Magic: The Gathering is a game that favors skill over luck. In this game, fortune smiles at the cunning and strategic mind more than the ones who only wish that luck was on their side. The myriad of card combinations that players come up with makes for some exciting match-ups. Some cards compliment each other while others significantly make players more efficient, making this process of trial and error refreshing as it is riveting.
The sheer amount of diversity and complexity found in Magic cards are so varied that coming up with a functionally powerful deck becomes quite rewarding. There's a certain joy in constructing a deck from scratch then watching all of your hard work unfold when all the cards within it function collectively as one unstoppable force. However, there are cards that are just so powerful that it often makes games one-sided. When properly utilized, these cards greatly place the odds in their owner's favor making the game less strategic and nothing more than a game of chance.
Having multiple cards work together to ultimately defeat the opposition is one thing, having just one card to dismantle your opponents is another. These game-breaking cards can literally end games early and most of these can be like menacing monsters without even resembling the looks of one. Fortunately, all of them are banned under some game regulations, if not all. Here are the top 25 Magic: The Gathering cards that are too overwhelming that they just had to get axed from the game.
25 Double The Trouble (Splinter Twin)
The troublesome fire type card Splinter Twin from the Rise Of The Eldrazi expansion could cause twice the chaos in any game. Players could attach this magical aura to any creature in as early as the fourth turn. The equipped creature can then instantly generate never-ending single copies of itself each turn leading to some devastating outcomes.
Sheer power is better when doubled.
Fortunately, it's currently banned, in modern play at least, according to the official MTG site. It's a good thing too since power multipliers like these shouldn't be kept in arm's reach.
24 The Rule-Breaker (Chaos Orb)
Some cards are powerful but they don't exactly need to make physical contact with other cards in order to deal damage. Not Chaos Orb, this card breaks the rules by literally making contact with other cards and taking them out of the battlefield in the process! Its obscure rule of being flipped onto other cards ultimately made cards like these obsolete.
While it could've been a card with a fun game mechanic to uphold, chaos orb was still banned in all formats. It would've been strange to see people constantly flicking cards at each other so perhaps it was a good call.
23 Burning Frustration (Blazing Shoal)
The Betrayers of Kamigawa expansion brought some interesting cards to the game but not many deserved the ban hammer as much as Blazing Shoal. This instant could effectively frustrate players since it can be cast earlier without much cost. It can greatly amplify the power of a creature early in the game.
It could also spell doom for any opposing player especially if its owner has a card with a relatively high converted mana cost in their hand. Now that the card is banned in modern play, at least players will have one less power amplifying card to worry about.
22 Slumbering Evil (Dark Depths)
Dark Depths might appear like an unassuming and harmless-looking land card on the surface. However, it's actually a ticking time bomb that could unleash a monstrous indestructible creature! It might take a while before it can summon its legendary 20/20 avatar creature.
Some lands hide powers that only the ban hammer could hinder.
Of course, this can easily be remedied with the help of Vampire Hexmage, a card that could accelerate the avatar's arrival. It's no surprise that this card was banned in modern format given the opportunities to exploit it.
21 The All-Seeing Eye (Eye Of Ugin)
Some cards are notorious for bringing in game-breaking forces of power onto the table in earlier turns and Eye Of Ugin is of no exception to this. Eye Of Ugin accelerates the arrival of powerful Eldrazi spells by making them 2 less to cast. It basically becomes a force to be reckoned with in both the early and later parts of the game.
As if that wasn't enough, it can even give owners the most powerful colorless creature in their library later in the game. Although some players might be sighing in relief now since it's currently banned in modern format.
20 Summer Won't Be Coming (Summer Bloom)
Summoning the more powerful cards require lots of resources but players are only limited to playing one land per turn. This isn't the case with Summer Bloom since it lets its owner play three additional lands in one turn accelerating their chances of summoning some strong beasts right from the start. Mana accelerating cards have always given players a huge advantage over the rest.
With the card granting that much power early on, it's only natural for the ban hammer to strike it down, removing it from the modern format. Unfortunately for this card, summer won't be blooming any time soon.
19 Small Probe, Big Problem (Gitaxian Probe)
Sometimes, it only takes a small and unlikely spell like Gitaxian Probe to cause some serious damage. According to MTG, this card is “subtle but powerful” and the benefit that it provides comes at “too low a cost.” Not only will players be able to see their opponents hand, they will also be able to draw cards from their library at the same time.
Players can take advantage of it at virtually no cost.
