A couple years back, StarCity built Anthony Alongi this gigantic Museum* to display the great multiplayer cards. Now they have remodeled and updated the main Halls just for him – and he gets lavish accommodations and a massive salary.** Other writers, like yours truly, are in much worse straits; we are relegated to digging for food in trashcans and sleeping on steam vents.
This can have its compensations, however. While rooting through the dumpsters behind Alongi’s Museum, looking for table scraps from his latest soiree,*** I came upon a select set of cards. It was a set of cards that had been carefully chosen by various commentators and experts – a very special set of cards.
It was not the power nine, of course. You don’t find the Power Nine in a dumpster – not unless you are obscenely lucky. (You do find obscene things in dumpsters, but let’s not go there.)
It was not the best multiplayer cards of all time. Those are in specially lit, custom glass cases in the halls of the Museum. You can see them – but don’t touch the cases or the alarms will ring.
No, this was a collection of the worst card printed for each set and expansion, as well as the runners up. I had a hard time getting them out of the dumpster – the cards really seemed to belong in the trash.
As an underpaid, a less than premier**** writer, I have to play with the cards I’m given. So here is a list of the worst cards for each set and expansion, and I’ll follow that with deck ideas for each and every one. True, the decks are not all completely broken – but hey, the cards are cheap!
As an added bonus, if you beat anyone with these cards and decks, you have every right to gloat endlessly. After all, the flavor text on Rakalite is”All stand in awe of the surviving Rakalite wielder.” At least, I think that’s it – I’ll check later.
Okay, a few quick explanations. First, I garnered these list by talking to fellow players and by posting requests to various forums and lists over the years. I then culled the responses. I did dump a few nominations – for example, I ignored all the bad creature enchantments and so forth. A lot of these cards (like Pretender’s Claim or Kamahl’s Desire) are unplayable even in draft. There’s nothing you can do with cards like that in constructed – even if you build a deck that involves lofting fatties, for example, there is no reason not to use a better fly spell than Air Bladder.*****
For the same reason, I threw out some nominees that were simply badly over-costed creatures. For example, Aven Trooper, Steel Leaf Paladin, and many of the plain vanilla Legends with strange casting costs are simply bad cards – and nothing makes overly expensive (mana, not dollars) cards any good if you can play reasonably costed versions.
I also dumped cards that are intended solely as hosers for old sets that don’t get played anyway – such as those that destroy Arabian Knights cards, punish people for playing snow covered lands, or prevent Mercenaries from untapping. They are just too situational to build a deck around.
Finally, I rejecting any card if I felt I was influenced by the results of a previous”break this card” contest – unless I had played or submitted the same idea beforehand. Hey, I can write about Plagiarism (the card), but I try to avoid plagiarism in my articles.
Here’s the list of all the cards that people voted for.****** If you need card text, check out D’Angelo’s site. I’ll list the winners, and add my comments, at the end of each block.
Nominees for Academy of Shame Awards:
Torment: Cephalid Snitch, Aven Trooper, Last Laugh, Transcendence
Odyssey: Kamahl’s Desire, Fervent Denial, Tarnished Citadel, Hint of Insanity, Cephalid Shrine, Chance Encounter, Delaying Shield.
Wizards has their act together – the bad aren’t that bad. Some exceptions, though: Randy Buehler wrote about how Transcendence was fixed – to the point that it is unplayable – and the Shrines are universally awful. I’ll make all the shrines a joint worst card******* and award a tie to Transcendence and Last Laugh (because I want to write about Last Laugh decks – although if they are too good, or if this article runs too long, they will appear some other time.)
Apocalypse: Tahngarth’s Glare, Symbiotic Deployment, Death Mutation, Mask of Intolerance, Tranquil Path, Death Mutation, Last Stand
Planeshift: Death Bomb, Meteor Crater, Planeswalker’s Mirth
Invasion: Collapsing Borders, Winnow, Bind, Bend or Break, Do or Die, Dredge
The winners in this category are Symbiotic Deployment, Meteor Crater, and Collapsing Borders (note – the last two are a combo, provided your opponent chooses wrong). Once again, I have to give Wizards some credit – the bad stuff isn’t that bad.
