Tandy Presents: Feet To The F.I.R.E.

Todd Anderson roasts a decade’s worth of bad MTG card designs in his Star City Games finale.

Roast, illustrated by Zoltan Boros

Welcome one and all to the event of the year!

Tandy Presents: Feet to the F.I.R.E., a look back at the best and most bannable designs of the last decade!

All your favorite characters are here, either in the audience or on our wonderful panel of roasters. These are the bad apples of Magic: The Gathering. The worst of the best. The ones you love to hate, and hate to love. I’m Tandy, your Roastmaster General, and tonight we’re celebrating and demoralizing the most egregious cards printed in the Modern era. Now, I want everyone to know that this is all in good fun, and the cards in question will be able to barb back. This isn’t a one-sided affair!

Veil of Summer

Veil of Summer: Oh, you and I certainly had an affair back when you were playing Mono-Green Devotion in Pioneer, darling!

Hush, you, I’m just getting started! Let me finish the introduction before you ruin someone else’s career!


Thoughtseize: Hey, I resemble that remark!

Yes, yes, we’re all big fans of getting our hearts ripped out by the illustrious Veil of Summer. Moving on. Tonight is all about one man. Tonight’s festivities will be celebrating the career of one of our own. A miscreant. A deviant. Truly one of the worst to ever do it. The most dominant planeswalker ever. Introducing:

Oko, Thief of Crowns

Oko, Thief of Crowns: Hellooooo beautiful. [waves feet at the audience] What can I say? I’m a bastard. You certainly weren’t complaining while we were winning tournaments together, Tandy! I was one of your favorite cards in Pioneer.

Yeah, I remember, Oko. We had some good times together. But you were just too hard to beat, baby!

Oko: Once I show up to the party, you know I’m closing it down. I bring snacks and I am a snack.

But before we get to the main event, I wanted to take this time to really burn the house down. We have a cadre of killers on tonight, and I’m looking forward to taking every one of them down a peg. But who should we roast first? Any volunteers?

Emrakul, the Promised End

Emrakul, the Promised End: Oh my babies! You know it all started to go downhill with me! I love you so much, and all I wanted was to turn you into my little tentacled children. You can start with me, Tandy. I can take it.

Well, momma Emrakul, we know you were the start of F.I.R.E. but we all love you. Golgari Delirium was one of the most fun decks of all time. We all knew that Aetherworks Marvel was the true culprit! What a stupid card that was, right? Just an absolute dumpster fire of a Magic card. A farce. A tragedy on cardboard. A…oh my, Aetherworks Marvel is standing right behind me, isn’t it?

Aetherworks Marvel

Aetherworks Marvel: No, I’m sitting in the front row, ya jerk! I’m not even on the panel to be roasted! This is bullcrap! I’m calling my agent.

Well, this got awkward in a hurry. Well, momma Emmy, just know that no one blames you, and we’re happy you’re here. You didn’t choose your abilities, and we know all you wanted was for us to be vibing and thriving in the Nether Void.

Now that we have the first one out of the way, let’s get into some of the worst designs in all of Magic history. Folks, allow me to introduce The Companions!

[boos, hisses from crowd]

What? You don’t like The Companions? Those ten creatures that will singlehandedly live at the back of your mind when deckbuilding until the end of time? Those ten creatures that dominated all formats for the last two years, having one banned in Vintage and one banned in Legacy? Y’all don’t like The Companions?

Lurrus of the Dream-Den

Lurrus of the Dream-Den: [slithering] Don’t blame me, sweetie. I’m just doing my job.

Oh, and what job is that? Singlehandedly invalidating every three-drop permanent ever printed?

Lurrus: [slithering] Oh, stop, you know how to flatter a dame. It’s not my fault they’re not as good as me.

Who is, baby? Who is? With an ability like that, and a deckbuilding restriction as loose as yours, who could pass up such an incredible deal?

Yorion, Sky Nomad

Yorion, Sky Nomad: Listen here, bub, you can’t talk to Lurrus like that!

