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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Card of the Day

Daily Since November 2001!

Prophetic Flamespeaker
Image from Wizards.com

Prophetic Flamespeaker
- Journey into Nyx

Reviewed June 3, 2014

Constructed: 4.13
Casual: 3.95
Limited: 3.75
Multiplayer: 3.63

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale:
1 - Horrible  3 - Average.  5 - Awesome

Click here to see all of our 
Card of the Day Reviews 


David Fanany

Player since 1995

Prophetic Flamespeaker
 
It's ironic that blue gets most of the actual, literal card drawing, since fire often represents knowledge and the spark of creativity in Western mythology. Prometheus didn't only bring literal fire to the earth - as D'Aulaire puts it, "humans began to look up at the sky, and were more than earth-bound clods." And it's good to see cards in Magic that reflect that.
 
Having to play the extra card this turn can be a problem if your deck isn't designed for it - despite his tantalizing abilities, you have a decent chance of seeing wasted hits in limited formats where you might play seven-cost creatures. But in a more focused setting and deck, this is an absolutely terrifying card. Even in a "worst-case" scenario where he hits unopposed but reveals two lands, that just means more creatures or a larger Fireball next turn. And I've barely talked about those combat abilities - I almost couldn't believe they were real. Ophidian and Ohran Viper are kind of jealous right now.
 
Constructed: 4/5
Casual: 4/5
Limited: 3/5
Multiplayer: 3/5
Michael "Maikeruu" Pierno

Today's card of the day is Prophetic Flamespeaker which is a three mana Red 1/3 with Double Strike, Trample, and whenever it deals damage to a player you exile the top card of your library and may play it that turn.  The combination of combat effects with any kind of offensive boost is a very serious threat to nearly any opposition.  A card like Shiv's Embrace can have this deal twenty damage in two attacks with no other support or additional sources of mana on turn four and five.  The one or two additional cards each turn that may be playable from attacking is a major benefit to Red as it often runs out of steam in the midgame.  Even though it requires support to apply enough pressure, low Bestow cost creatures or other choices in a dedicated deck can be very effective in current formats and it is likely this will see play in at least some local scenes.
 
For Limited this is an absolute bomb that has no shortage of support in a block built around targeted enhancements.  A clear first pick in Booster that should not be passed and barring a really lopsided pool should force Red as a primary or secondary color in Sealed to accommodate inclusion.  The second color should have a focus on increasing the power, within reason to maintain deck integrity should Flamespeaker not be available.
 
Constructed: 4.0
Casual: 4.0
Limited: 4.5
Multiplayer: 4.0

Mattedesa

Deck Garage

Prophetic Flamespeaker
 
There are few cards that make both the competitive and the casual player excited - this is one of them. Often, competitive player and casual players are looking for for two different things - it just so happens that the Flamespeaker has both elements on one card. 
 
The competitive player looks at the Flamespeaker and sees the "Whenever Prophetic Flamespeaker deals combat damage" ability and think of all the extra cards they are going to get. They see the double strike and trample as simply helpers to make it more likely that it will hit the other player, so they can draw more cards. After all, card advantage usually means game advantage. Oh, and occasionally, I might be able to pump him with a Ghor-Clan Rampager for a good bit of damage.
 
The casual player sees the double strike and trample and stops right there. They get visions of playing Might of Oaks on this guy and hitting for 16 points in one swing. They might even have to be reminded to exile the two cards off the top of their library.
 
Either way you look at it, the Flamespeaker is an exciting card that is going to be a key card in some big decks. The raw power is undeniable. The only things that keep this from being a 5 star card across the board are the 3 toughness making it easy to kill, and the double red that makes it a little more restrictive on which decks can cast it reliably.
 
Constructed: 4.5
Casual: 4.5
Limited: 4.5
Multiplayer: 4.5


Michael Sokolowski

Prophetic Flamespeaker is an... interesting card. There's kind of a lot going on with it, so let's dive right in.
 
