Wrathful Red Dragon

Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate Limited Set Card Review: Red

Our complete review of all the Alchemy Horizons: Baldur's Gate cards, for limited (sealed and draft).

It’s everyone’s favorite time again! Yeah, that’s right, it’s time for a new draft set, but this time it’s MTG Arena exclusive (fancy, I know). Once I finally escaped from all the trouble I got into in Streets of New Capenna, I started doing some scouting around Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate and I’m here to give you the inside secrets about the crazy adventures that await you there.

First thing to get out of the way, this is an alchemy set so some of these cards were designed for constructed. What’s that mean for us drafters? In the words of Emperor Palpatine, UNLIMITED POWER! I hope you’re prepared to slang some serious card action.

Here’s the usual grading scale:


Ambergris, Citadel Agent

Specializations

Rating: 3.0/5

Now this can filter through your deck like it’s nobody’s business. Of course, you need to get it to survive to do so which will lead to spewing your hand ASAP to be able to accrue value. That does mean you probably want to hold this back so it’s still nice and safe once the way is clear. But who am I to tell you not to just jam it on turn three and swing for the fences?

The control player in me is going to have a really hard time saying no to the phrase “draw three cards” on the Izzet one. The Boros one can be pretty nuts if you are already wide while the Rakdos one can keep the way clear of obstacles to keep the value flowing.

Ancient Copper Dragon

Rating: 4.5/5

Another card designed for commander, but it’s still a massive flyer that can do some absurd things if it ever connects. What are you going to do with fifteen treasures? That’s up to you, but I’m sure you’ll be living your best life doing it.

Seriously though this lets you drop anything in your hand and I mean ANYTHING regardless of color. It’s also amazing with Skullport Merchant to draw all of the cards.

Battle Cry Goblin

Rating: 4.0/5

It’s weird that a two drop can wildly fluctuate between a “just smash the face” card as well as a “do all of the math” card. I’ve snuck a lot of lethals in out of nowhere with a hasted one of these pumping up Hobgoblin Captain and the token it makes.

Just don’t forget to let the token resolve before doing the pile of pumps…I have won a few games by opponents punting that way.

Breath Weapon

Rating: 3.0/5

I love having a Pyroclasm effect in the format because it can really reward tight play or punish someone for overcommitting early without considering this. The instant speed lets you set up proper blocks and then use this to finish off their side.

Carnelian Orb of Dragonkind

Rating: 1.5/5

I would need to have at least five dragons before I would even consider playing this. On top of that I need to have enough cards that I want to ramp to that are somehow worth taking turn three off to get to. At least Plundering Barbarian isn’t around to completely wreck this, but still not something I ever really want to play.

Chaos Balor

Rating: 4.0/5

I would prefer you had the option to not choose any, but I guess that wouldn’t be enough chaos. Having the option of it just being a 4/5 Flyer for five would be great, but at least you get to decide which ones happen and they didn’t make it roll a die or something crazy.

The first option is great for yourself if you have some lands in hand or even a couple of mediocre spells. I can’t really ever imagine hitting your opponent without it unless they have zero cards in hand or you are trying to deck them.

The second option is good for you early so you can cast all of your spells to get to the point you want to start using the first option on yourself. It will probably be the default option to use on your opponent later in the game since the treasure won’t be as consequential by then.

The third option is just really dependent on the board state. If you can board wipe them, go for it. Just be careful about using it to pump your own creatures if it leaves you open to a Breath Weapon.

Craving of Yeenoghu

Rating: 2.0/5

This reminds me of an equipment that gets worse every time you equip it. It is a lot of pressure early on and even if they remove the creature you get to bring back a diminished version of it.

I don’t personally like playing cards like this, but if you’re an aggressive deck who needs to high roll to win, then this is the perfect card for you.

Dragonborn Immolator

Rating: 2.0/5

A 2/4 that can pump in the front for two mana is pretty clunky and more of a defensive card while the death trigger lends itself to more of an offensive approach. There are certainly going to be times this is good, but there aren’t going to be many decks that actively want this.

Dragon’s Fire

Rating: 3.5/5

An extremely efficient removal spell that can kill pretty much anything early in the game for only two mana. It’s also not hard to have a dragon in this color to pump it up to kill something bigger.

