The best cards not worth playing

Modern forum

Posted on Oct. 6, 2017, 4:41 p.m. by kamarupa

You know those cards that unto themselves look really good, but no matter how hard you try, they just don't ever make it to any decent deck? Let's list some and maybe explain why they rarely make the cut. I'm thinking of cards like Stuffy Doll - too easy to exile, too costly to cast, too weak to win, no other cards like it (requires a tutor), but just aching to be combo'd 6 ways to sundown.

Icbrgr says... #2

I'd say "build around me" enchantments like Goblinslide Knowledge and Power and Quiet Contemplation... On the surface it's like "oh yeah I'm gonna wreak shop with this" but ultimately is just too mana intensive.

October 6, 2017 5:27 p.m.

kamarupa says... #3

No doubt, Icbrgr. Cards like these are among the saddest of the game. The flavor text should read, "If only..."

October 6, 2017 6:21 p.m.

Sinist3r says... #4

My favorite example is from innistrad, Skaab Ruinator. I've tried to incorporate this card into dredge, Collected Company and Aether Vial decks with little success. When you think about it, if you could cast in on T3 it would only do 1 damage more than Delver of Secrets  Flip on T7. Card is literally a deck builder's trap.

October 6, 2017 6:46 p.m.

Icbrgr says... #5

@Sinist3r that wounded me so much just now... I literally started a thread earlier today saying how Skaab Ruinator is my favorite mythic... No joke hahaha.... In a dedicated deck I respectfully disagree.

October 6, 2017 7 p.m.

JaceArveduin says... #6

I've been told Silumgar's Scorn isn't worth it. Of course, I'm still playing it.

October 6, 2017 7:06 p.m.

kamarupa says... #7

Descendants' Path. There are better creature developments, draw card is faster, it's CMC is at least 1 too high, and it's easily removed.

October 6, 2017 8:25 p.m.

kamarupa says... #8

Skaab Ruinator seems like the type of thing I was thinking of. It's the aggro cousin of Guard Gomazoa

October 6, 2017 8:29 p.m.

demonicgrizzly says... #9

Planar Bridge is a great example. I have it in an Azusa edh deck, so it does okay, but in any other stpituation it's just terrible. Saw thing with Quicksilver Amulet.

October 6, 2017 8:37 p.m.

sylvannos says... #10

Glare of Subdual and Long-Forgotten Gohei were some of my favorite cards in Standard from eras past, but sadly aren't that viable in Modern.

I've also wanted to build a deck around Quest for Ula's Temple, Nullstone Gargoyle, Hair-Strung Koto, and Realms Uncharted. They're all missing some key components, however.

Other oddball cards I'd like to use are Fossil Find, Boneyard Wurm, and Nighthowler. I also wish there was there was room in decks to play the Skarrg, the Rage Pits cycle of utility lands from the original Ravnica.

October 6, 2017 9:01 p.m.

Xica says... #11

Skaab Ruinator fails to be good due two factors:
- the opponent exiling the skaab is a real danger
- building a deck to have enough creatures to exile from the grave is too restrictive. (if it would ask for exiling any card, this card would be a staple of modern)
It would not compete with Insectile Aberration  Flip, since the delver can be removed a lot easier and is unable to play defense against fatties like Tasigur, the Golden Fang, the titans, death shadow, and the like.

October 8, 2017 7:33 a.m.

Icbrgr says... #12

Skaab Ruinator does require a lot of dedication with running heavy creatures and the typical blue supporting spells like Serum Visions/Mana Leak/Disperse just dont pan out/not worth it from my experience. Self mill creatures and spells like Jace's Archivist/Mesmeric Orb basically just give you far more draw/casting fuel to overcome any spot removal and bounce. It is definitely vulnerable to exile and graveyard hate.... Alternative win conditions are a must with things like Laboratory Maniac and Mindshrieker and Skaab Goliath.

It's far from being broken/perfect however I seldom see people fully committed to a suicide mill deck.

October 8, 2017 10:48 a.m.

kamarupa says... #13

I think Jace's Phantasm fits here, too. Certain to be removed, Tome Scour fills the 1CMC slot better.

October 8, 2017 9:22 p.m.

Sinist3r says... #14

@Icbrgr don't get me wrong, I love Skaab Ruinator, it's one of my favorite cards. Which is why it makes the spike in me so mad that it won't work in competitive shells for the eternal formats.

