous articles for inspiration. However, I really like what I ultimately found, so I’m happy. I may need ideas for the next Green segment, however.

5. Reap (Uncommon, Tempest)

This is the card that I had to work to find, but I really like it. Imagine a multiplayer game without someone playing Black. It’s hard to do, isn’t it? Someone is always playing Black. Even if there is just one Black permanent in play, this becomes an instant Regrowth. If just one person had a pair of Black cards in play, than you have an instant Restock for just two mana and it stays in the graveyard, able to be reused.

Heaven forbid that a person have three or more Black permanents in play for you to Reap off of. If you are worried that your opponents might not have a Black permanent, you could always give them one. No, I don’t mean janky Laces. I mean Sleeper Agent. Look it up, you know you want to.

4. Forgotten Ancient (Rare, Scourge)

One of my recent pet peeves is how “Forgotten” the Ancient has really become. For a card that had tremendous press, you’d think it was really limited in usage, like the Crucible of Worlds.

In multiplayer, the Forgotten Ancient gets bigger than a corpse in the hot summer sun. I’ve seen a Forgotten Ancient with ten or twelve counters on it after just one turn. That’s crazy big. It’s big with a splashable cost, which is nuts.

Forgotten Ancient is one of the best creatures to play in multiplayer, ever. With multiple players viewing multiple cards as threats, not only does the Ancient have a chance to last for a while, but it brings unheard of sizes to creatures. Toss in cards that can actually use the counters, like Spike Feeder, Triskelion, Number Three on the “Other” list, and more.

3. Viridian Zealot (Rare, Fifth Dawn)

While the Ancient is powerful because it has big muscles, the Zealot is powerful because nobody cares about it. In all of my years as a player, how many times have I had my Seal of Cleansing Disenchanted? At most, I’ve had them taken out somewhere around three or four times, tops. How many times have I had 2/1 creatures killed despite virtually no useful abilities? I’ve probably only had this happen a handful of times (in casual play, in limited and constructed obviously a lot more). Viridian Zealot sits on the table and does his versatility impression, without anyone caring.

Quick: name a regularly played efficient 2/1 beater for two mana that does not get killed. Most of these creatures – such as Joiner Adept, Nezumi Cutthroat, Order of the White Shield, Order of the Ebon Hand, and more – get axed on a regular basis. That’s not the case with the Zealot. He’s a great early-game creature, keeping away bears or trading with them. Then he also doubles as a Naturalize. None of these costs are particularly out of whack for their ability. The 2/1 creature is two mana and the Naturalize effect is two mana. That makes the Zealot a solid choice for a lot of decks.

Plus, my avatar online is a Viridian Zealot.

2. Greater Good (Rare, Urza’s Saga)

Who likes drawing cards? If you do, then you’ll like our top two entries in the Green section of the Underused Card List. Greater Good turns about-to-be-killed beef into yet-to-be-used resources. Any creature with a power four or greater can really fill up your hand. Creatures with a three power are useful. Even creatures with a smaller power can help you dig and try to find an emergency spell. (Well, not Birds of Paradise, but still.)

The combo potential of Greater Good is quite strong. I used to run Shifting Walls in a mana engine and Greater Good combined to allow me to draw my deck and go off from there. Whether you toss Greater Good into your stereotypical Green deck with big creatures or you use it facilitate the drawing of many cards in some engine, you be all about serving the Greater Good.

1. Nature’s Resurgence (Rare, Weatherlight, 6th, 7th)

There are not as many decks that cannot use Nature’s Resurgence as you might first suspect. Think about an aggro deck. Your creatures have started to die against a control player, and you need to regain the momentum. Outdrawing your opponent by several cards would do it, right?

Let’s say you are a control deck. One of the resources that you control is your opponent’s graveyard. You keep it down with one of a variety of possible cards. Why not run Nature’s Resurgence to draw cards when your opponent doesn’t?

How about a reanimation deck? Whether you fill up your graveyard with Buried Alive, Attunement, or Bazaar of Baghdad, you have a graveyard full of cards with the type “Creature” stamped on them. Why not outdraw your opponent for a large number of cards?

Let’s say you are playing a combo deck that puts a lot of creatures into your graveyard. Why not benefit from that by playing Nature’s Resurgence and outdrawing your opponent?

Maybe you are playing a Turbo Threshold deck from Odyssey block. Between Tolarian Serpent and Careful Study, you get quite a lot of cards into your graveyard – and at a blistering pace. Why not outdraw your opponent with a Nature’s Resurgence?

In multiplayer, why not have a little fun and toss in a card that helps out everybody, but which you can manipulate so that you have a higher chance of drawing more cards than the rest of the table? Combined with Night Soil, your Resurgence gives you a lot more cards than everybody else.

