Welcome back to day two of our Journey into Nyx set review. Yesterday we took a look at what black had to offer as well as checking out the artifacts of the set and overall I was quite impressed. Today, we will be continuing by moving over to something a little hotter with the red cards as well as a trio of outstanding lands.

To do this, we will be taking a look at each card individually and rating it for both Constructed and Limited play. This means that we will assign a value to each card using our scales below and then discuss what about that card makes it good or bad. For anyone that read yesterday's review, you will know that I began using a Sealed and a Draft rating for cards within the Limited confines.

I am in the process of coming up with a new Limited scale, but while I work on the transition, I wanted to add a feature to help some people out. Sometimes, there is a question of whether a card is good only in Draft, or only in Sealed etc. While Limited ratings do a pretty good job of summing up both formats for the most part, occasionally there are key differences that make a card bad in Sealed while it is good in Draft, or vice versa. So, to help out with that, each Limited rating will consist of both a Sealed and Draft rating and I will tend to call out why big differences exist in the description of any card that does contain them.

With that said, let's move on to the scales that we will be using for today, one for Constructed and then one for Limited, as we have already discussed:

Constructed

5: Fives are ever-present cards that heavily warp a format or see heavy play across multiple formats. Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Deathrite Shaman, and Tarmogoyf are good examples of fives.

4: These cards tend to have support roles across multiple formats or be tier one cards in at least one. Spell Pierce is an example of the former while Thragtusk is an example of the latter. I expect to rate a lot of things as fours that are actually fives and vice versa while I feel out this new system but in both cases, these are going to be highly desired cards.

3: These are the bread and butter cards of a set, usually doing all of the essential things needed for a format, but doing them at a good rate. Cards like Oblivion Ring, Izzet Charm, or Diregraf Ghoul would be found here.

2: These cards are generally much more restrictive in use and application than a three, but they serve a similar purpose. You will see more sideboard or niche cards, like Skullcrack, Heartless Summoning, or Gladecover Scout.

1: These are not going to see much play, but they have an outside chance. These tend to be weak or narrow sideboard options or extremely narrow main deck cards. Most ones will not ever make it into a winning list, but they have potential to do so.

0: These are unplayable in Constructed regardless of context. These tend to be the cards designed to balance Limited, like Grizzly Bear or Siege Mastodon or are narrow with a poor output, like Artificer's Hex.

*Any card that gets an X.5 rating just means I can see it falling to either side of the equation given the right metagame or environment.

Limited

5.0: I will always play this card. Period.

4.5: I will almost always play this card, regardless of what else I get.

4.0: I will strongly consider playing this as the only card of its color.

3.5: I feel a strong pull into this card's color.

3.0: This card makes me want to play this color. (Given that I'm playing that color, I will play this card 100% of the time.)

2.5: Several cards of this power level start to pull me into this color. If playing that color, I essentially always play these. (Given that I'm playing that color, I will play this card 90% of the time.)

2.0: If I'm playing this color, I usually play these. (70%)

1.5: This card will make the cut into the main deck about half the times I play this color. (50%)

1.0: I feel bad when this card is in my main deck. (30%)

0.5: There are situations where I might sideboard this into my deck, but I'll never start it. (10%)

0.0: I will never put this card into my deck (main deck or after sideboarding). (0%)

And with that, let's move on to the cards!


Red

Akroan Line Breaker

Constructed: 1

A 4/1 intimidate for three mana might be interesting if it were always in that mode, but when you need to work to get there, I don't think the payoff is big enough. Compare this to something like Fabled Hero, for example.

Draft: 2.5
Sealed: 2

A very solid aggressive creature that will get to deal some late game damage when your opponent is not prepared for it. Certainly a worthwhile three-drop to put bestow creatures onto as well, so he plays nice with multiple mechanics.

Bearer of the Heavens

Constructed: 2

This guy is a really unique creature with a game-ending effect, so you can probably guess that someone is going to find a way to use it. The most obvious way to break it is with Rescuer from the Underworld, as it basically self-combos assuming you sacrifice the Bearer itself. It will be interesting to see where this is tried out at.