Prophecy: Blessed Wind, Wintermoon Mesa, the Avatars, Celestial Convergence, Well of Discovery
Nemesis: Air Bladder, Pale Moon, Eye of Yawgmoth, Mana Cache
Mercadian Masques: Security Detail, Common Cause, Erizithon, Tower of the Magistrate, Mercadian Lift
Now this is more like it – this stuff is terrible! For those of you that never played in Masques Block Constructed, thank your lucky stars. Actually, some of this is playable. Mercadian Lift was a kick with Monkey Cage, I played Erizithon in a deck with Spike Cannibal, and Blessed Wind is clearly a Transcendence hoser, so none of those can take the title. However, I have to chose winners – so Wintermoon Mesa, Mana Cache, and Security Detail, come on down!
Urza’s Destiny: Encroach, Carnival of Souls, Fatigue
Urza’s Legacy: About Face, Scrapheap, Damping Engine
Urza’s Saga: Wirecat, Hopping Automaton, Rune of Protection: Lands, Okk, Witch Engine, Hidden Herd
Once again, some strange cards were nominated. About Face can be a decent trick in limited, and it does get played in the Extended Life deck. Witch Engine is a 4/4 swampwalker – slightly overpriced, but playable in a pinch. Hidden Herd is okay in extended Enchantress decks – and even in 5-color. Carnival of Souls, on the other hand, well – we have a winner! It joins Scrap Heap and Wirecat on the podium. (Note: Wirecat was just horrible in a set full of sleeper enchantments – and Rune of Protection: Lands dodges the title because it cycles and because Saga block had lots of man lands.)
Exodus: Oath of Mages, Mage il-Vec, AEther Tide, Thopter Squadron, Workhorse
Stronghold: Sword of the Chosen, Dream Halls, Crossbow Ambush, Amok, Hidden Retreat
Tempest: Chaotic Goo, Flailing Drake, Echo Chamber, Tooth and Claw, Deadshot, Dracoplasm, Excavator
A lot of choices here, too. AEther Tide, Amok, and Mage il-Vec miss the title because the Madness and Threshold mechanics make then too easy to break. Dream Halls works in combo decks – it is banned in Extended and restricted in T1 for a reason. Sword of the Chosen is good in some decks, and I used Thopter Squadron in a Tinker deck. Flailing Drake is a bad green flier – but green isn’t supposed to have fliers, so it’s just not bad enough. That leaves Oath of Mages (ouch – can I have a recount?), Hidden Retreat, and Echo Chamber.
Weatherlight: Jangling Automaton, Alms, Tendrils of Despair, Tolarian Serpent, Heart of Bogardan, Ertai’s Familiar, Goblin Bomb
Visions: Foreshadow, Sisay’s Ring, Rowen, Equipoise, Katabatic Winds, Ovinomancer, Time and Tide
Mirage: Village Elder, Phyrexian Tribute, Withering Boon, Amulet of Unmaking, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Malignant Growth
Lion’s Eye Diamond, Goblin Bomb, and Equipoise have appeared in Tier 1 decks, so they are out. I’ve used Village Elder already this year, so it’s out. The others just aren’t that bad. The worst cards are, in my opinion, Jangling Automaton, Ovinomancer, and Malignant Growth.
Alliances: Foresight, Unlikely Alliance, Thought Lash, Phyrexian Boon, Whirling Catapult, Urza’s Engine, Winter’s Night
Homelands: Apocalypse Charm, Leeches, Abbey Matron, Aysen Highway, Dwarven Pony, Koskun Falls, Baki’s Curse, Feroz’s Ban
Ice Age: Celestial Sword, Adarkar Unicorn, Oath of Lim-Dul, Snowfall, Amulet of Quoz, Cooperation, Baton of Morale, Jeweled Amulet, Gravebind, Lost Order of Jarkeld, Lapis Lazuli Talisman,
Whirling Catapult appeared in 5-color decks for a while. Phyrexian Boon is removal and pump – that’s not bad… But Urza’s Engine is so overcosted and so bad that I just cannot say no. Feroz’s Ban and Celestial Sword would get the nod – except that I am noticing a lot of overpriced artifacts are making the list, and we haven’t even hit Rakalite. I’ll find a home for Feroz’s Ban somewhere, but I’ll say the winners are Oath of Lim-Dul and Koskun Falls. It was a hard choice – so much of Homelands deserves recognition, it feels wrong to chose just one card.
