For a long time, Chandra was an iconic character without an iconic card. She'd had several different versions, but only Chandra, Pyromaster had gained any traction whatsoever, and really that was just because it could draw cards slowly (the red way). It was mostly played due to a lack of better alternatives.

That was a bummer for red. Each other color had Planeswalkers that either dominated or warped entire Constructed landscapes. White had been blessed with multiple incredible Elspeths, several Gideons, and an Ajani or two that were among the best cards in their respective Standards and even reached into other formats. Blue had Jace, the Mind Sculptor, the consensus GOAT of its era. Black had Liliana of the Veil. And green had a couple Garruks and a Nissa or two. Red had Koth, whose existence in Standard was overshadowed by Caw Blade.

Until Kaladesh came out. We were returning to Chandra's home, so she got center stage for the Lore and top billing for all the packaging. And they gave her a fantastic Planeswalker for the occasion.

Chandra, Torch of Defiance, is a remarkably strong four-mana Planeswalker. It's got four different abilities (when you know WotC's not messing around), and all of them are strong. It crushed Standard for its entire tour of duty, and still sees play in older formats, even Legacy and the Red Prison decks. It's a monster in any Cube.

For us, we need to explore a little bit since there isn't much mechanically that pulls in a specific direction. So if you'll allow just a bit of a flavor reach, I found inspiration in her character arc for this PW—she's the hero! So let's go with Red Heroes!

Here she comes to save the day:

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Chandra, Torch of Defiance by Andy Hurst

'Chandra, Torch of Defiance' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Andy Hurst

Event:

Rank:

Freeform (Casual)

Market Price: $13.37

Cards

Smoldering Crater

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212469_200w.jpg

Smoldering Crater enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {R}.
Cycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Akroan Crusader

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180927_200w.jpg

Heroic — Whenever you cast a spell that targets Akroan Crusader, create a 1/1 red Soldier creature token with haste.

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Coordinated Assault

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145454_200w.jpg

Up to two target creatures each get +1/+0 and gain first strike until end of turn.

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Shiv's Embrace

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/69259_200w.jpg

Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets +2/+2 and has flying.
{R}: Enchanted creature gets +1/+0 until end of turn.

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Abrade

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/253063_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Abrade deals 3 damage to target creature.
• Destroy target artifact.

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Chandra, Torch of Defiance

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $6.26

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/122645_200w.jpg

+1: Exile the top card of your library. You may cast that card. If you don't, Chandra, Torch of Defiance deals 2 damage to each opponent.
+1: Add {R}{R}.
−3: Chandra, Torch of Defiance deals 4 damage to target creature.
−7: You get an emblem with "Whenever you cast a spell, this emblem deals 5 damage to any target."

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Collective Defiance

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.67

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/120258_200w.jpg

Escalate {1} (Pay this cost for each mode chosen beyond the first.)
Choose one or more —
• Target player discards all the cards in their hand, then draws that many cards.
• Collective Defiance deals 4 damage to target creature.
• Collective Defiance deals 3 damage to target opponent or planeswalker.

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Tahngarth, Talruum Hero

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $1.51

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/7893_200w.jpg

Vigilance
{1}{R}, {T}: Tahngarth, Talruum Hero deals damage equal to its power to target creature. That creature deals damage equal to its power to Tahngarth.

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Hero of the Games

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/207139_200w.jpg

Whenever you cast a spell that targets Hero of the Games, creatures you control get +1/+0 until end of turn.

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Abandon Reason

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/120453_200w.jpg

Up to two target creatures each get +1/+0 and gain first strike until end of turn.
Madness {1}{R} (If you discard this card, discard it into exile. When you do, cast it for its madness cost or put it into your graveyard.)

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Crown of Flames

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/7463_200w.jpg

Enchant creature
{R}: Enchanted creature gets +1/+0 until end of turn.
{R}: Return Crown of Flames to its owner's hand.

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Trueheart Twins

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/130293_200w.jpg

You may exert Trueheart Twins as it attacks. (It won't untap during your next untap step.)
Whenever you exert a creature, creatures you control get +1/+0 until end of turn.

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Mountain

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/196580_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}.)

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Kamahl, Pit Fighter

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/129366_200w.jpg

Haste (This creature can attack and {T} as soon as it comes under your control.)
{T}: Kamahl, Pit Fighter deals 3 damage to any target.

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Ghitu Encampment

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/92939_200w.jpg

Ghitu Encampment enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {R}.
{1}{R}: Ghitu Encampment becomes a 2/1 red Warrior creature with first strike until end of turn. It's still a land. (It deals combat damage before creatures without first strike.)

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Keldon Champion

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/118704_200w.jpg

Haste
Echo {2}{R}{R} (At the beginning of your upkeep, if this came under your control since the beginning of your last upkeep, sacrifice it unless you pay its echo cost.)
When Keldon Champion enters the battlefield, it deals 3 damage to target player or planeswalker.

