Core Set 2021 brings a variety of new cards to standard. In my previous article, I looked at the white cards that could impact standard. Today, I want to begin looking at red. Red cards in the last two sets have had limited impact on Standard. The only significant addition to the Mono-Red Aggro deck was Anax Harden in the Forge. Other cards were tried, but none made the cut. Ikoria was a particularly disappointing set for red cards. None of the red cards in the set saw any competitive standard play.

That brings us to Core Set 2021. Does it provide cards that will help Mono-Red Aggro or Big Red? What cards could impact standard? The short answer to these questions is that potential does exist for some of the new red cards to find a home in one of the two decks. What remains to be seen is whether any has a place given the current because of the dominance of Temur Reclamation, Bant Ramp, and Cat Oven decks.

Here are the creature cards that I think could have an impact on a variety of formats now or in Standard once rotation occurs.

Haste is one of the most important red abilities. It allows red decks to quickly and efficiently deal damage to opponents. The current Mono-Red Aggro deck has the efficiency to kill opponents on turn four when you can attach Embercleave to Anax Hardened in the Forge with two other creatures in play. Core Set 2021 offers two haste creatures that could have a role now or in the future.

Bold Hound is a three cost 2/2 elemental dog with haste. On its own, Bolt Hound is not a great three mana card.

What does make him an intriguing option is that whenever it attacks, other creatures you control get +1/+0 until end of turn. This makes other attacking creatures stronger in a deck that wants to attack each turn. The downside of Bold Hound is the three cost and its ability only activates when it attacks. The other problem is that Anax and Bonecrusher Giant are also three cost and I do not see these cards being replaced by Bolt Hound. It is a good limited card, but how much play it will have in standard will depend on how the format changes. I think that after rotation there will be a better chance of it seeing play. The best home for it might be a dog deck, but dog tribal does not look like a strong deck.

For the first time Teferi’s wife Subira gets a card.

Subira, Tulzidi Caravanner is a 2/3 legendary human shaman with haste. Her abilities make her a card that I expect will lead to her seeing Standard play. Her first ability makes another target creature with power 2 or less can’t be blocked this turn for one mana. This could allow a creature like Runaway Steam Kin to attack and then attach Embercleave to it during combat to deal unblockable damage.

Her second ability for two mana allows you to discard your hand and then draw a card each time a creature with power two or less deals combat damage to a player. Most of the key creatures in Mono-Red Aggro have two power or less, so Subira can become a card drawing engine for the deck. I expect that the top Mono-Red players will look for ways to use Subira, so you can expect to see her getting a lot of play early in Core Set 2021 Standard.

Core Set 2021 offers other creatures that could impact a variety of formats.

Brash Taunter cost five mana for a 1/1 indestructible goblin.

When Brash Taunter is dealt damage, it deals that much damage to target opponent. Indestructible is not an ability that appears often on red cards. This alone makes Brash Taunter an interesting card. He also can fight another creature for three mana. This will cause damage to your opponent equal to the other creature’s power. The problem with Brash Taunter is its cost. Five mana is a lot for a 1/1 creature that does not have an immediate effect on the battlefield. It also dies to exile affects. In a Big Red deck, it could have a home, but I do not see it as more than a two of in a deck because it does not have much it can do against decks like Temur Reclamation and Bant Ramp.

One of the more interesting red cards in the set is Chandra’s Incinerator. This elemental is a 6/6 creature for six mana.

What makes this card interesting is that its casting cost can be reduced by the amount of noncombat damage dealt to your opponents this turn. With a Shock and a Skewer the Critics you can reduce the cost to only one mana. While this will not occur regularly in Standard, it does make it possible to play it on turn three. In addition, Chandra’s Incinerator’s other ability states that whenever a source you control does noncombat damage to an opponent, Chandra’s Incinerator deals that much damage to a target creature or planeswalker that player controls. It could easily find a temporary home in a Mono-Red Cavalcade deck because of its ability to cause noncombat damage.

Where I am most intrigued by the card is in a Historic, Pioneer, or Modern Burn deck. Once Chandra’s Incinerator is on the battlefield, it will help deal with creatures and planeswalkers in play while continuing to deal direct damage to your opponent. I expect Modern Burn players to give it a try.

Another card that could find a home in Cavalcade decks is Chandra’s Pyreling. This elemental lizard gets +1/+0 and gains double strike until the end of the turn when a source you control deals noncombat damage to an opponent.

When it is paired with Cavalcade of Calamity it can become a finisher for the deck. With Crash Through returning to Standard Chandra’s Pyreling can also have trample. This can lead to finishing off an opponent on one turn like what Embercleave does for Mono-Red Aggro. Expect to see Chandra’s Pyreling as a regular in Cavalcade of Calamity decks until Cavalcade rotations this fall.

Conspicuous Snoop is a 2/2 goblin rogue for two red mana.

What makes him powerful is his abilities. First, you get to play with the top card of your library revealed when he is in play. You may cast it from the top of your library if that card is a goblin. When the top card of your library is a goblin, Conspicuous Snoop has the abilities of that card. Right now, Standard does not have many playable Goblins, but in other formats a Goblin tribal deck will use this card to generate card advantage. Modern and Pioneer have Goblin tribal decks that I expect Conspicuous Snoop to find a home in.

A card I like is Gadrak, the Crown-Scourge.

This legendary 5/4 dragon cost only three mana but cannot attack unless you control four or more artifacts. Also, Gadrak creates a treasure token at the beginning of your end step for each nontoken creature that died this turn. In Standard there are many low-cost playable artifacts. Finding the right ones to pair with Gadrak will be key to the playability of him. I think that cards like Stonecoil Serpent and Ginger Brute will work well with Gadrak. The biggest challenge for a deck playing Gadrak will be getting to a place where he can attack. It may take a deck that can create food tokens for it to find consistent play. It is possible that Gadrak finds a home in Rakdos Sacrifice where there will be consistent way for Gadrak to create treasure tokens. I do not see Mono-Red Aggro using Gadrak because it relies on quick game play to succeed.

Prowess is a powerful ability that played a key role in the success of Mono-Red decks in the past. Heartfire Immolator is the latest red card to have this ability.

For two mana Heartfire Immolator is a 2/2 human wizard with prowess. He also can be sacrificed to deal damage equal to its power to a target creature or planeswalker. While on the surface this does not seem an important ability, but the ability to deal a few extra points of damage to a creature or planeswalker could remove a threat from play that could turn a game around. I do not think it will find a place in main decks at this point, but I see it as a sideboard card in decks looking for a way to get a body on the board that can help remove a larger threat.

A new Terror has arrived in Terror of the Peaks. This 5/4 dragon could terrorize Standard if the format gets to a place where mana ramping does not dominate the format.

Terror of the Peaks has two abilities that make it potentially a powerful top end card in Big Red decks. The most important of these abilities is that whenever another creature enters the battlefield under your control, Terror of the Peaks deals damage equal to that creature’s power to any target. Playing a card like Anax Hardened in the Forge the turn after Terror of the Peaks comes into play could deal lethal damage to an opponent with Terror’s ability. Terror of the Peaks other ability gives it some protection from removal because when a spell your opponent casts targets Terror of the Peaks an addition cost to casting that spell is three life. Despite these abilities, the amount of removal in Standard makes Terror of the Peaks a risky play in Standard because it does not affect play when it enters the battlefield. I think that Terror of the Peaks will be tried in Standard, but it may take rotation to occur for Terror really to have a chance to find a home in Standard.

These are the red creatures that could have an impact on Magic. Tomorrow I will look at the spells and the new Chandra that could impact the game.

Until next time, good luck finding your win condition!