Monday, May 8, 2017

InQuest Gamer's Top 100 Magic Creatures Of All Time - 100 to 91

I received a pile of manga from a friend of mine that was moving and didn't want to move with the mountain of manga he had collected living in Japan. As a librarian I knew exactly what to do with the manga, add it to the collection, which is what happened. The catch is, that there were OTHER books in the boxes sent to me. Most of these things, the old strategy guides for example, I gave out on the Free Book Shelf. One item though, I had to hold onto for myself. It was just too good.

Oh Yes.

The April 2006 issue of InQuest Gamer, which advertises "THE 100 GREATEST MAGIC CREATURES OF ALL TIME!" I have to run this down for you, because this list has not aged well at all, and even in 2006, it was a To put this in perspective, this is just before the final expansion of the Ravnica block, Dissension, was released. That also happens to be when I stopped seriously playing Magic until about 6 weeks ago. Hit the jump and let's break this down with the first 10 slots, creatures #100 to #91!

#100) Nicol  Bolas - Rare - Legends, June 1994 

No, not THAT Nicol Bolas. 

Long before he become the Big Bad of the Magic universe, Nicol Bolas was just one of the legendary dragons from the Legends expansion, and he was much more laid back:

InQuest Gamer describes Nicol Bolas as "a 7/7 flying Mind Twist", "with his essentially unplayable casting cost and upkeep, Nicol Bolas is a little undercosted". Now they do mention that most players just Sneak Attack or Reanimate him into play, which yeah, that's devastating...but the #100 Greatest Magic Creature of all time? UNDERCOSTED!? 

We're just getting started. 

#99 Jungle Lion - Common - Portal, May 1997

The #99 slot is a card from Portal. 

It's a 2/1 that can't block. InQuest Gamer has this to say: "this green 2/1 for a single mana is still a great deal". Which yeah, a 2/1 for just G was a really good deal, but this was A PORTAL CARD NOT USABLE IN TOURNAMENT PLAY. There's many other 2/1 creatures for just one mana far, far better than Jungle Lion. 

#98 Mystic Snake - Rare - Apocalypse, June 2001 

Coming at #98, we have Mystic Snake. This little fella was a staple of control decks for a long time since it's a Counterspell and a Grizzly Bear (a vanilla 2/2 creature) at the same time. No really, the casting cost is even identical to Counterspell + Grizzly Bear. Once Modern was created as a format, Mystic Snake took off as a staple once again for a few years and even now, you might still see it in some control decks. 

Given the success and pedigree of the creature in slot 98, who knows what sort of raw power awaits us as we continue the countdown? 

#97 Withered Wretch - Uncommon - Legions, January 2003

Despite the lackluster stats, Withered Wretch is actually a really good card. Well, he was for the time he was printed (and then reprinted years later in the Planechase set). The ability is what makes him hum as removing any card in a graveyard for only 1 generic mana is dirt cheap and hoses reanimation decks, threshold decks, dredge decks and delirium decks. Honestly? I'd have put this little guy higher on the list. How awesome would he be in the current Standard format with the graveyard manipulation of Amonkhet and the annoying Scrapyard Scrounger running around? 

#96 Multani, Maro-Sorceror - Rare - Urza's Legacy, February 1999 

6 mana for a creature with Shroud ("cannot be the target" became keyworded many, many years later) and the potential for a very, very high statline? He was indeed a great creature at one time. As InQuest points out in their summary Multani is the "boogeyman of multiplayer Magic". Pretty sure he's still finding use today in Commander decks. 

But the 96th Greatest Creature of All Time? In 2006? I don't think so. 

#95 Worldgorger Dragon - Rare - Judgment, May 2002 


This red flying bastard was the cornerstone of a rather nasty infinite combo deck in Vintage (precursor to Legacy). There's a reason he's been reprinted in Vintage Masters and Eternal Masters. Hell no the Worldgorger Dragon, one of the most successful Dragons in history, is relegated to the 95th spot. Much higher. 

Granted at the time of this list being created, he was only "slightly" busted as opposed to the "I think people want us to ban" issue he became later. 

#94 Volrath's Shapeshifter - Rare - Stronghold, 1998 

Damnit InQuest. It's hard to mock your choices when they bring back traumatic memories for me. As explained in InQuest itself, "discarding Phage after damage is on the stack is just one of the dirty tricks it lets you play." Yeah, this was a mean card that could do horrible, horrible things to you at a moment's notice. Once again, we have a card in the 90's that was reprinted in Vintage Masters, making me wonder what exactly is lurking further down this list. 

#93 Watchwolf - Uncommon - Ravnica, September 2005

You could reprint this card today and it would see play. 

Watchwolf is one of those creatures that catches some people off guard with the Power/Toughness to casting cost ratio. 2 mana for a 3/3 is good. Yeah, there's no stats, but it just happens to be the two colors really good at buffing creatures. This one is probably not a Top 100 of all time, even in 2006, but I would have loved to use this card during my last draft event. 

#92 Erayo, Soratami Ascendant - Rare - Saviors of Kamigawa, May 2005

There's many reasons why Wizards will never revisit the Kamigawa setting. I'm sure that Erayo himself isn't the only reason, but this is a very hated card. Banned in Commander, Erayo spent time on other formats ban listings because of the sheer power provided once the flip happens. Even the listing in InQuest mentions the Two-Headed Giant ban that hit Erayo very quickly after being released. 

For being a great example of the type of card that will never, ever be printed again, Erayo deserves a spot on this list. For everything else about Erayo, it deserves to be ripped into tiny pieces. 

#91 Deranged Hermit - Rare - Urza's Legacy, February 1999


Squirrels, as a creature type, was a joke that went a little too far once the Odyssey block was printed. In fact, even when the Deranged Hermit was first printed, paying a total of 10 mana for a combined 9 Power/Toughness was a good deal given how insane Green could ramp at the time. As InQuest points out "five creatures for five mana is a great deal, and it gets even better with Opposition or Fires of Yavimaya involved." 

Hell yeah it's a great deal! You get to beat your opponent with SQUIRRELS. 

With the exception of Jungle Lion, this is actually a pretty solid selection of creatures. Nicol Bolas is a bit questionable, but we'll have to see what big names start showing up as we work our way down the list. 

Note as well how INSANE the power spike was around certain sets, looking at you Urza Block! Get used to seeing those expansion symbols. 

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