Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Review: Red

Unlike normal sets, the color wheel is slightly out of whack. Black and red have switched places so instead of black, red is getting reviewed after blue!

As that weird mono-red Commander who doesn’t play Kiki-Jiki, I always get excited when I see new red cards for my Jaya deck. And while Blue felt like more of the same, Red in Return to Ravnica is very, very exciting.

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

Annihilating Fire

And when I mean very, very exciting, I don’t mean this card. If scavenge, dredge, undying or persist are huge issues at your table, this is an okay removal spell (Disintegrate would cost 4 for the same effect). It really is one of those metagame dependent calls that I can’t make for you.

Ash Zealot

Last night I tried out my Crosis Commander deck which is all about reanimation from everyone’s graveyard. Then Josh played Grafdigger’s Cage on turn 2 and my deck was shut down. Ash Zealot is an amazing two-drop. Red usually doesn’t get two abilities on a 2/2 for RR. But the final ability is the perfect piece of table hate. When Memory Plunder, Snapcaster Mage or flashback spells become a hassle, she viciously punishes people with Lightning Bolts.


This is the kind of card I want to say isn’t worth playing, mostly because Ingot Chewer is a better call – unless you’re in some weird Beast-themed deck. But that’s what I love about casual Magic, it really gives almost any card a chance to shine. Unless you’re playing Commander, then you can just go by strictly better rules.

Bellows Lizard

Vicious tech when combined with Braid of Fire.


As a vanilla creature, this is weird. As a reference to Molten Sentry, I can’t help but smile.

Explosive Impact

I would probably run this over Lava Axe in most decks that ran Lava Axe. I don’t have any decks that run Lava Axe.

Goblin Rally

Krenko will love this as a way to get a bunch of tokens (and it makes Naya Populate an interesting idea). In a goblin dedicated deck, this adds a lot more than four 1/1s to your side so it could be a nice finisher alongside cards like Siege-Gang Commander. Or if you’re running pretty much any goblin-centric Commander deck.

Guild Feud

  1. This card has my favorite FAQ ruling: “Guild Feud has one target: the opponent.”
  2. I love Red’s slice of the absurdity color pie with their expensive enchantments that do weird things. Guild Feud is a hilariously dumb card to play since you usually can’t control it (but Orcish Spy is suddenly worth playing). I’ve milled people out with it, I’ve been horribly crushed by it too. It’s fun, it’s dumb and it forces you to smash creatures together.


Oh I like him! Turning each instant and sorcery spell you play into a Shock for each opponent as well is beautiful in multiplayer. Suddenly every Brainstorm whittles down your opponents’ health. Plus he’s a goblin so mono-red burn might almost work in multiplayer. This may be the perfect multiplayer card – to draw a lot of attention to yourself.

Lobber Crew

Continuing the theme of lovely multiplayer cards, Lobber Crew is a weird goblin. Yep, it’s a goblin! Being a 0/4 defender for 3 isn’t anything special, but the ability to ping everyone is amazing. Toss in the untap clause and this is a creature that could easily deal 5-10 damage to everyone before being dealt with. After all, who wants to bother using removal on a little wall?

Minotaur Aggressor

This card combos really well with Didgeridoo.


I like the idea of each multicolor spell getting a Shock thrown in for free. But at 5 mana, this is an expensive enchantment. In the right Commander deck, this could work but you really need to build around it. Or you just need to make everything multicolored… I don’t see it working in kitchen table 60.

Racecourse Fury

This is an interesting aura since it effectively says “Once per turn, a creature you cast has Kicker 1. If kicked, it gains haste.” I don’t know if it is worth it, but this is a cheap spell that could really throw off combat math. Then again, it’s an enchant land so Street Sweeper will ruin you.

Survey the Wreckage

Don’t ever play this, it is not Goblin Settler.

Tenement Crasher

I love this guy in limited because he’s big and smashes, but outside of that format, a six-drop needs to compete against most of the Titans.

Traitorous Instinct

A reprint from Rise of the Eldrazi, this is still a fun card to play. It’s expensive, but the extra two damage can swing a game. But reprints just aren’t exciting.

Utvara Hellkite

This card singlehandedly makes me want to make that Naya Populate deck. A dragon that makes more dragons! Toss in some additional combat phases and you’ve got a dragon that keeps on giving.

Viashino Racketeer

I don’t like this kind of looting. I often end up pitching a land to draw… a land. At three mana, that just isn’t enough to wow me.

While there are some less than exciting cards in Red, Return to Ravnica really gives the color the support it’s been looking for in multiplayer. The abundance of abilities that hit everyone is exactly what the color needed to give classic strategies the extra push it needed. Between blue getting some new milling and red getting new burn, two classic decktypes look like they are ready for the kitchen table.

Top 5 Red Return to Ravnica Cards for Casual & Commander
5. Guild Feud
4. Lobber Crew
3. Ash Zealot
2. Utvara Hellkite
1. Guttersnipe

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands