Awaken the Woods
15, Feb, 23

MTG Players Try To Make Magic’s Worst Card Ever Playable

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Article at a Glance

Within each Magic: the Gathering set to release, there are a lot of immensely powerful cards to get excited about. Some cards, such as Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines, are so powerful they’re threatened with banning before release! Alongside the plethora of powerhouse cards, each MTG set also features plenty of cards on the opposite end of the power spectrum. Dubbed Draft chaff as they’re abandoned on LGS tables, next to useless commons, and uncommons are part of every set. Remarkably, however, the vast majority of these practically worthless cards are still leagues better than the worst cards in MTG. Cards such as Break Open, for instance, are literally useless in the majority of MTG games. Despite there being countless better cards to choose from, MTG players recently set themselves quite the challenge. Is it possible to make one of the worst cards in MTG actually playable?

The Woeful Wood Elemental

Wood Elemental

Hailing from 1994’s Legends set, Wood Elemental is widely regarded as one of the worst cards in MTG. Considering that Wood Elemental is a four-cost creature with no guaranteed stats, this is hardly a controversial opinion. To give this awful elemental any power and toughness, its owner must sacrifice Forests when it enters the battlefield. Since you typically need land to win MTG games, this is quite the drawback, to say the least. Comically, even if you sacrifice all your Forests, presuming Wood Elemental was played on curve, you only get a 4/4. In comparison, if you fast forward 29 years, four mana gets you the incredibly powerful Sheoldred, the Apocalypse.

Despite there being literally thousands of better choices available, Wood Elemental remains weirdly beloved by players thanks to its novelty. The fact that it’s on the Reserved List and sells for around $30, for instance, makes it even more lovable. Subsequently, players such as u/MisoSoupMan- occasionally take to Reddit, wondering if the card can be redeemed. Asking both “is this the worst card ever?” and “is there any way to make it playable?” in a recent post, u/MisoSoupMan- laid down a challenge that the MTG community was eager to accept

Wood Elemental Is a Good Elemental Now?

In the 29 long years since Wood Elemental was first printed, Wizards has created over 25,000 new cards. Unsurprisingly, a handful of these myriad cards can make even the worst of the worst surprisingly playable. Ashaya, Soul of the Wild, for instance, enables a surprisingly large amount of synergies with Wood Elemental. By making your non-token creatures Forests in addition to their other styles, Ashaya effectively turns Wood Elemental into a potent sacrifice engine. As u/EpicWickedgnome points out, this enables strategies with other cards such as Zulaport Cutthroat.

If sacrificing creatures to pump up your Wood Elemental isn’t enough for you, u/ferro_man suggests a truly outlandish combo. Playing Reins of Power followed by Ashaya, Soul of the Wild once again, Wood Elemental can be turned into a devastating board wipe. Admittedly, considering this three-card combo costs 13 mana, it probably shouldn’t be your go-to use for Wood Elemental. That being said, this combo is arguably better than green board wipe alternatives such as Ezuri’s Predation

Thankfully, player suggestions for what to do with Wood Elemental didn’t entirely rely on the fantastically useful Ashaya, Soul of the Wild. Reddit user u/_masterbuilder_, for instance, noted that alongside Titania, Protector of Argoth, Wood Elemental could actually be a good elemental. Utilizing a haste enabler such as Concordant Crossroads, this combo is surprisingly deadly. After all, dealing with an impromptu horde of 5/3 elementals alongside ol’ woody himself is no easy feat. While these unexpectedly enjoyable combos enamored some players, other players, such as u/homeless0alien, suggested a different approach.

“To make it playable get a sharpie and write ‘Goblin’ across it. Then write ‘1/1’ in the corner. There you go, got yourself a perfectly useable token.”


What Is the Worst Card in MTG?

Break Open & Sorrow's Path

While Wood Elemental may be able to facilitate some surprisingly playable combos, there’s no denying that the card is bad. Despite Wood Elemental being truly awful, many Reddit players commented that there are much worse cards. As we briefly mentioned earlier, Break Open was unsurprisingly brought up as an almost useless card. “I will always go to Break Open as the worst card ever,” u/BlizzardMayne commented. “Not only does it often do nothing, but half the time you would cast it, it actively hurts you.” 

Alongside Break Open, several players, such as u/Gleem_ proclaimed that Sorrow’s Path is a strong contender for the worst card of all time. Boasting the ability to swap two valid blocking creatures, Sorrow’s Path’s main effect isn’t much to write home about. What makes this card diabolical, however, is its drawback which deals two damage to you and all your creatures each time it’s tapped. While this effect should condemn Sorrow’s Path, like Wood Elemental, some players have made it work. Reddit user u/Grindy_UW_Nonsense, for instance, claims, “Sorrow’s Path has a legitimate use case now! I run it in a Naya Dinosaurs Enrage deck, where it’s a convenient way to trigger all your enrage’s effects repeatedly.” 

Ultimately, considering the countless interactions MTG cards can have with one another, divining the true worst card is practically impossible. Right now, Break Open is potentially the worst, however, even this may change in the future. With the right deck or card from the future, even cards like Juju Bubble could theoretically become a Commander powerhouse. 

Read More: MTG Players Unfazed by Commander’s Overpowering Influence

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