Theros set review- Red

March 19, 2018

Matteo Versari

29 Years old from Livorno, Italy
GP Malmo 2012 1st
GP lisbon 2012 10th
GP Utrecht 2013 Top 4
Silver level pro

More Posts (3)

Hello everybody!

I’m here today to analyze Theros’s red cards! The evaluation and the comment under every card will follow this simple
scale of values and they will be concerned about limited:

5.0: I’m going to play this card ALWAYS even if it costs me One Thousand Lashes
4.5: If I’m not playing this card , even if it’s off-color, means that either my deck is already awesome and I prefer solidity, I’m blind or I’m drunk.
4.0: Sometimes a beer is not enough and you have to offer a dinner to be the one! This card is strong. This card is so strong that I want to splash it most of the times.
3.5: Sometimes you need to offer a beer to be considered acceptable by a girl/guy, I consider this card strong, In a draft if someone passes it to me I view it like a signal, In sealed if I have it in my pool it improves the evaluation of that color.
3.0: This card is really ok, it will fit always if it’s of my colors and improves the evaluation of its color in sealed.
2.5: Sometimes you need many beers to consider a girl/guy acceptable, this is not the case. I play this card always if it’s in my colors.
2.0: work•er (wûrkr) – Not an aristocrat nor a phenomenon, it works hard and its Force of Will grants it a workplace most of the times if it’s of my colors.
1.5: filler [ˈfɪlə] A card used to fill in a gap
You will often play fillers, they are not exciting but you need to get to 40 cards
1.0: If I’m playing this card in my maindeck there are only 3 options:
a) I lost a bet
b) I’m drunk
c) I’m really ,really ,really short of cards
0.5: “Someday, someone will play this maindeck. But it won’t be today, and it won’t be me.” [Famous Last Word s] Sometimes you need to sideboard really bad cards like Shatter to deal with bomb cards like Umezawa’s Jitte
0.0: I prefer to play football in a minefield than play this card in my deck.

Speaking of constructed,i will write a comment under every card worth the time to do it. Let’s start!

Akroan Crusader

To make this guy playable we should have a lot of spells that target him, and it’s not a good idea to play
tons of them in a deck, i think the Heroic mechanic is not something we should really consider, unless we have
a large effect that truly effects the board. Our little friend here is not strong enough to convince me to play him.

Anger of the Gods

I have been always a fan of sweepers effects, even if limited, this card, even if it’s not a Supreme Verdict
is still a nice card that can contain aggro starts from your opponents and can make us get card advantage as much as we can.

Slagstorm is back, and stronger than ever! Three damage to every creature is perfect in a control deck and if we add
the fact that Voice of Resgurgence won’t get a token when it dies, or that it won’t feed Deathrite Shaman nor Scavenging Ooze ,we do obtain a really great card.

Arena Athlete

What we said about Akroan Crusader is different here, unless a 1/1 for one mana has a strong ability, a 2/x for 2 will always be more playable,and in this case, Heroic is just a plus.

Borderland Minotaur


Simple and strong! It has a nice body/casting ratio and this is enough to make me wanna play it basically always.


8 mana is definetly too much to make 5 damages, even if it is divided as you wish. Unplayable in drafts, and i really have to be a card short to play it in a sealed.

Coordinated Assault

As first impression, i love this card, double combat trick for just one mana and just one card, and it’s playable even if we have just one creature on the board. Even if we don’t really have it in our card pool, the mere fact that it exists in the set will make our opponent play around this card, unless they want to jeopardize their board with a 2×1.

Deathbellow Rider

A 2/3 on second turn, why shouldn’t we want to attack with that?? I would be glad to play it even if it had no regeneration.


One of the most classic sideboard cards, we side this card in against our opponent’s bombs, and remember that
the God’s weapons are still artifacts, even if they are coloured. If we want to play this card to destroy a land to stop the access to a splashed colour in our opponent’s deck, it’s just not worth it.

Dragon Mantle

The bonus is not so great, and Auras will always be risky, due to the chance of a 2×1, so i tend to not play them, unless they are really strong.
But this one has two nice feats, it is a cantrip, if our opponent has no answers, and it can make our Heroic mechanics trigger, even in its own colour.

Ember Swallower

Really strong on turn 4, and it gets better if we get 7 mana, and if our opponent will be in a Mana Screw situation, it will just seal the game

Fanatic of Mogis

It’s a little bit fragile, and its ability can just target our opponents, despite that, in an aggro-oriented deck making a decent body that deals some damage is always a good thing.

Beside the many 1 mana drops red has in this standard format, and cards like Burning-tree Emissary ,Ash Zealot and Boros Reckoner in a perfect draw it really makess the difference, or can be at least a
nice creature to attack with.

Firedrinker Satyr

Nice card, but nothing special, if it is cast on turn 1 it will give us a nice boost, but in late game we’ll suffer its drawback, it is playable just in a heavy aggro-oriented deck.

Here things change, red is gaining lately a lot of nice 1 mana drops, and this one is one of the best we can find.

Flamespeaker Adept[/card]

Honest card if we can’t activate its ability, great card if we can.

Hammer of Purphoros

It gives too much advantage when it comes to its activated ability and an initial boost that will dismantle
our opponent’s plans. Two very strong abilities for just one card.

