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Rise of the Eldrazi Set Review – Red

 

Unsurprisingly, Red got a bunch of burn spells, most of which are actually quite interesting. Red mages now have a whole toolbox of damaging spells to choose from, all depending on what they are trying to accomplish. Red also got a very dangerous card in Devastating Summons, which fits Red’s all-in mentality perfectly. That isn’t all, so let’s get to the cards, with the rating scale as follows:

Constructed

5.0: Multi-format All-Star. Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Tarmogoyf.

4.0: Format staple. Bloodbraid Elf. Baneslayer Angel.

3.5: Good in multiple archetypes, but not a format staple. Raging Ravine. Oblivion Ring.

3.0: Archetype staple. Sprouting Thrinax. Goblin Guide.

2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. Rampant Growth. Divination.

2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. Celestial Purge. (Bear in mind that many cards fall into this “maybe” category, although explanation of why is obviously important)

1.0 It has seen play once. One with Nothing. (I believe it was “tech” vs Owling Mine, although fairly suspicious tech at that.)

Limited

5.0: I will always play this card. Period.

4.5: I will almost always play this card, regardless of what else I get.

4.0: I will strongly consider playing this as the only card of its color.

3.5: I feel a strong pull into this card’s color.

3.0: This card makes me want to play this color. (Given that I’m playing that color, I will play this card 100% of the time.)

2.5: Several cards of this power level start to pull me into this color. If playing that color, I essentially always play these. (Given that I’m playing that color, I will play this card 90% of the time.)

2.0: If I’m playing this color, I usually play these. (70%)

1.5: This card will make the cut into the main deck about half the times I play this color. (50%)

1.0: I feel bad when this card is in my main deck. (30%)

0.5: There are situations where I might sideboard this into my deck, but I’ll never start it. (10%)

0.0: I will never put this card into my deck (main deck or after sideboarding). (0%)

 

Akoum Boulderfoot 

Constructed: 1.0

I was trying to think of how much damage this would need to deal to be good in Constructed, and I think the number I settled on was five. One is a far cry from that, meaning this guy will be cooling his heels on the sidelines.

Limited: 2.0

Sparkmage Apprentice just got quite the upgrade. Instead of playing a Searing Touch that has a 1/1 attached, you are now playing a 4/5 that has a Searing Touch attached. The Boulderfoot might be one of the less powerful 6+ drops, but if you don’t have a high end, he works just fine.

 

Battle Rampart 

Constructed: 1.0

Battle is one thing this Wall will not be seeing much of, at least not in 60-card decks.

Limited: 1.5

If you have a ton of really awesome creatures, the Rampart makes your draws way more aggressive. It still kind of sucks in its own, but the potential for nut draws makes it good in some decks. Hitting with an Annihilator guy before they get a chance to Narcolepsy it is a big game.

 

Battle-Rattle Shaman 

Constructed: 1.0

The only thing this really has going for it is a kind of cool name, but if that was all it took to make a Constructed playable, Legends would have been the best set ever.

Limited: 2.0

The Shaman is a lot better than I first thought when I saw him. If you have an evasive guy, he essentially swings for two a turn, and on many boards the +2/+0 lets you get through when you otherwise wouldn’t. Not every deck will want him, but he fits in more decks than you might think.

 

Brimstone Mage 

Constructed: 1.0

Cunning Sparkmage #5-8?

I think not. By the time you load this cannon, either they kill him or the game is over, neither of which sounds especially appealing. I like giving them fire and brimstone as much as the next guy, but this is not exactly how you want to go about doing so.

Limited: 3.5

Pingers are awesome, even ones that take two turns and seven mana to get ready. If they don’t have removal, they can’t exactly play a 1-toughness guy into a level zero Brimstone Mage, so just by playing him on turn three you limit their plays, even if you aren’t intending on leveling him up. Once you start throwing three-point fireballs, the game shouldn’t last very long.

 

Brood Birthing 

Constructed: 2.0

Any card that can generate more mana than its casting cost is worth keeping in mind, even if it is as narrow as this. You obviously need a ton of ways to make sure you have the first Spawn, since casting Brood Birthing for one is pretty miserable, but this looks to be an important part of Spawn-centric decks. I’m not sure what such decks are trying to accomplish, though casting something like Emrakul, the Aeons Torn does seem like a worthy goal. Nest Invader looks like a perfectly reasonable Magic card, and even Kozilek’s Predator and Emrakul’s Hatcher seem fine in a focused deck. If you are trying to go nuts, Brood Birthing will likely be featured.

Limited: 1.5

Kind of the same deal for Limited. If you have a bunch of ways to summon the Brood and ways to use it, feel free to put this in your deck. Otherwise, don’t. This is one of those cards that gets played in many decks where it doesn’t belong, since it looks pretty awesome when everything is going correctly.

 

Conquering Manticore 

Constructed: 1.0

Dragon + Threaten is a kind of awkward combination, because decks that are traditionally interested in Threaten don’t tend to really want six-drops. It is a huge Red flier that isn’t actually a Dragon, which means it can take Baneslayer, but it still loses to it in a fight, so that’s kind of lame.

Limited: 4.0

This is going to lead to some nice stories, I can just tell. Taking their Eldrazi and bashing is a huge swing, and you get to follow up by bashing for five in the air. One of the problems with Threaten is that it doesn’t advance your board state, and Conquering Manticore solves that problem quite neatly. Of course, you are really playing this for the Dragon, not the Threaten, but the point stands.

