The Comboist Manifesto: Looking Back at Fame and Shame [Article]

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
Mirage
Nomination thread: http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-nominations-mirage.15652/
Voting thread: http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-vote-mirage.15662/
Winner: Emberwilde Caliph

Nominees
DarthFerret: Warping Wurm
BigBlue: Emberwilde Caliph
Shabbaman: Warping Wurm
Mooseman: Emberwilde Caliph
Oversoul: Malignant Growth
Spiderman: Hall of Gemstone

Highlights
Other cards mentioned included Cycle of Life, Acidic Dagger, Lion’s Eye Diamond, and Ventifact Bottle.

This one led to a lively discussion over Malignant Growth vs. Emberwilde Caliph as the worst card in Mirage. Spiderman and I both thought that Malignant Growth was considerably worse, but BigBlue argued that Emberwilde Caliph was worse, and the poll sided with him. I won’t recapitulate the entire discussion here, but it was an interesting read.

My thoughts now
Prior to combing this set for bad cards, I did not recall ever having seen Malignant Growth. Ever since, I’ve retained Malignant Growth as my answer to what the worst card in the game is. And that’s still the case. So my position hasn’t really changed. Malignant Growth is the worst card ever, and unless WotC really takes a strange turn, that’s unlikely to ever change.
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
Visions
Nomination thread: http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-nominations-visions.15674/
Voting thread: www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-voting-visions.15687/
Winner: Time and Tide

Nominees
BigBlue: Suleiman’s Legacy
Oversoul: Corrosion
DarthFerret: Snake Basket
Mooseman: Suleiman’s Legacy
Shabbaman: Time and Tide

Highlights
I expressed similar concern regarding Suleiman’s Legacy to my commentary on Thought Lash. By itself, Suleiman’s Legacy is too narrow of a hoser to be viable in normal gameplay. But there are other cards that mess with creature types, and I saw some potential for abuse that made me think there must be something worse in this set. Mooseman drew my attention to the possibility that this was also true for my own nomination: Corrosion is a lousy artifact hoser, but combos with Mycosynth Lattice to blow up your opponent’s manabase, and that’s not bad. DarthFerret nominated Snake Basket, but no one else seemed to think it was especially bad. So it became a contest between Time and Tide and Suleiman’s Legacy, with Time and Tide winning/losing.

My thoughts now
Well, we’ve come full circle. Time and Tide will never be a great Magic card, but it has acquired a niche. Some EDH players use it alongside Teferi’s Protection to phase their creatures back in, and it has a few other oddball uses, such as in Taniwha decks. The anti-changeling use case for Suleiman’s Legacy just might be enough to disqualify the card as a candidate for worst card in the set. And I’ve already noted the issues with the other nominees. So, does Visions have any real duds? Kind of.

Matopi Golem is an unremarkable artifact creature that can regenerate, but only if it gets -1/-1 counters. Firestorm Hellkite has all the problems that cumulative upkeep has always had. Ovinomancer is bad, no matter how much CPA members are willing to stand up for the card.

Notably, the discussion for this set was where the possibility was raised that there should be a “none” option in the polls. Shabbaman spoke out against it, but the issue didn’t even register to me at the time, although I know I'd later go on to argue with Spiderman about this a fair bit. I guess I should have paid attention.

I think that Visions does have one real standout bad card and that it’s not a close contest, but none of us even brought this card up. And really, this is a card that casual players generally seemed to like, back in its day. I know, because I was one of them. Lots of players tried to make this card work, and they/we/I just couldn’t. The drawbacks are severe and the payoff is unimpressive. The worst card in Visions, I’m sorry to say, is Juju Bubble.
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
Weatherlight
Nomination thread: http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-nominations-weatherlight.15698/
Voting thread: http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-vote-weatherlight.15712/
Winner: Psychic Vortex

Nominees
Oversoul: Inner Sanctum
DarthFerret: Ertai’s Familiar
Mooseman: Desperate Gambit
BigBlue: Mwonvuli Ooze
Ransac: Psychic Vortex
Modus Pwnens: Blossoming Wreath

Highlights
Ransac said:
I'm gonna nominate Psychic Vortex..... because it's bad..... bad bad bad...... I think it's bad..... not a good card but, in fact, a BAD card.... don't you think it's bad?
Oversoul said:
Ransac, you are really, really bad.
Oversoul said:
I guess I just didn't expect it to be winning on a casual site. Don't people have a sense of adventure? It has cumulative upkeep draw a card! Cumulative upkeeps usually suck. This one is good. Plus the card's not that expensive and its drawbacks aren't that severe. Sacrificing a land every turn sucks, but can easily be worked around. Discarding your hand doesn't even really matter when you're drawing more and more cards every turn. This is the sort of card we should be trying to build decks around, not putting in a hall of shame. Who ever heard of an Inner Sanctum deck?
My thoughts now
There are times when I go back and read my own posts and ask, “What on Earth were you thinking, you idiot?” But there are also times when I go back and read my own posts and find myself saying, “That’s right and you put it better than I ever could, wait…”

At least as far as Inner Sanctum vs. Psychic Vortex is concerned, I fully agree with the 2009 version of myself, and I think Ransac is bad and wrong. Psychic Vortex is a very cool Magic card. It takes cumulative upkeep, something that was always a drawback on cards, and turns it into an advantage. I think this card has held up pretty well, despite being a clunky, four-drop, buildaround enchantment. If it weren’t a Reserved List rare, it would probably be more popular. Inner Sanctum, on the other hand, is a crappy version of Bubble Matrix, a card that was released in this very same set.

