The other side of power

Today we'll look at some amusing bulk.

Nostalgic factors makes it easy to forget just how many borderline unplayable cards there are in the early expansions of Magic. The sets are oozing with flavor and have their fair share of extremely powerful cards, but as a whole the average power level of early sets are very, very low. I could easily argue that the power level of Fallen Empires and Homelands are, at average, higher than those of The Dark and Antiquities. Alpha and Arabian Nights both have a high power level and generally playable cards, but after those two first sets, it took up until Alliances before a set which could be considered "good" was printed again.

One of the first things that comes players minds when talking about the older sets are the mana fixing and acceleration. Cards like original duals, Black Lotus, Sol Ring, Workshop and the Moxen are still the best mana fixing and acceleration ever printed. At this same time though, Wizards decided to create some of the worst mana fixing and acceleration ever printed as well, maybe to compensate for all the good cards. These are my personal top five worst fixers/accelerators in 93/94.

Honorable mention: Riven Turnbull

The honorable mention goes to the legendary acceleration from Legends, Riven Turnbull, Princess Lucrezia and the likes. They are not horrible per say, but just seem so misplaced. Riven himself (as a 5/7 without drawbacks for 7) is not unplayable, but the whole mana acceleration part of him is simply puzzling. The flavor text is pretty unexpected as well.

#5: Mana Matrix
Do you know how many enchantments or instants there existed which had mana cost above 6 at the time this was printed? One. Divine Intervention.

#4: Standing Stones
I guess this is the "fixed Celestial Prism". Even if we don't compare this to newer cards, like Prophetic Prism, this card is in the same set and at the same rarity as Fellwar Stone.

#3: Deep Water
The fun thing here is that you need UU to be able to get more blue mana. Outside of a deck that is aggressively splashing for Invoke Prejudice, I have no idea what the goal of this card possibly could be. It would still be hard to justify if it costed 0 to play and 0 to activate.

#2:Celestial Prism
This is from the same set, and have the same rarity, as Sol Ring. It is somehow far worse than Standing Stones, both in art and function. It's one of the few truly bad cards from Alpha. Kind of impressing.

#1: North Star
I find this card very amusing. It is quite possibly the worst rare ever printed. I guess that Dakkon Blackblade will be a bigger creature once you can pay 10 mana for him though.

 I guess I made it easy for me this week with simply posting a list, but I have a more strategic post prepared for next time :) The BSK tournament (November 1st) is in full planning btw, with around 15 people signed up so far. Don't hesitate to contact me if you'd like to join in!


  1. Nice read as always, the painting on North Star is a very nice art thou, too bad they diden´t make the card any better , the art deserves a better card! // Jhovalking

  2. Someone up for the challenge to play Deep Water/Flood with Urza lands maybe?
    I could consider one Mana Matrix in Enchantress, when card drawing engine has started. Then Copy Artifact would cost one blue only and be a cantrip.

    1. I have to give you points for creativity with the Mana Matrix! Once it hits the table, it does have some effect with cards like Spell Blast, Power Sink and Nether Void. It will probably be hard to make it work well, but I'll definitly be impressed if someone manages :)

  3. You won't be laughing with 2 (!) Power Artifact on that North Star.

    Sean C. O'Brien


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