 

Devastating Summons 

Constructed: 3.0

I originally thought this card had Haste, and was roundly mocked by wrapter, since apparently that would be too good. After playing with it some, I have to agree. As is, it is very hard to for non-Wrath decks to deal with, especially if the Red deck has any sort of board presence beforehand. When it gets really devastating is when you add Goblin Bushwhacker to the mix. All of a sudden you are looking at a ton of damage for just three mana, which is a beating. Triple-Red is tough for any deck but mono-Red, and Bushwhacker is not that good in most mono-Red decks, but the Summons is good enough to demand a deck built around it.

Limited: 2.0

Another card that is at its best in aggressive decks, Summons can put them under a ton of pressure if you make a couple 5/5s on turn five. Curving out and finishing with a 4-drop plus Summons for five is pretty nutty, although more than balanced by the fact that you almost definitely lose if they can deal with the onslaught. This is one of the cards that I want to keep an eye on, since I could see it being even better than I thought.

 

Disaster Radius 

Constructed: 1.0

To see this effect done well, I refer you to Martial Coup. Imagine finally hitting the seventh land for this, but not having a creature in your hand. Now that’s what I call a disaster.

Limited: 3.0

Talk about an effect worth paying seven for! If you have even 12 guys in your deck this is fine, as long as a couple are of decent size. Revealing a three-drop will still clear most of their guys out, and once you start showing a five-mana spell you are in good shape. Some games it will be a lousy topdeck, and some games you will have to slowroll a creature you want to play, but the games it works outweigh all of that.

 

Emrakuls Hatcher 

Constructed: 2.0

If feels like there are a lot of speculative cards in this set, with the Spawn cards reminding me of the Bloodghast / sacrifice cards. I think the Spawn cards are more likely to see play, with Hatcher being one of them. It takes a pretty focused deck to want to cast this over Siege-Gang Commander, but there just might be enough enablers and rewards to make it happen.

Limited: 3.5

This is the sort of enabler I can get behind. Great at face value and great at adding mana, it is not difficult to imagine following up the Hatcher with some monstrous threat, and even if you don’t plan on doing that, the Hatcher is a quality creature.

 

Explosive Revelation 

Constructed: 2.0

There may just be enough Brainstorm effects (Jace, Halimar Depths) to warrant trying to 15 people by flipping Emrakul. See Beyond fits perfectly in the deck, and other burn spells can do the five damage if need be. Now, I don’t know if that is all better than just casting Polymorph, and I suspect that it isn’t, but it does ignore most cards that the opponent could play, which is always good. I would want to play the deck just because I know at some point I would get to hardcast Emrakul, which would be awesome.

Limited: 3.0

It would take a whole lot of one-drops before I would consider cutting this from my deck. At first I thought it was terrible, but that is because I didn’t really read the card, and assumed it was Erratic Explosion. Getting to keep the revealed card makes this awesome, since it is a built-in two for one! Even if it does like 2.5 damage on average, killing a 2-toughness guy and drawing a spell is sweet, and this will often do way more than that.

 

Fissure Vent 

Constructed: 1.0

I wonder when we will see straight up Stone Rain that only hits nonbasics, since that seems to be the trend in land destruction nowadays. As cool as it would be to kill an Everflowing Chalice and a Celestial Colonnade, five mana is just too much for this effect.

Limited: 0.5

There aren’t many artifacts that need killing, and less nonbasics, but I guess you could sideboard this in the event that you need to do so.

 

Flame Slash 

Constructed: 2.0

Strafe and Sunlance have both been cast in Constructed tournaments before, which does bode well for Flame Slash. Then again, now we have cards like Lightning Bolt and Burst Lightning and Searing Blaze, so on second thought, maybe not. If for some reason hitting four toughness guys is very important, maybe some Slashing will occur, but that is a pretty corner case. This is definitely a card that would have been awesome a few years ago but is pretty meh now.

Limited: 3.5

I really like Flame Slash in Limited. Premium removal that is also ridiculously mana-efficient is sick, and it works very well with Mnemonic Wall and Echo Mage (both of which I had at the prerelease, which admittedly may make me a little biased). Being able to drop a guy and kill their guy on turn four is sick, and four damage is enough to kill most guys, including levelers.

 

Forked Bolt 

Constructed: 2.5

Yet another card competing for Burn slots, Forked Bolt offers a one-mana two for one, which is rare. Burst Lightning edges this out in most matchups, but Bolt is powerful enough to warrant consideration. Any time you snag two guys it is just absurd, and a sorcery-speed Shock is not a huge downgrade.

Limited: 3.0

A little worse than either Flame Slash or Staggershock, Forked Bolt is still a kill spell and still offers up two for ones, so you won’t see it late. I luckily had all three in one of my decks, and it was pretty sweet having the right burn spell at any point in the game. Once you see one of these out of the opponent, you should be able to prevent them from destroying you with it, another reason it loses a little luster against competent opponents.

 

Goblin Arsonist 

Constructed: 1.0

Mogg Fanatic was a staple for years, and Arsonist is a “fixed” Mogg Fanatic that works under the new rules, but not being able to pull the trigger at any time sets fire to any chance of this seeing play.

