Gatecrash tips: Playing to your Weaknesses – Red

I apologize for any typos I make during these posts. I’m rushing to get them all done in between preparing documents for work, and I’m also doing them into the wee hours of the morning which can lead to a much more limited vocabulary and spelling mistakes when my forehead is only seconds away from slamming into the keyboard. This afternoon’s post is dealing with red, and then after that I’ll probably be moving into blue or green. Well, no reason to keep you all waiting, so let’s get started.

Gatecrash Red Cards

Cinder Elemental

Cinder Elemental

It’s a living Blaze! Run for your lives!!! Seriously, he’s a living burn spell. Calling him a living Blaze is wrong though, since his ability can be used at instant speed. I like this guy in limited because even if you draw him later on in the game to a board full of creatures, he can still block a big creature then set your opponent on fire (maybe even ending the game!). Four mana for a 2/2 isn’t that great, but the reason you’d play him would be for his ability. Cinder Elemental isn’t a great first pick, but if you end up playing a RWB control deck using Boros and Orzhov cards, I think he’d feel right at home. If your goal is RUG or Naya, he’d probably be a later pick (maybe your 14th card or so), but even in those decks he still adds a new dimension to your strategy. Don’t overlook him in draft or you’ll end up getting burned!

Foundry Street Denizen

Foundry Street Denizen

A turn 1 drop that can do 2 damage on turn 2, and can go higher if you play multiple creatures . . . sure he’s great in your opening hand but if you draw him later in the game he’s pretty much a 1/1 vanilla creature. This would be one of my last picks in a draft, but he could help you to fill out your curve in a fast Boros deck. I don’t see him seeing play in a big Gruul deck or RWB control, but if you have no other choices he’s not bad.

Madcap Skills

Madcap Skills

Two mana to turn your creature into Stormblood Beserker? Nice. This could cause a lot of problems for your opponent if you put it on a first strike, double strike, or a massive Gruul beast, especially within the first few turns. Don’t choose this card right away in a draft, but after you have a few fatties or mid range creatures, I think it would be safe to pick this up. Not a top 10 choice, but maybe number 12. Fits in Gruul, Naya, RUG, and Boros decks very well.

Mark for Death

Mark for Death

NICE. Has your opponent been chump blocking your finisher all day long and somehow staying alive? Well, make him pay by taking all creatures but one out of the equation. You get to kill a creature for free, and the rest of your army gets a free hit on your opponent. This could be a potential game ender around turn 6 if you have a few creatures with enough power on the table in a Gruul, Boros, or RUG deck. Just like before, I wouldn’t take this in a draft until you have a few creatures already. If you’re not playing a lot of creatures in your deck it’s not a good pick, but otherwise this is a great limited card.

Scorchwalker

Scorchwalker

A glass cannon that will shatter at the slightest resistance, but also an amazing pump spell in a Boros or Gruul deck. I think this card would also be a great card for Evolve triggers in a Simic/Gruul deck. If you’re planning an aggressive deck, this would definitely be one of my top 10 picks because of his two modes as a creature and a pump spell. You could even slap this on a Boros Keyrune after they decide not to block, then end up dealing 12 damage with it’s double strike! What out for this guy! He’s a threat in any deck running red!

Skullcrack

Skullcrack

Skullcrack will see constructed play in mono red and Rakdos red decks for sure in February, but what about limited? Well, against an Orzhov extort deck late game when they have tons of triggers in play, this would definitely be handy after they put their triggers on the stack. Outside of that match up, it still works very well in aggressive Boros decks, especially if you have a Boros charm to buddy it up with. It’s no Searing Spear, but not totally worthless. I’d probably start picking these up after I established my main Boros creatures, but don’t let it go around the table too long or it will be gone!

Viashino Shanktail

Viashino Shanktail

I absolutely LOVE the Bloodrush mechanic. On it’s own, the Shanktail would be a decent creature for 4 mana. But using him as a pump spell + first strike on one of your already attacking creatures is also incredibly useful. Where does he fit? Boros – yes. RUG – yes. Gruul – yes. Naya – yes. I think this guy could fit into any deck. I’d probably take him in the top 10 of a draft as well. Cards with flying, trample, or first strike are very good in limited events.

Other possibly useful cards

  • Act of Treason – steal your opponent’s creature and attack with it. It can also give your own creature haste. Good if your opponent has bigger creatures than you, bad if your opponent has no creatures. Keep in the side and put it in if you need to borrow some muscles.
  • Crackling Perimeter – Good against control decks, also if you pull 2-3 gates and draw them early. Highly situational but not totally worthless.
  • Hellraiser Goblin – If you’re playing with nothing but big nasty Gruul creatures, this guy is great. Otherwise he could backfire if you’re attacking with small creatures INTO big nasty Gruul creatures. Haste is nice in aggressive decks though.
  • Mugging – just like Mark for Death, but only excels if your opponent has just one creature. Also a weak Shock at sorcery speed making it removal for small creatures.
  • Ripscale Predator – a good card for finishing your opponent and should fit on your power curve for a turn 6 creature. Depends on what other creatures you get in your packs, as well as what deck you’re playing against. Might not be as good as other big creature decks.

Wrap up

And that will do it for red. Lots of aggressive cards, but red is definitely lacking in common/uncommon burn spells this time around. Their power lies in creatures and speed, which helps out both Boros and Gruul strategies. If you decide to run GR, GRW, RUG, or RBW, be mindful of your mana curve. There are a lot of big creatures you’ll want to play, but you also need to worry about smaller creatures that can get out more quickly and deal more damage. Balance your curve out, and try to focus on creatures more than anything. I definitely think I’ll be using red in my deck, but I’m not sure if I’ll be using Boros, Naya, or Gruul at this point.

I want to apologize again if I misread any of these cards in my evaluation or made mistakes in my article. If you see any problems or have comments, be sure to let me know and I’ll fix it right away. Be sure to come back later tonight (or tomorrow morning) for the next color! Since I’m focusing on aggressive creature decks at the moment, I think it might be a good idea to do green next. Thanks for reading!

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