Fallen Empires: Zelyon Sword, Merseine, Delif’s Cone, River Merfolk, Tourach’s Gate
The Dark: Sorrow’s Path, Fasting, Miracle Worker, Fire and Brimstone, Deep Water
Legends: Great Wall, Hell Swarm, Hidden Path, Jedit Ojanen (or any overpriced plain vanilla legends), Adventurer’s Guildhouse (and similar legends-get-banding-and-it-doesn’t-even-tap-for-mana lands)
Although I am really tempted to build a”does absolutely nothing” deck around Aysen Highway (white creatures gain plainswalk), Hidden Path (using Alter Reality to make that give Plainswalk) and Great Wall (which removes Plainswalk), that’s too pointless even for me. Instead, I’m going with Tourach’s Gate, Sorrow’s Path and Adventurer’s Guildhouse.
Antiquities: Rakalite, Draconian Cylix, Weakstone, Mishra’s War Machine, Golgothian Cylix, Obelisk of Undoing, Oasis
Arabian Knights: Bird Maiden, City in a Bottle, Pyramids, Aladdin’s Lamp
Early Basic Sets: The five Laces, Natural Selection, Celestial Prism
Okay, it’s time for the overpriced artifacts. Rakalite and Aladdin’s Lamp are both way too expensive for what they do, so they get the nod. Celestial Prism fits the overpriced artifacts theme, so it wins a slot as well.
Consolation prizes: The Laces (Deathlace, Chaoslace, etc.) make it in as a people’s choice award, and Natural Selection gets Miss Congeniality (or is that Mistake Congeniality?)
Okay, I’m not going to do complete decklists to keep this article short – well, shorter than Rizzo’s”Compensation,” at least. It is tempting to go long and break it into pieces. (Can’t you just see”My Bad Card Decks: Part 17 – Conservator”? The Ferrett would kill me.) (Not if I killed you first, sweetie. Ferrett, I edit his stuff once before you even see it. Have pity on me! – Ingrid) (Oh, I do – The Ferrett)
Instead, I’ll do rough outlines of the cards in the deck and a brief description of what the deck is supposed to do. People will have to tweak land counts and mana on their own.
Here we go. Make sure your gas masks and protective clothing are in place.
Transcendence and Hidden Retreat
Okay, Transcendence is pretty easy to understand. Really. Although judges will quibble, just remember that any life loss – including damage – triggers a corresponding life gain and you lose the game if your life total goes above nineteen. So there are two ways to build the deck: First, you can find a method of disposing of Transcendence when necessary – allowing you to build up your life total, then run it back down. The best option might be to use Umbilicus to bounce permanents as necessary, and include Transcendence and Delaying Shield (another nominee) with Hidden Retreat (put a card from your hand onto your library to prevent damage from an instant or sorcery) to stop instant speed burn. You could even use Opalescence and kill the opponents with enchantments: Beating people to death with Transcendence and Delaying Shield would be really funny. If opponents’ creatures became a problem, just bounce Opalescence with Umbilicus and cast Wrath or Rout, then start the beats again. Beyond that, you can use Enlightened Tutor to fetch the parts and Argivian Restoration to recover anything that dies.
A better option is Transcendence and Forsaken Wastes: You cannot gain life, so you can only die if your life total drops below zero and someone dispels Transcendence (or decks you, or uses poison counters, etc.). Add four Academy Rectors, four Enlightened Tutors, four Replenish and four Hidden Retreat – so you don’t get decked – and you have a deck. (Note: Pursuit of Knowledge is a better method of avoiding drawing cards than Hidden Retreat – you cannot use Hidden Retreat to beat Stroke for 600 – but Pursuit wasn’t even nominated.) You just need to add a win condition of your choice, or you can just deck everyone else using Hidden Retreat.
