SCG Daily – The Three Most Annoying Cards of All Time

The Bleiweiss has always viewed the world a little differently than most mortals, which is why his list of the most annoying cards ever is unique among those that have been published to our site. What annoys the annoying? Find out today, as Ben returns to the helm of SCG Daily for a week of rabble-rousing and good-natured fun.

The weekly casual topic a few weeks back was the three most annoying cards in Magic. There were some great entries into the contest, and I had fully intended to write an article for The Ferrett. Unfortunately, other parts of my job got busy that week and I was unable to get Mr. Steinmetz an article (sorry chief!) – but the outline for the article lay dormant on my computer, unseen by the world until now. I present for your reading pleasure: Ben’s three most annoying cards of all time!

The first card I’d like to trot out is Wrath of God – but not just any Wrath of God. You see, there are all different types of Wrath of God out there, and there is one particular Wrath of God which regularly derives scorn from my being. This Wrath is the Battle Royale boxed set Wrath of God. And this Wrath is the 6th Edition Wrath of God.

Okay, let’s take a look at the two pictures linked above. On the surface, they both appear to be 6th Edition Wraths of God. But wait! Take a look at the collector number on these two cards. The real 6th Wrath has a collector number of 54/350 while the Battle Royale boxed set version of Wrath of God has no collector number. I cannot tell you exactly how many people have sold us Battle Royale Wrath of Gods as 6th Edition Wraths over the years, but it’s got to be close to a hundred by now. Yes, they are functionally identical. Yes, they both are worth roughly the same. However, boxed set cards have some stigma as singles that I can’t quite explain, which makes the Battle Royale version sell worse than its 6th Edition counterpart. Thankfully, Wizards of the Coast decided to code future boxed sets with unique expansion symbols (Deckmaster, Beatdown), so this problem was never again repeated.

The second card isn’t one card, but a cycle of cards. These Ice Age artifacts make absolutely no artistic sense and are the absolute nadir of cycles in Magic. Ponder the Talismen.

Hematite Talisman untaps a permanent when a Red spell is cast, but the Talisman itself is green on a green background.

Lapis Lazuli Talisman untaps a permanent when a Blue spell is cast, and the Talisman is blue, but it is against a green background.

Malachite Talisman untaps a permanent when a Green spell is cast, and the Talisman itself is green, but it also has multiple blue feathers against a black background.

Nacre Talisman untaps a permanent when a White spell is cast, and the Talisman itself white – except unlike the other Talismen in the cycle, it’s shown being used by a woman in bondage with smoke and flames erupting from her body in every which direction.

Onyx Talisman is a Rorschach test.

Most cycles of this type are all done by the same artist so that different variations on the same card can have a degree of continuity. These five Talismen were all drawn/painted by different artists, which contributed to their muddy color-pie crossing, lack of direction, and general confusion-by-sight. Similar cards might include a Black card featuring a glowing White Knight in a volcano, drinking water from a magical fruit tree, or using overstocked Battletech artwork as a Magic card and passing it off as a “magical armor with a tuning fork to focus magical energy“.

Hands down there is one most annoying card ever in Magic history. This card should never have been printed, because it can cause entire playgroups to disintegrate into pointless, hours-long arguments. This card is Cheatyface.

Cheatyface, Uncommon, CC: UUU

You may sneak Cheatyface into play at any time without paying for it, but if an opponent catches you right away, that player may remove Cheatyface from the game.


From the Unhinged FAQ:

Isn’t it “out of spirit” for this card to even have an entry in the FAQ?

Yeah, I guess it is. I do feel obliged though to point out that the card’s mana cost is {UUU} and not {UU}.”

This already led to mass confusion, because people would get caught sneaking Cheatyface into play, have it removed from the game, and then immediately take it from the out-of-the-game area and sneak it right back into play. If the point of the card is to have WOTC-sanctioned cheating, then surely this would be fine, right?

From the follow-up to the Unhinged FAQ:

How long do I have to catch a Cheatyface being played?