I am constantly finding more uses for the Resurgence. The original Stompy decks used them to great effect. I hope that you will find it just as useful.


Red brings us three creatures this time, two of which serve as removal and a third that doesn’t mind getting removed. Toss in a great counterspell and a funky enchantment and you’ve got your typical slate of Red cards.

5. Goblin Marshal (Rare, Urza’s Destiny)

I’ve quickly become enamored with a pair of cards on today’s Red countdown (number four is the other one). Goblin Marshal is a great threat when he is in play, and makes more when he dies.

There are a lot of goblin combo potentials with Goblin Marshal. I like to use Moggcatcher to grab Goblin Assassin, then get Goblin Marshal. When you ‘Catcher the Marshal, you flip three times. If just one of those flips results in you killing a goblin, then you can sacrifice the Goblin Marshal and flip twice more. Five coin flips for each opponent can easily decimate opposing forces. Follow up with a Siege-Gang Commander, create more coin-flipping havoc, and you’ll have enough goblin tokens to create quite a gobliny win.

I’ve recently experimented with Goblin Marshal in Rec/Sur decks, Sneak Attack decks, Lifeline decks, goblin combo decks, and Goblin Warrens decks. There is a lot of utility in a Goblin Marshal.

4. Grand Melee (Rare, Onslaught)

One of the lessons that I have learned from my “Bad Rares” series is that I really like Grand Melee. There is a lot of strategic value in making all creatures attack or block each turn.

I originally played around with Grand Melee in a multiplayer wall deck. Making players attack each other meant that nobody ever attacked me, because I had blockers when others didn’t. However, I’ve found a lot of other uses for both sides of Grand Melee.

From making people attack into Powerstone Minefields to triggering cards like Orim’s Prayer and Blessed Reversal, I’ve found a lot of uses for Grand Melee. Grand Melee is never going to win you much support at the multiplayer table – it gets Disenchanted pretty quickly – but you can use that to your advantage.

Also take a look at cards like Rock Slide, Lava Storm, or Hail Storm to protect your flanks. In multiplayer, these cards can really have a powerful effect on the creature count when combined with Grand Melee.

3. Reckless Embermage (Rare, Mirage, 6th, 7th)

I want you to think about the name for a second: Reckless Embermage. It just sounds Red, doesn’t it?

Reckless Embermage has three major uses. First, the Embermage can ting a player for one point of damage every turn. Not every round of turns, like a Prodigal Sorcerer, but every literal turn. If there are four players playing a game, the Embermage can ting four times, assuming you have the mana available.

Secondly, the Embermage can ting a lot of one-toughness creatures. Again, you can do this once a turn. Feel free to ting a 2/1 on your turn, a 1/1 on their turn, a 1/1 on the following turn, and a 0/1 on the least run before you get to untap.

Finally, the Embermage can blow itself up on one turn to deal a bunch of damage a la Rocket Launcher and deal a mad amount of damage to creatures or players. Did I also mention that Reckless Embermage is a 2/2 creature that can cause combat math havoc?

2. Desolation Giant (Rare, Apocalypse)

I’m actually a little surprised that it has taken me this long to put Desolation Giant on the countdown. Seriously, how many casual decks that include Red and White can’t find space for a Desolation Giant? He’s not good in Reanimator or Sneak Attack decks, but he’s a house in virtually everything else.

Feel free to Wrath of God away creatures and leave yourself an attacker. It’s a valid strategy for control. An aggressive deck might want to have a reset button in case it loses control, and the Desolation Giant keeps the pressure coming. A combo deck might want to take out a bunch of creatures and leave a speed bump. Every basic deck type can use it.

I use the Wog Giant on a regular basis as a supplement for Wrath of God and Rout. Just a couple can really extend your deck’s life.

1. Mages’ Contest (Rare, Invasion)

I am about to make what will probably be a very controversial statement, so prepare yourself:

“Mages’ Contest is the best Lava Axe ever printed.”

I want you to view Mages’ Contest as the new split card Lava Axe/Counterspell. That’d be a great split card, right? That’s what this card is. (Well, except that your opponent chooses the mode – but continue… – T.F.)

The problem with Mages’ Contest is that, in the hands of a poor player, Mages’ Contest is a poor card. Good and bad players alike can swing with 8/8 tramplers, but only good players can use Mages’ Contest correctly. In fact, I could write an entire article on Mages’ Contest strategies. I use them in everything from combo decks to Sligh-ish aggressive decks.