Draft: 1
Sealed: 1

Not only does this guy cost a million, but he is also very difficult to gain an actual edge out of. If you manage to pull off the aforementioned combo of Recue, or have some indestructible guy, then perhaps consider this, but I would generally advocate avoiding it.

Bladetusk Boar

Constructed: 1

We just talked about a four power creature for three mana probably being not enough, so you can imagine that flipping those two numbers is not the greatest thing ever for its Constructed potential.

Draft: 2.5
Sealed: 2.5

A really solid creature to fill your curve out with in general. This has been printed three times now and it is always decent as it just applies pressure or trades with something reasonable. With bestow around to boost the power of intimidate, this should be just as good as ever.

Blinding Flare

Constructed: 1

I think this is probably too expensive for Constructed as there are alternatives that hit an entire team for just two or three mana already available.

Draft: 2
Sealed: 2

This is pretty neat in that it not only provides you a Falter effect, but also triggers all of the heroic triggers you have. Glimpse the Sun God does the same thing a little bit better (wait till after you declare attackers to use it) but having a similar effect in red is nice.

Cyclops of Eternal Fury

Constructed: 1

We have seen many a creature that grant friendly guys haste and many of them have been playable, but six mana is asking for a bit too much, especially considering most of the creatures getting haste cost less than that!

Draft: 1-1.5
Sealed: 2

While most of the things I said in the Constructed portion remain true for Limited, at least here the Cyclops provides a reasonable body on his own. You probably do not want to run this very often, but he will get the job done when he does have to be played.

Dictate of the Twin Gods

Constructed: 1

I think that this being mirrored is a little lame considering how much mana you are spending on it. Furnace Of Rath is a sweet card, but it has never been the strongest card outside of some specific uses. I think that this will probably be too expensive and inconsistent for Constructed.

Draft: 2
Sealed: 2

I am certainly speculating here, but this seems like a reasonable Overrun style of card. You can wait to cast it until a combat breaks out in which double damage would either kill the opponent, or sweep their board in some favorable manner. That said this could easily just be unplayable due to the amount of enchantment hate available in the format.

Eidolon of the Great Revel

Constructed: 3

This seems like a very strong hate bear, especially in older formats where the casting cost of cards tends to be lower. You will probably deal some damage to yourself with this, but just like Sulfuric Vortex, it is probably worth it. If nothing else, this is a strong hate card against combo decks, so look for it there.

Draft: 2
Sealed: 2

This is mostly just a bear but maybe it can deal a couple points of damage. You want to be really aggressive before including this in your deck, but in those decks he usually needs to be dealt with at least.

Flamespeaker's Will

Constructed: 1.5

While this is not likely to take the place of any Shatter effects currently in the format, it does possess the potential to be better than them in certain decks. If this read, "Destroy target artifact and deal 1 damage to its owner," for a single red, it would be pretty sweet, right? Well, in the right deck, it could read that.

Draft: 0.5
Sealed: 0.5

Basically a card you are going to bring in when there are valid targets or if you are really deep in the tank and need a 23rd playable, although typically a land is just going to be better than this.

Flurry of Horns

Constructed: 1

Even if you have some Minotaur tribal action going on, I just don't see how spending five mana on this can be better than something like Stormbreath Dragon. Haste is reasonable, so maybe I am missing something, but I would suggest looking elsewhere.

Draft: 2
Sealed: 1.5

Two guys in a single card is always nice, but these guys are not exactly the most formidable of foes. In a minotaur deck, this can be really solid and in an aggro deck, this is a reasonable top end of your curve. I actually see this being decent in midrange red as a defensive option too, but I will have to play with the card more to know for sure.

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Font of Ire

Constructed: 1

Five damage is a lot of damage for a single card to do, but investing six mana into that five damage seems steep. The argument that you get to pay in installments is real, but four mana is still a lot to ask for out of one of those halves, and the opponent gets to see it coming in that case.

Draft: 1.5
Sealed: 1

This is pretty solid if you are in the department for a Lava Axe. The extra mana is offset by the installment option as well as the fact that this will trigger any constellation bonuses you have lying around. Once again, aggressive decks tend to do better in Draft.

