As always, before I get into my rating for each card, here’s a brief overview of my rating system.
- 1 – Bad card or only useful in the sideboard
- 2 – Passable, but not something I would pick early or often
- 3 – A solid card I’m happy to pick most of the time
- 4 – Powerful cards that provide a lot of value on their own
- 5 – Cards that will almost always win the game if your opponents can’t deal with them
Now that we know how I’ll be rating each card, let’s get straight into the ratings.
Ikoria Draft guide – Red
Blazing Volley – 1
Sadly Blazing Volley wasn’t given cycling and is therefore only useful in the sideboard.
Blisterspit Gremlin – 1.5
Blisterspit Gremlin could be an okay inclusion in a spells matter deck. However, I don’t like having to pay 1 mana each time I want to deal 1 damage to my opponent. Plus, Blisterspit Gremlin doesn’t even do a great job of blocking any early creatures.
Blitz of the Thunder-Raptor – 1
Your deck may have enough cycling and spells to fill up the graveyard, but even then Blitz of the Thunder-Raptor is just bad. This card will do nothing on turn 2 most of the time, and there are much better removal spells in red.
Cathartic Reunion – 1.5
This card is much worse than Tormenting Voice. It is a really bad card to draw later on in the game, since it’s not very easy to keep 2 cards in hand.
Clash of Titans – 2.5 // 3
I have a hard time rating this card. Sometimes its average, and sometimes its a blowout. Ideally, you want to be using your opponent’s creatures to fight each other. In most scenarios, this is very possible. The best part about Clash of Titans is that it’s an instant-speed card, making it very flexible.
Cloudpiercer – 2.5
Cloudpiercer is a solid mutate card. A 5-mana 5/4 with reach is already passable, and its mutate effect can help filter through your deck. Having Cloudpiercer mutated and swinging in for 5 damage on turn 4 is very scary, and makes this card a good pickup most of the time.
Drannith Stinger – 2.5 // 3
Drannith Stinger is a lot better than it’s white counterpart Drannith Healer. Dealing 1 damage can rack up over time, and Drannith Stinger is going to be a powerhouse in Boros cycling strategies. Also, it’s very nice that this card has a cheap 1-mana cycling cost.
Everquill Phoenix – 5
Everquill Phoenix is a mutate card I can get behind. It’s a flyer that wins you games, it’s resilient against removal, and is a great creature to mutate on top of. Everquill Phoenix is the definition of a bomb.
Ferocious Tigorilla – 2.5
I like this card. Ferocious Tigorilla does a very good job of beating down your opponent. It’s nice that the card has a choice between menace and trample. However, I think menace is going to be way more useful most of the time.
Fire Prophecy – 3
Strong, common removal spell with an upside. One of the best commons for red.
Flame Spill – 3
I wouldn’t be surprised if I used Flame Spill to get rid of weaker creatures just so I could deal some extra damage to my opponent. With that in mind, Flame Spill is a great removal spell that’s going to be useful during all phases of the game.
Footfall Crater – 2
I honestly believe that Footfall Crater is only going to be useful for its 1 mana cycling. That said, Footfall Crater is not a good card and will be cut most of the time.
Forbidden Friendship – 2.5
I think that Forbidden Friendship is a great common. This card fits well in a humans strategy as well as a mutate-heavy strategy, which makes it a perfect early draft pick if you want to stay open. However, there aren’t that many strategies that reward you for having both Humans and non-Humans in this set, so I wouldn’t pick up too many.
Frenzied Raptor – 2
A vanilla 4-2 for 3 mana is decent and is a passable inclusion if you are looking to fill out your curve.
Frillscare Mentor – 3
Menance is a nice ability to give to your creatures, and being able to make them stronger over time is awesome. Also, I’m not too sad about playing this as a vanilla 3/2 on turn 3 if I have nothing else to do.
Go for Blood – 2
Fight spells aren’t usually good unless they give your creatures some sort of stat boost. For example, Warbriar Blessing gives creatures +0/+2. With that said, Go for Blood is passable because you can just cycle it away when you don’t have any good scenarios to use it.
Heightened Reflexes – 2.5
Giving a creature +1/+0 isn’t much at all. However, permanently giving them first strike is interesting. This cheap combat trick can help fight through pesky deathtouch creatures like Boot Nipper. In aggressive red decks, I can see this card making the cut most of the time.