Double strike is one of the most powerful combat abilities a creature can have, however traditionally it's been held back by two very significant limitations, both of which are at play here. The first is that anything with double strike tends to cost a lot more mana than it otherwise would, and the second is that it's usually given to very weak creatures. And I mean that makes sense, as what double strike essentially does most of the time is double the power of the creature. If a creature with 4 or 5 power got double strike, it'd be able to deal 8 or 10 damage to something. Scary.
 
But that brings us to the first problem, although I'm going to use "problem" in quotation marks. I've found double strike creatures with 1 power to be somewhat underwhelming. On paper they can be potentially devastating. If you cast this guy, or say something like Fencing Ace, on turn 2-3, and then next turn attack and (assuming they don't block it) follow it up with 3 Giant Growths, you've just won the game. That's 20 damage. That's how cards like this work. They rely on pump spells, auras, equipment, or other buffs. Every point of power they gain is basically doubled, so you get much more bang for your buck.
 
The thing I don't like about that is you then have to put a lot of said buff spells into your deck. And there's always the risk that you'll draw the Flamespeaker without any buffs in hand, or have a hand full of buffs but no Flamespeaker. If you're more of a high-risk high-reward combo-style player, this is definitely more up your alley, but I tend to like reliable creatures that don't need anything else for help to do what they need to do. Putting all your eggs in one basket means that any kill spell could get rid of 2-3 of your cards for just 1 of theirs, although equipment and bestow can help mitigate that risk a bit.
 
Let's move on. Our friend here doesn't just flamespeak, he also does prophesies. When he deals combat damage to a player - and if you're playing him right, he will - you get to exile the top card of your library and play it that turn if you want. Keep in mind playing it will still mean you have to pay its mana cost. This could do all kinds of things. It could give you an additional creature to play, it could find you a land (though if you've already played one that turn you can't play another). OR it could reveal a 5 mana creature when you only have 4 mana available, and now it's exiled forever. Once again, a risky ability. But then if you're playing red you sometimes have to take the risky plays. You can try to reduce the risk with the scry ability, but there will be many times when it's a gamble to see what you reveal. Also keep in mind that there's a chance you'll get to trigger Prophetic Flamespeaker exile ability twice per turn, since double strike means he can hit the opponent twice.
 
Actually, sometimes creatures with double strike don't get to hit the opponent at all. They just get chump blocked until they can be dealt with. Well, that's much harder to do when the creature in question has trample. The 3 toughness doesn't hurt either, as if it was a 1/1 it could be successfully killed by an opponent's 1/2.
 
So let's recap. Prophetic Flamespeaker is capable of high burst damage, but only with various power buffs. This would have to go in a specialized deck. He can help do something that red tends to lack, which is dig into the library to get more cards. But in typical red fashion, it's a wild and crazy unpredictable usage instead of blue's more methodical and controlled style. He can trample his way past weak blockers, which is good if your deck is a race to deal damage. Actually it's kind of interesting how yesterday's card is a pretty good counter to today's.
 
Prophetic Flamespeaker is the kind of card where, when all the stars align, it can be devastatingly powerful. On its own its okay, but it really needs a lot of support and even a deck built around it in order to shine. And you could do that. You could run all sorts of cards that strengthen it and reduce the risk of its ability whiffing. But the problem with one-trick pony decks is if you don't draw exactly what you need, the deck does nothing and you lose. And when you have a creature that ONLY goes to town when he's sufficiently buffed, he's even more vulnerable to removal than normal. That could be a risk you're willing to take. But it won't be for everyone. It'll be great for very planned and thought out constructed decks, but casual players usually like more straightforward cards that don't need as much support in order to work. In limited, you're at the mercy of whether or not you get some good pump spells, so it's also less good there.
 
Really though, when you play with a creature who can speak to flames, is it any surprise when he can single-handedly win you games?
 
Constructed: 4
Casual: 3
Limited: 3
Multiplayer: 3


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