Big Sorq is finally back after his break and this time I got a special one for you: The most hated cards in 2020 to close out this year! I know that a lot of people (me included) were frustrated with a lot of cards, so it’s always nice to get some steam off.
Please note that this is more of a fun section instead of a serious “let’s critique WotC” column. It’s also much more personal this time around, but for sure let me know in the comments what cards led you to your wit’s end (please, I want to be part of it).
I will count all cards that have seen play and tortured us this year, not just cards that came out in 2020. This is also not a discussion about whether something should be banned or not. It’s simply an anti-celebration of the year 2020 – for fun! Let’s rant!
9: Winota, Joiner of Forces, Agent of Treachery, Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast
Oh, this one definitely does not spark joy and if this was a “Top 9 Personal Vendetta Cards” list, Winota, Joiner of Forces would be right at the top! Nothing frustrates me more than decks that just maximize their power by high rolling and the first versions of Winota centered decks certainly did that: If they didn’t hit their mana accelerant on turn 1 it was a bad deck; if they didn’t have Winota in their hand it was a bad deck; if it didn’t have any creatures before Winota hit the battlefield it was bad; it was bad when your opponent played a tiny bit of interaction as well and there was even the chance that Winota didn’t hit Agent of Treachery, in which case it wasn’t even that good! All these reasons sort of “balanced” Winota’s power level; but I can assure you that my head was boiling if I was the dummy that got their lands stolen on turn 3.
Now you can make the case for Agent being the more obnoxious card – after all, it’s the one that steals your permanents! My argument is always that you should blame the enabler, and not the payoff (unless the payoff is too easy to achieve) and Agent of Treachery is a 7 mana card that’s completely fair if it doesn’t get cheated out – hello Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast! Also, remember Angrath’s Marauders? That card suddenly saw play in combination with Winota, further amplifying my argument that it’s the enabler that’s the problem, not the other way around.
I really needed to mention all these cards in one breath, because they sort of elevated each other up to new heights and made them as unbearable as they have been. Winota ultimately got banned in Historic, while still being legal in Standard and I truly hope it never becomes playable again, because I would be the first dummy to get rolled!
8: Yorion, Sky Noodle
If you played against this, you know what I mean: After your opponent plays their Elspeth Conquers Death, it feels like you’re not allowed to resolve any permanents anymore because they will inevitably get answered. Also, do you remember the time when companions were not nerfed yet and you could just have Yorion as a companion and always stick it on turn 5?
At first, we thought that it was the Agent of Treachery problem again; but Yorion will always find enough targets as long as there are good permanents like Elspeth Conquers Death, Elspeth’s Nightmare or even Skyclave Apparition. I will never forget this unbelievable feeling that I get when my opponent just slams this bird on the table and creates over 15 mana in value.
Don’t forget about the fact that you have this weird interaction, where you can play the second copy of Yorion and flicker your original Yorion, which gives you so many triggers – I will remember this nightmare very well because it’s still running rampant in Standard. Don’t remind me! Of course, Yorion was even worse in combination with…
7: Fires of Invention
Is this just me or does it feel like this card was banned ages ago before time was invented? Jokes aside, I think everyone remembers the sheer power of this card, basically doubling your mana. But the most annoying part about this enchantment is the fact that the decks that played it just had a completely different power level when they had it in comparison to when they didn’t have it. This led to a lot of “of course they have it” moments, because it was so crucial to their game plan.
It’s kind of funny that rank 9 to 7 were all played in the same deck at some point. Oh what a time it has been – turn 4 Fires, turn 5 Lukka, get Agent, steal a permanent, play Yorion in the same turn and do it again – it’s crazy to me that this line of play was possible in Standard. That was before Lukka came out with Ikoria though. Fires of Invention has been running hot (get it) before all of that with the Cavaliers already and it’s crazy to think that this sort of archetype got even better. I guess 4 mana enchantments that double your mana aren’t problematic (wink).
6: Cauldron Familiar, Witch’s Oven
This is a bit of a weird card choice of course because it doesn’t do too much by itself, but together with Witch’s Oven it has created one of the most obnoxious play patterns on Arena. The fact that you can loop it every turn makes it incredibly tough to push through with creatures – not mentioning the fact that it takes a lot of your patience to wait for your opponent to activate the Oven at the end of each turn. It just gave you this feeling of: “this is just stupid”. It also sort of blanked the removal that you had, because your opponent could just sacrifice the targets and create more Food to toy around with.
People say that you can interact with it via artifact removal or graveyard hate. However I cannot stress enough how pesky it can be to try and find answers for 1 mana cards – not that there aren’t any, but it’s just much harder to accomplish. Let’s take Soul-Guide Lantern for example. If played correctly, you can’t even exile the cat with it, because they can bring it back in response. What about Abrade for Witch’s Oven See, there’s the problem: The “good” answers are already more expensive than the threats – and that’s just this one interaction. It’s not like the Sacrifice decks only play Cauldron Familiar and Oven.
The last point I want to make is the fact that this archetype in combination with the loop just demolished every deck that tried to play creatures. And as a creature lover myself (I need to hit with some juicers or I won’t be satisfied) this can be incredibly frustrating. Good thing it’s only legal in Historic now!
