Innistrad Commander & Multiplayer Review: Red

It’s weird to say it, but at my heart I’m still a red player through and through. So while burn might not be the most effective method of winning in multiplayer, there’s nothing quite like going out in a blaze of glory to take someone down. I may not use my mono-red burn deck often but I certainly adore it to this day.

But my love of burn transcended into Commander as a format and I’m one of the few people I know who are foolish enough to still run a mono-red deck under Jaya Ballard, Task Mage. So for me, Innistrad is full of amazing red spells to really mess with people.

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Multicolor, Artifact & Lands

Ancient Grudge

If you’re in red-green, this is strictly better than Shatter… but so is Shattering Pulse which is still my go-to artifact destruction.

Ashmouth Hound

An interest two-drop in 60-casual, I like the idea that this guy can’t be killed by a creature with a toughness less than two. Maybe with Valor Made Real, he can really mess with someone running tokens. In commander though, I don’t think this guy has what it takes.

Balefire Dragon

Flavor issues aside, this is an amazing dragon! At seven mana, one hit from this guy can ruin an opposing player. For real absurdity, give him trample and lifelink to gain an obscene amount of life. This is one of the best red beaters available in Commander, and I would love to run him in my multiplayer-Reanimator deck too alongside Hydra Omnivore.

Blasphemous Act

Sorry Chain Reaction, you’ve been outclassed in less than two years. In a big game, this card is a red Wrath of God for only R! It’s absolutely amazing, and here’s a list of all red creatures with protection from red so you won’t get burned yourself. A fantastic card for any kind of multiplayer.

Bloodcrazed Neonate

I want to like this card, but in use it never lives up to what I think it will. Players almost always trade for it immediately or end up behind some insurmountable wall. The requirement to attack is just too much in multiplayer.

Brimstone Volley

Things die in multiplayer all the time. In casual 60, I could see this becoming a major red removal staple. For commander though, the Volley doesn’t hold up as well as I’d like. Far too many things don’t get killed by it and when you start at 40 life, 5 doesn’t seem so great.

Burning Vengeance

Casting spells from your graveyard is pretty easy… except not for Red players. I do like the idea of Geistflames and Firebolts dealing an extra 2 damage when Flashbacked, but that just seems far too limited. It could work in multiples for casual 60, but this card seems to have no place in Commander.

Charmbreaker Devils

I absolutely adore this card! It’s easily one of my favorites in the entire set. In my Black review, I railed on Ghoulraiser for being random recursion but here is just works. The ability to Squee-ify a random instant or sorcery in your graveyard is amazing in singleton formats. This card is about as perfect as a card could get for my Jaya EDH deck.

But that’s only half the card – the second ability is jaw-droppingly-good. Any instant or sorcery you play gives this guy +4/+0 and that’s a huge buff. Cast a Hammer of Bogardan to hit for 3 then swing with an 8/4? Amazing! And if that’s the only non-permanent spell in your graveyard, you’ll get it back next turn!

Crossway Vampire

I think the creature gets distracted by her rack. And it looks like Hurloon Minotaur is officially done for.

Curse of Stalked Prey

I like the idea of turning all your creatures in Whirling Dervishes, but the fact that this curse can only target a single player really kills the potential of it. In a very aggressive deck, this could work for killing one person but this curse is too short sighted for my liking.

Curse of the Nightly Hunt

Grand Melee has always been an interesting card in large chaos games but it often takes control out of the game entirely. The ability to force only a single player to always attack is interesting. I’m not sure this would work in Commander, but this could be a good way for Red decks to keep white and blue decks under control.

Curse of the Pierced Heart

I see this as being an unavoidable Black Vise, but in Commander the 40-life total is way too high to make this worthwhile. Even running four of them in casual 60 means you’re focusing too hard on a single player.

Desperate Ravings

I adore this card for my casual deck of chaos. First off, it’s an instant. Second, with a card like Library of Leng or Charmbreaker Devils, the trade off doesn’t seem so bad. Sadly, the blue in the Flashback means this card is for Izzet mages and up. It’s a lot of fun if you don’t mind giving up some control.

Devil’s Play

Blaze with Flashback? Sign me up! Another fantastic addition to the red Commander arsenal. The Flashback means you won’t feel as bad using earlier if needed and unlike Red Sun’s Zenith, you won’t be left wondering when you’re going to draw it again. A fine kill spell for creatures and players alike.

Falkenrath Marauders

If, and it’s a big if, you can get this guy to connect more than once – he’s terrifying. Still, I have a hard time justifying paying 5 mana for a 2/2 haste flyer. Though if you manage to toss a Fireshrieker onto him, he can quickly become a death machine.

Feral Ridgewolf

You have better things to be doing with your mana.

Furor of the Bitten

This is a super cheap way to pump up a creature and when combined with a Vow, it could let you take some control of an opposing creature. But even with all that, I don’t see this aura being worth it.

Geistflame

This is worse than Engulfing Flames.

