Amonkhet Review – Red

Hi everyone.  Welcome to the fourth in my series of reviews of the cards in the upcoming Amonkhet 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.

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.

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.

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”.

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.

And now, on to the cards…

 

Ahn-Crop Crasher

Ahn-Crop Crasher

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Being able to enter play with haste and deny an opponent’s creature the chance to block any of your creatures seems pretty strong, even if the drawback is not being able to untap for an extra turn.

 

Battlefield Scavenger

Battlefield Scavenger

Rating:  3.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  So simply be exerting any of your creatures able to do so, you’re able to rummage which helps find your best cards faster?  Where do I sign up???  The ability on this card is great, even if this is the only creature with exert in your deck (it’s obviously better with more creatures with exert, though).  This will see a lot of play.

 

Blazing Volley

Blazing Volley

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  While dealing one damage to each of your opponent’s creatures might not seem like much, this can definitely cause headaches after combat has happened and you’ve left some of their creatures with 1 point of toughness remaining.  This card also pairs well with cards that give -1/-1 counters to creatures.

 

Bloodlust Inciter

Bloodlust Inciter

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This card feels like it should get some play in Standard.  It’s relevant enough in the late game to make a difference in combat for you.

 

Bloodrage Brawler

Bloodrage Brawler

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  As long as there are madness cards in Standard, this card will have a home.  And the stats are so good compared to the investment cost that it might even see a little play in decks without discard outlets.

 

Brute Strength

Brute Strength

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  The red decks I usually play do well in the early game, but can sometimes struggle to do the final 2-3 points of damage to my opponent.  This card helps a lot with that.

 

By Force

By Force

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This is a nice sideboard card to have against those decks running a lot of artifacts.  I don’t expect to see this in the main deck anywhere though.

 

Cartouche of Zeal

Cartouche of Zeal

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I’m not impressed with this cartouche that much.  While denying the ability to block is a good ability, granting haste to the enchanted creature seems bad.  If this were first strike it would have been better, but it would have likely cost more to play.  Since this only costs 1 mana, it will likely see some play in decks that are trying to play trials multiple times, but I don’t expect it anywhere else.

 

Combat Celebrant

Combat Celebrant

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  While getting an additional combat phase sounds great, it will be nearly impossible to do since this creature only has a 1 toughness.  So, unless you have a way to give this haste, this will likely die to literally any damage-based removal before getting a chance to exert.

 

Consuming Fervor

Consuming Fervor

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  In the right deck, this can be brutal.  However, you need to find a deck that wants -1/-1 counters on a creature or a creature that can somehow use the -1/-1 counters to good effect.  Luckily there are creatures just like that in Amonkhet.

 

Deem Worthy

Deem Worthy

Rating:  3.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Being able to deal 7 points of damage to a creature is huge.  Normally it would take 2-3 burn spells to accomplish that, but with this card it only takes 1.  More likely, though, you’ll probably cycle this to deal 2 points and draw a card.  That’s still pretty sweet.

 

Desert Cerodon

Desert Cerodon

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  A 6/4 with no special abilities for 6 mana isn’t exactly exciting, but I do like that it can be cycled away for a single red mana.  That means this could see some play in a cycling deck.  But I’m not holding my breath.  For 6 mana, I would expect to get some sort of evasion, so this probably won’t make the cut in most Standard decks.

 

Electrify

Electrify

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I can see situations where you would want to deal 4 points of damage to a creature, however the cost of this spell is too high for the effect.  This might be in some sideboards, but this isn’t something to main deck.

 

Emberhorn Minotaur

Emberhorn Minotaur

Rating:  3.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  a 5/4 with menace is pretty difficult to block.  If you exert with this creature, you are offering your opponent the chance to trade 2 of their creatures for yours most of the time.  This can free up the board for your other creatures to deal damage next turn.  Or, they can just take 5 damage (which is never fun).

 

Flameblade Adept

Flameblade Adept

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  While the ability this card isn’t as good as full-on prowess, getting a boost to it’s power for cycling cards or playing cards with madness make blocking this problematic.  And if it’s combined with Noose Constrictor and a way to draw cards, it’ll be game over very quickly.

 

Fling

Fling

Rating:  3.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Fling is back, baby!  I loved Fling the last time it was in Standard, and I expect I’ll feel the same way again.  This card helps out the Crackdown Consulate / Wandering Fumarole deck that’s been waiting for an opportunity to be played in Standard, as well as helping Electrostatic Pummeler try to regain it’s glory.  Sounds like fun to me!

 

Glorious End

Glorious End

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This works well alongside the new Gideon, but it’s hard to imagine a scenario where countering something of your opponent’s while it’s on the stack can help you to win the game next turn.  People will probably try this out though, and we’ll see what they can come up with.

 

Glorybringer

Glorybringer

Rating:  4.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This card looks to be the real deal.  It flies, has a good power and toughness, can be hasty when needed, and can potentially kill your opponent’s best blocker.  This card will be a real powerhouse in Standard and should see play in many decks.

 

Harsh Mentor

Harsh Mentor

Rating:  3.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This seems like a very strong card against many decks.  The 2 toughness could prove to be problematic, as could the 2 mana cost (thanks to Fatal Push).  Still, I think lots of people will be brewing with this card.

