On Anatomy of a Bulk Rare, we take a look at a wide variety of cards worth a minimum of 10 cents on the ordinary buylist.
Today, we look at Serpentine Spike from Battle for Zendikar. This is what we would call a “true” bulk rare. That means this card will never see any meaningful Constructed play. This 7 mana Sorcery is actually pretty good in Limited. The fact that it can often kill 3 creatures at once makes it a good card from a card advantage standpoint. It deserves to be a rare from that perspective. The trouble is that it requires three different targets to be effective, even if you have to choose your own creatures. The good news is that you can just choose 1 or 2 creatures, but you have to choose which ones to deal 2 damage, 3 damage, and 4 damage to in succession.
This is what you call a “high-variance” card. There will be times where this card will turn the game in your favor on its own. As a rare that was included in one of the Battle for Zendikar Intro Packs, some newer players probably became a bit frustrated with it due to how awkward this card can be.
The good news about Serpentine Spike is that you can always include it as a bulk rare when you’re selling cards to a store. Is it useful to you otherwise? As far as teaching new players about complicated cards, it can serve as a good teaching tool. If you’re drafting Battle for Zendikar for fun, it’s also good. But if you’re actually building a deck that doesn’t involve a limited card pool, you can happily let it go for a dime.