Cube: Mirrodin Besieged – Red

There aren’t too many updates to the red this time around, but Mirrodin Besieged did introduce a couple of really solid creatures and at least one good burn spell that I chose to bring into my cube. Let’s dig in.

Red

Kuldotha Phoenix » Goblin Wardriver

I really wanted Kuldotha Phoenix, Kakaw if you will, to be good in the cube. To me, he was the most exciting red flyer since Rorix Bladewing. I really think he should have been a 5/4 at his current cost, but that’s a bit of wishful thinking on my part. With three red in the mana cost you may not be casting when you hit five mana if you are running a deck made up of two or more colors. So, unless a player drafts a mono red or nearly mono red deck, the Phoenix just didn’t always make the cut. His ability also depends on metalcraft, which I have found to be hard to activate in the cube. Mox Opal doesn’t seem to suffer as much as other cards with metalcraft in my cube, likely due to it supplying one third of the metalcraft requirement on its own. I’m replacing the Phoenix with Goblin Wardriver. He’s also got a restrictive mana cost, but he’s perfect in a red aggro deck and not a dead draw in the late game as his battle cry can help break stalemates or give you the last bump you need to run over, or through, your opponent.

Magus of the Scroll » Spikeshot Elder

I feel like this is a solid upgrade. Once in a while the Magus of the Scroll can guarantee you two damage for three mana, but Spikeshot Elder will always hit. The Elder also gets better with equipment, pump spells, battle cry and more. The activation cost restricts the Elder to more red-centric decks, but usually that’s where you would find the Magus played as well.

Akroma, Angel of Fury » Slagstorm

Barring one reanimator deck a friend drafted last year, Akroma, Angel of Fury hasn’t been played. It’s sexy for an eight mana spell, just as Akroma, Angel of Wrath was, but I’ve already removed the Angel of Wrath due to low play and high mana cost. Now I am removing the Angel of Fury. Slagstorm is a nice, well-costed modal spell that gives you options. It’s a card that should actually see more play. It’s another card that is great against aggro decks, and I need a few of these to help balance out the push I’ve been making to include more aggressive early drops in all colors.

Keldon Champion » Hero of Oxid Ridge

I really think this decision comes down to Keldon Champion having echo. If he didn’t, I’d find another slot to put Hero of Oxid Ridge in. The Hero really feels like it caps the top end of red aggro. It helps make all the creatures on your board bigger threats and it eliminates a subset of creatures from being eligible blockers.

Magma Spray » Forked Bolt

The choice here came down to valuing flexibility in the number of targets over removing the creature killed from the game. Being able to two-for-one your opponent in the early game can really kill their tempo, making Forked Bolt a dangerous card. Sometimes, you will be able to use Magma Spray to ping a creature that was almost/already dying to remove it from the game, but in reality you’re likely hitting an early, small guy; one that won’t really matter in the long game and truly doesn’t need to be exiled to make you breath easier.

Father, husband, programmer, gamer. Magic: The Gathering enthusiast who enjoys playing and discussing the game with anyone who is willing.

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