The Mirrodin Block Limited Review – Fifth Dawn Black and Red

This one will cover my favorite topics, Black draft. Black is my current favorite son. It is severely underdrafted and very deep once you get out of the first pack. This color has aggressive cards, control cards, and they all work well together.

Here we are, the penultimate MD5 article. It has been a crazy ride, and unlike some other internet writers, I finish the series I start.


This one will cover my favorite topics, Black draft. Black is my current favorite son. It is severely underdrafted and very deep once you get out of the first pack. This color has aggressive cards, control cards, and they all work well together.

Group 1:

Mephidross Vampire

I can’t help but put this card at number 1. I haven’t played it too much, and when I did play him he was little more than a 3/4 flier for six. While this is just good for this format, I think his ability should come into play more than I have witnessed. If anyone has had a better experience with this card than myself, please drop a line in the forums.

Devour in Shadow

This is as efficient removal as you will find in a format that is light on removal to begin with. The drawback is normally well worth it. Removal in this block doesn’t get much better than this, and in the set, it doesn’t get any better period.

Cranial Plating

In the right deck this is the best piece of Equipment you can have. You don’t need to be playing Black for this to be a first pick, but if you are Black and have the deck that this works in, you will wont to consider taking it over the cards listed above.

Beacon of Unrest

The most powerful of the Beacons in the right deck. Red is close, and in many decks is superior, but if you have a deck with a significant amount of removal, this card can be really powerful.

Blind Creeper

Most modern Black decks are very aggressive. As such you will want this card in your deck. You will want as many of these as you can get. The instants in this set aren’t that impressive for the most part, so the likelihood is this guy won’t hose you too bad.

Moriok Rigger

The colored Black cards have gotten so good with packs two and three that this card isn’t as good as he would seem if you told me he would be printed when we were drafting only Mirrodin. This card is still generally a first pick, particularly if you have a lot of artifact kill, but he isn’t quite as good as he looks on paper.

Night’s Whisper

Card advantage is not something easily found in this format and rarely is it found in the form of card drawing. This card may not have a lot of bells and whistles, but it does what few other cards do, refills your hand.


Card quality is rather low in this format, particularly the creatures. This card is either solid, or borders on unfair. The best part is your opponent doesn’t know which category it falls under at any given time.

Group 2:

Lose Hope

This is a great card that didn’t quite make the cut into group 1. The main reason I have it here is that I routinely see this card incredibly late. It is hard for me to put a card that I often see as late as eighth in group 1.

Fill with Fright

Speaking of cards I see way later than I should. This card may be better than Lose Hope. I am torn between the two, but I gave the nod to Lose Hope since it is cheaper and an instant. Fill with Fright, while not always best to play on turn 4, will almost always have an impact on the game. The only time it is less than good is when you draw it when your opponent’s hand is already empty. For this reason I rarely play more than one.

Dross Crocodile [Drossodile! – Knut]

Remember the Lasher deck? Well that deck isn’t quite as good as it used to be due to the high concentration of quality colored cards, but this guy can do the job the Lashers did and doesn’t need to rely on your other cards.

Plunge into Darkness

When a format is low on card advantage, card selection becomes a lot more valuable. This card may not look like much on paper, but it can get you to the cards you need and it will let you get a little more out of your creatures that are dying in combat or have been locked down by cards like Arrest.

Ebon Drake

Why am I putting a card that is so amazing in an aggressive deck at the bottom of group 2? Why am I putting a card that is so terrible outside a dedicated aggressive deck in group 2? The answer to both is, I didn’t know where else to put it. Perhaps in the future I will put it on the list twice, but for now I will just average the effectiveness of this card. In the aggressive deck, you want this card as much as Blind Creeper. In other decks, you don’t want this card anywhere near your deck.

Group 3:

Cackling Imp

When I saw this card I initially thought it would be good. After all in past sets 2/2 fliers for four have been just okay, so I figured in a block where all the creatures suck, this card would be good. Well the problem is that Black has the most efficient creatures in the block, so this card falls short. That being said, this card is definitely playable.

Shattered Dreams

You are going to want this card in your sideboard. It is a good defense against the higher end Artifacts. If you are light on playables, don’t be ashamed to have this in your main deck.

Bringer of the Black Dawn

Anyone who has drafted Black since the release of Fifth dawn will tell you that this card has no place in the deck unless you are drafting 5 color Black. Don’t laugh. I think that after Green and Blue respectively, Black is the best color for 5 color decks.

Nim Grotesque

Once this card is on the table he is rather impressive, but he costs seven and you know me and seven.

Relentless Rats

This guy makes group 3 because”just a Gray Ogre” isn’t that bad in this format. Even if you have multiple in you deck, drawing them both seems unlikely and then you just have two Hill Giants. I give this card a”meh” at best.

