Zephyr Spirit | Ravnica: City of Guilds
6, Jul, 23

Top 10 Worst Creatures in MTG

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Since first launching in 1993, it’s safe to say that MTG has come an awful long way. This is evident from just looking at the number of cards available to play with. From the humble beginnings of 295 cards in Alpha, MTG players now have access to almost 26,000 unique cards! Unfortunately, however, not all of these cards are good. There will always be some cards and creatures that are the worst in MTG, after all.

Despite the immense amount of development over the past 30 years, some of the game’s oldest cards are still the best. This is certainly the case for cards such as Black Lotus. Despite this absolute powerhouse of a card, many of the oldest MTG cards are also, somewhat surprisingly, the worst

Boasting truly terrible power, toughness, and abilities, many old MTG cards are completely unplayable today. This is certainly the case for many of the game’s oldest creatures. While a few more recent cards have given them a run for their money, many old creatures are infamously unplayable. The question remains, however, which creature in MTG is the worst of all time?

Thankfully if you’re wondering about this very question, we have this article to provide the answer! Here we’ll be going through the worst MTG creatures of all time with no holds barred. So, without any further ado, let’s jump right into the list! 

Honorable Mention | Wood Elemental

Wood Elemental | Legends

To kick things off in a typically unusual fashion, we have Wood Elemental as an honorable mention. If you know anything about this card, this may seem like an utterly baffling choice, as Wood Elemental is truly terrible. In fact, it’s even in the running to be the worst creature of all time in MTG.

Requiring players to sacrifice untapped Forests to gain power, Wood Elemental is heinously unplayable. This would be the case even if the card was free, but it costs a baffling four mana! As a result of this, there’s nary a reason you should ever play this card, even if you’re flooded with Forests!

Since Wood Elemental is truly awful, understandably, you may be wondering why it’s not lower on this list. The answer? In the right deck, Wood Elemental is actually kind of good… 

As we discussed in an article from earlier this year, in the right deck it’s possible to make Wood Elemental actually playable. This is thanks to cards such as Ashaya, Soul of the Wild, which enable creature-based sacrifice synergies. Alternatively, Titania, Protector of Argoth can be used to resurrect the fallen Forests, turning Wood Elemental into a useful sacrifice engine.

At the end of the day, while these synergistic interactions do exist, Wood Elemental still isn’t an amazing card. That being said, however, it’s worth keeping in mind with this, and most cards on this list, that redemption is possible… Even if it’s just a little bit of redemption.

10 | Flailing Ogre

Flailing Ogre | Mercadian Masques

With Wood Elemental out of the way, it’s time to start this list properly. Saying that, however, we’re still being a little bit cheeky… 

Typically, when talking about the worst creatures in MTG, many players may suggest, Flailing Soldier makes the cut. Similarly to Flailing Ogre, both these cards feature a -1/-1 ability that anyone can activate. This allows opponents to kill these creatures fairly efficiently at any time when they have mana. 

When looking at the stats of the cards, it’s easy to see why Flailing Soldier is considered the worst. They are, after all, the weakest, allowing them to be killed with the least input from an opponent. While this is true, they do have a major upside of being mana positive. Only costing one mana for a 2/2, Flailing Soldier could be fairly useful, albeit only briefly, in aggressive decks.

Flailing Ogre, on the other hand, is just a boring ol’ 3/3 for 3. While this is a stronger body than most cards on this list, it’s nevertheless easily killed or neutered by its -1/-1 ability. The same is true for Flailing Manitore, which features Flying and First Strike to make it a smidgen better. 

While these cards are incredibly easily killed in Commander, there is an oddity of an upside with all the Flailing cards. Each one of them is so bad that your opponent may not deem them worth the mana to individually kill. Just make sure you don’t buff them yourself, otherwise, an opponent may start to take notice.

9 | Quagmire Lamprey

Quagmire Lamprey | Mercadian Masques

To set the tone for much of the rest of this list, Quagmire Lamprey is a 1/1 that costs a remarkable amount of mana. Thankfully, to justify its atrocious three-mana cost, Quagmire Lamprey does have an ability that uses -1/-1 counters. Similarly, to infect, this ability technically allows Quagmire Lamprey to neuter threats from opponents and synergize with Proliferate. That would be the case in an ideal world, at least.

Unfortunately for Quagmire Lamprey, it doesn’t exist in a world where all its dreams come true. Instead, this card is truly just bad, since its ability only activates when being blocked. Due to this caveat, an opponent always decides what gets a -1/-1 counter placed upon it, rather than you. Since Quagmire Lamprey can be chump blocked by almost any token, this makes it just awful. 

Even in an ideal situation where your opponent only has major threats on their board, Quagmire Lamprey is still bad. After all, they are just a piddly 1/1. Subsequently, should an opponent not want to risk a -1/-1 counter on a creature, they can just take the one damage. In games like Commander, opponents can do this for 40 turns, making Quagmire Lamprey a complete not threat. As you might expect, that doesn’t make them a good use of three mana.

