Modern Horizons 3 Set Review - Red

Angelo Guerrera • June 4, 2024

Ashling, Flame Dancer by Michal Ivan

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Hello, everyone! It's your friendly neighborhood Jesguy here, and welcome to the Modern Horizons 3 Red Set Review!

Today I'm diving into all the red goodies that this set has cooked up for us, and it's a big set, so let's not waste any time and get right into it!


Ashling, Flame Dancer

Welcome back, Ashling! It's nice to see you on a card once again!

Ashling, Flame Dancer is quite a good card. A 4/4 for four is very respectable, especially in red, and having an Omnath, Locus of Mana effect stapled onto her is awesome. While all that is good, it's her Magecraft ability that makes things spicy.

Each time you cast a single spell, you rummage, which is pretty nice. The thing here, though, is that the effect is not a "may", meaning you will always have to discard and draw. The real upside here is that if you have no cards in hand, you'll still get to draw a card. She's much like Seasoned Pyromancer in that way. For your second spell cast/copied, she Pyroclasms your opponents and their creatures, easily mopping up any tokens or small critters they have scurrying around. Lastly, she'll give you four red mana on your third spell/copy. This mana generation will let you cast another spell on your turn or let you bank it for later, thanks to her mana storing ability. This makes multi-spelling on later turns even more feasible!

Ashling, Flame Dancer is synergistic with itself, providing card filtering, board control, and mana production/storage all on a single card. She works well with any style of ritual, cheap instants and sorceries, deathtouch Equipment, like Basilisk Collar, and especially Braid of Fire! If you're able to protect her with spells like Deflecting Swat or Bolt Bend, she can easily help you take over a game with all of her value-generating abilities. She's excellent at the head of a deck or inside a Spellslinger build. Thumbs up from me!

Herigast, Erupting Nullkite

Next is Herigast, and what an amazing legend he is!

Even if I would have preferred the first emerge commander to be Sultai colors, I am not going to complain about getting an awesome Dragon in its place. Herigast, Erupting Nullkite is mana-intensive, but the combination of effects here is awesome. Being able to cheat on mana costs is great, a bit of card draw is nice, and letting all of your other creatures emerge is downright cool.

The name of the game here is skimping on mana costs. Whether you want to do that with Eldrazi, Dragons, or some other kind of monstrous creature, the sky's the limit here!

Excellent cards for this deck are Priest of Urabrask and Oxidda Golem, which can come down for cheap and put six mana toward an emerge creature, Act of Treason effects, which allow you to sac your opponents' creatures to pay for your spells, and Heat Shimmer effects, which will give you a token copy of a creature (which will have the original creature's mana value) to sacrifice. This way you don't have whittle down your own board!

No matter how you built it, Herigast, Erupting Nullkite has a ton of tools to utilize. You'll have no problem finding ways to cheat out massive threats and take over the board!

Ral, Monsoon Mage

Ral? More like Ba-Ral, am I right?

Eh? Eh?

Sorry. I'll stick to writing. Ral is technically an Izzet card, but flipwalkers are so cool, I couldn't hep but write about him. Sue me.

Having a legendary Goblin Electromancer in the command zone is pretty cool, and he can enable some storm-/spellslinger-style shenanigans quite easily, especially in Izzet. What's nice is that, even once he flips, he'll still be able to discount your spells, though he may be a bit easier to remove given he can be attacked in planeswalker form. I think the best idea here would be to try and cast as many spells as possible in order to have him enter with as much loyalty as you can manage. This lets you get to his -8 as quickly as you can, and then you can hopefully pull away with the game from there.

Positives aside, we've had a bunch of good Spellslinger commanders over the last couple years, like Veyran, Voice of Duality, Magnus the Red, and most recently, Stella Lee, Wild Card. Ral is good, but I don't know if he stacks up to the options we already have available in this very crowded space.

Ral isn't bad by any means, so if you like the character, or just really want to play with a 'walker in the command zone, he's definitely a good choice. He shouldn't play much differently than other Izzet commanders, so be sure to check out the Izzet Spellslinger page in order to get a good baseline for his deck! Or, you can just jam a bunch of Dragon's Approach into the deck and pull out your Niv Mizzets for flavor. You do you, I'm not your dad.


Aether Revolt


Aether Revolt is our "Card with the name of a set" card for MH3, and it looks pretty good... for Energy decks. Sure, if you trigger Revolt, you'll be able to still take advantage of the first ability, but I think I'd rather just run Torbran, Thane of Red Fell or Ojer Axonil, Deepest Might if you want to capitalize on your red noncreature burn.

That said, in Energy decks, this is a house. Any time you get an energy, you Lightning Bolt something? Sign me up! This is great as removal, or just as a way to whittle down opponents. Energy decks rejoice, a new win condition is here!

Detective's Phoenix

I often find that red decks, especially mono-red decks, don't use their graveyards enough. Well, Detective's Phoenix certainly helps with that issue!

