It can be frustrating when coming up against Magic: The Gathering deck compositions that are built entirely around one overpowered card or combo. On the flip-side, it can be incredibly fun to use such cards and mechanics against opponents, it truly comes down to just how chaotic you’re feeling.
As we’re a few months into the 2022 Standard rotation there are some truly problematic cards in play, so much so that many are receiving nerfs in the brand new Alchemy format on MTG Arena. So, which cards are the worst offenders so far? Let’s take a look.
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10. Skeletal Swarming – Adventures in the Forgotten Realm
We’re kicking off the list with Skeletal Swarming which only falls to the bottom of this list thanks to its high initial casting cost. With so few decks playing with enchantment removal in the current meta, it’s almost guaranteed to resolve and sit on the battlefield for the duration of a match.
You can be incredibly active with the skeletons that the card produces on your own turns as they not only have trample but when any creature dies on your turn, you can create two more tokens at the end of your turn instead of one. Mix in some zombies cards like Champion of the Perished and Tainted Adversary and you’ll be swinging in for huge damage with a Zombie / Skeleton army in no time.
9. Lunarch Veteran / Luminous Phantom – Midnight Hunt
Lunarch Veteran / Luminous Phantom is a card causing major problems with its appearance in Mono-White Aggro and Orzhov Clerics. In fact, it’s almost seen as a turn one must-play card and often players are utilizing their mulligan if they don’t draw it in their starting hand.
Its constant ability to see you gain life when creatures either enter or leave the battlefield is can sustain Mono-White if it runs out of draw potential (as it often does) or see other Orzhov cards reach their potential like Voice of the Blessed and Righteous Valkyrie.
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8. The Meathook Massacre – Midnight Hunt
Strangely, Meathook Massacre is among the most expensive cards on this list and it’s not hard to see why. Its versatility is unrivalled as it can save your bacon against aggro decks that blow their load in turns one through three but also help rid the battlefield of heartier creatures too.
7. Wedding Announcement / Wedding Festivity – Crimson Vow
HALLELUJAH, its draw potential for Mono-White decks! Wedding Announcement / Festivity has gone straight into many white decks as it helps it overcome one of its biggest downfalls, running out of cards in your hand! The only reason this card isn’t higher is because it requires two creatures to attack in order to trigger the draw.
The upside is that if you can’t attack with two creatures, it will instead create a 1/1 human token for you. Once it reached three turns in play, all creatures will receive +1/+1. As it isn’t a legendary card, you can resolve it multiple times so its best to have four copies in your deck!
6. Blood on the Snow – Kaldheim
Blood on the Snow has really come into its own in the 2022 Standard season after initially being seen as too expensive for most Mono-Black decks. Luckily, with the introduction of Mono-Black Control, which has a heavy treasure influence, this spell becomes a lot more appealing.
Its choice of casting target, creatures or Planeswalkers, also means it can be used in some truly quirky ways to get cards back on the battlefield. I’ve seen it cast on Planeswalkers, while none sit on the battlefield, just so a player can maintain their creatures while still recovering a card from their graveyard!
5. Lolth, Spider Queen – Adventures in the Forgotten Realm
Another Mono-Black favourite is up next as Lolth, Spider Queen is another card much better suited to the 2022 meta compared to last year. A relentless Planeswalker that does very well as a late-game card in aggressive decks or any creature focused deck really.
It can create two 2/1 spiders with Menace as its -3 ability and earns loyalty counters through creatures dying. Lolth also offers some draw potential at the cost of one life which isn’t too bad, especially in a pinch. It will rarely reach -8 territory as your opponent will recognise its offensive danger and look to remove it as soon as possible. If is does, it’s usually game over.
4. Esika’s Chariot – Kaldheim
Ah, Esika’s Chariot, arguably one of the most frustrating cards to play against provided your opponent knows what they’re doing. It’s a card that has received the ‘Alchemy treatment’ due it its slight imbalance. If played too early, you can often remove the initial cat tokens and cause problems but Mono-Green will always find a way to make more bloody tokens!
Pair this with cards like Ranger Class and Wrenn & Seven to truly get the most out of it as you look to copy huge tokens and have your opponent cave under the relentless pressure of attacking creatures.
3. Thalia, Guardian of Threben – Crimson Vow
Okay, so White hasn’t exactly been short of low-cost creatures but there is something about Thalia, Guardian of Thraben that just helps it stand out from the pack.
It’s a great counter to ramp decks that need time to establish themselves and rely on counters/removal spells in the first few turns of a match. Thalia increases the man cost of those cards. In addition to this, having first strike, whilst not meaning much once bigger creatures are in play, can cause issues early on.
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2. Alrund’s Epiphany – Kaldheim
It was incredibly hard to pick which card would fall short of the #1 spot as both of these cards are incredibly annoying but Alrund’s Epiphany is #2 due to its lack of versatility by comparison. It has rightfully been nerfed in the new Alchemy format and it’s a shame that the card at #1 has seen it become borderline unplayable.
You rarely get the feeling that a card wasn’t properly tested during R&D, but it really fells like Wizards missed the boat here when allowing this card and the card at #1 to co-exist the way they do.
1. Galvanic Iteration – Midnight Hunt
Finally, we reach the #1 spot and Galvanic Iteration takes home the crown of the most overpowered card of the season so far. As we mentioned earlier, it’s here due to its versatility. Taking any spell and double casting it is one of the biggest ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ play for Izzet decks.
Yes, it’s most frustrating when played alongside Alrund, but there are plenty of other spells that will leave you just as furious and helpless when played twice. Its flashback feature is also set at too low of a cost meaning if a deck has mid-game mana, they’re really not suffering for having used it the first time as the cost only increases by one colourless mana.