To HELLion and Back again – Hyping Hellion Crucible in M13

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So I was just mentioning in the forums that I was surprised nobody was talking about this card:


Okay, where’s the downside?

What’s not to like about it? It’s a “free” 4/4 with haste, isn’t it? If it were a “come into play tapped” land, I could see it having a huge downside, but it still allows regular tempo should you need to play that T4 DOJ to survive and instead you rip a Seachrome…

At best (proliferate aside, even) it’s a T3 drop & charge, charge T4, crack T5 for a 4/4 … but that’s ONLY if you devote all of your time to charging it! And even then, if you have no plays T3-> 5 you really should just be thankful that you can get something that can threaten a Restoration Angel in a pinch. It may get even buy you that T6 to actually draw yourself out of your predicament. Pray for Terminus?

Not only good in RDW!?

Some people may initially look at it and automatically assume it’s something that would only be played in mono red aggro style decks. But what’s preventing it from being the finisher in a control deck? Or just being a supplemental 2-3x in Wolf Run right now?? UR Delver may appreciate this spicy little morsel to add to their arsenal, as it allows them to counter relevant spells, or if nothing is played add a counter EoT and with Hellion.

^ That right there is pretty awesome in itself: May not be able to make the air block on a Delver / Angel, but if either of them are left behind to block, they brunch & Mr. Hellion survives. There is nothing in the Delver deck that stands toe to toe with a Hellion token and survives solo. They pray for Vapor Snag I guess?

Why is this card good?

Here are a few points on Hellion Crucible that makes me really like it, exploring its potential:

  1. It produces mana (untapped) the turn it comes into play. It’s almost even scary to drop this T3 and charge it vs control. They can’t counter a Hellion, after all…
  2. It’s a mana sink for when you’ve got nothing else to do. It gives you plays when you'd otherwise "just say pass", preventing the Timewalk scenario.
  3. It allows you to keep mana up and “trick” opponents: “Are you leaving that mana up to charge Crucible, or do you actually have a [burn / buff / counter] spell?”
  4. It allows you to recover from their “massacre” effect. Your board is gone, but fortunately you’ve got a charged up Crucible to keep up your tempo.
  5. Produces something out of nothing. It doesn’t cost a card in hand, just a few turns of activating for a big payoff (5 turn clock).
  6. You only need to be playing 1 color, unlike the Innistrad lands where you need 2x. If you’ve got red in your deck, you can play this card. The more decks that can play it, the higher the demand for it.
  7. It is a may effect. There is nobody forcing you to charge the Crucible if you have something better to do.
  8. All kinds of Magical Christmas land scenarios, including but not limited to:
  • Popping more than 1 in a turn?
  • Copy effects like Parallel Lives / Doubling Season?
  • Them using up a Doom Blade against your token?
  • 5 Lands. Crucible at 2. Pop crucible, play Phantasmal Image, swing 8?
  • DoJ on your turn, activate Gideon and Crucible, swing 10?

So many other good “combos” that really aren’t even combos, just good synergy with different styles of decks. And soooo many different decks can use him!

So what decks can use this right now?

To name a few:

R/U delver
Wolf Run
R/G Aggro
Boros / Hellrider Tokens
R/B Vampires

And that’s not including any R based control decks that may want to include it. It’s just so versatile it can be played in anything supporting an R in it’s CC.

Hey man, I’ve got 5 kids to feed!

A wise man once commented that “If none of the ISD lands are over a buck I doubt this will be there”. Ah yes, but we are forgetting that Wolf Runs were commanding a $3.50 premium, and Moorlands a solid Toonie (… $2) for a long time before falling into obscurity / market flood.

I agree that spending $1 each is a risk, and they could very well take the plunge to $0.25. BUT they could also be on some deck tech somewhere and / or some pro could release a blog post in praises harmonious with my own to make the card seem incredible and *BOOM* your chance is over.

Channel Fireball currently has these at $0.99 on TCGPlayer, and the cheapest is “the mana fix” @ $0.94. eBay is, however, looking grim for our hero with prices around $2.12 / playset being the norm. The auctions are going as high as $8 however, which is strange. BiN is at lowest $3.96 for 4x on eBay by ChannelFireball as well, so they must know something we don’t!

I hate it I hate it I hate it!

"Carl, you told me my Visions of Beyond were going to be worth something... they're not! I hate this card, and I hate you too!"

I wish I had the ability to see into the future and always offer you a sure thing on a silver platter, but speculating doesn't work like that. Even if you hate my pick, be sure to look at how it was that I came to my conclusions so that you can do so for yourself next time. Being able to evaluate cards for yourself is a skill that needs to be honed and practiced. You dont have to be perfect, just have a reason for why you think the way you do and see if it pans out. Look for things like:

  • Card playability (where will this card be used / does it fit into any existing decks?)
  • Card selection (Are other cards competing with this card for slots in decks?)
  • Price References (Other cards with similar effects went for X, so this should follow suit?)

Until next time, may your specs burst forth for you like a giant, writing, gold-plated hellion that you cheated into play a turn sooner by proliferating. (Because we all love to proliferate at times, yes? :))

Carl Szalich

[Editor's Note: The original article featured inaccurate information regarding Hellion Crucible and has since been corrected. We apologize for the mistake.]

Carl Szalich

Currently found ranching Orggs in the wilds of London, Ontario, Canada, I've been playing MTG for the past 15 years. I remember when trading Dual Lands for Craw Wurms was the "in thing to do", and Shivan Dragon fought Royal Assassin to see which would carry the higher price tag. I'm primarily interested in MTG finance, and like a good Icatian Moneychanger I believe that we are all "bigger than we think" when it come to what we have, and what our potential may be.

View More By Carl Szalich

Posted in Free, M13Tagged

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9 thoughts on “To HELLion and Back again – Hyping Hellion Crucible in M13

  1. As I said in the forum, while I love the concept behind this card, I don't think it is a good speculation target right now.

    Red in M13 is horrible, apart from the Hellkite. Which means mono-red (unlike mono-green, which made out like a bandit) won't be a significant threat until rotation. Once a Standard environment is complete, only the highest powered new cards generally make a difference in an established meta, since both inertia and existing powerful cards play in the favor of existing, well-honed, decks.

    In the decks you mentioned, R/U Delver already has bad mana, R/G Aggro has much better things to do with its mana, Wolf Run is already playing too much colorless lands (Cavern of Souls, Glimmerpost), RDW isn't well positioned right now (and this won't be enough to take it to the next level). I'm not sure about Boros tokens and BR Vampires, except that BR Vampire probably don't have room for extra colorless lands.

    Regarding some other points in your analysis :
    – The Delver matchup : "They pray for Vapor Snag I guess?". With 4 Vapor Snags, 4 Snapcasters, 3-4 Restoration Angels to reset Snapcasters, not to mention the amount of cantripping Delver does, it's not for them to pray for Vapor Snag. It's up to you to pray that they don't have it in hand, in graveyard with a Snapcaster in hand, or in graveyard with a snapcaster in play and an angel in hand. "There is nothing in the Delver deck that stands toe to toe with a Hellion token and survives solo" : well, anything with a Sword of War and Piece on it (which I heard is seeing some amount of play right now), since the token is red.

    Now for some of your Magical Christmas Land scenarios:
    •"Copy effects like Parallel Lives / Doubling Season" : notsureifthisisserious.gif ? With Doubling Seasons, there are some far more interesting things to do with your mana, and Parallel Lives hasn't seen any amount of play. Tokens are badly positioned right now because Ratchet Bomb is still a card. The token doesn't have any of the strong points of manlands (still a land clause, invulnerable to sorcery speed removal).
    •"Them using up a Doom Blade against your token." Since this token costed you a land drop, a card, and 6 mana other 3 turns, them Doom Blading or Vapor Snagging the token is a seriously good tempo play, one of which you are coming out way behind.
    •"DoJ on your turn, activate Gideon and Crucible, swing 10." If you have just wiped the board with DOJ and you have an active Gideon, then you are already winning. So this is the exact definition of "win more". I'm also curious to see a deck list that would run Gideon and DOJ and be happy to get rid of its own lands.

    "It’s almost even scary to drop this T3 and charge it vs control." Against Control, you would drop this T3, charge it (in essence passing the turn), play a 1-drop T4 and charge it again, and pop it turn 5 for 4 points of Hasty damage ? Either they have a Doom Blade (which they could have kept at the ready, since you didn't do anything of note for 3 turns, which they spent building up their defense, ramping their mana, sculpting their hand…) or not, in which case they eat 4, and drop a Grave Titan on their next turn. Now that Hellion doesn't look so hot anymore… They can also drop a Gideon, a Tamyio, a Ratchet Bomb, miracle an Entreat the Angels, or resurrect an Elesh Norn… Against Control, either you kill them before they establish control, or you go other the top. This card does neither.

