Dragons of Tarkir Set Review – Red
Holy cow! It’s set review time already? Yup, Dragons is all done spoiler season and this weekend is the set pre-release, next weekend is release, and then in two weeks we have the online release for MTGO. As with the release of Fate Reforged I’m skipping the paper pre-release and release events of the set and saving up for the MTGO releases. If all goes according to plan I’ll be doing a twenty-four hour stream of Swiss drafts live on Twitch.tv. If I get enough in donations between now and then I’ll be upgrading to doing sealed deck instead.
That all said, here’s my thoughts on the set for everyone to think about. As always I’ll be going card by card talking about just the formats of wear I think the cards are going to find homes. Also making comments on the cards I think are the most flavorful. So let’s go see how our game is getting updated and changed all around with the new cards.
Remember this fall when we hit the new rotation this is going to be the only Tarkir set in Standard. Also with the release of this set the draft format is switching to Dragons-Dragons–Fate. So it’s really important for everyone that we take a really good look at this set. If anyone has any cards they disagree with me on, please comment below. Only by having a dialog about the cards will we truly understand them. Okay, now let’s start the review.
Atarka Efreet. – 3R – Creature – Efreet Shaman – C – Megamorph 2R. (You may cast this card face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn this creature face up any time for its megamorph cost and put a +1/+1 counter on it.) When Ataka Efreet is turned face up, it deals 1 damage to target creature or player. 5/1. It’s a nice beater for Limited that has a ping effect when you unmorph it. Hey, if Gore Swine is a playable this is too.
Atarka Pummeler – 4R – Creature – Ogre Warrior – U – Formidable – 3RR: Each creature you control can’t be blocked this turn except by two or more creature. Activate this ability only if creatures you control have total power 8 or greater.4/5. You know if one was to draft a Red/Black Warrior deck with this and Blood-Chin Rager once you pay for this you basically have an unblockable team. All you need is just one more dude with power 2 or greater on the board to turn it on. Not a bad Limited combo.
Berserkers’ Onslaught – 3RR – Enchantment – R – Attacking creatures you control have double strike. Just a good rare to take for an aggressive deck in Limited. Just take this and all the fatties with trample you can and you should be in good shape during the draft.
Commune with Lava – XRR – Instant – R – Exile the top X cards of your library. Until the end of your next turn, you may play those cards. So this is going to end up in Storm decks in Modern. Red Deck Wins will want two copies of this for them the game goes long and they just want to tap out during their opponents end step just to get all that burn to finish off an opponent. I can also see this being a good way to just dig for a finisher in Limited as well. Also Red/Green Devotion might just be playing a few copies in Standard too. I just have high hopes for this card all over the place.
Crater Elemental – 2R – Creature – Elemental – R – R, tap, sacrifice Crater Elemental: Crater Elemental deals 4 damage to target creature. Formidable – 2R: Crater Elemental has base power 8 until end of turn. Activate this ability only if creatures you control have total power 8 or greater. 0/6. So once you are kicking butt this allows you to kick even more butt? I like that it allows you to respond to removal that would turn off you other formidable effects by becoming an 8/6 so I like that for Limited. Also I just like having a fat wall that can also double as removal in Limited. Yeah, another draft me rare for Limited. Love how Wizards is making rares all good for Drafting. I really hope we have this happen with all sets moving forward.
Descent of the Dragons – 4RR – Sorcery – M – Destroy any number of target creatures. For each creature destroyed this way, its controller puts a 4/4 red Dragon creature token with flying onto the battlefield. I feel that this is just one of those cards that’s going to end up becoming an instant Commander staple. In Limited, I’m thinking this is just a bomb when you get to draft this and then cast it when the board is so gummed up to basically just fly over you opponent. Again another draft me first rare to build around.