A 2/2 flying haste for three isn't much to write home about in Commander, whether it's a creature or an Aura, but when you combine these two things and give it the ability to recur itself through collecting evidence, you have my attention. For a single red mana and collecting evidence 6, you can give any creature you want +2/+2, flying, and haste, until the creature dies. Once that happens, Detective's Phoenix falls off and becomes a creature on its own. Until it dies. Which you can then, for a single red mana, and collecting evidence 6, give any creature you want +2/+2, flying, and haste, until the creature dies. Once that happens-

You get the idea.

Detective's Phoenix is a nice, looping, evasive, hasty Aura for your creatures, which is awesome. Red has plenty of discard effects, but not many effects that take advantage of said discarded cards. This goes great in any deck that Escape Velocity would go in, like Uril, the Miststalker, Chishiro, the Shattered Blade[/el], Valduk, Keeper of the Flame, etc.

Eldrazi Linebreaker

What a welcome addition to Eldrazi decks!

Eldrazi Linebreaker is a great little card for the aforementioned Eldrazi lists of the world, but not much else. The colorless in its mana cost can be a real hurdle, and if your mana base isn't built correctly, there is a chance you'll never be able to cast this thing. That limits its usage significantly.

One of the problems with Eldrazi is that they play big creatures but won't always be able to attack with them. Eldrazi Linebreaker fixes that issue splendidly, though it won't see much use outside of these style of decks.

Flare of Duplication

Like all the Flares, Flare of Duplication is another great (potentially free) spell.

While it is a slightly more expensive Reverberate, I don't think that hurts its stock at all. The hardest part about copy spells is the fact that you need to leave extra mana up to cast them. This means a five-mana spell you want to copy will take seven mana in total (the original spell + Reverberate). With Flare of Duplication, though, you can skirt by this nasty little annoyance, and for the mere cost of a red creature, you can easily double whatever spell you choose! This is right at home in any deck like Wort, the Raidmother or Veyran, Voice of Duality, where cheap, red, sac-able nontoken creatures are aplenty!

I really like Flare of Duplication. The "sacrificing a nontoken creature to copy a spell" might seem at odds with a card that seems made for Spellslinger lists, another, but even in these decks, you'll find some kind of fodder lying around if you really need to cheat on the mana cost. Seems good!

Party Thrasher

Party Thrasher bursts onto the scene and shows off how powerful a 1/4 for two can be!

This is absolutely perfect for Exile and Convoke decks. Providing a massive discount on all your noncreature spells that you cast from exile is huge, especially when it spots you a card to put into exile one a turn. This thing is an engine and a payoff all in one!

I don't have much to say about Party Thrasher since it basically says everything for me. This card is excellent. Throw it in your Prosper, Tome-Bound, Faldorn, Dread Wolf Herald, or Rocco, Street Chef decks and don't look back!


This is an odd one, and I don't want to spend a whole lot of time on it if I'm being honest.

Powerbalance is best in Topdeck lists, where you can manipulate you chances of getting free spells, or in cEDH, where you and most of your opponents are running spells of similar, cheap mana values.

I'm sure there are plenty of corner cases or interesting niche scenarios with this card, but I don't have the time to get into all of them. You'll know if you want Powerbalance or not, and 99% of decks will fall under the "or not" category, I'm sure.

Wheel of Potential

All wheels are fickle cards. Often times it will help your opponents out more than it will you.

This sentiment goes double for Wheel of Potential, as it actually lets your opponents opt in or out of the wheeling or not. Outside of an Energy deck, you're only getting back three cards, which is pretty lackluster. Once you're in an Energy deck, though, it gets more interesting. Being able to cast the cards you discard is an interesting way to break parity, but at that point, you're probably going to draw your opponents a combined total of 21+ cards, which is... not ideal.

I'm undecided on Wheel of Potential, but I am leaning towards "not great". It just has too many variables for me to be comfortable with. If you want a wheel, play a wheel. If you want something to sink your energy into, there are better payoffs.

