Jumpstart: Historic Horizons Set Review: Red

Welcome back to our Gladiator Jumpstart: Historic Horizons set review! There are a lot of cards to cover in red, so let’s get started!

Breya’s Apprentice

This card generates an additional body and can sacrifice itself or any other artifact that loses relevance for minor effects. Representing two bodies and being a conditional sacrifice outlet makes it great for Aristocrats strategies, and both it and its token being artifacts lets the card slot into Artifact Aggro decks.

Dragon’s Rage Channeler

Nicknamed Darcy or the better Delver of Secrets, Dragon’s Rage Channeler is a cheap and efficient threat. Normally in Gladiator Delirium is hard to achieve because, unlike other formats, lands don’t commonly enter the graveyard. However Darcy allows you to Surveil, fueling Delirium and granting card selection at the same time. Expect it to see play in graveyard and Pyromancer decks and see experimentation in Mono Red Aggro.

Foundry Street Denizen

A new one drop for RDW (Red Deck Wins) and Goblins? How does it compare to the others? In both lists it will constantly attack for two or more, given the token generation and the low cost creatures the decks are running. That is a great rate and will give the card a slot in both decks. As effectively a one mana 2/1 with upside, this is the bread and butter for Mono-Red aggressive strategies.

Goblin Dark-Dwellers

Join the Goblins and See The Truth. The card’s stats are below rate, but it’s compensated by evasion and a powerful enter the battlefield trigger. GDD (Goblin Dark-Dwellers) might be best when coupled with black spells as it can commonly imitate Ravenous Chupacabra or recast a tutor for value. There are also good spells to recast in other colors, like red wraths and blue draw spells. I expect the card to see play in most Midrange decks that can cast it.

Goblin Engineer

Is this a Goblin Welder with an added Entomb for just one extra mana? Not quite, but it can be very powerful. The enter the battlefield trigger can find any artifact and put it in the graveyard. It can get artifact creatures for normal reanimation, big artifacts for Trash for Treasure and Refurbish, or a small artifact for the Engineer’s second ability. The second ability is capped at mana value three or less, so cheating powerful and expensive artifacts into play like with the original Welder isn’t possible. Notable artifacts Goblin Engineer can return from the graveyard include: tribal synergy cards like Pyre of Heroes, Gate to the Afterlife, Wishclaw Talisman, the new artifact creatures with Modular, and much more. The card is great in God-Pharaoh’s Gift decks because it can get the aforementioned Gate to the Afterlife and in general decks using artifact synergies. It will also see play as a conditional Entomb in Reanimator decks.

Harmonic Prodigy

That was perfect, play that again. In Wizard tribal, this card is an extra, usually better, copy of Naban, Dean of Iteration. Unlike Naban, Harmonic Prodigy has much more use outside of Wizard tribal. Not only does it give Shamans an extra trigger, it also has Prowess making it a decent standalone body. Both having Prowess and doubling its triggers on other creatures fits perfectly into Blitz decks, doubling the triggers of Wee Dragonauts and the like. There is even potential to play it in a Izzet midrange deck with slight focus towards good standalone Wizards and Shamans like Young Pyromancer and Sea Gate Stormcaller

Hordeling Outburst

Three mana for three Goblins? That already puts the card in Goblins decks. Mono Red Aggro has ways to benefit from the number of tokens the card generates like Hellrider, Bolt Hound, and Battle Cry Goblin. Expect to see the card there, at least in the first few weeks of testing. 

Krenko’s Command

Did you ever play Dragon’s Fodder in your Tokens or Goblins deck and want to play more copies of it? Well, now you can. The two tokens it creates help make further use of Goblins’ lords. With enough cheap Goblins cards there might be an Aggro version of Goblin that skips on most of the 4 cost or higher Goblins, utilizing lords and the charge them option on You See a Pair of Goblins.

