Modern Horizons 2 Set Review – Red
(Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer | Art by Simon Dominic)
Four Score and Seven Sets Ago...
Does anyone even want me to do an intro? Just get to the good stuff already!
Mythics and Rares
Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer
Ragavan is such a good boi. First, he'll steal your heart, then he'll snag a card and a Treasure from an opponent! At the head of his own deck, he'll want to pair with some nice ways to get through damage, maybe putting on some Trailblazer's Boots or a sneaky Whispersilk Cloak. Subira, Tulzidi Caravanner would be a nice teammate. We have enough of these Grenzo, Havoc Raiser/mono-red "impulse the top of an opponent's library"-effects that they probably just all go in each others' decks. I really like stealing opponents' cards, and they shouldn't get that salty about it, because it's not from their hand or battlefield, but they totally do. See decklist at the end of the article.
Ragavan is a slam-dunk for Pirate decks and Treasure decks. However, when including him in the 99, we'll want to make sure he has enough support. Since he needs to deal combat damage and has no natural evasion, we're going to need to give him an assist. We'll feel great about having him in our opening hand, but if our opponents drop so much as a Saproling, Ragavan is going to be blanked. Great in some decks, just okay in others.
It's an Elemental, so I imagine Fury will make friends with some Omnaths. Sure, it's free, but it's not amazing in our format. Some synergy and drawing a card from Risen Reef or Soul of the Harvest is pretty cute, tho.
Let's put this in a category of Not Made for EDH, and that's okay! Not everything is about us, guys.
Two relevant creature types and Cascade on a two-mana creature. This little guy might be nice value if you have synergy with their types, but isn't going to see too much play outside of that. One niche circumstance might be as a pseudo-tutor if we have some key 1-mana targets in our deck that we know we're going to hit, such as Skullclamp, Skullclamp, or Skullclamp.
An artifact creature that comes with an artifact, and has an artifact sacrifice ability (including itself) to impulse draw or do a combat trick? Heck yes. This will be a great inclusion in many red-inclusive artifact decks (especially those that love the graveyard), such as Alibou, Osgir, Daretti, Breya, Bosh, and Feldon.
This is an interesting design, but I don't love it. It reminds me of Goblin Charbelcher (only in 1,400 decks), where we're going to deal some amount of damage but we're not sure how much. Where the Charbelcher shines in a mono-red deck with a low land count and loads of flavor, Calibrated Blast will shine in a deck with loads of high-mana value targets. Conversely, it also tries to appeal to Burn decks, but those decks have a lot of low-mana value spells, making this a trap for those decks. It has an odd mana value for Obosh, but we're likely to hit a 1- or 3-mana value card, which is underwhelming. It has Flashback, so maybe Sevinne, the Chronoclasm wants it? Sevinne can copy it from our graveyard when we flash it back to deal a bit more damage, but a lot of Flashback cards have a lower mana value and a more expensive Flashback cost, so I think it's a trap there as well.
The question is what commanders love big mana spells and direct damage? I think we found a home – Bosh! Bosh plays tons of silly expensive things, like Metalwork Colossus and Spine of Ish-Sah, and 43% of players are rocking Fiery Emancipation in their decks to triple the damage output from Calibrated Blast.
Flavor, function, and chaos that doesn't piss off the rest of the table! Chef's Kiss is *chef's kiss*. It's a Wild Ricochet (which sees play in 7,000 decks) that costs one less but we don't get to pick the target exactly. It's a Bolt Bend (4,000 decks) without the cost reduction. It's a Deflecting Swat (28,000 decks) that's not even close to being as good as Deflecting Swat, but is still playable! This is going to be a flavor win in Food Theme decks and Chaos Theme decks. Outside of those, heck yeah, I'd still play it. A little chaos here and there makes the game more fun!
Glimpse of Tomorrow
Can I be in love with a Magic card? Continuing the theme of chaos that the whole table can enjoy, this is essentially Warp World for only our stuff – but it doesn't make everyone groan. I think they're nailing the design on these new chaos cards! If you've ever cast a Mass Polymorph or a Synthetic Destiny, you know how powerful this effect can be, making this a slam-dunk for Polymorph decks. The Suspend is really interesting, taking away the surprise factor, but I think I'd just Suspend this on turn two to see what happens. When it pops off on turn 5, we'll probably have a bunch of permanents out, our opponents probably won't be able to kill us, and we might just turn a land into a Blightsteel Colossus.
Shaman-harmonicon anyone? All 19 Sek'Kuar Deathkeeper decks have their eye on this one!
For real, though, there are so many Wizard commanders that have triggered abilities and would love to have Wizard-harmonicon.
