Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Avacyn Restored EDH Set Review, Part Four: Red

Red is usually thought of as the "worst" color in EDH. While it's true that Red mostly has a hard time with late-game reach and is much better at dealing 20 to a single opponent than dealing 40 to three or four opponents, that's not necessarily an insurmountale disadvantage.

Avacyn Restored brings us one of the most exciting Red cards to come along in a while - Reforge the Soul. An almost-reprint of Wheel of Fortune, Red mages should be happy to have yet another "draw seven" in their arsenal, and this time without the awkward Suspend mechanic.

On the down side of things, Vampires didn't get much love, just a couple of mediocre commons and uncommons. We did get a two-headed devil dog, though, so that's pretty cool.

Overcosted chaff, but likely to be someone's Secret Tech pick one day. Rhys or Ghave decks might cringe at seeing this, but there are far more efficient and effective ways to hose those decks. If it cost four, and could be a Sunforger toolbox peice, it'd be okay, but alas it is not.
I really think this could have been a 5/5 and been printable (and certainly more playable). Neat art, but terrible card. Shame, since the last two dragons in this block were both pretty awesome.
 Usually these one-shot "ritual" effects are pretty terrible if not outright unplayable in EDH. But there are decks that can do a lot with some big-mana for a turn. I could see playing this in my Rith token deck if I had a couple more X spells in the deck. Paying 1R for 8 to 10 red mana is not a terrible deal. Mostly, though, this is not an EDH-worthy card.
Lavalanche can be pretty devestating in a big-mana deck, sit stands to reason this could be as well. However, paying full price for it is wholly unappealing. It's pretty much the Miracle cost that makes this even remotely worth considering.
This could just straight-up kill a player dead on the spot in a token deck. I see this being useful in all sorts of Jund or Naya builds as a potential one-shot kill card.

Also, pretty good tech in Riku. You can copy the spell without having to tap more guys, and effectively deal 6 x the number of creatures you control to one or two targets. Not bad for 5 mana.
Yeah, Red decks can run out of gas easily. I'd rather have Wheel of Fortune and the like, but this could do in a pinch. It also enables some Madness, Hellbent or Flashback tricks. Pretty narrow, but mildly playable in the right decks.
I can see this in a lot of Riku or Intet decks, as well as Grixis Good Stuff builds that have a high Instant & Sorcery count. Copying shit is fun and popular in EDH, which the popularity of cards like Twicast, Kiki-Jiki, Rite of Replication or Wild Richochet can attest. That it's an Aura which carries with it that card-disadvantage baggage, it's still worth the risk at an amazingly cheap cost of 1R to cast, and R to activate.
Meh. If the second ability were worded like Spikeshot Elder's it'd be pretty good, but as it stands, this is likely to be a bit too janky to see any real play. I might try to shoehorn it into my Garza Vamp tribal deck, because it is a two-mana Vampire, but it's probably never going to be all that great.
Very underpowered for EDH. Nice in Limited, but that's about it.
Sorta interesting, but can't compete with Falkenrath Noble for a really good Vampire with a death trigger.
 This guy is super efficient for what he is. Basically a 4/4 for four mana, with Undying as a nice added-value bonus. This will be great in any Red Equipment-based Voltron deck. Imagine this guy carrying a Sword of War and Peacer or a Sunforger. Sweet. Plus, it's a two-headed hound. How awesome is that!
Meh. If human tribal becomes a real EDH deck archetype, will it contain Red? I don't see it happening.
Hmm, interesting. A very nice Haste enabler, but I don't know if this can compete with Anger and urabrask. If I were running Boros Guildmage in anything, this would likely replace her, but I'm not. Still, it's cheap and likely to give you some value before it gets caught in a Wrath effect. I definitely see this working in a deck that is really pushing the aggro envelope as hard as possible.
As bad as this may seem on the surface, Red really can use this effect. I'd be happy to play this in a number of decks. Probably none with Blue in them, but for Red/Black or Red/Green, could be alright. Pairs great with Squee, by the way.
I usually hate creatures that are just big and dumb and have zero evasion, but a potential 20/20 for five is pretty compelling, especially in the color that already has Warstorm Surge and Fling.
Amazing. I will happily play Wheel of Fortune for five, even without the potential for Miracle-ing it out for two. Very, very good card. Should see plenty of play.
Seems good in any deck that is planning on copying it or casting it for free. Mostly this just looks annoying and obnoxious to play against, and isn't likely to benefit it's caster quite enough to warrant casting it. Time will tell, but I foresee this being avoided by most EDH players.

This would have been a lock for my Stonebrow trample deck if I still had it together. Likely to get limited play in specific decks. Seems fun with Gisela,  or any large-ish Double Strike guy. Also, Malignus.
Virtually unplayable, but I still can't help but think about pairing this with Boros Swiftblade or something similar. Probably not worth it, though.
Not good enough. Sure, for one R it's great, but for six it's abyssmal.
I kinda hate this guy. Well, the card itself sucks. The character is awesome. Devil guy with a pimp coat. Yeah, I can dig that. Still, it's that word "random" in the first ability that absolutely kills any potential use I might have for Tibalt.
This guy looks like a fun, janky EDH bomb in the classic sense. Back before we had Praetors and Titans and Sphinxes that were just flat out amazing, EDH players were playing the shit out of cards like this guy. I love seeing cards like this because it's clearly gonna see play in EDH, but it's very, very unlikely to take off in any other format out there, meaning this will never be more than a bargain bin rare.

I'm not looking forward to seeing Riku copy this guy, though. Or Tooth and Nail for this plus Kiki-Jiki.

Oh, and this is pretty much the best possible target for Infinite Reflection (in this set, at least).
I'm looking forward to opening tons of copies of this guy. Because I'm gonna trade every friggin one of them to tournament players and RDW die-hards.
They're really trying to push Humans in Red. Seems cool. We'll see if players take the bate or not, but I see this card as more of a 60-card format card, not EDH.
Most of the time, I'd rather play Conquering Manticor. For one more mana we get a 5/5 Flyer instead of a 3/3 Haste body. But, this lady can steal Planeswalkers and the like, which the Manticore can't do. More importantly, this is yet another "Threaten" that interacts nicely with this set's new "Flicker" technology to allow you to permanently steal things, not just until End of Turn.

Well, that wraps up our look at Red. There are a handful of situationally cool cards, but the stand outs are Reforge the Soul and Tyrant of Discord. Red didn't fare as badly as Black, though, so that's something to be thankful for. Definitely digging the fact that the more expensive rares and mythics are pretty much Constructed-only cards, while the ones that look to become EDH staples are more budget friendly. I'll be happily trading away Tibalts and Vexing Devils for fistfulls of EDH dollar-binder rares.

Up next, obviously, is Green. Enjoy!

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