Remember, good players make Mages’ Contest a razor-sharp cutting implement, while bad players turn Mages’ Contest into a cudgel. I’ve seen bad players with counterspells of their own choose not to counter a Mages’ Contest because they can win the life game. When they get outlifed, they cannot go back, and their spell is countered. Mages’ Contest is simply too good for strong players not to consider.


White has a pair of cheap utility creatures, a pair of “mass” removal spells, and a versatile creature enchantment. The cards this time are supplements to existing decks, instead of suggesting decks to play, with the possible exception of the top card. I hope there is room in your toolbox for these cards.

5. Holy Light (Common, The Dark)

Are you a White mage? Do you regularly complain about Royal Assassins, Prodigal Sorcerers, Grim Lavamancers, Birds of Paradise, and more? Are you looking for a way to sooth your pain, or do you just want to whine?

If taking out X/1 creatures is your need, give Holy Light a call. Holy Light is an underused card from The Dark that will help out your problems. Don’t delay: call Holy Light, today!

4. Sunscape Battlemage (Uncommon, Planeshift)

The little Battlemage that could.” Battlemage fans around the world acknowledge the power of the Thornscape School. The Battlemage school easily is the second best, and considered quite good. While those in the know highly respect the third school, the Sunscape School, it is much less recognized.

The Sunscape Battlemage’s ability to off a flyer is amazingly strong in casual and multiplayer where everything from Akroma to Avatar of Fury needs to be taken out quickly and efficiently. In any multiplayer like our own, the ability to destroy Akroma is quite strong (and highly needed). Additionally, you can always draw a couple of cards, meaning this Battlemage is rarely a bad draw. With both kickers, Sunscape Battlemage is like an Opportunity – yielding three extra cards for the price of one.

3. Masako the Humorless (Rare, Champions of Kamigawa)

I suspect that the inclusion of a Champions card on the list will raise a bit of controversy. People might exclaim that Masako hasn’t had time to make its way into casual decks. Obviously, I think that’d be a silly claim.

Masako is dumb good. Not only do you get a surprise blocker to kill an attacking X/2 if you wish, not only can you use Masako to Fog an opposing creature for a turn, but you can also use Masako to create the Ambush-That-Turned-the-Game.

If you think that Masako is not underplayed, simply look at the price. I looked up Masako two weeks after Champions had been released, and she was a buck then, as well. That told me that casual players were not giving her the chance that Kokusho the Broken Star received.

2. Pariah (Rare, Urza’s Saga, 7th)

Quick, what card can be creature removal, a janky combo trick, or a way to stay alive for an extra turn? If you guessed Pariah, probably because that is the title of this section, then you’d be right.

Pariah can do everything from being placed on a Dawn Elemental or Cho-Manno, Revolutionary to giving you a way to pop an Academy Rector all the way over to killing an opposing creature like Akroma.

That’s an awful lot of work for Pariah to accomplish – but don’t worry, it can handle it. Pariahs have been taking care of business for a long time. Use it to give you one last turn to swing with your creatures, play it as an instant with Vedalken Orrery to Fog your opponent and more.

1. Retribution of the Meek (Rare, Visions)

When I see White mages not using Holy Light in the appropriate decks, I shake my head. When I see them not use Retribution of the Meek when appropriate, I shake them.

If you have a White aggro deck, why not run a three casting cost Wrath of God effect that won’t hurt you? If you feature a multiplayer deck with a lot of Dawn Elementals, Blinding Angels, Commander Eesha, and more, then you need to run the Meekly Retribution.

There are more things to do with Retribution of the Meek that to simply play it with Thran Weaponry. It’s such a powerful card, taking down virtually all of the most powerful multiplayer creatures. Plus, it can leave yours standing.


The other category this time includes two artifacts and three Gold cards. We have three creatures and all can bring the beats in different situations. We have a great control card, able to destroy several permanents simultaneously while also possibly causing an opponent to discard. And we finish with my favorite bounce spell of all time.

5. Phyrexian War Beast (Common, Alliances)

I remember putting Phyrexian War Beast into my Sligh deck, trying it out online. I was on a popular IRC channel and playing Extended games on Apprentice. I told one person that I was trying out a version of “Abesligh.” He responded that he had heard of it, but didn’t like it that much. Of course, I had invented the term, right there on the spot, so no one could have ever have heard of it.

Phyrexian War Beast stayed in my deck for years. When the Magic Invitational had a BYOB tournament, nearly half of the players chose to build a Sligh deck. Most chose to include Alliances – and of those that played Alliances, every player except one used Phyrexian War Beast.

Where is it in casual circles? Are you truly unable to see a cheap 3/4 as a good thing? Did you also have problems understanding why Serendib Efreet is good? Phyrexian War Beast is a house, take it from one who has played them for, literally, most of Magic’s existence.

