Holistic Wisdom: 7 Most Busted Limited Commons

by Freyalise on 17 March 2017, Friday


"Holistic Wisdom" is all about LISTS! This series are a result of Freyalise's exploration of Dominaria! Let's follow recent trends, hot decks, metagame calls, Magic pop culture and pretty much everything! Each week, we'll pick a topic and make a list that's both informative and fun to read!


Holistic Wisdom



Holistic Wisdom: 7 Most Busted Limited Commons


Modern Masters 2017 hits the shelves tomorrow and it was engineered to be a fun and exciting Limited format. With so many great cards included in the set, one might think that these cards are overpowered compared to "regular" expansions.


However, after seeing these seven truly busted commons, you might just change your mind! Let's take yet another walk down memory lane!


Mulldrifter Deep Analysis Lightning Bolt


Oh gasp, we didn't even have space to include Mulldrifter, Deep Analysis or Lightning Bolt!




7. Empyrial Armor


Empyrial Armor


Twenty years ago, Limited formats weren't as well-developed as they are today which makes it a little less forgiveable that Empyrial Armor saw print at common. Weatherlight was part of the Mirage block, which, to be honest, didn't have very good quality creatures at all.


Removal spells were also hard to come by and a turn three Empyrial Armor giving any random dude +5/+5 often proved too much to handle. If you ever get a chance to draft Mirage / Visions / Weatherlight, you know what to watch out for.




6. Rolling Thunder


Rolling Thunder


Understanding why a common is busted requires a cursory understanding of the format.


Tempest block was a block filled with loads of tiny creatures, very much like the Mirrodin block. This means that you'll be able to kill multiple creatures most of the time and in the late game it simply goes to the face for lethal.


While Fireslinger was incredibly powerful, the common you wanted at that time was really Rolling Thunder. Since then, the rarity has been moved up to an uncommon in Battle for Zendikar as well as an uncommon in Tempest Remastered.


Even then, it's still way too powerful!

5. Sprout Swarm


Sprout Swarm

While cards there are plenty of cards like Jade Mage and Selesnya Guildmage which are able to crank out an endless steam of tokens, they all cost quite a lot of mana and they were rarely commons.


And even if they were, they would look something like Selesnya Evangel, which limits the growth of your army to one token a turn. Ant Queen was a rare and even then it costs some mana to activate.


Sprout Swarm, however, costs nothing once you get it going and it only becomes cheaper and cheaper to cast. With only a single Green mana in its casting cost, you could even splash Sprout Swarm and then use the first token you create to Convoke it a second time.




To make things worse, the only way to stop the engine, is to actually use a counterspell to counter it, or a black discard spell such as Duress to discard it and these scenarios didn't occur often enough during Time Spiral / Planar Chaos / Future Sight.

4. Pestilence



Mass removal on a common is hardly ever seen, if not ever. Even one-time effects such as Pyroclasm are uncommons, which makes Pestilence absurd beyond words since you can activate it over and over again.


It also doubles up as a win condition and you can always use it to gun down an opponent with lower life than you. Since you control when you wish to activate it, Pestilence will usually work in your favor rather than against.


Pestilence was a common from Alpha, Beta, Unlimited and Revised, but things got really out of hand when it returned in Urza's Saga at common once more. Discple of Grace was also Pestilence's best friend, by the way.


3. Kabuto Moth


Kabuto Moth


At the very least, Kabuto Moth is a 2/4 flying defender for three mana, which is already a very decent card. However, the fact that it sits around the table and meddles with combat makes it a truly prized ability. In recent years, expansions have shyed away from such oppressive abilities, especially if they cost no mana to activate.


Champions of Kamigawa didn't have a lot of powerful cards, making Kabuto Moth truly a terror to face.




2. Timberwatch Elf



Timberwatch Elf is basically Kabuto Moth on steroids, since it has the ability to grant +2/+2 or more. In a tribal block such as Onslaught / Legions / Scourge, things get out of hand really fast.


In fact, it was the most powerful common in Legions, so much so that when it was reprinted in Eternal Masters, R&D had the good sense to tick up its rarity into an uncommon. Even in a high-powered format like that, Timberwatch Elf is still very unfair as an uncommon, let alone it being a common in Legions.




1. Sparksmith




The "Most Broken Common Award" goes to Sparksmith! During its Onslaught days, you wanted him more than 95% of the rares and uncommons.


Just like Kabuto Moth and Timberwatch Elf, Sparksmith wrecks havoc on the board, not through combat but by utterly demolishing your opponent's side of the board.


Since Onslaught was a tribal-themed set, it really wasn't that difficult to cough up a buddy or two and kill everything your opponent casted on turns three through five. The damage you deal to yourself is rarely a consideration, especially when you're already winning at that point.




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