I was looking through some half-written articles the other day, since I had been thinking about doing a”Five Color Card of the Day” for my own personal website. (Which, by the way, is not completed, but you can see the foundations at www.abesplace.com.) I had done a few cards to give me an idea, and also to build up a battery of cards that I could use if I decided to go with it. However, I ultimately decided to go in other directions for my website.
Which leaves me with these latent little tidbits. An Ice Age card here, a Legends card there, a Stronghold card waaaay over on the other side – you get the idea. And it was these rudiments that caught hold of my attention.
I saw a theme and the idea for my next article all wrapped up into one. There are a lot of cards out there that are just plain underused. Sometimes they are a great card that was unable to be used in decks of the time due to a funky metagame. Maybe they are latent powerhouses in Five Color – or maybe in Type Two, Extended, or Type One. And finally, a large chunk of cards are pure multiplayer goodness.
All of these cards, whatever set and whatever age of Magic, have a common thread: They’re good. We’re not talking about jank like Debt of Loyalty and Jabari’s Influence (and who says white doesn’t steal things?). Instead, these are good cards. Built strong and solid, they can really help out a deck.
They are ranked. Obviously, the more underused and good I think a card is, the higher it is placed on the list. So then, without further ado, I present Abe’s List of the Top Fifty Underused Cards in Magic.*
50. Eladamri’s Vineyard
The interesting thing about the Vineyard is that it’s seen a bit of a renaissance of late in the Aluren decks in Extended. As such, it has dropped on the list thanks to its newfound popularity. However, it has always been a great mana accelerator in an environment where most have been neutered. It allows four mana on the second turn, whereas most opponents won’t have as abusive a plan for the extra green mana, you will. Back in the day, Vineyard served as mana acceleration and win condition wrapped up into one neat package. This remains a card that could be harnessed more effectively, and can be quite powerful.
49. Chromatic Sphere
An artifact never used as much as it should be, the Sphere can help alleviate any color issues with mana, and also thins out your deck. Even some two-color decks can benefit from the sphere, and it makes a good one-drop in decks that have few. It can be played effectively in decks like U/B control, where a card like Undermine takes three specific mana. Anything from being a lynchpin in the mana of an online Prismatic deck to 5cG, this artifact really helps out with little loss of any resources.
48. Rasputin Dreamweaver
I might honestly call Rasputin one of the top cards underused in 1.5, but there just are not that many 1.5 decks and tournaments. But it’s still underused. Rasputin has a place in any Recurring Nightmare/Survival of the Fittest deck that needs a creature to animate and make mana. Rasputin, upon animation, can make seven colorless mana. People were making obscure combo decks with Workhorse and its four colorless mana, but Rasputin is even better. Because its use is so limited – unless you really want a 4/1 creature that costs six mana, that is – it is not as high on this list as others.
47. Sword of the Ages
The second of four cards from Legends to make this list, the Sword was one of those cards that was once restricted in Type One. Maybe they realized that it was easy enough to stop, because in 1996 it came off the restricted list. The Sword can make for a very powerful killing blow. What makes the Sword special is that it is one of a handful of cards which must be dealt with immediately, or your opponent dies. It goes well with Living Death and Twilight’s Call, but could also be used in green, red, or even white decks. It can be the finishing blow for a weenie deck that dealt some early damage.
46. Elemental Augury
Elemental Augury is an interesting card because it is the only permanent in the game that controls what it does. For three mana, you can rearrange your opponent’s top three cards. Keep him in mana screwed, or give him mana glut – it’s all your choice. No Counterspell for you! And you can help yourself out as well, if you so desire. Of course, it costs three different colors of mana and it has a fairly high activation cost, but the effect can be game-winning.
