John-Michael Gariepy

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The Top Ten Most Reviled Magic: the Gathering Cards, According to Gatherer – Part 1

Magic: the Gathering is a collectible card game, where players spellsling against opponents by crafting a customized deck out of 12,413 possible cards.  This article is about the ten worst choices you can make for your deck.

But it’s more than that, too.  There’s a number of articles on the internet that claim to represent the worst cards in Magic.  Most of those articles are bogged down by personal experience, by conversations with people the author knows, and swayed by popular opinion.  Here’s a card that often pops up on one of those lists:  One with Nothing.

For those of you who don’t know much about it, Magic: the Gathering isn’t a shedding game.  Unlike Uno or Crazy Eights, in Magic, you want as many cards in hand as possible.  More cards means more power and more options.  There are numerous strategy articles dedicated to achieving card advantage.  This card flies against one of the most powerful paths to victory in the game of Magic.  It dumps your hard earned card advantage, and it does it at instant speed.

But for every tenth player, this card reads as potential.  Sure, in most games, the card is terrible.  But there’s a subset of players who enjoy the challenge of finding situations where the card is perfect.  What if you had a creature that ‘turned on’ when you have no cards in hand?  What if your opponent packs four of Lobotomy, a card that not only rips a card out of your hand, but seeks your graveyard and library and pulls all copies of that card out of the game.  What if you just like to be funny, and insist on dumping your hand as a way to taunt people you’re about to crush?  Heck, One with Nothing even popped up in player’s sideboards to fight Ivory Crane Netsuke decks (a deck that jammed extra cards in your hand, then punished you for having extra cards in your hand) when those decks represented half the environment.

This article is not about cards like One with Nothing.  This article is about the cards that are so disgusting that no one is willing to defend them.  How can I be sure of myself?  Because I didn’t make the list.  The Magic: the Gathering community, as a whole, created this list.

You see, Magic has this website by the name of Gatherer, which operates as a database for its cards, but it’s much more than that.  On Gatherer, you can find out individual card rulings, how the card translates into different languages, see other people’s comments on the card, and give a card a rating from one-half a star to five stars.  It’s this last feature we’re focusing on.  I’ve sorted all the Magic cards in existence starting with the “lowest community rating” and worked my way backwards.  What we find is ten harsh lessons in design.  This dump is a direct warning to game designers:  These cards represent design that few, if any, players are willing to defend.  Brace yourself.

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