Sunday, June 30, 2013

100 Movies #3 (70-61)

Rewatch 6. Die Hard
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Why is it ranked here: Started the new five movie marathon of the Die Hard movies. Clearly the best one of the group. It has the best villain in Alan Rickman. The best non-sidekick in Carl Winslow(Reginald VelJohnson). It also the most original and has the most concise story of the five.
Interesting: The "Germans" speak gibberish German here, so in Germany the villains are simply European.

Rewatch 5. The Dark Knight Rises
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Why is it ranked here: As I had to watch this movie a second time after it came out in the theater. After you read people trashing a movie, it indeed lessens the film. You don't start thinking of all the plot holes if you just go to a movie and enjoy it. So something was lost for me watching this a second time. It was still a good Batman movie as far as those go, but it is probably the worst of the Bale BMs. Not enough of Batman, but the biggest issue is Miranda lessening the character of Bane at the end.
Interesting: Leonardo DiCaprio has been shunned twice now for the Robin role. First losing the role to Chris O'Donnell the to Gordon-Levitt.

Rewatch 4. The Fellowship of the Ring
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Why is it ranked here: Kicked off the Hobbit marathon. Many people consider this the best of the three LOTR movies. I've always felt it was weaker than the other two. Don't get me wrong, the intro is freaking amazing. You need the backstory to continue into the other chapters, but there are many slow moments and it kind of falls off after the loss of Sir Ian McKellen.
Interesting: Famously Stuart Townsend was fired after four days when he thought that Townsend didn't have the look. Townsend didn't get paid for anything(Sword training, time).

70. Take This Waltz
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Why is it ranked here: This movie left a terrible taste in my mouth almost immediately. I think the reason being Seth Rogen. I'm convinced he was miscast in this movie. Not sure I was a fan of Sarah Silverman either. This is a movie about lots of things, but comedy is not one of them. Not that these actors were doing anything funny, far from it. But it was just way too strange seeing Rogen moping around, not giving a crap that his wife was leaving him. Pretty depressing stuff here. The sound track left an impression.
Interesting: Sarah Polley's characters in her movies are portraits of wounded and conflicted women.

69. Paperman
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Why is it ranked here: The best of the animated shorts. I think we were all unanimously in favor of it as a group, and it also won the Oscar as well. So it is very deserving. I don't remember if it even had any dialogue, but it's definitely the one to watch of the five.
Interesting: The first Disney animated short to win the Oscar in 43 years.

68. The Vicious Kind
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Why is it ranked here: Another random pick that Hellen and I went with. We both like Adam Scott quite a bit from Parks and Rec as well as Friends With Kids(which we will get to). This was a strange one for me to like, especially considering how much I disliked Take This Waltz. But I suppose it's a case where I'm actually rooting for Scott's charismatic Caleb opposed to the incredibly bland Michelle Williams. Caleb basically steals his brother's girlfriend and deals with his daddy issues(J.K Simmons). Lots of smoking here, not sure why I remember that, but I do.
Interesting: Written, Directed and Produced by Lee Toland Krieger in his second feature length movie.

67. Antichrist
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Why is it ranked here: Whooo boy, where to begin here. The opening scene involves a couple in bed while their little boy jumps out the window. The movie just goes downhill after that. There are only two characters in this whole movie. Thankfully one of them is Willem Dafoe who is always entertaining for me. His character(a psychiatrist) decides since his wife is having issues dealing with the death of their son, that the best person to bring her back to health is him. They go out into the woods stranded where just about everything(natural and supernatural) turns on him. I don't think I even want to spoil the general idea of the movie, but it is not for the squeamish. Not that I disliked this one, but I really need to get Hellen to watch it so I can actually discuss it. It's that bizarre.
Interesting: The story is divided into four chapters, Grief, Pain, Despair and The Three Beggars.