45. Holy Light
The first non-permanent on the list is also the first common on the list. I list Holy Light because I am tired of seeing white decks in casual play or multiplayer that are getting their posteriors handed to them by annoying X/1s like Sparksmith, Fireslinger, Wellwisher, Prodigal Sorcerer, Royal Assassin, and many other creatures are highly annoying for White to deal with. Holy Light is the answer for these creatures, and a clever play can also create combat math havoc.
44. Tangle Wire
Tangle Wire is still being used in a few Extended decks, which probably shows how highly I regard Tangle Wire. I place it here because, quite simply, I think that a Tangle Wires aren’t getting the play they deserve. What’s with all of the aggro decks in Extended running without any disruption? I found Tangle Wire to be an essential element in a red deck I used in Extended back in December, and I’d love to know if these players of White Weenie and other decks have tried the Wire. Plus, this translates well in Type One where most tempo strategies fail because they can’t hit artifacts. This will, so it creeps up on my list.
43. Spike Weaver
What ever happened to this goodie from Exodus? It was played in Oath of Druids, Rec/Sur, and other decks from the age. Then it fell out of style. I wonder why. Take it with you to your techno parties, because this guy is still the best Fog machine ever. Whatever deck you are playing, if this baby is legal, I’d eye her as a possible keeper.
And now we start getting to the weird stuff. I’m sure everybody looked at cards like Tangle Wire and Spike Weaver and began thinking that this list had a bias towards Cards That Used To Be Played A Lot. But not Musician! If you have ever seen Musician played, then you are probably in a minority. But there is a lot to like in the Bard. Its counters stay on creatures permanently and stack; if a creature has three counters, then it now has an upkeep of three mana, and so forth. This can be quite annoying by itself, but can wreak havoc with other cards like, say, Seeker of Skybreak, Winter Orb, Rising Waters, and so forth.
41. Death Spark
There just aren’t that many spells on this list; still, the Death Spark is not a sexy card. It only deals one damage, and it takes a mana to pull it back. That’s about the amount of damage as, say, a Rocket Launcher can get you. So why do I recommend Death Spark? Because I think it’s broken good burn? Do I believe that it’s removal without peer? Maybe I wonder if any burn ever can stand up to the sheer power of the Death Spark? Of course not. But, it could be highly effective in decks that never use it. If you play a lot of creatures, and if you are manipulating your graveyard a lot (read: Black/Red), then this is definitely a card for you. It simply has staying power, and that’s good enough for me.
40. Witch Hunter
If you had to look up Witch Hunter by clicking on the little link, then shame on you. Or maybe you are simply a newer player. Whichever you are, let me tell you that Witch Hunter used to dominate a table like few 1/1s ever could. Have you ever seen a player die from twenty points of Witch Hunter damage? Ever see two Clones of Witch Hunters, plus the Hunter itself? It’s ability to control the board by bouncing unruly creatures or to ping opponents was quite nice. Once a staple of the Blue/White deck (a long time ago, let me assure you), I still think it has a place in a modern casual or multiplayer deck.
Soon we’ll be leaving behind these commonly played cards that I think should be played more often. Gigapede is such a strong card that I can see it in Type One control decks in the sideboard or – maybe, just maybe – main. Deadly Insect was occasionally played in the ‘board for other control decks, and Gigapede will just do a much better job. A player with Morphling, by the way, will need five mana to block the Gigapede and survive if it attacked and was tapped. It’s good to lock up mana like that. Plus, it’s The Abyss-proof, plays havoc with counters, and has many other things going for it.
38. Lashknife Barrier
There are a lot of things to like about Lashknife Barrier. First of all, it’s a cantrip, so you don’t lose any cards by playing it. Secondly, all damage dealt to your critters is reduced by one, making this a very effective tool for a lot of situations. You could combine it with cards like Pestilence to keep the Pestilence in play along with your army. Or you could simply play it and screw with people’s combat math, burn, and so forth – all the while drawing a card off its cantrip ability. In multiplayer, it’s never a card that somebody targets with removal, so your creatures are simply harder to remove. Definitely a strong card.