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Emberhorn Minotaur

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/130212_200w.jpg

You may exert Emberhorn Minotaur as it attacks. When you do, it gets +1/+1 and gains menace until end of turn. (An exerted creature won't untap during your next untap step.)

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Satyr Hoplite

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/81981_200w.jpg

Heroic — Whenever you cast a spell that targets Satyr Hoplite, put a +1/+1 counter on Satyr Hoplite.

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Teetering Peaks

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/33448_200w.jpg

Teetering Peaks enters the battlefield tapped.
When Teetering Peaks enters the battlefield, target creature gets +2/+0 until end of turn.
{T}: Add {R}.

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Cartouche of Zeal

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/129777_200w.jpg

Enchant creature you control
When Cartouche of Zeal enters the battlefield, target creature can't block this turn.
Enchanted creature gets +1/+1 and has haste.

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Akroan Conscriptor

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/79094_200w.jpg

Heroic — Whenever you cast a spell that targets Akroan Conscriptor, gain control of another target creature until end of turn. Untap that creature. It gains haste until end of turn.

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Cinder Cloud

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/5008_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature. If a white creature dies this way, Cinder Cloud deals damage to that creature's controller equal to the creature's power.

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Arena Athlete

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180931_200w.jpg

Heroic — Whenever you cast a spell that targets Arena Athlete, target creature an opponent controls can't block this turn.

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Extra Arms

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/10913_200w.jpg

Enchant creature
Whenever enchanted creature attacks, it deals 2 damage to any target.

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Heroes of the Revel

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/207022_200w.jpg

When Heroes of the Revel enters the battlefield, create a 1/1 red Satyr creature token with "This creature can't block."
Whenever you cast a spell that targets Heroes of the Revel, creatures you control get +1/+0 until end of turn.

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Outpost Siege

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.26

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/243887_200w.jpg

As Outpost Siege enters the battlefield, choose Khans or Dragons.
• Khans — At the beginning of your upkeep, exile the top card of your library. Until end of turn, you may play that card.
• Dragons — Whenever a creature you control leaves the battlefield, Outpost Siege deals 1 damage to any target.

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Paragon of Fierce Defiance

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/90860_200w.jpg

Other red creatures you control get +1/+1.
{R}, {T}: Another target red creature you control gains haste until end of turn. (It can attack and {T} this turn.)

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Trial of Zeal

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/129786_200w.jpg

When Trial of Zeal enters the battlefield, it deals 3 damage to any target.
When a Cartouche enters the battlefield under your control, return Trial of Zeal to its owner's hand.

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Smoldering Spires

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/132325_200w.jpg

Smoldering Spires enters the battlefield tapped.
When Smoldering Spires enters the battlefield, target creature can't block this turn.
{T}: Add {R}.

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Lava Coil

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176562_200w.jpg

Lava Coil deals 4 damage to target creature. If that creature would die this turn, exile it instead.

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Bravado

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/6803_200w.jpg

Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets +1/+1 for each other creature you control.

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Champion of the Flame

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227165_200w.jpg

Trample
Champion of the Flame gets +2/+2 for each Aura and Equipment attached to it.

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Fists of Flame

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227316_200w.jpg

Draw a card. Until end of turn, target creature gains trample and gets +1/+0 for each card you've drawn this turn.

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Invigorated Rampage

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.34

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/126493_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Target creature gets +4/+0 and gains trample until end of turn.
• Two target creatures each get +2/+0 and gain trample until end of turn.

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Ahn-Crop Crasher

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/129722_200w.jpg

Haste
You may exert Ahn-Crop Crasher as it attacks. When you do, target creature can't block this turn. (An exerted creature won't untap during your next untap step.)

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Minotaur Sureshot

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216659_200w.jpg

Reach (This creature can block creatures with flying.)
{1}{R}: Minotaur Sureshot gets +1/+0 until end of turn.

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Reckless Charge

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191580_200w.jpg

Target creature gets +3/+0 and gains haste until end of turn.
Flashback {2}{R} (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)

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Akroan Line Breaker

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/82347_200w.jpg

Heroic — Whenever you cast a spell that targets Akroan Line Breaker, Akroan Line Breaker gets +2/+0 and gains intimidate until end of turn. (It can't be blocked except by artifact creatures and/or creatures that share a color with it.)

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The Game Plan

Use our batch of heroes to save the day, of course! We're leaning pretty heavily on the heroic mechanic from the two visits to Theros, with plenty of ways to trigger them. Those bonuses will either help us widen our board (Akroan Crusader, Heroes of the Revel), get big (Satyr Hoplite), or break through defenses (Arena Athlete, Akroan Line Breaker, Akroan Conscriptor).