So I think Pyshic Vortex was a bad call. But I also have to admit that my comparison of Inner Sanctum to Bubble Matrix doesn’t seem quite as fair now as it did back in 2009. Yes, Bubble Matrix is a much better card. This doesn’t mean that Inner Sanctum is the worst card in Weatherlight. I do still think it’s lousy, but I can see how it might kinda-sorta be playable. Well, Ertai’s Familiar is an awkward self-mill creature with very minor utility. Desperate Gambit is a decent card in coinflip decks. Blossoming Wreath is an explosive lifegain spell and Modus was utterly wrong to nominate it. And that leaves us with Mwonvuli Ooze and any other cards we might have missed in the nomination process.

Jangling Automaton is horrible if your opponent has basically any creatures. Gallowbraid has the distinction of probably being the worst commander, and is a really bad card overall. Straw Golem is one of the most fragile creatures in existence. Ancestral Knowledge is excessively clunky and could too easily just suck up your mana without doing anything. But let’s face it: the worst card in Weatherlight is Mwonvuli Ooze.
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
Portal
Nomination thread: http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-nominations-portal.15757/
Voting thread: http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-vote-portal.15771/
Winner: Capricious Sorcerer

Nominees
Ransac: Burning Cloak
Oversoul: Capricious Sorcerer

Highlights
I was a bit worried that I derailed the whole Hall of Shame thing by posting a thread for this set, but looking back, I’m reassured that the Hall of Shame died for unrelated reasons. I wasn’t even sure if I should bother covering Portal here, since it wasn’t listed in the main Hall of Shame thread, but then, neither is Tempest. We’ll come to that momentarily.

For the Hall of Fame, the CPA seemed to form a consensus to stick to main-line Standard sets. As I noted earlier, I asked about Portal and no one wanted to do it. Well, the Hall of Shame didn’t have the same formal structure that the Hall of Fame did and it had been a while. Cards from these sets had been tournament-legal for longer and had affected multiple formats. I didn’t think I was being a jerk or forceful at the time, but I just kind of made a thread without asking, and there was very little participation, but no one really complained either. Of course, Ransac hit on my real motivation.

Ransac said:
Ahhhh... so Oversoul began his Magic Career w/ a crap rare in portal... I now see how come he wants this set to have a hall of shame card.
Yeah, I think I’m guilty there. Capricious Sorcerer was the first crap rare in the first booster pack I ever opened, and the card has had a special place (of hatred) in my heart ever since 1997. Why did they make it so bad? Anyway, there are some other bad cards in the set, and I knew that, so I thought people might want to nominate some. But Ransac was the only other person to nominate a card. Hardly anyone voted on this one and I feel like I probably shouldn’t have started the thread, but I don’t regret it, because now I can look back on it and see some interesting old posts. I think of it as a kind of learning opportunity. I messed up, but it didn’t seem to really bother anyone.

The main point of interest was probably that Spiderman showed up to represent the perspective that this set didn’t really count as a real set because it didn’t have all the card types and stuff. It was a special introductory product and not one of the regular sets, so even though it introduced new cards, that didn’t matter. I didn’t really argue with him or even disagree. It just wasn’t something I’d given any thought to. Of course I thought this was a “real” set: it was my first set! Well, now that we’ve had so many special products and variants and things, I wonder if Spiderman’s position still works, or how this gets interpreted. I’m not sure where the line should be drawn. Portal introduced 154 new Magic cards, which was more than the early small sets. Some of them were reprinted and became staples of the game. Some of them were powerful, but never reprinted, and are quite valuable. Some of them are laughably bad. But if we say that because this set had new cards and wasn’t a reprint set, that it counts as a set to evaluate, do we do the same for Game Night, which only contained 5 new Magic cards? I don’t know. I do think that it would have been good to establish a consensus on which sets to include in the Halls and what the criteria, but we didn’t really take the time to do that. Oh well.

My thoughts now
Not to get too defensive, I hope, but looking back, I do see another potential motivation behind my pushing Portal here, but I barely mentioned it. We’d already skipped Homelands in the Hall of Shame after almost skipping it in the Hall of Fame, and I was the one to point it out both times. So once Weatherlight was brought into the Hall of Shame with no discussion of Portal (the set that technically preceded it), I guess I tacitly took on the role of being the one to check and make sure that we weren’t skipping sets. I was trying to be helpful. But I don’t think that I really approached it the right way. It would have been more appropriate to raise this issue of whether we were even going to vote on non-Standard sets.

As far as the cards go, Burning Cloak isn’t great, but it’s more flexible and useful than Scorching Spear, although the latter has nice flavor text. Other candidates might include Warrior’s Charge, Howling Fury, Valorous Charge, Scorching Winds, Pillaging Horde, and a card I hunted for at my LGS and my junior high school unsuccessfully: Thing From the Deep. I’ll admit my bias, but I will persist in my belief that Capricious Sorcerer is the worst card in this set.
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
Tempest
Nomination thread: http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-nominations-tempest.15789/
Voting thread: http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-tempest-voting.15803/
Winner: ???