Limited: 1.5

This blocks pretty well, but they can just ignore it if they have a sweet 1-toughness guy. There are some decks that have to attack into it, but those are the decks that don’t have important 1-toughness guys usually. If they are 2-drop beatdown, this trades well, but it should be almost impossible to two for one them with this.

 

Goblin Tunneler 

Constructed: 1.0

Skip the tunneling and call in the (ruin)blasting crew.

Limited: 1.0

The rating is a bit tricky on this one. It works very well with cards like Valakut Fireboar and Kiln Fiend, but is obviously loose on its own. It shouldn’t be difficult to pick these up if you want them, which should only be if you have 3+ of the above-mentioned guys.

 

Grotag Siege-Runner 

Constructed: 1.0

If the Wall deck gets big somehow, decks could start running these, but that isn’t going to happen any time soon.

Limited: 2.0

There aren’t quite enough Walls in the set to make this an auto-play, but a 2/1 for two doesn’t need to do all that much to be decent. Its ability is perfect for the kind of deck that wants 2/1’s to begin with, which is good design. It is also obviously a good sideboard card if they have some sweet Walls to kill.

 

Heat Ray 

Constructed: 1.0

If Banefire isn’t seeing play, what are the chances that Heat Ray will?

Limited: 3.0

You aren’t going to win any efficiency battles with Heat Ray, since in most cases you will pay as much or more than they did for whatever you kill, but instant-speed removal is never a bad thing. Its inefficiency doesn’t matter much lategame, and at that point you get to kill almost anything, even some monstrous Eldrazi. It is a little tedious to keep mana up in case of an Umbra, but having the option is nice.

 

Hellion Eruption 

Constructed: 1.0

If you have a bunch of creatures out that they can’t deal with, upgrading them to 4/4 is not necessary. When a bunch of Saproling tokens erupt into Hellions, they are more often than not going to just get Wrathed immediately. This is not one of the cards that will go in the Spawn deck.

Limited: 3.5

This ranges from solid to ridiculous, all depending on how many crappy creatures you can churn out. Even in a normal deck with few ways to make Spawn, turning everything you have in play into a 4/4 is a nice upgrade. If you can make Spawn, this is like a delayed Overrun, and one that is good even if you just have a couple things in play. Definitely powerful enough to draft around if you get it early, and not hard to make decent if you pick it up late.

 

Kargan Dragonlord 

Constructed: 3.5

An obvious homage to Figure of Destiny, Kargan Dragonlord is luckily not quite as powerful (I say “luckily” because I was always on the other side of the table), but still awesome enough to see a lot of play. Between Plated Geopede, Hellspark Elemental and this, Red now has a dangerous amount of hard-hitting two-drops, which is good news for those who like the Mountains. It flies over Kor Firewalker and Wall of Omens, which are among two of the hardest cards for Red to deal with, and it gives you a great mana sink when you have excess mana lying around. This is exactly the kind of card Red wants, and only the fact that it really only fits in Mono-Red will limit how much play it sees.

Limited: 3.5

Even though it is very Red-intensive, being able to pay in installments makes the Dragonlord awesome in even a half-Red deck. If you are more than half-Red, it gets absurd, since you get to bash with a huge Dragon as early as turn four or five.

 

Kiln Fiend 

Constructed: 1.0

Red is flush with awesome cards nowadays, which will stop borderline cards like Kiln Fiend from seeing any play. Red tends to win the games when it has a steady stream of spells to play, so adding a card that depends on that is just asking for trouble.

Limited: 1.0-3.0

A card you need to really build around, Kiln Fiend doesn’t work in just any random deck. It can do a ton of damage if you have enough Rebound going on (Distortion Strike is especially nasty), but in a normal deck it will mostly just be filler. Even if you have a bunch of spells, consider when you want to normally be casting them, and don’t just throw in the Fiend because he is good with spells.

 

Lagac Lizard 

Constructed: 1.0

Slither on back to the 40-card decks where you belong.

Limited: 1.5

Hill Giant is always the definition of unexciting, but makes the cut often enough. If you need it, you need it, but you are rarely happy about it.

 

Lavafume Invoker 

Constructed: 1.0

I bet he is just fuming about never getting any Constructed play.

Limited: 1.0

Much like the other Invokers, his 8-mana ability is quite powerful, but unlike the rest he is pretty boring otherwise. His ability isn’t even good in every deck, which means he is only good when you have a bunch of creatures (or really need a 3-drop; all creatures are somewhat playable in that regard).

 

Lord of Shatterskull Pass 

Constructed: 1.0

You shall not pass (into the realm of Constructed)! Even a “cheap” 6/6 is nothing impressive in Constructed, and his highest level doesn’t do anything to change that.

Limited: 4.0

This guy bashes for a ton, and really quickly at that. If they do manage to assemble a defense capable of holding him back, just wait a few turns and he casts Plague Wind!

 

Lust for War 

Constructed: 1.0

You mean I have to attack with this Sprouting Thrinax? I guess I will then, and with Bloodbraid Elf and Raging Ravine as well. Oh, you are dead? That sucks.

Limited: 1.0

This does do a few things, albeit most of them poorly. It makes them unable to block with the enchanted guy, although you do have to wait a turn, and it still damages you. It also provides a source of direct damage, though again you take some damage, and it is also removal, despite costing you two cards most of the time. Overall not impressive, but doing enough different things does make it somewhat playable.

 

Magmaw 

Constructed: 1.0

I always think of this card being said in Dr. Evil’s voice, and that is about the most interesting thing about it. I guess tossing lands would have been a bit much for Limited, and not even necessarily enough to make it good enough for Constructed.

Limited: 4.0

The bar isn’t too high for 5-mana 4/4’s, and the second ability is definitely not irrelevant. Decks that don’t have Spawn to chuck can still throw dying creatures, Narcolepsied guys, and even random non-creature permanents like an Umbra on a guy that is getting bounced.

 

Ogre Sentry 

Constructed: 1.0

Red is not really in the lookout for Walls, and this doesn’t even block most of the current threats.

Limited: 2.5

I don’t know Red’s identity well enough in this set to say for sure how often it will want a card like this, but I know I like it. Clearly not great in beatdown, Ogre Sentry gives any sort of midrange or slow deck a good way to survive until late. Also, Warmonger’s Chariot, etc.

 

Rage Nimbus 

Constructed: 1.0

I would be pretty mad too, if I was a 5/3 for three that couldn’t attack.

Limited: 4.0

At worst, it trades for their best guy, and most games it will do way more than that. It is difficult to battle with this and survive, and it stops them from casting 2-power guys without disrupting your curve in the least. Lategame it also is a beast to deal with, so I feel safe putting it above all the common removal.

 

Raid Bombardment 

Constructed: 1.0

Most games where you are bashing with multiple guys, you don’t need much help, and this is a pretty miserable topdeck. This is not Sulfiric Vortex, or even Boggart Shenigans.

Limited: 0.5

The problem with using this with Spawn is that they can just block and kill all the Spawn, so that mostly limits this to use in a low-curve aggro deck. Again, if you are repeatedly attacking them, you don’t need the help, making this inconsistent.

 

Rapacious One 

Constructed: 1.0

I think I’ll just be good and limit myself to calling this Constructed unplayable.

Limited: 2.5

Hopefully you get to cut this from your deck, since that means your deck is pretty sweet. Trading your six-drop for a guy or two and getting a few chumps out of the deal is a good scenario, and isn’t that unlikely to occur. Sure, sometimes they just kill it, but removal is killing something, and you should be able to get good value out of this more often than not.

 

Soulsurge Elemental 

Constructed: 1.0

I can’t imagine a scenario where playing this isn’t asking to just get blown out somehow, whether it be mass removal or just blocking with a guy and Terminating something else.

Limited: 2.0

In a creature-heavy deck, the Elemental is fine, since First Strike makes combat a lot less likely to go badly. Even if a bunch of guys trade in combat, your Elemental already killed his opposition, so you aren’t going to get destroyed.

 

Spawning Breath 

Constructed: 2.0

Wow, another potentially playable burn spell. It is interesting how many of these we are getting, and it will be cool seeing which end up showing up in decks. A burn spell/mana ramp/two for one, Breath has a lot of little advantages that make it worth looking at. This isn’t really a card for an aggressive deck, but in some ramp deck it could work quite well.

Limited: 3.0

Even against decks without many targets, this accelerates out something absurd, and in a pinch makes a chump blocker. I suppose if they had actual no targets, I would cut it, but you rarely get that level of information about an opposing deck.

 

Splinter Twin 

Constructed: 2.0

People have been trying to jam Kiki-Jiki and Pestermite into all sorts of decks, but so far I have been unimpressed with the results. Splinter Twin works way better than the Kiki, since now you can EOT Pestermite them, then untap and play this for the kill, which is vastly better than having to pay five for Kiki. Whether that will make the deck good enough, I don’t know, but it seems like an improvement.

Limited: 1.5

If you don’t have anything filthy to put this on, it actually isn’t that impressive. Making a 3/3 to attack them with each turn is just asking to get 2 for 1ed for little gain, so I wouldn’t play it unless I had some guys with enter the battlefield effects.

 

Staggershock 

Constructed: 3.5

Not only does this do four damage for three mana, it is also one of the easiest two for one’s ever printed. All you have to do is cast it, and it does the work for you! It might not kill them if you peel it on your last turn, but every other turn it does just fine, and splitting up the damage is a really nice bonus. I would be shocked if this didn’t turn up in multiple Red decks; it is just too versatile not to.

Limited: 4.0

Removal doesn’t usually make it to 4, but being able to pick off two guys with ease is a pretty unique quality. Usually you have to set things up or pay a lot of mana to get a two for one, but Staggershock requires neither. Spending your turn three to kill their two and three drop is hard to beat, and even late this can just nug them.

 

Surreal Memoir 

Constructed: 1.0

Using Memoir to get back two Lightning Bolts is close to good enough in terms of mana efficiency, but the times when it is clunky or doesn’t have targets make it too inconsistent to really see play. If this got back sorceries, or was an instant itself, it would be sweet, but I guess either was probably too dangerous.

Limited: 1.0-3.0

Inspiration that draws you two removal spells is awesome, but only in decks with 5+ targets is Memoir going to reliably get there. In case you didn’t know, getting back an instant and then casting it in response to the Rebound trigger is a common play, since it gets you the full value out of this.

 

Traitorous Instinct 

Constructed: 1.0

It has been awhile since I have seen Red decks using Threatens, so my instinct is to call this unplayable. The +2/+0 is worth the extra mana, although like I said, there really isn’t a deck interested in it.

Limited: 1.0

I rarely play Threaten myself, but it is good in decks that want it. If you are aggressive, feel free to crush people with this, but like I have said about many cards, putting this in your average deck is not likely to turn out well.