Managorger Phoenix

Remember how Mono White Aggro still plays Silverbeak Griffin? Make them jealous with how much better this Phoenix is. A 2/2 with flying for two mana is already great. The ability to recur and grow at the same time just for playing a normal game is amazing and encourages keeping pip heavy cards in the deck. Not being able to block is technically a downside but when has that ever been the plan in Red Decks? Expect Managorger Phoenix to be a new staple in Mono Red decks.

Pashalik Mons

Another Goblin, let us see how this one fits into the Goblins deck. Goblins are no strangers to sacrificing creatures. Pashalik is another great payoff and sacrifice outlet. The card provides a minor wrath deterrent and its pings from Goblins’ deaths can stack with other cards like Weaponize the Monsters to remove opposing blockers. The card’s second ability is a mana sink and synergizes with the first ability to deal one damage when activated.

Reckless Charge

In creature decks this can represent three or more damage for one mana. Although it is a sorcery and can’t be used during combat, I expect a common use of the card will be granting haste to a summoning-sick creature pre-combat, so it doesn’t matter much. On top of that, Reckless Charge has Flashback to do it all over again. The effect is good in Blitz decks and will allow Red Aggro decks to lower their curve even more.

Reckless Ringleader

Another variant of Raging Goblin, but will this one see any play? The upside of this card’s base 1/1 haste for a red is giving a creature in your hand haste using the new mechanic, perpetually. Even though red is a color known for haste, more than half of the creatures in Red Aggro decks don’t have it, so don’t fear that ability being irrelevant. This will be fantastic for Red Aggro decks and allow them to build the deck with a lower curve. And of course, as a Goblin, it will see play in Goblins. The card also has a combo application with Prime Speaker Vannifar, both giving her haste to immediately start the pod chain and being the one cost creature to start it. It encourages building the Vannifar pod combo to include red, and if that happens it will see play there too.

Sarkhan, Wanderer to Shiv

What will Sarkhan do with the Dragons this time? In Dragons decks the +1 ability allows for ramp and fixing, while giving Sarkhan enough loyalty to survive a surprise Questing Beast attack. The 0 ability gives cards advantage against Control and Midrange decks and can be combined with the +1 to play a turn five Shivan Dragon. He can also help you survive early aggression with the -2 to kill a creature. The card is good for Dragon tribal decks but expect to see it even in a deck with a Dragon subtheme.

Seasoned Pyromancer

Seasoned Pyromancer represents up to four power across three bodies and allows for card filtering or even card draw when empty handed. Both the filter and the multiple bodies the card gives have great use in Aggro, Midrange, Aristocrats, and Combo decks. It can be used for: generating tokens to buff, sacrifice or block with; discarding cards that are either irrelevant in the matchup or that are better while in the graveyard; or playing around counterspells with the activated ability from the graveyard. Expect the card to become a staple in many decks across the format.

Static Discharge

Volcanic Hammer is a card Mono Red players wanted for a while, and now they finally got it and even very slightly better. Three damage for two mana is on rate. Being a sorcery hurts the card, however Roil Eruption does see play in Aggro decks and I expect the same of Static Discharge. Since the format is singleton, the ability to increase the damage of itself and other cards with the same name wouldn’t affect the game usually, but can come up occasionally, so beware.

Unholy Heat

One mana for two damage is already good; it can clear most early creatures and help against Aggro decks. Normally Delirium will be hard to enable because lands don’t often find their way to the yard, but decks with looting (drawing and then discarding) effects can reliably achieve Delirium and  get an extremely efficient new removal spell.

Thunderbreak Regent

The statline is good and as a Dragon it has the amazing ability of flight. Although the ability becomes better the more Dragons played alongside the Regent, it’s still good enough on its own in Midrange decks. Similar to ward, the Regent’s ability triggers from spells and abilities so even when targeting it with a tapper like Giant Killer or a planeswalker like Chandra, Torch of Defiance the Regent still strikes back.

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