8 | Chimney Imp

Chimney Imp | Mirrodin

If you thought three mana for a 1/1 was bad, Chimney Imp is a five mana 1/2. At this stat line, you should never consider playing Chimney Imp, they’re just bad. In comparison, five mana can let you cast threats such as Sheoldred. I don’t know about you, but given the choice, I’d definitely be casting Sheoldred. 

Thankfully, while Chimney Imp’s mana cost is just plain bad, it does have an ability as an upside. Similarly to Quagmire Lamprey, however, this ability is next to useless. As you can see on the card above, when Chimney Imp dies, an opponent puts a card from their hand onto the top of their library. 

Just like the easily ignored Quagmire Lamprey, this ability is incredibly ineffective. Sure, it does delay an opponent’s draw by a single turn, however, that’s not an insurmountable hurdle in formats like Commander. Additionally, you can’t even pick the card placed atop your opponent’s library, potentially allowing them to gain an advantage! 

Just imagine playing Chimney Imp against an opponent with Miracle cards like Temporal Mastery. Having this Imp die at the wrong time could give your opponent a Time Walk! I should hope we don’t have to tell you that this isn’t a prudent strategy in Commander 

7 | Goblin Firebug

Goblin Firebug | Legions

Unlike the last two entries on this list, Goblin Firebug actually has come decent stats behind it. Being a 2/2 for 2, this card is almost playable in a vanilla Typal deck. Unfortunately, however, Goblin Firebug isn’t a vanilla creature. Instead, they come with a rather damning ability as a drawback. 

Requiring you to sacrifice a land whenever Goblin Firebug leaves play, this card is potentially disastrous. Of course, having them die and losing a land is obviously bad news, this, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. When combined with universal Flicker effects, as seen on Eldrazi Displacer Goblin Firebug can absolutely ruin you.

With the possibility of potentially destroying all your land, Goblin Firebug definitely isn’t worth playing. This is even the case even if you only risk losing a single land. Thanks to the slow tide of power creep, a 2/2 for 2 is just not good anymore. If you need proof of that, just look at Bloodtithe Harvester in comparison!

6 | Aven Trooper

Aven Trooper | Torment

Returning to the trend of just awful 1/1 creatures is Aven Trooper, which costs a staggering four mana! Thinking rationally, you might assume this means Aven Trooper comes with some serious upsides such as Filigree Vector. While this assumption would make sense, this is a list of the worst creatures of all time, so you really shouldn’t expect too much.

As you can see on the card above, all Aven Trooper has going for it is Flying and a pump ability. Since the pump ability has its own cost, however, it can effectively be removed from the equation. Subsequently, when looking at the face value of Aven Trooper, you’re paying four mana for a 1/1 flyer. In modern Magic, four white mana will get you Phyrexian Vindicator, a 5/5 with Flying and its own devastating ability! 

To circle back around to Aven Trooper’s pump ability, unfortunately, this ability doesn’t redeem the card at all. Only providing +1/+2 to Aven Trooper,  this pump ability is incredibly overpriced, as it requires three mana to use. As if that wasn’t enough, you also need to discard a card from your hand to activate this incredibly underpowered spell. 

Seven mana and discard a card for a 2/3? I’d rather not, thank you. 

5 | Primordial Ooze

Primordial Ooze | Legends

While it is a 1/1, Primordial Ooze is another card on this list with an actually respectable mana cost. Clocking it at only one red mana, Primordial Ooze may seem like an aggressive and useful creature. After all, while it is forced to attack every turn, this Ooze gets bigger every turn during your upkeep!

Typically, creatures that steadily tick up their strength like this can become rather worrying threats, given enough time. The same is true for Primordial Ooze, however, it’s not threatening to your opponents. Instead, Primordial Ooze is more threatening to you, its caster, as it can deal damage to you each turn unless you pay an ever-increasing cost. 

With the potential damage and required cost increasing alongside the power of Primordial Ooze, this card is downright dangerous. After all, if you want to keep it untapped, after playing it on turn one, you’ll only ever have one mana to use. That’s provided you keep hitting your land draws throughout every turn during the game. Should you miss a single turn, Primordial Ooze will quickly surpass what you can pay, leading to constant damage. 

Thanks to this lingering threat, and the complete stall of your mana base, Primordial Ooze is just an awful MTG card. The only reason it’s fairly high on this list is thanks to Gift effects like Harmless Offering which makes this card an opponent’s problem. Should you do this, Primordial Ooze can actually be quite good, although getting the thee mana to do this isn’t too easy.

4 | Warping Wurm

Warping Wurm | Mirage

As a 1/1 for four mana, Warping Wurm is very much deserving of a spot on this list. As usual, however, it does have an ability to somewhat redeem itself so it’s more than a terrible cost. Unfortunately, however, Warping Wurm continues the trend of their ability being next to useless. In fact, Warping Wurm’s ability is so bad it’s more of a downside rather than an upside!

On the turn after playing Warping Wurm, unless you pay another four mana (2GU) the card will Phase Out. Weirdly, this is what you’ll want to do, as any time Warping Wurm Phases back in, it gets a +1/+1 counter. Thanks to Warping Wurm’s phasing ability, this Wurm will get one +1/+1 counter each turn while being practically untouchable! 

