Gavin Verhey used today’s episode of Good Morning Magic to count down the Top 10 worst designed mechanics in Magic history.
Verhey prefaced the list that the ranking wasn’t based on power level or complexity, more so how the cards function, how fun the gameplay is, and how much design space was available. Let’s dive in:
Cumulative Upkeep: A punishing mechanic for newer players that is problematic with tournament rules and objectively not fun to play with. For players who enjoy paying loans!
Join Forces: The mechanic is incredibly narrow and gives other players more control and power from the cards than the caster.
Buyback: It is repetitive and powerful which means the game becomes about one thing. Spells with buyback make all other cards irrelevant. They are also hard to interact with outside of counterspells.
Forecast: Even harder to interact with than buyback, but the cards were at least designed knowing the mechanic wasn’t good, leading to expensive costs and few cards with the mechanic being playable.
Rebels: Incentivizes not playing spells and instead climbing the chain resulting in all games playing out the same way.
Sweep: Only on four cards made so that should be a warning. The mechanic puts you behind on mana and tempo, resulting in atrocious game states or ending the game on the spot.
Gotcha: Has the opposite feel of a un-set mechanic, leading players to not talk in the game.
Rhystic: The cards often don’t work. With it in the format players are encouraged to not play spells so that they can pay Rhystic costs instead. Exciting!
Epic: The theme of not casting spells continues. Epic makes draw steps uninteresting and makes games about a single spell, which isn’t epic at all.
Ripple: Most of the times it doesn’t work, especially in Constructed. In Limited it often worked too well, and made games uninteresting after a successful ripple. Doing nothing or ending/ruining a game on the spot. Fun!
What do you think of the list? What mechanics can join the list or should be removed from it?