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The Top 100 Cards for Multiplayer, Part 3


Hello, folks! Everybody loves lists. Today, we continue to investigate the Top 100 cards of multiplayer of all time. With the 20th anniversary of Magic this year, it’s a good time to step back, reflect on the awesome that has come before us, and then hit up some lists!

I’ve counted down the first fifty cards already, and today, we are looking at fifty through twenty-six—a huge chunk of power cards for your decks. This list is not Commander-specific. While a list of the hundred best Commander cards of all time would dovetail with this one rather nicely, the quirks of the format (Highlander, banned list, bigger decks, larger life totals, etc.) would result in some changes. Don’t worry; everything on here, unless it’s banned in Commander, is a house there, too.

I worked hard to eliminate my personal favorites from this list in order to make it something close to objective. We can never be fully objective in anything we do, but I have pulled cards such as Commander Eesha and Silklash Spider in order to ensure that all of these cards are truly the Top 100 for dialing it up against multiple foes.

Without further ado, allow me to present the best cards from multiplayer, from fifty to twenty-six!

50. Mindslaver In duels, the problem with Mindslaver is that you are not always sure that the turn you take is worth the investment of mana. Sure, you cannot attack, and you can perhaps play a few spells poorly. But in multiplayer, the likelihood of devastating someone with this rises significantly. For example, you can attack Larry with this creature, Mary with that one, and yourself with a third—and all three are killed by blockers. You can really hurt an opponent’s board position with miscast spells since the hand is a valuable resource in the midgame and late game. This is downright nasty, and it wins games.

49. Oversold Cemetery For no mana requirements at all, you can recur a creature from your graveyard right to your hand every upkeep. It only costs 2 mana to play, and it establishes a strong board presence. It has a few weaknesses over similar cards. First of all, because it forces you to have four creatures in your graveyard to start the juices flowing, it can be answered by graveyard removal or just by someone who bounces, tucks, or exiles your creatures. Second of all, unlike say, #60 Genesis, it cannot self-recur, nor can it win a tussle against countermagic. However, it works so frequently, and it is so good when it does, that it has to be on the list.

48. Blightsteel Colossus and Darksteel Colossus If these two monsters did not rock indestructibility, they would not chart anywhere around the back forties. But since they do, they are two of the most powerful creatures for winning the game. They are key elements from cards such as #73 Tooth and Nail. We want to put them right onto the battlefield! These guys smash games because they are trampling fools that dodge most removal. Having removal spells that will answer them is vital to doing anything in multiplayer because you will see them.

47. Skullclamp One of the best pieces of Equipment for multiplayer is the little engine that could. There are two major reasons this rocks. First, you can abuse it by dropping it on Birds of Paradise or 1/1 tokens and such. This is very breakable on its own. Second, toss this on any creature, and then laugh as people play around it. They refuse to swing into your 3/2 Trygon Predator. Plus, when mass removal happens, which is always a threat, you are able to draw two cards for your trouble. Considering the cost and impact of the card, this is a no-brainer for Top 50 cards in multiplayer . . . 

Nevinyrral's Disk
46. Nevinyrral's Disk  . . . As is this. Since the Dawn of Time, the Disk has been included in decks as a way of bypassing color restrictions. It will destroy creatures from blue or green’s table, destroy artifact or enchantments from black’s, and blow up enchantments by red’s hand. It gives every color an awesome reset button. Because of the utility this card offers any deck, it is something most run at the multiplayer table (or regret not being run by players not having the right sweepers elsewhere).

45. Twilight's Call and Patriarch's Bidding Bringing back an onslaught of creatures en masse has a unique impact on the table. It often puts the player in one of the worst board positions (because I lost all of my stuff!) into one of the better ones. This can single-handedly swing a game back toward you. The instant capability of the Call enables you drop it to block some attackers or untap and get in the first swing with the newly resurrected dead. The Bidding is better in the right deck and worse in others. In a deck with one or two tribes, it is a surgical tool to extract most or all of your guys from the ’yard, but a smaller percentage of enemy creatures will arise. Both cards are mighty.

44. Wheel of Fortune and Reforge the Soul Red is a sad color because it does not have a lot of card-drawing in the raw. Its card advantage comes in the form of things like Magmaquake and Into the Core. That’s what pushes these cards above #54 Timetwister and Time Spiral (and Time Reversal I suppose, too). Red has raw card-drawing here. Sure, it helps everybody with its classic discard-and-draw-seven. But draw-sevens are deathly powerful. You can use it to force someone to discard his grip of cards while you reload a weak hand. You play havoc with control or combo players who have vital plans to unfold. Knowing you are about to rock these spells, you drop your hand and then Wheel/Reforge so you get maximum value. These are strong cards for red at the multiplayer table.