Wizard commanders that have triggered abilities: Veyran, Adeliz, Niv-Mizzet, Aegar, Jori En, and Mizzix.
Doubling up any of those seems pretty sweet. And in case this makes your brain hurt (like mine), Harmonic Prodigy + Veyran = X+2 cast triggers; for example, one sorcery would trigger Guttersnipe three times. No, wait, Guttersnipe is also a Shaman... uh... Judge!?
Goblin Ruinblaster is in about 750 decks, and Ravenous Baboons is in about 150. It's not looking good for Obsidian Charmaw. However, Dragons are a relevant creature type, and this flying friend will often cost just RR. Would you play Molten Rain if it came with a 4/4 flying body? I'd say it's a solid utility Dragon that will see some play if its price isn't too inflated from eating up Tron players.
Uncommons and Commons
Captain Ripley Vance
Oof. Three spells is tough. At that point we're shooting for mono-red Storm. Here's a Scryfall search of all the cheap red cards that say "draw a card". I'd also look for things that pump up Captain Vance, double power, etc. Then you can get her damage trigger, attack with her, and Fling her in the same turn! How about suiting her up with Infect?
The question is, why would we play this over Birgi? I think you'd have some good surprise factor, as the table might dismiss your commander as not a threat, focus on the Chulane player, and then when that's over you go: spell spell spell attack fling and BAM. Game over.
In the 99 of decks, Ripley is a tough ask. She may be a consideration in Burn/Storm decks, but without much support, 3 damage for our third spell isn't worth a slot when we can just play, like, a Lightning Bolt.
Dragon's Rage Channeler
Dragon's Rage Channeler is a pretty sweet payoff for casting spells. Surveil is an amazing mechanic if we care about the graveyard, and many Spellslinger decks do! Burning Prophet made it into over 2,000 EDH decks, and my prediction is the Channeler will at least double that.
Kess, Dissident Mage, and Sevinne, the Chronoclasm are excited about it, not to mention all of the incidental cards that care about casting spells from our graveyard like Mizzix's Mastery, Finale of Promise, and Surge to Victory.
If we're already playing the package of Thrill of Possibility, Cathartic Reunion, and others, Fast/Furious is worth consideration. It might just save our butt if we're staring down an army of Squirrels, which I wholeheartedly expect to see at every table from now until forever.
I don't think this is a good value play, I think it's a way to do degenerate things. With infinite Storm count, this exiles our deck for a Thassa's Oracle win. If we're not winning with it and we have enough of a Storm count to make it worth playing, it's just showing our opponents how we're going to ranch them once it gets back around to our next turn. Oddly enough, if it was an instant, it could be used fairly as a red Divination on an opponent's turn, but as a sorcery, we have to do something that's already pretty busted for this to be good.
I'm actually pretty into this common Equipment. It has a cheap Equip cost, gives trample, and can deal three damage to something on the off chance that matters. I think this will be a solid role-player in Equipment decks. We can compare it to Vorrac Battlehorns (2,200 decks) and Ring of Kalonia (2,200 decks). It might not see a ton of play, but it will be budget inclusion that will get the job done.
It's going to take a bit of setup to make this work, but Storm decks can definitely use this as a fun finisher. However, it's a pretty bad rate if we're not taking advantage of Storm to snag most of the creatures on the battlefield. Zaffai, Thunder Something loves this as a way to get some 4/4s!
Strike It Rich
Treasures are better than you think, but is this worth running over a mana rock? We're definitely going to want some synergies to make this worth it. If we're in a spells-matter, Treasure, or artifact-o-crats deck, this might just make the cut. We can think about it as a delayed ritual. If we're already running Seething Song or Pyretic Ritual, Strike It Rich might be a more flexible version of those cards to bank that mana for another turn.
Tavern Scoundrel is bananas in the coin flippy decks. Zndrsplt and Okaun, Krark, the Thumbless, Rakdos, the Showstopper, and Yusri, Fortune's Flame are all going to love the static ability. Anyone who has had a chance to play with Storm-Kiln Artist can attest to the power of "Whevener you do X, make a Treasure".
If our deck isn't taking advantage of the first ability, Tavern Scoundrel becomes a more niche inclusion. If we're in an artifact-o-crats deck and want to sacrifice artifacts anyway, the activated ability might be a way to sac things and get more things to sac at the same time. Pairs well with Marionette Master and Reckless Fireweaver.
Just Monkeying Around
Just for fun, I wanted to part with a possible decklist for our new friend Ragavan!
Ragavan, Pilferer of Hearts
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer
Is This Set *Chef's Kiss*?
Comment below with your favorite red cards from Modern Horizons 2!
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