Its risk-free cost makes it strong enough but seeing what the opposition has to offer beforehand makes it even more overpowered. However, this probe won't be bothering anyone in its banned state.
18 All-In-One Miracle Worker (Deathrite Shaman)
The Deathrite Shaman's versatile and varied skill-set makes it a card that's just begging for a ban. This card can take control of a round on its own, and all at a low cost of just one mana. This notorious shaman can add mana, take away life points and even give life back to its owner.
It also doesn't help that it exiles cards from graveyards in doing so rendering creature-resurrecting cards like Reanimate and Exhume useless. With that said, no wonder it got itself banned from both Legacy and Modern format.
17 Grave Robbery (Golgari Grave-Troll)
Trolls eat other creatures for breakfast but not the Golgari Grave-Troll, it prefers its meal rotten. This fiendish monster only gets stronger the more creatures pile up in its owners' graveyard. While that sounds bad enough, it's only the tip of the iceberg.
Its Dredge ability is basically like the Entomb card but better
What made the grave troll a perfect modern format ban candidate was its Dredge 6 ability which allows players to drop six cards from their library into their graveyard. This not only revives the troll, it also lets it return to the battlefield even stronger than before!
16 Jar Of Broken Dreams (Memory Jar)
Memory Jar forces players to sacrifice all the cards in their hands and draw a fresh new hand of cards only to return back to their original hand later on. That alone is enough to warrant it a ban from competitive play as it opens up possibilities to some devastating card combinations. Furthermore, the card's effectiveness is even amplified when it's used in conjunction with damaging cards like Megrim.
This punishes other players for every card that they were forced to discard. While Memory Jar's cost might be high, it can easily be remedied by using Tinker.
15 Simply Overpowered (Tinker)
The power of Tinker lies in the simplicity of its functionality. Players are only required to sacrifice one artifact and expend three mana in order to cast such a game-changing spell. Once Tinker is used, players can instantly bring devastating artifacts creatures like Blightsteel Colossus into the battlefield with little to no effort!
Players can win the game before it even starts picking up.
Given its low cost, it's quite easy to abuse its power in as early as the first turn. With that much power, it's quite understandable why it's illegal to use in most tournaments and formats.
14 Sharp Yet Well-Rounded (Umezawa's Jitte)
Another notorious Betrayers Of Kamigawa card is the incredibly versatile equipment known as Umezawa's Jitte. For as little as just two mana, creatures that are equipped with this weapon gets access to a plethora of abilities. This includes gaining a strength and toughness bonus, weakening an opposing creature's strength and toughness attributes as well as giving its owner additional lives.
There's a lot to be gained with this nifty artifact and its low casting cost doesn't help its case of being too overpowered in early rounds either. However, it still couldn't withstand the Modern format's ban hammer.
13 Marvelously Broken (Aetherworks Marvel)
The very nature of Aetherworks Marvel is a broken mess simply because it's just too powerful for the game to be considered competitive. It's now banned in Standard format and there's a good reason why nobody's complaining. Playing with this card basically strips off the game's strategic element making competitive play akin to playing a one-sided lottery.
If its wielder wins big and actually finds an insanely powerful card in the top six cards of their library, they can cast it at no cost. When that happens, there will be little to no hope left for the opposing team.
12 Felonious Feline (Felidar Guardian)
Notorious cat beast Felidar Guardian was banned in Standard format for a good reason. This cat is known for being susceptible to exploitation leading to game-abusing results. Felidar Guardian allows its owner to temporarily remove a permanent only to return it back into the battlefield.
This infamous cat's looks aren't the only thing that's deceiving about it.
Players could basically remove and bring back their Planeswalker cards to refill their charge counters. It worked exceptionally well with Planeswalker Saheeli Rai but this troublesome duo will no longer be bothering anyone anymore now that the cat's in its cage.
11 Knowledge Is Power (Library Of Alexandria)
Visiting the Library Of Alexandria should be illegal given its abilities that could easily be abused right from the game's beginning. It's a land that could generate mana on top of already being counted as a mana on its own. That's not all, it also gives players easy access to their own card library with its card-drawing ability.
Cycling through one's deck is made easier by this card since its only prerequisite is a full hand. Players could just tap and draw cards to their heart's content. Fortunately, entrance to the library is now prohibited in both Legacy and Commander format.
10 Losing Means Winning (Skullclamp)
Using the Skullclamp artifact meant winning new cards even when its owner was losing creatures. This cheap artifact costs virtually nothing but its benefits are quite instant. Players could even equip it to sacrifice a creature instantly giving them two fresh new card draws afterward.
Giving creatures Skullclamps also meant giving opponents headaches.