We've also got some Minotaurs as part of our group because… I like Minotaurs. And because of one of our rares, I've always seen them as a fairly heroic race in Magic Lore. While not exactly heroes, Champion of the Flame go great with most things that would otherwise trigger heroic, and they get massive with even the dinkiest of auras.

We've got quite a lot of different ways to try to enhance our heroes. Cartouche of Zeal are probably our easiest to cast, and we've got the Trial of Zeal to reset them for further triggers (try to save the Trial of Zeal until we've played at least one Cartouche of Zeal to take maximum advantage of the synergy).

Crown of Flames is another all-star—we're able to get as many heroic triggers as we want for two red. Invigorated Rampage and Coordinated Assault let us get multiple triggers for only one card. Bravado and Shiv's Embrace lets our otherwise small creatures get huge. And although expensive, Extra Arms can dominate a board if left unchecked for a couple turns.

We're playing a mono-red deck here, so we can kill some creatures, and we have artifact removal too. Abrade and Lava Coil are extremely efficient. Trial of Zeal isn't the best rate, but its effectiveness with the Cartouche of Zeal can't be understated. And Cinder Cloud is a great option against bombs and other big scary rares.

The Rares

Growing up, my weekly TV access was limited, but I could read basically whatever I wanted to. So I read a ton, and around the 4th and 5th grades I read all the books I could from the Weatherlight saga. Tahngarth, Talruum Hero the Minotaur was my favorite.

He gets horrifically scarred and disfigured by evil Rathi overlord Volrath the Fallen and Top Henchmen Commander Greven il-Vec. This is traumatizing for him because the minotaurs gauged their status based on attractiveness, and Tahngarth, Talruum Hero was previously quite the looker.

However, he has a super vindicating moment when he and the crew of the Weatherlight save the Hurloon minotaurs during the Phyrexian invasion. He's terrified they'll judge him a gross, ugly monster, but instead they praise him for being a selfless hero. Hooray! It's the beauty inside that counts. And saving people from evil monsters helps, too.

Creatures have gotten a little better since Tahngarth, Talruum Hero debut, but he's still a force to be reckoned with. He successfully tussles with most creatures on the field, can attack and fight, and loves some heroic buffs. Tahngarth, Talruum Hero can take over nearly any non-green battlefield upon arrival, and will almost always be at least a two-for-one.

Another red hero! Although I didn't like the novel for Odyssey itself, I did love Torment's and Judgment's, and this was the era when I really ramped up my time spent playing Magic. It was really cool to see red—a color usually spent on villains or maybe supporting cast like Tahngarth, Talruum Hero and Squee—get the top Good Guy for once.

Kamahl, Pit Fighter stats are really weird. He's only got the one-toughness, so despite his gaudy six-power, we won't attack with him unless the coast is completely clear. But we likely wouldn't do so anyway! Because Kamahl, Pit Fighter has haste, and can hurl Lightning Bolt for free just by tapping. The Super Pinger! He's got a glass jaw, but if our opponent can't stop Kamahl, Pit Fighter, it'll be game. No way our opponent can withstand catching a Lightning Bolt every turn.

Chandra, Torch of Defiance is the Torch of Defiance, but you'd be surprised how few cards they've made for red with Defiance in the name! Thankfully this and Paragon of Fierce Defiance are both strong cards we'd want to cast. Collective Defiance is powerful, flexible, and not terribly expensive. It's not likely any single mode will be Game Over in a vacuum, but we're getting a nice tidy package here that can do a lot for us.

I've been a fan of this one for a while, ever since my teammate almost won a Star City tournament years ago, immediately after this got printed. We'll be choosing Khans here a majority of the time—extra cards are tough to come by in an environment like this, and we'll take what we can get when we can get it. But we've got enough random little creatures, especially if the Heroes of the Revel and Akroan Crusader get going, that it might be better in some games to choose Dragons and let those little bodies get more mileage on the way out.

Unsung Hero

I touched on it a little above, but most of this deck's creatures get turned on by heroic triggers or being enchanted. And of course, the most consistent downside of our auras or ways to get those triggers is they aren't repeatable. Once we put Bravado on a guy, that's it. Can't get that trigger again. Coordinated Assault can target two guys, but again once it's used, it's used.

Crown of Flames lets us get some repeated triggers. It's extremely cheap to play at only one red, and we can get it back on the cheap as well, letting us load up on whichever Heroic trigger is most convenient.

And let's also not pretend the fire breathing effect is useless either. If we're using our heroic triggers on things like Arena Athlete or Akroan Line Breaker, we might find ourselves able to punch through for massive chunks of damage.

Bottom Line: Crown of Flames is an invaluable contributor to our strategy. Try to leave up a mana to make sure it doesn't get killed, keep in mind times when the opponent might try to two-for-one us when we're casting it, and remember how well it plays with a large chunk of our creatures.