Hour of Devastation Review – Red Cards

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Hi everyone.  Welcome to the fourth in my series of reviews of the cards in the upcoming Hour of Devastation expansion.  Today we’ll be taking a look at all of the Red cards.  In this article, I will discuss these cards as they relate to Standard play.  My system uses number ratings ranging from 0 – 5 to gauge how well I think the cards will perform Standard play.  I will offer some pros and cons for these cards and give my thoughts and rating on the card for Standard play.  Please keep in mind that these ratings are based on my opinion only and may differ from your opinion.  (If you have a different opinion, please sound off in the Comments section below and let me know your thoughts.)

How My Rating System Works

5.0:  Format All-Star.  This card is a total Bomb card.  For those that aren’t familiar with this term, it basically means this card will win you the game if left unchecked for a turn or two.  These cards tend to be hard to defend against and can turn a game around in a hurry.  Some cards that are bombs in limited may only be a mediocre card in constructed play.  This card will see a lot of play in top tier tournament decks or will be the lynchpin of a top tier deck.

4.0:  Above Average Card.  This card is great.  It can be played in multiple decks and will have an impact on the game every time.  These cards can change a game quickly, get you back in the game, or shift the tempo of the game.  These cards are usually vulnerable to some type of removal (or are a removal spell themselves), but they make up the majority of cards found in major tournament decks.  This card will be a good support card in a top tier tournament deck.

3.0:  Average Card.  These are generally good cards, and many of them will be the majority of cards found in a tribal deck.  Cards in this category are usually similar to other (higher-ranked) cards but cost 1 mana more or have a drawback in some manner.  In Limited play, these are the majority of your deck.  This card will likely be in a fair number of top tier tournament decks and will generally be interchangeable with other similarly-rated cards.

2.0:  Niche Card.  These cards serve are very narrow function and are usually meant for your sideboard.  They could be removal spells that only remove 1 type of card, or cards with mediocre stats that have an ability that helps against opponents playing a certain color or strategy.  In Limited play, these cards are put in your deck if you have no other options and need the card to reach your 40-card minimum deck size.  For Constructed play, you will rarely play this card unless it’s from your sideboard or you want to be “cute”.  This card will only be seen in select decks that are usually trying to play around with a specific ability or in tribal decks.

1.0:  Will Rarely See Play.  The worst of the worst.  These cards are rarely played (if they’re played at all).  These cards generally have bad stats, cost too much mana, or have basically no impact on the game when they’re played.  Overall stay away from this card if possible.  This card will likely not see any tournament play.

And now, on to the cards…

 

Abrade

Abrade

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Here’s another modal card that looks to be good.  It’s a good defense against those pesky Gearhulks.

 

Blur of Blades

Blur of Blades

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Shrinking an opponents creature while dealing direct damage to them sounds good to me.  This will likely see a little play, but the effect is a small one so it’s not a lock for all red decks.

 

Burning-Fist Minotaur

Burning-Fist Minotaur

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I could see this seeing play in an aggressive red deck, but the low toughness on this card really limits its potential play.

 

Chandra’s Defeat

Chandra’s Defeat

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Another good card for the sideboard.  The unfortunate thing is that this can’t take care of Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh when it comes out.

 

Chaos Maw

Chaos Maw

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This is a decent card with good stats and a nice ability, however it’s unlikely to see much play in Standard because of it’s 7 mana cost.

 

Crash Through

Crash Through

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Even though you have to telegraph this combat trick by playing in your pre-combat main phase, this card affects all of your creatures for a single mana.  And the fact that it replaces itself is an added bonus.  This could see a fair amount of play.

 

Defiant Khenra

Defiant Khenra

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  A 2/2 for 2 mana is fine, but this card has no other synergies with other cards in Standard.  I don’t expect this to see any play.

 

Earthshaker Khenra

Earthshaker Khenra

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Generally, I don’t think the eternalize creatures will see much Standard play.  This one might be the exception, simply because of the haste it offers.  It’s also difficult for your opponent to block.

 

Fervent Paincaster

Fervent Paincaster

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I want so badly for this card to be good, and if its power and toughness were switched it would be.  But having a 1 toughness makes this card too much of a liability in Standard.

 

Firebrand Archer

Firebrand Archer

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  While I can envision a scenario where this card would be good, here’s another 1 toughness creature that won’t see much, if any, play in Standard.

 

Frontline Devastator

Frontline Devastator

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Everything seems good about this card, except that its mana cost is a tad bit too much.  It might see a small amount of play despite that fact.