 

Tuktuk the Explorer 

Constructed: 1.0

There are better ways to get an undercosted 5/5, Plated Geopede, anyone? Having to go through the trouble of killing Tuktuk (I almost typed “Squee” there) is just not worth the hassle.

Limited: 3.0

He holds off their ground guys or bashes for an unblockable one..what’s not to like? You might even toss a point from a Forked Bolt or a Staggershock at him, and even if you don’t it is hard for Tuktuk not to be decent.

 

Valakut Fireboar 

Constructed: 1.0

I’m sorry if my puns are getting boring, but there really isn’t much boarmore to say about cards like this.

Limited: 2.5

A 1/7 Wall does a great job of holding off non-Eldrazi attackers, and bashing for seven is never bad. You either kill all their guys with removal, make the Boar unblockable, or just settle for trading him for something; all seem like fine situations to me!

 

Vent Sentinel 

Constructed: 1.0

Eventually there might be enough good Walls to get something going, but I doubt this will be the finisher of choice.

Limited: 2.0

By his lonesome, the Sentinel blocks reasonably well and pings for one, which isn’t bad. Once you start gunning for multiple damage, he becomes a real threat, so it’s hard to go wrong with this guy.

 

World at War 

Constructed: 1.0

If you want an extra attack phase that badly, try casting Time Warp. Not only do you get to bash again, you draw a card and untap all your lands! I do have to say that this is one of the best Relentless Assault variants printed in a while, but I still think it falls short of playable.

Limited: 2.0

You only need to have a 3-power guy getting through each time to make this better than Lava Axe, but the second hit is going to be less likely to succeed than the first. In an aggressive deck (preferably with a lot of evasion) this can do a ton of damage, and is worth a slot.

 

Wrap in Flames 

Constructed: 1.0

I wish this would make it to Constructed, since anytime I ended a game with this I would say “and that’s a wrap”. I guess I will have to limit myself to doing so in Limited

Limited: 2.0

A more restrictive Arc Lightning is the primary function of this, but the not blocking part is important too. It is nice being able to play a Falter effect (more Saga references!) that is good when you are on defense, since I just love flexible cards.

Top Five Constructed Cards for Red

5. Spawning Breath
4. Forked Bolt
3. Devastating Summons
2. Kargan Dragonlord
1. Staggershock

Wow, Red made out pretty well. Staggershock and Dragonlord are both very good, and only the mana issue made me put the Shock at higher. Devastating Summons is sure going to beat down, although it requires more work than any of the other cards on the list. I chose Spawning Breath over Flame Slash because it does something different than most burn spells, even though Slash is a little more powerful. Decks that want straight burn already have a ton of better options, but Breath offers something else, which might help it see play. Overall, Red got a bunch of new toys, and seems well set up to have multiple distinct Mono-Red decks in Standard.

Join me tomorrow, as I finish up the colors with Green!

LSV

61 thoughts on “<i>Rise of the Eldrazi</i> Set Review – Red”

  1. Splinter Twin – I think of this as a pure combo card. It goes very well with several commons, but shouldn’t be played unless you have one or more combos. If the best you can do is slap it on a Spawn for a very expensive and fragile land, don’t bother.

  2. I’m pretty shocked at how low you rated Kiln Fiend for constructed. You’re aware that this is a two-drop that gets in for 4 on turn three? As in, often more than Geopede? And happens to interact *incredibly* well with Staggershock, which conveniently costs three?

    It’s not great, but I’d be pretty surprised if it’s really something that can be dismissed out-of-hand. I mean, you did just spend a third of this article talking about which burn spells to play with.

  3. pretty spot-on, although I think a deck with the dwarf unblockable dude is viable enough. wish you hadn’t thought so highly of devastating summons, that was my surprise tech 🙁

  4. devastating summons plus sarkhan vol? interesting card nonetheless… being able to play another spell in the same turn will make this playable somewhere… staggershock took some convincing but i think im almost there

  5. @zadok

    I don’t see how Kiln Fiend is better than Geopede or Kargan Dragonlord. Like I said in my review, if things are going well and you have all these spells to cast, sure, it beats for a good amount. If you don’t then all of a sudden you have a Squire. Even with spells, it doesn’t have evasion or first strike, so it isn’t winning any fights.

  6. -top five commons for limited?

    Also i think Lust for War is a bit better than a 1.0 in limited as it races their 2 power evasion guy, punishes utility dude, prevents tappers from hitting during your turn and interacts interestingly with Umbras.

  7. Splinter Twin+Siegegang Commander=win

    And Goblin Tunneler can make Warren Instigator unblockable, allowing for Goblin madness

  8. Kiln Fiend’s 4+ power is pretty relevant with Wall of Omens being a big obstacle for red decks. Trading an attack phase + burn spell for the cantripping wall is pretty crushing while the Fiend at least gives you 8 two-drops (with Geopede) that can bash into the wall and save the spell. The argument for Fiend being such a bad top deck late is true, but the same is true to a lesser extent with Geopede. Geopede is far better since it doesn’t have to trade with creatures like Kiln Fiend, but since it trades with Wall by itself or can deal 4-7 on T3 following something like a Lightning Bolt and/or Searing Blaze (not a condition that’s out of the way for MonoRed/RB decks), it shouldn’t be completely dismissed. It may not see play, but it’s certainly better than cards like One With Nothing (the rating 1 example)

  9. Fortunately, sac’ing the lands is an additional cost to play Devastating Summons. Flashfreeze ahoy!

  10. I always read these articles, but have never really felt such a compulsion to respond until now. Im aware that LSV is one of the best players in the world today, but after reading these reviews so far I feel he really doesnt have a great grasp of whats going to be playable in RoE. A couple examples spring to mind.