66. The Man with the Golden Gun
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Why is it ranked here: Probably the second worst of the Moore Bonds. Two things got me more interested than usual - the first being the idea of a Golden Gun which really wasn't touched upon as being too special, the second is the sheer awesomeness of Christopher Lee. I feel like Lee bites it about 2/3 of the way through the movie though, which is a strange choice. The opening is set in a carnival house of mirror of sorts - and it goes back there later in the film. The action set pieces are average and the plot is average, though I do like the idea of a man to man duel between Bond and a villain as awesome as Lee.
Interesting: James Bond author Ian Fleming and Christopher Lee are cousins.

65. Junebug
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Why is it ranked here: I admittedly came into this movie late so I had lots of questions most of the way through. I had a problem trying to keep straight who was with who and what everyone's intentions were. Involves a family in a small town who's son has moved away and comes back with his wife. It ended pleasantly enough though it could have had an even bigger impact than it did. The brothers clearly have issues here which aren't resolved. I liked the female leads quite a bit. Amy Adams is gloriously charming and Embeth Davidtz(Army of Darkness, Amazing Spider-Man) is pretty awesome too.
Interesting: Alessandro Nivola and Embeth Davidtz, play husband and wife George and Madeleine in this film, had previous played brother and sister in Mansfield Park.

64. Diamonds Are Forever
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Why is it ranked here: One of my least favorite when ranking these originally. Of course when I ask my father which he likes the best this one immediately comes to his mind. Lots of randomness with the plot involving Las Vegas, a misdirection of a main villain and a gay villain duo. I was not into the elaborate plan of the diamonds or the fake moon landing, but I guess as a Bond movie it has all the expectations that one might have - Blofeld, intricate laser ransom and of course Connery.
Interesting: Connery returned here after missing a film for his last official Bond role. He would later show up in Never Say Never a decade later.

63. Die Another Day
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Why is it ranked here: Technically my second time watching this. I remember despising it the first time watching it as the first scene ends up with Bond being captured for like 5 years. It just took you out of the movie so much. This time around was much different as I knew that issue was going to come up and I was much more behind this movie knowing it was coming. The special effects are ludicrous here with the plot involving a giant sun laser of some sort. Berry and Brosnan were fine here and I liked seeing Michael Madsen. Having watched this twice I still don't remember the bad guy from the first scene who does an identity switch. For the record, you just can't do an identity switch on a character you see once over an hour ago.
Interesting: Bill Clinton, Kevin Spacey, Whitney Houston, and Salma Hayek were all rumored and considered for parts.

62. Rat Race
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Why is it ranked here: Hilarious comedy which was only average this round after picking it up again years later. There are some scenes which are great, everything involving John Cleese and Jon Lovitz is gold. Rowan Atkinson was also funny in moments. Whoopi Goldberg and Seth Green are kind of a let down though as they just aren't given much to work with. But it's a fun idea of a race where humans trek towards to a million dollars. Of course there is no winner here, only the loser billionaire - Cleese's character.
Interesting: Wayne Knight, Dean Cain, Gloria Allred and Kathy Bates all have cameos.

61. Pee-Wee's Big Adventure
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Why is it ranked here: My first time despite having watched the show numerous times in my childhood. It has Tim Burton written all over it(despite his first directorial effort). While all the non-Paul Reubens' characters are annoying super 80's caricatures, it doesn't matter because Pee-Wee is so likeable. Hellen and I's favorite scene is the beginning breakfast machine. It does hurt your intelligence level - a-la Beavis and Butthead, Coneheads, Ernest - you get the idea. Odd plot involving his stolen bike but otherwise enjoyable time if you are into this kind of thing.
Interesting: Pee-Wee weighs in at 98 pounds and swears for the first time saying the word crap once.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

100 Movies #3 (80-71)

Rewatch 9. Law Abiding Citizen
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Why is it ranked here: Second or third time watching it and it is just as great as the first time. I love both the leads here and while I'm actually rooting for Butler's character, it does end appropriately. Not for the squeamish. But as a fan of these revenge movies(wait until we get to Payback) this is one of the best.
Interesting: Gerard Butler was originally supposed to play Foxx's character.

Rewatch 8. Prometheus
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Why is it ranked here: I've watched this about 4 times now and it's still really hard for me to judge. There are two movies in here. Each writer did their own thing and then Scott just mashed them together. I would have preferred the Alien prequel but the other story might have been good as well. We might not ever know. I dislike just about every payoff in this movie except the end semi-Alien shot. It just amazing to look at though.
Interesting: The androids names in the Alien films follow an alphabetical pattern: in Alien it's Ash, in Aliens and Alien 3 it's Bishop, in Alien Resurrection it's Call and in this film it's David.

Rewatch 7. The Amazing Spider-Man
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Why is it ranked here: It does make the Tobey Spider-Man not seem as great especially with that Spider-Man 3 movie still hanging over this one. This was my second watch and it was just as good as the first time. I might have liked it more the second time due to expectations. I can't wait to see what they do with the Green Goblin or a great actor like Jamie Foxx.
Interesting:They just announced Spider-Man 3 and 4 fully laced with Rhino, Goblin - and possibly Sinister Six?

80. The Hobbit (1977 Cartoon)
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Why is it ranked here: My introduction to Tolkien was through the Hobbit - read it before LOTR, watched this cartoon immediately when I discovered it's existence(which wasn't until about 2002). Watched it again as part of the LOTR pre-Hobbit marathon. It's written for children, both as a story and here in this video. That being said there are some fun moments. Both movies do the Bilbo plates song in an awesome way. I dislike the frog Golem and some of the corniness of the drawing/lines. My favorite part is the Goblin song which is wickedly better than what they did in the new Hobbit.
Old Song
New Song
Interesting: The Arkenstone doesn't exist. So Bilbo doesn't give it to Bard and the Elves and piss off Thorin. Instead something about Bilbo not understanding war is the reason of the rift between the two. Also 7 dwarves die here for some reason when only 3 die in the book.

79. This is 40
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Why is it ranked here: Sequel spin off to the married couple in Knocked Up. It doesn't address many problems brought up in the movie. Some of the family scenes are funny, but then they introduce lots of characters which seem to serve as filler. I'm glad I watched it since I was familiar with Knocked Up. But there aren't enough laughs or things going on here to be re-watchable.
Interesting: Segal shows up as a reprisal to his character in Knocked Up. Megan Fox, Bill Hader, and the actress Jodi all show up. Leslie Mann and John Lithgow play daughter and father in this movie. They played a married couple in the movie Orange County.

78. UHF
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Why is it ranked here: My first time watching the Weird Al movie. I am probably 15 years too late. I'm sure this would have been funny watching as a kid. Now watching it many of the jokes aren't as funny as I heard them being. I still like Weird Al here. Michael Richards doesn't do much for me here. I had the most fun with the 'evil' cable channel. The Rambo/Indiana Jones - daydreaming scenes didn't do much for me.
Interesting: Weird Al fought hard for a PG rating but ended up with a PG-13. The original cut was 2 and a half hours and a whole hour was trimmed. The Money For Nothing music video just randomly shows up in the middle of the movie.

77. Doom
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Why is it ranked here: I liked it when it came out enough to buy it. This was my second re-watch. My two favorite parts are the Rock obviously, which other people in this world are only now beginning to understand. I also like Karl Urban.You can pretty much toss out the fact that this movie is called Doom as it's really just a generic marine alien fight. They do include the BFG and a sweet first person sequence, but everything else doesn't even have anything to do with Doom. Mutated genes? Not demons? Blah.
Interesting: The Rock and Vin Diesel both turned down Karl Urban's part. Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright also declined to work on this. Was trimmed down to get an R rating, which is a comforting thought.

76. Saw 3D: The Final Chapter(7)
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Why is it ranked here: My first rewatch of this one. I've always enjoyed the Saw movies as mindless pieces of entertainment. I haven't enjoyed them nearly as much since Saw 3, though Saw 6 had some interesting ideas. This one re-introduced Cary Elwes which was an excellent tie-in to the original. It was a fairly satisfying conclusion to an otherwise mediocre film.
Interesting: Kevin Greutert returned after directing Saw 6 despite signing on to direct the competition: Paranormal Activity 2. Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington gets to be a trap victim in the first outdoors trap of the series.

