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AFR Standard Set Review: Red


Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is here! Yesterday we went over the Black and Multicolored cards, today we are going to go over the Red cards! This set review is going to be slightly different as I am going to be evaluating these cards based on new Standard, which is after the rotation of Throne of Eldraine, Theros Beyond Death, M21, and Ikoria. I am doing this because this is the last set before rotation and because of the power level of Throne of Eldraine still dominates Standard. We also have access to this format now on MTG Arena in the Standard 2022 Queue. Standard Rotation is not far away either, it will happen on September 17th, 2021, when Innistrad: Midnight Hunt is released.

I will not be going over cards that I believe will not see play in Standard and I will not be going over the Commander cards that will not see Standard play. For example, cards like Goldmaw Champion and Master Skald will be omitted since they are just Limited cards and saying, "This is just a Limited card" repeatedly gets old rather fast. Do not worry though, I will be covering all the rare and mythic cards in the actual Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set. So, if you like a certain rare or mythic, it will be mentioned in the review.

Keep in mind I am rating all these cards for Standard playability. I will mention Modern applications if I believe the card has some.

Each card will be listed by color, then alphabetically by name.

Each card will be given a rating of 1-5. If a card would receive a 0, meaning it will see no play in that format ever, its rating is left off the list.

Rating | Explanation | Standard Examples

0 - Will never see play in this format (0 ratings are not listed).

1 - Unlikely to see play. (Divine Gambit)

2 - Could see fringe play, or occasional sideboard card. (Disdainful Stroke, Annul, Erebos's Intervention, Devastating Mastery)

3 - Commonly played, staple in a single deck, or frequent play in several decks. (Righteous Valkyrie, Behold the Multiverse, Check for Traps)

4 - Format staples. Sees play in multiple decks, one of the best cards in the format. (Saw it Coming, Fabled Passage, Werewolf Pack Leader)

5 - Format warping. If you are in these colors, you play that card or keep that card in mind when building decks. (Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, Embercleave, The Great Henge, Bonecrusher Giant)

Now that we have that out of the way, let us begin!


Barbarian Class
Barbarian Class - 2 - Super neat in a dice rolling deck. It's like a cheap Krark's Thumb that does even more. Dice rolling, I imagine, will stick to Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, and this card is not quite good enough for Standard already so the more sets the that come out, the more it will be left behind.
Battle Cry Goblin
Battle Cry Goblin - 3 - Just a solid aggressive Goblin in Standard. It is basically a goblin Lord that can make more goblins.
Burning Hands
Burning Hands - 2.5 - Just a super solid Sideboard card against Green decks. The Red Aether Gust.
Delina, Wild Mage
Delina, Wild Mage - 2 - Delina, Wild Mage does some silly things and sure she can win if you get extremely lucky but that is rarely going to happen. You are instead usually paying for a four-mana 3/2 and that is not good enough.
Dragon's Fire
Dragon's Fire - 4 - Amazing removal spell for the Dragon deck. It is going to be one of the premium removal spells in the format since Goldspan Dragon and Iymrith, Desert Doom are two of the best dragons in Standard and played in multiple decks.
Flameskull - 2.5 - Another flavor of Phoenix for the Red decks. It is aggressive, resilient, and provides card advantage. Great card for Red Deck Wins.
Goblin Javelineer
Goblin Javelineer - 2 - Raging Goblin with upside, and it's probably going to be good enough post rotation for the Red decks.
Hobgoblin Bandit Lord
Hobgoblin Bandit Lord - 3.5 - This card is what makes all these other goblins so much better and more playable, because this one is an actual Goblin Lord and his ability allows you to deal damage with him without attacking.
Hobgoblin Captain
Hobgoblin Captain - 2.5 - Yeah, this card is better just because Hobgoblin Bandit Lord exists. It does not have to be fancy, just fill the goblin curve and it does.
Inferno of the Star Mounts
Inferno of the Star Mounts - 3 - We could see this as a singleton main deck in some Midrange decks, but it is more than likely going to be a Sideboard card to combat control decks. It is Red's Carnage Tyrant.
Meteor Swarm
Meteor Swarm - 2 - Star of Extinction's little brother! Instead of blowing up the entire battlefield and a land, you get to blow up the entire battlefield but no land. I like that the cost can be adjusted, but I'd just rather play Shatterskull Smashing // Shatterskull, the Hammer Pass.
Minion of the Mighty
Minion of the Mighty - 2 - This Kobold wants you to attack with six or more power worth of cards. You could just play the Goldspan Dragon from your hand instead, that is probably a lot better.
Orb of Dragonkind
Orb of Dragonkind - 3 - I really like this card; it is mana ramp for dragons early and late game it digs to find you one. It also makes a multicolored dragon deck viable.
Wish - 2 - My favorite card in the set. I just wish it let you cast that spell until your next turn instead of forcing you to cast it now. Not being able to split up the costs makes it less likely to see competitive play.
Xorn - 2.5 - Treasures for everyone, we are going to be rich! Xorn's ability stacks and can get out of hand quickly, especially if the owner starts netting mana.
You See a Pair of Goblins
You See a Pair of Goblins - 3 - A bit more costly Raise the Alarm, but it can also double down as a finisher. The goblin deck-builds itself!
Zalto, Fire Giant Duke
Zalto, Fire Giant Duke - 2 - 5 mana for a 7/3. No thank you, you will not be venturing into the dungeon much with a booty that small. Get you a Goldspan Dragon.
Zariel, Archduke of Avernus
Zariel, Archduke of Avernus - 3 - Zariel is like Rhythm of the Wild in that it gives everything haste and pumps them up. On top of that, she can generate tokens and the ultimate will close out games extremely quickly. Solid planeswalker, but not overpowered. Yay!

Top 5 Red Cards

  1. Dragon's Fire
  2. Hobgoblin Bandit Lord
  3. Orb of Dragonkind
  4. Flameskull
  5. Inferno of the Star Mounts

Some really solid Red cards for all sorts of decks, and we still had plenty of threes left over! Red seems to have benefited the most thus far. We will have to see if that is still the case tomorrow after we go over the Green and Land cards!

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Tomorrow we will go over the Green cards and Lands, do not miss it! As always, thanks for reading,

Ali Aintrazi

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