 

Hazoret the Fervent

Hazoret the Fervent

Rating:  4.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This is the definition of an aggressive god card.  Not only can the discard ability allow yo to turn cards into direct damage, it also gets you one step closer to being able to attack with this god.  And once Hazoret comes online, it should be easy to keep it online.  It’s a great card and will see lots of play.

 

Hazoret’s Favor

Hazoret’s Favor

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This is a nice card to play to allow your smaller creatures to either kill a potential blocker or to get in additional damage if the opponent doesn’t block.  This looks like a lot of fun in any token deck that has a way to make tokens turn after turn.  It’s also nice that it is a may ability, so you don’t have to throw your creatures away if you don’t want to.

 

Heart-Piercer Manticore

Heart-Piercer Manticore  

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  What better way to deal direct damage to your opponent than to have this card fling a creature at your opponent that can’t connect with them on the battlefield due to the number of blockers your opponent has.  Or use this enter the battlefield effect to toss one of your creatures at an opponent’s creature to remove a future blocker.

 

Hyena Pack

Hyena Pack

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Nothing exciting to write about here.  This is simply an okay creature with no real upside or drawback.

 

Limits of Solidarity

Limits of Solidarity

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Gaining control of an opponent’s creature, using it in combat against them, and then casting Fling on it is so much fun (for you, that is).  It’s also nice that if your opponent doesn’t have any creatures in play (maybe because you destroyed all of them), you can just cycle this away for a new card.

 

Magma Spray

Magma Spray

Rating:  4.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Here’s the burn spell we deserve.  With all of the -1/-1 counters that could potentially be placed on your opponent’s creatures, sometimes all it takes is 2 points of damage to kill them, which also exiles them with this card.  This is a welcomed piece of creature removal we’ve needed for a while.

 

Manticore of the Gauntlet

Manticore of the Gauntlet

Rating:  3.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Manticores seem to be pretty nasty creatures.  This is a nice combination of a creature and a direct damage spell.  This is a nice high-end spell for any red deck.

 

Minotaur Sureshot

Minotaur Sureshot

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Now this is what I think of when I see an archer.  This is a great blocker that can also be a great attacker if needed.

 

Nef-Crop Entangler

Nef-Crop Entangler

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  In my opinion, exerting to become a 3/3 simply isn’t good enough.  The fact that this has trample helps out a little, but this isn’t a particularly exciting card.

 

Nimble-Blade Khenra

Nimble-Blade Khenra

Rating:  3.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Prowess is an amazing ability that can strike out of nowhere.  I love that this creature has a higher toughness than power.  That makes attacking into this creature very risky.

 

Pathmaker Initiate

Pathmaker Initiate

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Being unblockable is an underrated ability, so being able to grant that ability to other creatures makes this card nice for a deck that has ways to increase power after attacking.  I hope to see this alongside Electrostatic Pummeler somewhere down the line.

 

Pursue Glory

Pursue Glory

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Speaking of ways to boost power after attacking, this card will boost your whole team.  And anything that helps the whole team will likely see some play.  It also has cycling, so it’ll fit into those kinds of decks too.

 

Soul-Scar Mage

Soul-Scar Mage

Rating:  4.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This card permanently burns all of your opponent’s creatures when you cast spells that deal noncombat damage.  That will help your team quickly outclass your opponent’s creatures.  Now all of your burn spells can be used to weaken your opponent’s team even if you can’t kill any of the creatures outright.  This card should see a lot of play.

 

Sweltering Suns

Sweltering Suns

Rating:  4.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  A lot of time, 3 damage to each creature equals a boardwipe.  That seems pretty good to me.  Or imagine playing this with Soul-Scar Mage on your field.  Now, that’s exciting!

 

Thresher Lizard

Thresher Lizard

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  A 3/2 for 3 mana isn’t too exciting.  It’s not even that much more exciting when you can get the +1/+2 bonus, but it will make this card see play in those decks that want to empty their hands.

 

Tormenting Voice

Tormenting Voice

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  It seems like this card has been legal in Standard for years, and with all of the bonuses for discarding cards, I’m happy to see it here.  It also allows you to draw cards that you can potentially discard for even better effects.

 

Trial of Zeal

Trial of Zeal

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Oath of Chandra doesn’t see much play, so it’s doubtful that this will see any in decks that aren’t trying to replay trials by playing cartouches.

 

Trueheart Twins

Trueheart Twins

Rating:  3.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This exert ability is pretty good since it helps out your entire team.  If not for that, this would receive a much lower rating.

 

Violent Impact

Violent Impact

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  There are easier and less mana intensive ways to destroy an artifact in Standard, and destroying a land is almost never worth doing.  It’s a good thing this has cycling, otherwise this card would see no play.

 

Warfire Javelineer

Warfire Javelineer

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  In a deck filled with instants and sorceries, this card can likely kill any of your opponent’s creatures.  Otherwise this card isn’t worth playing.

 

Insult /// Injury

Insult /// Injury

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  If you manage to have 6 mana and this card, you can deal 4 damage to any creature in plan and 4 damage to your opponent, neither of which can be prevented.  While it’s not amazing, it is playable and this will see some play.

 

That wraps up my review of the red cards in Amonkhet.  How did I do?  Let me know by leaving a comment below.  And be sure to join me tomorrow for part five where we’ll look at the Green cards.  I’ll see you then!

Mike Likes

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Mike Likes

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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