 

Gilded Cerodon

Gilded Cerodon

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  While I don’t think deserts will see widespread play in Standard, there’s a small chance that this card see play.  Getting a repeatable effect for attacking each turn is pretty nice.

 

Granitic Titan

Granitic Titan

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  As red decks learn to adapt away from small, hasty creatures and efficient burn spells into more of a big red style of deck, this card seems like it could be a pretty good top end for a deck.

 

Hazoret’s Undying Fury

Hazoret’s Undying Fury

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This card has the potential to be completely busted, or to do absolutely nothing.  I do think that it will likely see some play simply because of the possibility of the busted draws, but it’s a complete gamble so there will be a lot of players who won’t play it because of the randomness.  The nice thing is that you can possibly hit enough things to make up for the loss of having mana next turn.

 

Hour of Devastation

Hour of Devastation

Rating:  4.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This is one of my favorite cards in the set.  Removing indestructible from all creatures makes this a very powerful card indeed.  I really want to use this in a ramp deck alongside Heroic Intervention.  Also, dealing damage to planeswalkers is super good.

 

Imminent Doom

Imminent Doom

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This looks like a fun build-around card, but the fact that there’s no way to remove counters from this card makes it a little limiting.  I’m sure this will see some play, but it’s simply an okay card and not amazing.

 

Inferno Jet

Inferno Jet

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  6 damage is a lot, but so is 6 mana.  Having cycling on this card makes this card playable more often.  I could definitely see this as a 1 or 2-of to use to deal that last 6 points of damage to my opponent after they’ve gummed up the ground.

 

Khenra Scrapper

Khenra Scrapper

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This card has potential to be able to destroy 2 of your opponents creatures when it dies.  The main problem is that there’s a ton of ways to kill it before combat damage would resolve.  I don’t see this as having a home currently in Standard.

 

Kindled Fury

Kindled Fury

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  The bonus this card provides isn’t great enough for it to see Standard play.  This card is good for Limited play as a nice combat trick, though.

 

Magmaroth

Magmaroth

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I think this card has potential to see play in a red control deck.  But if you fall behind a couple of turns on casting noncreature spells, it can become difficult to get this back up to a 5/5.  In a deck with ways to utilize the -1/-1 counters on this is where this card could shine.

 

Manticore Eternal

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Normally being required to attack each turn is a considerable drawback, but with afflict 3, that drawback gets mitigated some.  This will likely never be widely played, but it could see a bit of play.

 

Neheb, the Eternal

Neheb, the Eternal

Rating:  3.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This is a great card to help ramp up your mana production.  I predict a lot of decks will utilize this card in order to help them cast multiple cards in their post-combat main phase.

 

Open Fire

Open Fire

Rating:  3.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  As much as I dislike paying 3 mana to deal 3 points of damage, this is a much needed card for red decks hoping to burn their opponent out.  I predict this will see lots of play.

 

Puncturing Blow

Puncturing Blow

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  While this card costs a lot of mana, the exile effect it provides is very good.  I don’t expect this to see tons of play, but it could definitely be played from the sideboard a bit.

 

Sand Strangler

Sand Strangler

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Even though I don’t expect to see widespread use of desert cards, here’s a card that gives you a reason to play them.  It probably won’t see much play, but there’s a chance it’ll see some.

 

Thorned Moloch

Thorned Moloch

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I could see this card being played in an aggressive deck, since having first strike is a nice ability.  But doing nothing when you need to be defensive knocks the playability of this card down a notch.

 

Wildfire Eternal

Wildfire Eternal

Rating:  3.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I like this card a lot, especially for blue/red control decks.  While it does cost 4 mana to play, it has the potential to dish out a lot of punishment either through afflict 4 when it’s blocked, or by casting instants and sorceries (of any color) for free when it’s not blocked.  The only drawback is the need to have cards in your hand in order to use (or bluff) the ability of casting a spell for free.  This should see quite a bit of play in Standard.

 

So, that’s my thoughts on the Red cards.  Let me know whether you agree or disagree on anything by leaving a comment below or by emailing me directly at mikelikesmtg@gmail.com.  Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the Green cards in Hour of Devastation.  I’ll see you then!

Mike Likes

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Mike Likes

Mike started playing Magic back in 1994, but gave it up at the end of 1995. He came back to the game during the Lorwyn block and has been playing ever since. Around this time, he opened and ran his own comic & game store, while also raising his newborn daughter. After 8 years, he sold his business and moved to Wisconsin with his wife and daughter. With the debut of Kaladesh, his entire family became regular Magic players. He now has hopes of competing alongside his wife and daughter at a Grand Prix or similar event in the future. #MTGDad

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