This is going to be in competition with Grim Bounty for best common in the set and I am happy first picking either as long as I don’t open a bomb.

Dueling Rapier

Rating: 1.0/5

I checked and Bruenor Battlehammer isn’t in the set to make this slightly playable. The equip cost on this is about as fairly priced as the American housing market so lets just say it’s not a good time to invest in this.

Earth-Cult Elemental

Rating: 2.0/5

I like big butts and I cannot lie. This thing is just so massive that’s its hard to deal with without setting themselves up to get wrecked in a multiblock. It’s just pricey and you don’t want your hand getting clogged up with them.

The sacrifice thing is usually pretty relevant because even if you low roll, you’ve already got a 6/6 out and them losing a land might put them too far behind to deal with it. That’s not even getting into the fun when you slam the twenty on this.

Farideh’s Fireball

Rating: 2.0/5

If you don’t have any way to deal with bigger creatures then this is a great addition to your deck. It usually plays best in decks with lots of smaller attackers that just want to clear something big out of the way and get a couple more damage in.

Fiendlash

Rating: 2.0/5

This is a pricy equipment, but it is a great way to get across the finish line unless they somehow have a wall big enough to keep blocking your creature with.

Kind of odd seeing the reach on a red equipment, but I guess it can be relevant to staying alive against flyers while pinging away at the face.

Flames of Moradin

Rating: 1.0/5

This is strictly a sideboard card. Maybe…just maybe you will run into someone who has a bunch of artifacts and you’ll get to pick off a creature and a Prophetic Prism.   

Genasi Rabble-Rouser

Rating: 2.0/5

This creature is so mediocre they had to have a Buy One Get One sale to get it to sell. It’s pretty expensive to get this to trade off for anything decent, but at least you get to do it twice.

Giant Fire Beetles

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Rating: 2.0/5

Menace makes it much more likely that you can sneak in an attack to get the second copy, but is this the infestation you want to have? Comparing it to drawing a card doesn’t really work when the first one can just get eaten on an attack.

Gnoll Hunting Party

Rating: 3.0/5

As long as you attack with two creatures this is coming down on turn four. A 4/4 first strike is going to be really hard to deal with at that point so you should be able to have two of them coming in hot soon after.

Goblin Trapfinder

Rating: 1.5/5

This is fine if you are playing a sacrifice theme or an extremely aggressive deck. Anything that is trying to play a normal fair game of Magic just wants to play a better card.

Gut, Fanatical Priestess

Specializations

Rating: 3.0/5

The front is a more versatile, slightly smaller Affectionate Indrik. It’s actually important to try to kill something with a comes into play ability because when you flip this you can get a hasty copy with different stats that sacrifices at end of turn.

If you hit managed something with an EtB effect, you probably want to use the Boros side to double up on the value. Otherwise, it is probably just going to be whichever version does the most damage.

Hobgoblin Captain

Rating: 2.5/5

This is another card that could trigger some PTSD from AFR because it is part of some really nasty starts. It is very difficult to profitably block this early on and the first strike plays great with damage-based removal spells or tricks.

Improvised Weaponry

Rating: 2.0/5

Sometimes you don’t get the removal you want and you have to improvise with this. It’s totally fine for picking off something small and giving you a mini ramp up to something. I just don’t ever want to play more than two of these in a deck.

Incessant Provocation

Rating: 2.5/5

Why am I still high on this even though its significantly worse than Price of Loyalty? There are still a whole bunch of sac outlets and a ton of aggressive cards that want this card in their deck.

Getting to slap your opponent in the face with their best creature before sacrificing it for profit is still a really powerful play. It also incessantly provokes your opponent to start screaming at their computer screen.

Jaded Sell-Sword

Rating: 2.0/5

I’m kind of jaded when it comes to this card. It can actually be pretty amazing when you curve out and use a treasure to get that hasty, first striking action. The rest of the time it’s mostly just a curve filler that trades down slightly.

Kardum, Patron of Flames

Rating: 3.5/5

As long as you have a one drop in your deck this will always replace itself unless they can kill it precombat. That’s pretty nice on a 4/3 haste for four mana.

You should be able to setup getting a clean attack with this so that you can at least get a couple of cards with it. You have until the end of your next turn until you have to discard the cards you exiled with this so you’ll always have an untap step to be able to play them.

