Magic 2012 Commander & Multiplayer Review: Red

Half way down with the Commander and Multiplayer review of the latest Magic set – Magic 2012! And like most core sets, there are some great gems hidden here once you rummage through all the rubble in Red.

Magic 2012 Reviews
White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifact & Land

Blood Ogre

In a color that burns all it can as quickly as possible, bloodthirst feels right at home in red. Blood Ogre is simple and as far as I’m concerned reads “3/3 first strike for three.” Plus thanks to those odd lords from Morningtide like Bramblewood Paragon, this warrior can get big. Even tossing in some proliferation like Volt Charge makes me think this guy, while simple, can easily find a home.

Bonebreaker Giant

Well, I guess he’s better than Berserkers of Blood Ridge but this half-decapitated Two-Headed Giant of Foriys isn’t worth running.

Chandra, the Firebrand

Chandra has always gotten a bad rap for her last two Planeswalker cards. Personally, I found Chandra Nalaar okay in multiplayer as a pinger, while Chandra Ablaze combos beautifully with cards like Squee, Goblin Nabob. But Firebrand here is a must include in any red Commander deck.

Being able to ping allows her to constantly help finish off creatures or players – or enable bloodthirst with ease! Her ability to Reverberate your next instant or sorcery can really help getting extra bang for your buck in singleton. And if her ultimate ever does go off, it basically says “you win!” because not much can survive 6 damage to the head.

On top of all this, she’s so easy to splash with a casting cost of 3R making her perfect in pretty much any deck running red.

Chandra’s Phoenix

Quite possibly my favorite card in the set, Ablaze and the Phoenix combo so well together! Having a walker that says “+1: 4 damage to target creature or player” is amazing. But even outside of that combo, any spellshaper adores this card and that’s not even counting its ability to swing for two in the sky!

Crimson Mage

Of all the Mages in the cycle, this one disappoints me the most. In longer, more drawn out games haste simply isn’t as useful. Since once you target a creature the turn it is summoned, there’s never a reason to use his ability on it again.

Even more disappointing is the fact that Crimson Mage can only target your creatures, so you can’t even use this card diplomatically.

Furyborn Hellkite

Someone will die to this once, but after that it won’t matter. Sure, a 12/12 flier for 7 sounds fantastic but the lack of any protection means a single removal spell will shut it down.

Unless you happen to have some Lightning Greaves.

Goblin Bangchuckers

I love coin flipping cards (I really need to rebuild my Krark’s Thumb/Mirror Gallery/Fiery Gambit deck), so getting a weird coin flipping pinger is fun. But this card just isn’t good enough. Tapping to maybe do two damage on a 2/2 body for 4 is just a terrible option for goblins. I mean, for almost the same cost you could just summon Lightning Crafter. Or Tar Pitcher for some guaranteed success.

Goblin Fireslinger

Pingers are always interesting but they aren’t nearly as powerful as they used to be. Fireslinger is decent at enabling bloodthirst but the fragile body will result in him getting killed off around turn 3. Though any deck with Quest for Pure Flame may love this guy.

Gorehorn Minotaurs

It’s kind of sad that a 5/5 for 4 isn’t good enough to make me care.


I love this card. It’s absurd and can backfire so horribly it isn’t even funny. Grab some dice and get ready to have a memorable game.

Just make sure to keep a Simian Spirit Guide and Brand in your hand for the aftermath.

Stormblood Berserker

This is a solid two drop, provided you can activate his bloodthirst. Not a great card, but if you can drop a quasi-unblockable 3/3 on turn 2 or 3 in red, you could quickly take down someone in Star or Emperor. In Commander though, I don’t see him working nearly as well.

Tectonic Rift

This isn’t Demolish. This card either adds insult to injury or won’t matter, it’s probably never going to be the game winning play. Don’t bother.

Wall of Torches

I guess Wall of Razors was overpowered?

Warstorm Surge

A one-sided Pandemonium sounds like a great idea, but the extra two mana and the fact that it only triggers for you makes me disappointed by this card. In a Norin the Wary Commander deck, it’s an auto-include and at least it is better than Electropotence.

Notable Reprints

Flameblast Dragon is a fine replacement for Shivan in this set and gives you something to do with excess mana. Goblin Grenade returns after a 17-year hiatus. Grim Lavamancer returns as a lovely plant for Innistrad while Inferno Titan continues being reds best six-drop.

Plus Volcanic Dragon is now an uncommon! I really like this move because it’s been a few years that my group has been thinking Shivan Dragon really should just be an uncommon but for history reasons couldn’t get demoted. Volcanic Dragon seems like a perfect fit. And now the art makes sense because there’s only one dragon in it!

Magic 2012 Reviews
White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifact & Land