2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. Fracturing Gust. (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.)
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%)
I wish this guy was good, but unfortunately I don’t foresee anyone singing his praises in Constructed.
I don’t mean “1.0-4.0″ like all the other conditional allies. Akoum Battlesinger is just mediocre, and I would need a metric ton of Allies before I would want to play. I originally thought he was awesome, but then I realized he wasn’t the Ally version of Goblin Bushwhacker, since he doesn’t give other Allies haste. That would have been spicy.
Immortal Coil aside, I can’t really think of anything interesting enough to Donate. Sure, you could give them Abyssal Persecutor, but there really isn’t a deck that can’t get rid of it, so they probably just kill you with it before removing it.
Don’t worry, the only reason I gave this above a 0.0 is because it has power and toughness. In a deck with no two-drops, you might side the Trader in against the all 2/1 deck. Past that, you would need a pretty bizarre deck to want to play this. Here, take this Eldrazi Monument
More like Bull ****.
Only marginally better in Limited, there still are some uses. It goes well with first strikers, but more importantly it helps kill the notable 0/4 and 1/4 guys in the format. That’s it though; otherwise you really don’t want to play this, since all it does is 2 for 1 you or act like a bad Shock.
Day of Judgment is almost unplayable right now, and this is basically just worse. That being said, it does offer a powerful effect that Red doesn’t have access to outside of Earthquake. A Valakut control deck or something like that might be interested, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Chain Reaction sees some play.
On the other hand, Wrath is pretty sick in Limited, although this is a fair bit worse. Red won’t usually have anything big enough to survive, and it is really awkward if all they have is one or two big guys. Red-Green could set up a board where Chain Reaction is a one-sided Wrath, but as awesome as that is, it won’t happen all that often.
Hmm, a conditional creature enchantment that doesn’t protect the creature, and won’t even give it that big a bonus. I believe that violates the “no Auras in Constructed” clause.
Claws is pretty strong in Mono-Red, essentially demanding a removal or bounce spell. A seven-power first striker is pretty much unbeatable in combat, but the potential for getting 2 for 1ed by removal obviously makes Claws a bit of a liability. In a two-color deck, Claws is significantly worse, but if you are playing 9 or more Mountains it still probably works.
This being instant-speed give it a ton more value, since a critical mass of good instants might make some sort of UR draw-go deck a reality. It is really expensive, but can kill multiple small things at a decent cost, and going to the face is always nice. Comet Storm’s time might not be now, but it is powerful and versatile, both of which tend to make cards good in Constructed.
The only thing keeping me from giving this a 5.0 is the double-Red in its casting cost. I can see some (rare) situations where you have a good two-color deck and take an on-color card over Comet Storm. I say “rare” because your deck would have to be pretty good for that to happen, but that still keeps this from getting a 5.0.
The only person getting ravaged by this guy is the hapless fool who puts it in his deck.
Decent at finishing them from five or so life, Cosi’s Ravager isn’t big enough to really brawl effectively. Its landfall trigger is not quite exciting enough to really build around, so you end up with a kind of slow Lava Axe effect, which is most definitely mediocre.
Red is pretty flush with hasted guys nowadays, and I think Hellspark Elemental, Hell’s Thunder, and Ball Lightning are all ahead of Crusher Zendikon. As much fun as it would be to crush (since that is almost mandatory to say when swinging with this guy), he is going to have to wait his turn.
Crushing will occur in Limited, since this Zendikon will often do quite a bit of damage. It will often get the first four in as a surprise, and then trade for a 2-power guy plus a couple damage. That works for Red, and makes Crusher Zendikon a decent (if not all that exciting) playable.
Cunning Sparkmage is better than Vulshok Sorcerer, and Vulshok Sorcerer saw a fair bit of action. The format is pretty different, but Sparkmage is still a great sideboard option against any deck sporting a fair number of one-toughness creatures.
Sorry, Surrakar Marauder, your freeroll is over. Now that Sparkmage is in town, x/1’s just got a lot weaker. Granted, the Sparkmage is an uncommon, so it doesn’t impact pick orders that much, but that doesn’t make it any less ridiculous. Take it early, consider splashing it, and rack up some kills. Pingers are nice, and hasted ones especially so.
Never has Fireball taken so much mana, and for so little gain.
This is way too expensive for me to be happy about playing it, although even just a Shatterskull Giant for 5 mana isn’t the worst. Red certainly gets its share of bad Lava Axes in Worldwake, and Lave Axe isn’t the best to begin with.
Scute Mob hasn’t made too many waves, but it remains a reasonable choice for Ranger of Eos to grab. Dragonmaster Outcast has a much better effect than Mob, and waiting an extra turn sometimes is not a deal breaker. With Scute Mob, your opponent can sometimes take a hit or two before killing it, and not end up too far behind, but that really isn’t an option with Dragonmaster Outcast, making it much more dangerous.
I had the good fortune of opening this at the Prerelease, and I was quite impressed. I didn’t have to splash it, but if I wasn’t playing Red I probably would have, since it easily wins the game unchecked. If they don’t kill it immediately, that is usually game, and it is so cheap that you can often drop it plus a threat in the same turn. I prefer to slowroll it, even if it’s in my opener. The one or two damage you might get in is not worth giving your opponent advance notice that they must have a removal spell.
A Warpath Ghoul by another name is still a Warpath Ghoul.
I guess Red’s new theme is slightly undercosted vanilla commons, and curving this guy into Shatterskull Giant is bound to make things pretty rough for your opponent. I would be pretty surprised to ever cut this, although it isn’t really a card I would pick absurdly high.
I don’t know what a Grotag is, but this guy sure likes to thrash them “or is one” or something.
If your five-drop slot isn’t full, one or two of these is fine, but they are pretty clunky. It is pretty hard to defend against, but five mana for a 3/3 isn’t exactly a steal.
This guy is a little interesting, but five mana guys that die to anything (including Bituminous Blast), and don’t totally dominate aren’t usually too successful in Standard. His effect is pretty good, but any deck that would be severely hampered by it will have numerous ways to kill it.
Even if Kazuul’s text box was empty, he would be fine, and it most certainly is not. Making them decide between attacking (since letting you summon Ogres is a losing proposition) and casting spells can be pretty backbreaking, especially with a 5/4 Tyrant breathing down their neck.
There are a bevy of excellent high-end creatures to choose from in Standard, but this guy is actually a little interesting. Killing a guy for free every turn is pretty sweet, but getting to hit them with your six-drop is already a lot to ask for. I don’t think this guy is good enough, but the Visara-like feel of this guy makes me hesitant to write him off completely.
The opposite of splashable, Mordant Dragon is still one of the sickest cards you could ask for if you are Red. Huge flier + The Abyss is incredibly difficult to beat, and he even has a pump ability just in case. Flameblast Dragon was good, and this guy is comparable, although probably not as good.
If you make it through the labyrinth, David Bowie will give all your creatures +2/+0!
Even if you have enough Goblins to trigger this (extremely unlikely), the reward isn’t even that insane, since they all will still have like one or two toughness.
This is kind of like an upgraded Guttural Response, since it does a little more than just counter a counter. That will of course be its main use, but it can certainly get some good value, even at full price. I wouldn’t bring it in against decks that don’t let you get the discount, since at that point it is just a bad Wild Ricochet.
This trick is all value, and there is almost nothing better than landing it on a juicy removal spell. It is way too situational to start in the main, but it is a great sideboard option. I wouldn’t take this over most maindeck cards, but picking one up can be really awesome against some decks.
I can’t say I’m unhappy that land destruction spells all cost at least four now, since getting all your lands blown up isn’t very fun. Roiling Terrain’s damage isn’t likely to be enough to make it worth the cost, since at four mana you aren’t really getting them. Goblin Ruinblaster fills that roil pretty well, so stick with those.
This would normally get a 0.0, but all the manland and Zendikon nonsense makes this a definite sideboard possibility. It’s no Desecrated Earth, but really, what is?
More like Bumbling Aftershocks. The “block effect triggered enchantment” is never good, and this is no exception.
If you are kicking things multiple times, that is usually pretty nice already, and adding a five-mana do-nothing to the mix isn’t helping matters.
Now this is a burn spell! Searing Blaze is what Lash Out wanted to be, since it trades the inconsistency of clashing for the landfall requirement. It won’t be an instant quite as often, although it isn’t too hard to just slowroll a fetchland, and it is about as close to a two for one as Red spells ever are. I expect all heavy Red decks to incorporate this, and even multi-color decks are going to want to change their manabases to accommodate it.
Now Red has Hideous End too, even if it is a little less powerful. Searing Blaze might not be able to kill huge monsters, but it kills most everything else, and will rarely be stuck at one damage. Premium kill spells are always good, and Searing Blaze even gets a good amount of damage in.
I would be very skittish about including this in any 60-card deck, since there are tons of better hasty options.
It boasts a heavy Red requirement, but most aggressive Red decks are near mono anyway. Haste and a flexible casting cost makes Skitter a solid card, and I wouldn’t be ashamed to run a bunch of these. It might be worse at most casting costs than other cards, but it gets to be cast at three or five mana, and that is pretty useful.
This is one of the most aggressively costed beaters I have seen in a while, and if there is a Red-Black beatdown deck, it will find its way in. Vampires might make such a deck untenable in Standard, but it might see play in other formats. Finding red mana and a Swamp isn’t the easiest, but the reward is pretty high if you do.
Limited: 2.5 if you don’t have Swamps, 3.0 if you do.
Slavering Nulls doesn’t have quite the impact of Sejiri Merfolk, since they can often just trade a guy for it, but if it gets even one hit in it is awesome. A little fragile, but like Shorline Salvager, just the threat of hitting with it will make them play defensively.
A pseudo-Ball Lightning that also eats a big attacker, Stone Idol Trap may have something going for it other than its awesome flavor. Red usually has trouble with big idiots, and the Trap even kills Kor Firewalker. Unfortunately, most huge things are flying nowadays, but this does ambush Knight of the Reliquary or Leatherback Baloth, and smashes for six on the next turn. The biggest downside is how obvious it is, since if they know about it they can hold off on attacking, but then you just play it end of turn and bash anyway.
Not the most subtle of tricks, but giant Stone Idols aren’t usually known for their subtlety. Being a rare helps, but once the opponent knows of its existence you aren’t that likely to get them too well. Bashing for six and stopping large creatures are both things Red usually wants, to doing both makes Stone Idol Trap a rock solid card.
If only this was one mana cheaper, then it would be a Viridian Shaman with multiple upsides. Viridian Shaman is already pretty good, so it is pretty understandable that this costs four. Red doesn’t have a pressing need to blow up artifacts nowadays, although this is honestly pretty close to being playable.
This is kind of weird; an Ally that doesn’t really change in value that much even if you have a ton of other Allies. Tuktuk Scrapper is mostly limited by the amount of artifacts they have, not Allies you have, so even on his own he is really solid. There are plenty of targets for him, so he will be pretty good value in most matches.
Top Five Red Cards for Constructed
Red’s pickings are pretty slim here. Searing Blaze is the only card that will see widespread play, although it is perfect for most aggressive red decks. Past that, we have a card that probably only works in conjunction with Ranger of Eos, an expensive burn spell/finisher, and some sideboard cards. Not the most exciting, but red will survive.
Tomorrow we get to ride a Leatherback Baloth through the forest, as I take a look at green!