Transcendence, Oath of Lim-Dul, and Carnival of Souls
Alternatively, here are three winners in one amazing six-part combo: Transcendence/Forsaken Wastes, Carnival of Souls, and Oath of Lim-Dul, something to kill a creature (like Tainted Ether) and some way of restocking your library (like Enduring Renewal or Haunted Crossroads). Oath of Lim-Dul allows you to draw a card for BB. Carnival of Souls gives you B for each creature that comes into play. Transcendence and Forsaken Wastes lets you ignore the life loss of Carnival of Souls. (Actually, Ingrid the Judge says you still lose the life, but with Transcendence, you can go to negative 69 life and not worry about it. Much. ) To operate the combo, you cast Priest of Gix and you get four black mana, then sacrifice the Priest to Tainted Aether and he goes back to your hand. Repeat as necessary to generate mana to draw cards until you find Drain Life, then to generate the mana to cast it.
There are other variations, involving Sengir Autocrat, Ashnod’s Altar, Deranged Hermit, Phyrexian Altar, Foster, etc. Chose your poison.
Security Detail gives you a plain-vanilla 1/1 soldier. When are 1/1 creatures with no abilities any good?
When nothing else is any better… Like when Humility is in play.
Humility tends to hang around with Orim’s Prayer, which keeps the opponents’ creatures from killing you. Then, in order to actually kill people and to get rid of the Security Detail token so you can make another, use Mogg Cannon. In multiplayer, you could try multiple Mogg Cannons and Voltaic Keys to untap the Cannons (you can make one token per turn – one on yours, one on each opponent’s turn). Glorious Anthem and Congregate also help this deck – after all, how much more unpopular can Congregate make you, when you are already playing Humility/Prayer?
The Shrines, Collapsing Borders and Koskun Falls
Okay – the secret to this deck is the card – I can’t remember the name, kind of like Alter Reality – that let’s you change the name of a card while it’s on the stack. Let me go find it.
<really long pause>
Uh – there doesn’t seem to be any such card. Without it, however, this deck cannot win. Seriously – these cards are just that bad. Well – if you play matches, I guess you could play fifteen Shrines, lose the first match, and then sideboard them out.
Okay – enough joking around. (As if this whole article isn’t?)
First, you could, in all seriousness, use Aven Shrine (not really) and Nantuko Shrine (maybe worth a thought) in the Holistic Wisdom/Life Burst/Aether Burst deck I wrote about a few weeks ago. Abusing Life Burst with Nantuko Shrine in play would be okay: I’ll gain sixteen life and three tokens.
To use all the shrines, however, you need to start with a domain mana base, dual lands, Star Compasses (since all the Shrines have double-colored casting costs) and Collective Restraint. Then you add lots of Wraths, Routs, Obliterates, and Global Ruins to keep the opposition from doing anything lethal. Since the deck is all about enchantments, I would add Dega Sanctuary for life gain and Subversion and Necra Sanctuaries as kill cards, and add a couple Replenishes and Academy Rectors to finish the deck.
Two more winners fit this deck profile: Koskun Falls and Collapsing Borders. Koskun Falls is another Propaganda/Collective Restraint – but you need to have a squirrel token or two (from Nantuko Shrine) to make it work. Collapsing Borders is an alternative kill that works okay in multiplayer – assuming everyone doesn’t just get pissed and smash you. I had to use it in some deck, after all, and since it is obviously designed for a domain deck, I’ll put it here.
Symbiotic Deployment and Oath of Lim-Dul
Here are two very bad card drawing cards that just might work together. Symbiotic Deployment has the disadvantage that you skip your draw phase – so Wrath of God means you never draw a card again. Oath of Lim-Dul says that when you lose life and/or take damage, you have to sacrifice a permanent, but you can draw cards for BB. That’s risky, but you can always mana burn for one and sacrifice Symbiotic Deployment to Oath of Lim-Dul if you need your draw phase back. You want to add Walls of Blossoms and Roots, Bearscape, Zombie Infestation, Squirrel Nest, Deranged Hermit, Gaea’s Cradle, Llanowar Dead and probably Spiritmonger to the mix.
Earthquake for five would be very, very bad for this deck.
Echo Chamber puts a copy of an opponent’s creature of that opponent’s choice into play, and that token vanishes at end of turn. This only works as a sorcery, but you get the token and it has haste, so you can attack with it. The trick that breaks the card is to use it as removal – which can be done if you have a way of killing duplicates. Winnow does just that – and Winnow is another nominee. Unnatural Selection does it even better: Just make the token a legend, then make the original creature a legend as well. The legend rule kills the original creature, and the token dies at end of turn – after you have attacked with it. I wrote an article on Unnatural Selection decks a while back – use that as a base.
Natural Selection lets you restack the top cards of a player’s library (including your own.) Foreshadow is Predict, and just a little worse. The two work together pretty well as card drawing. You can add Aven Windreader to make Predict/Foreshadow generate extra cards, or use Revelation (everyone keeps the top card of their libraries revealed) to draw cards or to mill unnecessary cards off your library. That is not quite enough to build a deck around – but it does work as support. If you want to build a deck around the cards, add four Jungle Barriers and Wall of Blossoms for protection, four Booby Traps (for 4G and Natural Selection, there’s no luck involved, just ten damage) and add an assortment of Drafna’s Restoration/Regrowth/Restock to recover the Booby Traps. Memory Lapse and Repel are also pretty good in a deck with eight Predicts.
Tales of the Real West: The Bad Lands
There are a bunch of really bad lands in the list – headed by the all time worst card, in many people’s opinion, ever printed. Here it is:
Tap: Choose two target blocking creatures an opponent controls. If each of those creatures could block all creatures that the other is blocking, remove both of them from combat. Each one then blocks all creatures the other was blocking. Sorrow’s Path deals 2 damage to you and 2 damage to each creature you control.
Sorrow’s Path if the quintessential bad rare. When you bust an Odyssey pack and find a Shrine, be grateful it isn’t Sorrow’s Path.
Okay, I’m going to put all the bad lands in one deck: Sorrow’s Path, Wintermoon Mesa, Meteor Crater, the Legends”colored legend gains banding with other legend” lands like Seafarer’s Quay – and even Oasis, although Oasis did not win its spot. You don’t want to play more than one of each of these, since they do so little, but even that number can clog the deck. The rest of the deck is G/U, with real lands, Wall of Roots for mana, Wall of Blossoms and Jungle Barrier to slow the opponents’ beats and cantrip though the deck, plus Repulse and Impulse to stall and dig farther. You may want some Deluges to set up the kill. The kill itself is Vivify (making Sorrow’s Path a 3/3), Might of Oaks (making it a 10/10), Berserk – and then you attack with your 20/20 trampling Sorrow’s Path. For multiplayer, add Nostalgic Dreams and pitch other bad lands to get Vivify, Berserk, and Might of Oaks back. You obviously won’t kill everyone in a big multiplayer game this way, but you can easily surprise one or two. What more do you want from Sorrow’s Path?
This card seems like a bad version of Eladamri’s Vineyards in so many ways, but it doesn’t punish people for not using the mana. The trick is to keep the players just before you from tapping their lands so the cache has a lot of counters, then finding a way to use all that mana. The simplest solution seems to be four Abeyances, four Orim’s Chants, Earthquake, and Circle of Protection: Red. Simple, but effective. CoP: Red can be used to remove all the counters during your turn if you are not ready to Earthquake, so the player after you doesn’t get any benefit from the Cache. You could also play Radiant’s Dragoons in this deck as a stall tactic, and maybe Powerstone Minefield, plus some Bolts and utility spells like Orim’s Thunder.
Oath of Mages
This does so little, in such a symmetrical way, that I cannot find a way to abuse it. The best I can say is that this will make you friends in a multiplayer game, since everyone will use it to ping the white player. You could try it in a Transcendence/Forsaken Wastes deck, except that it is the wrong colors – and cards like Shivan Gorge or even Warmonger are just way, way better.
If anyone has a way of breaking this card, please email me. I would love to know what I overlooked. My”best” idea is Furnace of Rath, plus Skeletal Scrying to make sure your life total is low… But that sounds a bit risky.
Isn’t there some other Exodus rare that’s as bad? No, not really.
I alluded to this a while back, but you can play Ovinomancer in a Turboland deck. The Explorations allow you to replay the Islands, and Ovinomancer is removal – and it gives your opponent creatures to make sure Oath keeps working. Then you can add Seafarer’s Quay and Unnatural Selection and your Ovinomancer could become a legend and band with other blue legends. Or maybe not.
Ovinomancer/Turboland does work, though.
This has received errata that makes it okay in multiplayer: It no longer targets a player. Instead, each opponent draws cards equal to the number of upkeep counters on MG, then takes that much damage. The card still has cumulative upkeep, but you can work around that – it is green and blue, after all, so you get mana and card drawing if you need it. To abuse the card, you need to make sure that no one benefits from the extra cards. Punishing them, over and above the damage they take, is gravy. Chains of Mephistopheles is a perfect match, since Chains mean extra cards just cycle. Megrim can then punish your opponents for the cards discarded to the Chains. You can round it out with tutors to find the parts, and targeted card drawing (like Cephalid Broker) to dig for the combo early or to force others to draw extra cards and take extra damage once the combo is in place. Arcane Denial is particularly good in a deck that punishes other people, but not you, for drawing extra cards.
Jangling Automaton/Delif’s Cube
If Jangling Automaton attacks, untap all creatures defending player controls. Okay, so what can you do to harm untapped creatures? Well, Basilisk/Lure was always pretty good at making people regret having untapped creatures – provided you could keep the Basilisk alive. Regeneration helps here: Yavimaya Hollow is a good option, as is Refresh or even the classic enchantment Regeneration. Stonetongue Basilisk has lure built in.
To really make people regret blocking, try adding Nature’s Revolt to make all lands into creatures. Now the Automaton untaps them and the Basilisk kills them. Smart players will try to tap their lands for mana before having to declare blockers (since mana burn is better than being ‘geddoned), but Cursed Totem can stop that. Nature’s Revolt and Cursed Totem lock the board – no lands or creatures can tap for mana. You need a new way to regenerate the Basilisk, though (Yavimaya Hollow is now a land-creature that cannot use its ability), so either use artifact mana to power regeneration or Delif’s Cube (overpriced artifact regeneration) and a Sol Ring or Sisay’s Ring (yet another nominee) to power the Cube.
The combo is crushing. Choose your victim, declare your attack, and the defender will know that every creature and land he or she has is going to die, short of miracles like white artifact mana and Swords to Plowshares or creatures with protection from green. The Cursed Totem and Nature’s Revolt combo shuts down so many, many decks.
Once again, Regrowth and Wall of Blossoms fit nicely in the deck. Creeping Mold is okay as artifact kill, but Crumble works just as well. Wall of Roots accelerates the setup and provides defense. Spidersilk Armor is also pretty nice when the game has the potential to turn into a land verses land battle with Nature’s Revolt out – and it helps save the Basilisks.
Of course it’s a five-card combo – it’s built around Jangling Automaton, after all! However, it is not that unlikely that you can get the combo out before everyone realizes they should be worried. The only point at which they will think hard and try countermeasures is when you cast Cursed Totem with Nature’s Revolt in play: You might need to use Copper Gnomes to sneak in the Cursed Totem. And when you try to cast Lure on the Basilisk, of course.
The Laces (Thoughtlace, Deathlace, etc.) all change colors of permanents. These cards combo okay with protection from color creatures, or with Absolute Law and Absolute Grace, but the best Lace deck is probably built around the Apocalypse Sanctuaries – you can use the Laces to change your lands to the appropriate colors.
Yes, it’s pretty lame, but so are the Laces.
Oh, lordy – this is so bad, it hurts. Sacrifice a thrull to enchant a land so you can tap it to cast Nocturnal Raid – and sacrifice another thrull three turns later? Yowsa – this is bad! Oh well, let’s start with a Thrull deck and add the standard black stuff to make it good – although this seems like”customizing” a Yugo by removing everything forward of the name plate and replacing those parts with a Porsche. Okay – since it’s a thrull deck, with a V8 Chevy Nova.
Thrulls: Breeding Pit, Blood Pet, Blood Vassal, Ebon Praetor.
Enhancements: Soul Exchange, Grave Pact, Volrath’s Stronghold, No Mercy, Attrition, Subversion, Syphon Soul, tutors, maybe Cemetery Gate.
Sengir Autocrat probably belongs as well. With Grave Pact, every creature you sacrifice helps clear the board. Casting Soul Exchange to kill a Thrull and get a Sengir Autocrat is okay with the Pact in play, and adding Attrition should mean that no one will have any blockers for long. Tourach’s Gate then allows all your Thrulls to beat for three (or five with two Gates) apiece. Syphon Soul helps keep you alive – and it will be needed, since this deck is not good politics. Gravepact, Breeding Pit and Attrition says”kill me first” in a loud, clear voice.
