The Worst Reserved List Cards (That You Might Still Buy)

Are you a Quiet Speculation member?

If not, now is a perfect time to join up! Our powerful tools, breaking-news analysis, and exclusive Discord channel will make sure you stay up to date and ahead of the curve.

These are the Reserved List cards that have increased the least in value over the last two years.

They are horrible. The art kind of sucks. Most of them are from Homelands.  (Fallen Empires was better than you think).

May I present to you...

The worst cards they'll never print again!

Each card has been rated for Playability and Aesthetics.  Rather than fabricate some kind of idiotic 1-10 system, I've elected to use colorful adjectives and mild praise (where appropriate).

Editor's Note:  This article was originally meant to serve as an internal proof-of-concept for "data-driven" content on - articles built around reports built atop our six-year historical price database.  This was not supposed to see the light of day, but we decided it was actually worth publishing, just for fun.

Playability: Laughable, but style points if you kill someone with this in Commander.

Art: Pretty cool, in an old-school way.  Anson Maddocks is timeless.

Verdict: Skip it unless you want those Commander style points.

Playability:  Pitiful.

Art: Confusing.  Is it the tree?  Is it the lady?  Is the lady actually a tree?  Or the other way around?  Who cares?

Verdict: Make like a tree and leave.

Playability: Borderline, actually.  It's a big body for a low cost, and there are decks that can abuse it's drawback!

Art: SO. METAL.  Literally.  It's a foil card.

Verdict: Actually, I'd buy these.  A Duel Deck foil on the Reserved List with unique art that's marginally playable?  At this point, given the fate of other RL cards, heck, sign me up.

Playability: I mean, I guess there's a place for this somewhere? Maybe? Why did they even print this?

Art: Mundane and overly literal.

Verdict:  If you can kill someone with this in Commander...

Playability: At first I thought, hey, an answer to Bogles.  And then I realized that for 4 mana they also printed Wrath of God.

Art: I have literally no idea what this is supposed to represent. I see a fish, a beetle, and a carrot.

Verdict: Baki's not the only one cursing, here.

Playability: Showing its age.  Power creep is a real thing.

Art: Fantastic, like everything Pete Venters does.  Except...a book?  How terrifying.

Verdict: Ancient history.  Homelands at it's finest.

Playability: Untouchable.  And, aren't Illusion creatures supposed to die when targeted? Not be all shroud-y?

Art: Not as hideous as the flavor text would imply, nor as illusory as its creature type would lead you to believe.

Verdict: Spells aren't the only things staying away...

Playability: Devastating in those mono-white mirror matches where the late game is all about board stalls.  Which is never.

Art: Is the highway the thing the horse-rider is standing on?  Because it's higher than the gray line which I assume is meant to represent a road.

Verdict: If given a choice between this, and my way...well, you know what I'll pick.

Playability:  I can see a format where this is useful.  No, seriously.  It's not a format I'd ever play, but its base stats don't fully suck.

Art: Not sure what Marie Antoinette is doing here, but it's an upgrade from "let them eat cake".  Fun Fact: "cake" is incorrectly translated; she was saying "let them eat bread".  Cake sounds OK.  Bread? boring.  But, I digress.

Verdict: Cake's fine.  Bread? Nope, that'll start the French Revolution.

Playability:  I don't even know where to start here.

Art: You know "Scale Birds"?  The little birds they paint into the sky to show how BIG something is?  Well, let me introduce you to the Scale Whale.  Otherwise, you'd just think this is a really toothy fish of indeterminate size.

Verdict: I'm still struggling to pronounce this card's name.

Playability: See Balm of Restoration.  There's a format where this is actually a legitimate on-board trick.

Art:  Cute, in the way that only Kaja Foglio art can be.

Verdict: I wish this was a card that involved guessing and hidden choices, not a musical instrument.

Playability: If this cost 1 mana, it'd be a really good card. But it costs 4.  "Last Strike" is pretty funny though.

Art: It's a harness on a woolly mammoth featuring Melissa Benson's obnoxious signature in the background.

Verdict: Show some restraint when thinking about buying these out.

Playability: Gray Ogre got an...upgrade?  Downgrade?  The fact that I have to think about this at all tells me what I need to know.

Art: Good old fashioned 90's fantasy goblins.  Wish it were on a better card.

Verdict:  The flavor text redeems this card in full.

Playability: Should have cost 4 mana.  Maybe 3.   But 6? Why?

Art: Matt Wilson has drawn some amazing things for Magic.  This isn't one of 'em.

Verdict: Don't get greedy.

Playability: Borderline, especially in low powered formats.

Art: Remember what I said about Matt Wilson?  Yeah.  Matt, let's stick to drawing pretty ladies and leave the dragons alone, k?

Verdict: Worth owning, since eventually some yahoo is gonna buy out the internet because "hey, it's an angel on the reserved list".

Playability: You know when they seem to just put keywords on cards to show off the new keyword?   Isn't that annoying?  Well, it's ten times worse when the new keyword makes everything cost double mana.

Art: Matt Wilson, pretty Angel ladies, you know the drill by now.

Verdict: See Avenging Angel, above.  Sigh.

Playability: Before there was equipment, there was Heart Wolf.  Luckily, now we have equipment.

Art: There appear to be two wolves here.  This is far from my only critique, but I'll leave it there.

Verdict: They give wolves, a bad name.

Playability: Someone in your play group will try to find a way to make this work.  Show them why Prodigal Sorcerer is better in every way.

Art: She looks mildly annoyed that a giant dragon is about to murder her.  Respect for that much courage under fire.  2 damage isn't going to get the job done.

Verdict: For a Wizard Savant, doesn't seem to savvy.

Playability: Take THAT, Tarmogoyf!   This would be brutally oppressive against a mono-green deck, aside from the fact that you'll be dead before you cast a 2/1 for 4 mana.

Art: Art Director: "Draw a lobster with a feather necklace shaking an enchanted stick at the moon."  Artist: "Can I draw a small crab watching the whole thing"?

Verdict:  The crab is a nice touch.

Playability: Classic on-board "trick" that you'll never use because your opponent will play around it.  Overly restrictive in the name of 'flavor'.

Art: There's no one on those ships.  They're just empty boats colliding in the open ocean.  What the hell?

Verdict: Nothing here makes sense.  Not even the flavor text.

Kelly Reid

Founder & Product Manager

View More By Kelly Reid

Posted in Finance, Free, Reserved List

Have you joined the Quiet Speculation Discord?

If you haven't, you're leaving value on the table! Join our community of experts, enthusiasts, entertainers, and educators and enjoy exclusive podcasts, questions asked and answered, trades, sales, and everything else Discord has to offer.

Want to create content with Quiet Speculation?

All you need to succeed is a passion for Magic: The Gathering, and the ability to write coherently. Share your knowledge of MTG and how you leverage it to win games, get value from your cards – or even turn a profit.

One thought on “The Worst Reserved List Cards (That You Might Still Buy)

Join the conversation

Want Prices?

Browse thousands of prices with the first and most comprehensive MTG Finance tool around.

Trader Tools lists both buylist and retail prices for every MTG card, going back a decade.