October 9, 2017 2:34 a.m.

Icbrgr says... #15

@Sinist3r Yeah that's fair/true... Idk why I got defensive over it my bad guys... I guess I took "decent deck" too loosely/lightly because in my fairly casual modern meta I just have had tremendous success with Skaab Ruinator.

October 9, 2017 10:46 a.m.

Sinist3r says... #16

Oh definitely, I loved playing Skaab Ruinator. In fact I have a build in my private folders on here with him as a finisher/ clock in a midrange toolbox shell. Kinda jank but I think you'd enjoy it so I'll pm it later.

To further discussion (aside from build around me cards) I find certain card disadvantage, life gain, and +1/+1 counter based cards to be difficult to navigate traps for a lot of players getting into constructed formats. I'm not going to give a myriad of examples as there's plenty out there both viable and non-viable, but many options can seem good in a deck archetype that a beginner/ intermediate might pick up in their 75 before realizing that it distracts from their game plan. Jaddi Offshoot in most decks and gameplans is better than Healing Salve for example due to furthering the boardstate while gaining life instead of just gaining life or trading with bolt to save a creature. I hope you guys get the idea (I know there can be rare situations where salve is better) since it was a kind of rushed example, and I hope there's more card discussion to help deck builders.

October 9, 2017 3:45 p.m.

Xica says... #17

Aside from everything else, the cards mentioned in this thread are cards to keep an eye on - i mean those that are incomparable (without a better alternative)
Since when the right shell is printed they will be very good, for example:
Descendants' Path requires a tribe that has 2 playset of somewhat playable hexproof creatures
Skaab Ruinator requires more (and preferably cheaper) stuff similar to Nimble Obstructionist - creatures that have good interaction abilites, and end up in the grave when used.
Quiet Contemplation may find a place in some "taking turns" like shell

October 11, 2017 12:34 p.m.

Icbrgr says... #18

Righteous Authority is another card that comes to mind for me in terms of something that at a glance looks really great with lots of potential with so many Spellbook effects available...and all the ckeeky kamigawa cards out there like Jushi Apprentice/Kiyomaro, First to Stand but again mana investment makes it pretty tough to pull off for 5 mana to be just part of a combo piece.

@Sinist3r yeah id love to take a peek at another Skaab Ruinator brew!and yeah i agree about card disadvantage, life gain, and +1/+1 counter based cards to be difficult to navigate traps for a lot of players (I've been that guy more than once..).

@Xica thank you for bringing Nimble Obstructionist to my attention! i'll have to playtest that guy.... i would like to see you being right about some of these cards finding a place.

@sylvannos Hair-Strung Koto and Realms Uncharted seem pretty interesting... Hedron Crab with maybe some shennagans with Pili-Pala + Freed from the Real and Crucible of Worlds?

October 11, 2017 1:45 p.m.

kamarupa says... #19

@Xica - I completely agree about keeping an eye on these cards. For example, Vizier of Tumbling Sands just made Kiora's Follower significantly more playable, as did Steward of Solidarity with Thraben Doomsayer/Intruder Alarm. IMHO, this is the best part of new sets coming out.

October 11, 2017 4:24 p.m.

IlGuale says... #20

Kefnet the Mindful. I have always known that it is nearly umplayable, but since i found a Kefnet's Invocation at AKH prerelease i tried to build around it. The only decent deck based on the ibis god i found (not mine) is Kefnet the Modernful.

Reading your discussion about Skaab Ruinator i came up with the idea of it being a possible finisher/must answer threat in a Hatebirds build. The reasons are simple: the main colour of Hatebirds is blue as for the Skaab, so you don't have to splash; the Skaab flies and is fairly cheap (if you can afford the graveyard clause) and; Hatebears play Smuggler's Copter, which can loot creatures to fuel the Skaab; the whole point of Hatebirds is to play cheap, Flying creatures which can pressure your opponent from the skies and sacrifice themselves to counter your opponent's spells. Now, this is just an idea and i don't know if that deck can dump enough creatures in the GY consistently, but i still wanted to help.

October 18, 2017 5:18 a.m.

revwildo says... #21

Ideas Unbound seems good to me, especially in a deck like storm, but I haven't done much testing with it.

October 21, 2017 4:34 a.m.

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