Personally, I think that Desertion is one of the underused counters of the ages. Spelljack was splashy, and people still play them in large groups and the like; Desertion, however, is a much easier spell to cast – and you can still take a big creature or artifact. I think that five mana is really the cap for countermagic – and even then, it has to be swingy countermagic. Desertion was broken in Limited for its ability to swing the tempo from one side to another; nothing says it can’t do that in Constructed play as well. It is still a Counterspell and a winning condition wrapped into one tight package.
36. Death or Glory
This is definitely a white card that never saw play like I expected it to. I was trying out a white weenie deck in Standard some time ago and it just couldn’t get over the initial hump… At least, not until I added a pair of Death or Glories that could be cast and create a large army to land the final blow. Quite frankly, if you could get three creatures from your graveyard, then this was really powerful. Two creatures and it’s still not bad. More than three and this spell in broken. Most people don’t give it credit for its true power.
35. Phyrexian War Beast
If the Phyrexian War Machine were still in Extended, then I would rank it much higher on the list. This is a card that was rarely played in the formats where it was legal, and I have no idea why. It was a staple of my winning Extended Sligh decks for years. It sees play in Peasant Magic – and to prove its power, most of the Sligh decks used in the Invitational a few years ago in the B.Y.O.B. format used Alliances and Phyrexian War Beasts.
The third Legend card on the list, and the second recursion card as well. Reincarnation is interesting because it is in a different color than you’d expect; quite frankly, it gives green access to instant creature recursion. Right there is reason enough to play it. Green recursion fits into the color well, and instant recursion can be really helpful. But there is another reason to play it as well – you can use it on your opponent. I’ve killed people with Reincarnation on their Phage in multiplayer.
Nobody ever expects the Simulacrum! It is one of several cards that was nuked in the wake of 6th Edition rules changes… But in the case of Simulacrum, the nuking wasn’t as bad as people thought. Now, you gain life equal to the total damage you’ve taken this turn and deal that amount of damage to a creature. That’s still pretty good stuff. Simulacrum was historically used with regenerators, but you can use it with whatever. Most people would willingly kill one of their creatures in order to save themselves of a healthy portion of damage. I think this card is best in Multiplayer, where you never know if a 22/22 trampler or a seventeen-point fireball is going to come your way.
The beauty of Massacre isn’t that it gives all creatures -2/-2 – although that’s handy. It’s a decent ability at about the most expensive that price could come and still be playable outside of Limited. The beauty, however, is its alternate casting cost – free, if your opponent has a plains. This is a really good card for U/B or R/B control to play in the sideboard to clear off weenies. In duels, I think that this warrants playtesting for particular decks. In multiplayer, well… White is one of the most popular colors, so you know that this card will be free in every multiplayer game you shuffle up for.
31. Covetous Dragon
It was used a lot in old Standard decks; the problem with this dragon of love is simply that it is not getting play in the format that you would think – Type One. Here there are all sorts of crazy artifacts running around. The amount of mana that a Morphling would have to use to kill a Covetous and stay alive would choke a horse, so it is one of a few creatures that is cheap and spells doom for a classic control deck. I played with two in the first Beyond Dominia Tournament of Champions, and the Dragons did very well. Future tournaments included more decks with Dragons with good success reported. Still, the Dragon never caught on, and I just have to wonder why.
The interesting thing about Earthquake is that it is legal in practically every format outside of Block Constructed. This is a card that can prove particularly vexing because, quite frankly, people never expect it until they see it. If a player has plains down, opponents will always look for the Wrath of God. Not so Earthquake, which can often be a better card for you. It can be played on the third turn, for example, to clean off a host of weenies. It can kill your opponent, it is one of a few cards that can force a draw, it is red sweeping power that people had better respect… Honestly, I think it is one of the most underused cards of all time, and it would be ranked much higher if not for the occasional person who still uses Earthquake in their decks. And usually to great effect.
