Terrible Card Theatre



2 March 2012


In which I mock terrible cards.

1 - Violet Pall

Cost of killing a non-black creature: 1B - Doom Blade

Cost of putting a 1/1 black Faerie rogue into play: B - Nightshade Stinger

Cost of doing absolutely nothing, apparently: 2

2 - Serpent Warrior

Look, Wizards from 2003, we need to talk, ok? You guys need to start thinking about inching up that power level before it gets a little ridiculous. This is a 3/3 for 3 that makes me lose 3 life. While I appreciate the DEDICATION to the number 3 being shown here, you have to realize that in under a decade you're going to be printing a creature that costs one more than this, is a 5/5, has trample, and makes anyone that damages it in any way sacrifice that many permanents. We need to start stepping things up so that we don't shock people too badly by increasing the power level all at ONCE, you know?

3 - Jandor's Saddlebags

I'm glad it only costs THREE and a tap. If it cost four, it would just be useless.

4 - Kitesail

Let's see. I have four mana out....what to cast....what to cast.

Well, I could cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor. That would be good. Or maybe I could Wrath of God.



Kitesail, and then hook it up. NOW THIS CREATURE FLIES.


5 - Rusted Sentinel

Has anyone ever even put this in a draft deck? Has anyone ever even put this in any deck, ever? Also, why is it an uncommon?

6 - Hinterland Hermit  Flip

One day, if you study, and work VERY hard, you might be able to be a 3/2 for 2!

7 - Howling Fury

Ok, so this would still be pretty bad even if it were an instant. But you know what? "Instant" sounds so cold and non-magical. In a game where the name is "MAGIC," wouldn't you rather cast a spell that is a SORCERY than an instant? I mean, SORCERY. Sorcerous. That sounds so mystical, you know? "Instant." What does that even mean?

8 - Merchant Ship

Oh come on, that's bad even for the days when islandhome was a thing. Giant Shark and Island Fish Jasconius are LAUGHING at you man.

9 - Amugaba

I will give this to Amugaba- it provided a great chant for my cult when we're sacrificing things. Just yesterday when we killed that goat, we A-MU-GA-BA'd up a storm. Great name. It deserves a reprint for that name alone. I think I would actually buy a From the Vault: Terrible Cards that had a foil Razor Boomerang, an alternate art Squire, the full set of "(Some color) legends band with other legends," and so on. That would be an awesome from the vault.

10 - Vectis Agents

I was so pissed when I saw what this card was. I was so AMPED about that art. Seriously, this card has some of the best art that has ever been put on a Magic card, and they WASTED it. WASTED it on a 5 CMC dual-casting-cost 4/3 that you can make unblockable if you're willing to hit for 2 and pay 2 mana for the privilege.

11- Convolute

It is really difficult to be a worse counterspell than Cancel. Good job, Convolute. I don't even remember Ravnica limited; did anyone run this? I'm going to do a Daily Draft Debate with Ravnica just to see if anyone ends up mainboarding Convolute. And then if they do, I will punch them. And if Tappedout runs it, I will find all the users of Tappedout, and punch them. Except for you reading this. You're cool.

12 - Recuperate

Because I have always looked at Healing Salve and thought "If only I could double the effects of this card while quadrupling the cost."

13 - Azimaet Drake

Let's talk flavor text for a minute. Usually you want to use flavor text to hype up the card. Unless it's goblins, who usually get made fun of, you want to pump the player up about this card. Like here are some examples I just thought of:

"Totally Sweet Lightning, R - Instant - Deal 4 damage to target player."

Flavor text - Those who don't beware the totally sweet lightning get totally BURNED.

Awesome. See what I did there? There's a whole parallel use of the word "totally" there that makes it TOTALLY SWEET. (I did it AGAIN!) It's like poetry; it's sort of, they rhyme.That's for a spell. Let's try a creature, and mix in a quote from an in-universe character.

"Australian Electric Sea Spider - 2UG - Creature - Spider 2/4. Reach, deathtouch, haste."

