Delve, and in particular Treasure Cruise, have received most of the attention, today I wanted to briefly highlight three Red cards that are seeing increasing play in the format. While I initially judged these three cards to be either borderline or unplayable, it seems my initial evaluation might have been off. Let's take a look at them.
Barrage of Boulders seemed pretty lackluster to me on first blush, especially in comparison to Electrickery, a staple from Return to Ravnica block. Dealing 1 damage to creatures you don't control at Sorcery speed for 3 mana seems expensive and too slow. But the ability to prevent all creatures from blocking is surprisingly strong, especially in the RDW or Boros strategies that are seeing widespread play in the Casual room on Magic Online. This is particular true with Prowess creatures, such as this next card.
Bloodfire Expert I likewise judged suboptimal, since with 3 mana but only 1 Toughness it would typically trade with less expensive creatures. However, what I failed to recognize is that any spell cast with this expert in play immediately activates Ferocious, activating the secondary ability of Force Away, Savage Punch, or the aforementioned Barrage of Boulders. It can also work defensively in a pinch, keeping most other creatures back until you're ready to swing in for a massive strike.
3. Tormenting Voice is a near reprint of Wild Guess, with the simple change of one R to one colorless mana making a major difference in its playability. While I predicted that this might be just the kind of effect a more mid-range Red deck was looking for, I never would have predicted its usefulness in the Izzet Control archetype, allowing you to pitch the excess Lands drawn from the crazy amounts of card draw that deck generates. While it might seem aggressive, it seems to have found its true home in a strong Control shell.
What cards have you found to be better than expected in Khans of Tarkir? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!