Karlach, Raging Tiefling

Specializations

Rating: 4.0/5

Karlach basically has flashback since you can specialize from the graveyard. It will create a lot of tension between them wanting to get you to specialize it before it dies and taking too much damage from it. Starting off the game with a 2/2 first strike will also put plenty of pressure on them to force the issue.

The Boros version seems pretty nuts giving you at least eight haste damage coming at your opponent besides all pumping the rest of your side as well.

Kobold Warcaller

Rating: 2.0/5

This feels like one of those cards that ends up as a one of in every aggressive deck you build. The tapping for perpetual haste in hand is actually much better than the older versions that tapped to give a target creature haste.

It lets you build up to a turn where you play multiple haste creatures at once before an all in attack including with this. It also lets you play a creature with a tap ability and use it even if your opponent has a removal spell in response.

Mephit’s Enthusiasm

Rating: 3.5/5

Four damage removal spell for only two mana? I’ve never met a Mephit, but I am enthusiastic about taking as many of these as I can get. The sorcery speed isn’t really that big of a drawback when you’re getting this much damage for so little.

Oh yeah, it has a second ability too. Maybe you get to kill a Hobgoblin Captain with this and then play your own now six power self-triggering beatdown machine. Seems to be “not bad”.

Nalfeshnee

Rating: 3.0/5

I’m playing this because it’s a huge flying creature that has the potential to do something crazy under the right circumstances. How likely you’re actually going to get the crazy thing to happen is well…less likely than my chances of not getting diarrhea from Taco bell.

Cards that let you trigger this are Alaundo the Seer, Gale's Redirection, Intellect Devourer, Kardum, Patron of Flames, Mazzy, Truesword Paladin, Prosper, Tome-Bound, and You find Some Prisoners. That’s a pile of rares and an underwhelming uncommon that probably shouldn’t be in your main deck.

It also triggers off of Adventure creatures which is much more likely to happen. That lets you live the dream of slapping them with an extra Dread Linnorm and similar shenanigans.

Reckless Barbarian

Rating: 1.5/5

If you’re not in the market for a plain old Grizzly Bears, then feel free to move on from this. I think this is going to be one of those cards that would perform better if it didn’t have the option to sacrifice it for mana because some people are going to use it like it was just a Dark Ritual (which is not good in normal limited).

Red Dragon

Rating: 3.0/5

One of my favorite things to do with this in AFR was to use Red Dragon with Delina, Wild Mage to just burn my opponent down straight into the ground. Why am I bringing that up when that card doesn’t exist here? Because there are a ton of blink effects that can offer a similar experience while asking your opponent, “Would you prefer your face burnt or charred?”

Even on its own, hitting for four to the dome on a 4/4 flyer is a fine deal for six mana.

Storm King’s Thunder

Rating: 1.0/5

The only thing this is the king of is memeland. While I don’t mind visiting there every once in a while, I don’t know how much I even want to try this. I guess I final found what I’m doing with all the treasure from Ancient Copper Dragon.

You have to have a ridiculous amount of mana to do anything great with this since four mana to copy one spell is waaaay too much. So, let’s say you want to copy Dragon’s Fire a couple times since that’s a really good cheap spell. You’re still spending seven mana and two cards to kill three creatures. That’s assuming you have both cards and the four red mana needed for this.

Anything more than that and you’re getting to the point where you have ten mana, but somehow haven’t used this or the spell you want to copy. This is one of those cards that you will lose to a couple of random times, but not even realize all the times it just sat in your opponent’s hand doing nothing.

Swashbuckler Extraordinaire

Rating: 2.5/5

This takes the Plundering Barbarian slot, but replaces the option to destroy an artifact with the ability to hand out a bunch of double strike action. The best part is that it doesn’t need to attack to trigger its ability, just whenever you attack so you can play this for a surprise lethal out of nowhere.

Tiefling Outcasts

Rating: 2.0/5

Clearly you really want to drop this on turn one and get the second one out, but even if you don’t it can be a pretty good boost for your team provided that you draft appropriately.

All of the demons are rares and the only non-rare devil is Chain Devil. That means Tieflings are where its at as commons like Guildsworn Prowler, Hoard Robber and Valor Singer are much better with an extra power on them.