Lava Serpent – 2.5
A late-game finisher that you cycle away early on in the game. Lava Serpent is a great pickup for most decks.
Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast – 4
Lukka does everything you want him to do. First, this planeswalker is a great card advantage engine. Secondly, he can upgrade your weaker creatures to find stronger creatures to protect him. And above all, he has an ultimate that can just snipe your opponent out of the game. This planeswalker is a bomb.
However, he does need some build-around. You’ll need to have a lot of creatures in your deck to fully utilize his -2 ability, so he will most likely be used in a Gruul shell.
Momentum Rumbler – 3 / 3.5
If you plan to be aggressive, Momentum Rumbler is amazing. However, if your deck isn’t as aggressive or you cast this card on a board state, Momentum Rumbler might become a little worse. Still, this card has enough upsides that it is worth picking up for most red decks.
Mythos of Vadrok – 4.5
Mythos of Vadrok is a blowout removal spell. Most of the time, this card is going to get rid of your opponent’s best creature. In other scenarios, Mythos of Vadrok can snipe at least 2 weaker creatures, which is a sweet deal for just 4 mana. The second half of this card is great if you’re able to go into Jeskai colors, but isn’t something that is going to happen very often in limited.
Porcuparrot – 2.5
I’m not a big fan of going tall with mutate creatures. However, the ability to ping any target is interesting enough to consider. Being able to deal 2+ damage every turn is nice, but might not be justified if it gets blown out with one removal spell. Keep in mind, that this card combos pretty well with Glimmerbell and Bootnipper.
Prickley Marmoset – 2.5
A 3 mana 2/3 first strike is pretty decent already, and a +2/+0 boost makes this card a scary attacker/blocker. I think there’s enough cycling in this set to enable this card, so I wouldn’t mind picking this up most of the time.
Pyroceratops – 2 // 2.5
A 2/3 creature for 4-mana isn’t going to be that great, even if you grow it over time. Pyroceratops is mediocre, but can be a decent payoff if you’re in a spells-heavy deck.
Raking Claws – 2
Double strike can set up for some crazy finishing blows, but this isn’t a combat trick for every deck out there. Cycling is always a welcomed addition, and makes this card passable.
Reptilian Reflection – 1 // 3
Your deck needs to be committed to cycling if you’re going to see any value out of this card. If you are in a cycling deck, I could see Reptilian Reflection being a real threat if left unchecked.
Rooting Moloch – 2.5
A 5-mana 4/4 that gives you some card advantage is going to be useful. I like that it gives you the option to cast the card until the end of your next turn, not just your current turn. And above all, it has cycling! Rooting Moloch is a solid card.
Rumbling Rockslide – 3.5
Wow, this is a great common removal spell for red. The fact that it gets better as the game goes on gives this card a lot of value. Rumbling Rockslide is a card that’s great to have in any red deck.
Sanctuary Smasher – 3
The flexibility of Sanctuary Smasher is incredible. On one hand, you give your creature first strike and draw a card for three mana at instant speed. On the other, it’s a 6/4 beater that is going to make combat extremely difficult for your opponent.
Shredded Sails – 2
Shredded Sails is just another card that’s only good because of cycling. Nothing to see here folks.
Spelleater Wolverine – 2
A 3-mana 3/2 isn’t very exciting stats-wise. This card can see play in a spells deck, but you’ll have to commit fairly heavily into that archetype since you’ll need 3 in your graveyard to get this card going.
Tentative Connection – 2
I think there is a decent amount of scenarios where you will be able to cast this for 1-mana. I think because of mutate, there are a few creatures worth stealing to help you set up for lethal damage. All in all, Tentative Connection isn’t amazing, but can be useful in some decks.
Unpredictable Cyclone – 3.5
A nice cycling payoff that will add a tremendous amount of value for you. And the fact that it’s a powerful enchantment that has cycling itself is very nice. In slower match-ups, Unpredictable Cyclong can run away with games.
Weaponize the Monsters – 2
This card looks interesting enough to pick up in go-wide decks like Boros. But if you don’t have the fodder for this card, it’s not worth including.
Yidaro, Wandering Monster – 4
I love Yidaro. I think that this card would still be great if it only had cycling. However, the fact that you can cycle this early, and still potentially get it later on in the game is crazy. Yidaro guarantees that no matter how long the game goes on, he’s going to get cast at least once.