M14 Red Set Review Part 2 (Uncommons)
M14 has quite a few uncommons that scream “COMBO BREAKER” in its best Killer Instinct voice. There are a number of cards that I feel can be abused if the good deckbuilders out there put some work in. I’m not sure if Red Deck Wins is going to gain a whole lot, but there’s important reprints and a few new singles that just might tip the scales. Without further ado, my set review of M14:
Red Deck Wins Card Evaluation
Barrage of Expendables
We start with a combo card right off the bat, in the vein of the classic Goblin Bombardment. There’s so many places you could begin with this card that it’s hard to gauge where it will ultimately end up, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t see play. For starters, some of the possibilities that come to mind; Manaweft Sliver (if there is a sliver deck) to make all of your creatures tap to sacrifice themselves for 1 damage, Young Pyromancer to funnel a token army into a giant Fling party, and finally red has a card that allows you to fling that fatty Thragtusk you just stole with Traitorous Blood to add even more value and get your very own Beast token. I imagine there could be some scary combo deck built around Young Pyromancer, Burn at the Stake, Barrage of Expendables, and Battle Hymn. I’ve seen some prototype lists online while testing and they were not quite ready for primetime but they had some frightening options that came to fruition in a few games. Lastly, the Aristocrats deck just seems to be begging to have this. While they already have a number of sac outlets, this one in combination with Blood Artist makes for some brutally quick games.
It’s really difficult to figure out how good these slivers are going to be. Each one of them is slightly overcosted for their P/T ratio, largely due to how insane they can be as a team. This to me appears to be another staple, although I like Thorncaster Sliver a lot more since his damage is almost guaranteed to get through. Still, this card is no joke, often just being a psuedo overrun, and a lot of times in red that’s just what the doctor ordered. Like I mentioned in the previous part of this article I don’t see a real chance for a Mono Red slivers deck, but if there was one this guy is most likely a part of it.
Yet another card to support a dragon theme and another throwback (see: Rukh Egg). Maybe this will see play in some sort of control deck as a chump blocker that turns into an evasive threat or another chump blocker, but I’m skeptical. None of the other eggs saw widespread adoption, although they were certainly popular with the casual crowd. One outside chance this might have is in an actual “Big Red” dragons deck, where it functions as an early roadbump on the way to heavy hitters. It combos very well with Scourge of Valkas, so it’s not completely outside the realm of reality.
Flames of the Firebrand
This is used right now in Mono Red, and given the lack of other solid burn spells in M14 and the ones leaving come rotation, I expect this to be used even more if anything. Glad they reprinted it although I really wish that Arc Trail could have come back instead.
7 mana for a 4/4 that kills an inconsequential guy? Child, Please.
I have yet to see any coin-flip cards make the cut in tournament played decks (although I’m probably forgetting one or two), and I haven’t heard any rumblings online except for people wanting to Snapcaster Mage this card. Thus, it’s likely going to sit in a box and collect dust. I think it’s borderline playable if you can make some kind of combo with it, Young Pyromancer again coming to mind. In fact, with Young Pyromancer this card is actually pretty potent even if you don’t hit the buyback on it, but that’s two cards together and by itself it’s less than impressive at it’s mana cost.
This reprint has seen some play in a few formats before so it’s not completely ruled out as a Standard playable. I think it’s going to be too high in casting cost and too fragile to be able to use, but you never know. There’s simply a lot of competition at 4cc and usually you’re not in the market to make your grizzly bear fly at this point in the game. It’s great in EDH though with a general like Uril, the Miststalker.
Aside from being a reasonable draft card, Volcanic Geyser is just an extremely poor man’s bonfire of the damned, fireball, you name it. The one saving grace it has is it’s ability to be played at instant speed, but this card isn’t going to be played so that’s completely irrelevant.
The next Stoneforge Mystic. The Chosen One. The Red Messiah. Combomancer. Ok enough of that, while this card certainly gets the brainstorming going, I don’t know how good it is. There is a ton of hype both in the pro and casual community, but which deck it ends up with will be what determines if I personally am on the bandwagon or not. Young Pyromancer seems most suitable for combo, although there has been plenty of rumblings about this being a core staple in Red Deck Wins. I’m not sure if I want to make more guys only to have them get hit by a Supreme Verdict versus getting in there sooner with Burning-Trees, Ash Zealots, and Lightning Maulers. What he does provide though is incremental advantage, especially later in the game or against decks that don’t have access to a sweeper, and this can be very important. I could see this guy flood the board in the first few turns and then allow you to drop a Hellrider with plenty of backup. That said, you have to burn them to get the tokens, and I’m typically not casting my burn spells on turns 2 and 3. In Legacy and Modern this guy is probably insane, but Standard is my cup of tea. Overall, I feel like I’m misevaluating this card and that there is going to be someone who breaks him, I’m curious to hear others thoughts, so feel free to comment with your grandiose ideas. The biggest article so far on it that I’ve seen is Matt Nass’s (here).
– Red Deck Winning