Magic: The Gathering started way back in 1993. The game is probably older than some of you reading this right now. As a highly variable rules-based TCG, each card has a relatively uniform structure. But for those cards with fewer rules to list or explain, there’s an artistic addition: flavor text.
Flavor text appears in italics at the bottom of a card and provides a window into the world of magic. Freeform, they are sometimes action oriented quotes from the creature on the card itself. Other times the flavor is clever descriptions or accounts from an omniscient narrator. Many times the flavor text is on an MTG card funny. What are the funnest cards in Magic’s gigantic library?
Goes in chronological order, from oldest to newest card starting with the printout with the funny flavor text.
10/10 Goblin Grenade
Text: “I don’t think we could teach them that throw the cursed things?”
Start with a bang. See the legendary Goblin grenade, with many different iterations of the Goblin living their best life over the years. With art and taste, the Goblin Grenade went from being an actual grenade, to an autonomous detonation, to simply a Goblin tied up and thrown with dynamite in his mouth. Goblin Grenade is where Magic’s funnest creature type was born.
The grenade is easily one of red’s best sorceries ever created, dealing five massive damage for just one mana – and one goblin.
Text: “It was probably a lousy spell in the first place.” — Ertai, sorcerer
Contradiction. Love it or hate it, the spell is a certified classic. The best verbal wizard in the game is reserved for this highly reprinted property. For just two blues, deny a fellow planeswalker the ability to resolve their spell, immediately falling into the Graveyard.
Counterspell gave birth to the ability to simply say “No!” to your opponent(s). Ironically, for the blue player with counterspell less wretched the spell the better.
8/10 Goblin Balloon Brigade
Text: They patched up the holes, loaded their sharpest stones, beat their children one last time, and slunk off into the sunset.
There is perhaps no better card than Goblin Balloon Brigade to showcase the lifestyle, antics and all-round tomfoolery that MTG’s wicked little mountaineers get into. Goblins live their own lives, putting their pants on one leg at a time just like the rest of us (well, it’s actually unconfirmed).
The Goblin Balloon Brigade gives airwalkers the fun sight of flying Goblins, albeit temporarily. Some say these goblins are still up there floating around the world in their hot air balloon.
7/10 Show and tell
Text: In the academy, “show and tell” too often becomes “run and hide”.
Jeff Laubenstein’s art for Show and Tell almost looks like it could come from a comic book about Magic’s own school for wizards. Why does every wizard “show and tell” become a “Bring A Lovecraftian Beast To School Day”?
With this card, you can turn the game into the classic primary school pastime. At just three mana, Show and Tell screams to the entire game: Show me what you got!
6/10 Might Of Oaks
Text: “Guess where I’m going to plant this!”
Might of Oaks asks for a banger-flavored lyric. And the big green moment delivers. Short, simple, sweet. Nothing puts a smile on a planeswalker’s face like an instant speed +7/+7 effect. Whether you’re polishing your favorite squirrel or a soon-to-be-crazed-with-power human – Might of Oaks delivers a worthy one-liner.
For best results, say the flavor text of Might of Oaks right as you cast it, preferably on the game-winning alpha strike. Just make sure you’re unlocked or ready to pedal.
Text: He is exercising his right to bear arms.
Werebear may contain the best flavor text ever. Everyone’s favorite lycantropic grizzly is definitely in the conversation. Built for the long game, the bear gets closer to the +3/+3 threshold bonus the longer the game lasts.
Most interestingly, Werebear is a Druid Bear creature and has the elegant ability to produce mana. Anyone else wondering what the more humanoid Werebear looks like on a moonless night?
4/10 Ib Halfheart, Goblin Tactician
Text: “Everyone but me – CHARGE!”
Ib Halfheart is the legendary Goblin who is given the title “Goblin Tactician”. His text, effects and art by Wayne Reynolds merge to give us a Goblin paragon. High comedy and high death tolls.
Ib Halfheart, Goblin Tactician turns every Goblin attack into an agonizing dilemma for the opposition: take the damage or lose blockers. Sacrificing mountains in the late game gives Goblin decks a chance to keep charger. Perhaps even Ib himself will wade into battle, on very end, when victory is already assured.
3/10 Sprout Barrage
Text: Goblin lessons include the 2071 tips for survival. Frek only remembered 2,070.
Never forget the 2071st Goblin lesson. Do you remember what it is?
Frek didn’t remember, and he paid for it with his life. Frek had friends, family, children. Frek was to retire from spelunking already next week. This is part of Magic’s canon. Remember Frek. And remember the 2,071st!
Text: Many who cross Sorin’s path come down with a sudden and fatal case of being-in-the-way-of-a-thousand-year-old-vampire.
The ancient vampiric planeswalker Sorin Markov became an instant fan favorite after his introduction in Zendikar. His style and style, his long white hair and gothic gear – it’s all slick. Sorin even has the narrator give him free influence.
Mortify is among the most effective removal Azorius (Black/White) gets, instantly taking out creatures or enchantments for just three mana. Remember that the definition of the word “mortify” is closer humble than to destroy.
1/10 Research assistant
Text: There are many words and phrases that can make an experienced wizard tremble with fear. Chief among them is “oops.”
The Median wizard in the world of magic is always on the brink of chaos. Just like the player, much of their success is based on the random element of the game.
Research Assistant provides a 1/3 loot engine for the blue player. Just be careful what you throw away. You may not realize it now, but you may end up needing that card later. It’s the “oops” all air walkers want to avoid.
NEXT: Magic: The Gathering – Great Budget-Friendly Tribes for Commander