If you know anything about Collectible Card Games, you’ve probably heard about Magic The Gathering. I mean, it’s been a staple of the genre, actually, it invented the genre, since its release in the ’90s. Much like any game of its nature, there have been a few things in the past that needed balancing. Here’s a list of the first generation cards that are widely known for being some of the most overpowered and/or broken in the game. Oh, they’re also collector’s items- so if you’re thinking of getting some into your deck, be prepared to shell out a few limbs.
The Basics: Admittedly, I’m cheating a little here- numbers ten to six are all very similar to one another. These five cards all do pretty much the same thing- they add a single mana to your mana pool that corresponds to their gem colour(ruby for red, jet for black, pearl for white, emerald for green, sapphire for blue).
Why they’re overpowered: With lands, you can only play one a turn- this keeps people from putting six lands into play on the first turn and beat-sticking their opponent into submission with a huge spell, creature, or enchantment. The moxen cards break this. You can play as many as you want, and there’s no mana cost. Though, granted, you can only have four in your deck, they can definitely lead to some nasty combinations.
How much they cost: Each mox card could go for anywhere from $200 to over $1,000.
The Basics: For one mana, you either draw three cards, or force your opponent to draw three cards.
Why it’s overpowered: It doesn’t seem all that powerful, but consider: you’re paying virtually nothing to get cards that you should have to wait three turns to acquire. Or, you could potentially use it to force an opponent to draw cards. Seem counterproductive? Trust me, there’s plenty of combos where you want them to do so.
How much it costs: An Alpha Edition Ancestral recall isn’t terribly expensive, at least as far as the items on this list are concerned- anywhere from $100 to $500.
The Basics: This one’s a little more complicated than the other ones. It causes each player to shuffle their hand and their graveyard into their library.
Why it’s overpowered: It’s mostly the mana cost, but also the fact that it leaves everything on the field untouched. Let’s say you’ve got one card in your hand, everyone else has seven. Your opponents have also managed to destroy some of your most powerful cards in your deck. As far as creatures go, you’ve the advantage. Play Timetwister, and cement that advantage.
How much it costs: An Alpha Edition Timetwister goes for about $500 or so. Things are starting to get a little expensive.
The Basics: This lovely card costs nothing to play, and adds three mana of any color to your mana pool when sacrificed.
Why it’s overpowered: Okay, granted, this doesn’t seem so powerful at first. But think about it. You can have up to four of one single type of card in your deck. You can play this at any time. Potentially, that means you could get 12 mana of any color on your first turn, enough to play virtually any card in first edition and you can sacrifice it at any time – you can ordinarily only sacrifice on your turn. M:TG – giving yourself an advantage that you’re unlikely to lose.
How much it costs: An Alpha(First) edition Black Lotus is one of the most valuable magic cards on the market, going from $2,000 to $2,500. When I said you’d have to pay an arm and a leg for some of these cards, I wasn’t kidding.
The Basics: This is an ‘equalizer’ card. Basically, all players remove creatures and lands in play until they control the same amount of creatures and lands as the player with the least.
Why it’s overpowered: Once again, the mana cost. For next to nothing, you can pretty much either turn a game around or win it. Not only that, it leaves enchantments and artifacts alone. I’m sure any of you who’ve played can concoct a myriad of near-unbeatable strategies involving this card.
How much it costs: Balance is probably the cheapest of the cards: Only about $100 or so. That’s likely due to the fact that, unlike many on the list, it’s been reprinted several times.
The Basics: You take an extra turn after your current turn. I’m not really sure what they were thinking when they made this card – it’s absolutely grotesque.
Why it’s overpowered: Honestly, I don’t know if this even requires an explanation. You get two turns in a row- that’s drawing a card, playing a land, playing spells/summoning creatures and attacking your opponent. So if you manage to get this out early enough, you can basically beat-stick your opponent twice, and there’s absolutely nothing they can do about it.
Yeah, it’s nasty.
How much it costs: Somewhere around $800. Even though I would argue that it’s probably more powerful than Black Lotus (Though not necessarily more versatile), it’s not quite as pricy.
To contact the author of this post: firstname.lastname@example.org