Evaluating M10 – Part 4: Red

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In the wake of the uninspiring Black and Blue cards reviewed, M10's selection of Red cards bring with them the most interesting reprints in the set. Alongside an old Sligh staple are some flavorful old-school cards as well as an overlooked recurring flier that might have many more uses than initially thought. To start it off, let's take a look at the most hyped reprint thus far.

Ball Lightning

Creature - Elemental Rare
Trample, haste
At the beginning of the end step, sacrifice Ball Lightning.
#123/249 6/1

As of writing, Ball Lightning's pre-selling for around 8 dollars. This is consistent with Ball Lightning's price history. If it sees heavy tournament use, it will hit 10. If not, it will go down to 5 after the initial hype dies down. People will initially play mono red even if it's not a good deck, so this is a card to sell high while the hype is up.

Bogardan Hellkite

Creature - Dragon Mythic Rare
Flash (You may cast this spell any time you could cast an instant)
When Bogardan Hellkite enters the battlefield, it deals 5 damage divided as you choose among any number of target creatures and/or players.
Illus. Scott M. Fischer #128/249 5/5

Reprinted from Time Spiral, Hellkite's one hell of a beating if you can cast him. He's only pre-selling for 5 dollars at StarCity, but the question on the minds of players is, "Where does he fit into Standard?" As a mythic rare, Hellkite's price will basically be dictated by usage, however Mythic dragons rarely dip too low in price. With that in mind, Hellkite hasn't got anywhere to go but up. It is reasonable that it remains at 5, but equally reasonable that it rises higher.

Capricious Efreet

Creature - Efreet Rare
At the beginning of your upkeep, choose target nonland permanent you control and up to two nonland permanents you don't control. Destroy one of them at random.
"You wish for great destruction? It is done, my master."
Illus. Justin Sweet #151/249 6/4

It's a red Craw Wurm that might just kill itself or something else you control. While the ability could prove to be interesting in Limited, the card is a total dud for Constructed play. Bulk Rare.

Chandra Nalaar

Planeswalker - Chandra Mythic Rare
+1: Chandra Nalaar deals 1 damage to target player.
-X: Chandra Nalaar deals X damage to target creature.
-8: Chandra Nalaar deals 10 damage to target player and each creature he or she controls.

It's the same old Chandra, just Mythic. Always popular with the casual crowd as planeswalkers are wont to be, she'll hover above 5 dollars and have no relevance to Standard whatsoever.


Sorcery Rare
Earthquake deals X damage to each creature without flying and each player.

Sweet! A reprint that hasn't gotten as much press as Ball Lightning, Earthquake is the newest weapon Red has in the fight aga
inst the Great White Menace that is Kithkin. Despite being a fantastic card, Quake has never really held too much value. It's being priced at 2.50 right now, which is just about right.

Goblin Chieftain

Creature - Goblin Rare
Other Goblin creatures you control get +1/+1 and have haste.
�We are goblinkind, heirs to the mountain empires of chieftains past. Rest is death to us, and arson is our call to war.�
Illus. Sam Wood 2/2

The only question with Goblin Chieftan is, "Are there enough Goblins to make a good deck?" Hackblade, Tattermunge Maniac and Ram-Gang all come to mind. It doesn't have a catalyst like Goblin Pile-Driver was during Onslaught block, but Goblins could yet be a viable deck. As long the Lord is in the core set, every Goblin printed will be judged alongside its Chieftan. This hasty fellow will be wildly popular among casual players and may have tournament potential too. 5 dollars is where it's sitting right now, and that's well within reason. It could even have upside beyond the 5 dollar mark.

Magma Phoenix

Creature - Phoenix Rare
When Magma Phoenix is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, it deals 3 damage to each creature and each player.
3{R}{R}: Return Magma Phoenix from your graveyard to your hand.
Illus. Raymond Swanland 3/3

There were questions about why this card is "good" on Twitter and in the comments, and it boils down to this: Ignoring the board sweeping on-death ability, it would be playable (but not great) without it. At the moment, it seems outclassed by Demigod of Revenge in mono red and black-red, but the fact is that a no-strings-attached recursion ability is extremely powerful. While it may never become a chase rare or a format-defining icon, Magma Phoenix deserves a lot more love than the 99 cents its getting right now. This is one of the cards that can be "rocket fuel" - a bulk rare that may be far better than people realize.


Enchantment Rare
Whenever a player taps a land for mana, Manabarbs deals 1 damage to that player

Manabarbs is a fascinating old-school card that everyone seems to have forgotten was in 10th Edition. It wasn't worth anything then and it wont be worth much now.

Shivan Dragon

Creature - Dragon Rare
{R}: Shivan Dragon gets +1/+0 until end of turn.

Shivan Dragon: See Mana Barbs. Sad that such an icon of Magic's past has faded to this, but beyond the Timmy-est of gamers, Shivan Dragon's not much fun anymore.

Siege-Gang Commander

Creature - Goblin Rare
When Siege-Gang Commander enters the battlefield, put three 1/1 red Goblin creature tokens onto the battlefield.
1{R}, Sacrifice a Goblin: Siege-Gang Commander deals 2 damage to
target creature or player.

Siege-Gang was also in 10th Edition, but loses some of its power under the new M10 rules. He gains a powerful ally in the Goblin Chieftan, but much like the Lord it remains to be seen if a dedicated Goblin deck can bring the heat in Standard. Siege-Gang is usually powerful enough to stand on his own, so a 5 dollar price tag is reasonable to expect.

Warp World

Sorcery Rare
Each player shuffles all permanents he or she owns into his or her library, then reveals that many cards from the top of his or her library. Each player puts all artifact, creature, and land cards revealed this way onto the battlefield, then puts all enchantment cards revealed this way onto the battlefield, then puts all cards revealed this way that weren't put onto the battlefield on the bottom of his or her library in any order.

Another 10th Edition returnee, Warp World is a bizarre card that has a combo decks built around it. Despite having a constructed application in a potentially winning deck, a Ravnica copy of Warp World can be purchased for approximately the price of a White Castle hamburger. Another flavorful bulk rare.

Overall, Red got many of the flavorful cards that Wizards are trying to bring back into Magic. It seems that the majority of the" flavor cards" in the set are not meant for competative play, but that's always been the case with core sets. As long as you temper your expectations and remember that it's a core set and not an expansion, you'll enjoy the sporadic tournament staples that crop up. With that in mind, check back in tomorrow when we take a look at Green's additions to Standard!

Kelly Reid

Founder & Product Manager

View More By Kelly Reid

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