Draconic Roar – 1R – Instant – U – As an additional cost to cast Draconic Roar, you may reveal a Dragon card from your hand. Draconic Roar deals 3 damage to target creature. If you revealed a Dragon card or control a Dragon as you cast Draconic Roar, Draconic Roar deals 2 damage to that creature’s controller. Searing Blood this is not, but still in a Limited format were everyone is going to have a few dragons this is going to work just as good. Still it’s an all round removal in the Limited format.
Dragon Fodder – 1R – Sorcery – C – Put two 1/1 red Goblin creature tokens onto the battlefield. Woot, the fodder is back. So this help power Descent of the Dragons and allows you to have more dudes in aggro matches. Just a good token maker from Limited. If not for the black enchantment that hates on tokens this might see Standard love in a mono-goblin deck, but Virulent Plague really hates this card out of Standard.
Dragon Tempest – Enchantment – R – Whenever a creature with flying enters the battlefield under your control, it gains haste until end of turn. Whenever a Dragon enters the battlefield under your control, it deals X damage to target creature or player, where X is the number of Dragons you control. So all your dragons have haste and deal at least one point of damage when you cast them. Yeah, more draft around me rares. Also if you get this and Sarkhan in the same pool it’s a GG combo. Hmm, maybe three-color Dragons will be a deck after all with this little combo in Standard.
Dragon Whisperer – RR – Creature – Human Shaman – M – R: Dragon Whisperer gaisn flying until end of turn. 1R: Dragon Whisperer gets +1/+0 until end of turn. Formidable – 4RR: Put a 4/4 red Dragon Token with flying onto the battlefield, Activate this ability only if creatures you control have total power 8 or greater. 2/2. So we first pick this then get passed Dragon Tempest in pack two, or vice versa, and we just cast dragons until we have this online and make haste dragons while getting free burn. Yeah, great mythic of Limited. Will find home in all dragon Commander decks.
Dragonlord’s Servant – 1R – Creature – Goblin Shaman – Dragon spells you cast cost 1 less to cast. 1/3. Yup, key Limited card for Dragon.dec. Blocks all the face down dudes while allowing you to just go nuts dropping dragons.
Hardened Berserker – 2R – Creature – Human Berserker – C – Whenever Hardened Berserker attack, the next spell you cast this turn cost 1 less to cast. 3/2. Sudo-ramp for Limited. More than likely you are trading away this guy to get a five drop on turn four which isn’t that bad. With Dragon’s Servant out you could drop almost any Dragon after shipping this dude into the red zone.
Impact Tremors – 1R – Enchantment – C – Whenever a creature enters the battlefield under your control, Impact Tremors deals 1 damage to each opponent. Okay, I was going to call Token decks jank after seeing Virulent Plague at the end of the Black cards, but this and Outpost Siege plus tons of token makers might just be a deck. I mean just think of the Eldrazi Spawns, that is if they come back, and these two cards making all kind of mana and dealing damage. In Limited just the bonus of getting free pings every time you cast dude is good. I would love to see two of these in my Sealed pools all day.
Ire Shaman – 1R – Creature – Orc Shaman – R – Ire Shaman can’t be blacked by two or more creatures. Megamorph R. When Ire Shaman is turned face up, exile the top card of your library. Until end of turn you may play that card. 2/1. It seems that the other new change in design has come with this exile sudo-draw effect. This gives Red draw a different feel from blue using the looter mechanic or drawing a card then discard a card. This also allows them to do this more on different cards without fear of having broken interactions with flashback and Snapcaster Mage. Still being able to dig in Limited is good, and making this so that you opponent has to chump instead of gang block this guy is nice when you have some pumps on it like Runemarks.
Kindled Fury – R – Instant – C – Target creature get +1/+0 and gains first strike until end of turn. Just a good combat trick for Limited.
