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Drafting Magic 2011 Part 5: Red July 28, 2010

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

Red is by far my favorite color to draft in Magic 2011, but the problem is that everyone else seems to feel the same way and they often take all the best red cards before I have a chance. Here are my top 10 red common and uncommon cards for Magic 2011:

1. Lightning Bolt

lightning bolt

Lightning Bolt is technically the best card of Magic 2011, but it is still not quite as good as certain rare bombs in limited events.

2. Fireball


Fireball is perfect creature removal because it’s also a perfect way to kill the opponent late game.

3. Pyroclasm


Pyroclasm is great because it can kill so many creatures at the same time.

4. Chandra’s Outrage

chandra's outrage

Chandra’s Outrage is so powerful that I would consider taking it above Pyroclasm, and the fact that it is a common makes red all that much more powerful. Creature removal is good. Especially when it hurts the opponent.

5. Ember Hauler

ember hauler

Ember Hauler is creature removal… or it’s a creature. It’s your choice.

6. Fire Servant

fire servant

Fire Servant is a combo with red. There is a lot of direct damage to use with it. Lava Axe is perfect with Fire Servant and will usually win you the game.

7. Combust


Combust will be creature removal against most but not all decks. I would consider playing it main deck, but it is also the perfect sideboard card.

8. Prodigal Pyromancer

prodigal pyromancer

Prodigal Pyromancer can kill lots of things, destroy Ice Cage, and help your direct damage spells kill larger creatures.

9. Act of Treason

act of treason

Act of Treason is pretty powerful and it’s even better with Fling. It was an uncommon in M10 and being a common in M11 makes red that much better.

10. Shiv’s Embrace

shiv's embrace

Shiv’s Embrace isn’t my favorte card, but it can be game winning.


Red lost Goblin Artillery, Seismic Strike, Dragon Whelp, and Sparkmage Apprentice; but this is no real loss considering that red gained Ember Hauler, Chandra’s Outrage, Fire Servant, and Combust. The first six cards on the list are cards I would hope to get for first picks, which is a lot of extremely powerful cards.


1. Michael S - July 28, 2010

Red got a lot worse. The creature quality dropped off dramatically from M10 and even then Red was awful. Most of the things that are first-pickable are supportable and/or splashable from a single Cultivate or another color. Fire Servant is a scary creature at times, but rarely is the game state such that an opponent flat out dies to it. Volcanic Strength is a card I am surprised was not picked over something such as Act of Treason, which is significantly worse than its cousin in Rise of the Eldrazi. Even though Bloodthrone Vampire is in the set, M11 isn’t about drafting a deck so much as it is mashing as many good cards into a clump and beating someone with it.

2. 神の一手 - July 28, 2010

fireball over lightning bolt. always. fireball is the type of card that no matter what colors you are playing you will splash for it. Lightning Bolt is not the same. I would never pass a fireball in draft.

3. James - July 28, 2010

How has red’s quality dropped? I mentioned the best red cards that are gone now. Three good red creatures are gone and replaced by three better cards. That’s about it. Here is what I had to say about red for M10:


4. robert ching - July 28, 2010

I tend to agree w/ Michael (although I’m not sure how much it’s ‘dropped’); red has great burns but mediocre creatures outside of the hauler and pyromancer. (Unless you get a bomb.) Usually you’d have to draft a lot of creatures in your other color. And like u said, everyone else likes to draft red. I’ll only draft red if I notice the others passing up a lot of burn (the table’s not drafting red). And I’ll always take a fireball or two, regardless of the color I’m drafting.

5. James - July 29, 2010

The fact is that a lot of people are going to try to play red, even if it isn’t their main color. Yes, that does make red harder to draft, but that doesn’t mean that red is mediocre. Just the opposite. It means red is too good. If you are the only person at your table playing red, you could probably beat just about anything.

The fact that red doesn’t have the best creatures is easily balanced by the fact that it got the best removal. Chandra’s Outrage is a huge addition to red and it’s not easily splashable, so it’s not too hard to draft two or three of them.

Ember Hauler and Fire Servant are great cards and are certainly not much worse than the creatures that were replaced (Goblin Artillery and Dragon Whelp).