M14 Red Set Review Part 3 (Commons)

actoftreason

M14 Red Set Review Part 3 (Commons)

While not nearly as exciting as the rares and uncommons of the set, the commons usually have some of the strongest impact for Red Deck Wins.  These are the staples that are the bread and butter of an archetype which is always on a budget, so once the dust settles I expect a few of them to make an impact along with the traditional reprints.  Without further ado, my set review of M14:

Red Deck Wins Card Evaluation

Commons:

Academy Raider

Academy Raider

I actually like this card, at least from an abilities standpoint.  I ultimately don’t think it will see play because unlike Pyreheart Wolf which has such a game-warping effect, Academy Raider is more of a Merfolk Looter which is something that isn’t really needed even though it’s a rare ability to see in red.  Rummaging Goblin is the closest card I can compare it to and he did not see any play in constructed formats.  The fact that Academy Raider is a human might give him a bit more leg room in the current format, but again I don’t want to say too many positives here as I just don’t think he’s playable.  If he had cost RR instead of 2R he probably would see some action, but at 3cc his cost is simply too prohibitive.

Act of Treason

Act of Treason

Act of Treason has been used in Red Deck Wins several times throughout its history, and while it’s probably one of the worst threaten effects, it might need to be used once Traitorous Blood and Mark of Mutiny rotate.  Traitorous Instinct will still be around, but the four mana cost can be a large issue in a deck that doesn’t want anything expensive.  This most likely will be the go-to if Theros doesn’t print a better option.  That said, I’ve almost never seen a base set that doesn’t have a threaten effect so time will tell.

Blur Sliver

Blur Sliver

If there is a slivers deck, Blur Sliver will be in it.  Giving haste to your team of creatures with ridiculous abilities is a must, especially when this guy exists.

Canyon Minotaur

Canyon Minotaur

Canyon Minotaur has always been a solid beater in draft in a color that just wants to pump out dudes, so he’s likely to be a role player again in that format.  Otherwise, he’s one of the most vanilla and unexciting cards in this entire print run and of course will see no constructed play.

Chandra’s Outrage

Chandra's Outrage

I really wanted Chandra’s Outrage to be playable the last time around, and even tested it for a while, but it always came down to it being too expensive.  At three mana, this thing would be insane and a must-play in RDW, especially being that it’s an instant.  But at four mana, it competes with way too many cards and doesn’t offer you enough value.  I don’t need a mini Lava Axe tied to my Flame Slash, and if I do it better cost less mana.  We live in a world of Supreme Verdicts, Thragtusks, and Angel of Serenitys, which mean you need to get down to business.

Cyclops Tyrant

Cyclops Tyrant

Let’s be honest, this guy is not blocking 90% of the time so the latter part of his text means nothing.  What does matter is he’s a 3/4 for a high casting cost with conditional evasion.  NEXT.

Demolish

Demolish

It actually makes me mad that Wizards continues to print this card and other ridiculously overcosted land destruction spells.  I get it, you don’t want people building a dedicated LD deck ever again because you’d prefer that everyone gets a chance to actually cast their shiny new expensive cards.  But you know what, as a red player, I happen to absolutely love casting Pillage into Wildfire on my opponent, and I don’t mind if someone’s LD’ing me because at least the archetype exists.  This card will never see play outside of a fringe option in a draft deck, it’s a waste of cardboard.  Please for the love of God at least bring back Stone Rain (I have enough cards that kill artifacts).  I can just see myself now being that old man saying “y’know back in mah day we had something called Land Destruction.”

Dragon Hatchling

Dragon Hatchling

While he didn’t see much play before outside of the occasional draft deck, Dragon Hatchling might this time around if a Dragons deck comes together.  He enables Scourge of Valkas to do some serious damage, and his firebreathing ability is always wanted on a creature with evasion.  Most likely scenario is that there isn’t a Dragons deck and that he sits in a box, but I never rule out the outside possibilities of bright minds like those who play Magic.