In theory, this is a rather potent ability as it allows this creature to scale over time into a massive threat. Since Warping Wurm only gets one +1/+1 counter per turn, however, this will take an awfully long time to happen. Even if you do manage to survive for a dozen turns or so, unfortunately, Warping Wurm doesn’t get much better.

If you want to keep Warping Wurm around for a turn to attack with it, you need to pay the aforementioned 2GU cost. Needing to be paid over and over again, Warping Wurm requires a tremendous amount of upkeep and time. So much so, in fact, that most games will typically end before this threat can ever be useful. 

If we’re being generous, there is one upside to Warping Wurm. For better or worse, it’s one of the cheapest cards on the Reserved List! Why anyone would think about playing this card, however, is a mystery to us.

3 | Mogg Squad

Mogg Squad | Tempest

In another break from tradition, Mogg Squad is a creature on this list with an actually reasonable casting cost. Well, more than just being reasonable, Mogg Squad is quite good! It’s a 3/3 for 2! That’s like a modern Magic: the Gathering card… almost!

Unfortunately, while Mogg Squad does have a fairly respectable casting cost, its ability is all downside. For every other creature in play, Mogg Squad gets -1/-1. Thanks to this ability, if there are three or more creatures on the battlefield, Mogg Squad is literally useless. 

No matter where or when you play it, Mogg Squad is just bad. In Commander, for instance, this card doesn’t stand a chance of surviving for more than a turn, if you’re lucky. Additionally, in 1v1 formats, Mogg Squad isn’t even good in aggressive decks since it doesn’t have Haste! Thanks to this, you’ll likely never get the 3/3 power and toughness which makes Modd Squad almost useful. 

2 | Zephyr Spirit

Zephyr Spirit | Ravnica: City of Guilds

Speaking of being next to useless, Zephyr Spirit is a bafflingly bad MTG card. Released as part of 2005’s Ravnica: City of Guilds, this card is theoretically a great blocker thanks to its 0/6 stat line. Holding the card back, however, is the exceptional casting cost which is a remarkable six mana! 

As if that wasn’t enough of a drawback, as a blocker, Zephyr Spirit is surprisingly useless. Rather than sticking around on the battlefield, when blocking, Zephyr Spirit is returned to its owner’s hand. On the one hand, this does prevent damage from the attacker, unless it has Trample. On the other hand, however, you’ll now need to cast Zephyr Spirit again for another six mana. 

Thanks to the tremendous upkeep costs of using Zephyr Spirit as a blocker, this card is practically unfit for purpose. To redeem it somewhat, however, it does have an upside. When played alongside cards like High Alert Zephyr Spirit can be a fairly effective 6/6 for six. 

Even in this situation, however, Zephyr Spirit is outclassed by other cards such as Amaranthine Wall. Not only is this card cheaper, but it can also gain Indestructible which is a huge benefit. As if that wasn’t enough, this card can also block, which is obviously rather important too.

1 | Alabaster Leech

Alabaster Leech | Invasion

Last but not least, we have the worst creature in all of MTG: Alabaster Leech. When looking at this card’s stats alone, it’s not all too terrible. Boasting the same power, toughness, and cost as Staunch Shieldmate, it card may not seem too terrible. In fact, against ultra-aggressive red decks, these cards could be rather useful defenders. 

Unfortunately, Alabaster Leech isn’t identical to Staunch Shieldmate as they have a utterly crippling ability as a downside. Requiring you to pay one white mana more for each of your white spells, Alabaster Leech is nothing short of debilitating. Putting you on the back foot for as long as they’re alive, Alabaster Leech is certainly more trouble than their worth. 

In theory, similarly to Primordial Ooze, Alabaster Leech could be a great card to maliciously gift to an opponent. Unlike Primordial Ooze, however, Alabaster Leech is only effective against the right deck. If your opponent isn’t playing white, this card will cause you nothing but misery throughout the game. 

As a result of this, Alabaster Leech is something that you should probably never be playing in any game of MTG… Ever.

Bad, but Not Unredeemable

Serra Redeemer | Dominaria United
Serra Redeemer | Dominaria United

To finish off this list, we couldn’t help but reiterate our point from the beginning of this article. While all of these cards are truly bad, they’re not all unredeemable monsters. Sure, some cards like Aven Trooper won’t ever be good, but many niche effects can be very entertaining. Some can even be worth building a deck around to mess with your opponents. 

Through some careful deck construction, cards like Akron Legionnaire (who didn’t quite make the list) can become surprisingly deadly. The same is true for Primordial Ooze as we mentioned before. By gifting this card to an opponent, a terrible card can be turned into a surprisingly fun and funny treat.

At the end of the day, this is one of the greatest strengths of MTG. Thanks to the immense freedom on offer, players are free to make even the worst cards good. Doing this, in fact, can be a lot of fun and an interesting challenge to undertake. Due to this, it’s possible to argue that MTG doesn’t even have a worst card of all time, since any of them could be made playable. Saying that, however, Alabaster Leech still deserves to be in a deep dark pit where it can never hurt anyone. 

Read More: MTG Lord of the Rings Limited Has Massive Balancing Problems!

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