When it comes to casual Magic, almost everyone falls into two camps: those who like board wipes and those who hate them.
For the first group, there is an almost exhilarating rush as one simple stroke can undo a massive buildup. Defenses come crumbling down, well-laid plans are unraveled, and the complexity of the board state evaporates. It’s a deflating of the arms race, a reset button for the masses, and many times it’s deemed as called for.
For the second group, they’re simply a pain in the butt to deal with. Not only do they completely hinder players from maneuvering to where they can accomplish their goals, but it proves to be a collective waste of resources and prolongs the length of the game.
Effectively, as a casual player you either prefer to nuke the world or let one person – hopefully yourself – be the one to claim dominion over it.
Granted, few hold unwaveringly to only one of these viewpoints, as the politics of a game alter your normal preferences. For instance, if you’re the type who is normally against hitting the big red button but a massive board wipe would set you up nicely to knock some players out of the game, it’d be advantageous to let it happen.
On the other hand, you could have a player who generally prefers repeatedly calling up the sweepers but could find themselves in the position of having the most to lose (either physically or politically), and in that case they’ll clearly want to avoid them.
Ultimately, though, it boils down to a matter of preferences.
I freely admit that I am in the pro-apocalypse camp. There’s just something so enjoyable to me about seeing all the scaffolding come down and everyone racing to start over, but I also understand the frustration that can come from it.
Interestingly, I too get frustrated with board wipes. However, my frustration isn’t with regards to their use but how Red’s options don’t scale well when moving to, say, EDH games. Luckily, though, there are a few Red options that do follow suit. And we’re going to check one of them out.
Today we have: Bloodfire Infusion
Name: Bloodfire Infusion
Focus: Damage Dealing
Highlights: Wrath of God, Plague Wind, and Devastation Tide are going to work the same regardless of what setting you use them. The same can’t be said of something like Volcanic Fallout. Red is fantastic at killing waves of small creatures, but in games where creatures average a bit bigger than a normal game, all of a sudden that Earthquake is going to become pretty mana intensive to get rid of your inherent problem.
Bloodfire Infusion gets around Red’s intrinsic mana scaling issue. Presumably, you are going to be playing with your share of dragons, giants, and other large Red creatures of your own to combat the ones your opponents are casting, and this card pairs with them. By turning one of your larger creatures into a living bomb, you can continue to utilize its creature-related attributes (attacking, blocking, and maybe some cool ability or two), but should the situation turn sour, Bloodfire Infusion gives you a mana-friendly way to clear the way for something else.
What’s more, Bloodfire Infusion gives you a live grenade to play with. This humble Aura can sit on a creature for many turns just waiting for the most opportune time to be set off. For a mere one mana and no timing restriction, it can be used whenever you wish. This will simultaneously raise your threat to other players but give you quite a bit of power. Someone attacks you? Boom. Tries to Naturalize it? Boom. A player puts a problematic creature out or does something you don’t like? You get the idea.
The card can also be utilized at any point in the game. It’s one restriction – requiring a creature to enchant – means that you’re going to want a beatstick of a creature to maximize its usefulness. Because of this fact, Bloodfire Infusion shines best in the middle to late stages of the game more than early on. However, if it cannot be grafted to the hulking and/or flying form you’d ideally want because you’re under pressure now, it can still easily be utilized earlier for those standard Volcanic Fallout-like effects.
While Wizards is slowly adding more options to Red’s multiplayer toolbox, it’s still a work in progress. Ergo, Red can use all the assistance it can get in the Commander setting, and this tiny enchantment gives it just the sort of infusion it can use.
Keep an eye out for us to be regularly featuring other more accessible-but-worth-it Commander cards going forward. In the meantime, we’ll keep the light on for you.
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