43. Liliana Vess Liliana is a stalwart multiplayer planeswalker for a few major reasons. First of all, she encourages people to drop their hands or else be targeted for discard. Second, she can immediately tutor for either a perfect answer or a nasty problem that perfectly matches the board. Finally, if you get her to the ultimate, she has one of the most powerful ultimates for multiplayer. All three abilities will rock the table. That’s why she is the top-ranked planeswalker for multiplayer—no one else charts more highly.

No Mercy
42. No Mercy There are a small number of enchantments in the history of twenty years of Magic that will stop an attack outright turn after turn. #59 Moat was often one. This is another. With this out, people are encouraged to look elsewhere for targets. They can attack you if you become overly meddlesome, so the card is not a guarantee of safety, and that makes the card better. If No Mercy read, “Creatures cannot attack you,” it would be worse because then, people would come after you hard. They would destroy it with alacrity and punish you for your overconfidence. But this way, opponents simply tend to consider other routes of attack. You get to live. That’s how you win.

41. Library of Alexandria The fact that a card is expensive does not mean it won’t make my list. If Moat, Timetwister, and Library of Alexandria are truly some of the best cards in multiplayer Magic, let’s bring them in. The Library is a potent tool of card advantage because you can draw an extra card a turn if you play it right. Unlike many other spells, it is tough to get rid of. Do everything you can to draw a card from it, such as by tapping it in your upkeep to draw prior to the draw step or by tapping it right after your draw or even on your opponent’s turn after discarding. There are two answers to this: land destruction such as Strip Mine and attacking the player and forcing him to drop some cards from his hand in defense. Don’t let someone Library all day long.

40. Akroma, Angel of Wrath There are few creatures that are so powerful that you find them in the Top 50 section of this list purely for their beatability. In fact, every other creature here is included for at least one ability that exists out of combat, but the Akroma just has combat abilities and still finds her way here. Roughly 40% of flyers can’t block her, and the others almost unanimously die to her. The sheer number of flyers that can block and kill Akroma, especially without dying, is quite small. Haste gives you an extra attack with her, vigilance keeps her back so the first strike and protection can work to keep people from attacking, and trample will smash through any measly defense you might have otherwise mustered. She is the queen of combat.

Mind's Eye
39. Mind's Eye If you want to draw cards en masse, just look to the Mind's Eye for aid. It is disgusting how many cards you can draw with it. Just 1 mana per card drawn by a foe will yield cards a-go-go. It’s a bit back on the list because it does guzzle mana like a thirsty duck in a desert. Plus, it’s a card with an auto-target on it, as the player is often attacked in order to either end the Eye shenanigans or force him to drop his hand and spend mana on defense rather than on cards.

38. Edric, Spymaster of Trest The winner of the Best Card Printed in Commander Decks 2011 is Edric, Spymaster of Trest. None of the other new cards made the Top 100. Edric works because people want cards. They need cards so badly that although they know Edric is encouraging them to attack other players to draw draws, they do it anyway. Edric manipulates people openly, and they love him for it! Hey, I’ll attack Bob and draw four cards off Tim’s Edric. Plus, you draw cards, too. It’s even better than #43 No Mercy because people want you to have Edric out. I need cards!

37. Kaervek the Merciless Kaervek is spiteful. He does not like you at all, and if you play any sort of a spell, you are about to take some serious hurt. Kaervek might kill a creature with the damage that spell made. He might focus all of that damage into one enemy’s face. But he will quickly blow everything up. It’s rare he stays on the board for long periods of time, but when he does, he slows down opposing spells almost as much as a Standstill. Kaervek ascends.

36. Wrath of God, Damnation, et al. – This is for your basic Wrath of God spells. It’s for Day of Judgment, Damnation, and more. If a spell destroys all creatures, it goes here. Wrathing a board is a vital key to winning a multiplayer game. It takes out all of the hordes that are arrayed against you, and it is often the only answer to some problems. How do you stop a horde of 1/1 tokens? One Murder at a time? Of course not! You need bigger answer—enter the Wrath. It hits multiple board positions on every front. These are so good it’s silly.

35. Swords of X and Y – The second-highest-charting Equipment on the list are these five Swords from across the sets. From Sword of Fire and Ice to Sword of Body and Mind, these five Swords all give the equipped creature a lot of power. Not only do you get +2/+2 and protection from two colors, but you also gain two powerful abilities on the attack, and they will untap your lands, Raise Dead a creature, Shock something, and so forth. All of these Swords are so potent that a humble Birds of Paradise with one becomes a major threat. Get ready to wield some power today!

