The Dark Confidant – Amonkhet Constructed Set Review: Red

 

Time to continue the review with Red. Here again is the tl;dr tags established before:

  • Multi-Format Staple – Powerhouse in multiple formats.
  • Single-Format Staple – Powerhouse in a single format.
  • Hit or Miss – Either potentially gamebreaking and enabling a powerful deck or otherwise unplayable.
  • Potential Role Player – Solid card that goes into various decks and does its job without making or breaking any deck.
  • Fringe Playable – Situational niche card that might be ok in small numbers in specific decks or metagames or in a very specific archetype as a filler.
  • Not good enough – Just not good enough for constructed while not being obvious draft chaff.

Hazoret the Fervent

This guy looks more appealing than some of the other gods so far since the activation criteria should be fairly possible to meet for the right deck. This should mostly be relevant for very low to the ground aggressive decks where a four-drop 5/4 creature with haste with upside seems like a potentially appealing curve topper. I think its playability depends a lot on a good red-based aggressive deck existing that also curves up to four and wants him specifically as a curve topper. If all this applies he might be pretty good.

Tl;dr: Potential Role Player

Glorious End

This is one hell of a weird and unique card which makes it a bit harder to evaluate. Glorious End basically gives you an extra turn / a universal counter to anything your opponent does that would lose you the game to give you one more turn to turn the result on its head. Maybe there is a deck that needs something like this to shore up a certain matchup out of the sideboard for example. Maybe a red aggressive deck that wants to get another turn to race the opponent before losing to their Aetherworks Marvel combo or something.

Tl;dr: Fringe Playable

Trial of Zeal

Another potentially decent Trial especially given that the red Cartouche also fits well into an aggressive shell alongside it. A rebuyable Volcanic Hammer looks pretty solid to me even at one mana more.

Tl;dr: Potential Role Player

Cartouche of Zeal

This card looks great for a Tom Ross style hyper-aggressive, red-based aggro deck and that is even without any potential Trial interactions. Getting haste on a new creature AND impairing a blocker at the same time for just one mana is a HUGE tempos wing for a hyper aggressive red deck that would want this. The question only is if there will be a good enough deck for this card to end up seeing play.

Tl;dr: Potential Role Player

Deem Worthy

This card is pretty sweet. Lots of flexibility and potential value from a two-for-one. This might be the wrong color to go into a dedicated cycling deck if that works out but it still looks like a potential nice fit for something like UR Tower control or the like.

Tl;dr: Potential Role Player

Combat Celebrant

While this guy is extremely fragile, Combat Celebrant is also extremely powerful. Imagine this in an aggressive red shell alongside Cartouche of Zeal to impair the opponent’s blocker and give this haste allowing for two attacks with the blocker impaired from the Cartouche. Alternatively it could also be appealing in a WR Human aggro deck for example although without the Cartouche it seems much harder to eeeeexert. This has the potential to generate some sick ‘I win the game’ draws.

Tl:dr: Potential Single-Format Staple

Heart-Piercer Manticore

This card looks a bit underwhelming to me. Maybe there are some sacrifice synergies that make the ability worthwhile alongside it having Embalm but all in all this seems more like a draft staple.

Tl;dr: Likely Not Good Enough

Sweltering Suns

This card looks great honestly. Getting a low-cost situational sweeper with a way to cycle it when it is not or no longer needed is great even if the cycling is a bit costly. A great role player for any deck looking for such an effect.

Tl;dr: Great Role Player

Harsh Mentor

Simply a great aggressive two-drop that punishes all sorts of utility cards for extra pressure. This guy might easily make it into Modern and, even though not likely, into Legacy.

Tl;dr: Multi-Format Staple

Hazoret’s Favor

This card seems simply bad to me. The effect we gain for having to sacrifice the creature afterwards seems way too low for that cost. I don’t know if there is maybe a way to abuse this card somehow but I don’t see any nor think that there is one. Seems to be just one of those terrible crap rares.