Nominees
BigBlue: Torture Chamber
Ransac: Starke of Rath
Shabbaman: Mogg Squad
Oversoul: Duplicity
Melkor: Thumbscrews

Highlights
This one got really messed up! Of course, I had already remembered that it happened, but having now gone through so many other threads, I notice something in particular that stands out. Spiderman and I often agree on things, but because we’re in agreement, there’s not much discussion between the two of us, so it doesn’t stand out much. When we do significantly disagree, which is probably less frequent overall, it leads to some pretty long arguments, which over the years has really caused some threads to fill up with back-and-forth between us. The Tempest nomination thread was a case in which we disagreed. It started out mostly as an argument over whether Mogg Squad was a bad card and shifted into an argument over the philosophy of the Hall of Shame itself. Mogg Squad pretty much took over the discussion, but earlier on in the thread, there were some points made about other cards. BigBlue considered Kezzerdrix, but went with Torture Chamber. Ransac didn’t like Starke of Rath. I agreed that Torture Chamber was bad, disagreed with the Starke of Rath nomination, then brought up Segmented Wurm, Excavator, and Emmessi Tome, but concluded that none of them were in the same league of virtual unplayability as Mogg Squad, and ended up nominating Duplicity. Melkor brought up Deadshot and nominated Thumbscrews. Then the thread got taken over by the discussion between me and Spiderman.

Although it got swallowed up in the Spiderman/Oversoul banter, a point of interest that came up here was that some CPA members gave extreme weight to rarity, with Melkor and BigBlue concluding that “the rare makes the pack.” Shabbaman and I seemed to have a different take which was that crap rares are annoying and that can sway one’s opinion in a comparison between two bad cards, but it’s still possible for the worst card in a set to just be an uncommon anyway.

The voting got stuck in a tie a couple of times, then a forum change in 2010 (this was shortly after the CPA moved to XenForo) caused old polls to display bogus results. So if Tempest ever did actually have a winner/loser, we can’t tell which card it was. And then, as Spiderman noted, the Hall of Shame was primarily driven by BigBlue, so when he went absent, the whole thing just kind of died off.

My thoughts now
I mean, yeah, I still think Mogg Squad is one of the worst cards of all time, but Spiderman and I discussed that one to death. The topic came up again in a totally different thread some years later, and I won’t rehash the whole thing. Reviewing these old posts, I see that while the Hall of Shame did end abruptly with a set that evoked a huge discussion over how the Hall of Shame should work and what its structure should be, it was really the poll getting garbled by a software change and the absence of BigBlue that caused the Hall of Shame to end. And yes, Melkor, Thumbscrews is also remarkably bad.

Starke of Rath somehow became a semi-popular commander in my local area a couple years ago, and I don’t think it is nearly as bad of a card, but I’ll concede Ransac’s point that you are spending mana on a creature that you “give” your opponent to use against you. Also, the card is probably just a lot better these days, now that it can be paired with Homeward Path and such. Duplicity is still a garbage card, but at least it taught Mark Rosewater a lesson (according to him). Thumbscrews might be even worse. And of course, my pick for the worst card in Tempest is Mogg Squad.
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
Here's a post I made to capture working links for the various threads I could find related to the Halls of Fame and Shame.

http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/omg-we-shouldve-done-this-years-ago.13616/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/selection-committee-poll.13617/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/casual-card-nominees-1.13640/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/casual-card-nominees-for-arabian-nights.13667/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/card-list-for-antiquities.13689/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-legends-casual-card.13717/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums...w-casual-hall-of-fame-committee-member.13668/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-the-dark-casual-card.13748/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-hall-of-fame-committee-member.13812/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-fallen-empires-casual-card.13803/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-ice-age-casual-card.13855/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums...or-casual-hall-of-fame-commitee-member.13904/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-homelands-casual-card.13903/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-alliances-casual-card.13957/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-casual-card-committee-member.13998/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-mirage-casual-card.13997/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-visions-casual-card.14026/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-casual-card-committee-member.14048/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-weatherlight-casual-card.14047/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-tempest-casual-card.14073/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-casual-card-committee-member.14101/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-stronghold-casual-card.14100/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-exodus-casual-card.14139/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-casual-card-committee-member.14161/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-urzas-saga-casual-card.14160/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-urzas-legacy-casual-card.14198/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-urzas-destiny-casual-card.14218/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-casual-card-committee-member.14219/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-mercadian-masques-casual-card.14245/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-nemesis-casual-card.14275/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-casual-card-committee-member.14276/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-prophecy-casual-card.14317/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-invasion-casual-card.14333/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-casual-card-committee-member.14334/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-planeshift-casual-card.14356/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-casual-card-committee-member.14377/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-apocalypse-casual-card.14376/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-odyssey-casual-card.14409/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-casual-card-committee-member.14427/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-torment-casual-card.14426/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-judgement-casual-card.14448/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-onslaught-casual-card.14467/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-casual-card-committee-member.14468/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-legions-casual-card.14489/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-scourge-casual-card.14512/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-casual-card-committee-member.14513/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-mirrodin-casual-card.14528/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-casual-card-committee-member.14549/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-darksteel-casual-card.14548/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-5th-dawn-casual-card.14573/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-chk-casual-card.14600/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-casual-card-committee-member.14601/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-bok-casual-card.14630/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-casual-card-committee-member.14655/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-sok-casual-card.14654/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-ravnica-casual-card.14683/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-casual-card-committee-member.14708/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-guildpact-casual-card.14707/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-casual-card-committee-member.14753/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-dissension-casual-card.14724/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-coldsnap-casual-card.14752/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-casual-card-committee-member.14794/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-time-spiral-casual-card.14774/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-planar-chaos-casual-card.14793/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/nominations-for-future-sight-casual-card.14822/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums...r-casual-hall-of-fame-committee-member.15927/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/casual-hall-of-fame-nominations-lorwyn.15926/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/casual-hall-of-fame-nominations-morningtide.15949/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums...ual-card-hall-of-fame-committee-member.15960/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/casual-hall-of-fame-nomination-shadowmoor.15965/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums...ual-card-hall-of-fame-committee-member.15977/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/casual-hall-of-fame-nominations-eventide.15976/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums...ll-of-fame-nominations-shards-of-alara.15984/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/casual-card-hall-of-fame-nomination-conflux.16059/

http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame.15353/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-nominations-alpha-beta-unlimited.15374/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-nominations-arabian-nights.15411/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-nominations-antiquities.15444/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-nominations-legends.15475/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-nomination-the-dark.15504/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-nominations-fallen-empires.15529/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-nomination-ice-age.15569/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-o-shame-nominations-alliances.15599/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-o-shame-homelands-nominations.15626/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-nominations-mirage.15652/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-nominations-visions.15674/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-nominations-weatherlight.15698/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-nominations-portal.15757/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-nominations-tempest.15789/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-vote-alpha-beta-unlimited.15397/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-vote-arabian-nights.15432/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-vote-antiquities.15458/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-vote-legends.15493/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-voting-the-dark.15520/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-vote-fallen-empires.15548/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-vote-ice-age.15586/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-vote-alliances.15611/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-vote-homelands.15646/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-vote-mirage.15662/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-voting-visions.15687/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-vote-weatherlight.15712/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-vote-portal.15771/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/hall-of-shame-tempest-voting.15803/

http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/casual-card-hall-of-fame-discussion.13669/
http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/halls.15923/
 

saprolingtoken

New member
Hall of Fame: No mention of KILNMOUTH DRAGON is SHAMEFUL! I love that card so much and it offers so much more than any other card from Legions, solid stats and mana cost plus the Amplify ability makes it really sweet.

Hall of Shame: Pyramids is pretty close to the worst card of all time but it's not actively bad when you cast it since just being an artifact in play is still useful. Also, Island of Wak-Wak is bad, worse than Maze of Ith, but not nearly the worst card in the set. I could even see playing it in some EDH decks.

Urza lands are not nearly the worst card in the set, not even close. Not just because of the Standard/Extended/Modern decks but because those cards
are also very playable in Old School. What is the floor on something like Urza's Mine? Tapping for a colorless but with the upside of tapping for more? No way that's the worst card in the set, not even close. Just tapping for mana to cast Triskelion, Juggernaut, Su-chi, etc. is good enough. I have a hard time believing any land that taps for a colorless mana is the worst card in any set, ever.

Wood Elemental, I'm very convinced, is the worst card of all time. Not only is the rate so freaking bad it would make Uwe Boll blush but it actively hurts you when you cast it. Unbelievable.

Sorrows Path is a close second. It's garbage and a half. But at least it does something with cards like Stuffy Doll and is much cheaper to cast (nothing) and free to activate. Erosion is bad but at least it has synergy with Devotion or taxes them on life or mana. No way can deep water be bad because I play it in my sea creature deck. :p OK, I'm being a bit facetious but there are some uses for it.


Ring of Renewal is nowhere near the worst card in that set. I could imagine playing it in some artifact based deck.

Dystopia is insane. This card was so good against cards like Moat back in the day when I played Suicide Black. It's still one of the few really good, answers to powerful white or green cards.

Malignant Growth is awesome. I'd play that in a Group Hug deck like Pheldagriff or something similar. Yes, its garbage in regular Magic atm. Emberwilde Caliph would easily be playable in an aggro control deck in certain formats. The stats and abilities aren't bad at all.

That's my 2 cents! Cool stuff here!
 
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Oversoul

The Tentacled One
Ooh, it's engagement! Now I'll say what I think about what you think about what I think about what the CPA thought about these cards all those years ago. Um, or something...

Hall of Fame: No mention of KILNMOUTH DRAGON is SHAMEFUL! I love that card so much and it offers so much more than any other card from Legions, solid stats and mana cost plus the Amplify ability makes it really sweet.
On the one hand, there are like 100 big red dragon cards in Magic, and WotC will keep making more of them because they've established that it's some kind of enduring theme in the game. Different red dragons are going to appeal to different people, and you've got an overwhelming array of choices when it comes to which one you want to run in a casual deck. Kilnmouth Dragon has never really piqued my interest, so I wasn't going to be the one to nominate it. Also, my stance that Legions is just a lousy set anyway hasn't really shifted that much. I'm baffled that WotC went forward with this whole set design, especially considering how bold and innovative Onslaught and Scourge were.

On the other hand, I had a couple of friends who really loved this card and put it to good use. Kilnmouth Dragon was pretty powerful for its time and does have a cool name. Also, I have to admit that it is the most iconic Amplify card and that mechanic did a good job of presenting a new take on the tribal themes of Onslaught Block. My recollection is that Kilnmouth Dragon was quite popular in the mid 00's. If the CPA membership had included some of the guys from my high school when we did the Hall of Fame stuff, I'm sure Kilnmouth Dragon would have been nominated.

Not one of my favorite cards, but I know the card had its fans, for sure.

Hall of Shame: Pyramids is pretty close to the worst card of all time but it's not actively bad when you cast it since just being an artifact in play is still useful.
Utility artifacts simply costing too much mana was a common problem in the early sets. Pyramids should have been way cheaper than 6. But I do not think that Pyramids is even close to being the worst card of all time. I think my paragraph defending the card explains my position well enough. I can't pretend that it's great, but I'm apparently more sold on it than most people are.

Also, Island of Wak-Wak is bad, worse than Maze of Ith, but not nearly the worst card in the set. I could even see playing it in some EDH decks.
Yeah, that's fair. In the right environment, it's probably an acceptable utility land. I dislike how situational it is, but I guess I wouldn't be too shocked to see it in some oddball EDH deck.

Urza lands are not nearly the worst card in the set, not even close. Not just because of the Standard/Extended/Modern decks but because those cards are also very playable in Old School. What is the floor on something like Urza's Mine? Tapping for a colorless but with the upside of tapping for more? No way that's the worst card in the set, not even close. Just tapping for mana to cast Triskelion, Juggernaut, Su-chi, etc. is good enough. I have a hard time believing any land that taps for a colorless mana is the worst card in any set, ever.
My thoughts exactly. I know that Ferret still posts here and was one of the haters when it came to these cards. I wonder if his position has changed...

Wood Elemental, I'm very convinced, is the worst card of all time. Not only is the rate so fucking bad it would make Uwe Boll blush but it actively hurts you when you cast it. Unbelievable.
It's kind of uncanny, how bad Wood Elemental is. I'd really like to observe what the thought process was in design when they tacked on the bit about the forests having to be untapped.

Sorrows Path is a close second. It's garbage and a half. But at least it does something with cards like Stuffy Doll and is much cheaper to cast (nothing) and free to activate.
I can see why people hate the card, but I think the combos involving damage redirection and such as well as the combos that saddle an opponent with it and then tap it repeatedly are enough, taken together, that it really shouldn't be a candidate for one of the worst cards of all time. I've used it in EDH to do some unique stuff. Uniquely stupid? Maybe. But I could never say the same about, for instance, Wood Elemental. A bad card that is just useless is more frustrating to me than a bad card that has some gimmicky ways to exploit it.

Erosion is bad but at least it has synergy with Devotion or taxes them on life or mana.
It's not even good at taxing them! But yes, it does offer Devotion to blue. :ROFLMAO:

No way can deep water be bad because I play it in my sea creature deck. :p OK, I'm being a bit facetious but there are some uses for it.
I forgot that Deep Water existed, so when I pondered whether it was the worst card in the set, I ran a few searches for decks that use it, and came to the conclusion that some casual players are running it just because it has a hammerhead shark in its art. That's some dubious redeeming value.

Ring of Renewal is nowhere near the worst card in that set. I could imagine playing it in some artifact based deck.
The random discard can be less of a dealbreaker than it used to be, but I can't think of anything else nice to say about Ring of Renewal, other than in comparison to Delif's Cube or something.

Dystopia is insane. This card was so good against cards like Moat back in the day when I played Suicide Black. It's still one of the few really good, answers to powerful white or green cards.
Yeah, if you go back to the thread where we actually discussed Alliances, Shabbaman did call out the Dystopia nomination along the same lines that you have now, but there was almost no other commentary on the card even though Melkor and Mooseman both nominated it. I guess we could ask them if they still think it's the worst.

Malignant Growth is awesome. I'd play that in a Group Hug deck like Pheldagriff or something similar. Yes, its garbage in regular Magic atm.
I love Phelddagrif and I would never run Malignant Growth in it. I can't tell how tongue-in-cheek your response is with this card, but I sometimes find myself surprised how often people disagree with me that it's the worst card in Magic. And that isn't because I'm so egotistical or self-assured, I think. Obviously, it's fine and the whole thing is subjective anyway, but Malignant Growth seems so over-the-top in how bad it is that I can scarcely imagine picking anything else. Other people clearly see it differently, so I'm left a bit puzzled.

On EDHrec, the most prevalent niche for Malignant Growth is in Xyris, the Writhing Storm decks. Now, Malignant Growth is only in a tiny fraction of Xyris decks. But I think about it and find myself picturing all the other options Xyris players have to make opponents draw cards that are just far superior to Malignant Growth. And the only damage that Malignant Growth does is for the cards that it makes your opponents draw, so it doesn't even get synergy with the other forced draw effects Xyris is using, while tying up more mana than those other cards and building up at a sluggish pace.