Kolaghan Aspirant – 1R – Creature – Human Warrior – C – Whenever Kolaghan Aspirant becomes blocked by a creature, Kolaghan Aspirant deals 1 damage to that creature. Okay, this is another stop-gap card for Spawn Tokens in Standard this fall, also has a mad hate for X/1’s of all kinds. Also with so many X/1’s in the format I feel that this is going to keep a large number of dudes from blocking it in Limited.
Kolaghan Forerunners – 2R – Creature – Human Berserker – U – Trample. Kolaghan Forerunners’s Power is equal to the number of creatures you control. Dash 2R. (You may cast this card for its dash cost. If you do, it gains haste, and it’s returned to its owner’s hand at the beginning of the next end step. */3. I like Dash because it gets around removal and sweepers, but this relying on you having a large board is kind of not why you want to run a Dash dude outside of Limited. Still having this when the board is flooded just to Dash out and hit hard for force massive trades is very nice. I expect to hear many stories of this winning game one out of left field.
Kolaghan Stormsinger – R – Creature – Human Shaman – C – Haste. Megamorph R. When Kolaghan Stormsinger is turned face up, target creature gains haste until end of turn. 1/1. Not a bad combat trick on a stick for Limited. Seeing how he stays a 2/2 that’s good. Or if you just want to hit for One point he has haste himself. Yup, good Limited card.
Lighting Berserker – R – Creature – Human Berserker – U – R: Lightning Berserker gets +1/+0 until end of turn. Dash R. 1/1. Red Deck Wins in Standard just got a new one-drop. It’s basically Fireball on a dude if you opponent taps out. This in Limited just means you always need to keep up a block when you see Mountains on the other side of the table.
Lose Calm – 3R – Sorcery – C – Gain control of target creature until end of turn. Untap that creature. It gains haste until end of turn and can’t be blocked except by two or more creatures. It’s an upgraded Act of Treason in my book. I mean you take there best dude and they have to throw at least two dudes under it. I’ll be casting a few of these in Limited.
Magmatic Chasm – 1R – Sorcery – C – Creatures without flying can’t block this turn. Just a good way to push through a bunch of attackers for the win in Limited.
Qal Sisma Behemoth – 2R – Creature – Ogre Warrior – U – Qal Sisma Behemoth can’t attack of block unless you pay 2. 5/5. Just a Slow beater for Limited. Still attacking for 5 on turn four does sound nice in Sealed. Also is an easy start to setting up Formidable.
Rending Volley – R – Instant – U – Rending Volley can’t be countered by spells or abilities. Rending Volley deals 4 damage to target white or blue creature. Just another hate card for sideboards in Limited that might find some Standard love with some decks.
Roast – 1R – Sorcery – U – Roast deals 5 damage to target creature without flying. Already the talk of Standard and Modern to kill Siege Rhinos and other problem creatures. Also handles just about any non-dragon in this Limited format.
Sabertooth Outrider – 3R – Creature – Human Warrior – C – Trample. Formidable – Whenever Sabertooth Outrider attacks, if creatures you control have power 8 or greater, Sabertooth Outrider gains first strike until end of turn. 4/2. Yeah, once you have Formidable online with this it can just rundown all the face down dorks in Limited.
Sarkhan’s Rage – 4R – Instant – C – Sarkhan’s rage deals 5 damage to target creature or player. If you control no Dragons, Sarkhan’s Rage deals 2 damage to you. We get it we want to control dragons in the dragon set’s Limited format. Still even taking two dagame just to answer a problem dude isn’t that bad of a trade and this also doubles as burn to win the game. All round, it’s going to be great in Limited.
Sarkhan’s Triumph – 2R – Instant – U – Search you library for a Dragon creature card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library. Dragon tutor is good for Limited when you have a rare or mythic dragon that you want to get into play every game. I think we are going to see foils of this being worth a bunch as this will end up being a Commander must have.
Screamreach Brawler – 2R- Creature – Orc Berserker – C – Dash 1R. 2/3. Just another dash dude for Limited that can also block face down dudes all day.
Seismic Rupture – 2R – Sorcery – U – Seismic Rupture deals 2 damage to each creature without flying. Yup, so getting Spawn tokens this fall with all the hate for them in this set. Also this might end up being a good way to keep face down creatures in check. All round good card for Sideboards in Standard and kind of a mini-wrath for Limited.
Sprinting Warbrute – 4R – Creature – Ogre Berserker – C – Sprinting Warbrute attacks each turn if able. Dash 3R. 5/4. Every set we get a big dumb monsters that has to attack each turn for Limited games, and here we are with the newest in the long list.
Stormcrag Elemental – 5R – Creature – Elemental – U- Trample. Megamorph 4RR. 5/5. Just a good megamorph beater for Limited.
Stormwing Dragon – 5R – Creature – Dragon – U – Flying, first strike. Megamorph 5RR. When Stormwing Dragon is turned face up, put a +1/+1 counter on each other Dragon creature you control. 3/3. Just the red dragon in the megamorph cycle that works like a dragon lord. This one just has first strike. Good enough for Limited.
Summit Prowler – 2RR – Creature – Yeti – C – 4/3. Not only is this a 4/3 beater fro Limited, but I think this is the only creature not effected by the change in the time-line.
Tail Slash – 2R – Instant – C – Target creature you control deals damage equal to its power to target creature you don’t control. Just a one-sided fight to use as removal in Limited.
Thunderbreak Regent – 2RR – Creature – Dragon – R – Flying. Whenever a Dragon creature you control becomes the target of a spell or ability an opponent controls, Thunderbreak Regent deals 3 damage to that player. 4/4. This is cool for Limited as it makes your opponent have to use their removal on it first and you get to bolt them for it. So even if you don’t get to make any attacks with it you still get to deal some damage. Not bad for Limited.
Tormenting Voice – 1R – Sorcery – C – As an additional cost to cast Tormenting Voice, discard a card. Draw two cards. So more than one card survived into the set from Khans without any changes. Still this is a good card for Limited to discard flooded lands and dig deeper.
Twin Bolt – 1R- Instant – C – Twin Bolt deals 2 damage divided as you choose among one or two target creatures and/or players. Not a bad burn card for Limited.
Vandalize – 4R – Sorcery – C – Choose one or both – Destroy target artifact – Destroy target land. Just a land/artifact hate card for Limited.
Volcanic Rush – 4R – Instant – C – Attacking creatures get +2/+0 and gain trample until end of turn. Just a good mass combat trick for Limited.
Volcanic Vision – 4RR – Sorcery – R – Return target instant or sorcery card from your graveyard to your hand. Volcanic Vision deals damage equal to that card’s converted mana cost to each creature your opponents control, Exile Volcanic Vision. One-sided wrath for Limited is powerful. Just thing of bringing back Volcanic Rush with this, attacking with everything, and then saying go with the rush in hand. I don’t think anyone is going to come back from that.
Warbringer – 3R- Creature- Orc Berserker – U – Dash cost you pay cost 2 less (as long as this creature is on the battlefield). Dash 2R. 3/3. So we get a dash lord for the Dash deck in Limited. Not bad.
Zurgo Bellstriker – R – Legendary Creature – Orc Warrior – Zurgo Bellstriker can’t block creatures with power 2 or greater. Dash 1R. 2/2. So Zurgo went from being a Limited Bomb to being a Standard all-star in Red Deck Wins? Still a 2/2 for one is awesome in Limited. I’m even looking to replace a one-drop in my cube with this guy.
Over all I have to think that red is the most powerful of the colors for Standard and Modern formats. Trust me Red Deck Wins has gotten a lot of gas in this set. Red is also looking fun in Limited, but I would much rather be in either White/Blue or White/Green during pre-release. Well, just two more reveiws to write and I can get on MTGO and start streaming Rise of the Eldrazi drafts. So I’m going to get back to work now. This has been…
Jeffrey Carmichael II
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