Tl;dr: Not Good Enough

Soul-Scar Mage

While this is not quite Monastery Swiftspear it is pretty close. On turn one he might even be better since getting one Haste damage in on turn one is arguably worse than giving all your burn spells Wither. This solves the typical issue of bigger blockers that the burn spells can’t kill because now we can potentially shrink them to keep our attackers alive through a trade. I don’t think the card is likely to make it out of Standard but should be a great staple in red aggressive decks in Standard itself.

Tl;dr: Single-Format Staple

Glorybringer

This card is just great. Glorybringer makes Stormbreath Dragon look weak. An absolute powerhouse especially now that Felidar Guardian is finally banned.

Tl;dr: Single-Format Staple

Trueheart Twins

This card is simply too underpowered and expensive to be constructed viable.

Tl;dr: Not Good Enough

Warfire Javelineer

While the effect is potentially powerful it is also a pretty extreme condition to meet. This might have some use in a UR Tower style spell focused deck as a makeshift Flametongue Kavu.

Tl;dr: Fringe Playable

Bloodrage Brawler

This guy looks pretty strong for red standards. Given that there are a bunch of decent things to discard to it like Scrapheap Scrounger or Fiery Temper makes this a potentially great addition to a red based aggro deck.

Tl;dr: Potential Role Player

By Force

Great Modern anti-Affinity sideboard card, likely decent in Standard, and even possibly Legacy.

Tl;dr: Potential Role Player

Battlefield Scavenger

The stats are way too underwhelming and the Exert effect is way to weak for the cost.

Tl;dr: Not Good Enough

Consuming Fervor

Unstable Mutation is back and in an arguably better color for it. This might make a splash in a red aggressive deck at some point.

Tl;dr: Potential Role Player

Flameblade Adept

Very solid one-drop that has nice synergy with stuff like Bloodrage Brawler and a great target for Consuming Fervor thanks to Menace.

Tl;dr: Potential Role Player

Ahn-Crop Crasher

Another solid and interesting red aggressive creature 3/2 Haste is already pretty decent for red aggro and the potential to impair a blocker to push them over the edge at the cost of next turns attack can make the difference between barely getting there and not getting there.

Tl;dr: Potential Role Player

Limits of Solidarity

Decks that want this type of effect usually prefer it one mana cheaper without the cycling option plus there is a way better version legal in the format. Not a relevant card.

Tl;dr: Not Good Enough

 

Nef-Crop Entangler

The fact that this is a Human and has decent stats with Exert makes this at least worth looking at as an option.

Tl;dr: Fringe Playable

Pathmaker Initiate

Pathmaker Initiate still hits for a decent amount if there are no blockers while also providing a way to end the game through a stalled out board makes this a surprisingly good addition to a hyper aggressive red deck.

Tl;dr: Potential Role Player

Tormenting Voice

Very solid role player reprint that it seems like we won’t get rid of anytime soon with having multiple versions of it legal for a while now.

Tl;dr: Role Player

Thresher Lizard

If there is a red aggro deck that empties its hand fast enough this might be appealing alongside Hazoret hitting for a lot on turn 4. A 4/4 for three is pretty respectable in red.

Tl;dr: Fringe Playable

Magma Spray

Another good reprint that helps with annoying cards like Scrapheap Scrounger.

Tl;dr: Role Player

Bloodlust Inciter

This guy also looks surprisingly appealing since giving all haste to your future drops translates to quite a lot of damage for a one-drop.

Tl;dr: Potential Role Player

Fling

While I wouldn’t know what to do with this right now the card always has a certain potential to be playable I think and should be kept in the back of your head as existing.

Tl;dr: Fringe Playable

Blazing Volley

A decent sideboard card for when you need a way to sweep small creatures without killing your own.

Tl;dr: Fringe Playable

That’s it again for this time. Hope you guys enjoyed the review so far. Let me know in the comments what you think!

Thanks for reading,

ManuS

Emanuel Sutor

Emanuel Sutor

Emanuel Sutor is a long time competitive Magic player from Germany with a Grand Prix final and a Pro tour Top 16 under his belt. He is a constructed expert and co-founder of 'Team Luxurious Hair' now called 'Team TCGPlayer'. He loves brewing and tuning decks in various constructed formats and in his column he confides his findings to you.

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Emanuel Sutor

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Published:May 3, 2017

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