Just as a reminder, I’ll be cherry-picking cards from each of the colors, talking about them, and giving them a rating out of a score of 10. I am not gospel when it comes to Magic and can only state my own thoughts and feelings on the cards. I may rate a card a 10 because I can see the utility, but it might not play as well in reality as it looked in theory. You know the drill!
Red in Modern Horizons has a pretty varied selection of cards. Within the format, Red is often given a harsh stroke with aggressive strategies being slighted due to the 40 life total the format has, but aggressive decks can still shine. Krenko, Mob Boss and Torbran, Thane of Red Fell, are both within the top 100 decks on EDHrec so there are certainly some ways to play aggressive, but this color also fits amazingly well with other colors, specifically Green and Blue, so let’s see what new toys the most mischievous color is getting!
The lowest cost Cascade spell yet at just 2 mana, Bloodbraid Marauder really gets better depending on how you have built your deck. It does come with the downside that you need Delirium in order to actually get the effect working, but with a little work the results are pretty excellent, as you can easily go get cards like Sol Ring, Gamble, Lightning Bolt, Sensei’s Divining Top and much more, and that’s just looking at cards you can be playing in mono-red.
One thing Red also has access to in its color pie is artifacts. By both caring about them and at times destroying them, this apprentice can actually do an awful lot. He himself is an artifact creature but also brings a little thopter in with him. Most red artifact decks can get a good amount of value from this unassuming card, as by sacrificing an artifact you can impulse draw a card. It’s a mechanic I’ve always loved and appreciated, which Red has fully embraced having.
This is one of those cards that are just too wacky for me to get behind. Super variable levels of damage, with the strange thing being that it doesn’t draw you the card or let you cast it until the end of the turn. This means that this is just a burn spell that sometimes won’t do anything… At least you get to choose the target of the spell after seeing the card and the flashback does at least mean you can have another go a little later.
Uncommon Legendary Creatures have been a design space that I have really enjoyed seeing explored more and more. Vance, whose blasting Cannons are seen on Ixilan is a pretty intriguing card indeed! She gets bigger for every third spell you cast in a single turn but she also hits anything you want when you do so, super flavourful as the cannons need 3 spells to flip, too! I really like her, I cannot wait to see her played as a Commander and I equally can’t wait to be inevitably killed by her. Wonderful design, not particularly powerful, but still very solid.
Now you might think this is just a meme card but I don’t view it that way. I actually think this card seems legitimately rather good and I am currently testing it in my decks to see if my suspicions are correct. It steals a spell as long as it only targets one thing, and then copies it, selecting random targets for both with the extra spice that you cannot be the target, and neither can anything you control. Being able to stop someone from killing your creature and instead of killing 2 random creatures is the epitome of what Red counter magic should be.
In Modern Horizons 1, when the Force cycle was being remade, Red was slighted with the absolutely awful Force of Rage, wherein you could only cast it for free on an opponent’s turn and all you got to make from it was two 3/1 blockers. As a lover of Red magic, I felt ashamed by Force of Rage when comparing it to Force of Negation and even Force of Despair, but maybe this time we got a powerful card? Something to rival the other colors? Nope. No, we did not. Fury is a 5 mana 3/3 with double strike and when it enters it deals 4 damage divided how you choose to any number of Creatures or Planeswalkers. You will very rarely actually feel good about casting this card for free, let alone for its 5 mana investment. Simply put: Stay away.
This is a fascinating one, especially as a common! At 3 mana it’s certainly expensive but with the sheer amount of ways a storm deck can generate infinite mana, this allows you to see your whole deck and find a way to win the game from the cards available to you. Of course, if you cannot win, you have no deck left, so only do this if you’re certain about the outcome.
Red often also gets the label of the “wacky” color, and this is certainly wacky but maybe it’s also good? For 2 mana and 3 turns, this next Null card, has you scrambleverse just yourself, filling your board with hopefully better cards. Unfortunately, I think this card needs too much setting up to actually be worth casting… If you do manage to win from this card, then it’s likely you were in a winning position anyway, and risking that to cast this would be very Red of you, sure, but would also be extremely dangerous.
This is one of those cards that you really do need to read multiple times in order to understand its own strengths, but also make sure you’re reading the rest of your cards. Harmonic Prodigy is not for every deck but if you’re playing a bunch of prowess cards, any of the Niv-Mizzet’s or the absolute powerhouse that is Adeliz, the Cinder Wind, then you will want to be playing this card.
This Tron killing dragon may be a Modern staple for sure, but in Commander, it is actually almost certainly a power card that will be slipping under people’s radars. It’s a 4/4 for 5 mana and flies as Dragons are known to do. But it will very often only cost 2-3 mana and on the entry being able to destroy any non-basic land is really strong indeed.
Now Ragavan, a card that nobody initially thought would be amazing, is actually the most expensive card in the set demanding around $70. For a little 1 mana monkey, I’ve got to say that a price that high is very impressive. Ragavan is a 1 mana 2/1 which is already strong in and of itself, but alongside that: Every time it hits an opponent you receive a treasure token and get to cast the top card of your opponent’s library. On top of this incredible set of abilities, you also get to dash it out for 2 mana, allowing you to haste this monkey out and make some real bank. Ragavan is a card that has so many different places for it to be played. Both as a Commander and in the 99 in every aggressive Red deck, all of them can easily discover the power this cute little monkey provides.
And that is Red done and dusted! While it didn’t get many strong cards, it still got access to 11 interesting ones, and while not all of them have been made equally, Modern Horizons 2 has certainly been filled with some super unique designs. Many of them are certainly strong. Next up is the last of the 5 colors: Green!