Oh, Mr. Big Deck Energy over here says I can’t talk to Lurrus like that? Let me tell you something, Yorion. No one even tries to cast you anymore. You’re just fodder for Solitude and Force of Negation! How does that feel? How does it feel to have your “nerf” turn you into a glorified Swords to Plowshares? Oh, I think we have a graphic for this, actually:

Speaking of Solitude, the pitch Elementals from Modern Horizons 2 are in the house. Don’t we love those Elementals, folks? They’re certainly turned Modern into a Money Pit, am I right? What, you don’t like having free spells interact with you on virtually every turn of the game? What are you, a combo player or something? Just kidding, we all know Fury and friends are just a little too good. Little too good, folks. But we love them, right? I can’t send my kids to college because I had to pick up a playset of Subtlety on preorder. Don’t mind me, just using these useless pieces of cardboard to warm my house because I can’t afford firewood anymore.


Grief: [wailing] Well, maybe you should have bought me instead! Did you even try to hit me with an Ephemerate? We could have been beautiful together, Tandy!

How could one forget all the poor schlubs trying to target you with Malakir Rebirth? Who among us could forget trying to cast Undying Evil when Snapcaster Mage is in the same format? But you’re not to blame, buddy. You’re just an honest creature trying to play a little disruption. Unmask never looked so good!

Moving on, Modern Horizons 2 brought us a lot of powerful cards that have completely reshaped the format. In that set, we were given three of the best red cards ever printed. Folks, let’s give a warm round of hearty boos for the Unholy Trinity!

Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer Unholy Heat Dragon's Rage Channeler

Talk about a change in direction for red decks! We went from Firedrinker Satyr to Ragavan in the blink of an eye!

Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer: That was nine years ago, old man!

And who could forget Unholy Heat, red’s answer to Swords to Plowshares. Do you think you’re the best removal spell of all time? How does it feel to be the only one-mana red card that can kill Primeval Titan?

Unholy Heat: Oh, it feels goooood being baaaad. That Primeval Titan was a menace anyway, always throwing dowwwwn with Valakut, even during the baaaaad times.

Dragon’s Rage Channeler: But everyone loves me, right? Right!?

You!? You think everyone loves you? Are you joking? You fuel Murktide Regent. You make Mishra’s Bauble a free Serum Visions. You make Delver of Secrets cry himself to sleep at night. You’re one of the best creatures ever made, and you’re not even the best creature in your own little band. Imagine that. You’re Ringo Starr.

[audience gasps]

Oh, did I go a little too far? Sorry about that. It’s all in good fun, folks. We’re just making jokes and pointing out all of our flaws so we can do better in the future. The things we’re saying up here on the stage are just theater. Any words that go overboard are meant for shock and awe. We’re all good friends who have worked together at some point over the last fourteen years. We all have our dirty little secrets and plenty of grievances to air out. I love you, Darcy! Please forgive me.

Dragon’s Rage Channeler: You know we love you, Tandy! Roast me up good!

Well, in that case, I wish you and the rest of the Unholy Trinity were never born!

[crowd gasps, then roars with laughter]

We love the Unholy Trinity, don’t we, folks? Just three cards that cost one mana and completely reshaped red’s color identity. Remember when one-mana creatures that hit hard ultimately had some sort of drawback? Turns out this is what happens when you make a Horizons set and intentionally push the power level to sell booster packs. Oh, come on now, we all know that Modern Horizons 2 was a huge success, and nearly every deck has to play something from the set.

Urza's Saga

Urza’s Saga: Leave Modern Horizons 2 alone!

Urza’s Saga chimes in from the peanut gallery. You absolute dictionary of a land. Imagine a land that is also an enchantment and you tutor up and create…artifacts. We got a reader over here! You have so much text…

[Audience: How much text does it have?]

You have so much text that Penguin offered to publish you. We love Urza’s Saga, don’t we, folks? A land that makes such hits as Shadowspear playable. A land that fuels virtually every artifact deck in Modern. What a land. What a pal. I wish you a very happy “Eat a Spreading Seas.”

But Modern Horizons wasn’t the beginning of F.I.R.E. It wasn’t even the most egregious example in the last year. My next roastee will be a little shocking, I know, but shocking it is how we have to deal with this pesky little fox. Yeah, I’m talking about you, go ahead and stand up. Drink in your standing ovation before I tear the building down.

Light-Paws, Emperor's Voice

Light-Paws, Emperor’s Voice: Take it in, all of me. Watching how I twirl and dance for the camera. They love me. Everyone loves me except you.

You make me want Kaya’s Ghostform to stay bugged on Magic Online in perpetuity. You need to have “equal to” lasered off your big, dumb face. You give hard-working Auras staples like Kor Spiritdancer and Sram, Senior Edificer a bad name. It’s so easy to assemble a combo and so hard to disrupt that I honestly can’t fathom how you escaped the cutting room floor as is.