    First card is Traitorous Instinct. Yes, you may not be a fan of Threaten effects in previous limited formats, I understand that. However, this is the set built around Big Random Monsters. I guarantee the first time you threaten an Eldrazi, 2 for 1 them just off Annihilator, and bash for 9 or more, youre going to change your tune on the card.

    Second card is from the Black review, and thats the 1/1 Nantuko Husk for 2 (forget his name). You rated him absurdly low, and while I know its hard to have alot of ‘field data’ on cards to this point, play a few games with him and Im fairly sure your attitude would change on him. He gives you outs for your spawn for uses other than pumping out Eldrazi. In any RB or BG deck he can easily threaten lethal on turn 6 or so (which I have a feeling will sound quite a bit better after more play with the set).

    Also, overall I havent seen alot mentioned about the fact that there are multiple cards in the format that easily deal with 1 toughness creatures. Sure, the primary purpose of these cards may be to keep spawns in check so people dont consistently throw out turn 5 eldrazi, but the side effect is it makes every ‘real’ 1 toughness creature in the format significantly weaker than in other sets. Something like the x/1 first striker from red is an easy example of this.

    There were a few other instances of cards seen from the first few days that stick out as grossly undervalued (regress comes to mind). Its just going to be the nature of the format that since people are going to have higher casting cost cards in their decks combined with multiple levelers, people are just in general going to be playing less cards early game. Tempo cards such as regress gain a decent amount of value in an environment like that.

  11. Strongly disagree with your rating on World at War. This card is an absolute blowout as it’s easy to set yourself up to, and getting four attack phases in two turns will almost always thwart your opponent’s game plan. It’s one of those cards that are very hard to play around, and still very hard to do anything about.

    3.0-3.5

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  13. Kiln Fiend is crap. LSV is right. I tested Devastating Summons also and it just loses to into the roil. This deck cant be v good if it loses to any spot defense. I was testing block so imagine how much worse it is vs path

  14. I guess I’m going to be the only one trying staggershock in conjunction with bloodchief ascension…

    That’s almost certainly correct, but I’ve tried pretty much everything else with it, so best be thorough, eh?

  15. Kiln fiend likely deserve a higher rating in constructed. Even if you don’t built around him, he bashes as hard as geopede or even harder.

    Lavafume invoker is a lot better in limited than you give it credit for. Getting to 8 mana in this format is not too hard, and if you have even a couple spawns it quickly gets lethal. I was once able to race transcendent master because of this card. Also raid bombardement is ok in a very agressive deck with a lot of spawn. I played both of those cards in my deck at the prerelease and they preformed quite decently. Both of these cards deserve a full 1 point higher than you rated them.

  16. Hey LSV,

    Been reading your reviews for awhile now. Love em. Always have. And generally, I agree with most of what you say. There are a few problems with this set that I find glaring though.

    First, from this review, Lust for War. That card is absolutely nuts. On Sunday, I received a mediocre to downright bad pool for my sealed. I ended up building the ever-popular 4-color wall deck. Yeah, it was bad. And yet… it went 3-1 (and was 6 land draw in a row during game 3 of the finals from being 4-0). Admittedly, I had 2 Vent Sentinels and they won me a game or two. And I had Drana. Who I drew only once all day and yes, she won the game in short order. But the other 5 or 6 games I won? Entirely on the back of this card.

    Does it get better when you have a bunch of 0/X walls to block with? Sure. But even if you don’t, how bad is it to take 1 point of damage each turn from a Goblin Tunneler (especially since they will often just use him for his effect still anyway) while they are Bolting themselves each turn? One game, I dropped this turn 3 on the play on his 0/3 guy that eventually levelled to 6/6 islandwalk. He got so panicked about it that he didn’t play another spell for 3 turns while he levelled this guy fully. By then, he had taken 9 damage and I had 3 walls. So, for the next 4 turns, all I did was chump block once a turn until he was dead.

    Will this card sometimes just get them to use removal on their own dude? If they have it, absolutely. And when that happens… you have two-for-oned them which is ALWAYS good in limited.

    Lust for War is amazing and should be so noted.

    The other problem I had was with Training Grounds. I think that card is incredible in limited but since my spiel on Lust for War was so long, I think I’ll just leave it at that.

  17. Some of the ratings are quite off:

    Constructed: Kiln fiend is absurdly powerful in Sligh, one of the best creatures ever for this deck. It easily swings for 7-10 round 3 or 4, which is game.

    Limited: Lust for War: with some cheap blocker like the 1/5 spider it will win the game alone. If you happen to have a good offensive creature it will get there faster, since no more chumping from the opponent.

