Friday, August 23, 2013

Top 5 Most Unplayable M14 Cards (Limited)

Every year, Magic gives us a new core set. And every year, we spend a bunch of time trying to determine the best cards in that set, in a variety of colors, in a variety of circumstances. But where's the love for the miserable? Where are the accolades for the cards that are just utterly terrible? When will the worst cards get their due discussion?

Right now.

It's now time for my list of the five cards you would steer away from in any draft, the cards you would most hate to see in your sealed pool. Here they are, the five most unplayable M14 cards in limited Magic:

5. Burning Earth

I put Burning Earth at 5, even though it should probably be more like 3, because it's got a definite use in Standard. So while you would never, ever play the card in a draft, it's not the worst thing to see, since it'll net you a ticket and a half in bot trades. But as far as actually playing? No, no sir. There are only three nonbasic lands in the set, so it's unlikely that you get any sort of play out of the card. Your biggest hope is that your opponent is trying to run a three-color monstrosity and he's got two or three Shimmering Grottos that you could burn him for. So, Burning Earth is a potentially sideboard-able card for the most rare of circumstances, but by and large, you'll want to play something else.

4. Encroaching Wastes

Encroaching Wastes is one of those three nonbasic lands I mentioned above, but it's not one you'll expect to play against. Again, you're hoping to spike a Shimmering Grotto, but at what value? You're sacrificing your unplayable land plus spending four mana to destroy his somewhat playable land? Against a deck that's got Mutavaults (plural), I'd consider sideboarding in Encroaching Wastes, but really, so unlikely. Pass.

3. Shadowborn Apostle

In a constructed deck, maybe, maybe this guy has some value? Say, I wonder what the rules are in Commander, if his rules text overrides the limit of one-per-card? Probably not, that'd be kind of unfair. Anyways, in limited, no chance you get six of them, so it's a vanilla 1/1 for 1. If it was a sliver that'd be one thing, but a human cleric just won't get it done. I do like the flavor of the card, and its interaction with Shadowborn Demon, but as far as playing it? No sir.

2. Artificer's Hex

Now we're getting into the really miserable limited cards from the set. Artificer's Hex is funny, because it actually feels really good. Not like, functionally, but the flavor is perfect for black. And it works pretty well in Commander, where equipment like Lightning Greaves gets used in almost every deck. You turn those Greaves into a curse, and you're back in the saddle. However, in M14 limited play, it's bad bad bad. There are only three equipment in the set, all at uncommon or above, and none of which is necessarily gamebreaker material. The Hex should go bottom 3 in every pack that holds it, probably above the basic land...probably.

1. Darksteel Forge

Here we are, the #1 unplayable M14 card for limited. Let me be clear: I don't think this is the worst card in the set. There will be some constructed decks that find a way to get good use out of Darksteel Forge. Indestructibility is a useful effect, and there are a thousand different ways to ramp your mana to get to nine. But in limited, get serious. While M14 matches tend to go a little longer than M13 ones did, nine mana is still asking way too much out of a single card. Furthermore, exactly which artifact are you so hung up on that you want it to be indestructible? Millstone? Fireshrieker? Really, there's just not enough power in the artifacts of M14 to even consider playing a nine-drop to protect them. Finally, it's a mythic rare, so it blows your chance at a boss mythic like a planeswalker or Archangel of Thune. Just bad feelings all around.

Honorable Mentions
- Merfolk Spy
- Dismiss Into Dream
- Pyromancer's Gauntlet

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