Flavor text -

"What happened to Frail Bill?"

"He got eaten."


"By the deadly Australian Electric Sea Spider, with its powerful beak."

See, and in that one, we took part in a little story. We shared in the tragedy of Frail Bill, and we also even learned something about the creature that we didn't know before. Namely, it has a powerful beak. PUT ME IN, WIZARDS, I AM READY TO WRITE FLAVOR TEXT. Although, my girlfriend did think of the powerful beak part. It seemed like something some terrifying abomination spider from Australia was likely to have.

But going back to Azimaet Drake, the flavor text is a recipe for the creature. Awesome. I will totally trade you my Liliana Vess for that helpless flying animal that tastes delicious with honey, as the multiverse well knows.

14 - Argivian Blacksmith

Always splash white in any artifact deck so you can run this.

15 - Shield Bearer

This guy's not quite a Squire. He has to trade one toughness for one power and lose banding. THEN he's a Squire.

16 - Wall of Caltrops

Speaking of banding. Also, I think this card has a pretty unique thing going on. It's got flavor text and rules text mixed up on the SAME LINE. Crazy. For a second you freak out and think "Ow! Ow" is part of the rules text before you realize what's up.

17 - Jump

Here's how I would have played reprinting this card, if I were Wizards.

Just before M2010 came out, I would have started talking about "reprinting a legendary blue instant....that we haven't seen for a long time." I'd really hype it up. I'd talk about how players have been begging for this incredible card to make a comeback for years, but that we've always been concerned about its power level. But now, with a reprint of Lightning Bolt, we've decided that we're going to reprint some of those more powerful old cards, and we're going to do it RIGHT, with awesome new art and everything.

Then I would have rented a bunch of ad space on the internet, like Wizards does now, only instead of the "COMMAND THE NIGHT" or whatever random crap they have going on for whatever set is out, I would have shown the new card art for Jump, and clicking on the ad would always lead you here instead of the Wizards website.

18 - Elder Land Wurm

Another fine entry from the "Oh come on, this wasn't even good BACK THEN" category.

19 - Patagia Golem

Seriously, what's the deal with these artifact creatures that Wizards prints in core sets?

"Well, we should probably have at least one generic artifact creature in the core set."

"Ok, just make sure that it's underpowered and complicated just to use."

20 - Mountain

I have no idea what this card is for.

OmegaSerris says... #1

You are a constructed-only player, aren't you?

Unless this is satire (the internet makes it hard to tell sometimes). Then I totally applaud your effort here. :-)

March 2, 2012 10:02 p.m.

mozerdozer says... #2

You know Cobbled WingsMTG Card: Cobbled Wings is actually a good pick in limited right? These cards, they're made for limited. And for #1, the 2 mana is for the +1 CA.

March 2, 2012 10:07 p.m.

KrazyCaley says... #3

Yes, some of these cards are for limited. Still, some of them are terrible even IN limited. Rusted SentinelMTG Card: Rusted Sentinel. Come on.

March 2, 2012 10:47 p.m.

Dongolev says... #4

Can this be a monthly column?

Actually, make that weekly.

Actually, make that daily.

March 2, 2012 11:16 p.m.

KrazyCaley says... #5

@mozer - Yeah, I know you get to keep a card because of Violet PallMTG Card: Violet Pall, but it's way funnier if I don't mention that.

March 2, 2012 11:25 p.m.

mccracka says... #6

You forgot Razor BoomerangMTG Card: Razor Boomerang. Worst. Card. Ever. Got 5 mana open? Just pop this baby onto any useless old creature, tap him, and whallop your opponent for 1 damage. Rinse and repeat and you've got yourself a win con. Hot damn.

And it's an uncommon.

March 3, 2012 1:37 a.m.

squire1 says... #7

No such thing as a bad card. Read my columns.

March 3, 2012 8:21 a.m.

rckclimber777 says... #8

@squire1 - just limited uses lol.

