Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
What Are the Worst Creatures in Magic?
With thousands of Magic spells circulating, it's inevitable that many eventually fall to the wayside, forlorn in favor of more competitive units. But a few monsters are so inept that they're not just forgettable, but remarkably terrible, making it nearly impossible to win with them in any structure.
As of this writing, less than 50 creatures have ratings lower than 1 out of 5 stars (the ranking used in the official MTG database), which I used to construct this list. So, which stragglers are the lowest of the low? These are the ten worst creatures in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Slipstream Serpent
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 8
Okay, Slipstream, I see that 6/6 (six power and six toughness), not too bad—oh wait, you cost an enormous eight mana. Well, maybe your effects just make you the worst. Not only can Serpent only attack when an opponent controls an island (which is a big gamble—not all blue-tapping lands are islands), you have to sacrifice him when you don't control any islands, so better hope you're not hit with a land wipe.
You can morph Serpent face-down as a 2/2 for three mana, then flip him face-up later for six, but this is still a contrived and taxing method of fielding someone who just doesn't justify the effort. Decently big stats, but atrocious playability and situational attacks combine with little clan synergy to make this serpent a colossal letdown.
9. Mindless Null
Mindless Null is remarkably underwhelming. While he doesn't actively hurt you, there's just nothing that shines about him. Three mana for a 2/2? Bad. Can't block unless you control a vampire? Bad.
The zombie subtype is a popular faction for black, but why not put it to use with better undead creatures? Plus, Null's "ability" (which is really just negating his handicap) doesn't even combo with his own family, requiring neighboring vampires instead, and even when active, there's still no reason to pick him over other shambling warriors.
8. Goblin Firebug
A 2/2 is decent, if not exceptional, for a two-cost creature, and Firebug bears the abundant goblin subtype, so what's the issue? Well, not only does he lack any beneficial effects, he actively sabotages your mana production, forcing you to sacrifice a land whenever he exits the field.
Since this triggers regardless of how Firebug leaves, you can't even avoid it with non-death removals like exile or bouncing back to hand. No matter what happens, Firebug douses one of your mountains as a parting slap in the face, mocking you for choosing him over his superior goblin allies.
7. Bog Hoodlums
For six mana, Bog Hoodlums enters as a disappointing 4/1. That said, he lets you clash with an opponent, with each player revealing the top card of their library. The higher revealed CMC wins, and then players can move their cards to the bottom of their deck if they wish. If you win, Hoodlums gains a +1/+1 counter.
Even if we assume that you triumph (which is by no means guaranteed, especially since ties won't count), turning Bog Hoodlums into a 5/2 is still a pathetic deal for six mana. Synergies with the goblin and warrior factions are nowhere near enough to redeem him, especially since goblins have more support in red builds.
6. Cephalid Snitch
Don't catch this Snitch Harry, I promise it's not worth the effort (actually, that crossover makes way too much sense). Snitch doesn't cost much mana, but his 1/1 stats are still lacking (a single -1/-1 effect will kill him), and his trait hardly helps: you can sacrifice him to negate a creature's protection from black until the end of the turn. Let's break this down.
First, this only assists if you're running black alongside blue (the colors your opponent will pummel you into when running schmucks like these). Even then, it's situational, only dampening a foe who has protection from black, a specific and rare ability. And even then, you could still make better use of a two-cost blue removal that would actually eliminate a unit rather than briefly give you the chance to. The wizard lineage is nice, but can't save this abomination from his pitiful failings.
5. Tectonic Fiend
Finally, a creature with impressive battle prowess; Fiend justifies his price of six with a sturdy 7/7 stats. However, his echo cost means you have to sacrifice him on your next turn unless you pay the six mana again, either killing your next turn or making Fiend useless.
As if that weren't bad enough, Fiend is forced to attack whenever possible, meaning you can't hold him back from an easy demise against foes with deathtouch or protection from red. If Fiend had haste (letting him attack before you need to echo) and a reduced cost, he could have been average; as is, he's a berserk unit that costs you an arm and a leg.
4. Zephyr Spirit
Yet another six-cost creature, Spirit requires a hefty sum of resources, but at least he has six toughness, making him a decent blocker, right? Turns out, not so much. While his vitality isn't bad, zero power on a six-cost unit means you don't hit back for anything. Even worse, after blocking, Spirit automatically returns to your hand, forcing you waste time and mana re-casting him.
He doesn't even have flying or reach, so the one thing he can do (poorly, I might add) won't even work against aerial enemies. If you need blockers, use cheaper wall creatures like blue's "Wall of Tears" or "Fog Bank."
3. Takeno's Cavalry
Four mana for a 1/1? That's one of the worst stat deals in the history of stat deals, maybe ever. Cavalry can slightly improve it with his bushido one trait, which grants +1/+1 when blocking or being blocked, but 2/2 is still miserable, and this effect doesn't activate when directly hitting your opponent or enduring -1/-1 counters.
Cavalry can also tap to inflict one damage to an attacking or blocking spirit creature, but these are few and far between, meaning this ability just doesn't trigger much. Even if you happen to face a spirit deck, one added damage still won't justify Cavalry. His one saving grace is access to three subtypes (human, samurai, and archer), but with effects and stats so terrible, you're getting a nickel from something that costs you a dollar.
2. Elvish Pathcutter
The elf bloodline works with well green's forest-dwellers, but what else does Pathcutter offer? Try disappointment and shame; his four-cost only provides a puny 1/2 battler; you can find stronger creatures for a single mana.
Pathcutter can spend three mana to grant an elf the forestwalk trait for the turn, which is, well, expensive and situational. Forestwalk prevents a unit from being blocked if the defending player controls a forest, but again, this relies on them using certain land types, and even if they do, three mana is better spent elsewhere. Try superior elves like "Sylvan Advocate" and "Elvish Archdruid" to boost your green deck.
1. Aven Trooper
A cunning warrior, Trooper arrives with an atrocious 1/1 stats guaranteed to bamboozle your opponents and drop their guard. Genius, I tell you.
True, his flying trait might not shine next to his other brilliance, but by spending three mana and discarding a card (you'll never need anyone besides your faithful avian anyway), you can even increase his stats by +1/+2 for the turn, buffing Trooper to the point that he's merely mediocre, not horrendous. Trust me, with a few major tweaks, this temporary upgrade could almost be worth it, and forget all the good those cards and mana might have done you. You need to put all your eggs in one very frail basket.
More of Magic's Worst Cards
There you have it, the ten most horrid creatures available in Magic. Only use them if you're purposefully handicapping yourself for a challenge, as their pitiful offerings won't do any decks much good.
With dozens of low-rated creatures left to tackle plus the worst planeswalkers, enchantments, and artifacts, we'll undoubtedly return to unearth more of Magic's lamest cards. But for now, as we await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of hopefully-not-lacking spells, vote for your least favorite card, and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill