Feature Article from Conley Woods

Theros Set Review: Red

Conley Woods

9/25/2013 10:01:00 AM

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Welcome back to day three of our week long set review of Theros! Thus far we have talked about all that both blue and black have to offer, so if you haven't checked those out yet, be sure to do so! Today, we move on to red to see if it can come close to what black offered yesterday. Heck, maybe it can even top it! In order to figure that out we will be looking at every single red card from Theros in terms of both constructed and limited viability.

To help us out, we have two scales. One is for Limited and is the same scaled we have always used, straight from WotC themselves. The other is for Constructed and has been modified from past reviews to help with clarity, so check it out:

Constructed

5: Fives are ever-present cards that heavily warp a format or see heavy play across multiple formats. Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Deathrite Shaman, and Tarmogoyf are good examples of fives.

4: These cards tend to have support roles across multiple formats or be tier one cards in at least one. Spell Pierce is an example of the former while Thragtusk is an example of the latter. I expect to rate a lot of things as fours that are actually fives and vice versa while I feel out this new system but in both cases, these are going to be highly desired cards.

3: These are the bread and butter cards of a set, usually doing all of the essential things needed for a format, but doing them at a good rate. Cards like Oblivion Ring, Izzet Charm, or Diregraf Ghoul would be found here.

2: These cards are generally much more restrictive in use and application than a three, but they serve a similar purpose. You will see more sideboard or niche cards, like Skullcrack, Heartless Summoning, or Gladecover Scout.

1: These are not going to see much play, but they have an outside chance. These tend to be weak or narrow sideboard options or extremely narrow main deck cards. Most ones will not ever make it into a winning list, but they have potential to do so.

0: These are unplayable in constructed regardless of context. These tend to be the cards designed to balance limited, like Grizzly Bear or Siege Mastodon or are narrow with a poor output, like Artificer's Hex.

*Any card that gets an X.5 rating just means I can see it falling to either side of the equation given the right metagame or environment.

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%)

And with that, let's move on to the cards!

Mid
Low
 Akroan Crusader
$0.19
$0.01
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Traveling Merchant 26 $0.06
Western Ohio Gaming 4 $0.06
debras cards 5 $0.06
All About Games 1 $0.06
TomeNDie 9 $0.07
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Akroan Crusader Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Akroan Crusader

Constructed: 1

This seems like an odd guy because targeting a 1/1 with a bunch of stuff in the hopes of making other 1/1s seems like a fragile plan. That said there is some potential for abuse there, so you never know.

Limited: 1.5-2.0

This guy is pretty sad on his own, but at least he is a one drop that will continue to have an impact later on. The big question is how many spells you can afford to aim at this guy.

Mid
Low
 Anger of the Gods
$1.80
$0.41
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Tophat Cards 1 $0.50
Tier Zero Gaming 1 $0.51
Epic Works Games 2 $0.52
OBC Collectibles 1 $0.60
Kendall Lux 1 $0.60
Epic Works Games 1 $0.64
Great Escape Games 1 $0.65
Vanguard TCG Store 2 $0.67
Buy Sell PLAY 1 $0.69
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Anger of the Gods Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Anger of the Gods

Constructed: 3

Red always appreciates a beefier sweeper in the format as red control decks get to start showing up. The last time we had this effect, it was Slagstorm, so this is mostly an upgrade that I expect to see heavy play.

Limited: 3.5

Wraths can be quite tricky to set up most of the time, but with this, at least you have a clear path on how. You can play out as many four toughness things as you have, which might conceal the presence of this a little better than having to hold back the majority of your creatures to get value out of a Wrath of God

Mid
Low
 Arena Athlete
$0.21
$0.01
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True Color Gaming 2 $0.02
Karns Cards 4 $0.02
The Gaming Cantina 20 $0.03
Gam3 no 17 $0.03
BaT Comics Games 4 $0.03
Cloak and Dagger 3 $0.03
cardboard galore 1 $0.03
GalacticTCG 3 $0.03
DarkConfidant 3 $0.03
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Arena Athlete Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Arena Athlete

Constructed: 1.5

While I don't expect this to see much play, it could be a fringe card in aura heavy aggressive or midrange decks if the format is heavily influenced by creature decks.

Limited: 2.5

A really solid two drop that will continue to scale up as the game goes on, picking off their only good blocker or maybe their only guy that can block a flier etc.

Mid
Low
 Borderland Minotaur
$0.15
$0.01
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Renaissance Games 11 $0.02
Get Some Game 6 $0.02
Mages Library 3 $0.02
Keltorn 8 $0.02
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Borderland Minotaur Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Borderland Minotaur

Constructed: 0

Vanilla 4/3s are pretty good when they cost two or less mana but sadly, even at three this guy would remain outside the borders of Standard.

Limited: 2.5

A really efficient four-drop that should have an impact well into the mid or even late game. Four power is a huge amount and will put a ton of pressure on an opponent quite quickly.

Mid
Low
 Boulderfall
$0.15
$0.01
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Mages Library 4 $0.01
McNabb Games 4 $0.01
The War Zone 1 $0.01
ShopOfMagic 1 $0.01
Graham Collectables 45 $0.01
Cosmic Games 2 $0.01
Dogs of War Gaming 20 $0.01
TomeNDie 12 $0.01
debras cards 3 $0.01
Sleevecard Games 1 $0.01
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Boulderfall Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Boulderfall

Constructed: 0

Far too expensive for constructed, but you should know that when you see eight mana attached to a common rarity symbol.

Limited: 1.5-2.5

I can't really wrap my head around how good this is because of its insanely steep cost. Sure, the effect is very good, but when you are casting this, how often are you going to get an X-for-one where X is greater than one? Sure, you will probably be able to, but that means not killing their 5/5 flier or whatever.

Mid
Low
 Coordinated Assault
$0.23
$0.01
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The Gaming Cantina 15 $0.03
Magic Mana Vault 1 $0.03
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Frankobaby 4 $0.04
The Gaming Cantina 15 $0.04
Battle of Wizards 1 $0.05
Team Blue Dot 4 $0.05
DarkConfidant 1 $0.05
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Coordinated Assault Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Coordinated Assault

Constructed: 1.5

I could actually see this being decent in a RG aggro deck for the mirror match or other midrange decks. This can have a huge impact on combat that your opponent will likely not be playing around.

Limited: 2.5

I am a huge fan of Kindled Fury and this is obviously strictly better. Because this can actually net you card advantage and because heroic exists, expect this to be better than Kindled Fury.

Mid
Low
 Deathbellow Raider
$0.17
$0.01
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PlusOneMetairie 12 $0.03
BaT Comics Games 5 $0.03
The Upkeep Games 2 $0.03
Midwest Jedi 19 $0.03
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Deathbellow Raider Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Deathbellow Raider

Constructed: 1

Even though this guy is a decent rate, he still only has two power which is the most important thing for a red player to be looking at. His drawback hurts the fact that the extra point was spent on his toughness. His regen ability is nice, but won't be available in every deck. This guy may see a little play, but he is just out of range of being very good.

Limited: 1.0

This guy will get in a few damage for you early but his effectiveness will fall off quickly and his upkeep of three mana to keep him around (usually) will become taxing quickly.

Mid
Low
 Demolish
$0.15
$0.01
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Gims Cards 4 $0.01
BaT Comics Games 5 $0.01
Graham Collectables 45 $0.01
Mages Library 4 $0.01
GalacticTCG 23 $0.01
HouseofCards Winston 19 $0.01
gemwest 4 $0.01
Adventure Games Osh 8 $0.02
Karns Cards 4 $0.02
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Demolish Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Demolish

Constructed: 1

Fringe playable as always should enough land destruction find itself in Standard at the same time.

Limited: 1.0

A pretty versatile sideboard card good against decks that are splashing or some of the legendary artifacts in the set. That said, almost always a sideboard card.

Mid
Low
 Dragon Mantle
$0.20
$0.01
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SynkUP 2 $0.03
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DarkConfidant 1 $0.03
The Gaming Cantina 38 $0.04
The Game Knights 3 $0.04
The Gaming Cantina 38 $0.04
MTGCCG and More 20 $0.04
MajesticTreasuresTCG 2 $0.04
GalacticTCG 42 $0.04
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Dragon Mantle Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Dragon Mantle

Constructed: 1.5

One mana to cycle a card is a potentially strong effect, especially considering this at least does something after it hits play. I am not sure if this will make any cuts, but I can definitely see it finding a home.

Limited: 2.0-2.5

This is a pretty solid card because it is going to replace itself in a worst-case scenario. This triggers heroic, gives you a decent ability in combat, and digs you a card deeper, so it is basically a free-roll to pick up in the mid to late game.

Mid
Low
 Ember Swallower
$0.29
$0.04
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Shop land 2 $0.07
BaT Comics Games 4 $0.09
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qdojo 1 $0.09
Dark Depths Games 2 $0.09
Cloak and Dagger 6 $0.10
Basin Gaming 2 $0.10
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Ember Swallower Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Ember Swallower

Constructed: 2.5

I really like this guy, but a big part of that might just be the blowing up of lands... Anyway, for four mana this guy already comes at a pretty decent rate. I am reminded a lot of Arc Slogger back in the day. And while seven mana may be a lot, this is an effect that could win you the game pretty easily, so I am excited to see where this guy fits in.

Limited: 3.5

A really efficient four-drop that will likely dominate the table for quite a few turns. Then, when he stops being the biggest thing in play, he can once again become it, possibly screwing up an opponent's plan to go monstrous as well.

Mid
Low
 Fanatic of Mogis
$0.27
$0.05
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SynkUP 1 $0.08
BaT Comics Games 4 $0.08
Sorrows Path 2 $0.09
qdojo 4 $0.10
Ulrich and Helvas 2 $0.10
Laminators 2 $0.10
FernandezCards 1 $0.11
Camis Corner 2 $0.12
magical donkeysaur 4 $0.15
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Fanatic of Mogis Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Fanatic of Mogis

Constructed: 2

The four-drop slot has been pretty stacked in red for quite some time with cards like Hero of Oxid Ridge and Hellrider being around. Fanatic is not as strong as those cards, but has a powerful effect regardless. This can hit for 5 or 6 out of nowhere on the right board but does make for a lackluster top deck if you just ran into a sweeper or something.

Limited: 2.5

A reasonably sized body combined with what can potentially be a Lava Axe or more to the face is a pretty good card to have around. This will be an interesting one to play around in late game situations.

Mid
Low
 Firedrinker Satyr
$0.33
$0.06
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Lenlock Hobbies 1 $0.09
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Bayside Thrift 1 $0.10
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Dark Depths Games 3 $0.11
OldSchoolGaming 8 $0.12
Card Haven Games 1 $0.12
Slow Your Roll 1 $0.13
McGuires Gaming 1 $0.13
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Firedrinker Satyr Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Firedrinker Satyr

Constructed: 3

As a red one-drop, this is certainly worse than a card like Goblin Guide, which is basically the best aggressive one-drop in red ever. That said, this has a good shot at seeing play in multiple formats as it is pretty strong for just a single mana. Vexing Devil; has found love in older formats, so we will have to see about this one, which is much better in the context of Standard than the devil is.

Limited: 1.5-2.0

A very strong card on turn one but a liability as the game goes on. If you can manage to trade this off for something semi-valuable later on in the game without investing too much life, you will be pretty happy.

Mid
Low
 Flamespeaker Adept
$0.22
$0.01
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Graham Collectables 22 $0.01
ThePawnShop 8 $0.02
Renaissance Games 13 $0.02
Dogs of War Gaming 29 $0.02
Team Blue Dot 2 $0.02
Heights Card Shop 2 $0.02
Midwest Jedi 12 $0.02
GalacticTCG 7 $0.02
HouseofCards Winston 29 $0.02
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Flamespeaker Adept Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Flamespeaker Adept

Constructed: 1

While I do not think there is enough valuable scry cards to make this guy into the consistent threat that a 4/3 first strike creature can be, that threshold could very well be reached by the end of this block, so expect this guy's stock to continue to rise.

Limited: 2.5

Many of the scry cards in this set are instants, allowing you to extract some major value out of the trigger on this. Even at sorcery speed though, four power of first strike coming at you is hard to stop.

Mid
Low
 Hammer of Purphoros
$1.59
$0.59
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BaT Comics Games 2 $0.45
Brew City Games 1 $0.59
Titan Games PR 1 $0.62
OldSchoolGaming 1 $0.86
Chicagoland Games 1 $0.87
mtgmintcard 1 $0.89
Gam3 no 1 $0.90
BringToLight 2 $0.90
War Torn Front 4 $0.91
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Hammer of Purphoros Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Hammer of Purphoros

Constructed: 2.5

This card seems like it can do a lot of neat things for Standard. On the one hand, it has a very powerful passive ability, giving everything you have haste. On the other hand, it has the ability to generate its own threats which is very strong against control, especially post-board. This will likely find some moderate use in a few different decks.

Limited: 3.5-4.0

Hasting up your entire team is a big advantage in limited where so much hinges on combat. Additionally, a 3/3 creature is likely to be one of the more formidable in play so this is really solid all-around and worth an early pick.

Mid
Low
 Ill-Tempered Cyclops
$0.16
$0.01
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gemwest 4 $0.01
Get Some Game 7 $0.01
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BaT Comics Games 5 $0.01
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PlusOneMetairie 21 $0.01
MTGstuffs 3 $0.01
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Ill-Tempered Cyclops Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Ill-Tempered Cyclops

Constructed: 0

Hill Giants with trample are still just kill giants. This has a cool little bonus to it, but not something that is particularly valuable in constructed.

Limited: 2.5-3.0

I am trying to figure out of a vanilla 4/3 is better or worse than this for roughly the same mana, but I think I need to give it to the cyclops. This makes for a very strong late game card and because it has trample, it is a great target for all of your bestow creatures to rest on.

Mid
Low
 Labyrinth Champion
$0.31
$0.05
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BaT Comics Games 4 $0.08
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More Cards Please 1 $0.10
Groundsbattle 1 $0.10
Basin Gaming 4 $0.10
Leos Artifacts 2 $0.10
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Labyrinth Champion Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Labyrinth Champion

Constructed: 1.5

I don't really see this guy taking off just because his rate is so bad and he is quite fragile but I can also see that the ability itself is quite strong. If someone manages to find a shell that can protect this guy and live long enough to get him in play, there are certainly some combos that could come about.

Limited: 3.5-4.0

While he is still fragile here, he is much more likely to live just due to opponents not having removal. Once this gets going, you can clear away small creatures with ease or potentially even double up for bigger things. This does need to be built around, which hurts it when you get it late in the draft.

Mid
Low
 Lightning Strike
$0.20
$0.03
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Cabal Coffee 7 $0.05
Cabal Coffee 7 $0.05
TheRagingGoblin 4 $0.06
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Lightning Strike Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Lightning Strike

Constructed: 3

Basically just a reprint of Searing Spear which is fine for the purposes of Standard but will not be making waves elsewhere. Incinerate and Lightning Bolt, along with a bunch of similar cards like Rift Bolt, knock this out of the discussion due to opportunity cost. There is nowhere near the same competition in Standard though.

Limited: 3.0

Instant speed removal that can actually take down decent sized things is always going to be strong in limited. Whereas Shock might not find a good target late, it is rare that three damage can't find something useful to do.

Mid
Low
 Magma Jet
$0.24
$0.03
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FernandezCards 10 $0.07
Heros Ink 1 $0.08
Sarge & Red's 3 $0.08
Karns Cards 2 $0.09
jncmtgcards 3 $0.10
Level Up MN 5 $0.10
Q Music Shop 3 $0.10
Ulrich and Helvas 2 $0.10
Wandering Havoc 5 $0.10
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Magma Jet Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Magma Jet

Constructed: 4

This was a bit of a surprise to me the first time around in Mirrodin as I was new to the game and could not figure out why people were so excited by a Shock at double the mana cost. As time has passed, I fully understand how important card selection is, especially in red decks where drawing one too many lands is often game over for you. This will continue to see play in basically every format.

Limited: 3.0

Shock is still not the most reliable spell in limited as so many of the prime targets have more toughness than that. That said, this can still pick off random utility guys or damaged fatties and then the ability to scry and set up for an awesome draw the next turn is quite valuable.

Mid
Low
 Messenger's Speed
$0.17
$0.01
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BaT Comics Games 5 $0.03
SynkUP 1 $0.03
Karns Cards 1 $0.03
Western Ohio Gaming 4 $0.04
Keltorn 7 $0.04
HouseofCards Winston 27 $0.04
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Messenger's Speed Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Messenger's Speed

Constructed: 1

This does not have a lot of shots at making it into constructed but perhaps some heroic combo deck emerges that needs to give both haste and trample while triggering heroic. That sort of deck sounds realistic to me, so this has a chance.

Limited: 1.0

Not a big fan of this due to the lack of output you get out of what you spend an entire card on. If you have other reasons to be playing this, then go for it, but on its own, I find it lacking.

Mid
Low
 Minotaur Skullcleaver
$0.15
$0.01
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BaT Comics Games 5 $0.02
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Gamerz Den 2 $0.03
The Gaming Cantina 51 $0.03
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Minotaur Skullcleaver Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Minotaur Skullcleaver

Constructed: 2

With both this and Viashino Firstblade in the format, aggressive red strategies have a lot of tools to deal a bunch of damage quickly. We will have to see how popular this is.

Limited: 2.0

A pretty good play on turn three of course as you are likely to get in for four damage before gaining a Gray Ogre for your trouble. That said, this will get eaten by many two drops, so you need to have other aggressive options backing this up.

Mid
Low
 Ordeal of Purphoros
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$0.01
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Mana Rock Gaming 1 $0.01
The Game Knights 1 $0.01
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The Gaming Cantina 11 $0.03
DarkConfidant 4 $0.03
The Gaming Cantina 11 $0.04
Graham Collectables 20 $0.04
Auggie's Games 8 $0.04
Midwest Jedi 9 $0.05
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Ordeal of Purphoros Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Ordeal of Purphoros

Constructed: 2

I actually think this is one of the only Ordeals that might see some constructed play due to how good it can be in monored. Lead with a Firedrinker Satyr into this and you have a very difficult threat in front of you with a looming Lightning Bolt. It might still be too fragile, but I think it has an outside shot.

Limited: 2.0-2.5

If you get this on to a creature with evasion, it will probably pay you back in spades with a big creature buff and a removal spell. Any other target is risky though as you might get stopped in your tracks before the third counter, so while this is removal, don't rely on it too heavily.

Mid
Low
 Peak Eruption
$0.23
$0.01
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Midwest Jedi 13 $0.02
Gam3 no 14 $0.02
Graham Collectables 22 $0.02
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Peak Eruption Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Peak Eruption

Constructed: 2

While I don't expect this to be particularly popular during its stay in Standard, if you compare it to the closest thing we have seen in Cryoclasm, you have to expect at least some play. Remember that the Ravnica shocklands make having a mountain a lot easier.

Limited: 0.5

Obviously only the most rare of sideboard cards. Your opponent needs to be running heavy red mana bombs or something unless you are just a burn deck and want the tempo, which is probably fine as well.

Mid
Low
 Portent of Betrayal
$0.16
$0.01
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Luxurious Cardboard 1 $0.02
SalesbyStephenB 9 $0.02
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Midwest Jedi 15 $0.02
McNabb Games 4 $0.02
MTGCCG and More 20 $0.02
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Magic MTG Card Portent of Betrayal Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Portent of Betrayal

Constructed: 1

Sometimes, the set specific Threaten is quite good, giving a +1/+1 counter or +2/+0 until end of turn. Those are designed to aid you in winning the game the turn you cast the Threaten though. Scry, almost by definition, plans for the future. If you are casting Threaten in constructed, there should rarely be a future. Scry one is also not too big of a bonus.

Limited: 2.5

Threaten or Act of Treason tend to be pretty good in aggressive decks, even without synergy to be able to sacrifice the creature or whatever. This should be especially true in a format where big monsters are common place. Between monstrous and bestow, creatures can be very big and have an “eggs in one basket” kind of feel, which this punishes harshly.

Mid
Low
 Priest of Iroas
$0.15
$0.01
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Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Priest of Iroas Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Priest of Iroas

Constructed: 0

One drop creatures that can destroy enchantments are actually more common than you might think and very few of them cost this much mana to activate.

Limited: 2.0

Of course, you will never run this in a deck with no way to activate it. If you can though, enchantment removal is at a premium in this set and this allows you to soak up some damage with a chump block first or even attack for a few damage!

Mid
Low
 Purphoros, God of the Forge
$19.38
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Magic MTG Card Purphoros, God of the Forge Magic MTG Card
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Purphoros, God of the Forge

Constructed: 3.5

I know a lot of people are raging about how this is the greatest thing ever, but I am not entirely convinced of the hype. He is absolutely a good card, but when the talk is of him being the best god, I am hesitant. He has a very powerful passive ability, sure, but he does come at four mana, what these types of decks typically think of as the top of their curve. That means you are either holding your creatures until turn five to get value here, or are losing a bunch of your god's value. That's fine of course. The god is not supposed to be without weakness, but I am skeptical if it's optimal in high numbers. I expect this to see play, but I think plenty of other gods compete for the “best” title.

Limited: 4.0

The passive on this is pretty strong, putting an inevitable clock on the opponent while the activated ability just helps that clock speed up a bit. The important thing is that with mass power pumping comes the ability to trade up with cheap or weak creatures. A pretty easy first pick.

Mid
Low
 Purphoros's Emissary
$0.23
$0.01
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Magic MTG Card Purphoros's Emissary Magic MTG Card
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Purphoros' Emissary

Constructed: 0

Seven mana is so much to spend on an aura that really is not all that impressive when you break it down.

Limited: 3.0

A really strong Hill Giant both because he has bestow and because he is a great creature to put bestow on. There are a lot of competing Hill Giants in red and they are all really strong in their own way.

Mid
Low
 Rage of Purphoros
$0.17
$0.01
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Magic MTG Card Rage of Purphoros Magic MTG Card
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Rage of Purphoros

Constructed: 0

At five mana and sorcery speed, plus lacking the ability to hit players, this is miles from even being a consideration.

Limited: 2.5

This, much like the -4/-4 in black, is slow, but it will usually get to kill what you want it to do. There are a decent number of regenerators in the set as well, so having a red out to them is decent. Scry one is just a small bonus but hardly adds much.

Mid
Low
 Rageblood Shaman
$0.47
$0.02
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Magic MTG Card Rageblood Shaman Magic MTG Card
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Rageblood Shaman

Constructed: 1

I can't imagine there being an influx of minotaur tribal decks just because they got a lord, but people will try everything. This does not have the most impressive stats on its own and theoretically pumps up a tribe that has little problem finding big creatures. Trample is nice, but I am still not expecting much from this.

Limited: 2.0-3.5

There are six common or uncommon minotaurs in Theros and they all span black or red with another lord at uncommon. While I expect this to be a deck you occasionally get, it probably will not be one of the staples of the format or anything. Almost every minotaur has two power save for Borderland Minotaur and Fanatic of Mogis, but trample is still really good when you do have Kragma Warcaller out.

Mid
Low
 Satyr Rambler
$0.16
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Magic MTG Card Satyr Rambler Magic MTG Card
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Satyr Rambler

Constructed: 1

Obviously things would need to be quite dire in the two drop department for this to be a real consideration, but stranger things have happened. With Ash Zealot, Burning-Tree Emissary and Gore-House Chainwalker in the format though, this guy might never get considered.

Limited: 1.5

A two drop with an ability that will help him scale with bestow but is not likely all that relevant without some power pumping entering the equation.

Mid
Low
 Spark Jolt
$0.16
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Magic MTG Card Spark Jolt Magic MTG Card
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Spark Jolt

Constructed: 2

If Gut Shot was any indication of how playable one damage spells can be when costed right, I think this has a chance. Always having to spend one mana and only being cast for red certainly hinder this, but scrying for one is a decent reimbursement here. My big concern is that with a lack of Snapcaster Mage, are spells like this even going to be considered.

Limited: 1.5-2.0

Solid little value spell. If you ever kill something with this alone, be ecstatic. If you team up with some dorky creature to take down something a little bigger, that's fine too.

Mid
Low
 Spearpoint Oread
$0.16
$0.01
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Spearpoint Oread

Constructed: 0

A very low impact aura as well as body, should you ever really want that Gray Ogre.