Koskun Falls fits into this deck as well – it combos well with Breeding Pit, and the Propaganda effect is useful here. Wow – I used a Homelands winner (okay – a loser) in two different decks! (I used Baki’s Curse – which is probably the true worst card in Homelands – in no decks at all. Read it – and you’ll know why I made sure it didn’t win.)
The rest of the list is all artifacts. Generally, they are all overcosted artifacts that do so very little. Here’s a great example:
2: Prevent the next 1 damage that would be dealt to target creature or player this turn. Return ~this~ to its owner’s hand at end of turn.
Wow. I guess it is damage prevention that could fit into red decks… But at six mana upfront? Anyway, that’s pretty typical of the artifacts here. Conservator, Feroz’ Ban, Scrap Heap, and the wouldn’t-be-that-bad-if-it-didn’t-cost-ten-frickin’-mana Aladdin’s Lamp all fit that pattern. Urza’s Engine is almost as bad.
The deck idea, though, is pretty solid. Lots of artifact mana and mana acceleration, lots of big, clunky artifacts – then drop Karn to make all the artifacts creatures and beat with them. Urza’s Engine actually works, here: Band all the big artifacts with the Engine and you can make the whole pile trample. There is something about attacking with a 40/44 trampling band of big artifacts that is kind of fun.
This was one of the first decks I built when Saga was released – I had two Karn, Silver Golems and I had a lot of fun smashing people with animated Urza’s Armor, Aladdin’s Rings and Urza’s Blueprints.
There are three basic ways of building the deck:
Option 1 – mono-brown old school: The Urzatron (four Urza’s Mine, four Urza’s Tower, four Urza’s Power Plant), the big artifacts, Voltaic Keys, Mana Vaults, Karn, the artifacts, Urza’s Blueprints for card drawing and Colossus of Sardia for an additional kill. You can even play Null Brooch in case of problem cards (like Shattering Pulse). Remember that Voltaic Key and Null Brooch are a combo.
Option 2 – add blue: As above, but Tolarian Academy and Islands instead of the Urzatron, plus Tinker, some blue counters and card drawing.
Option 3 – add red, instead: You drop the Islands for mountains (and Blood Moon, depending on your group). Then you can play Goblin Welder to play tricks with the artifacts (like”untapping” a Mana Vault by swapping it with one in the graveyard, or turning Feroz’s Ban into Memory Jar). You can also add Pyromancy (3, discard a card at random and deal damage equal to the card’s casting cost). Having Pyromancy on the board, nine mana available, and a hand with nothing but Rakalite, Colossus of Sardia, and
Urza’s Armor gives you warm feeling. (Pun fully intended – sorry!)
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it. If anyone tries any of these decks, please email me on how you did. If anyone plays these and wins consistently, they’ll rank above Finkel and Budde in my book.
As for next week – well, it has to be better than this.
* – The Museum in downtown St. Paul, overlooking the river. Stop in – or you can read descriptions of it in articles # 122 through #127(?), plus some old articles here.
** – Knowing that Anthony, like yours truly, is a state employee makes this statement even funnier.
***- And I should admit that the reason I am bashing Anthony is just jealousy – pure and simple. He writes very well – even his haiku sounds like haiku. Mine is better described as hack–pu.
**** – I don’t know where I came out in the CCG writers poll, but I was not in the top 2 in my pool – and the top two combined to pull almost 90% of the balloting, so it wasn’t good.
***** – Would it be a cop-out to build a deck that simply pitched the bad enchantments to Wild Mongrels? (Four Mongrels, four Worldly Tutors, twenty assorted fly spells, Accumulated Knowledge and Heightened Awareness, twenty-four land) Yeah – I guess so…
****** – Well, except for the jokes. I did get people saying that the Power Nine, Library of Alexandria, Abyss and Morphling qualified – but that wasn’t the point. Besides, no one could build a deck using those cards! Okay, I guess someone could, but it would take about forty articles to describe it – right, Oscar?
******* – Ingrid got a box of French Odyssey a while back. She opened a full set of French shrines – how bad is that? Oh – and a French Call, French Upheaval and French Finkel, so maybe not that bad.
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