Monday, April 25, 2011

New Phyrexia EDH Set Review: Part 4 - Red

Will Mirrodin be purged of Phyrexian taint by cleansing flame, or will the flames be tainted by the Great Compleation to scour all resistance from the metal world? Oh, I think you know the answer to this already, but let's take a closer look, shall we?

Yuck, a bad Threaten variant! It is an Instant, which is sometimes nice, but mostly this just kinda blows. I'd rather play Grab the Reigns, Slave to Bolas, or Conquering Manticore.

This is one of the most amusing enchantments I've seen in a while. Imagine equiping Akroma's Memorial to a dude. Or a bunch of Signets. This is just wacky, and I can't wait to play it. I have no idea how powerful it will actually be, but I'm sure it's going to be fun.

Goblin tribal decks might be happy with this. I'd run it in one, for sure. Beyond that? Not so much.

This was pretty much the inevitable Red contribution to Infect. He doesn't need to attack, he just sits there and pings them to death. Nice. Virtually no application to EDH, as far as I can tell, though.

That's a bunch of Red Mana symbols! Probably not too playable in EDH, where permanent ramp is FAR better than one-shot bursts. It might find a comfy home in a few Mono-Red "pressure" decks that go-for-broke with this sort of thing.

Fantastic against mono-color decks, and might be playable against two-color decks. Also could shut down Crucible of Worlds in some cases, but against Sac lands it's pretty useless. Still, even just using this to Exile someones Volrath's Stronghold or Academy Ruins is going to make this worth a slot in some decks.

Once again, a dragon with art that FAR surpasses the card itself. However, this one isn't as bad as the MBS Dragon. Obviously, as an Artifact creature, this lizard is just about as fragile as a permanent can be, and will die to any of a thousand commonly played spells. But the fact that you can pay life or mana for it's firebreating means it can easily finish off an opponent with a lower life total than you. It's high risk, high reward, and I feel the risk is higher than the potential payoff. But it's cool enough to see some experimental play at first.

This would be fantastic if there were more ϕ mana cards. As it stands now, this is not playable in EDH, even in a 5-color deck stocked with every ϕ card in print.

Lord of Extinction is usually pretty bad, except when you just sac it to Alter of Dimentia to mill someone. This guy is a lot like that, but unless your up against a Sharuum deck, it'll never be big enough to have an impact, but at the same time, I don't see where this guy really poses any threat to Sharuum decks.

Lame. FTK barely gets an love anymore (though I still play it all the time), and this is pales in comparison.

I think this guy deserves more love than he's getting. He doesn't have the OMG WOW factor that the other Praetors have, but he is the cheapest, fastest and most efficient of the Praetors. And his abilities will, I believe, prove to have more impact than would seem at first glance. I can't wait to play him.

Nice design, a bit heavy on the cost, but it's appropriate to the card. Feels balance, but good. Also, it feels irrelevant, because Red isn't usualy the color that wants to play with counters. Exceptions to every rule, of course, but I can't think of any worthwhile use for this right now.

Meh. 2 damage isn't enough to kill what needs killin' in EDH. Tokens, yeah, but by now you should have realized there are tons of cards that are "good against tokens".

Red, as usual, seems to get the shaft. I do think Urabrask will be a sleeper hit, and while he probably will not explode onto the scene with fanfare and pomp, he will quietly be making his way into many decks. He will often fly under the radar until it's too late and your opponent suddenly realizes "oh, wow, I shoulda killed that guy!". Bludgeon Brawl is an x-factor that really has to be played to be judged accurately, but I cannot wait to test it out. Not much else to get excited over, unfortunately.


  1. I actually like Act of Aggression, Word of Seizing has proven to be really good at least in my group, and this is just a step down from it. You can surprise a lot of people mid combat and generally take out two very relevant threats. That being said grab the reins and word of seizing both are much better than it...

  2. A fair counter-opinion, Patrick, and thank you for chiming in! I did make a scrub mistake in the pre-release sealed. I "splashed" for a Porcelain Legionnaire in my G/B deck, but I dismissed Act of Aggression too soon and there were a couple match-ups where I should have sided my Act in. But I'd already written it off out of basic dislike and missed that opportunity.

    In EDH, though, it's still mediocre. To me, the benefit of the Phyrexian mana - i.e. playing it in an off-color deck to catch your opponent off guard - is negated by the EDH color rules, so if you're running Act of Aggression you have access to every red or black "Threaten" Variant anyway, and many of those are better.

    The only other upside is the Instant-speed ability to two-for-one an unsuspecting opponent. That's cool, but it's just not quite enough of an upside to get me excited.

  3. Yeah, I think you are quite right about Act of Aggression after a game or two of playing with it. Word of Seizing and Grab the Reins are just so much better than it, Grab the Reins is pretty much useful in any situation and split second and being able to steal any permanent gives Word of Seizing so many more options. I don't really have any room or desire to play with a 3rd and very inferior similar effect in pretty much any deck.

    That being said, I think you are still underestimating the instant speed a bit and I would play Grab the Reins and Word of Seizing over any other threaten effect in the game.

  4. You are probably right about that. I tend to be biased toward using spells like this offensively rather than defensively.

    There are some people I play with often who are extremely Defensive players to a fault, which spurs me to be more Offensive to make up for it.