Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Insane Magic Cards
Wizards of the Coast knows not to always take itself too seriously; to that end, it periodically releases semi-official Magic: The Gathering expansion packs designed for fun, not competition. Although you cannot use the Unglued, Unhinged, and Unstable card sets in most tournaments, within them you'll find a variety of wonky and powerful effects that immerse players like never before.
Ready to hear your friend talk in pig latin, tear cards into pieces, and buy you drinks? These are the top ten craziest cards in Magic!
10. Now I Know My ABC's
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 3
You can first detect ABC's insanity by how its artwork spills into its text, but it's actually a fascinating enchantment that provides a unique alternate win condition: you'll win if you, at the beginning of your upkeep, possess permanents that contain all 26 English letters in their names.
With this strategy, life totals, creature numbers, and even planeswalker emblems won't matter; if your army knows its ABC's, you'll seize victory.
9. Sly Spy (Sly Spy (c))
Speaking of the alphabet, here's a black card bonkers enough for having six renditions, A through F. The wackiest of all is the third, Spy C, whose spicy ability lets you "remove" a finger from an opponent whenever Spy inflicts combat damage; that finger cannot be used as long as Spy remains fielded.
Many opponents will simply forfeit after losing enough fingers, unwilling or unable to move the cards without their digits, but they might have a very potent use for their last finger before you rob them of victory. Oh, and gotta love the flavor text here—Sly's an agent of S.N.E.A.K.—Sinister Nerds Eliminating All Knowledge.
Another blue enchantment, good luck deciphering the rules text of this legal-style card, similar to reading those user agreements no one's ever actually looked it. Luckily, I can break it down for you: at each player's upkeep, they must perform all past actions (simple physical or verbal ones) made by other players through this card's effect in the correct order, then add a new one. If they can't, they have to discard their entire hand.
Losing access to your cards is quite a price to pay, turning the game into a ridiculous memory game. Did John bark like a dog first, or did he blow a kiss? Better pick correctly or you'll lose access to your hand. Tip: I like adding some house rules to this one, such as no "cheating" by writing down the order of actions.
7. Better Than One
Two heads are better than one, and that's exactly what you're getting with this bonkers green and white sorcery. A person outside the game becomes your teammate, and they enter the game with a hand, library, and field equal to what you're willing to sacrifice from your hand, library, and field. However, this means your new team will get two draws (one each) per turn and have two minds to make decisions.
This crazy card allows spectators to actually participate in the game, and the rulings even suggest having non-Magic players jump in for casual matches to see what chaos ensues.
6. Ass Whuppin'
Another multicolored card, this time stemming from black and white, Ass Whuppin' lets you destroy any silver-backgrounded (meaning it's from these silly expansions) card. This can helpfully eliminate many types of opposing spells, from artifacts to enchantments to creatures.
However, the real gimmick here is Whuppin' letting you destroy a permanent in any game you can see from your seat and go outside the bounds of your game just to heckle another player. Did Ralph from two tables over skimp you on the shared pizza bill last week? Screw you, Ralph, time for revenge!
5. Atinlay Igpay
Here's another card you'll be glad you have me to translate for. That's not a foreign language, just hard-to-read pig latin. Atinlay Igpay (ah, now you're catching on) is a 3/3 creature (three power and three toughness) with the rare doublestrike trait, letting it deal both first strike and regular combat damage.
Doublestrike is indisputably one of the best abilities in the game, but you'll not only pay six mana for Igpay's power, you also have to speak in pig latin or be forced to sacrifice Igpay. Etterbay etgay inyay omesay acticepray.
4. Chaos Confetti
This amusing parody of the Chaos Orb card is a colorless artifact that costs four mana to initially play, then taps alongside another four to activate its effect: You tear Confetti into as many pieces as you want, then throw the pieces at a distance of at least five feet. Any permanent that touches one of the thrown pieces is destroyed.
Similar to legacy-style board games, actually using Confetti's effect involves destroying the physical card itself, but it's an undoubtedly flashy and fun way to make a card game more than a card game. I can't tell you how much silly effects like these add to the allure in casual matches, especially for spectators. Despite Confetti's rare nature, you can obtain one for a surprisingly cheap price under three dollars. And if you're like me and have feelings of guilt about tearing up your precious cards, your friends might let you shred a comparably-sized notecard when resolving the effect instead.
3. Ashnod's Coupon
So far, our entries have been silly yet game-altering, actually contributing towards your victory. Ashnod's Coupon is perhaps the worst Magic card in terms of winning, but has an unparalleled real-world ability: when tapped, sacrificed, and sent to the graveyard, a target player must buy you a target drink. Hey, Friday Night Magic can leave a planeswalker thirsty.
Now, the errata states that you must pay any costs of the drink, but if you combo Coupon with cards like "R&D's Secret Lair" (which negates errata), you can obtain a beer or soda for free! If you're playing a good sport, that is. Hey, your eldrazi may have broken through my dragons, but at least I made off with a Coke.
2. Blacker Lotus
A parody of the infamous Black Lotus, Blacker Lotus is perhaps the best card in the game. For zero mana, this artifact is easy to field, and by tapping it and tearing it into pieces (just like Chaos Confetti), you add four mana of any color to your pool! Four mana of a chosen hue from a card you fielded for free is absolutely unrivaled when it comes to mana ramp, and anyone bold enough to play their Blacker Lotus should easily take the advantage.
Insane for both its self-destructive effect and incredible power, Blacker Lotus would dominate tournaments were it actually allowed.
1. Enter the Dungeon
Oh boy. If you want a game within a game (think Inception, but with cards), Enter the Dungeon. When played, this black sorcery starts an entire new match under the table (try not to feel self-conscious) with both players using the same library (deck) and starting at five life. Whoever wins this subgame gets to search for two cards from their library in the main game and add them to hand, a powerful effect equivalent to two Demonic Tutors. Heck, if multiple Enter the Dungeons were played, you could enter a game within a game within a game, all to hopefully seize an advantage in the main match.
I should also mention the red spell "The Countdown Is at One", which also starts a Magic subgame, but at least there players only enter it with 1 life, helping ensure it's a quick bout. For unprecedented match times and duels within duels, Enter the Dungeon is the black magic for you.
Future of Insane Magic
There ya have it. Ranging from silly to incredible overpowered, the "un" sets have long delighted casual games with a plethora of wacky powers. Sometimes it's nice to just sit back, relax, and have fun with a deck of pure strangeness, and since numerous crazy expansions built on the original Unglued set, Wizards of the Coasts seems to agree.
With hundreds of zany cards to choose from, it wasn't easy narrowing the list to just ten, and we'll undoubtedly explore more insane shenanigans in the future. But for now, as we eagerly await Magic's next insane card pack, vote for your favorite entry and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill