The first in a list partially compiled by my team of casual and expert players, here are some format-legal cards we think you’ll want to keep a lookout for in EDH. From the irking to the downright infuriating – here they come! Whether you’re here to rant and sympathize, figure out why our group is hating on you, or even to pick up a few tips for pissing off your local play-group, here we go! Let’s start at the bottom and move through the ranks…
(and if you’re wondering why Warp World isn’t on this list, well, it’s because I love it and the card is ALWAYS fun. Always.)
20 Mind’s Eye – there’s something just so annoying about watching your opponent snidely say “I’ll draw a card.” every time someone else does. Watching him parade around with a fist full of action while you sit there, drawing a measly single card per turn. Jealous? Yes. Why aren’t you playing this card??
19 Lightning Greaves – Sure, it’s one of the best equipment in the game. But one player’s benefit can mean another player’s bane. This can make some of the best EDH creatures outright broken, and some of the most annoying threats impossible to answer – annoying, yes. Unfair? Probably not – if you’re running some sort of artifact hate – and you should be! – then it’s ok.
18 Standstill – is a card that rewards EVERY opponent on the table. Wow, what an incentive never to play a spell again! Usually someone bucks up and plays a card, to everyone else’s glee, but this card can cause some big-time stalls.
17 Hallowed Burial – Wrath effects can be bad enough, but they’re a necessary part of the game. But putting everyone’s General on the bottom of the library? Well, that’s no fun! Well, actually.. It is.
16 Amnesia – wait a minute, what is blue doing with discard? And not just crappy discard – real, hand-smashing, efficient discard effects? How did this card get into the pool? Sure, it’s cost is 3UUU but when you see the blue player asking you how many cards you have in your hand… Man. That’s just not something you want to see coming your way.
15 Rafiq of the Many – one of the more annoying Generals out there for EDH, simply because he’s in it to win it. He’s not really about having fun – just drop him, crank him into something big, and thump out an opponent for 21 damage. Where’s the fun in that, people?
14 Constant Mists – it’s no Capsize, but man, it can be frustrating if your opponent is fogging every turn! Especially with green’s various ways to put land back onto the table quickly. I love this spell, but I can see why people hate it. “Just attack that other guy or I’m gonna fog!”
13 Hinder – is a must-play counterspell in my opinion. It removes a threat from the game – but more importantly it can put a General on the bottom of a library – and there are a lot that blue has a heck of a time answering if they’re forced to try to counter it every few turns. Hinder is great. But to the poor player who wants to win with his general alone? Sorry, man. For people who are against the concept of counter spells in EDH in general? Well, this may be your most-hated card of all!
12 Mind Twist – is just one of those cards that picks on a single player and can basically knock them out of the game. It’s also a card that the black player can use to draw ire away from himself if he hits the combo player and manages to strip his hand. It’s quite the double-edged sword, because when tapping out to play this, if you have no defenses on the table, you can expect to take a beating the next turn or two. Ultimately, do you really want to take away someone’s cards just for the sake of winning? It’s up to you.
11 Gaddock Teeg – this little guy shuts down a lot of the EDH favorites around many a table. He may balance out the tide somewhat for little green/white decks looking to just drop creatures and go wild, but he’s just a beast to deal with for decks without proper spot removal. He’s guaranteed to get you some hate if you run him as a general, so be prepared with a lot of strong defense (preferably costing 3 or less mana).
10 Winter Orb. I suppose it’s not as bad as some other cards that affect land – I mean, they’re still on the table, right? They’re just…not…untapping… and the game…is….moving……sooooo……slowly……….EDH is already slow enough! Why become the ultimate enemy of the table to have a shot at winning by killing board tempo? It rarely pays off, as few people can deal with a 3 vs 1 scenario effectively.
9 Ice Cave – let anyone else counter anything by paying its mana cost? Seems annoying, right? I’ve yet to see this card react extensively in EDH but some people assure me the results are terrible.