75. Hobo with a Shotgun
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Why is it ranked here: Random pick that went along with Machete as a Grindhouse trailer concept. I would not watch this with just anyone. The whole movie is off the wall. No character is normal. The whole city is like a cesspool. It was entertaining in the way that Rob Zombie movies are entertaining. It's not a comfort movie, doesn't have much plot - the title says it all. At the end of the day, it was enjoyable.
Interesting: The original Hobo with a Shotgun from the trailer declined the role and instead shows up as cop hunting the Hobo.

74. A View to a Kill
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Why is it ranked here: First of the many real James Bond movies I shall be running over. This one has a very old Bond. It wasn't noticeable until the end when Gramps(Moore) was kicking goons on the top of the Golden Gate bridge. Walken is an excellent villain, Grace Jones is memorable as Bond girl. The plot revolving around horses and Silicon Valley was definitely not the best. Is this the worst Bond movie? If not the worst, then the second worst. I'll get to my pick later as to what is in contention.
Interesting: Final appearance for both Roger Moore and Louis Maxwell(Moneypenny). Moore has also stated this is his least favorite Bond movie due to his age, violence and dislike for Grace Jones.

73. Never Say Never Again
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Why is it ranked here: Connery's final final final performance of Bond(53 years old here after a 12 year absence) comes at the hands of Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner. Remake of Thunderball which is one of my favorite Bond movies. The title is supposedly based on a conversation between Connery and his wife. Generic nuclear missile stealing plot was average Bond movie stuff.
Interesting:  Includes Bloefield(Max von Sydow), Moneypenny, Q, M. All normal parts of the Bond franchise despite this not being an offical Bond movie. Domino(Kim Basinger) and Largo both show up as they did in Thunderball. Mr. Bean's first movie. Steven Seagal broke Connery's wrist during pre-production.

72. The Last Airbender
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Why is it ranked here: Such a fantastic cartoon and concept. The child actors are so annoying. The graphics and visual style are great at times. With such a great concept behind it, and despite being crammed into an hour and a half movie it turns out very generic. I don't have as much venom compared to much of the world as I saw the movie before the cartoon. M. Night Shyamalan is clearly not the choice here. Neither is the first time child actors. Aasif Mandvi is awesome as always. Shyamalan tries to give us a twist at the ending, but it's terrible and isn't a bombshell as it involves a character we see like once.(The Avengers pulled that trick off so much better) The biggest sin we have here is that it killed any future this series had as a trilogy and instead will forever be remembered as a shitty movie.
Interesting: Cameron stole the Avatar title. First choice for Prince Zuko didn't make it. The first draft was all of season 1 and would have been a 7 hour movie. Cost 280 million between production and advertising.

71. TMNT
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Why is it ranked here: Part of my Ninja Turtles-a-thon. Second or third time watching this as well. Begins several years after fighting Shredder, we get to see the four turtles come back together. Everyone makes fun of the immortals made of stone. Foot Clan inclusion was un-necessary but I can see why they did it. The Leonard/Raphael conflict was the best part. The action throughout was good. Overall a decent entry.
Interesting: Many voice actors show up here: Patrick Stewart, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Chris Evans, Lawrence Fishburne, Kevin Smith.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

My 100 Worst Magic Cards Part 3/5

60. Vampiric Feast
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A drain life that costs one extra colorless mana. Fine, doesn't seem too bad. The problem with it though is you need the 7 mana to use it, no killing something smaller for a lot less mana. Also the fact that you can't kill something for more than 4 is also a huge consideration for a 7 mana spell.

59. Cyclopean Snare
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At least this is semi-removal. But 5 mana a turn to tap down a creature - even your opponents best is quite a lot of resources to dedicate.