Group 4:

Desecration Elemental

It wasn’t until I had this bad boy in play that I realized he can’t be refueled. If your deck is terrible, and you are facing a White/Blue or White/Red deck, you can side this in. But don’t count on him, he’ll let you down every time.

Endless Whispers

If you are extremely light on creatures and managed to draft enough removal to make this card relevant, I suppose it could be good. But until I see it with my own eyes I am leaving it in group 4.

Vicious Betrayal

This card needed to not be a Sorcery to even be looked at. It is a Sorcery, so I ain’t lookin’.


Red is like the opposite of Black in its evolution in this block. In pack one it is incredibly deep, and in packs two and three, it is very top heavy with next to no support. I am still a big fan of drafting Red, but you could be in trouble if you are sharing it with a lot of people.

Group 1:

Beacon of Destruction

Odds are you won’t cast this more than once in a game, but that is all you really need. This is possibly the best removal card in the block. Not only can it kill nearly every creature, but it can kill the opponent as well.


I have seen this card cast and completely decimate the opponent. I have also seen this card cast where it hurt the caster as much, if not more than the opponent. Be careful with this card. It can be incredibly powerful, but it can also hurt you.

Cosmic Larva

I am not convinced this guy shouldn’t be higher. It is hard to log enough hours with all the Rares before writing these, but this guy has impressed me a lot. Obviously you don’t want to run him out there on turn 3, but later on this card will dominate. Be careful in your decks with low land counts.

Vulshok Sorcerer

Finally we get to my pick for best common in the set. While Plating can be taken over this, I don’t think your Black/Red decks will benefit as much from that card as they will from this one.

Furnace Whelp

In a set with few fliers, this guy can end the game really fast. Remember when I said 2/2 fliers for four weren’t that exciting to me, well this guy certainly breaks the mold.

Magma Jet

Card selection is not a quality often seen in Red, but when a mechanic is released, R&D likes to spread the love. This card is cheap, effective, and versatile removal. Pick it high.

Ion Storm

This card may rely on certain other cards to be truly effective, but those cards find their way in a lot of decks and most of them come after you’d make this pick. Don’t pick it over anything higher on this list if you don’t have tools for it yet, but you can count on some later on.

Magma Giant

Yeah yeah yeah, I know it costs seven, but for that effect I’ll suck it up and put it in group 1. Resolving this card will be game over more often than not.

Group 2:

Rain of Rust

This is a testament to both the mediocrity of the Red commons in this set and the dearth of removal in the format since the release of Fifth Dawn. A three-mana premium for Shatter may seem like a lot, but you’ll find yourself willing to pay it very often.

Goblin Brawler

I know it goes without saying that this card would be a bomb common in sets previous to Mirrodin, but I want to mention it anyway, in case you don’t realize it. In a Red/White Equipment heavy deck you can pass this along for one of the myriad of strong White cards in the set, otherwise you likely want him in your army.

Group 3:

Krark-Clan Ogre

In the right deck, this card can win you the game. There aren’t many effective Falters in the format. He is far from a top notch, but you could do a lot worse in the five-mana, 3/3 arena.

Krark-Clan Engineers

This card is decent. I think that if you have enough expendable artifacts he should always make the cut.

Iron-Barb Hellion

I have realized something over the years about the Can’t Block drawback. The more expensive the creature it is on, the more detrimental it is. When this card is bad, there is no card you want to draw off the top less, except maybe land. I don’t want to take that chance.

Bringer of the Red Dawn

Red decks not combined with White tend to be controlling. Also, Red is a fairly weak and shallow color overall. As such, this monster is slightly higher than his brethren. Don’t be fooled though – it is far too unwieldy to actually make the cut.

Screaming Fury

I am a proponent of Fists of the Anvil, and while this card is slightly weaker, it is still quite powerful. It can force through a lot of damage, and while the days of multiple Spikeshot Goblins are all but over, you may want to consider this card more strongly if you have one.

Feedback Bolt

In a dedicated Affinity deck, this card can be rather punishing. Outside of that, it is just underpowered.

Magnetic Theft

This card can be sided in for a lot of matchups. It is a great combat trick and can foil a Bola for a turn.

Group 4:

Spark Elemental

Simply stunning.

Sparring Collar

Good work. (Sorry I am gonna have to break the reference here to say that this card should be considered for inclusion if you have managed to draft a Nim deck.)

Reversal of Fortune

I’ll tell you what my friend, V is a Roman numeral. So despite your best efforts, you’ve answered correctly.

Mana Geyser

I’m speechless.

Just one to go folks. I hope that if you agree with my picks, you have gleaned some insight into the rest of the format. If you disagree, I hope you are at least taking a second look at some of your valuations.

I think series like this can be incredibly useful and I look forward to starting it again in a year.


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