I applaud your efforts Caley. I think you may have missed a couple that I'm personally a fan of deeming as the worst cards ever

Ikiral OutriderMTG Card: Ikiral Outrider comes to mind. For an investment of 6 mana you can get a 2/6 creature with vigilance. For an investment of 18 mana you can have a 3/10 vigilant creature! oh and let's not forget that for 2 mana... you get a SquireMTG Card: Squire

March 3, 2012 10:53 a.m.

Unglued2 says... #9

Some cards i own that need a good look over would be Clockwork CondorMTG Card: Clockwork Condor, Rust ElementalMTG Card: Rust Elemental (unless your running DonateMTG Card: Donate.) Deepwood GhoulMTG Card: Deepwood Ghoul, Zephyr SpiritMTG Card: Zephyr Spirit, Venerable KumoMTG Card: Venerable Kumo, Cobalt GolemMTG Card: Cobalt Golem, and Lifted by CloudsMTG Card: Lifted by Clouds.

It gets better though my three favorites i own would have to be Goblin War WagonMTG Card: Goblin War Wagon, Scavenging ScarabMTG Card: Scavenging Scarab, and Sphere of PurityMTG Card: Sphere of Purity.

Did i mention Rust ElementalMTG Card: Rust Elemental was an uncommon? Wtf

March 3, 2012 6:17 p.m.

what about Chimney ImpMTG Card: Chimney Imp?

March 3, 2012 8:30 p.m.

Graveyard ShovelMTG Card: Graveyard Shovel get's an honorable mention in my book

March 3, 2012 9:08 p.m.

OmegaSerris says... #12

With the release of Dark Ascension, Graveyard ShovelMTG Card: Graveyard Shovel is actually a viable (but budget) answer to Undying. You just eat the creature in response to the Undying trigger. That is on top of it's already defined use to stop annoying flashback as well.

Sure Nihil SpellbombMTG Card: Nihil Spellbomb is infinitely better in most cases, but the shovel is in-block as well as repeated.

March 3, 2012 9:13 p.m.

Unglued2 says... #13

I 2nd Chimney ImpMTG Card: Chimney ImpThat crap is horrendous.

March 3, 2012 11:50 p.m.

ConvoluteMTG Card: Convolute - is clearly something we need to draft in the next DDD set, and i think based on the comments here it should be an auto include!

March 4, 2012 1:15 a.m.

Amos says... #15

... You think these cards are bad?

Check out the start to my cube... deck:cube-more-like-an-oblong-square

March 4, 2012 4:46 a.m.

IAmKingTony says... #16

definitely has a use. If you have him, and out and you MoonmistMTG Card: Moonmist/attack your opponent has to have 4 or more creatures out or the game is over.

March 4, 2012 7:46 a.m.

kabrazell says... #17

I played Rusted SentinelMTG Card: Rusted Sentinel before. Its not THAT bad. Manic VandalMTG Card: Manic Vandal becomes a blowout though.

March 4, 2012 9:49 a.m.

KrazyCaley says... #18

There ARE a lot of terrible cards that were not in the article, though some did get a shout-out.

This article happened because I was hitting random on Gatherer and I was shocked by how many terrible cards were coming up. I was overcome with the overwhelming urge to make fun of them in a public forum.

March 4, 2012 4:09 p.m.

Unglued2 says... #19

I think this should be a weekly post/update

March 5, 2012 12:43 a.m.

Mountains are for Valakut, the Molten PinnacleMTG Card: Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, silly author.

March 5, 2012 8:14 a.m.

I agree with unglued2

March 5, 2012 12:23 p.m.


March 5, 2012 12:36 p.m.

asw122 says... #23

Ok... if were just a 3/2 on its night side, it would suck, but the lure effect is hugely underrated. A fortnight ago in draft my board was 2 hermit, on it. My opp finally runs out of spells and they flip.

Suddenly it looks a mite hard to block the pyreheart and the vorapede... he scoops.

That's why Hermit doesn't belong on the list. The lure effect can just skew games out of nowhere and I don't mind paying 1 mana for a luring reckless waif.

