Tens of millions of players around the world play Magic: The Gathering, the first (and one of the most popular) trading card games out there. It created the entire genre when Alpha released in the summer of 1993. Players are wizards who can summon monsters, use spells to shoot fire or ice, and much more. Don't forget all the cool arcane artifacts and trinkets that can help push your game to the next level.
Artifacts are a big deal, and some of the most powerful cards are indeed these metal toys. Think of Wurmcoil Engine or Blightsteel Colossus or Birthing Pod. But some artifacts are total junk, and they ought to be melted down into something more useful! So, let's review the ten clunkiest, weakest, and silliest non-creature artifact cards to appear in the game.
10 Throne Of Bone
Bonus points for that rhyming name! In fact, Throne of Bone is part of a cycle, and these artifacts let you pay 1 mana to gain a single life point every time a player casts a spell of the specified color. Throne of Bone is the card for black spells.
Lifegain is nice, but not like this. Even though this Throne is cheap to cast, it requires some mana for each instance of a black spell, and that's like a mana tax on yourself. Even if both players are using black, that extra mana going to add up in a hurry.
9 Kite Shield
What's a knight or paladin without some cool armor to keep the forces of evil at bay? Equipment, as we know it, first appeared in the Mirrodin set, and it's been a staple of the game ever since. Your creatures can wield swords, magic staffs, boomerangs, helmets, and so much more!
On the defensive, though, equipment fails to impress. Really, how often is +0/+3 going to help? At best, that's going to allow a blocker to keep stalling a huge attacker, and that gets you no closer to winning. More often, equipment really shines when it boosts a creature's power so it can attack with flying or other evasive abilities. Think of Cranial Plating, then look at Kite Shield, and behold the difference.
8 North Star
Fixing mana is a wonderful effect in Magic. Multicolor decks like to do this, and a five-color Commander deck is going to have more than a few mana fixing spells to keep things running smoothly. So, why not throw in North Star and cast all those fancy cards?
Because of the costs! You're paying 4 just to get North Star onto the battlefield, and that's just the start. Pay up 4 again, tap North Star, and then you can convert mana as you please. What, 4 mana each time? That's really cutting into the mana used for the spell itself! Good luck with that. And like some artifacts on this list, North Star has a better version out there by now; in this case, Chromatic Lantern.
7 Tower Of Coireall
Who or what is "Coireall," anyway? Actually, who cares? This artifact from The Dark is really showing its age, harkening back to an era when Magic cards really wanted to match their flavor closely. In this case, a siege tower.
You're not paying much to cast Tower of Coireall, but you're also not getting much back. Tap it, and one creature can't be blocked by walls! Wall of Denial must really have an egg on its face now! No, not really, because practically no one bothers with that creature type beyond the almighty Wall of Omens.
6 Revelsong Horn
Why does Revelsong Horn ask so much to give a single creature +1/+1? Pay 1, tap it, and tap another creature? It's all about the untap ability, unique to Shadowmoor and Eventide. This ability allows a creature to untap as part of the cost of an activated ability. It's part of how the plane of Shadowmoor subverts your expectations.
Unfortunately, effects like that tend to warp the design of other cards in the set, and Revelsong Horn expects you to play with untap-based creatures. Maybe that was okay in Shadowmoor limited, but not now! A defeated sigh breathed into this horn comes out as a "what the heck?"
These pyramids really love the land that they stand on. In fact, they will prevent land destruction entirely! What is more, this card can scour an enchantment right off a land, such as Underworld Connections. Take that!
Okay, not really. First of all, this card was printed in the 1990s, when land destruction was big (no longer the case). It's a product of its time, in such a bad way. Second of all, you're paying a hefty mana cost, 6 to be exact, just to cast it. Six mana? Shouldn't you cast Torrential Gearhulk or Wurmcoil Engine with that kind of mana?
4 Razor Boomerang
Remember: cards like Pyramid and Tower of Coireall are a product of their time, and they were designed for certain strategies that are no longer used in modern Magic. But what excuse does Razor Boomerang have? This is an equipment card from the beloved Zendikar block, and boy does it let us down.
Repeatable damage is pretty slick. Especially if it's for colorless mana. But let's review the procedure: cast the Boomerang, pay to equip it to somebody, tap that creature, unequip the boomerang, then return it to your hand. All for one point of damage! That's five steps for a gentle poke, nice and inefficient. Worse yet, this equipment ends up back in your hand, so you'll have to cast it again. Boo!
Nothing about this card makes sense. Seriously, this card will leave you scratching your head. What is a "Rakalite" supposed to be? A nuclear reactor? At any rate, we're paying Wurmcoil Engine mana for this Antiquities clunker, and it does nothing at first. You're probably getting a bad feeling about this.
And you're right! Rakalite has an ability: pay 2 mana, and prevent 1 damage to a creature. Remember, early on, Wizards was fine-tuning the game and they overestimated the impact of abilities such as damage prevention and landwalk. This is already a lousy artifact, but wait! We forgot the last part: if you activate Rakalite's ability even once, you return it to your hand. What for? Did it overheat?
2 Cyclopean Snare
Let's give this card some credit: its flavor text is perfectly honest about what a piece of junk Cyclopean Snare really is. And it's from Ravnica: City of Guilds, too! That set didn't build its reputation on cards like Cyclopean Snare, let us tell you that.
The Snare indeed slows down your opponent's attackers, and as inefficiently as it can manage. Pay 2 to cast it, pay another 3 and tap it to tap a creature, then bounce it to your hand. That makes the third self-bounce artifact in a row we've seen! Neither the flavor nor the mechanics of that effect are justifiable, and the Orzhov guild ought to do better. Next time, choose function over aesthetics, guys.
1 Juju Bubble
This list started with a cheap artifact that lets you gain life, and we end the list the same way. But while Throne of Bone is inefficient and ridiculous, Juju Bubble manages to be a thousand times worse.
You can pay 2 mana to gain 1 life, which is pretty meh at best. The Bubble is also cheap to cast. Great! But now let's look at those costs. Juju Bubble is the jealous type, since it will get sacrificed if you cast any other spell! What a bad attitude. Worse yet, it has cumulative upkeep, which is easily one of Magic's worst mechanics. To explain: during your upkeep, put an age counter on the card, then pay the cumulative upkeep cost once for each counter. And that goes on forever, by the way. So, you're going to dump all kinds of mana into that upkeep cost, so forget paying 2 to gain 1 life. This card contradicts itself in so many ways, it's just tragic.