Light-Paws: That’s because everyone gets lost in my eyes, and their eyes glaze over while reading my text box.

Oooh, the rare self-burn. Love it. Light-Paws, did you ever think you’d be this hated on release? Did you think anyone would even pick you up and play with you? Do you think you might need errata or perhaps even a ban?

Light-Paws: Baby, I can make any Aura look good. You think I’m going anywhere?

Good point. I guess you’ll be carrying around all that Dead Weight for a long time to come. That’s punishment enough! We appreciate you being here on such short notice, Light-Paws. You’re actually sitting in the reserved seat for Winota, Joiner of Forces, who sadly couldn’t be here tonight. I had a whole routine about Winota, but sadly she whiffed being here at six.

[crowd groans]

I don’t want to leave Winota out, but it wouldn’t be fair to bash on Winota without her being able to defend herself. So let’s just leave it at this: we hate you, we wish you were banned in Pioneer, and I’m mad at whoever decided to create you in the first place. Also, please shoot yourself out of a cannon and into the sun.

Alrund's Epiphany

Alrund’s Epiphany: Why don’t you pick on someone who’s actually relevant these days? No one even plays Pioneer!

Oh, no one plays Pioneer, Alrund’s Epiphany? Well, no one plays you anymore either, you washed-out old b____! Why don’t you go “foretell” where you’ll be in five years. It sure as hell won’t be in Pioneer! Are you even better than Hullbreaker Horror? Imagine getting banned and then immediately replaced by a different seven-mana card. How does your ex-wife Goldspan Dragon feel about it? I’m sure she’s getting her ships broken!

Expressive Iteration

Expressive Iteration: That’s too much, Tandy. You can’t talk about his wife like that. Especially considering she’s happier now than she ever was before they separated!

Wow, sick burn from the cheap seats. Well aren’t you an innocuous little weasel. Expressive Iteration, everyone! Let’s give ’em a big round of applause.

[audience remains silent]

Nothing? Not even one person in the audience is a fan of Expressive Iteration? I used to be, I’ll tell you that. But the luster wears off quickly. I suppose that’s just how it is in the business these days. Wizards of the Coast prints something great, but by the time you realize just how good it is, you can’t even remember a time before it existed. I remember casting Divination in Standard. Divination! And it wasn’t half bad. I even remember Treasure Cruise fondly. How is that possible? I guess it just feels better when you have to work for it! Kids these days get all their card advantage built in, for free, without so much as having to lift a finger.

Expressive Iteration: OK Boomer.

Listen here, you little twerp. Back in my day, we would pay three life and draw two cards, and we’d love it! Read the Bones is the best version of you. Zoomers don’t understand how hard it used to be to gain some card advantage.

Teferi, Time Raveler

Teferi, Time Raveler: All right, Tandy, leave the kid alone. He’s just trying to work.

You? You’re the one who steps in to defend that brat? You’re the worst of the worst. You’re a card advantage engine built into battlefield control and a static ability that would make Gaea weep. You…you’re the worst of the worst, and I don’t even have a joke for ya.

Teferi, Time Raveler: [rewinds time]

You…you’re the worst of the worst, and I don’t even have a joke for ya.

Teferi, Time Raveler: [rewinds time]

You…okay that’s actually pretty good. The Time Raveler himself, folks! What a planeswalker! But now it has come time to roast the Planeswalker of the Hour. The second-greatest thief in the multiverse! Friend to Elk, foe or lover to everyone else! The Grey Goose was certainly loose when they were making this one. Give it up for Oko, Thief of Crowns!

Oko, Thief of Crowns: Oh hello, Tandy. I thought you’d forgotten about little old me. We really did have some good times together, or don’t you remember?

For those of you unaware, I played with Oko quite a bit in the early Pioneer days. We were fast friends, and he’s even responsible for one of my favorite 5-0 trophies from a Pioneer League on Magic Online.

Back when I first started streaming full-time, I would have sessions where people could donate or subscribe to the channel to add cards to a deck after deciding on a theme. The theme for this deck was “Hero of Precinct One.” This is the final product we came up with, and it was one of my favorite undefeated runs of all time. But who am I kidding? The real hero of this deck was Oko!

Armada Wurm

Armada Wurm: [breaks through the floor] Who was the hero, Tandy? Who was the real hero?!

