Playing Red in Magic is a task-oriented ordeal. Generally, if you focus on accomplishing a single task instead of spreading your attention across many projects at once, you have a much better chance of reaching that goal in an effective, efficient, timely manner. In the case of Red, that’s largely burning your enemy to a a healthy crisp. In singular duels, it is hard to match the color’s speed and ferocity out of the gate. However, as a game progresses longer, or you start having to diversify firepower to multiple opponents, Red can often run into problems staying potent. It shouldn’t really be a surprise, then, to learn that mono-colored Red Commander decks are rarer than the rest (much as I would like to see more Heartless Hidetsugu / Urabrask / Zirilian decks out there).
It has a hard time in formats that tend to include many targets and/or can go on for hours. More commonly, Red ends up becoming a secondary or tertiary color in Commander decks, providing utility burn spells or spells to temporarily steal creatures. Now, this lack of mono-Red is sometimes due to people trying to simply expand the ‘blow-everything-up’ philosophy from normal deck sizes up to Commander and being surprised they still run out of cards. The real hurdle is that comparatively to the other colors, Red itself doesn’t have answers to some of the more common themes you see in the format, such as:
– Reliable card draw
– Powerful enchantments
– Late-game combos
– Blue countering their big moves
It is in the spirit of that last point that we see today’s card. Today we showcase a temporary hoser card for a color that often can use a bit of help in multiplayer games. Keep your lazer-like attention on this section next week for a longer article on Color Hosers, but for now, consider this the prequel. I hear people like prequels.
Today we have: Red Elemental Blast
Name: Red Elemental Blast
Edition: Alpha / Beta / Unlimited / Revised / Fourth Edition
Focus: Counter Magic / Permanent Destruction
Highlights: Red Elemental Blast (and it’s Ice Age / 5th Ed. equivalent Pyroblast) only does two things. It just happens to do two things really well. As an answer to it’s color rival, REB lets Red continue to burn, destroy, antagonize, or cause general chaos without having to fret over their pesky cerebral sibling getting in the way. At one mana, it’s not a heavy investment for a Commander deck, and usually is not one people see coming. Some may hesitate on using a slot for a situational one-shot card, and in other colors a solid case could be made. Yet whether it is ensuring that your epic spell goes off – or making sure that Blue’s doesn’t – it provides much needed leverage for a color that could certainly benefit from more utility cards. The ability to destroy blue permanents provides some use as well to prevent it from being a “dead draw” card as matches draw on longer.
Surely, there will be times when Blue isn’t your headache, but it’s nice to know it’s in the toolbox, even if it would have a hard time being printed by today’s standards.
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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