Thanks to Arena’s quickly growing card pool it can sometimes be easy to lose track of what cards are even on the platform. From old Standard sets like Kaladesh to auxiliary releases like Historic Horizons, there is no shortage of powerful cards that can sometimes be overlooked. Today we’ll be taking a look at the most powerful cards that have ever been released on Arena. Specifically, we’ll be counting down nine cards that have proven themselves to be much too powerful for Arena’s formats—most of the cards in this top nine have been banned in both Standard and Historic.

While compiling this list I had to make some difficult cuts. When making close decisions I decided that cards that remain a healthy part of Arena formats would not be included, after all, the original Power Nine are all banned in Legacy and restricted in Vintage. 

Below are some honourable mentions, which include a lot of the most dominant cards from Arena’s past that aren’t quite as broken as the cards in the top nine: Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, Hazoret the Fervent, Bonecrusher Giant, Growth Spiral, Llanowar Elves, and Thoughtseize.

Also, in order to keep this list from becoming an overview of every card from the Mystical Archive, I have decided not to include the seven cards in it that were banned in Historic before they were even released on Arena. Dark Ritual, Demonic Tutor, Natural Order, Channel, Lightning Bolt, Swords to Plowshares, and Counterspell are all technically on Arena but they were never actually playable in constructed formats. In hindsight I think it was great that these cards were preemptively banned, as they would have completely warped Historic around the Mystical Archive. Even without these cards, the Mystical Archive still saw Brainstorm, Memory Lapse, and Time Warp get banned, and also introduced Tainted Pact which caused the ban of Thassa’s Oracle.


9. Time Warp

Time Warp, as I just mentioned, was introduced to Arena through the Mystical Archive and ended up being banned from Historic a few months later. Taking extra turns is often an overpowered effect, as we have seen time and time again in recent years (with even seven-mana spells like Nexus of Fate and Alrund’s Epiphany getting banned). At just five mana, Time Warp was very efficient and it was only a matter of time before a deck managed to use it for an unfair advantage. Jeskai Turnswhich utilized Velomachus Lorehold and a number of other powerful Strixhaven cardsended up getting Time Warp banned, after a dominating performance at the Strixhaven Championship.


8. Field of the Dead

One of the most broken decks I have been able to play on Arena was the Scapeshift/Field of the Dead combo deck from Standard in 2019. Field of the Dead is the only land on this list, and it also happens to be the only land that has been banned in both Standard and Historic. This is thanks to its ability to create a board presence at such a low cost, and the insane combos it can enable. Field of the Dead was a great win condition when combined with Scapeshift or other spells that help flood the battlefield with lands (like in the deck LSV used to win MagicFest Denver in 2019), but Field of the Dead was also good as a low-cost and high-reward way for control decks to gain an advantage in long gameseven without much ramp involved. Field of the Dead has also gotten itself banned in Pioneer and Modern, proving it to be too powerful even beyond the formats of Arena.


7. Teferi, Time Raveler

Teferi, Time Raveler (or 3feri as he is sometimes called) has been a format-defining card on Arena since he was printed. Teferi fit into a wide variety of decks and provided both tempo and card advantage, becoming well-known as the most annoying card on Arena during his tenure. His static ability was often easy to overlook until important moments, causing even more frustration from opponents. The Time Raveler didn’t just power up archetypes, he also caused the downfall of rival archetypes like Stompy, Control, and Flash that didn’t match up well against his abilities. He was eventually banned in both Standard and Historic for being too prolific and for causing monotonous play patterns by punishing big plays with his bounce ability and not allowing for instant speed counterplay.


6. Lurrus of the Dream-Den

The Companion mechanic is one of the most bizarre mistakes that Magic has made when it comes to the power level of new cards. The fact that so many Companion cards have remained powerful even after the unprecedented errata to the mechanic goes to show just how broken these cards are. Lurrus of the Dream-Den is the most broken and widely used of them all, and it has made waves in every format it has touched. Lurrus even became the first card in Magic’s history to be banned from Vintage for being too powerful and ubiquitous. On Arena, Lurrus was a companion to a number of aggro decks during its tenure in Standard and has been an important piece of many Historic decks. The Nightmare Cat still continues to be a Historic staple in decks like Rakdos Arcanist and Golgari Sacrifice.


5. Wilderness Reclamation

Wilderness Reclamation never made a huge splash in older formats like some of the other cards on this list, however it was the very best card on MTGA for a long time. Before being banned in Standard and then Historic, Reclamation powered archetypes like Infinite Turns decks, Bant Ramp, Scapeshift, Temur Flash, and countless others. Wilderness Reclamation essentially doubled its controller’s mana supply as soon as it came down, and it doesn’t get much more broken than that. The only limitation on this was that the mana had to be used at instant speed, which wasn’t a problem for cards like Nexus of Fate and Expansion // Explosion.


4. Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath

Uro is arguably the most powerful creature ever added to Arena. The three-mana god has now been banned in Standard and Historic but it had a long tenure as the best card in both formats. It powered the Sultai Midrange archetype that dominated Historic for months and was a major part of many decks in Standard, including Four-Colour Force of Will. Uro was great because it could do everything a deck could want. Early on it helped build your hand, mana base, and life total, and then in the late game it was a powerful and resilient win condition. I was sad to see it go from Historic, because the Sultai Midrange decks it made possible were a lot of fun while they lasted! In the end though it was for the best, as Uro was simply too powerful compared to the format surrounding it. 


3. Once Upon a Time

Free spells have been overpowered since the beginning of Magic. Six members of the actual Power Nine are free spells, and there have been plenty of broken free spells since then such as Force of Will and Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis. Once Upon a Time was instantly used by a large portion of decks in almost every format it was legal in. In Standard and Historic it helped make green decks a lot more consistent, and this was at a time when those decks were also benefiting from Oko, Uro, Gilded Goose, and many of the other cards on this list. It didn’t take too long for Once Upon a Time to be banned in four different formats for providing too much consistency at too low of a cost.


2. Brainstorm

Brainstorm’s rise to prominence in Historic wasn’t necessarily a surprise, since it had already proven itself as a Vintage and Legacy staple before being added to Arena. However, some people questioned if it would still be any good in a format without fetch lands. It turned out that instantly drawing three cards deeper into your deck for one mana was incredible, and in the months following its release it continually made Historic bluer and bluer. During Brainstorm’s time in Historic it enabled almost every good deck, including Izzet Phoenix, Jeskai Control, and Jeskai Turns. Its banning marked the end of a period of Mystical Archive dominance in Historic, and allowed the format to evolve once again.


1. Oko, Thief of Crowns

When this three-mana planeswalker was spoiled it got people excited, but not everyone was convinced it would be great. Once it was released, Oko proved his power and the card quickly received successive bans in Standard, Historic, Pioneer, Modern, and even Legacy. Oko ended up being remembered as the most infamous of a number of Throne of Eldraine cards that were immediately too powerful for Standard. In a set that was full of problem cards, Oko stood head and shoulders above the rest. He is unquestionably the best planeswalker ever printed, and could very likely hold that title forever. At the moment, I also believe that Oko is the best card that Arena has ever seen.

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