Even when used in a deck that ostensibly wants to do what Malignant Growth does, Malignant Growth is still bad.

Emberwilde Caliph would easily be playable in an aggro control deck in certain formats. The stats and abilities aren't bad at all.
Yeah, Emberwilde Caliph was judged too harshly here. It's not great, but I've played in environments where a 4/4 flying trampler for four mana could just kill people without the drawbacks ever mattering.

That's my 2 cents! Cool stuff here!
Thanks!
 

Ferret

Moderator
Staff member
Actually, I had a set of Urza's lands and built a whole deck around them. It was a pain to get going, but was often overlooked during multiplayer games because it was so ridiculously bad - and then when I had the full set in play, it got nasty fast! :)
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
Sounds cool. Was it ridiculously bad because you didn't have access to enough colored mana, because you were disrupted by stuff like Wasteland, or just because it took too long to get all three on the board and you were stuck without enough mana to deploy your big spells?
 

TomB

Administrator
Staff member
So what's wrong with Maze of Ith? That card was awesome back in the day! o_O
 

Ferret

Moderator
Staff member
Maze of Ith was probably my favorite rare from The Dark - Sorrow's Path was probably my second one strictly because it was just so insanely wrong...
 

Ferret

Moderator
Staff member
Sounds cool. Was it ridiculously bad because you didn't have access to enough colored mana, because you were disrupted by stuff like Wasteland, or just because it took too long to get all three on the board and you were stuck without enough mana to deploy your big spells?
Oh, there was some colored mana in it it - Blue, I think. Combined with Candelabra of Tanos, and Braingeyser, people hated me :)
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
So what's wrong with Maze of Ith? That card was awesome back in the day! o_O
Nothing. My understanding was that Saprolingtoken was calling Island of Wak-Wak an inferior version of Maze of Ith, which it almost always is.

Maze of Ith was probably my favorite rare from The Dark - Sorrow's Path was probably my second one strictly because it was just so insanely wrong...
It's definitely a bizarre card and there was a time when I'd have agreed that it was the worst card in the set. Having played around with it, I appreciate that the game has a land that can really be used to punish opponents with stuff like Political Trickery. Insanely wrong? Probably. But it can serve a role that no other card in the game can, so that's neat.

Oh, there was some colored mana in it it - Blue, I think. Combined with Candelabra of Tanos, and Braingeyser, people hated me :)
Sounds like those Urzatron lands accounted for themselves well enough, then?
 
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saprolingtoken

New member
On the one hand, there are like 100 big red dragon cards in Magic, and WotC will keep making more of them because they've established that it's some kind of enduring theme in the game. Different red dragons are going to appeal to different people, and you've got an overwhelming array of choices when it comes to which one you want to run in a casual deck. Kilnmouth Dragon has never really piqued my interest, so I wasn't going to be the one to nominate it. Also, my stance that Legions is just a lousy set anyway hasn't really shifted that much. I'm baffled that WotC went forward with this whole set design, especially considering how bold and innovative Onslaught and Scourge were.

On the other hand, I had a couple of friends who really loved this card and put it to good use. Kilnmouth Dragon was pretty powerful for its time and does have a cool name. Also, I have to admit that it is the most iconic Amplify card and that mechanic did a good job of presenting a new take on the tribal themes of Onslaught Block. My recollection is that Kilnmouth Dragon was quite popular in the mid 00's. If the CPA membership had included some of the guys from my high school when we did the Hall of Fame stuff, I'm sure Kilnmouth Dragon would have been nominated.

Not one of my favorite cards, but I know the card had its fans, for sure.
Yeah, there needs to be a name for that phenomenon like "The Dragon Effect" or something. Maybe they all blend together because nearly every set in recent memory has dragons in them? Even cards like Glorybringer which are format defining, powerful cards just get lost in the shuffle, so to speak. I loved Kilnmouth because of the sweet artwork and how big it could get. Also it's very flavorful because the bigger it gets the more the stuff it can roast. It's a little surprising that Legions has aged so poorly. Especially it's marquee cards like Akroma or Phage just aren't playable in most places anymore. In a way it makes sense because it's a set with only creatures and this was before creatures were brought up to par with spells. I think there are maybe a handful of cards that are relevant anymore, maybe less.

Nothing. My understanding was that Saprolingtoken was calling Island of Wak-Wak an inferior version of Maze of Ith, which it almost always is.
Yep, that was my point! Wak-Wak isn't bad at all. I could easily see myself running it in an EDH deck as a worse but still good version of Maze of Ith.

I can see why people hate the card, but I think the combos involving damage redirection and such as well as the combos that saddle an opponent with it and then tap it repeatedly are enough, taken together, that it really shouldn't be a candidate for one of the worst cards of all time. I've used it in EDH to do some unique stuff. Uniquely stupid? Maybe. But I could never say the same about, for instance, Wood Elemental. A bad card that is just useless is more frustrating to me than a bad card that has some gimmicky ways to exploit it.
I agree it's really bad but it does have applications so it's not totally useless. Unlike Wood Elemental.

I forgot that Deep Water existed, so when I pondered whether it was the worst card in the set, I ran a few searches for decks that use it, and came to the conclusion that some casual players are running it just because it has a hammerhead shark in its art. That's some dubious redeeming value.
Yes, that is exactly why I'm running it. :D It's pretty useless but man is it sweet.

