Casual Friday – Feel the Heat
Planeswalkers are some of the coolest additions to Magic and each new set comes with a few of these game-changing cards. We have come a long way since they were first introduced in Lorwyn. While those first five planeswalkers were reused in multiple sets, it seems their time is over. The release of M12 is just weeks away and none of those old cards are in it. Ajani and Liliana will be replaced with Gideon Jura and Sorin Markov from the Zendikar block. The remaining planeswalkers, however, are getting brand new cards that show off more of their abilities. The latest planeswalker revealed for the new set looks to be one of my favorites for M12: Chandra, the Firebrand. M12 won’t be released for a while yet, but I’m not wasting any time thinking of awesome ways to make use of the new Chandra.
The mana cost of Chandra, the Firebrand is one of the most awesome things about this card. It only costs 4 mana first of all, so she can get out on the field pretty quickly. She also only costs 1 red mana, so it is pretty easy to play around with colors in a deck that is built around Chandra. In other colors and even a little in red it is very easy to get Chandra out early. With a Dark Ritual she can be ready to ping opponents as early as turn two!
The pinging is pretty great as a first ability. It’s much improved over the earlier Chandra, allowing you to deal damage to creatures as well. Llanowar Elves and Lotus Cobras are no match for red burn, but who wants to waste a burn spell on such creatures? Chandra easily takes them out one-by-one, slowly taking down a deck with a lot of creatures for mana ramp. Also like any proper planeswalker card in the core set, this abilities works well with any of her other themed cards. It can pump up Chandra’s Spitfire and bring back Chandra’s Phoenix.
Chandra’s second ability is definitely where casual players can get the most fun. 2 counters lets you copy the next instant or sorcery you cast. This ability can double any instant or sorcery, it doesn’t even have to be red! Although even in red there are a ton of awesome ways to make use of this ability. A simple Lightning Bolt becomes 6 damage, but if it were a volt charge that’s 6 damage plus 2 counters on Chandra as well as any other things worth proliferating. For even more damage you can add a Fire Servant. With that out, something as simple as a Goblin Grenade can end the game! Geosurge copied can give you 14 mana, plenty to cast some huge creature spells, perhaps Emrakul? In terms of outright removal, the most fun card for this has to be Chaos Warp. You can take out some threats on your opponent’s side of the board or hope to polymorph one of your own permanents into some kind of game-ending dragon.
It’s possible to play around with Chandra’s second ability forever, but when it comes time to end the game, her ultimate can get the job done in any format. For 6 counters you can deal 6 damage to 6 different players/creatures. The best part about this new ultimate is that it is more useful in multiplayer games. You aren’t just picking on one person, dealing 10 damage to everything they own. It’s less damage, sure, but it can reach everywhere. You can deal some damage to opponents directly, maybe taking some out of the game, while dealing some other threats. 6 damage should be able to take out all but the biggest creatures in green, and you would still have mana open for some extra burn.
Red burn is going to have yet another great card to show opponents why it’s called Red Deck Wins. Chandra looks like she will be great for both standard competitive decks as well as some imaginative casual decks that want cool effects and big spells. She is certainly my favorite planeswalker of the new set. What do you think of the newest version of Chandra?