Last week, I offered my evaluation of Ethereal Ambush, one of the more powerful of the Manifest cards at Common for Fate Reforged. As it turns out, this card is one of a five card cycle of multicolor Instants at Common, so I thought I would take my next two posts to evaluate the rest of the cycle.
This cycle was also the official preview cards for Limited Resources, who evaluated the cards during Episode 266, which is incidentally also the first show featuring new co-host Luis Scott-Vargas. If you're not already listening to this show, I highly recommend it. In any case, for full disclosure, I am offering my review of these cards after listening to this episode.
Searing Blaze returns, but now it replaces itself as well? Not quite. Cunning Strike does a lot of small things well. It deals 2 damage to a creature, draws an additional card, and hits your opponent for 2 as well. Problem is, you pay 5 mana to accomplish this. Granted, you do get 4 points of damage for the price, most of the time you'd rather not split it between the creature and the player. Further, while it does have some synergy with Prowess, this mechanic has not made much of an impact in Standard Pauper. Overall, to get full value out of this card, you'll probably need to play it in a Control archetype like Izzet Control, but even there I'm not sure it's worth running over the existing cards in that list.
Fight mechanic continues to see print in several interesting variations at Common, and Grim Contest seems right in line with these cards. But in this case, the damage is based upon both creatures' Toughness rather than Power. This is an odd change, but probably not particularly relevant for the card's overall value. I would evaluate this as being pretty much on par with other Instant-speed Fight effects like Pit Fight or Fall of the Hammer, but with the significant downside of requiring two colors of mana. Additionally, the Black/Green combination hasn't seen much play in Standard Pauper in this metagame, so this card also lacks an obvious deck to slot it into. Thus, while the value is there, I don't anticipate this card making a big impact.
Let me close with a couple other reminders: