The Top 20 Worst Legends Of All Time, Part 4 - The Worst Five Stinkers
5. Tor Wauki/Kei Takahashi/Tuknir Deathlock (Legends)
These three fine gentlemen were grouped together for a reason. Can you spot it? They have something subtle in common. Take a moment and try to guess.
If you guessed "Stuff involving the number two and tapping during the combat phase" then you flunk, do not pass go, begin work at Fast Food Restaurant immediately. That's just coincidence.
If, on the other hand, you said that all three of them have common, non-legend cards that do exactly the same thing as them for considerably less mana, you have won the prize!
(Which is a free kiss at my kissing booth. Ladies only. For the men, we have some complimentary toilet bowl cleanser I found under my sink.)
MaRo has said that they generally hate to totally obsolete older cards. There were big debates on obsoleting Grizzly Bears back when Tempest's Muscle Sliver came out. Somehow, though, I think surpassing these three Legends Rares (They coulda been an Abyss! Abyss!) with draft commons barely raised a collective eyebrow.
Here's what they get their butts kicked by:
Tor Wauki - Heavy Ballista (Weatherlight) costs one less overall, and two colored less for the same ability, while losing a point of meaningless power. Yes, it's white instead of red and black - but what the heck is this ability doing in red and black anyway? I'm all chaotic evil, red and black, but I only shoot people who try to attack me, yeah. I'm that orderly, play-by-the-rules kind of chaos! You can get an Arc-Slogger for less. And Sloggy goes to the dome!
To the dome!
Kei Takahashi - Sanctum Custodian (Urza's Saga) is so much better than Kei that the Takahashi family later changed their name out of shame. He's G less, and loses one point of power, legendary status, two rarity categories, and about $4.
And that power? Oh, it makes a big difference - since you attack with your primary healer so very often anyway.
In a set like Legends jam-packed with crappy rares like Field of Dreams, Pixie Queen, Wood Elemental, Lifeblood, and Rapid Fire, Kei stands out in my mind as "card I would least like to open in a pack." At least Wood Elemental has a goofy picture. Kei just stares at you with his weird albino head. At least by Chronicles they knew he was bad enough to reprint as an uncommon. Also, just for completeness sake, I'll point out that Hallowed Healer (Odyssey) and Loxodon Anchorite (Fifth Dawn) also do everything that he does but about a thousand times better.
Tuknir Deathlock - Nantuko Disciple (Odyssey) is not merely better than Tuknir. It's like he's selling gas for $2 a gallon, while across the street, Tuknir charges $10 a mile just to push your car. He's that much better.
Hmmm.... Although, you know, I just now realized that Tuknir flies, so he's not strictly obsolete. Hard to miss a Red/Green flyer - yeah, all three of them. Still, I stand by what I said. Nantuko Disciple could thumb-wrestle this jerk into the ground.
Hyper-Obscure Magic Trivia:
Tuknir is notable for being the #2 card at something... and you'll never guess, so just give up now. Yes, only Apocalypse's Cromat has more colored mana symbols on his card without having a single colorless anywhere. Yes, I just made that statistic up, but it's true all the same. I'm amazed that with Tuknir you aren't required to arrange your lands in a certain way or tap all your red mana first or something. He's that demanding.
Four specifically colored mana for a 2/2! And two more to use his crap ability! Bow before me!
Also, his picture looks like artist Liz Danforth was stuck on a red-eye from Atlantic City with nothing but pencil shavings to draw with. He's sort of Magic's tribute to film noir, black and white and standing in the rainy fog grimacing. Whatever; I guess it makes him all spooky and Aethery. (And when Aethery becomes a part of the Oxford English Dictionary, I am totally taking credit.)
Done Right: What, did you just skip to this part of the review? Did you not read anything I wrote above? You did, didn't you? Sigh. No respect...
4. Boris Devilboon (Legends)
I'm not sure if I can properly explain how tokens were thought of back in the days of Alpha. Back then, the person who owned The Hive was a god. He could generate creatures out of nothing! No cards! Thin air! In the dawning days of magic, no card was worth more than The Hive (except maybe that naked misprint of Serra Angel).
Although back then our primitive 1994 brains couldn't process the concept of "card advantage," we instinctively knew The Hive was good, like when Og the Caveman discovered he could use a rock to beat his friends to death with. He didn't know he had just discovered how to use tools; he just knew it was pretty sweet. Same thing with us.
These days, especially after Odyssey block, token creatures are a dime-a-dozen. (Not literally. I hear they're like a buck each now.) But until Legends, only The Hive could generate an unlimited amount of tokens. Sure, with Tetravus you could get a few - but what about on turn 18, huh? Could Tetravus still crank them out? No, it wasn't until Legends that we got another true, useful token generator.
Nowadays, we know that 1/1 creatures don't actually count for much. In fact, its been scientifically proven that a 1/1 is only 3/8 of a 2/2, and 1/4 of a 3/3. But back in the days when "Goblin Decks" were 4 Mons Goblin Raiders, 4 Balloon Brigades, 4 Goblin Kings, and 2 copies of Earthbind, 1/1s could actually hold their own.
So Boris cost the same to cast as The Hive, except for needing Red and Black - oh, and there were about seven times as many ways to kill a 2/2 as there were to kill artifacts. The entire Legends set, had two - two! - ways to kill artifacts. And one of them was Floral Spuzzem, who might decide she took a liking to ol' Boris.
Anyway, Boris cost one less to activate than the Hive - except for the part about needing Red and Black again. And he put a 1/1 Minor Demon creature token into play, with zero abilities instead of flying. Even Master of the Hunt gave his doggies bands-with-other-doggies! That was useless, sure, but at least it was something. And Master was mono-colored, not a legend, and didn't tap, as well as cheaper for the same P/T.
In the same set.
But apart from being the worst token generator of all time, Boris holds two other special places:
1) He gave us creature type "Minor," so you can now all say "Mistform Ultimus is a minor Mutant Ninja Turtle. Heh."
2) Boris Devilboon played guitar alongside lead singer Axelrod Gunnerson and the rest of the Red-Black Death Metal Legends when they challenged Ramses Overdark and his Blue-Black Legends in an Legendary Battle of the Bands! The Red-Blacks had to forfeit, however, when Rohgahh stage-dived, killing three audience members.
Done right: Green has countless examples of better token generators. If we stick with red/black, well, they were never supposed to get any unlimited token generators like this. Siege-Gang Commander generates three tokens and has a highly useful ability for five mana; it would take Boris four turns of being tapped and seventeen mana to do the same. (Scourge)
3. Hazduhr the Abbot/Daughter of Autumn (Homelands)
Our last double feature, this duo showcased the brilliance of Homelands design. They had the balls to make these two Legends in the same set that did exactly the same crappy thing, and they just hoped no one would notice. Balls, I say!
And what a crappy ability it is. On both of them, for X mana, you can redirect X damage dealt to a white creature to one of them. He taps, she doesn't; he costs one more and has an extra toughness; but there's no denying that basically, this is the same card. I'm not sure if there was a mix-up and they forgot they already gave some missing link playtest card a name and "flavor" and then went and did it again. And just didn't care. Balls!
I'm not even going to go into how useless this ability is. I mean, you can think for yourself, right? You don't need me to spoon-feed you the whole way, do you? I leave it in your hands to generate lists of all the white creatures available at the time and how utterly useless 99% of them were. Camel, anyone?
No, I want to talk about flavor. First I want you to go and re-read Hazduhr's flavor text. Cause you know, I think someone just called him senile right on his own card. Seriously, the Abbey Matron (Homelands, for inexplicable reasons, was very Abbey-centric) just said she hopes he dies and gets replaced soon, 'cause he's old and useless.
Hey, big fun - I just cast Senile Religious Figure! Now go block that Cosmic Horror, grandpa, or I'll set fire to your Sinatra records.
But that's not even my biggest complaint with these two. My real problem is that Daughter of Autumn is the only Legend in Magic who isn't even a legend. Seriously, right in the flavor text on her very card, it mentions how there are a bunch of so-called "Daughters of Autumn" who ran away to become part of this hippie earth mother cult or whatever. Being a Daughter of Autumn is apparently just a job, like being Kumano's Pupil or Gerrard's Personal Gimp.
The whole point of being a legend is supposed to be that there's only one in the Multiverse. One! And yet she and her frickin hemp-wearing posse are frickin' legends.
And I don't like to speak ill of the fictional... but you know those girls in high school or college who eventually realized that they were too unattractive to ever get a guy so they decided to save the earth/rainforest/whales/unicorns instead? (Note: Not all girls devoted to causes are unattractive. More than half, for sure, but not all.)
That's exactly who the 'Daughter of Autumn' is.
I mean, I'm not sure I want to speculate what those weird lumps under her clothing are... don't look too close, it sorta looks like where her stomach should be, but I just don't know... it's not very flattering, that's for sure. Not to mention she's also got the nose of a pit bull and the obligatory long-but-poorly-washed hair. And she also has wrinkles but looks too young for them, and she's wearing a dreamcatcher or something. I actually store her face-to-face in my binders, just so I don't have to look at her.
She gives me the willies. And with a hot mom like Autumn Willow, makes you wonder what went wrong in that gene pool.
So you, mighty planeswalker that you are, we, the designers of Homelands allow you to summon the barely-alive senile Homelands Sorta-Pope and one of the slightly smelly girls from table #3 in your ecology class! They're the same card, by the way!
And people at Wizards say the best thing about Homelands was its flavor. With a straight face, even.
P.S. No more Homelands or Legends cards!! Yeah!
Done Right: Opal-Eye, Konda's Yo! Jim-bo! can't attack as well as Battle Pope here, but he can oh... redirect all the damage assigned to any target to himself, and then prevent some of it. Besides the costing two less. And not being an old guy. (Betrayers of Kamigawa) Also, something something something, Atalya, Samite Master (Invasion).
2. Atogatog (Odyssey)
This one's a tragic case of a terrible card destined to be despised and reviled in all formats, all because of the existence of another card.
For a change, let's start with the good side - it has fun Foglio art... Oh wait, it doesn't. It was just some random guy trying to copy Foglio. Huh... and... uh... it made people who collect Atogs happy, which is apparently MaRo and several of his close personal friends. Alright, good side done.
And what does it do? Why, of course, it's an Atog that eats other Atogs! That what an Atog lord does! Atogs come in all colors - so their lord should be all five colors!! Ha ha, what brilliant top-down design! I bet that one took MaRo about three minutes and a bag of Funyuns.
So with the return of Atogs in Odyssey, MaRo deemed it ripe to add their lord to mainstream Magic. Even when their lord didn't actually help them.
First, he's a 5/5 with no evasion and no trample. What, Sliver Queen was too powerful? She's a 7/7 for the same mana with a good ability. I would almost believe that they thought she was too good, except where they later printed Sliver Overlord as a 7/7. No, they just shaved off two points of power/toughness to stop him from ever possibly being useful. Just had to gouge us a little more, eh?
And his great ability to eat other Atogs? Yeah it's real special, considering Atogs need to eat the rest of your board to gain any power.
So here's a typical tribal Atog scenario:
"I attack with my five Atogs, sac my hand, graveyard, and permanents to give them +15/+15."
"I block Atogatog."
"Dammit! Stupid thing."
Your opponent will always block him - he's a 5/5 without sacrificing anything, and your opponent knows that your other Atogs need to eat your board to be a threat. He can always deny you the five-power boost from the Atog lord, unless he doesn't have a single blocker, in which case you win anyway. And you know what? It's much easier for him to block one unevasive Atog than five of them. I doubt anywhere in the history of Magic has Atogatog's ability been used except when your last opponent who had no creatures was about to die anyway.
His ability is actually a drawback in 99% of all possible situations.
Not to mention again that you need to destroy your entire board to use him. Yes, all you need to do is sacrifice everything in sight, then sacrifice all your creatures (you know, recurring sources of damage, who needs those), have cannibal lord Atogatog eat them all, and then he gets chump blocked by a squirrel.
And guess what? You have no permanents or cards left. Argh! And then next turn you have nothing at all, except 5/5 Atogatog, staring back at you, mocking you.
He's the least fun tribal lord of all time. If you don't want to rip the card up in frustration, you haven't been playing him right.
But even more than all that about how terrible the card is, here's the real problem - Maybe while MaRo was thinking so hard about designing Atogs on trips to the vending machine, he should have checked out the other Atogs in the set a little more closely. Rather than argue for days about shaving two points of power off Atogatog, I seem to recall one of them.... hmm, what was that bugger's name... toothy grin... oh yes, it was Psychatog.
'Cause that guy sort of ruined even the casual goofy Atog deck for all time. Along with most other formats in Magic. No one plays Atogs in Magic Online Tribal, because no one wants to play against them. As soon as you show an Atog of any kind, people are like, okay, you win, gg. And they quit.
Seriously. I tried an Atog deck for fun for a while. Turns out it wasn't. I've had to promise people I wouldn't cast Psychatog, just so they wouldn't quit. I even took out Psychatog, but people always just assumed I had him in there anyway, and left.
Stuff like that happens when your tribe has the best creature ever printed as a member and then all other goofy "fun" cards. Atogatog is fun to look at, but his deck is soul-suckingly unfun to play, or play against. And it works better without Atog lord anyway.
Tribal decks that actually work better without their lord - so what was the point of him in the first place?
Done right: Though I hate to say it, Darksteel's infamous Arcbound Ravager got the right idea in at least giving a permanent boost for each sacrifice. And Dracoplasm (Tempest) costs less, has evasion, and a useful ability, besides having a permanent power/toughness boost for eating creatures.
1. General Jarkeld (Ice Age)
So we come to it at last. You've stuck with me through all the terrible Legends Legends with three different colors requiring six perfect matches, oh, plus some colorless. And uh, yeah some upkeeps and stuff. Here's your vanilla 4/5, thanks. Been there as Homelands dumped useless Legend after useless Legend at us, all babbling on incessantly about how cool they all are.
But our doom is not to be decided there. No, the first time Legends reappeared, the first ever mono-colored Legend was so inconceivably bad, his ability was never again used in Magic in any form.