The random discard can be less of a dealbreaker than it used to be, but I can't think of anything else nice to say about Ring of Renewal, other than in comparison to Delif's Cube or something.
Pretty much it's just useful for additional card advantage in colorless artifact decks but it's quite a bit worse than cards like Mind's Eye or Temporal Aperture. The card just keeps getting worse as more of those effects are printed and it's one niche get phased out.


I love Phelddagrif and I would never run Malignant Growth in it. I can't tell how tongue-in-cheek your response is with this card, but I sometimes find myself surprised how often people disagree with me that it's the worst card in Magic. And that isn't because I'm so egotistical or self-assured, I think. Obviously, it's fine and the whole thing is subjective anyway, but Malignant Growth seems so over-the-top in how bad it is that I can scarcely imagine picking anything else. Other people clearly see it differently, so I'm left a bit puzzled.

On EDHrec, the most prevalent niche for Malignant Growth is in Xyris, the Writhing Storm decks. Now, Malignant Growth is only in a tiny fraction of Xyris decks. But I think about it and find myself picturing all the other options Xyris players have to make opponents draw cards that are just far superior to Malignant Growth. And the only damage that Malignant Growth does is for the cards that it makes your opponents draw, so it doesn't even get synergy with the other forced draw effects Xyris is using, while tying up more mana than those other cards and building up at a sluggish pace.

Even when used in a deck that ostensibly wants to do what Malignant Growth does, Malignant Growth is still bad.
I would play it in a group hug deck, it's not the first card I would choose but I could see myself playing it. Even there it is quite bad since it's so mana intensive. But it does the thing group hug decks want to do, give your opponent resources though it does it in a really mana inefficient way. I'm not contesting it's garbage. It most certainly is. It just has one narrow application in one format. It absolutely is one of the worst cards of all time. The worst though? At the very least Wood Elemental is worse imo.
 

Ferret

Moderator
Staff member
Nothing. My understanding was that Saprolingtoken was calling Island of Wak-Wak an inferior version of Maze of Ith, which it almost always is.



It's definitely a bizarre card and there was a time when I'd have agreed that it was the worst card in the set. Having played around with it, I appreciate that the game has a land that can really be used to punish opponents with stuff like Political Trickery. Insanely wrong? Probably. But it can serve a role that no other card in the game can, so that's neat.
I remember a contest on one of the sites that originally sponsored the CPA back in '99 that actually wanted people to come up with a "good" use for Sorrow's Path. I tried to create something, but Sixth Edition rules made it moot...
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
Yeah, there needs to be a name for that phenomenon like "The Dragon Effect" or something. Maybe they all blend together because nearly every set in recent memory has dragons in them? Even cards like Glorybringer which are format defining, powerful cards just get lost in the shuffle, so to speak. I loved Kilnmouth because of the sweet artwork and how big it could get. Also it's very flavorful because the bigger it gets the more the stuff it can roast. It's a little surprising that Legions has aged so poorly. Especially it's marquee cards like Akroma or Phage just aren't playable in most places anymore. In a way it makes sense because it's a set with only creatures and this was before creatures were brought up to par with spells. I think there are maybe a handful of cards that are relevant anymore, maybe less.
Exactly. Perhaps one of the most egregious casualties was Mistform Ultimus, which was so cool and unique in its day, and now gets totally outclassed by Orvar, the All Form.

Yep, that was my point! Wak-Wak isn't bad at all. I could easily see myself running it in an EDH deck as a worse but still good version of Maze of Ith.
I mean, I'll totally do that at some point, so I don't know how legitimate my contention that it's a bad card really is. I brought it up because it takes up a land drop, can't make mana, and is only useful when you're in combat against flying creatures. Maze of Ith has enough applications that I'm happy to let it take a land drop. But some of the early attempts at utility lands were so situational that they weren't worth the opportunity cost, and I've kind of come around to the idea that a useless land is a worse dead card than a useless artifact or enchantment.

I'll admit that against some opponents, Island of Wak-Wak could really shine. But it's possibly the worst land like this in Arabian Nights, the first set to do them. A case could certainly be made that Oasis is actually less useful more often than Island of Wak-Wak. And when it comes to examples from other sets, an even more frustrating land is Halls of Mist.

I agree it's really bad but it does have applications so it's not totally useless. Unlike Wood Elemental.
This reminds me a bit of the position that BigBlue was stating when we discussed it. It seems to me that the hoops one has to jump through to make Malignant Growth do work are comparable to the hoops one has to jump through to make any other bad card in the game do work.

Yes, that is exactly why I'm running it. :D It's pretty useless but man is it sweet.
I'm trying to come up with some really silly way to make this card actually do something. It could combo with Gaea's Cradle in a blue token-generating deck, which would be a pretty outlandish thing to pull off.

Pretty much it's just useful for additional card advantage in colorless artifact decks but it's quite a bit worse than cards like Mind's Eye or Temporal Aperture. The card just keeps getting worse as more of those effects are printed and it's one niche get phased out.
Yeah, it's nowhere near the worst card the game, but Ring of Renewal probably is generally crappier than almost all of the other cards in Fallen Empires, a small set that doesn't have too many real duds.

