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Drafting Magic 2010 Part 5: Red August 7, 2009

Posted by James in : all, strategy, tips, limited, draft , trackback

I already reviewed the first picks and second picks. Here are the other best commons and uncommons to look for when playing red:

First Picks

Second Picks

Decent Cards

dragon whelp

Dragon Whelp is probably better described as a second pick. It is leagues better than anything else on this list and might be better than Ignite Disorder.

act of treason

I’m not really sure exactly how good act of treason is, but I didn’t like it when someone killed me with it before. It’s a great combo with Vampire Aristocrats.

sparkmage apprentice

Hugely overlooked and under-valued. I love this card. It kills things you hate, like Prodical Pyromancer and Awakener Druid. It also kills flying horses. It is usually a two for one.

I like Sparkmage so much that I have splashed a couple in a deck before.

Mentionable Cards

inferno elemental

Although Inferno Elemental is not my favorite card, it is probably the best of the mentionable cards. There simple are very few decent big creatures in Magic 2010. Green got 90% of them, so you can end up fighting for getting a big creature. Inferno Elemental is one of them. It’s not a Serra Angel or an Air Elemental, but it’s the big guy red got and can be worth taking.

jackal familiar

Also overlooked by many Magic players. It can be hard to play things early game, so you want to start killing the opponent as soon as you can.

fiery hellhound

Not my favorite card, but it can get quite scary if the opponent doesn’t draw an answer for it. Forcing the opponent to have answers is a very good thing.

ignite disorder

A great sideboard card. It has helped me win games.


gorgan flailprodigal pyromancer

Gorgon Flail and Prodigal Pyromancer is such a good combo that it must be stopped or you automagically win. I lost to this twice in one sealed event, which knocked me out of the tournament. This might be the best combo you can hope to get in draft.

Gorgon Flail is also very good with Goblin Artillery and it is decent with Inferno Elemental.


Although mono red decks have some great options (Dragon Whelp, Fiery Hellhound, and Seismic Strike), too many people usually take red cards. This means that red is usually only viable as a splash or secondary color. Overall, this might be a good reason to think twice before you take Dragon Whelp, Seismic Strike, or Fiery Hellhound. Take those cards as quickly as possible if not very many people are taking red, but otherwise don’t strain yourself.

Red has a surprising lack of good removal, which is generally why it is worth splashing in the first place. However, Lightning Bolt, Fireball, and Pyroclasm are often just too good to pass up. These cards are precisely the reaso that everyone wants to splash red, or play red as a secondary color.


1. alexgcuevas - August 7, 2009

I would rate Goblin Artillery and Pyromancer as first picks, even if the other red cards you listed there are better. The thing with red is, it has a ton of really excellent cards, and then the card quality drops off straight to crap / filler really quickly. Also, I notice you didn’t mention Inferno Elemental, which I find to be a fairly good finisher for red. I’d put it at the mentionable level, along with Viashino Spearhunter. Normally not good cards, but if paired with some of red’s amazing uncommons / top level removal, can provide really strong support .First strike especially is nice as it allows you to take down larger creatures with stuff like pyromancer / artillery.

The main reason to draft red, as I see it, are the bombtastic uncommons and rares, should you open / get passed any. For this reason, red decks have the potential to be really amazing, but can sometimes just suck if you don’t end up with any good uncommon/rares.

2. James - August 7, 2009

Alex, I agree that Inferno Elemental should be on the list just because there are so few big creatures to choose from. I hate Viashino Spearhunter, but I think its playable. (Mentionable is considered above playable because you actually have to consciously decide to take the color because of the cards available in this higher rank.) Never take a color just because playables are available.

I agree with your second point about why to play red, and I think I said something similar in the overview.