Goblin Shortcutter

Goblin Shortcutter

Outside of draft decks and some kind of future goblins deck, I can’t see this being played.  Firefist Striker is just better and already sees a ton of play in Red archetypes.  If his ability had some kind of buyback to it he’d be a lot more considerable.  The only (and again very remote) possibility of him seeing some action would be due to the existence of Burning-Tree Emissary, but there’s a lot of other two drops that come first in the line of considerables to combo with that card.

Lava Axe

Lava Axe

Everyone knows about Lava Axe so I won’t go into much detail here.  Now I leave it up to you to manage that draft deck where you get 7 of them. . .

Lightning Talons

Lightning Talons

It’s 90% unlikely to see play in constructed simply because it doesn’t offer evasion and there happens to be better enchantments available at the moment like Madcap Skills, but otherwise this has always been a fantastic draft card that often sleeps until later picks.  In Shards Draft this card was the real deal and I used it many times to completely take over combat.  It falls to the same fallacies as other enchantments though, and that means you have to keep the cautious eye out for the possibility of getting 2-for-1’d.  Three mana is also too high these days for something of this effect outside of draft, if it were two mana it would probably be lurking on MTGO somewhere.

Marauding Maulhorn

Marauding Maulhorn

Again another solid option for draft, and a downright dirty one if you get Advocate of the Beast and are building G/R Aggro.  A 5/3 for 4 is a good rate to beginwith in draft, and the always attacking clause is relatively unimportant since you’ll be doing that anyway and this guy will often be the biggest thing on the board alongside an army of little guys.  He won’t see constructed play, but a four mana common usually doesn’t.

Pitchburn Devils

Pitchburn Devils

Maybe playable in sealed if you’re limited on guys, otherwise I’ve never been a fan.  He’s overcosted and the effect is unreliable to trigger, both things you don’t want when spending five mana on an underpowered roadblock.

Regathan Firecat

Regathan Firecat

Wizards just keeps printing worse and worse Ball Lightnings.  Four power is a lot though on a three mana cost guy, so I could see him being played in hyper-aggressive draft decks with lots of removal, but outside of that he won’t see any other kind of play.

Seismic Stomp

Seismic Stomp

This is my sleeper common of the set (unless the cat is already out of the bag I don’t know?).  Seismic Stomp is the part of a Gruul Charm that you really want to cast in an aggressive deck, and even in constructed I could see the power of this alpha strike being insanely good.  Imagine having three or four guys on the board and being stalled out against Junk Aristocrats or Bant and then drawing this card.  Complete blowout.  If no one else plays this I’m at least going to try it out in my sideboard because aside from matchups with massive removal like Jund and UWR, this card could really shine.  It’s a shame Lingering Souls gets around it, but that’s what Electrickery is for 🙂

Shock

Shock

Ah, the undercosted and underplayed Lightning Bolt.  Shock might see a bit more play this time around given the current state of burn in Standard, but with Voice of Resurgence requiring Pillar of Flame and other options that highly contest it, I don’t think Shock will be too high on anyone’s list.  It’ll really come down to whether you need the instant speed or not, as the damage output is just too low for most builds.  In draft however, this is of course a very high pick, and post-rotation it might be necessary in Standard.

Smelt

Smelt

Other than maybe fringe play in Eternal formats (which I doubt), I can’t see this card being played.  It’s an OK draft sideboard, but even in the days of Scars block you know that you’d rather play something with more value.  Its efficiency is the only thing it has going for it and it’s often a dead card in an aggressive deck.  Give me my Ancient Grudge please.

Striking Sliver

Striking Sliver

One of the best slivers in the set in my opinion, and he should see play if that archetype exists.  First Strike is always great to have, and when your whole team has it, times can get very annoying for your opponent.  The only drawback is that by himself he’s not hugely impressive, but Boros Recruit did see some minor play when he was around so you never know.

Thunder Strike

Thunder Strike

This is a solid instant that unfortunately isn’t a burn spell.  That means it’s a conditional 1 for 1 and outside of having some long-winded reason for needing it in a draft deck it’s unlikely this card will be played.

Wild Guess

Wild Guess

Anyone want to help me and take a wild guess as to why Wizards keeps printing this card?

– Red Deck Winning

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