29. Spontaneous Generation
…And now we are starting to make our way into a different section of cards. Spontaneous Generation is an odd card that was never used much; I think had it cost simply one colorless less, that it would have been broken. As it is, the ability is quite interesting, but never devastating. Let’s face it – even if used for, say, four Saprolings – what will four 1/1s do? Although more powerful that Acorn Harvest, you have to wonder at the power of Spontaneous Generation by itself… And that wonder is the reason it is lower on this list than it could be.
But with other cards, this really shines. With Unglued cards, play it after Mine, Mine, Mine. Use it with #27 on our list. Mad card drawing of the Type One variety might harness the power of the Generation. Use it with #21 on our list. And so forth. Definitely a very interesting card that can become the lynchpin for a deck with ease.
28. Howling Mine
The highest charting of the original cards is another entry that was once highly played, but has since fallen out of favor. From the very first tournament decks, Howling Mine has seen competitive play, but now it is relegated to the backwoods of Magic – Multiplayer. It only sees play as a combo tool, but I think the last good attempt to break Howling Mine was a few years ago with Turbo-Chant. This is one of several engine cards currently in Type Two that I think could easily be used to create a new combo deck. You’ll see another much higher up on the list at #5.
27. Goblin Bombardment
It’s not just a combo card… But it’s a good combo card. Commonly known as one-third of the We Don’t Have Infinite Damage Anymore combo that is Fruity Pebbles. It also works beautifully with Living Death, and I have played with it in my Death deck since Saga came out. It can deal the finishing blow in a quick creature rush, work with combo, and otherwise be a painful card. For just a two-mana investment, all of your creatures can Mogg Fanatic for free. That’s a good price for a good ability.
26. Reflect Damage
Not Reverse Damage, but Reflect Damage. When you pay five mana for something, it had better be good – and Reflect Damage is. You can reflect any source of damage – creature, spell, whatever. It works best in multiplayer, where you can kill somebody by reflecting all of their Hurricane damage straight back to its controller.
25. Soldevi Excavations
Welcome to the top half of our countdown – and here, we have the only land on the list. In my experience, lands are overused. People think that because they tap for mana, special lands can simply be tossed into any old deck. It’s not true, of course, but that’s a story for another day. The interesting thing about Soldevi Excavations is that it takes up several mana to use – which is quite unfortunate. You have to spend three mana to use the Excavations (two the Excavations would normally tap for and another mana).
However, its ability can be quite useful – especially in a deck where your draws are important. I speak, of course, of combo or control. The Excavations can slide into the deck, and you can use it when you have spare mana around.
With those wacky 6th Edition rules changes, Reparations has gotten better. Playably better, in my opinion. Now, a spell simply has to target you or a creature you control to trigger the drawing of a card. Draw your card, then counter it. Previously, you had to let a card resolve, which was no good at all. The current version of Reparations is so good that I think it should become a mainstay of many U/W decks.
For a card in 7th Edition, you might think a card like this would be played in Type Two more often. I think it is currently overshadowed by big brother Upheaval, although the cards work in completely different ways. Evacuation can give you two or three turns to set up defenses. As an instant, it has all sorts of utility too numerous to mention here.
22. Knowledge Vault
Knowledge Vault is such an interesting card. You get random cards placed under the Vault, and then you can sacrifice the Vault, discard your hand, and gain the cards under the Vault as a new hand. This is a very useful card, and I am frequently surprised that it doesn’t see more play. It’s not a power card, so it’s probably not a choice for, say, Type One. In Multiplayer is really good, and in duels its decent as well. I like it better than Jayemdae Tome, Emmessi Tome, and the other Tome-like artifacts.
21. Collective Unconscious
Interestingly enough, #21 is not the highest that a Masques card will hit. The second Masques card is even more of a combo engine than the first. The question you have to ask is, how many cards will you draw with Collective Unconscious? If you draw four, then you have a green Braingeyser. If you draw more, then you have a card drawing spell of doom.