58. Rites of Reaping
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A giant growth at sorcery speed and 5 more mana to give a creature -3/-3. Way too expensive. Probably playable at 4, useable at 3 and at instant speed - a real card.

57. Death of a Thousand Stings
Seeing this card drain for about 4 today did not change my mind. 5 mana a turn to extort is barely passable.

56. Flare
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So bad, many red cards are worth much more doing 2, 3 heck even 4 damage for less mana and don't have the silly cantrip associated with it.

55. Joyous Respite
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Maybe you have 4 lands, 6, 8? I guess at 8 lands you get a better bargain than the Elixir of Vitality, but what if you draw this opening hand. Just a dead card.

54. Kamahl's Sledge
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Just compare Flame Slash. The good news is that at 7 mana, you had better have hit threshold if you are playing this card on purpose.

53. Mercadian Lift
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Losing a card and playing two mana allows you to - cast cards as you normally would for their regular casting cost. Well, um, I guess if you are just land screwed and waiting around for that 3+ casting cost spell to be played, this will allow you to play it. And you've lost.

52. Meteor Crater
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The only mana producing land in the game that can't cast something without a permanent being on the board. Think about that awhile. And not only does it just add 1, it adds one of the same color. God Awful.

51. Sacred Rites
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Play a card and discard 3 cards to give all your creatures 3 extra toughness for a turn. No. This is only passable as discarding one card and saving some of your creatures. Even doing that costs you two cards for hopefully one of your opponents in return.

50. Barreling Attack
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Way too expensive to give a creature trample until end of turn. It might be worth it if you have a huge creature getting chump blocked. But that's very specific territory.

49. Pale Moon
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Take that non basic lands. It costs you a card and only lasts one turn. Not sure when this would be useful. Early game, you are losing a turn. Late game and they might have more lands than non basic ones, and probably won't be hurt too much by this card. And it works against you as well.

48. Malicious Advice
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Expensive in lots of ways. It could be used as a finisher. To be tapping cards for one turn - not even lands effectively - for the cost of a good amount of mana and some life is pretty terrible.

47. Tahngarth's Glare
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Just a worthless card. If your opponent is tutoring, set them back 2 turns. There's not much else you can do about it. Just inevitable. And they get to do it back to you.

46. Enter the Infinite
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To play this card assumes lots of things - 1. That you can cast the 12 mana monstrosity. 2. That you have nothing better to do with 12 mana(what turn is this?). 3. You must have a winning combo you can make with your deck in one turn. Way too specific. These cards that are the worst are unplayable under most circumstances.

45. Acceptable Losses
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Two cards, one of them maybe useful and 4 mana to do 5 damage to a creature at sorcery speed. These are not acceptable losses. Maybe as instant, for 2 mana?

44. Wolfhunter's Quiver
6 mana to turn one of your creatures into a Tim. There are much better, much cheaper equipment cards. Oh wait you are playing a werewolf deck, ah ha!

43. Great Wall
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The number of creatures with Plainswalking is absurdly low. Lower than the other four colors by far. That said, at least this card doesn't hurt you like these next two cards.

42. Carnival of Souls
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Very popular card in lists like this. Yes, I believe there are 41 cards shittier than this. Hurt yourself for 2 mana! Maybe you can do something with all that extra black mana one at a time, maybe you help ping yourself to death.

41. Fasting
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Why in the world you would skip your draw phase to gain 2 life is an unanswerable question. Not even sure this can double up with Necropotence. The good news is that the nonsense only lasts for 5 turns. Even if you had an ultimate lock... Would you deny yourself 5 cards - for the cost of a card -  for the slow gain of 10 life? Maybe your opponent has too many Howling Mines and is milling you?

Monday, June 3, 2013

My 100 Worst Magic Cards Part 2/5

Someone had a point on the forum that Thought Scour is worse than Fleeting Distraction. They have a point, a mill for 2 is more worthless than giving a creature -1/0. Fleeting Distraction just seems like much more of a waste of a card. You would never play either, but I'm splitting hairs I suppose.