Limited: 2.5-3.0

This seems like one of the stronger three-drops I have seen for red thus far. Other cards have an aggressive nature to them but this plays well on offense or defense and is a pretty solid late game top deck as well.

Mid
Low
 Stoneshock Giant
$0.22
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Magic MTG Card Stoneshock Giant Magic MTG Card
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Stoneshock Giant

Constructed: 0

First of all, this is much too expensive for what it offers you, but in addition to that, Falter is not really an effect played in Standard and when it is, it sure doesn't cost eight mana.

Limited: 3.5

This guy comes at a really good rate even in its vanilla form but then it also offers you a giant monster later on that will generally win you the game for eight mana, which is fine by me.

Mid
Low
 Stormbreath Dragon
$3.10
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Magic MTG Card Stormbreath Dragon Magic MTG Card
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Stormbreath Dragon

Constructed: 3

While this will be fairly heavily played in Standard, I am not sure how much play it will see elsewhere. If you look at a card like Thundermaw Hellkite, while it was good in Standard, it was basically never considered the best card or anything. Stormbreath Dragon will probably fill a similar role.

Limited: 4.0-4.5

Obviously a big flying dragon is always good and this one even comes with haste. Protection from white will not always be relevant, but it certainly helps and this guy gets even bigger if you ever have the excess mana lying around.

Mid
Low
 Titan of Eternal Fire
$0.29
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Magic MTG Card Titan of Eternal Fire Magic MTG Card
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Titan of Eternal Fire

Constructed: 1

I can't really imagine a tribal deck including a nontribal card for six mana that then grants them abilities that costs mana. That means your tribal decks needs to have hit six mana and not killed them and then keep an otherwise vanilla dude in play for a turn...

Limited: 4.0

Obviously a very strong card in limited where you can even potentially hold this to get a Shock or more immediately if you happened to have a few spare humans around. Even being a 5/6 for six mana is reasonable.

Mid
Low
 Titan's Strength
$0.23
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Magic MTG Card Titan's Strength Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Titan's Strength

Constructed: 1.5

I actually think this is pretty good as a Lava Spike that scrys for one or possibly in a strategy like infect in Modern. The lack of additional toughness might be a bummer, but scrying for basically no additional cost is neat.

Limited: 1.5

Combat tricks are always going to have some value but this one fails to deliver much toughness, so it is a little sketchier in that regard. Scrying one is once again a fine ability to have though, so I still expect this to see some play.

Mid
Low
 Two-Headed Cerberus
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Magic MTG Card

Two-Headed Cerberus

Constructed: 1

This has some potential simply because it has double strike. Whenever there are enough two time hitters in a format, the chance for abuse with things like pump spells exists, so we will have to see.

Limited: 2.0

This is not the most impressive of guys on his own of course, but with a little help from some bestow or other auras, he can be a beast. You generally want to keep your deck composition in mind before or after taking these as it is not going to handle much alone.

Mid
Low
 Wild Celebrants
$0.16
$0.01
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Magic MTG Card Wild Celebrants Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Wild Celebrants

Constructed: 1.5

Indrik Stomphowler saw plenty of constructed play, as has Acidic Slime. Both of those cards are a little more versatile than this and red tends to prefer cheap things. That said, this is pretty big so who knows where it might show up.

Limited: 2.5

A pretty decent sized body and there are enough artifacts in the set to make this worth the main deck almost every time. The god's weapons specifically will make you happy you had one of these ready to go.


Wrap Up

I am actually quite impressed with what red gets in Theros. First of all, they get a lot of important utility cards that they need such as Magma Jet, Anger of the Gods, and Spark Jolt, while also getting some pretty nice build-arounds and staples of important archetypes like Purphoros, God of the Forge and Firedrinker Satyr. Red should be pretty well set going forward and we have not even touched on the multicolor cards yet where red gets a few more nice ones!

Tomorrow we will return with our full green review, So far, Theros has been really kind to the colors outside of maybe blue and as a deckbuilder, I am certainly a fan. Hopefully green can keep up the pace. As always, thanks for reading!

--Conley Woods--