Throughout Magic’s 30-plus-year history, there have been a plethora of cards printed. We have had plenty of great cards. There have been some pretty powerful cards, while others not so much. With that said you can’t have two good cards without the bad ones too. Magic The Gathering has also printed tons of horrible cards. So today we are going to talk about five Magic The Gathering cards that are bad or not good anymore that I still enjoy. So let’s get into it!
5. Sarkhan the Mad
Kicking off this list we have an earlier printed Planeswalker. He isn’t from the very beginning, but he’s closer to the earlier ones than now. Power creep over the years has pushed Sarkhan down the list of popular and powerful Planeswalker cards.
He costs five mana and doesn’t have and + abilities or static abilities like most Planeswalkers do these days. He benefits dragon-style decks kind of with his last ability. His second ability is a pseudo-removal ability, but then you end up leaving your opponent with a 5/5 dragon that is probably going to attack you or him on the next turn and kill him.
It can be useful to get rid of an indestructible monster or something like that, that you might have trouble removing. My favorite of his abilities is his 0-cost ability that essentially lets you “draw” a card. In return he takes damage. I always thought it was cool to copy the ability. Sarkhan the Mad also just looks awesome. Always will be one of my favorite bad Magic The Gathering cards.
Next up on the list is probably the best card from the Homelands set. That isn’t saying much to be honest as Homelands is one of the worst sets of all time. Now while this card isn’t terrible, it isn’t used anywhere. The formats I have seen it used in are Legacy and EDH or Commander as it’s called. I mean just look at the ability of “putting a minotaur into play.” You can probably assess why it isn’t good.
There aren’t a lot of good Minotaurs in Magic. You do have the ability to get some use out of it though. Some cards change the types of creatures in Magic The Gathering. So you have to play those to manipulate the creature types. This is where you can change the type of creatures that are good like Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, or Atraxa, Grand Unifier. That is where you can get benefits from Didgeridoo. So you have to build a whole deck to make the card useful. Didgeridoo will always be a fun bad card to me though.
3. Dubious Challenge
The third card we got is called Dubious Challange. Dubious Challenge says to look at the top ten cards of your library, exile up to two creature cards from among them, and then shuffle. Target opponent may choose one of the exiled cards and put it onto the battlefield under their control. Put the rest onto the battlefield under your control. So your opponent gets to choose which they want first then you get to pick. So then you have to have creatures with “enter the battlefield abilities” that can exile a creature and return it under its owner’s control. This way you get the creature back your opponent picked.
There are so many cards in Magic The Gathering that can stop abilities like that or prevent you from getting the creature back. So it makes the deck difficult to build. Also, an opponent can just counter the Dubious Challenge, then you kind of do nothing. So a fun card, but a bad one.
2. Battle of Wits
The next card you have heard me talk about before in previous articles and it’s Battle of Wits. To win with Battle of Wits you have to have it in play, and on your upkeep have 200 or more cards in your deck. Decks normally consist of 60 cards, so you can see where there would be consistency issues.
Plus there is the fact that if you are playing paper magic and not online you have to shuffle a lot. It can get very tiring for some people to shuffle as much as you have to. I have a Battle of Wits deck in paper and it’s 269 cards in the main deck.
I play a lot of cards that search my library, so I can have some consistency. Due to this, I have to shuffle a lot and I’m sure the shuffles aren’t super great. I will always love this card. Even though it’s bad, its Odyssey printing is one of the best foils ever. Besides myself, I have only seen one other person within the last 5 or so years playing this Magic The Gathering card.
1. Brain in a Jar
My number one favorite card that’s bad is Brain in a Jar. When it comes to this card it wasn’t always bad. There was a time in the Modern format when people were doing well with this deck. Former Magic Pro Michael Majors played this deck a bit back then. The way rulings were back then with split cards allowed you to cast fuse cards by activating Brain in a Jar. This allows you to get both halves of the split cards just by using Brain in a Jar. Not only that, but you could ignore timing restrictions as well. Which for some cards is bonkers. This was a huge benefit and was very powerful.
Ultimately, Magic The Gathering’s rules were changed which prevented this from happening. So due to fixing these rules partially because of things going on in the Legacy format, the card became very bad. I was one card away from finishing the deck, so I could play it when the rules changed. So Brain in a Jar is always going to be my favorite card that is bad.
I think every Magic The Gathering player out there has a pet card they like that is probably bad. So many cards or on the edge of being good, but just don’t quite cut the cheese. There are also just a lot of fun cards out there that are crazy, but just not playable by today’s Magic’s standards. I for one will always play some of these bad cards at times.
Stay tuned for more Magic content in the future. If there is anything Magic-wise you want to see message me or comment below.