The format-defining trading card game Magic: the Gathering has come a long way since its inception in the summer of 1993, and it's been massively popular ever since. With this game, players can become wizard planeswalkers and summon creatures, cast spells, use arcane artifacts, and even change the very land they stand on. It's pretty immersive gameplay.
Don't forget enchantment cards, which can modify how the entire game functions. Some of them may give power to your creatures, let you draw extra cards, extract more mana from your lands, and much more. But of course, for every powerful enchantment card, there's a real clunker out there, too. Some enchantments are poorly costed, completely obsolete, or have such narrow effects, they serve no purpose at all. So, let's tour the ten worst non-aura enchantment cards you could ask for.
10 Font of Vigor
We begin with the most recent card on this list. Font of Vigor was made with today's power levels in mind, so it outclasses the other enchantments on this list. Still, it's a real letdown, and it does not do the Theros block justice.
Why is this card so bad? The issue is that its effect is only lifegain, and this is a trap that some new players may fall into. Gaining life is nice, but it won't get you closer to winning. And if the board state strongly favors your opponent, gaining life points buys you very little time (if any) and it won't change the battlefield in your favor.
9 Dispersing Orb
Blue is the color of trickery, control, and intelligence. In the game, blue cards like to draw more cards, counter your opponent's spells mid-cast, and bounce away permanents as a form of soft removal. Unsummon and Cyclonic Rift are fine examples of this.
And Dispersing Orb is not! Yes, it offers repeatable bounce, but just look at those costs. You're ponying up 3UU just to get the Orb onto the battlefield, and in many games, that is unacceptably slow. To bounce a permanent, you must pay another 3U and sacrifice a permanent of your own! Definitely not worth it.
8 Freyalise's Radiance
Even if you count the lovely full-art Snow lands in Modern Horizons and the other Snow cards in that set, this green enchantment from Coldsnap fails to deliver. It's cheap, costing just 1G, but then you see that cumulative upkeep cost! That's going to add up aggressively fast, and no way can any deck pay that cost for more than a few turns.
And what do you get in return? You can put all Snow permanents on lockdown, but rarely if ever will that be relevant.
7 Magma Vein
There is more to red mana than fire and lightning. This is also the color of the earth, and many red cards can destroy lands (Stone Rain) or melt down lands into ammunition for your deck's strategy. This is a risky play since lands are needed for your spells, but it can work.
But this is land synergy gone wrong. Magma Vein allows you to pay one red mana and sacrifice your precious lands to deal 1 damage to all non-flying creatures, but that's going to eat into your mana base pretty fast. And it hits your own creatures, too! We hope you have some dragons on hand to finish off your opponent quickly, or you're going to be in a serious bind.
6 Hidden Path
There is actually more than one card out there with an effect like this, but we opted for the green one. Hailing from 1994's The Dark, Hidden Path is a product of its time since it has an unwarranted interest in landwalk.
Wizards doesn't even bother with landwalk much anymore, since it's so linear. Either your creature is totally unblockable, or it isn't, and things proceed as normal. Besides, Hidden Path has a heck of a mana cost. Look at all that green! Finally, take note that your opponent's green creatures get this boost, too. Watch out!
5 Vassal's Duty
A few cards on this list have the exact opposite effect of more typical Magic cards, and this includes Vassal's Duty, a Champions of Kamigawa rare. What does it do? As long as you pump mana into it, this enchantment lets you act as a meat shield for a legendary creature you control.
Hang on, isn't that totally backwards? Yes indeed! You're the summoner, the planeswalker. What are you doing, taking a bullet for your creature? This is the bizarre inversion of the Pariah effect, where damage that is dealt to you is redirected to a creature that you control. Such effects can keep you alive, and work great on indestructible creatures. But you're not indestructible, as this card fails to realize.
4 Security Detail
Poor white mana. Fully half of the cards on this list are white! The curse continues with Security Detail, a token generator from Mercadian Masques. Soldier tokens are cool, and who doesn't love a procession of 1/1 creatures that are ready to fight? White mana is all about going wide, after all.
But there are two big obstacles between you and your new battalion. First of all, you can only use this ability when your board is empty. Well, perhaps you can float a ton of mana and put this ability on the stack many times to circumvent that? Sorry: you can only activate this one per turn, no matter what! What on earth? 1/1 Soldier tokens are not that scary. Why nerf this ability so much?
Let's take a break from those white enchantments and take a look at this relic from Ice Age. This is a pretty old set, and most of its cards are pretty underpowered. And yes, Snowfall shows its age by caring about a lousy and outdated mechanic: the one and only cumulative upkeep!
Here's a refresher: cumulative upkeep means that on your upkeep, you place an age counter on the card, then pay its cumulative upkeep cost once for each age counter. That's going to get expensive, so a blue deck can run Snowfall and pay those costs more easily! If you're really desperate, that is. Looking back, it's hysterical to see a cumulative upkeep enabler. Many mechanics or strategies need enablers, but this seriously looks like a parody card in every way, especially since it has cumulative upkeep itself. Worst of all, the extra mana is only useful for cumulative upkeep costs.
2 Great Wall
No, Great Wall is not a wall creature, nor is it an artifact or even a land. It's an enchantment, oddly enough, and the white enchantment curse is back in full force. For the cost of 2W, you get the honor of shutting down the plainswalk ability.
What is this, a standup comedy routine? This effect is hysterically irrelevant! At the time this card was printed, Righteous Avengers (a 3/1 for 4W) was the only creature with plainswalk in its text box. Yes, Aysen Highway can give more creatures plainswalk, but that card is lousy, too. Now, we can add Zodiac Rooster, Boggart Arsonists, and Graceful Antelope to the plainswalk list to make four. Four, out of over a few thousand different creature cards!
While Great Wall is a total flop of a card, it is merely useless. Then we get Fasting, which actively sabotages you! That's right, by the time Fasting has done its work, you're going to be in a much worse position than before.
Like Vassal's Duty, Fasting is a horrible inversion of a classic Magic effect: in this case, paying life to draw cards. Just look at Necropotence, Griselbrand, or Underworld Connections. But Fasting, for some twisted reason, wants you to skip your draw step to gain 2 life. At the end of 5 turns, this effect ends, and Fasting is sacrificed. But where does that get you? You missed out on five cards (vital assets) for 10 life over five turns? And yes, if you draw a card for any other reason, such as casting Divination, Fasting goes away. You've got to commit to Fasting's effect, and that's the worst thing you could possibly do in a game of Magic.