Firefighters are heroes in real life. Dousing flames in gutted buildings, rescuing stranded cats, touring schools to dissuade any adolescent arsonists – even appearing in Chippendale-style strip routines.
Firefighters in Magic, however, are a different story. They are evil and twisted cards, designed to prevent the creation of good clean family fun.
Mirrodin houses a number of artifacts for the venerated red mage; unfortunately, there are plenty of weapons for the inferior colors, too. Out of over one hundred artifacts in the set, some of them are bound to be good. There are the obvious ones – the Chrome Moxes and Isochron Scepters. In fact, Oblivion Stone poses the biggest threat to the beatdown strategist, giving a powerful board-sweeper to anyone, regardless of the color of their mana.
Aside from these mighty behemoths, here are a few other cards that will cause chaos for the all-conquering, slap-happy, creature-charging, burn-you-down spellflinger:
Raise the Alarm
This is a kicking.
Instant-speed guys are always a pain for quick beatdown, as they can set the combat math on its head. Coupled with the fact that these soldiers can probably trade with some weenie red guys on a one-for-one basis, and Raising the Alarm spells bad beats indeed.
Useful in a number of ways, from the much-missed Corrupt in a Mono-Black Control strategy, to semi-effective spot removal. The problem here is not the loss of the creature; it’s the life-gain tied to it. Coupled with mass removal, such as Infest, and other targeted removal, such as Smother (and the terrible Terror), this has the potential to put the game out of reach. Even if the lifegain numbers two measly points, it’ll buy the black player a few precious turns.
To be fair, I’m a fan of this.”X” spells like Consume Spirit (or Death Grasp, or Blaze) are such a satisfying way to finish a match.”Hmmm – you’re at fourteen, and have lethal damage when you next attack? I have no cards. This had better be good…”
“Ghitu Fire you for fourteen! Good game.”
If anything will get you punched in Magic, it’s cheesing out a win. Sitting there, solemnly apologising to your opponent as they lament your topdecking skills, agreeing with them as they tell you that”without that f’ing card, the game was mine” – then telling all your mates about your match with a huge grin on your face.
Striking in the hearts of creature-lovers everywhere! The old favorite is back.
Terror, as we all know, is efficient and brutal. While Smother and the like filled admirable slots in the Wild Mongrel/Psychatog/Nantuko Shade metagame, Terror will be used to knock off some of the big guns. Against red, it means there’s a quick, targeted answer to the threat of a trampling Clickslither. Goblin Piledrivers have always been somewhat fragile, but Clickslithers usually operate above the law. That time is sadly over.
And again, imprinting a Terror on the mighty Isochron Scepter will be disastrous for any creature-based mage, never mind the beleaguered red player. So the card won’t touch black guys and artifact dudes? Such a small price to pay for a wonderful card.
Of course, you’ll notice that Terror couldn’t touch any of the unholy triplets – a.k.a. Mickey Mongrel, Terry Tog, and Sid Shade. The true success of this card will be the quality and color of its opposition.
But for red, it’s an obvious nightmare.
Christ almighty, not again…
First time round, this card kicked Sligh squarely in the face. Lifegain on a cheap, colorless, relatively fat-assed blocker. What’s not to hate?
And Gnomes are rubbish. Who likes gnomes?
In England, gnomes are the domain of the terminally kitsch. Aged spinsters and green-fingered pensioners adorn perfectly good gardens with gaudy clay figures of gnomes in various poses. Fishing gnomes, gnomes in deckchairs, gnomes waving, gnomes dancing… All in little red hats, with cheeky smiles that make you want to gouge eyes and slit throats.
Maybe their elderly owners believe they can prolong the inevitable by collecting gnomes, saccing them all as death approaches, gaining precious life.
Or perhaps they just like them, or something.
Chalice of the Void
There goes my deck for New Orleans.
I was planning to play a variant of Red Deck Wins for the upcoming Extended extravaganza. Then I saw the Chalice…
First-turn Ancient Tomb, Chalice set on one? Cheers for playing. Red Deck Wins has almost thirty one-drops, and the Chalice shuts them all down. Yes, there’s Shatter, or Pillage, or Mogg Salvage in the board, but even so… The loss of the important early two or three turns is crippling. A second Chalice and it’s clobberin’ time.
I liked Meddling Mage. It could slow down progress of a quick deck, but it was pretty fragile and only really targeted the spells that could lead to it’s own removal. Coupled with its double-color mana requirement, it was a fair, fun and playable card. But this…. Chalice of the Void is pure evil.
I’m understandably dubious about the merits of this card, but if it fits anywhere, I can see it finding a home in the sideboard for some anti-weenie tech. It’s probably far too slow to achieve anything lasting, but if coupled with removal and board-clearing spells, this card can sit and kill anything the red player casts.
…Actually, I’m totally wrong. This card is rubbish. I completely missed the fact that the card eventually kills itself. Put it down against a weenie horde, and it’ll save you maybe two points of damage before they kill you anyway.
It probably has other uses, but if you’re playing red and someone casts this on you, get ready to hop up a few tables.
Forget I mentioned it.
I’m so poor at this game.
This card will see play, because it looks great fun. Couple it with spells such as Raise the Alarm or Nuisance Engine and fish out something ludicrous like Plated Slagwurm, Akroma, Angel of Wrath, or Krosan Colossus. Your opponent made a guy that’s gonna kill you? Put it to the bottom and replace it with a Birds of Paradise or something equally random. I’m just glad that Phantom Nishoba is on its way out, because trading a 0/1 pest for one of those beauties would make me weep openly.
On the plus side, this card may be a little slow to truly do anything horrendous versus the little guys. And there’s always Threaten to help redress the balance.
Great; now everyone can play a first-turn blocker.
Steel Wall is an obvious card. I hate it with a passion. As some block white decks used Wall of Hope to help stem the bleeding, Steel Wall will make things difficult in the attack department. The lack of lifegain attached is a loss, so I don’t expect white to snub the hopeful Wall just yet… But now other colors can stall the ground long enough to disrupt your exalted plans.
While blue can use this card to hold back the hordes, I think that the biggest winner is Black. Black control decks have a great problem in dealing with hated creatures. Smother has helped in the past, and Terror will certainly make a difference, but most of the removal available to the dirty black mage is at sorcery speed. So a 0/4 wall will give them time to untap and kill everything on your side of the river.
I intend to personally hunt down and destroy every copy of this card I see. I’ve never had one played against me, and it’s annoying me already.
So there we have it: By no means an extensive list, but food for thought. There are a lot of Mirrodin cards that will see Constructed play, be they for good or for evil. There are a number of red cards that are excellent in other decks with red components (Mass Hysteria springs to mind immediately… All kids loved Fires, right?), and there are a number of tools for the white, blue black and green mage. By playing mono-red, however, you will gain respect, adoration and, yes, love.
Red is the color of winners.
Be a winner.
So – to decklists! I believe that Mirrodin actually adds little of great consequence to the current crop of mono-red goblin build, aside from maybe adding some Chrome Moxen and Shrapnel Blasts. There’s probably something out there involving Slith, and Equipment, and War Elementals… But that’s for another day. I want to go for the burn…
Here’s a Standard decklist using the Mirrodin cards, completely untried, maybe great or pathetic. As with most things in life, time will tell.
4 Chain of Plasma
4 Shrapnel Blast
3 Volcanic Hammer
4 War Elemental
3 Pyrite Spellbomb
4 Isochron Scepter
4 Ensnaring Bridge
2 Goblin Charbelcher
4 Chrome Mox
4 Great Furnace
I won’t insult you by throwing fatuous comments at you, such as”I’ve put mountains in the deck because they produce red mana, which you need to cast your spells.” You all know the drill with decks of this type. Instead, I’ll highlight a few things I like and dislike about the current build:
- I like the fact there are eighteen artifacts to sac to Shrapnel Blast – twenty-one if you count the Spellbombs.
- I like that there are twelve instants to use with the Scepter, but I’m sure there should (and could) be more.
- I like that the Charbelcher will hit the double-damage-dealing mountain the majority of the time.
- I dislike the lack of synergy between War Elemental and Ensnaring Bridge. Perhaps they should be something else… More burn, maybe. Oh Grim Lavamancer, how I shall miss thee.
- I’m unsure about the Volcanic Hammers. They’re great cards, but instant burn is where the deck should be thriving. Maybe they should be the slower but recurring Hammer of Bogardan.
- I hate the fact there’s no deck manipulation to help the hit-and-miss Charbelcher. These may hit the showers in later version, but they’re worth testing.
That’s your lot from me. I’m off to burn down a village.
God Bless Johnny Cash.
“I fell into a burning ring of fire….”