Oh Armada Wurm, let it go. We had our time in the sun, but this event isn’t about you. It’s about Oko!

That just goes to show you the true power of Oko; he can carry Armada Wurm across the finish line. He can create a ton of do-nothing permanents, or turn your opponent’s stuff into do-nothing permanents. He’s nearly impossible to kill via attacking or direct damage. Believe me, folks. I’ve tried.

We’re all here to hold your overly sexualized feet to the F.I.R.E. So let me ask you some questions about your time in Magic.

Oko: Sure thing, Tandy. Fire away!

What was your favorite format that you ever ruined?

Oko: Oh, it has to be Modern. Imagine jumping into a format as powerful and resilient as Modern and just gumming up the works. I could use my Food tokens to steal your creatures or just turn your Emrakul into a friend-rakul. I carried Urza on my back. Urza, Tandy! The guy who made the Legacy Weapon! I would have to say it is my biggest accomplishment to date.

Well, what about Legacy? You also ruined Legacy.

Oko: [sheepishly grinning] Who is Legacy? Don’t know that I’ve ever heard of him.

Oh, that smarts. Speaking of Legacy, people saw you palling around with Delver of Secrets back in the day. Is that friendship still intact? Or did you go your separate ways after you got the boot from virtually every format in Magic?

Oko: Oh, baby doll, no one ever leaves Oko for long. Delver and I are fast friends. If the walls could talk, they would tell some dirty stories of me and my little abomination.

Oooh, I would love to hear those stories, but we’re running out of time! When Throne of Eldraine was first released, did you even know what a Food token was, or were you clueless like the rest of us?

Oko: When they started showing me off, I got so many questions about the Food tokens. What do they do? Who are they for? The answer was always, “It doesn’t matter.” They’re just game objects that I can trade for your game objects, or sacrifice, or tap for mana, or anything really. But what I got asked the most was, “Why do both of your abilities tick up?” Well, my answer was different back then, but now I just say, “How else could I have taken over the world?” I can make Elks for days. I can make Food for weeks. I’m Mr. Steal Your Boo, and I’m coming for you.

Now that you’ve retired, are you looking forward to your quarterly shenanigans in the Magic Online Cubes? Or do you wish you could leave Magic completely and move on?

Oko: As a longtime fan of Magic, I can honestly say that I love the game. Hell, I was the game for a long time, the biggest name in any format. When you beat the best and make all the rest mad at you forever, it can become a bit of a hostile work environment. Some Cubes don’t even invite me along for the ride! On some days, I’m happy about that, as I get to sit on my throne and play with all my little toys. On others, I miss the feel of battle. I miss the air in my hair and the earth underfoot. I miss the frown after frown on my opponents’ faces as I enter the fray and turn their best friends into my friends.

That’s interesting to hear. I too am something of an old dog myself, and plenty of people have a bone to pick with me.

Oko: Oh, Tandy, I see you. Better than you know. We could have been glorious together, and I’ll still pick your bones any day of the week.

[Tandy giggles.]

All right, Oko. Final question. If you could go back and change your stats, any stat on your card, what would you change?

Oko: I’d sooner perish before I change one single thing about who I am. Love me or hate me, I am Oko, Thief of Crowns, and I bow before no one.

Well, what would you say if they were going to change your card on Magic Arena in their new Alchemy program? They’re taking all the cards we hate and making them slightly less powerful. Doesn’t that sound like a gas?

Oko: Honey, they couldn’t handle me even if they changed all my pluses to minuses. At the very least, you’d still love to hate me. Everyone loves to hate me, and I am stronger for it.

Oko, Thief of Crowns, everyone! Thank you for watching Tandy Presents: Feet to the F.I.R.E.! It was a wonderful evening full of friends and foes, making jokes and hurling barbs. We laughed, we cried, and we remember the times (mostly bad). I’d like to thank all the people who made this possible, Wizards of the Coast, Star City Games, everyone behind the scenes making sure the show runs smoothly. All my coworkers and friends who’ve let me do my own thing over the years without giving me too much grief.

Grief: I’ll give you some Grief, Tandy! Wooo!

Hush you! I’m trying to close the show! This will be my last performance at Star City Games, but I am thankful to Pete Hoefling, Cedric Phillips, and everyone else who made it possible to create content as a career. I will still be making content, but on a slightly different platform and schedule. If you care to know more, you can find me at the links below.

For now, that’s the show! Good night, and good luck.