March 5, 2012 12:49 p.m.

Honestly, most of these cards aren't that bad. Bad cards are Wood ElementalMTG Card: Wood Elemental and Sorrow's PathMTG Card: Sorrow's Path and Scorching SpearMTG Card: Scorching Spear. Most of these are viable in limited and even justifiable in a weird casual constructed deck.

Honestly, I'm not a fan of making cards "for" limited. I hate it. It's bad marketing, it's waste of cards in the card file, and it's a waste of money for players who don't play limited. But whenever I look at a card and gauge its power level, I try to understand that it could potentially be a powerhouse in limited.

March 5, 2012 1:21 p.m.

Also, AmugabaMTG Card: Amugaba looks like the CatBus from Totoro.

March 5, 2012 1:22 p.m.

IAmKingTony says... #26

Limited is a huge format though. Even Block Constructed is played in official tournaments.

March 5, 2012 1:27 p.m.

IAmKingTony says... #27

Also KitesailMTG Card: Kitesail might be nice on a Sunspear ShikariMTG Card: Sunspear Shikari? Makes him a 3/2 flier with first strike and lifelink...

March 5, 2012 1:28 p.m.

Hm but is there any equipment that wouldn't be better?

Oh wait, Heavy MattockMTG Card: Heavy Mattock.

March 5, 2012 1:32 p.m.

The_Murderauder it doesn't make sense to hate on cards that are good in limited, as they are needed, as limited is a HUGE portion of how these cards are played with. FNM/ draft in all major tournaments plus one season exclusively dedicated to sealed in the pro tour rotation means that limited is a pretty darn big deal, and that there is no wasted design space.

Plus they typically represent a baseline for power so that the true constructed playables can seem stronger in comparison. Wizards has stated that they have to have bad cards in every set, so that we have a way to compare them, (the life gain artifacts in core sets are typically given as an example) but having these bad cards serve a purpose in limited makes a whole lot more sense than just putting actual junk in there with out a purpose. Think about it if all cards were good there wouldn't be anything separating the good deck makers from the bad.

March 5, 2012 1:35 p.m.

KrazyCaley says... #30

I think squire1 has the right idea. Really no card is "bad" in all situations and formats. Everything, even One with NothingMTG Card: One with Nothing, has its place, and can be the most efficient card for a situation in the right deck or the right format. It's all quite relative. If Wizards printed a zero-cost instant that said "You lose the game," I bet someone would find a way to break it.

Plus, I absolutely agree that bad cards are necessary to maintain a baseline of power, and to allow the existence of good cards. Even if a card is only "good in limited" and other cards are better, even in limited, that at least lets us HAVE "good cards."

But still, no reason that I can see not to make fun of these "bad" cards. Azimaet DrakeMTG Card: Azimaet Drake is making fun of ITSELF, and I am just joining in the fun.

March 5, 2012 2:08 p.m.

asw122 says... #31

There is another problem with saying that designing weaker cards for limited is a bad thing.

Say that WotC had taken a different design concept and instead the baseline for power was instead of Azimaet DrakeMTG Card: Azimaet Drake or SquireMTG Card: Squire.

In that situation, we'd be moaning about the low power level of Lingering Souls because it would be the weakest card we know. Equally, they could have made the baseline for creatures a vanilla 1/1 for 3. In that scenario, Azimaet Drake would suddenly look quite appealing and Serra AscendantMTG Card: Serra Ascendant would look absolutely insane.

Without the weak cards we don't have perspective on the strong cards.

March 5, 2012 2:39 p.m.

Kazabet says... #32

March 5, 2012 3:25 p.m.

Askani28 says... #33

WHAT??? No one mentions Ember ShotMTG Card: Ember Shot???

It's my personnal favorite lamest card ever printed.

Unless you're building a "coal deck", of course. Of wait, it's an instant! Wow. It's less lame than I thought. At least the flavor txt is funny.

March 5, 2012 3:42 p.m.