5: Lucky Clover
This little artifact always gave me some Fires of Invention vibes – “they always have it on turn 2”! And the game is just vastly different when you have it versus when you don’t; how could it not be? It basically doubles all of your non-creatures. Play expensive permanents? Back to your hand they go with Brazen Borrower. Play cheap creatures? Into the shadowlands they go with Bonecrusher Giant. You don’t want to play permanents? Okay I’ll just transform into a ramp deck with Beanstalk Giant and bury you in card advantage.
You just feel so helpless playing against 2 spells for the price of one for the rest of the game – and that’s if they only have one. Now I haven’t smashed any tables yet because of turn 2 Clover, but I can assure you that’s only because I have exactly one table here.
4: Nissa, Who Shakes the World
“How good can this be? It’s just a rare Planeswalker”. So good apparently that it rivals even Teferi, Hero of Dominaria for being one of the best 5 mana Planeswalkers in the game. Nissa earned herself the title of “Nissa, Who Wins The Games” because of how many games she just takes over when you resolve her. She pressures other Planeswalkers, pressure life total quickly, gives you tons of mana to work with, protects herself and has a huge loyalty count to begin with, which makes it pretty tough to kill her with damage.
Even if you get to kill her in the same turn, she at least makes a 3/3 creature which is not something you can just ignore in most cases. It’s one of these cards where you’re thinking to yourself: Is there anything this doesn’t do? That’s really what made her a good target to hate – the overwhelming power of her, making all of your cards crumble in the lower power level club. Every time my opponent resolves a Nissa, I roll my eyes so heavily that I am able to see the insides of my brain.
3: Teferi, Time Raveler
I’m going to be honest with you, I didn’t even know that this card was still legal in some portions of this year. I remember that I was asking myself: “Why was this card legal for so long to begin with?”. This card disabled so many cards and even things that you didn’t notice at first (did you know that you cannot play Finale of Promise when your opponent has Teferi out? The most annoying part for me has always been how flexible this card is though. You can bounce your own permanents and recast them, bounce your opponent’s permanents to gain some tempo back – and don’t forget about the good old Kaya’s Wrath at “Sorcery Speed”. I’m getting chills whenever I think of this card and I am just happy that it’s gone and I can try to forget about it like some bad war flashbacks. Good riddance!
2: Muxus, Goblin Grandee
Opponent’s Muxus: You’re on -240 life on turn 4! My Muxus:
For real though, this kind of card reminds me a lot of Hearthstone, which is the reason why a lot of people hate this card. Muxus is the kind of card that can always win, no matter how behind the Goblin strategy is – which makes it incredibly frustrating to play against. It needs a really specific set of cards to win against this – and it got even harder when people started adapting their strategy against sweepers (with Herald’s Horn).
The funny part for me is that I actually like Goblins for the most part (and I think a lot of people do), but Muxus is just such a miserable card to play against. There’s just no telling whether resolving this card will win or lose you the game – and I don’t want to have this kind of RNG in Magic, personally.
1: Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
Surprise, surprise! Who could’ve thought that Uro would win this race! Sarcasm shields off, this card does it all – even more than Nissa. The floor on this card is that it’s a bit more expensive than a Growth Spiral – but ramping is never the main intent with Uro. It’s incredible how it’s game-winning against so many strategies, while never really being bad against any. There’s so many things that went wrong with this: Why is the Escape cost only 5 cards? Why does it gain 3 life on top of all the other effects? How is it possible that you get a 6/6 for 4 mana with an ETB and attack trigger?
Honestly, I scratch my head every time I play with or against this card. It really feels like you’re playing a completely different game than the person that doesn’t play Uro. The most annoying part about this card is not just the power level of the abilities – it’s the fact that it comes back into the game over and over and it feels like you can never grind it out.
Now people say that graveyard hate is great against Uro – I can assure you, it is not. It’s the basic concept of trading cards: You play Rest in Peace for Uro? Sure! You traded a whole card to turn Uro into an expensive Growth Spiral. Oh, and you also need to find your Rest in Peace before Uro escapes. See the problem?
Uro may escape from the graveyard, but you cannot escape Uro!
Honorable Mention: Wilderness Reclamation, Ruin Crab, Omnath, Locus of Creation
I know, I know – Temur Reclamation dominated Standard and Historic for such a long time that it’s weird to not have it in the Top 9 list right? Well, my reasoning for that is, that without Uro, this simply wouldn’t have been the case. There would be enough strategies good enough to deal with a combo-control deck like this (mainly aggro), but Uro was just such a inbuilt safety net against aggressive decks that it was practically impossible to attack from that angle. Don’t get me wrong – I truly believe the Reclamation as a card is way too strong. However, it is Uro that annoyed me the most about the deck that it was played in.
Ruin Crab is another story. Nothing frustrates me more than one drops that just take over the game, but it hasn’t been legal for too long so we will see for now.
Omnath is clearly overpowered – but it has been banned so quickly that I don’t even know if it annoys me more than something like Winota for example. The decks that played Omnath had a lot more problems than just Omnath, so I don’t even know if Omnath annoyed me or the whole deck coming together.
Thank you so much for reading my first rant piece I ever made. It’s something different from my usual content (guides and theory), but I thought that this might be something nice to close out this year. Also please be sure to also check out DoggertQBones’ 2020 year in review as well.
May you all have a great start into 2021 and annoy people like myself so I can write articles about it!