Collective Unconscious can be a bit too expensive for most decks, but the deck that can best use this is clearly one with a lot of creatures. A lot of creatures in green usually means mana producers. A lot of mana producers can easily play this on the fourth turn – and drawing four cards on the fourth turn is pretty good. (Assuming, unbelievably, that nobody kills or counters one of your creatures, of course – The Ferrett) This card is simply too good to pass up.
We become more and more selective the further we move up the list. Void was played for a bit in MachineHead, but it was never that popular a card. It found a home in multiplayer, where it can selectively destroy annoying permanents and also grab a card or two out of a hand. For those who don’t remember, MachineHead often won with a successful Void resolution, but lost without one. It’s a powerful card that can have that kind of effect.
19. Assault / Battery
Think about how good this card is. In the current environment, we have a variety of burn spells, none of which is better than two damage for one red. You get that with Assault/Battery as well. Also, if you choose, you can make a 3/3 Elephant. Again, very useful. The combination of these two effects gives you a selection between powerful effects – versatility that you can really sink your teeth into.
18. Sunscape Battlemage
Sometimes I feel like this is the Little Battlemage That Could. It’s not sexy like its Thunder and Thorn brothers… But unlike the Storm and Night kids, both of its abilities are useful. Draw some cards, kill a flier – it’s all good stuff for the Sunscape Battlemage. In multiplayer, most creatures that are serious threats fly, so feel free to kill Akroma, Angel of Wrath, Spirit of the Night, Rorix, or any one of dozens of other creatures.
17. Starke of Rath
Ah, yes; Starke of Rath. In the modern Extended environment, I think that we should be seeing a lot more of Starke. Think about it – with Oath, Reanimator, and other tricks around, red needs a ways of killing something because burn just will not cut it. Enter the Legend. Play it, then use it to take out something ungodly on the other side. Its disadvantage is meaningless. What are they going to do – hit a 2/1 or something back? (Hit Cursed Scroll – The Ferrett) If they do, then you have Starke for another pass. He is definitely a card that I think should get more play considering the metagame.
16. Tawnos’s Coffin
The highest-ranked artifact on the list is also the only entrant from Antiquities. The Coffin is the best artifact-based creature removal. Additionally, it combos well with a variety of cards such as Wrath of God and Earthquake. It can be used temporarily or permanently to take out a creature. If Iridescent Angel is dominating your group, toss her in the Coffin. The Coffin has been errata’d to phase a creature out, which changes its interactions – often for the worst. No more removing Nekrataal just to bring it right back and kill something! Still, the card is quite good, and I’d look for it to really help out a wide variety of decks.
In my experience, Humble is the third best removal spell in white ever. Number two is higher on this list at #4 and the best card is probably the overused Swords to Plowshares. Humble has a few tricks of its own to play, such as negating Academy Rector, Serra Avatar, and Aura Thief tricks. Almost any creature will fall to the Humble sooner or later, so you will rarely find it glutting up your hand.
Sylvan Library is good because it allows you to look three cards deep for no mana. You can also pay life for cards. Soothsaying has a different purpose: You can dig very deep if you have the mana, and you can reset whenever your decks needs a new shuffle. Both abilities are marginally useful, but toss them together and you have a very synergetic card. Slap those abilities on the cheapest possible enchantment and you have a really good card for mana decks.
13. No Mercy
Outside of the two Legends powerhouse enchantments in Moat and The Abyss, is there any enchantment that shuts down creatures as well as No Mercy? Maybe Humility, but a weenie deck will swarm through Humility. Aurification can be Disenchanted, bringing creatures back. Powerstone Minefield only stops the small stuff. But No Mercy will kill anything that touches you. In multiplayer, it is a very effective warning signal. In duels, it will kill a lot of creatures. And yet you don’t see it very often. How sad.