80. Vibrating Sphere
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Might be good in unleash decks, but you had better not have dreams of blocking. Creatures with defender aren't going to use this. You aren't allowed weenies by playing this. Not worth the power bonus to make your creatures that much weaker.

79. Vicious Betrayal
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Until end of turn? Are they joking? 5 mana for this effect is bad. How many creatures are you going to sacrifice? You had better be giving the bonus to a trample creature or risk all sorts of problems.

78. Pull Under
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6 mana for semi-removal might barely be passable in green or even blue, but black has so many more options. Only until end of turn means you can't even hurt your opponents large creatures for long.

77. Psychic Battle
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Other than the fact that this won't always help you, you need to be playing a very specific kind of deck to even attempt to make this work. A high casting cost deck still might backfire on you half of the time.

76. Fortified Area
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This was a terrible card before they stopped printing walls. The power bonus is effectively worthless and banding walls will only save you so much.

75. Fervent Denial
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A five mana counterspell is just too expensive. You can't hold that kind of mana available for a counter. Sure the 7 mana flashback might give your opponent second thoughts, but you aren't playing anything else holding that much open.

74. Nomad Stadium
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I can't think of why this card could possibly be better than a plains. It hurts you, you can't use it until you hit threshold. I guess you draw it late game and gain a life for essentially 1 mana? Not worth the headache.

73. Decaying Soil
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It's hard to keep threshold when you are removing a card a turn from your graveyard. 3 mana, 2 black to boot and black is the color of wanting things in your graveyard. You might be able to recast a creature which potentially makes this useful, but there are better ways to do this which aren't as restrictive and don't require removing your graveyard.

72. Spring of Eternal Peace
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Worse than Angel's mercy - 4 mana for 7 life? Yes, yes this is. Compare to Rest for the Weary.

71. Feroz'z Ban
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So expensive for what it does. By turn 6 if your opponent hasn't cast at least 3 creatures, he is already land screwed, is only playing giants or doesn't have that many to begin with. The affect to you can be played around, but even in a creature-less deck this is still too expensive to do anything.

70. Vassal's Duty
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5 mana to redirect 1 damage and you had better have some legendary creatures to make this worthwhile. It doesn't even prevent damage, it just channels it to you. Blocking just isn't the same.

69. Malicious Intent
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2 mana, a card and a creature every turn to prevent one creature from blocking? Only in the most aggressive of decks would this be even remotely useful.

68. Deep Water
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3 blue so that you can cast all the blue spells you ever wanted? What can't you possibly play from your hand that would make you want to run this? Just a few too short for a Leviathan?

67. Hidden Path
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Almost looks like a real card - albeit a sideboard one except the fact that your opponents green creatures can hit you at will as well. So for this to work, wait this hurts my head, this doesn't work.

66. Cut the Tethers
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Bounce all Spirits for 4 mana? Unless they play 3? They had better have multiple Spirits, not have 3 mana available or risk them keeping their best one, and you need to be able to do something with the bounced creatures before they are cast again. Good luck.

65. Balm of Restoration
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3 mana to gain 2 life is the worst bargain of all time. It can prevent 2 damage to a creature which prevents this from being the worst card of all time.

64. Hint of Insanity
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Very specific for 3 mana. To make this work you need to be lucky and you need to know your opponents deck. So rarely would that happen. Instead just a hand reveal-er for 3.

63. Elixir of Vitality
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Seems like a bargain compared to Balm of Restoration. 4 life 4 four mana, helps give metal-craft. If you opponent really wants it gone though he has a turn to do it. Holding out to gain 8 life for the low low price of 8 mana? There are many cards infinitely better than this: see Elixir of Immortality.

62. Arcum's Sleigh
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You are required to have your opponent be using snow covered lands for this to work. But even if it does work, 2 lands a turn to give one of your creatures vigilance is really not that good of an effect.

61. Freyalise's Radiance
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Acts as a Stasis for snow permanents except the fact that the upkeep doubles every turn. You aren't going to be playing much else while your opponents poor snowy cards can't untap.