4. Frenetic Efreet (Rare, Mirage)

Another solid entrant from Those Days of Yore, the Frenetic Efreet is still just as good as he has always been. The Efreet combines a cheap efficient flyer with a potentially devastating evasive ability.

Unlike the mere untargetability of the Rainbow Efreet, the Frenetic Efreet draws removal because it might work. Frenetic Efreet might just dodge a Wrath of God or an Obliterate. Use its ability after blocking a mega-creature. If it doesn’t work, it’s no big deal. After all, it was just a 2/1 flyer. However, if it does work, then we’ve gotten an extra turn, an extra creature, or gotten an opponent to waste removal. It could even all happen again with another coin flip. The sheer uncertainty of the card meshes well with its cheap cost.

3. Mindless Automaton (Rare, Exodus)

Of all of the potential reprints for Mirrodin block, the one that should have made the cut was Mindless Automaton. I love the Mindless Automaton for its synergy and ability to change into what you need.

In casual Magic, I’ve loaded up the Automaton with counters at the end of someone’s turn, thereby discarding most of my hand. Wait, what’s this card in my hand? A Balance? And me with no cards left… It could also be a Windfall, Wheel of Fortune, Timetwister, Time Spiral, and so forth.

You can really use Mindless Automaton with madness. Give a creature a counter and get a Basking Rootwalla for just one mana. Counter a spell and give a creature a counter for 1U. You can discard to get to threshold, to get a key Incarnation in the graveyard, to prepare for a reanimation effect or simply to make the Automaton bigger or get a use from a card that you can’t use right then. When someone tries to axe your beatstick, sacrifice it for cards. Mindless Automaton, a true +1/+1 counter creature treasure.

2. Void (Rare, Invasion)

Void is a surgical tool designed to only take out one or two cards that are wreaking havoc on the play table. It can also nail a card or three in the hand.

I love Void I multiplayer, where you can blow up annoying permanents without making other people mad because their minor artifact or creature got caught in a Shatterstorm or Wrath of God. Void is a high-precision instrument with little in the way of peripheral damage.

Note that Void can really nail a player who swings with tokens. Just name Void for Zero and hit every single token creature (that is not a copy of a creature with a casting cost). It will also hit morph creatures, too. I believe that the two most commonly heard numbers at the table are “Void for Zero,” and “Void for Eight.” (Gets Avatar of Fury, Akroma, and much, much more).

1. Recoil (Common, Invasion)

I am in love with Recoil. I’ve spent four paragraphs in another article extolling the virtues of Recoil. Suffice it to say that Recoil is my bounce spell of choice in every situation I can play it.

It does not cost a card like most bounce spells; it can act like an instant Desert Twister under the right circumstances; it lets you get ready to counter a permanent that you missed, it shines in tempo strategies, and it can even be used on a highly-valuable permanent to save it from evil removal.

Recoil is my favorite bounce spell, ever. It can do anything, and it’s accompanied by a cheap price for just three mana. (I also like the picture.) (Note for Wizards: Give me an FNM foil of this baby!)

Whew – fifteen pages later, and I’m beat. I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading the third entry into the Underused Card Hall of Fame. More than that, I hope that you’ve found some deck ideas in these pages. Good luck with your deck building!

Until later,

Abe Sargent

Appendix: As mentioned above, here are the 60 cards already inducted into our Underused Card Hall of Fame. They are listed alphabetically by category.



Crypt Angel

Desolation Angel

Do or Die

Forsaken Wastes

Ill-Gotten Gains

Krovikan Horror

Tainted Pact

Tombstone Stairwell

Tortured Existence


Alexi, Zephyr Mage


Ertai’s Familiar

Icy Prison

Man o’war

Possessed Aven

Riptide Mangler

Three Wishes

Tolarian Serpent

Whirlpool Warrior



Holistic Wisdom


Kavu Titan

Krosan Tusker


Scarwood Bandits

Silklash Spider

Spike Feeder

Veteran Explorer


Ancient Hydra

Blood Frenzy



Lightning Surge

Mogg Infestation

Shard Phoenix

Starke of Rath

Wild Research

Wildfire Emissary


Commander Eesha


Hand of Justice

Lieutenant Kirtar

Null Chamber


Pursuit of Knowledge

Soul Sculptor

Spectral Lynx

Witch Hunter


AEther Mutation

Captain Sisay

Elemental Augury

Mystic Compass

Rasputin Dreamweaver

Snake Basket

Spite / Malice


Vhati il-Dal

Yavimaya Hollow