Back in in the fall of 2004, which was roughly between the end of Mirrodin block and the beginning of Kamigawa block, Brian wanted to try his hand at set design. So he created a set of 150 cards. Other than a bit of templating work and updating to include new terminology and keywords, these cards exist exactly as Brian originally created them. It’s an interesting look back at the way sets were designed back then, as well as the way Brian took the old design philosophies in his own direction. Chewie and Mike added some commentary just for good measure. You can also read the White, Blue, and Black cards. We hope you enjoy this trip back as much as we do!
Next, we’ve got red’s cards. Red’s themes here are pretty much what you would expect- burn and more burn. A few uncommon and rare cards push toward red being more mono-centric than the other colors, rewarding having lots of Mountains in particular. The Firespouter cycle was an attempt at making an interesting firebreathing variant, where the common and uncommon cards have a drawback and the rare has an upside. Flaming Rat was a combination of Spark Elemental and Viashino Sandstalker, intended to be a good one-drop common that would be quality even if drawn later, especially with creature pump. Kitchen Fire is now infamous on the show just for the noise you have to make when you play it (WOOO!), but has some implication for forcing the opponent to make hard choices when played during their upkeep. Magma Ritual was an attempt at making a “fixed” Dark Ritual in the “right” color- it’s one of those cards that I keep expecting to see printed in real Magic, but not yet.
Creature – Goblin
1R: Firespouter Apprentice gets +1/+0 until end of turn and deals 1 damage to you.
Enchantment – Aura
Enchanted creature has first strike and “R: This creature gets +1/+0 until end of turn.”
Mike – Because of Limited, this card might be too good for a common. First strike and firebreathing are crazily synergistic.
Creature – Rat
Double strike, haste, trample
At the beginning of your end step, return Flaming Rat to its owner’s hand.
Mike – We kind of dumped on this guy at the time, but he’s actually very strong. Play any piece of cheap equipment and he gets really terrifying.
Chewie – It’s the name we dumped on at the time though. I mean really? Flaming Rat? Come on.
Kitchen Fire deals 1 damage to target player. That player chooses a land he or she controls. Until end of turn, whenever that land becomes tapped, destroy it.
Mike – Wooo!
Chewie – What Mike said.
Add RR to your mana pool.
Mike – I guess it was obvious that it would eventually become cheap Red ritual time.
Chewie – Yeah, at the time only Seething Song had been printed.
Creature – Barbarian Warrior
R, Flip a coin: If you win the flip, Mindless Brute gets +2/+0 until end of turn. If you lose the flip, Mindless Brute deals 2 damage to target creature you control.
Creature – Goblin
First strike, haste
Chewie – This guy does not burninate very well. I’m just sayin’.
Creature – Goblin Warrior
Mogg Elitist gets -1/-1 for each non-Goblin creature you control.
Mike – Don’t play this in your Elf deck.
Outbreak of Flames
You may sacrifice a mountain instead of paying Outbreak of Flames’ mana cost.
Outbreak of Flames deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
Mike – We’re not even out of the commons yet and Red is almost looking too strong. This is basically a tiny Fireblast. That’s really good.
Crumble to Rust
Destroy target artifact or land. It can’t be regenerated.
Doom of Artifice
Destroy target artifact. Doom of Artifice deals 2 damage to that artifact’s controller.
Chewie – You can sorta tell Brian made this right after a massively terrifying artifact block, huh?
Creature – Dwarf Cook
R, T: Target creature gets +2/+0 until end of turn.
Mike – Has this card been printed?
Chewie – Nope. There was the Dwarven Bloodboiler, everyone else seems to have an ETB trigger for this sort of thing. What exactly is this chef cooking, anyway? Must be some sort of curry…
Creature – Cat Barbarian
First strike, protection from blue
Creature – Goblin
1R: Firespouter Initiate gets +1/+0 until end of turn and deals 1 damage to itself.
Goblin Think Tank
Creature – Goblin Wizard
At the beginning of your precombat main phase, you may add R to your mana pool for each other Goblin you control. If you do, sacrifice Goblin Think Tank.
Mike – From this and other Goblin designs, I think Onslaught block led Brian to believe all Goblin decks are supposed to be explosively powerful.
Spawn of Flame
Creature – Elemental
When Spawn of Flame enters the battlefield, it deals 3 damage to you unless you pay RR.
R: Spawn of Flame gets +1/+0 until end of turn.
Unceasing Blaze deals 1 damage to target creature or player. You may sacrifice a mountain. If you do, put a copy of this spell onto the stack. You may choose a new target for the copy.
Chewie – Interesting as a potential finisher, giving you that last little bit of reach. I wonder about the wording though. If the first one gets countered, do you still get the option of copying? Or do you have to make all the copies at once?
Mike – If a spell gets countered, none of its effects happen. This is written to make the option to copy part of the effect, so if it gets countered you never even get the opportunity. You know, just like Chain Lightning, etc.
Creature – Hydra
Blazing Hydra enters the battlefield with X +1/+1 counters on it.
Whenever damage would be dealt to Blazing Hydra, prevent that damage and remove that many +1/+1 counters from it instead.
1RR: Put a +1/+1 counter on Blazing Hydra
Mike – Hydras aren’t really Red anymore, but they sure used to be. This is a simple, classic design in that mold.
Creatures you control gain haste and double strike until end of turn.
At the beginning of the next end step, you lose the game.
Mike – I would totally play this.
Chewie – He would. And he’d win with it at least once or twice. Then someone would drop a Fog in response, and he’d question it for a while, but ultimately leave it in the deck because it’s awesome.
Creature – Goblin
1R: Firespouter Elder gets +1/+0 until end of turn and deals 1 damage to target creature.
Chewie – I really enjoy this vertical cycle, and of course this one is my favorite of the bunch. I really wanna put him in my Chuck Deck.
Creature – Dragon
At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice a mountain.
At the beginning of your draw step, Lava Eater deals X damage to target creature, where X is the number of mountains you control.
At the beginning of each player’s upkeep, Lightning Storm deals 3 damage to each creature and each player.
Mike – I would love to see the look of horror on the faces of other players when they realize they have a very limited amount of time left in the game, and they just lost half of the team they needed to win it.
Creature – Imp
At the beginning of each player’s upkeep, Mantle Imp deals 1 damage to each player.
As an additional cost to play Rubicant’s Flame, sacrifice X mountains.
Rubicant’s Flame deals X damage to each creature and each player. Damage can’t be prevented this turn.
Mike – I wonder if Brian designed this knowing the fullness of how Protection works, intentionally meaning to get around it.
Chewie – Rubicant was the Fiend of Fire in Final Fantasy IV, of course his flame is going to burn through your measly protection!