Two-Handed Axe

Rating: 2.0/5

The best part about this card is being able to say, “Let me axe you a question? Are you dead?” right before you double strike them out of the game.

I actually wouldn’t be happy to play either side of this, but together they make a playable card. The trick is alright, but the axe itself doesn’t do very much unless you are putting it on a big creature.  

Unexpected Allies

Rating: 1.5/5

The value of this is going to go up if you have anything that would be insane to copy, but it also leaves you pretty wide open to getting blown out. What would be unexpected is if a sorcery speed trick is ever good.

Unexpected Windfall

Rating: 2.0/5

I’ll happily play one of these in any deck that doesn’t have a super low curve. It’s a good way to filter a land into a real card later or double ramp up to an absurd bomb.

Uthgardt Fury

Rating: 4.0/5

Back in my day (ruh roh, Josh is rambling on again about mana burn or banding or some crap like that), we had to take two damage ourselves to be able to deal four damage for only three mana. I’m calling out Psionic Blast and even Char for semi-boomers here.

This can even go face and somehow that’s not the most important part of it. Your opponent’s creatures not healing at EoT is actually a pretty absurd effect on the game. Guess their trick wasn’t really relevant when it just dies next turn anyway, huh? Chump blocks can start to add up, etc…

Valor Singer

Rating: 2.0/5

Solid three drop that can help push through damage on your smaller creatures or act as a Centaur Courser if that’s what you need at the time. Pretty average card that usually makes the cut.

Warriors of Tiamat

Rating: 2.0/5

Do you really want to spend five mana on a 4/2? Do you want to do it twice even if the second one is a free card? It’s an odd conundrum because it is card advantage, but you are most likely going to be trading way down on mana with these.

Wrathful Red Dragon

Rating: 4.5/5

This dragon is pissed! Unless they have Grim Bounty or something similar, they’re going to have a bad time. Even if they manage to block and trade for this, you still get to deal damage to any target including their face.

That’s not even getting into if you have other dragons out which makes this straight bonkers.

Wyll, Pact-Bound Duelist

Specializations

Rating: 4.0/5

It sure was nice for them to make a steal and sac all on one card for you to use. Even if they kill Wyll before you have an opportunity to specialize it to sacrifice the creature, you still keep it until the end of the next turn so you can use another sacrifice outlet to dispose of their creature.

Which one will you flip to will be heavily dependent on the board state. There’s a good chance that the extra combat step will outright kill them. Getting back a creature or spell is never bad and hey you can even just make it an 8/8 trample and go all Force of Nature up in here.

You Come to the Gnoll Camp

Rating: 1.5/5

Nope, not enough toughness on the trick and not a good enough Falter effect. Might be decent sometimes, but too situational to want to play it.

You Find Some Prisoners

Rating: 1.5/5

Almost strictly a sideboard card in case your opponent has some artifacts worth killing like Fraying Line.

Did I say almost? Why yes, I did and I’m sure you would like to know when I would main deck this. I’ll run this when my deck is awful and a random card out of my opponent’s deck is probably better than anything I can replace this with.

Young Red Dragon

Rating: 2.0/5

I really don’t like creatures that can’t block and I especially don’t like them when they are understatted. The treasure token maker might come in handy sometimes, but even if you do that into this you still paid five mana over two turns for a creature that just gets abused by Improvised Weaponry.


Wrap Up

Red is another strong color with one of the best uncommons in Battle Cry Goblin and potentially the best common in Dragon’s Fire. It has a lot of very aggressive creatures backed up by a plethora of solid removal spells. It even has a lot of high end rares to spike.

It appears to be both a strong main color or a great support color. I would be fine pairing it with any color, but would recommend pairing it with either black or green for maximum effectiveness.

I’ll be back tomorrow with my limited review of Alchemy Horizons: Baldur's Gate Green.

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.

You can also find me at:

Card Kingdom - Double Masters 2022
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j2sjosh

Josh is a member of the elite limited team The Draft Lab as well as the host of The Draft Lab Podcast. He was qualifying for Pro Tours, Nationals, and Worlds literally before some of you were born. After a Magic hiatus to play poker and go to medical school, he has been dominating Arena with over an 80% win percentage in Bo3 as well as making #1 rank in Mythic.

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