Forgeborn Oreads

Constructed: 2

This guy has a body that has proven to be Constructed playable as Fanatic of Mogis has already shown. Beyond that, his ability can hit creatures, making it quite different than Fanatic. They both want you to be devoted to something, whether it be red or enchantments. In Constructed, Fanatic will probably still win out, but there is potential here.

Draft: 3
Sealed: 3

Any creature that can generate you multiple damage over time, leading to multiple removal spells, is pretty solid. Now one damage does take some work to take down priority targets, but the body this leaves behind does some work as well in the meantime.

Gluttonous Cyclops

Constructed: 1

A vanilla fatty that becomes an even vanilla-er fattier, or something along those lines. Let's look at some creatures with text...

Draft: 1
Sealed: 1.5

A reasonable body at the top of your curve. You will obviously be looking to upgrade this guy for the likes of Stoneshock Giant or whatever, but he does fill the role well and must be answered most of the time.

Harness by Force

Constructed: 2

Act of Treason or Threaten are both playable in the right metagame as long as an aggressive red deck is playable and this is a lot better than those. Spending six mana on this can be a blowout, even in Constructed, although the flexibility of having Threaten most of the time is the big selling point.

Draft: 3.5
Sealed: 3.5

This thing should turn around most games or just flat out win you them. Once you invest six mana into this, combat is different at four key points for the opponent, meaning their combat math is all out of whack and you have a great chance of killing them. If you put nine mana into this, the game should be over.

Knowledge and Power

Constructed: 1

This just feels a little too heavy on the upfront costs to be a worthwhile engine. Five mana for the enchantment up front is a lot, but then you also have to spend two mana on the output, after contouring your entire deck around it. Too much asked. For an example of reasonable asking point, look at Lightning Rift.

Draft: 2
Sealed: 1.5

This is definitely a build-around enchantment in this block if you want it to be. It is risky to go all in on an enchantment when so many ways to remove it exist, but you can help Remedy that with Regrowth effects. Having one of these in a deck with eight or nine ways to scry is totally reasonable though.

Lightning Diadem

Constructed: 1

Simply put, this is far too expensive for Constructed on top of the already difficult task or being an aura and trying to make that work somehow.

Draft: 2
Sealed: 2

I am not sure how highly to rate this as it is quite an awkward removal spell. For six mana, you can take out something with two or less toughness. There is a chance you get some nice value and take out a tapper or deathtouch blocker, but you probably want to make use out of as much of this card as possible. That means abusing the fact that it is an enchantment that triggers heroic and leaves your guy around slightly bigger.

Magma Spray

Constructed: 2.5

We have seen this little bugger before although its place in the format is a little strange considering there is not much that we need to be exiling that has two toughness. Should still see some sideboard play and probably will end up spiking at the release of the next block.

Draft: 2.5
Sealed: 2.5

Shocks are tough to navigate in this format due to the natural size of so many of the creatures coupled with tons of combat tricks and tons of auras. Still, being an instant means you can interact easier and use combat as a front loaded source of damage, so this certainly is still a strong card, just weaker than if it were in M14 or something.

Mogis's Warhound

Constructed: 1.5

While a 2/2 for two mana is not making any waves, the fact that this comes as a split card (sort of) might mean it has a shot in some type of aggressive heroic deck. Three mana as the bestow cost is very cheap for a reasonable boost, so you never know.

Draft: 2
Sealed: 2

Once again, a two-drop means it is playable, although this one is a risky one to run out on two without some support ready to go. Deathbellow Raider suicides itself sometimes and it has an extra toughness and can regenerate. Generally, you want to bestow this, as the cost increase is so small. Also, once again you can bestow an opposing dude to make him attack,

Pensive Minotaur

Constructed: 1

Nothing to see here folks. Just a 2/3 for three. Move along please.

Draft: 1
Sealed: 1

This guy is actually worse than Felhide Minotaur at the same everything just because he is red, which is less likely to want a vanilla 2/3 for three. That said, this is another Minotaur and a playable guy, even if he is not exciting, so expect to see him on occasion.

Prophetic Flamespeaker

Constructed: 3

To be honest, I may be selling this guy half a point short or so as his type of card has not really been seen before. Normally, cheap double strikers make us work before they get evasion, but this just naturally has it, which is really cool. The card advantage is nice, but I think the double striking, trampling body is good enough even without it. This should be a really strong card throughout its stay in Standard.

Draft: 3
Sealed: 3

You really just want to put whatever auras or bestow creatures you have on this and then sit back and profit. There is not much more to say about this other than his utter domination of Two-Headed Cerberus.

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Riddle of Lightning

Constructed: 2

One of my pet cards from the set. I have liked Riddle ever since I saw it in Time Spiral block and I do think it has a chance at seeing Constructed play. Enter the Infinite is the biggest spell in Standard currently, so if you have any interest in dealing 12 damage, this is your card.

Draft: 3.5
Sealed: 3.5

This card has one slightly awkward problem in Limited and that is if you are in need of a land, this card does not do much except scry for three. If you are looking to take down big monsters and get your scry on though, this is exceptional. Five mana is a lot, but the format is used to that as a baseline thanks to Lash of the Whip, so this should still be good.

Rollick of Abandon

Constructed: 1

This effect is certainly playable, but I don't think so at five mana. This does have some upside over Pyroclasm in that it kills Master of Waves, but I don't think that niche needs filling this badly.

Draft: 2?
Sealed: 1?

I honestly don't know with this one and won't know until I have played more with the cards. Obviously the Minotaur player loves this, as the timing on when he needs to use it is obvious, but how often are you generating card advantage with this? How often are you swinging for lethal with pumped up power? Questions to be answered for sure.

Rouse the Mob

Constructed: 1

Even in a dedicated heroic deck, should one come to exist, this seems a little steep on the strive cost to be a contender. Spending that first mana is fine, but four mana and eventually seven is asking too much.

Draft: 1.5
Sealed: 1

This is pretty good as a finisher in aggressive decks, although it takes some work to set up. More than likely you are just running this as a heroic enabler than might do something else down the line. Because it does not boost toughness, it is not a true combat trick as you will almost never save a creature with it.

Satyr Hoplite

Constructed: 1.5

While I think most of the other one-drops in the format are enough better than this that it won't be an auto-include anywhere, this has the potential to see some play as it can scale into late game reasonable well and get out of hand quickly in the right deck.

Draft: 1.5
Sealed: 1.5

Not many decks want to play with one-drops, but this is a decent one to include. Favored Hoplite was a very high pick for a while and while his stock has gone down due to less Ordeals existing, they are still very nice to have. One-drops that are relevant on turn five are rare to find.

Sigiled Skink

Constructed: 1

The Starfish is a more reasonable example of how scrying every turn might be Constructed playable. This not only has to live, but has to do so in combat to keep reaping the benefits. When Courser of Kruphix or Nightveil Specter shuts you down, that is not the best.

Draft: 2.5
Sealed: 2

A nice aggressive creature with upside is certainly more than acceptable out of your two-drop slot. This pairs nicely with many different cards in the format and simply being a two-drop adds value in-and-of itself. Scry on my friends, scry on.

Spawn of Thraxes

Constructed: 2

This is a potentially strong finisher in any type of monored ramp or big guy strategy. Reanimating this is not the worst either, although you do still need Mountains in play. We might never see a deck that can fully utilize this guy but all the power is there, waiting to be taken advantage of.

Draft: 4
Sealed: 4.5

Giant flying creatures that kill another creature when they enter the battlefield are the exact type of card you should be looking to snatch up in any Limited format. This does cost seven mana, so it is not as simple as playing this and winning, but the format has a pacing that can get you to seven comfortably most of the time.

Spite of Mogis

Constructed: 2

This is certainly a fine removal spell in very specific decks that can fill up their yard quickly. One mana to kill a creature and then scry is a huge swing. The limiting factor is that not too many decks can cast this reliably, so we will have to see what types of strategies can adopt this bad boy.

Draft: 2.5
Sealed: 3

I still like this a lot in Limited, but it is not going to hit the super high numbers that it might in Constructed. A solid Limited deck might have eight instants and sorceries in it, maybe 10 at most, which means this is probably killing 3/3s later in the game but is dead early. That is a valid trade-off, but it keeps this from being a first pick removal spell.

Starfall

Constructed: 1

Five mana is a lot to invest into your removal spell, especially when it grants you only a conditional Searing Blaze, a card that costs two mana...

Draft: 3
Sealed: 3

Again, while five mana is still a lot in Limited, it is much easier to justify, especially when five mana removal spells have been getting the job done for a while now. The extra damage from this is a nice bonus, but don't trap yourself by looking for that damage so much that you miss casting this on a non-enchantment priority target.

Twinflame

Constructed: 2

I am honestly giving this a two due to the fact that it could be totally busted and I don't know how just yet. This is a powerful effect, although it is worth noting that you must target different creatures every time, so I am sure it will be experimented with. But this one is going to need a little more testing before I can know anything for sure just because of how unique it is. For those looking for a starting point, might I direct you to the card Momentary Blink.

Draft: 3.5
Sealed: 3.5

Another one of those wonky rares that is actually just going to win you the game much of the time. Spending five mana on this for just two guys is a pretty good deal and once those guys come with "enters the battlefield" abilities attached to them, you are talking about game-winning potential. Might even be worthy of a four in both formats.

Wildfire Cerberus

Constructed: 1

This is a bit too expensive to be a real thing in Constructed. Paying five mana for a 4/3 is not making anyone blush and then the kicker of seven mana is when you could be activating Ember Swallower instead. Pyroclasms can be strong, but they are strong because they answer things early, not on turn seven.

Draft: 3.5
Sealed: 3.5

Pyroclasms are much better going long in Limited due to all of the small creatures that become outclassed just sticking around to provide utility. Or, in some cases, you can use combat damage to help you take down bigger targets. This is telegraphed the moment you cast this Cerberus of course, but it can still be a powerful effect.


Lands

Mana Confluence

Constructed: 5

Many might not realize why this is so strong. It is because having perfect fixing for a three to five color deck found in a single land is worth some damage over the course of a game. Decks that play this will either have access to life gain, to offset the downside, or will be very proactive and aggressive, like combo decks, so that they don't care that they did three damage to themselves before killing you. This will be moderately played in Standard but heavily played in older formats wherever City of Brass has popped up in the past.

Draft: ?
Sealed: ?

This entirely depends on how many colors you are running. If that number is two, it is probably not worth playing that. If that number is four or five, this is probably a mandatory add to your deck. At three colors, you play this with light other fixing, but dealing damage to yourself in Limited is a much steeper drawback to manage.

Temple of Epiphany / Temple of Malady

Constructed: 4

The scry lands have continued to impress us over the past six months and these final two in the group will just carry on that legacy. Scrying for one has proven to be a very potent ability to possess and even aggressive decks have moved to enjoying card filtering in exchange for a tapped land. Dredge and decks like UWR control will be happy to see the final two lands hit Standard.

Draft: 3
Sealed: 3

I am actually rating these lands between where they belong. In on-color decks, meaning both colors apply, these are actually probably about a three and a half or four whereas in decks in which only one color exists, they pull in a two and a half or three and then in decks in which none of the colors are present, they still pull in a one or one and a half. Scrying for one is just so amazing to have effectively for free, not to mention all of the other synergies involved, like Knowledge and Power.


Wrap Up

I would say that red got it a little worse than black in Journey into Nyx, but it still has plenty of treats ready for you if you want them. Prophetic Flamespeaker alone is a card with a lot of wiggle room that I expect a lot of decks to explore. There are a few removal spells that should see some play, from Magma Spray to Spite of Mogis and aggressive red decks have some options to explore. The lands are all-stars each in their own right, so there is certainly plenty of exciting things to work with here. Tomorrow we will be moving on to blue and green before wrapping up the week on Thursday with white and multicolor. Until tomorrow, thanks for reading!

--Conley Woods--