LordFedora says... #34

for the lose the game card, isn't there a card that allows you to copy a spell for your opponent that puts it on top of the stack?

March 5, 2012 4:04 p.m.

Mpz5 says... #35

Lol, have Hive MindMTG Card: Hive Mind in play, cast the you lose the game instant. Theirs would trigger first and they would lose. gg.

March 5, 2012 4:28 p.m.

Mpz5 says... #36

Now, if you make it cost BBB3 I doubt anyone would try to break it at that point.

March 5, 2012 4:29 p.m.

dude1818 says... #37

The reason that these cards are uncommon is because would you really want them showing up in packs at common?

March 5, 2012 4:56 p.m.

EpicWin66 says... #38

RDW all the way! Go MountainMTG Card: Mountains!

March 5, 2012 6:26 p.m.

KrazyCaley says... #39

@dude1818 - That's a good point.

March 5, 2012 6:58 p.m.

Mpz5 says... #40

No, it's because in limited formats they are better than many of the commons. Rusted SentinelMTG Card: Rusted Sentinel is pretty decent in a draft deck because it fits in any deck and has a decent body for a fair cost. If it were common, you would see way too many of them in draft.

March 5, 2012 7:12 p.m.

Unglued2 says... #41

March 5, 2012 11:56 p.m.

jkarnes says... #42

Security DetailMTG Card: Security Detail was a deck in Masques block limited.

MudholeMTG Card: Mudhole on the other hand...

March 6, 2012 3:13 p.m.

Agbu says... #43

March 6, 2012 3:53 p.m.

Nobilior says... #44

Go MudholeMTG Card: Mudhole!!!!!

I actually like ConvoluteMTG Card: Convolute. Its easy on the mana (like if you are poor, running a 3+ color deck, and need a 3 drop counter spell.)

March 6, 2012 11:20 p.m.

I think people misunderstood my point. I have nothing wrong with printing "bad" cards. I love "bad" cards. I have a pretty sick Obstinate FamiliarMTG Card: Obstinate Familiar deck. I think there's something wrong with printing "bad" cards specifically for limited.

The example of One with NothingMTG Card: One with Nothing was given. Let's look at that. One with NothingMTG Card: One with Nothing is, on the surface, bad. It can only be put to use in an extremely specific deck type, and it is actively harmful to any other strategy. Yet people still use it. People use it outside of limited. It sucks when you open one as your rare, but there is still somebody, somewhere, who wants to play that card.

Now consider a mediocre card like Armored CancrixMTG Card: Armored Cancrix. Not bad. Not awful, anyway. I played it in limited, and it didn't cost me any games. But nobody seeks out Armored CancrixMTG Card: Armored Cancrixes. Outside of limited, they will see virtually no play. And so, when somebody opens a pack of M11 and sees an Armored CancrixMTG Card: Armored Cancrix, there is an overwhelmingly huge chance that it is absolutely, completely useless to everybody around them, forever. They might as well throw it out, or turn it into one of those cool Magic coasters.

I don't hate limited. I play limited pretty often. I just don't like the idea of designing cards that can only ever be good in limited, because I think it's a waste of potentially good design space. I've noticed that wizards has been getting better about this in recent sets; I'm very satisfied with the Innistrad and Dark Ascension commons and uncommons. They are interesting, and potentially useful outside of limited, and yet not overpowerd in the scheme of things.

March 7, 2012 7:44 a.m.

@ The_Murderauder just because Armored CancrixMTG Card: Armored Cancrix is not good at the moment doesn't mean that it can't ever be good. Just wait till they have a tidal set or some such, and they print some insane crab tribal stuff, the carnicrix might be awesome then!

March 7, 2012 12:30 p.m.

BuLLZ3Y3 says... #47

I point everyone in the direction of this article. It responds to WHY WotC prints "bad" cards in the first place.

On the topic of this article, it's hilarious, and I agree with pretty much every card.

Especially MountainMTG Card: Mountain's.

That card is really bad.