I shamefully present... General Jarkeld.
First, he costs four mana. For a 1/2 legend. Take Odyssey's Devoted Caretaker. She costs a single W, isn't a Legend, for the same 1/2, and has an ability with a reasonable chance of being useful, within, say, the lifetime of the universe. When Squire, for the love of all that's holy, has you beat by two mana and has the same uses, it's time to pack it in.
His ability is so unbelievably useless that I don't know if I can really do it justice. Maybe I should first point out that Sorrow's Path - which is routinely people's choice for the worst Magic card of all time - has the same kind of switching ability. It also damages you and your creatures. Instead of that, General Jarkeld only costs you four more mana and what's left of your self-respect.
You see, with General Jarkeld, your opponent knows exactly what tricky thing you intend to do. Unless you don't let him read the card, because you're shamefully covering it with your hand, Jark's been sitting around for at least a turn letting everyone know what his trick is. He's kind of like the Riddler, in Batman. He could just commit crimes, but no, he has to go announce to everyone how super-clever his crimes will be before he commits them. And then Batman shows up, surprise, surprise.
And so what does your opponent have to do? Just not block your dinkiest creatures. But even if he does block them all, 99% of the time, who cares? Your attack with a bunch of 1/1s, or 2/2s, or you have some giant monster. Rarely do decks have both, attacking all at once. You need to have a board like that - and so does your opponent. And he has to be at such low life that chump blocking is his only option. Like if you had a 6/6 and a 2/2 against his 1/1 and 4/4, and he was at one life.
To work, this card absolutely requires four different power and toughnesses on the board. This is the scenario for which you've paid four mana and endured countless humiliation. And the end result - your opponent doesn't die any faster, but maybe, maybe you killed one of his creatures the turn before your opponent was going to die anyway. Because unless he was chumping, he wouldn't be blocking anyway, 'cause he knows exactly what thing you can do.
Maybe giving your guys some evasion or something woulda been more useful.
Hmm, let's postulate... maybe if you had like a Lured creature... no, that wouldn't... um, a Matsu-Tribe Decoy, and oh, maybe a Rampant Elephant, and you accidentally used the wrong one's Lure ability on the wrong enemy creature because you weren't paying attention, and you had an Aether Vial, with four counters, then you could play Jarkeld, oh and you'd need Lightning Greaves, cause he needs to tap. So... I guess you'd need that chick who lets you equip instantly, too. Yeah.
So in that scenario too, Jarkeld could use his "power" to undo the mistake you accidentally made. If a time-space singularity hadn't opened up and devoured the universe by then. That's the best-case scenario for him.
But wait, you say - there's a another use for him! If you read the card closely, you'll notice that he doesn't say, "two blocked attacking creatures." So that means he can make one of your own unblocked creatures become blocked. Unfortunately, if you read the rulings...
Yeah, your creature who was originally blocked? Still blocked. And now another creature of yours is blocked too. Wow. His uselessness has more depth than I thought.
Wait! He can also switch your own blockers if say, you accidentally block the wrong creature, if maybe you're legally blind! He totally sucks in so many ways, it's astounding!
And this is the guy in charge of the entire Kjeldoran army. They depend on his strategic mind for their survival in Ice Age's harsh climate. And now suddenly you know why the Kjeldoranses (Kjeldorani?) join innumerable other unpronounceable white tribes of Magic in the dustbin of history. (Icatian, are they Ick -ation? Eye-cash-un? Don't get me started on the Aysen or the Mtenda.) Unlike some other lost tribes, we never saw any cards referencing them or their artifacts again. No, I'm sure they were pretty well annihilated. And I think they pretty well deserved it for putting this guy in charge. He couldn't stratetgerize his way out of a wet paper bag.
His nickname, according to the cards, was "the Arctic Fox" - just let that sink in for a minute. I'm sure Arctic Foxes are extinct now, too. Maybe he should pay less attention to his perfectly-coifed hair, and more attention to like, battles and stuff.
If he was a Zero-Mana artifact - say, "Jarkeld's Nosering" - with the ability "Tap: Switch the blockers of 2 target attackers who were blocked. Gain 5 life. Gain 10 if you want. Draw a card too, what the heck" - no one would play it still. It's an ability that can't be saved, at any price, because your opponent can always figure out whether to block your guys or not. And in the rare circumstance the power and toughness line up precisely, it's not just a "win-more" ability. It's a "you've already won, what the heck are you doing?" ability.
Thank you for accompanying me on this strange journey into some of Magic's less-than-perfect (but always amusing) past. Look for the twenty (or maybe ten, if I'm lazy) Worst Legends of Kamigawa block, coming to you after I figure out how whether Hisoka can take Kodama of the Center Tree in a fistfight. (And Saviors comes out.)