Hanweir Watchkeep & Bane of Hanweir

Red doesn’t get much in the way of defense anymore, so getting a 1/5 that can become a 5/5 is interesting but I’m not sure it’s enough to keep him around. I would probably rather run Pitchstone Wall instead still.

Harvest Pyre

If you have no interest in ever getting your graveyard back, this is an impressive and cheap piece of creature removal. If you care about your graveyard, don’t bother.

Heretic’s Punishment

This is another card I love in this set even though it’s a bit off. In a format with large casting costs, a slightly more controllable Kaboom! is can be very useful at times. Again, when combined with Charmbreaker Devil the self-milling doesn’t seem so bad. Is this card good? Probably not, but the ability to turn your library into direct damage strikes a chord with me.

Infernal Plunge

There must be a way to break this, I just have no idea how.

Instigator Gang & Wildblood Pack

Even without the transforming, this is an Orcish Oriflamme attached to a 2/3 for the same price! That alone isn’t too shabby for a horde of creatures. But when this guy transforms, he turns your ragtag militia of goblins into a terrifying force that can destroy anyone. An 8/4 trampler for 4 mana – suck it Akron Legionnaire!

Into the Maw of Hell

Besides sounding like an epic heavy metal album (something I would totally name the first album of my non-existent death metal barbershop quartet), this card is expensive but the hilarious stapling of abilities shines in Commander. It can take out a pesky Maze of Ith or Rishadan Port along with the biggest creature threat on the board (as long as it isn’t Autochthon Wurm). A decent spell that will work well for budget Commanders.

Kessig Wolf

I understand what Wizards wanted to do with wolves and werewolves, but there are better three drops.

Kruin Outlaw & Terror of Kruin Pass

Provided you can keep her transformed, a 3/3 double strike that comes with her own war drums is pretty good for 3 mana. But this card is always within Lightning Bolt range which makes me concerned.

Night Revelers

You can do better, I don’t care how much leather she’s wearing.

Nightbird’s Clutches

The fact that this is a sorcery kills it for me.

Past in Flames

Late game, this card can end the battle. A much, much better version of Shaman’s Trance, Past in Flames is a decent last ditch effort provided you have the mana to actually cast anything in your graveyard.

Pitchburn Devils

A creature that bolts when it dies, that isn’t so bad. This card isn’t great, but it does make the battlefield more interesting.

Rage Thrower

He’s fragile as can be, but if you give him a nice pair of boots he will end everyone. Creatures will be dying left and right, and with each creature your opponents will come closer to death. He also loves his pet Hissing Iguanar.

Rakish Heir

A decent Vampire “lord,” this bare-chested young man can really edge a battle in your favor – especially when combined with classic vampires that eat creatures. The damned if you do, damned if you don’t approach really makes this work for me. Olivia Commanders can just keep adding to their amazing vampire decks.

Reckless Waif & Merciless Predator

The odds of you casting this on turn one are slim in Commander. The odds of you casting this and no one else having a spell are even slimmer. A great aggressive card, but not for multiplayer.

Riot Devils

AHAHAHAHAHA! Hilariously bad.

Rolling Temblor

If your group is swarmed with small creatures, this is a pretty decent ground-Pyroclasm. The Flashback really helps with the card advantage too.

Scourge of Geier Reach

Holy crap. When I was much younger, Keldon Warlord was a card to be feared and this terrifying monstrosity cranks the fear up to 11! This is a card that is easily an 8/8 or more when it comes down and only keeps growing as your opponents desperately try to keep up. This is a card made for multiplayer and it shows.

Skirsdag Cultist

Turning a creature into a Shock is decent, but the cost of both mana and tapping the Cultist means it won’t be happening all that often in multiplayer.

Stromkirk Noble

Like all human-centric cards, get ready to pull up Oracle texts just to see who can’t block him. The minor evasion is decent, but I don’t think this little vampire can do enough when facing off against multiple opponents. I’m sure I’ll get killed by him once though.

Tormented Pariah & Rampaging Werewolf

A sometimes Craw Wurm for 4 mana sounds okay, but the base stats of being only a 3/2 make me dislike this werewolf.

Traitorous Blood

Remember, this card steals a creature and gives trample and haste! As a single trick before combat, the addition to trample can mean a lot to some big dragons. For mono-red, it’s a great addition to the Threaten group of spells.

Vampiric Fury

If you’re running a designated vampire tribal deck, this can be good in an aggressive strategy where a single combat can go from “painful” to “deadly.” If you’re running any creatures other than vampires, don’t bother.

Village Ironsmith & Ironfang

Like most of the red werewolves, Ironfang simply doesn’t do enough. A 1/1 with first strike for 2 isn’t impressive and occasionally getting +2/+0 in multiplayer simply isn’t enough for this small fry.

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Multicolor, Artifact & Lands

Top 5 Red Innistrad Cards for Multiplayer & Commander

5. Devil’s Play

4. Balefire Dragon

3. Charmbreaker Devils

2. Scourge of Geier Reach

1. Blasphemous Act