I would play it in a group hug deck, it's not the first card I would choose but I could see myself playing it. Even there it is quite bad since it's so mana intensive. But it does the thing group hug decks want to do, give your opponent resources though it does it in a really mana inefficient way. I'm not contesting it's garbage. It most certainly is. It just has one narrow application in one format. It absolutely is one of the worst cards of all time. The worst though? At the very least Wood Elemental is worse imo.
Wood Elemental was my pick for the worst card before I switched over to Team Malignant Growth, and it would likely still be my #2 pick, so our assessments aren't that different.

I remember a contest on one of the sites that originally sponsored the CPA back in '99 that actually wanted people to come up with a "good" use for Sorrow's Path. I tried to create something, but Sixth Edition rules made it moot...
Sounds vaguely familiar. Perhaps I heard about this from you before at some point. And I think that Sorrow's Path is, amusingly enough, in a pretty good spot right now. I mean, it's not a good card. Um, it's a better card than it was in 1999. Probably. Its function of doing damage when tapped by any effect is restored, and there are more and better ways to manipulate its damage-dealing ability when you're doing it to yourself, as well as more ways to put the card under an opponent's control.

Assembling combos with Sorrow's Path in EDH and such never feels to me like I'm using a good card. It's always more like I'm using some weird cornercase to get reasonable use out of what is a bad card overall. But it is something that people have fun with, and has that going for it. In contrast, Erosion will always be garbage.
 

Ransac

CPA Trash Man
Wow, this was a hilarious read. Great write-up/commentary, Oversoul! I can’t believe I nominated some of the cards did (Donate in particular made me laugh). I’d be very interested to see what a committee of our peers would come up with nowadays.

Ransac, cpa trash man

EDIT:I still stand behind Two-Headed Giant of Foriys as the Alpha representation, though I would not define it as being anywhere being good or decent.
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
Wow, this was a hilarious read. Great write-up/commentary, Oversoul! I can’t believe I nominated some of the cards did (Donate in particular made me laugh). I’d be very interested to see what a committee of our peers would come up with nowadays.
Thanks. And yeah, I felt exactly the same way looking back at some of my nominations. Sometimes it's just that the passage of time has changed my own outlook on these cards and sometimes it's more that the game itself has changed so dramatically from what things were like in the mid/late 00's. So I thought it was interesting to look back at this stuff. And too bad we weren't able to keep the Halls going longer, although I suppose it was inevitable.

EDIT:I still stand behind Two-Headed Giant of Foriys as the Alpha representation, though I would not define it as being anywhere being good or decent.
I like the card and I like the blurb you wrote championing it. I'd say that Two-Headed Giant of Foriys is the sort of card that I'd feel obligated to jam into any kind of appropriately-themed EDH deck I built (Giant Tribal, perhaps), because of the card's history. But something with a comparable power level and utility that came out today would almost certainly be something I'd pass over entirely in a Constructed format. It's still strong enough to be one of those cards that shines in Limited formats, though.

It's irrelevant trivia and I didn't bother to note it when I talked about the set, but one thing about this card for me is that the copy I have was, for many years, enclosed in one of those acrylic slabs that are screwed shut and require a small screwdriver to open. Possibly I traded for it at some point and the card was already in the slab. Anyway, I was too lazy to open the thing. Yes, really. I'd throw a deck together for some wacky format and consider whether I could get away with running Magic's oldest rare giant, but I'd think to myself, "Oh, but I'd have to go find a screwdriver to open that stupid case." So I just chose not to run the card in my casual decks even though I owned a copy. At some point, I wanted Two-Headed Giant of Foriys to go into some Highlander deck or something, so I opened the slab and put it in a deck (which I never got around to using in real games). There probably weren't that many good opportunities for me to throw the Giant into a deck anyway, but it must have sat in its plastic prison for over a decade.

Although I have yet to include Two-Headed Giant of Foriys in an EDH deck, it is 100% going in my all white-bordered deck once I get around to finishing that thing.
 

saprolingtoken

New member
Wood Elemental was my pick for the worst card before I switched over to Team Malignant Growth, and it would likely still be my #2 pick, so our assessments aren't that different.
Yeah, at some point we're just splitting hairs. For a lot of these cards you have to construct a Rube Goldberg machine to make the cards even work at all.

Exactly. Perhaps one of the most egregious casualties was Mistform Ultimus, which was so cool and unique in its day, and now gets totally outclassed by Orvar, the All Form.
That's a good point. I totally forgot how cool Mistform Ultimus was back in the day. Now there are just so many Changelings that do things it's totally outclassed.

I'll admit that against some opponents, Island of Wak-Wak could really shine. But it's possibly the worst land like this in Arabian Nights, the first set to do them. A case could certainly be made that Oasis is actually less useful more often than Island of Wak-Wak. And when it comes to examples from other sets, an even more frustrating land is Halls of Mist.
At least in multiplayer EDH you're like to encounter someone with a flyer. So that's a thing at least. But it's greatest strength is the silly name you can say out loud. Oasis is generally more useful but the effect is so weak that it would be hard to justify running it anywhere. But man Halls of Mist... what a piece of crap. And it's in the same set as Glacial Chasm too which is a little confusing but whatever it's 1995 that's just what they did back then.
 
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