34. Grave Pact and Martyr's Bond When you control a Grave Pact, opponents find themselves sacrificing creatures with great regularity. It’s not something they enjoy doing much. Combine it with effects that sacrifice your own creatures for anything from Gate to Phyrexia to Blood Artist to Attrition. Or just swing with some annoying 2/2 dork and laugh as your foe tries to decide if she wants to block and kill it with her nasty 5/5 Dragon and trigger the Grave Pact or just take 2 damage. Grave Pact brings equality to the table. As yours go, so do theirs. See also: noncreatures with Martyr's Bond.

33. Rhystic Study Apparently, it’s card-drawing time on the Top Multiplayer List today! We’ve already hit cards like Mind's Eye and Wheel of Fortune along the way. Don’t worry; this is the second-to-last card-drawing card of significance today. Whereas Mind's Eye forced you to spend mana to draw cards, the Study forces your foes to pay it to stop you. That means the opponents are more actively involved into the process. Since they control it, they view the card as weaker, which means it stays out for longer. After all, which would you rather I have in play—Mind's Eye or Rhystic Study? Exactly. Now, the Study is hardly Sylvan Library; people are going to off it. It’s a real threat for the long term, but it can hang out and draw four or five cards and slow down foes for a few turns before it finally bites it. By that time, you have really pushed the board into your favor.

32. Bribery and Acquire Both of these cards are nuts to play. You search out something right out onto the battlefield for just 5 mana. Whether you retrieve an opponent’s best creature or best artifact (or best artifact creature), you have just jumped your board up a lot. Whatever you find is likely to be better than the silly little 5-mana sorcery that grabbed it. From #48 above to #98 Kokusho, the Evening Star, all options are strong.

31. Swords to Plowshares, Path to Exile, et al. – This is where instant exile removal charts: Crib Swap, Unmake, Into the Core, these, and more. You need to answer stuff, and you need to answer it well. By far, the best multiplayer answer to any permanent is to exile it. You remove it from being brought back or shuffled back and drawn or from counting for threshold or whatever. It is a permanent answer (mostly), and that is something very important to multiplayer Magic. It is also an answer to indestructible threats.

30. Consecrated Sphinx And our final card-drawing engine charts. Whereas Mind's Eye requires you to use mana to draw cards, the Sphinx draws double those cards for free. It dies fast. But if not, you have a 4/6 flyer and the card engine that could. Protect it, and the cards will fly out of the skies and into your hands.

29. Living Death Living Death earns its own spot because it is uniquely Wrath of God and Twilight's Call in one card. Since it forces the creatures in play to be sacrificed, you see the death of many foes that would otherwise survive mass removal. It also brings back everything that has died prior. It is unique. Twilight's Call could give you a good board position, but everyone else still controls their good creatures. A Final Judgment could keep you from dying, but it’s hardly going to push you into a dominating board state. But this can single-handedly move you from losing badly to winning horribly. You kill all of that crap while also making an instant army; just add 5 mana and stir.

28. Congregate Gaining life is okay. In multiplayer, if you gain life, you want either to gain life in giant chunks (a la Invincible Hymn) or when doing other things (a la Kitchen Finks). Congregate is the best mass-life-gain spell ever printed. First of all, it’s cheap and an instant. You must keep those in mind. So, you can cast it in response to things easily. Second, there are often large numbers of creatures mucking up the board, and you regularly gain anywhere from 14 to 30 life from it. We’ve all seen it gain you more. This card seriously changes the game because it’s like three Fogs in one when being attacked or it gives you the life bump you need to hatch cruel plans.

27. Kodama's Reach, Cultivate, Krosan Tusker People in multiplayer are often really nice. They will let you develop your mana for a few turns before doing things that impact you. That does not always happen, but it’s frequent. They’ll also often let you mulligan a bad hand several times just to be kind. Do not let that scare you from playing good land search! You still need to find lands and smooth your mana. Cultivate and Kodama's Reach are the single best two spells to find mana in the game of Magic in normal circumstances (“normal” meaning you are not running dual lands or something weird). Krosan Tusker is number two on that list. Trust me: You want to run cards like these because you will get mana early and often (plus, they all grab two cards for one).

26. The Good Wraths (Akroma's Vengeance, Austere Command, etc.) – This section is for those Wrath of Gods that do more than just sweep some creatures. You often want to take out artifacts and enchantments as well. Plus, you want to take out creatures that are not normally dying to mass removal. Cards like Terminus and Final Judgment join Planar Cleansing for this list. They are better than the #36 Wrath of God and Day of Judgment folks because they give you added flexibility and power.

I think it’s interesting to see how many expensive power cards are on my list and how many commons are here, too. We already have cards like Library of Alexandria and Congregate or Moat and Cultivate or Rhystic Study and Timetwister. It’s fun stuff! Anyway, join me next time with the list you have been seriously waiting for. What are the twenty-five best multiplayer cards of all time? Get ready for the fun!

See you next week,

Abe Sargent

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