The card says “instantly.” The card is not worded ideally, so let me clarify. In order to be able to play the card for free, you have to get it into play without your opponent seeing you do so. The speed of them noticing doesn’t matter. The question is did they see you do it? If they comment within seconds of you putting the card into play, the answer is yes they did see you. If your opponent’s reaction is “when did you play that?” then no, they didn’t see you and you’ve gotten it in play. If there is confusion, ask your opponent the following question, “When and how did I get Cheatyface into play?” If they can correctly answer the question (“Uh, you just slid it out from under your arm two seconds ago?”), bye bye Cheatyface.

I snuck my Cheatyface out by putting it underneath a card in play. Is it considered in play as soon as I do this or doesn’t the “in play” count until the card is visible?

For purposes of this card, “in play” means “in play and visible”.

Okay, this still doesn’t answer the question posed – can I repeatedly keep putting Cheatyface back into play?

From the follow-up to the follow-up to the Unhinged FAQ:

What the hell am I allowed to do with this card?

I don’t want to ruin anyone’s fun, but I feel obliged to point out one thing. This card has one ability. It allows players who have Cheatyface in their hand to get it into play without paying for it (assuming they don’t get caught). This wasn’t as clearly explained on the card as it should have been. This card does not let you do anything else other than the one ability written above.

Thanks Mark Rosewater, you’ve already ruined the spirit of cheating with the card. Granted it is to stop people from rending each other limb from limb over frustrations and misunderstandings caused by the card. If Wizards wants the people to cheat, who am I to argue? Here’s some great ways to cheat with Cheatyface and to cause your entire play group to self-destruct and ban the mad bugger.

1) Tap UUU into your mana pool and put Cheatyface on the table. Ask “okay?” and when your opponent says “okay” play another spell with those three mana. When they begin to argue, tell them that you snuck Cheatyface into play and they even said okay already – and that you never said you were using that three mana to cast it. Use this trick a second time, but when they ask you if you’re casting Cheatyface with the mana, say yes. Have them say okay. Then play a second Cheatyface from your hand, and when your opponent calls you on it, say that the second one is the one you’re casting. Argue that you said you were using mana to cast Cheatyface, but you didn’t specify which one. Insist on keeping both on the table until your opponent either punches you in disgust or throws their deck at you.

2) Put four Cheatyface in one card sleeve. Announce that you are casting Cheatyface. Slide the other three cards out slightly so that they are barely showing in the sleeve. Wait for your opponent to say okay. You now have eight power worth of Cheatyface in play. Congratulations! When your opponent argues, refuse to play unless they let you keep all four in play. Note: You can easily have at least sixteen Cheatyface in your deck in this way. What? That’s cheating? Screw you, this is Cheatyface!

3) Get caught playing Cheatyface. Cast Living Wish. Get a creature/land from your sideboard. Attack with Cheatyface, claiming you put it into play while you were searching and your opponent didn’t say anything at the time. Argue that it’s legal because you’re using a card which technically could get it back from the out of play zone. Fight this over and over, claiming that it is in the spirit of the card. Bite your opponent in the arm if they continue to disagree with your masterful use of Cheatyface.

4) Play with Future Sight. Cause countless arguments about whether or not you’ve successfully snuck Cheatyface into play once it’s face up on your library. “But it’s been in play for a full minute!” “No, it was just on the top of your library.” “That’s when I put it into play.” “That’s not fair; it was there the whole time!” “Then you should have said something.” “If I did you would have said it wasn’t in play.” “Well, guess you’re just screwed then!” Let the fistfights ensue.

5) Repeat #4, except with Yawgmoth’s Will. Get into a fistfight.

6) If your opponent casts Cheatyface with UUU, immediately remove it from the game and insist they take three points of mana burn. Claim that this is clearly a trick and that they are trying to sneak it into play. Mark down their life totals on your pad of paper and refuse to readjust it. Get into a fistfight.

7) Cast Thirst for Knowledge, discarding Cheatyface and an artifact. Attack with Cheatyface from your graveyard. Claim ignorance. For bonus points, use Three Wishes instead.

8) Use Grinning Totem to get an opponent’s Cheatyface. Enjoy the ensuing hijinks!

For the sake of yourselves and your casual play groups, please either ban Cheatyface or burn every last Cheatyface you see. If anyone has any other surefire Cheatyface methods that are sure to cause mass frustration, please feel free to post them in the forum for this article!

Ben Bleiweiss