Unlike the best card every printed...

IslandMTG Card: Island


March 7, 2012 3:32 p.m.

I will make a deck with each of those cards in it and beat you with it in 1v1 legacy.

March 8, 2012 1:06 a.m.

Zuckfat says... #49

Wood ElementalMTG Card: Wood Elemental

They oughta' make a From the Vault: Crap deck with goofy alternate art for each card. Some people collect bad cards, I think it could be a winner. And shouldn't that SquireMTG Card: Squire feel like a winner for once?

The only card that's on your list I don't agree with is Merchant ShipMTG Card: Merchant Ship. My mom always said you should kill someone with kindness and I think that card sums that adage up pretty nicely.

March 8, 2012 4:30 p.m.

KrazyCaley says... #50


I think you would appreciate the incomparable Magic Lampoon's From the Vault: SquireMTG Card: Squire article. Check it out:


March 8, 2012 4:37 p.m.

Zuckfat says... #51

Ok yea, that article was funny... all they are missing is a blue card, like a clone that becomes a SquireMTG Card: Squire with no abilities.

March 8, 2012 4:43 p.m.

Unglued2 says... #52

Why do people hate so much on SquireMTG Card: Squire? I would much rather play him over my Coral EelMTG Card: Coral Eel.

March 8, 2012 4:51 p.m.

squire1 says... #53

Wood elemental is awesome

March 8, 2012 6:02 p.m.

BuLLZ3Y3 says... #54

Coral EelMTG Card: Coral Eel is better than SquireMTG Card: Squire due to the fact that card "efficiency" is determined by Mana Cost in comparison to Power/Card Effects.

It's the reason why a 2/1 for two is better than a 1/2 for two, because I'd rather hit you for two than block a 2/2.

See Ball LightningMTG Card: Ball Lightning for further examples.


Cosmic LarvaMTG Card: Cosmic Larva

I hate this card with a passion and we should all talk about how horrible it is.


March 8, 2012 6:32 p.m.

Cosmic LarvaMTG Card: Cosmic Larva can actually be pretty fun! Brute ForceMTG Card: Brute Force + Assault StrobeMTG Card: Assault Strobe = 20 damage. Err, assuming they have no blockers...

March 8, 2012 9:04 p.m.

Unglued2 says... #56

I would rather play SquireMTG Card: Squire for the laugh then have to play Elvish PathcutterMTG Card: Elvish Pathcutter.

March 9, 2012 12:03 a.m.

Why was this the greatest thing I've ever read?And why have I actually had some of these cards in my deck before?

March 10, 2012 12:39 p.m.

Zuckfat says... #58

Oh, let's not forget that back if you were playing during revised, your rare could be an Underground SeaMTG Card: Underground Sea. OR, it could be one of these: PurelaceMTG Card: Purelace, LifelaceMTG Card: Lifelace, ChaoslaceMTG Card: Chaoslace, DeathlaceMTG Card: Deathlace or ThoughtlaceMTG Card: Thoughtlace. More like Faillace, amiright?

March 10, 2012 3:50 p.m.

Or it could be an IslandMTG Card: Island. They included a basic IslandMTG Card: Island in the rare sheet to throw people off, because at that time they didn't want people to know too much.

March 11, 2012 5:21 p.m.

marshmelo says... #60

Actually.. My personal favorite...Dementia BatMTG Card: Dementia Bat

Cuz I like to spend 5 mana on a 2/2 flyer and talk trash to my opponent. And then the next turn.. I sac it and say "I hope you were holding better cards than that bat."

March 11, 2012 8:02 p.m.

Unglued2 says... #61

To bad they discarded two Viridian Betrayers MTG Card: Viridian Betrayers .

I think Brain WeevilMTG Card: Brain Weevil is worse than Dementia BatMTG Card: Dementia Bat btw.

March 13, 2012 5:47 a.m.

Doc28 says... #62

c'mon people, have u forgot about Moonlace?

November 8, 2014 7:38 p.m.

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