12. River Merfolk
River Merfolk was, at one time, the best two-drop for a Merfolk deck. In a straight blue deck, maybe Looter is better, but the River Merfolk is still eight times better than Coral Merfolk and other cards often seemed. I am saddened whenever I see a casual Merfolk deck or a 1.5 deck without River Merfolk. When a creature has both Island and Mountainwalk, you figure that it’s pretty much unblockable for a majority of decks. Toss in a high power-to-casting-cost ratio for blue and you have a no-brainer that is never played. And it wasn’t like you ever saw it before. River Merfolk were rarely played back when Fish decks were running around Extended and Fallen Empires was legal. They simply never got the play they deserved.
11. Fog Bank
The only wall on the list just barely misses out on the Top Ten. Fog Bank is everything you want in a defensive creature – it blocks fliers, it comes out on the second turn, and oh yes – combat dealt to it is reduced to zero. It can block a-go-go without fear of death. An excellent defensive mechanism and a powerful tool for a smart deckbuilder.
10. Nature’s Resurgence
The highest charting card from Mirage block is from the weakest set of the three. That’s rather interesting. Although Nature’s Resurgence was played in the earliest Stompy decks, the card fell out of favor when Cursed-Stompy came around after the release in Tempest. And really, has Nature’s Resurgence ever seen the light of day since? Obviously, Nature’s Resurgence is a tool for a aggressive deck with a high creature count. It’s rare that the caster cannot get at least three cards; often you get five, seven, ten, or forty-two cards. The issue isn’t its raw power, but that the effect is nominally symmetrical. You can adjust that by playing Tormod’s Crypt and other effects. Or you can play it in those aforementioned creature decks. Whatever floats your boat. But this is a card that should not remain locked away in some crap rare binder or buck box.
Everybody has a favorite single-mana blue spell to get cards. Opt, Brainstorm, Sleight of Hand, Peek, Careful Study – whatever your fancy. However, to this day, I still swear by Portent. You get the best card of the top three of your library – that’s better than Opt or Sleight of Hand can offer. You dig just as deeply as Brainstorm. You know the arrangement of the top two cards of your library, just like Brainstorm.
So why play Portent, when it’s a sorcery and Brainstorm is an instant?
There are two major reasons: First of all, if your deck is crap, you can shuffle and take a random card. If you need one card to win, and it’s not in your top three, which card would you rather have? Secondly, you can Portent your opponent. Later in the game, lock your opponent down for a turn or two and keep him from getting a critical spell for as long as possible. Or, require a shuffle and make him get a random card. The possibilities with Portent are simply too good to ignore, and any format that allows Ice Age or 5th cards should have decks sporting Portent.
8. Spite / Malice
How much play does Spite/Malice get? As an instant, here is a card that can handle any non-land card except for black creatures. Counter a spell, kill something nasty – this is a great card. While it costs four mana for either ability, giving the player the choice allows for a great card to emerge. Of course, you want to use its countermagic as a supplement, not the main course… But the added creature kill element is unbelievable.
7. Wild Research
Wild Research is the first of two engines in the Top Ten that have failed to be used in any significant way. The other is #5. People built a combo deck out of the most obscure and poorest cards possible back in the Mirage days when ProsBloom was the toast of the town. Back then, combo builders would have salivated at the thought of a combo card like Wild Research.
Wild Research has three possibilities: Search for countermagic, card drawing, and removal a la the blue ability, search for combo pieces a la the white ability. Or both. Try Accumulated Knowledge with the card. Did it go into the graveyard? Guess I’ll have to get another. Whatever your desire, you have a permanent tutor for instants and enchantments. There is a combo out there for Wild Research that will blow things away, I can feel it.