Another interesting card for Standard, i like the Fires of Yavimaya effect and it removes the old time problem that red has, getting mana flooded and stay with no more gas to finish the opponent.

Ill-Tempered Cyclops

It’s a Canyon Minotaur with trample, and it’s nice by its own, and six mana are not so far to make it not so easy to handle.

Labyrinth Champion

Getting a bear on turn four is not everybody’s dream, but if we can target him a couple of times, it will lead us to victory. I think it’s more of a sealed card than a draft card, where a small creature in an advanced turn will have a smaller negative impact.

Lightning Strike

Cheap instant removal is always good in limited, and this one is no excpetion. It’s a card we are always glad to play in multiple copies.
Best red common card in the set.

Already seen, playable both in aggro and in control decks.

Magma Jet

I could easily copy/paste what we just said about the last card, the one damage missing makes me prefer Lightning Strike so i’ll pick it higher than Magma Jet if it happens to find them both in a
booster and i’m going red.

When it comes to constructed, i prefer this card to Lightning Strike

Messenger’s Speed

The only thing good in this card is that it activates Heroic, it makes no impact on the board, and it’s an aura. Nuff said.

Minotaur skullcleaver

One of the best red aggro deck’s friends, and i think Theros red is just walking in that direction.

Ordeal of Purphoros

I am really not sure about this card, even if it activates Heroic, its bonus is a little bit slow, even if at some point you get a lightning bolt as a reward, the fact that you can’t choose to leave it on the creature is something
that doesn’t appeal to me.

Peak Eruption

Useless, both maindeck or in side. Meh.

It’s a good card to play in sb of monored aggro, it stops your opponent for one turn, making some damage in the meantime, and it’s all red decks want these days.

Portent of Betrayal

The last version of Act of Treason, i must admit that even if it has scry, that one more mana makes it less strong than its ancestors. But it will be a staple in every aggro deck, even if i think the right number of copies to play is 1.

Priest of Iroas

If i play this card in my deck, it means that i was really short and i am not happy to have it, but it can be a nice sideboard card.

Purphoros, God of the Forge


It’s a bomb if we can get to devotion 5, and it’s still an amazing card if we don’t, it gives a meaning to every little creature in the late game and it makes the other creatures better, and if we can attack with it, our opponent will have
to pray to his God to seek salvation
Not sure if it’s better in sealed or in draft, in the first case, losing turn 4 and not making a creature or not removing one creature from your opponent’s side will have a weight in the game, in the second case, in the draft, it will be easier to
build a deck around this card that can maximize devotion.

Here we can use the same comment i wrote for Fanatic of Mogis, they will contend the 4 mana drops in the red decks.

Purphoros’s Emissary

Another Canyon Minotaur, better than the classic one that we usually play, and it’s even more interesting if we draw it in the late game, it’s one of
those card that make my heart go boom, but it will be usually in our 40s.

Rage of Purphoros

Another very good removal, it’s totally worth the 5 mana it costs.

Rageblood Shaman

Minotaurs are really common in the commons (sorry mom for doing this joke) and it’s probable to find
some of them in our pool so that we can draft them, thas said, its body/cost ratio in more than honest.

Satyr Rambler

One of the classic 2 mana drops. No infamy, no glory.

Spark Jolt

Limited removal, i prefer often to have a creature rather than this, but anywayif one copy will be in my deck i won’t be ashamed.

Spearpoint Oread

Nice card, when it comes to cards like this, i try to evaluate them without their bestow, which still remains a nice resource in the late game plan.

Stoneshock Giant

It’s really a good 5-mana drop. Seeing its high costed Monstruosity activation, and the solid fact that it won’t be a surprise effect, it can easily seal the game if the opponent doesn’t have a proper answer.

Stormbreath Dragon

Here comes the bomb, a mythic one. It’s strictly better than the God, because even if it has a double red mana in its cost, the impact is immediate, and it doesn’t rely on devotion to be a creature. making it more splashable than the God.

Hellkite has been replaced and in a great way, it’s smaller and it doesn’t kill the tokens from Lingering Souls, even if it avoids them, but its protection from white will protect it from Azorius Charm and Warleader’s Helix in Standard and Path to Exile in Modern.

Titan of Eternal Fire

The evaluation depends on how many Humans we have in our deck, it’s a big, tough guy by its own, but it has no
evasive ability, so it can be contained easily.

Titan’s Strenght

It has fewer chances to save one of our creatures, if we compare it to a Giant Growth, so, even if it has scry, i see this card as less powerful than the green instant, but it’s still a nice combat trick.

Two-Headed Cerberus

It’s better than a bear at 3 mana, since if we can put some auras on this guy, it will give us some satisfaction, but i don’t think it will be a high pick in drafts.

Wild Celebrants

Ability that we won’t use often, but it’s a hard worker we can throw in the battlefield.

So, coming to the end of the article, i will say that red is a strong colour, very complete concerning limited, vastely aggro oriented, but it doesn’t lose his solidity in the late game, and it offers a lot of removals.
If we speak about constructed, there are a lot of playable cards, but i believe that it will have influences, probably more in Standard than in Older formats, such as Legacy and Modern.

With this said,i will greet you all, till next time!

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