First, let’s be clear. There isn’t really such a thing as a ‘worst’ card. One of the best aspects of a TCG is that every card is different, every card is unique, and you can craft your spellbook however you wish. Most cards, even if they normally seem terrible, have a use in a specific deck, and as opposed to rating a card as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in a vacuum, it is better to rate a card ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in a deck. For example, if you were to rate Gaasyendietha in a vacuum, it would be pretty bad. It has a powerful effect, but it costs 4 aura, only has 50 LP, and is extremely fragile. However, when building a deck around it, Gaasyendietha goes from a terrible card to an amazing card. In this article, I am going to give my opinion on the 10 ‘worst’ cards from Nightfall, and when I call a card ‘bad’ or ‘the worst’, I mean that it isn’t good enough to see play in a deck, has such a fringe corner case that it will almost never be played, or that there is a better version of the card. But, all, or almost all of these cards could have a deck built around them to make them shine.
10. Destroy Terra
If I were to make this list a few months ago, Destroy Terra would have been fairly high up on it. While at face value destroying an opponent’s terra seems good, many decks don’t rely heavily enough on a terra to make this card worth it, and it can be a dead card in hand when playing Terra Only formats. However, with the spoiler of Special Terra cards such as Chibi Playground and White Out that could have a wide variance of powerful effects, Destroy Terra will be a useful card and possibly show up in most side decks. Just like this page would have had barely any use but will likely be a useful card in wilderness because of cards like Tiny Island, any new cards could make cards on this list go from nearly unusable to amazing.
9. Mermaid Shimmer
By no definition of the word is Mermaid Shimmer a terrible or bad card. It’s very decent, for one water aura you can protect a Water or Frost beastie from an attack, or allow it to defend itself for free. So why is it on this list? The answer comes in one of the best new cards from Nightfall, Smokey Spirits. Smokey Spirits does almost everything Mermaid Shimmer does but better. Mermaid Shimmer must be played on your turn, meaning your opponent knows to expect it, but Smokey Spirits can be contracted at any time. Mermaid Shimmer only stops one attack, but Smokey Spirits will usually stop all attacks on that target. Smokey Spirits is a potion, so it can be used to protect magiproof beasties like Loveland Frogman. Finally, Smokey Spirits has a cost of zero while Mermaid Shimmer has a cost of one. The only reason to play Mermaid Shimmer over Smokey Spirits is if you are running a torrential river deck, in which case the draw and damage dealing from Torrential River might make Mermaid Shimmer worth it over Smokey Spirits. In any other case however, there is no reason to put Mermaid Shimmer in your spellbook instead of Smokey Spirits.
8. Dark Lightning Orb
Dark Lightning Orb is a decent card, but a narrow one. It has found itself put in Dingbelle Spam decks because it gains value from the dingbelle tokens dying, but even in that list it takes multiple turns to have an effect and 50 LP isn’t enough to keep it out of trouble. While it is a super fun card for casual play and I highly recommend trying it out, it isn’t good enough or safe enough to play in a competitive setting, as most decks would have a way to deal with it before it can make any real effect. I would recommend to Lightning players to consider side-decking in more Dingbelles and Dark Lighting Orb versus Loveland Frogman.
Overall Pyre is a decent card, the boost it gives to a beastie is decent especially for 1 aura, but it’s drawback in my opinion is worse than it’s benefit. Whenever you use an equipment page, any time the beastie that it is attached to is destroyed you lose card advantage, because they either use 1 card (a spell like Deathbeam) or 0 cards (an attack from a beastie) to destroy your card, meaning using an equipment automatically puts you one or two cards down normally. In addition, Pyre deals damage to the beastie it is attached to every turn, so unless the beastie has regen its death is inevitable. Evaluating the upside, spending 1 aura for a +35 would probably be better spent on a Feu Follet or a Giant Salamander, maybe even a Fireball, depending on the list you are playing.
At it’s best, imprisonment has an effect similar to a Smokey Spirits, marginally better because it will have to take damage for the beastie to attack again, often wasting the attack of another beastie controlled by your opponent, but at the same time significantly worse because it only works as a trap. As we know, traps are often not very good since they give your opponent the choice to interact with them or not. In addition, your opponent is aware that you have a trap in play while Smokey Spirits can be played at any time. For the most part, I would not recommend playing Imprisonment, and if you want to play a card that does similar I would play Smokey Spirits.
5. Jack O’ Lantern
Jack O’ Lantern bomb cannot be called useless, since for an investment of one aura you at least get to soak up 50 damage and get to ramp with convert. However, forest has better effects for both that and its power of redoing a roll. Jack O’ Lantern merely redoes the roll; if it is a coin flip it still has a 50/50 chance of going the way you don’t want it to. Cards like Unlucky Potion, Luck Potion, or even Sam’s 4-Leaf Clover achieve this same effect but better. When looking for ramp early game in a forest deck, there is no better place to look than Roperite, because not only does it convert on a 1 aura page, but it can deal with flyers or get Lightning in a Bottle’d to convert or attack again.
For one aura you get a 45 LP Beastie that on default usually deals 20, taking up a 4th wall slot, and could do up to 45 when damaged. All it has in addition to that is terra boosts or bloodsucker. While in no means a card that hurts you when you play it, it won’t advance your game by much and is worse than moth one drops because it is so one-directional without any strategic depth. The only deck Ludwig can be played in is a bloodsucker tribal deck, but even then feels bad to slot into the 40.
3. Static Wand
Static Wand is not worth the cost and will never see play. For 2 aura, you give one of your beasties paralyze on their attacks. Not only do you still have to flip for paralysis to take hold, but using any equipment card sets yourself up for losing card advantage because you can get 2 for 1’d or 2 for 0’d extremely easily. Even if this card only cost 1, it would still likely not be a good or playable card.
2. Brain in a Jar
Brain in a Jar is one of the most niche cards on this list. It can essentially nullify a trap beastie, but only when it is flipped, and even then they can still defend with it and have it die and they are able to get another one of that beastie or a separate beastie with the same cost in their deck. Even in the best case scenario, it isn’t a great removal option. However, that best case scenario won’t happen often, since not many beasties with trap are played and when they are played they are usually contracted normally and not flipped up with trap. This may change with wilderness having more support for the trap archetype but even then Brain in a Jar isn’t amazing, and I would be surprised to see it pop up anywhere besides the rare 1 of in cosmic side decks.
1. Land Tax
Land tax is another card that is horrendous before wilderness and only marginally better after. For one aura, you deal 20 damage to an opposing page or caster for each terra in play. This means at most you are dealing 100 for 1 aura, but usually in games there is anywhere between 0 and 2 terra, so on average I would expect to be doing 20 damage, or maybe 40 considering more terra will be played in Wilderness. Even with the number being 40 damage, Land Tax won’t see much play since most aura types have much better removal in the one cost slot, or even higher cost, but regardless, land tax usually isn’t worth any slots in the 55.