Red Staples

March 12, 2015

By Dodo Bird Commander writer Ryan Zeitz


Hey there Commander players, Rhyno here charging at you with my top 3 red staple cards. By staples I’m talkin’ about those cards that you should shuffle up in every red deck regardless of what type of deck it is. But I won’t further burn you out with my suffocating front matter, let’s make haste, shall we?

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#3 – Blasphemous Act












Nearly in the league of Cyclonic Rift and Austere Command, Blasphemous Act is generally the cheapest full-on board wipe mana can buy. It’s the perfect card for multiplayer Commander games, which feature hordes of creatures unleashed by 3-6 mages, putting Blasphemous Act on closeout sale. Not only efficient, it’s a reliable board bomb too, annihilating everything short of towering giants like Consuming Aberration or a team shielded by Avacyn, Angel of “Nope”.

Privy fire mages will also be keen to leverage the 13-damage lavalanche Blasphemous Act spills into the living room. Boros Reckoner and, with care, Repercussion, can be aces that directly and severely singe your opposition. Pepper in some damage-doublers like Furnace of Rath and Gisela, Blade of Goldnight, and you’ve got the ingredients for some potentially game-ending red magic.

With Blasphemous Act, you can even pull some jujutsu to redirect the forceful hit of damage into something that benefits you. Vigor jumps on the grenade and in so doing inspires your squad to fight 13 power and toughness more intensely. Poke the Hornet’s Nest, and you’ll have 13 deathtouching hornets on your hands…let’s hope your opponents packed the ointment. Finally, if it’s otherwise applicable in your deck, Druid’s Call is another very cheap way to beckon a throng of critters with Blasphemous Act.


#2 – Anger












I’m giving Anger “best-in-class” of red haste-enablers. The reason it beats out others like Fervor, Hammer of Purphoros, Urabrask the Hidden, Into the Web of War, and Ogre Battledriver, is chiefly that it is hard to disrupt. Graveyard removal is much less common in most Commander groups than creature removal and artifact/enchantment removal. Additionally, Anger often does not have to be cast using mana, freeing up that mana to be put to other uses.

To get Anger into our graveyard, we can use a variety of methods. We can ditch him using dig/pitch cards like Daretti, Scrap Savant; Faithless Looting; Jaya Ballard, Task Mage; and Wheel of Fortune variants. We can cast then sacrifice him with an outlet like Goblin Bombardment, Ashnod’s Altar, or High Market (or we can hold him as a blocker and see who’s bold enough to send a foot attack our way).

And finally, we can simply use the discard step to our advantage by drawing a few extra cards in the early game or playing an early Ravnica bounce land (e.g. Boros Garrison) to put our hand size above 7 and allow us to discard Anger.

Once this fiery cry baby is in your graveyard, you’ll be freed up to immediately smash face and use powerful activated and trigger-on-attack abilities with creatures like Lightning Crafter; Atarka, World Render; Myr Battlesphere; and Hellkite Charger.


#1 – Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker












Kiki-Jiki’s got one of the most backbreaking surprise abilities on a creature in Magic. And red has some of the best creatures to clone with Kiki-Jiki: red creatures are generally high power (if low toughness), and have a slew of powerhouse enters-the-battlefield abilities from big time burn, to artifact destruction, to creature thieving. These overarching red strengths are illustrated in the following example cards which each fuel Kiki’s fire: Bogardan Hellkite/Inferno Titan (an immediate 6-damage spray), Tuktuk Scrapper and the surprise Hellkite Tyrant, and Molten Primordial.

Of the many infinite game-winning combos you can pull off Kiki-Jiki, here’s an especially interesting one. With Kiki-Jiki holding a Thornbite Staff, and a free-to-activate sacrifice outlet like Goblin Bombardment out, you can:

  • Summon a hasty double of a creature you control using Kiki-Jiki
  • Sacrifice the double to your outlet card, untapping Kiki-Jiki using Thornbite Staff’s when-a-creature-dies ability
  • Create another hasty double of a creature you control, then as many more as you please
  • With this endless one-at-a-time stream of creatures entering the battlefield, kill with a burn card like Inferno Titan, or if you’re specifically using Goblin Bombardment, kill by sacrificing the creatures for any desired amount of damage

Those are my picks for the top 3 red staple cards. What do you think? Am I off my rocker? Which red staple cards do you never leave home without?


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