    Limited: I already died vs. multiple Raid Bombardements + spawns. Of course Shrivel just stomps this strategy, which is why you can board out the Bombardements g2. Really depressing to get 15 damage from 3 of these while he attacks with 2 Nest Invaders and 3 Tokens :O

  18. “If Banefire isn't seeing play, what are the chances that Heat Ray will? ”

    If you decide to play it in one of your decks then heat Ray wiil…

  19. Disagree with your rating on Goblin Arsonist. He does compete in a tough spot at 1 mana, but he combos so well with seige-gang commander. And as far as Flame Slash, Putrid Leech, Wall of Omens, and the like, not to mention you can do funny things like attack into their Baneslayer with Goblin Arsonist, and then kill it for 1 red mana (also pairs nicely with Cunning Sparkmage for same effect). I have been working on a different build for red that focuses more on control with burn, rather then just beating with “sac at end of turn” creatures, and for that deck, Goblin Arsonist, Flame Slash, and Kargon Dragonlord fit perfectly. Suppose it depends on the application how well these will fair.

  20. “I could see Splinter Twin in an Ally deck…”

    You can see it because you’re squinting. Setting yourself up for a 2-for-1 isn’t going to ever going to make this work better than just playing an ally in that slot. Except in “win more” cases.

  21. I think my only truly major disagreement is Kiln Fiend. That is just ridiculous if he survives for even a single turn.

  22. Splinter Twin is pretty powerful with the right comes into play effect. The Gravdigger imp guy or even one of the comes into play with spawn creatures can make a nightmare scenario for your opponent. Seems like a pretty good bomb to pick up in draft.

    Also Traitorous Instinct can be a brutal finisher. In a set with huge fatties running around being able to steal them smash with them and sac them to a Magmaw or the Vampire is a one-two punch that’s hard to recover from assuming you don’t kill them outright.

  23. Hi LSV,
    Great article thanks. However I disagree with your rating for Raid Bombardment. Although it will not fit into any deck, if you have plenty of spawn tokens in your deck it can be a great finisher. I didnt start it in my original pre-release build but after 2 games and realizing how many spawn tokens I had just sitting around in play I put it in. Just image 5 tokens in play and you top deck Raid Bombardment. They might be able to block some of the tokens but they are still taking 5 to the face. It also works well being played on turn 3. If you dropped little guys on turns 1-2 now they are hitting for more.

    Talking with many people through out the day most people at first felt it was a bad card. By the end of the day there was not a person there that was not sold on Raid Bombardment (atleast in a heavy token deck).

    I feel the rating should be 0.5-3 depending on how many tokens your deck can push out.

    I was also running Traitorous Instinct. The card is not bad and gets alot better if you have Bloodthrone Vampire:) Taking their Eldrazi giving it +2/0 bashing with it then sac’ing it is fun. Aside from doing that the card is still better in this set because there are so many big targets.

  24. I disagree about your rating for splinter twin in limited. I’ve used it on the many CIP creatures (hatchers/predators/pelakka wurms) at the pre-release to great success, but I’ve also thrown it on a vanilla creature to throw a chump every turn and won games I really shouldn’t have been in.

  25. Treacherous Instinct is one of those “when it’s good, it’s REALLY good” cards. For every time you steal their Beastbreaker of Bala Ghed with a snake umbra on it (I did this last night), there’s a time where it sits in your hand doing nothing because they have a kajillion Eldrazi Spawn chump blockers (this also happened last night).

  26. Just got to jump on the band wagon of Kiln Fiend. I think you will change your mind for constructed when it hits you for 7+ on turn 3.

    Even some legacy red decks are jumping on it.

  27. PlatypusPlatoon

    Threaten effects seem better than normal in this format, what with 8 mana annihilator guys running around. Maybe it’s still just sideboard material, but waiting until they sac all their spawn to cast their huge Eldrazi and then stealing it for one turn can be backbreaking.

    I had Rage Nimbus during the pre-release, and was thoroughly unimpressed. The 3 toughness means it almost never survives combat, so living the dream of repeated provokes rarely happens. Especially against the aggro leveller deck, you usually have to throw the Nimbus in front of their most threatening early game dork, as opposed to their actual “best creatures” which may come later. As a 3-mana removal spell, he’s fine, but 4.0 seems a touch high.

  28. Limited: Wrap in Flames:

    I think your rating the card a tad low. The card won me two games in sealed last week. The removal part is ok, but the ability to alpha strike past Eldrazi, walls, fatties, etc. is really needed in this limited format. Thanks for the thoughts as always.

  29. reading the comments is so hilarious, even more than the puns

    “hey guys, this card is nuts, i played it in one PRERELEASE tournament and it won me the game against this 10 year old boy and this other guy who never played with this set in limited before (like everyone else)”

  30. I disagree with the disagree-ers. Not that I agree exactly with everything LSV says, but you have to remember that these are initial impressions. I bet if LSV wrote this article next week, some of the ratings would be slightly different.

    Reading through the arguments against LSV’s ratings is pretty much a practice in corner case argument. If I have cards X,Y and Z, my opponent has played no land during the game, the temperature outside is 68.7, and a solar eclipse occurs, then said crappy card wins me the game. Yeah. That’s why it sucks.

    Don’t take that personally – I’m not trying to be a troll. I have my pet cards that LSV debunks too, but in the end, he’s usually right. I might end up building a casual deck with my pet card, but it’s not good enough to work in constructed, or to make happen reliably in a draft.

    My favorite card from this set is Devastating Summons. This will be much more fun to Cancel or Flashfreeze than my previous favorite – Harrow. Please put this in all red decks. Thank you.

  31. Constructed, Flame Slash: I think this will see more play just because of Wall of Omens. It’s one of the few efficient answers RDW has to it

  32. itd be really cool if after the review you could do a little wrap up, with what cards you think are best for constructed, what decks get the most, what new strategies might become viable along with something about limited like what color pairs/strategies you think are the best and what cards are most important for those. You are probably already spending a lot of time on this so i dont really expect too much, but some sort of overall review would be useful to read.

  33. According to the variable rating scale, raid bombardment should be 0.5 – 3.0 in limited or something, in a dedicated ramp deck, getting 1 damage off of all your spawns (and repeat for any they didn’t kill off while blocking) is often as good as or better than using them to cast an eldrazi

    If threaten is a 1.0 in m10 limited, then traitorous instinct deserves a 1.5 at least, it’s probably higher though given the possibility to grabbing eldrazi or max leveled bombers.

  34. @ tom

    Unfortunately I don’t really have time to do much but some quick thoughts, since reviewing each card already takes enough as is. I will do the top 5 commons for limited in each color when I wrap up my set reviews on Sunday though.

  35. I would like to make the case for at least a variable rating for Lust for War. As LSV said, it does too much to dismiss. It sucks in the wrong deck and is absolutely backbreaking in the right deck. The nice thing about it is that you’ll very likely be able to wheel them. They really really punish decks that use big butted defensive creatures or small non-levelers. As silly as it seems, dropping two on one guy (preferably something like that 0/3 leveler or the 1/5 spider) ends games in short order. It really does depend on the deck. Given how much direct damage there is in the set that can go to the face (staggershock, forked bolt, vent sentinel, the leveler Tim, the black crappy drain life), Lust for War will get you into range for those finishers really quick. I think that in most decks, it will be crappy, but in the right deck, it’s 4.0-5.0.

  36. I don’t think you give Surreal Memoir a proper examination. You mentioned two Lightning Bolts in your constructed opinion of it. You can do a lot more than 6 more damage with this card if you get back better instants. Limiting yourself to burn or red instants is a mistake, too.

    This gets back two instants. Sure, it says “random,” but proper deck construction and game play can avoid that clause. This card has Nucklavee potential at least. I’m not saying it is Staggershock-good, but it has more chance of being playable than some cards you rated above 1.

  37. @ Valakut Fireboar review:

    Don’t you mean that it’s boaring to review cards like that? Just sayin’….

  38. Seems pretty close. I think the 6/6 one sided wrath beatstick is a good deal better than a 5/3 fuck your plans wall, but I could be wrong. Insightful commentary as always.

  39. Just want to say about Kiln Fiend, it is absurd in R/G with Ancient Stirrings and Prey’s Vengeance. I got a deck with 4 Kiln Fiend, 6 Ancient Stirrings, and 2 Prey’s Vengeance, and it was like I’m playing Zendikar while they’re playing RoE. I played 13 land in that deck and never got manascrewed, also. Stirrings is great.

  40. Kiln Fiend is insane and even better in multiples. It kind of has Storm built into it if used correctly. Easily a fourth turn finisher if built around. First turn land, second turn Kiln Fiend, third turn, any combination of Lightning Bolt, Burst Lightning, Searing Blaze, Forked Bolt, etc and they are getting beaten severely. Bolt, Bolt to the face and with attack with Fiend is 13 damage on the third turn if uncontested, how can that be denied. If you live the dream and have 3 of any combination of Burst Lightning, Forked Bolt, or Lightning Bolt you are doing 16 to 19 damage on the third turn. Even if you bolt their guy so the Kiln Fiend can get through you still retain card advantage because the bonus the Fiend gets makes up for using the direct damage as removal. You say Kiln Fiend is a bad top deck, yeah, ok, but so is Geopede.

  41. Third turn kill with Kiln Fiend.

    First turn – land
    Second turn – Kiln Fiend
    Third turn – Bolt to their face, 17 life, 4/2 Kiln Fiend, Burning Inquiry, 7/2 Kiln Fiend, Runeflare Trap, opponent takes 7, 10 life, 10/2 Kiln Field, attack for the win.

  42. You do even more if you pull 2 Runeflare Traps. Burning Inquiry, Runeflare Trap, Runeflare Trap, even if opponent only has 5 cards in hand is lethal on turn 3 with Kiln Fiend out.

  43. One more third turn kill with Kiln Fiend, this time with other cards that are more “playable”.

    First turn – land, Goblin Guide, attack, opponent at 18
    Second turn – land, Kiln Fiend (or Geopede if you have a fetch for 3rd turn), attack with Goblin Guide, opponent at 16
    Third turn – land, Devastating Summons, Goblin Bushwhacker kicked, attack with 3/2 Guide, 5/2 Fiend, 2 4/3 Elementals and a 2/1 Bushwhacker for 18 damage

  44. i had to stop reading after you gave world at war a 1. seriously, if that’s what you think the card deserves you should just quit playing magic because you’re obviously never going to be very good at it. check gatherer, it’s at 4+. i wonder why.

  45. Why is everyone arguing with LSV’s report, he’s a pro so trust him, have you seen his track record?

  46. I have an idea. I’m going to take Magmaw and make an aggressive deck out of him. Spawning Breaths, Hatchers, Rapacious Ones…I’ll make those numbers go up… lol! What’s great about playing slow Mono Red is you have the burn spells to keep the opponent busy while your biding time. I think it may make an excellent deck. I’ll post it when I’m done.

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