    "5.Produces something out of nothing. It doesn’t cost a card in hand, just a few turns of activating for a big payoff (5 turn clock)." This does cost you a total of a card, a land drop, and 6 mana over 3 turns, not even mentioning the opportunity cost of running extra colorless lands. That's not "costing nothing". I'm not sure why, in the current environment, you refer to a five turns clock as a "big payoff". This is an environment of Wolfyr Silverhearts, Titans, Rancored Dungrove Elders, and Sworded Restoration Angels. A 4/4 Haste Token sadly doesn't count as a "big payoff". An important part of Haste creatures is the surprise they provide. This does not provide any.

    There are some cases were this card is good, and you listed them. If there is a good aggressive deck playing red post-rotation (either mono-red or 2 colors with good mana), this card will probably be good in it. But that doesn't mean the time to buy is right now, and the opportunity window to dump them at a profit will be very small, since aggressive decks typically only dominate for the first weeks of a format.

  2. Hey guys! Wow I failed pretty bad at this spec :(. I had a lot of good reasons why I thought it should have been “theoretically” good, but in actual testing is just mediocre. So far it hasn’t hurt my g/r manabase, nor r/u delver base, so I don’t think it’s an auto-EXclude at least.

    I’d submitted this article a while ago because no one was mentioning this card and i saw an opportunity. Now I get the joy of watching its price plummet over the last week. Fun! All in all I still love the card, but I should have waited 2 more weeks before buying in because of the Pre-re hype.

    All points that were made by Etienne hold true for the most part.

    I’m going to hold onto the 80+ that I bought and see what happens mid-long term. With no “man lands” aside from a rotating inkmoth nexus, this is going to be the only “free” creature left! Yes, I still call it “free” because you’re not investing that R1 when you have something else to do, you’re only doing it when opportunity permits. It’s another option, not something you HAVE to do. In the right situation, it will still win games.

    Hopefully you’ve at least taken 2x things out of this:
    1) Not every spec is a good one. Don’t blindly invest in a spec opp if you don’t feel it, and don’t just listen to a “Joe Random” without thinking about it yourself! I made a move most wouldn’t have and have to pay the price. There was a good article on legitmtg about speculation recently. There was also some twitter heat about sites that “pump and dump” cards. Aka: buy 80 hellion crucible, try to make it sound awesome so more people buy in, raising its price so that the original buyer makes good money on a spec they pumped up. Believe me this was not MY intention. I saw a card, recognized an opportunity (albeit askew), pounced. Learn from my losses!? Lol
    2) the part at the bottom explaining how to evaluate a possible spec should still hold true, and should still help you at least compare old playables to new ones. Then again, by that info this should be a good spec, right?

    I’m crestfallen about this card / article, but am still holding out some hope, and feel it will still see play, though the amount is now in question. I appreciate the feedback, and certainly feel like a chump on this one!

    Nobody’s perfect, and I hope to be of more use next time!
    Carl Szalich

  3. Carl, I think this is a textbook case of a decent/good card in a bad environment, and why context matters a lot in MTG. And I don't think people suspect you of hyping the card just in order to dump your stock. 🙂

  4. I personally want to like Hellion Crucible too, but it's too much investment to sacrifice a land in the current meta without it being Fireblast for the win. This card may have had a strong place back in David Price's Dead Guy Red or Sligh, but, as Etienne said, tapping out on T3 (provided you play this by T3) to fail to play another threat T4 and T5 is just not where you want to be in a super aggressive deck. Also as Etienne stated, the results also make all Flicker or bounce effects into land destruction and tempo loss.

    If the card only needed one charge counter, maybe it would be decent. Otherwise, it's really only appropriate in Limited.

  5. Eugh. Did I write that it has flying initially? It does not, as the card plainly reads :(. My observations were all made assuming it didn’t, however, as evidenced By my comment about it NOT being able to make an “air block”.

    Sorry editors! I’m ruining your day! (No lol)

  6. If there is one thing that this article showed is that readers (here) can think for themselves. Which is a good thing… 🙂 We all learn from talking and discussing this, so let's all keep those debates open!

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