Imagine a world where Commander games lasted more than a few minutes, and everyone got to play their decks to the fullest potential.
This world does not exist.
Every semi-competitive or optimized deck plays several cards that make the table miserable. They are cards that cannot honestly be played with good intent. Sure, every deck needs a way to win, but often there are cards out there that don't outright win a game as much as they prolong it in the wrong direction. Social contract be damned, these are the cards I hate the most in Commander.
I can't wait to see you in the comments about how I'm complaining. Thank you, trolls, your hate sustains me like a fine caviar.
What in the hell.
People play this card. They purchase it from TCGplayer.com (cheap plug) and they receive it in the mail. From there it goes into a sleeve, and eventually they will tap three mana to play it. The table will groan as the leader of this hellscape sacrifices a Pawn of Ulamog token, drains the table for one with Zulaport Cutthroat, and essentially locks everyone out from casting their own spells.
You tell me why they're doing this. I'll wait.
Your reason sucks.
Contamination is a card that turns games into slogs. Each opponent is going to draw, look at their hand, sigh, and pass the turn. Without mana rocks like Azorius Signet or Talisman of Conviction, most players are going to be hard-locked out of the game.
Playing Contamination comes with a limitation: you have to sacrifice a creature every upkeep. You'd think that would be tough, but with an Aristocrats approach it is actually a benefit. Your Zulaport Cutthroat and Blood Artist are turned on. With all black mana, a deck like Tinybones, Trinket Thief (a personal favorite of mine), can wheel freely, cast discard without consequence, and not worry about interaction. A quick check on EDHREC shows this card is in over 2,300 decks. While that may seem measly, I've played against this card at MagicFests, and it is not fun.
I hate Contamination.
Are you noticing a theme so far? Enchantments suck.
Just playin', y'all.
Price of Glory gets especially stuck in my craw. I strongly dislike cards that limit what players can do, and this card is a huge double whammy. The inability to cast spells at instant speed is understandable. A lot of blue decks out there pack countermagic and that can be a pain, so red decks having access to a card that lets them land haymakers isn't a terrible thing… if it wasn't tacked on with land destruction.
In Commander one of the most fun things is, you know, playing the game. A simple Bedevil at the end of a turn becomes a triple Stone Rain. Cards lose a ton of value, and the game is really only played on each player's turn. This turns off a huge aspect of Commander, which is reacting to what each player does. Some decks are built entirely around flash creatures, or removal. But with Price of Glory in play, the pace of the game is almost completely halted. Luckily Commander packs a ton of enchantment removal, but if no one draws those cards, the game does this:
Yeah, screw your childhood.
I hate Price of Glory.
Mark. Hates. Land. Destruction.
Hear me out. It's not so much the land destruction aspect of Armageddon that I can't stand, it's what happens after it's cast. With Price of Glory, you're incentivized to not play spells. With Contamination, one player totally dominated the field of play after it lands. Armageddon is usually used in a much less fair way.
When a Selesnya deck casts Armageddon with tons of mana acceleration in play, that effectively ends the game, but prolongs it for the one player that is going to beat up a crippled table. I've seen people play through Contamination for a few turns before eventually dealing with it, or floating mana in response and casting enchantment removal. With Armageddon, the table is literally screwed. There is absolutely no fun way to cast this card. Unless players have a bevy of land cards in their hand, usually the person casting it is doing it for the following reasons:
Land destruction might be my least favorite aspect of Commander, because it ends games quickly before they even start and makes sure no one gets to play.
I hate Armageddon.
You'd think with Flash gone this card would be worse, but no. No it isn't.
According to EDHREC almost 10,000 decks play Protean Hulk. Can you guess how many have the word "combo" after the Hulk? Tons.
There are multiple ways to win the game with Hulk in play. There are innocuous ones: search up Viscera Seer and Body Double. Use the Double to copy Protean Hulk in your graveyard. Search up Reveillark and Mogg Fanatic. Obliterate the table. Five-Color Hulk is a difficult deck to pilot, but with plenty of goldfishing, assembling the loop with tutors like Vampiric Tutor or Demonic Tutor, Worldly Tutor or Eladamri's Call can let you go off with extreme efficiency.
There are easier loops to assemble with a sacrificial outlet with infamous commanders like Tymna the Weaver and Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa. You gain access to tutors and can lock-kill the table with the simple combo of Pattern of Rebirth and Boonweaver Giant. Reveillark into Karmic Guide + Fiend Hunter into Lark + Boonweaver Giant. Now you can search up Zulaport Cutthroat and loop them infinitely to kill the table.
Protean Hulk exists solely to end a game on the spot. That is not a bad thing, but it can do it as early as turn four with mana acceleration. Games that end before they begin are not meant to be enjoyable experiences for everyone involved. If the power levels of the deck are similar, it is completely acceptable and I don't mind it being used, but at your local game store often the atmosphere is more casual. This is a quick way to alienate yourself from potential playgroups.
I hate Protean Hulk.
OH BOY! If you follow me on Twitter (I am hilarious), you know that Cyclonic Rift is my single most hated card in Commander. I want it banned. I want it gone. I want it wiped from the format.
There is 100% no way to cast an overloaded Rift in such a way that the table is going to enjoy it. It is meant to either end a game or undo the work of an entire match. It cannot be used for the power of good, and no card elicits more groans than an overloaded Cyclonic Rift.
It is not because it is too powerful. It is not. But the player that casts it is about to be WAY ahead when they untap, and it is usually done on the cycle right before the offending player's turn. It pushes the game so far out of reach that it's over, but you have to sit there and watch someone play Magic. Enjoy your triple Time Walk, mate. You earned it.
I asked for this card to be banned even before it was a $30 chase rare. It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't so prolific: EDHREC has this card in over 90,000 decks. That is 45% of the reported format. Can you fathom that? If you sit down in any pod where someone has a somewhat optimized deck, you have a nearly 50% chance to play against Cyclonic Rift. That is absurd. A card that prolific, played to the point where it's a requirement in a color with the most ease to tutor it up is, again, too good.
I hate Cyclonic Rift.
There you have it. My most hated cards according to color. These are ridiculous pieces that should be banned, removed, or shunned from your local playgroup. I intentionally avoid them because I want tables to have fun.
You should too.
I hate them all.
But I love you.