8 Dovescape – well, let’s just flat out counter anything, right? This card can simply end the game as we knew it and transform it into a little bird war. It’s usually not what people signed up for when they started a game of EDH.
7 Armageddon – or other land destruction effects. Seeing as how this one hits on turn 4, it’s not the worst of them all. Obliterate and Decree of Anihilation are far more annoying, but they require a lot more mana. It’s just that -really-no one likes land destruction in this format. Why be that guy?
6 Hive Mind – Now this card seriously can ruin the game in ways that Dovescape and Confusion in the Ranks wish were possible. While those cards change the game, this card simply makes it a gigantic rules headache, with all sorts of turn order priority passing issues coming up, a million stack triggers, and a slow-down of monumental proportions that rarely results in genuine fun. Just… not a fan here.
5 Capsize – a card that, in the late game, is the blue mage’s best tool. It can ultimately lock out multiple players, provide endless tempo advantage, and any deck seal the win against more fair creature-based decks. Granted, there are answers to it (removing the legal target, countering), but the card is usually the nail in the coffin – once the buyback starts recurring, that’s pretty much GG. I love the card, but… I’ve unfortunately made many, many people hate it.
4 Magister Sphinx – this guy is only fair in 1 scenario: where an opponent has an infinite life-gain combo set up, and you need to knock him back down from the clouds. The rest of the time, he is very abuse-able, can be recurred, blinked, and bounced in order to set everyone’s life down to 10. A 30 point life swing in this format is pretty huge, and very annoying. He is banned in some play-groups. He’s much worse than Sorin Markov, who as a Planeswalker is much tougher to recur and abuse, in case you’re wondering.
3 Thieves Auction – Yes, the player who casts this little bad-boy spell is not likely to win the game unless that first card he picks is a doosey. Not only does it require the complete stall of the game while cards are being redistributed, often taking 10 minutes or more to resolve, it swaps everyone’s cards around, leaving people anxious and wary that their original cards may not be returned to them. This is one of those goofy spells that was meant to really shake up the game – but with bad results.
2 Sensei’s Divining Top – loved and hated by all. Players who drop a Top on the table had better know what they’re doing and manage their Top effects quickly before the game slows down. Slow and deliberate serious players are the worst with this card, and general leave a sour taste in everyone’s mouth for the whole game. The fact that only Krosan Grip will kill it makes it one of the hardest-to-answer cards in the format. Ugh. I love this card, btw, and it pains me to only play it in one deck where I feel it is fair – Big Shitty Naya.
1 Sharuum the Hegemon – I’ve tried building a fair Sharuum deck with only foils from Alara block. It’s just no fun. When people play Sharuum, prepare for dumb combos with Sculpting Steel. Prepare for other things you just don’t want to see if you’re running a nice, fair deck. Prepare for Magister Sphinx every turn. Endless recursion of Nev’s Disk. Ugh. Abusive and borderline broken, but if the table is keen on the player’s intent, he’s got a tough time winning ahead of him…Sharuum makes the top of the list, not for being the most broken EDH card in a vaccuum, but for what he represents – all of the broken, powerful combo cards that see play in his decks – the cards no one really likes winning with anyway – so why play him? I challenge people to make a Sharuum deck and still resist the temptation to put in any outrageous combos, or any way to keep him fair – and tell me they had fun playing it at their table.
Know anything worse? I want to hear it! We’ll come up with a revised list someday once we get enough feedback!
Bonus prediction: Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon will soon find his way onto this EDH list as one of the most annoying generals if poison decks have anything to say about it…
Honorable mentions currently include: Shared Fate, Arena of the Ancients, Confusion in the Ranks, Planar Chaos, Soldier of Fortune, Evacuation, Dream Halls, Emrakul the Aeons Torn, Ad Nauseum/Seismic Assault decks that run 80 land, and Forbid.