Uncommons and Commons

  • Galvanic Discharge is a cheaper, better version of Harnessed Lightning, which only sees play in the fringe Energy decks. Discharge will join the ranks of these lists and give them another flexible answer to creatures. I can't see it going anywhere else.
  • Glimpse the Impossible is a nice mix of card advantage and mana acceleration. You can play the top three cards of your deck, and if you don't, you get some Eldrazi Spawns! Nice, clean, and simple. It isn't the best version of its effect if you want raw card advantage, but it is a nice little modal card. I like it a bunch!
  • Mogg Mob is a Goblin with a good bit of firepower! I can't see this outside of Goblin lists, but hey, it's an extra piece of removal with a good creature type!
  • Molten Gatekeeper is another Witty Roastmaster, but this time with unearth as well. Considering Roastmaster sees play in over 58,000 decks, I can only imagine a better version of it will put up similar numbers. Seems great!
  • Pinnacle Monk is fantastic. A slightly more expensive Ardent Elementalist that can be an untapped land is a great place to be. If you're a red deck and were already running Elementalist or a similar card, I think it's an easy swap, no questions asked.
  • Ral and the Implicit Maze is disappointing. Five mana for a mini board wipe, pitiful card advantage, and a Spellgorger Weird is incredibly unimpressive to me. Spellslinger decks have better options. Pass.
  • Reckless Pyrosurfer is niche, but has a home in Landfall decks, specifically ones that overlap with token production, like Phylath, World Sculptor or Hazezon, Shaper of Sand. Any decks that can pump out tokens and play a bunch of lands is the perfect list for this radical fella. 😎 🤙
  • Siege Smash is a nice little card. Split second on artifact destruction is always nice, and the bonus of pumping a creature makes this a nice modal spell for decks like Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest.
  • Skittering Precursor is basically a color-shifted Pawn of Ulamog. Whenever you sac a nontoken permanent, you get a 0/1 Spawn, which is excellent for Sacrifice decks that want to keep churning out bodies. Love it!
  • Skoa, Embermage is a card I'm not going to spend any time on. It isn't for us. It's for Limited and Modern. Yes, you can try and do convoluted Grandeur things with it, but I ain't buying. No thanks. Pass.
  • Spawn-Gang Commander sadly has a cast trigger as opposed to an ETB like its predecessor. The upside here is that it immediately refunds 3/5ths of the mana you used to cast it! Either way, there's little downside! Love this callback.
  • Sundering Eruption is great. I love nearly all MDFCs, and one that can be land destruction + a Falter or a land is excellent. There are many pesky lands that deserve to be destroyed, so having a niche card that can be a land when you need it is sweet. Huge thumbs up here.
  • Unstable Amulet might seem like an Energy card at first glance, but it's actually a card specifically designed for Exile decks. Any deck that plays things from exile will be able to take full advantage of this innocuous ping effect and easily whittle down opponents in no time. Don't underestimate it!

Modern Horizons 3: Commander Decks

  • Aether Refinerylike a lot of these energy cards, will only work best in an Energy deck. Outside of those lists, six mana to pump out a couple 2/2s is pitiful. Inside of those lists, being able to double energy production while also spitting out big creatures is awesome. If you aren't playing energy, pass on this. If you are, this is a shoo-in.
  • Hideous Taskmaster is an odd one. On cast it will steal a creature from each opponent and give them three keywords, which is pretty cool... but then what? You're left with a 7/2? It just feels a little underwhelming to me is all. If you have sac outlets, this gets better, but even then I'm a bit iffy. Eldrazi and Theft decks will want this, but that's about it unless I am missing something.
  • Overclocked Electromancer is a neat design for energy decks, and that's just where it will stay. It's just too intrinsically tied to energy to be of use anywhere else. It'll be excellent in those style of lists, but otherwise, steer clear.
  • Pyrogoyf is great in the 'Goyf precon, but subpar outside of it. In most cases Flametongue Kavu would serve you better. That said, this can go face, so there is some value there at the very least.
  • Sawhorn Nemesis says F-you to one player in particular. Any source of damage dealt to that player is doubled, which is a massive deal. It's a Dinosaur as well, so it also slots into those kindred decks! Overall, Sawhorn Nemesis looks like a slam dunk for any deck looking to deal damage and wants to single out opponents. Saskia the Unyielding comes to mind.
  • Siege-Gang Lieutenant is a bit disappointing. It has a stipulation for Goblin creation, and can only deal one damage when you fling a Goblin at somebody. I don't think this card is bad, but I also don't think its good. It's cool for Goblin decks, and maybe Sacrifice lists, but that's all. If you want to make Goblins, there are tons of better ways.
  • Tempt with Mayhem is absolutely chaotic. If you're looking to let all hell break loose, Tempt with Mayhem seems like a good way to do it, though I would rather run Bonus Round or Return the Favor instead. I don't think this card is particularly good, but the most annoying person you know will love it.

...Thanks for Reading, I Adore You, Too!

And there we have it! All of the red cards from Modern Horizons 3!

What a doozy! Red has very few duds this time around, which seems to be par for the course recently. Red has really come into its own over the last few years! In particular Herigast, Erupting Nullkite, Flare of Duplication, and Party Thrasher are looking good. The design space red has grown into is very powerful, and I can't wait to see where it goes next.

What about you, though? What red cards are your favorite? Any standouts? Anything I missed on? Be sure to let me know down in the comments below!

Until next time, stay cool out there!

You can reach me on Twitter (@thejesguy), where you can always hit me up for Magic- or Jeskai-related shenanigans 24/7. Do you have any comments, questions, or concerns? Please don't hesitate to leave them below or get in touch! Stay safe, wear your mask, wash your hands, and keep fighting the good fight. I support you. No justice, no peace.