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Tuesday, 19 April 2022 08:30

A Look at Sorrow's Path: The Worst Land Card Ever Printed for Magic: The Gathering

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A Look at Sorrow's Path: The Worst Land Card Ever Printed for Magic: The Gathering RANDY ASPLOND-FAITH/WOTC

When people come up with lists of the worst Magic: The Gathering card ever, they generally come in patterns. Many early cards get in because of different mechanics still being worked out. Controversial or hated mechanics, like anything with band with others usually come on in.

You wouldn't expect a neutral sounding card like land to be hated that much. But there is one land that has managed to keep up that reputation for nearly three decades: Sorrow's Path.

Back in 1994, Magic was rolling out some of its first expansions, and despite having worked out several kinks in the system, problems still persisted. In August of that year, The Dark expansion came out. It wasn't the most notable expansion in early Magic, but it did have a bunch of notable cards -- many of which have grown in value in recent years. And, back in the day, one of the biggest and most feared was Ball Lightning, a 6/1 trampler with haste for just three red, as well as the combat-inhibiting land, Maze of Ith.  But The Dark also had another very notable card, but not because it was feared on the tournament scene.

In fact, what made Sorrow's Path stand out was its overall terribleness.

Sorrow's PathSo how bad is it? Well, let's see if you can spot it from the Oracle text: 

"Tap: Choose two target blocking creatures an opponent controls. If each of those creatures could block all creatures that the other is blocking, remove both of them from combat. Each one then blocks all creatures the other was blocking.
Whenever Sorrow's Path becomes tapped, it deals 2 damage to you and each creature you control."

Yeah, you read that right. Mana? You get none. Your creatures you have out? Likely dead. Yourself? Injured. Your opponent? Actually in a lot better shape at beating you now. Oh, and two damage happens whether or not you're the one tapping it. If your opponent has an Icy Manipulator, Twiddle, or something of that ilk, the damage still occurs.

The best option for the card was to hope your opponent would somehow play it and for you to take advantage of their folly. And you can because the card is still legal in a number of formats. But you can see how it was hated when it first came out, hated throughout the next few decades, and is still pretty much hated now.

Unlike other cards we've focused on, there really isn't any kind of sunset here either. While only available in paper in its original The Dark printing, Wizards of the Coast somehow thought it worth reprinting digitally not just once in MTGO's Masters Edition III, but also as an online-only promo.

And why not?  At least this way digital Magic players can also share in the misery that is Sorrow's Path.

 

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