The artifact's easily recyclable abilities made it easier to cycle through one's library without spending too many resources. Its functionality made it so prominent in decks making it so notorious that it had to be banned in both Legacy and Modern.
9 Play From Beyond The Grave (Yawgmoth's Will)
Yawgmoth's Will lets players play cards in their graveyard allowing them to bring devastating spells and creatures back into the game. The card was eventually banned in the Legacy format due to its easily-abused attributes. Needless to say, pairing Yawgmoth's Will with certain cards could instantly win players the game.
There are cards that lets users bring back a card from the grave but not on the level that this card is offering, it basically lets users play their entire graveyard! Its meager three-mana cost doesn't help alleviate the dilemma it causes either.
8 Amplified Counter Spell (Mana Drain)
There's nothing more annoying than gathering up enough mana to finally play a card only to watch it get eaten up by a counterspell. A Counterspell is bothersome enough as it is but the notorious Mana Drain just made things worse for players on the receiving end. If it counters a spell with a huge converted mana cost then its owner immediately gets that much in their mana pool!
Cast it to watch your enemies shed a tear.
Did we mention it only costs two mana to cast? Good thing it's banned in Legacy.
7 Force Of Darkness (Necropotence)
Some cards are strong but also require a big trade-off before players can take advantage of their abilities. However, Necropotence only asks for three swamps then players can trade life points for as many cards in their library as they want. Players can practically get their best cards earlier this way giving them a significant advantage over the rest.
Of course, trading lives for cards wasn't exactly a mechanic that's considered as fair and ideal so Necropotence was eventually banned in Legacy. Such sinister powers are better left in the dark where they belong.
6 Time Is Money (Time Walk)
Using Time Walk is like turning the tides of time in your favor. Some players could dish out a lot of damage in a single turn. Having an extra turn for free could basically lead players to instant victory.
This is exactly what Time Walk is offering, one more turn for nothing more than just two mana. Time Walk doesn't even need to work well with other cards as it can be taken advantage of on its own. That kind of power is just begging for a ban hammer and both Legacy and Commander formats rightfully struck it down.
5 Quick Draw, Quicker Win (Ancestral Recall)
Ancestral Recall can showcase its power without being overly complicated. The power to draw three cards instantly makes this card simple, efficient and far too overpowered. While it might not win a game on its own, its ridiculously low mana cost of just one island makes it prone to repeat usage and abuse.
A player that stacks up four of these cards and draws at least two in their hand can easily turn the odds in their favor. This just goes to show that its banned state in Legacy and Commander was well justified.
4 A Devilish Deal (Demonic Tutor)
Playing from a randomized and shuffled deck makes luck play a big factor in the game. However, luck won't be much of a factor when players have the ability to pick any card they desire from their library. Demonic Tutor does just that at the price of only two mana.
This type of ability basically puts complete control in the player's hands leading to instant game-ending scenarios. It's simple, effective, cheap and of course, totally illegal in Legacy format. Demons aren't exactly known for being fair so it's for the best that their tutelage is now banished.
3 An Artificer's Paradise (Tolarian Academy)
Mana is usually scarce at the start of a game but not if a player has Tolarian Academy in their hand. This legendary land lets its owner swim in tons of mana if they have numerous artifacts at their disposal. Of course, this kind of mana-accelerating power can be too overwhelming since it can generate enough to cast cards that are too much to handle in the earlier turns.
Just imagine dealing with a Platinum Angel before even having any creatures on the battlefield! Well, at least it's now banned in Legacy and Commander format thus restoring balance once again.
2 Ironically Unbalanced (Balance)
For a card that aims to even out the number of cards and permanents on the playing field, Balance certainly is an unstable mess. What's even more broken is its cheap two-mana casting cost. Players can simply abuse this card by just wiping out everything on the battlefield!
It even contradicts its name by bringing ruin instead of balance.
Balance has enough oomph in its ability to warrant itself a ban, which is exactly what it got. While there may be other legal reset cards, they are more balanced, this one can be exploited without much risk.
1 Flower Power (Black Lotus)
The ever-popular Black Lotus can instantly bestow three mana in the first turn at literally no cost. It can give a game-changing advantage from the get go. What else can be said about this deceptively powerful flower? Oh, it's also one of the most expensive cards ever printed!
As if its mana-acceleration abilities weren't enough, it was even sold online for a whopping $87,000, according to Polygon. Not only does this flower want to steal the game, it also wants to steal the pockets of the players. Too bad players still won't get to use it even after paying that much now that it's banned.