6. Fleetfoot Panther
How could such a boring, minor, tiny little creature get into this Top 10? Simple. Fleetfoot Panther is hardly boring, minor, or tiny. Firstly, you get a big creature at instant speed for a cheap price. It can be amazing creature kill, simply by surprise blocking a creature. Secondly, it can be used to keep a creature alive – kind of like an Intervene that comes with a big meaty body. Put damage on the stack, then bounce the critter to safety, all while playing out a nasty panther. Return a creature with Pacifism or Arrest on it. And, if that isn’t enough – the combo potential is unstoppable. For example, with Equilibrium, this cat becomes an instant creature Capsize at four mana. Simply put, the Panther is very versatile – to the point of being just dumb stupid good.
5. Holistic Wisdom
The last combo engine on the list is possibly the best. If combo builders should have created a beautiful dish with Wild Research, Holistic Wisdom should have been used to feed the poor. It is important to note that both Wild Research and Holistic Wisdom were good enough and broken enough to be banned in Five Color. We broke them in 250 cards – why can’t you in 60? Holistic Wisdom has been tried and poked and prodded by rogue deckbuilders everywhere, and the results are still questionable. Still, few cards have been as seductive as Holistic Wisdom. You know that there is something there, just out of reach. And you have to find it…
While Swords to Plowshares is ostensibly the holder for best white creature kill, I think Exile is almost as good. Remove a creature from the game that’s attacking. That’s a restriction over Swords. Non-white. That’s a restriction over Swords. For three mana. One more restriction over Swords. But you have double the life swing of Swords. Instead of your opponent getting life, you do. That’s a major difference. How many white creatures out there do you care about? How many creatures that aren’t attacking do you ever waste your precious Swords on? Exile is a major upgrade in many areas, including multiplayer.
3. Vhati il-Dal
This one is hardly a surprise to anybody who knows me; I play Vhati in any deck that supports the colors. Here you have a 3/3 for four mana – that’s a good body. And on that body is the most useful, versatile, diverse single ability ever given to any creature. On a good body, you get the best single ability: Tap Vhati, and take a creature’s power or toughness to one. The sheer number of uses that Vhati has would boggle the mind. Save creatures, have your little Mesa Falcon kill a Rorix, have a Storm Crow survive a hit from a Krosan Cloudscraper, only take one damage from any creature you want, kill something with a Tim, with Tremor, with Pestilence, and so forth. The people in my multiplayer group all know Vhati, and they have begun to fear him. And they play him. This guy is just too good. I have won countless tournaments with a Living Death deck that used a Vhati. You just have to love the highest-placing Legend, creature, and multicolored card on our list.
If you read my peasant Magic article from a couple of weeks ago, you’ll find that I recently fell in love with Oubliette. It’s very simple – phase out target creature and it never phases back in. Period. Unless you can take out the Oubliette. This is creature kill in black that hoses black the most. Black, red, and blue have no way of removing the Oubliette, while green and white may have better targets. Oubliette is so simple and powerful that I can’t help but love it.
1. Tortured Existence
There are few commons on this list, yet the top card is a common. There are few recursion cards on this list, and yet the top card is recursion. Early in my Magic writing days I wrote an article for 5-Color.com entitled”The Case for Tortured Existence,” so it’s hardly a secret that I’m a big fan of the card. Here is why it is good – it is a Survival of the Fittest for your graveyard. It costs only one black to play, it is cheap to purchase, and it is really, really good. There is no card that my multiplayer group has taken from me and started using more than this one.
Plus, its combo abilities are amazing. Let’s take, as an example, Rasputin Dreamweaver (our #48 card) and Goblin Bombardment (#27). If you have out something that can convert colorless mana to colored mana, then you have infinite damage in play. That’s merely an example off the top of my head using cards on this list. In my play I have come across dozens of these combos. And even without them, the Existence has the ability to turn a Birds of Paradise into a Child of Gaea or a Bone Shredder or Avalanche Riders, and so forth. There is no card used as rarely as Tortured Existence and it deserves your love.
All fifty of these cards deserve your love. Will you give it to them?
* – The list is the writer’s opinion. Feel free to add or delete cards in the forum!