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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Card of the Day

Daily Since November 2001!

Flamebreak
Image from Wizards.com

Flamebreak
- Darksteel

Reviewed July 3, 2014

Constructed: 3.90
Casual: 3.80
Limited: 3.40
Multiplayer: 4.10

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

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Card of the Day Reviews 

BMoor

Deck Garage

Flamebreak

If you were playing in Mirrodin block, then you knew just how good Anger of the Gods was going to be when you saw it in Theros block. The triple-red here hurts, but not so badly that you can't swing it. And 3 damage to everything is pretty sweet, especially in a format that was very aggro-biased. You might think that the inability to hit fliers is a drawback, but if you've got fliers, then it's an advantage. Just remember-- you don't have to play a weenie rush deck just because you're mono-red. Red can do control too, and this is how it does it-- by controlling the board, killing everything you don't like, and winning on the back of a Dragon.

Constructed- 4
Casual- 4.5
Limited- 4
Multiplayer- 4.5


David Fanany

Player since 1995

Flamebreak

The "wave of fire that washes over a bunch of people like a wave of water and takes their skin with it" is a staple of fiction (which is funny, because almost everyone has seen fire and thus seen it not behaving like that). I never thought I'd see somebody illustrate it effectively, though, until Flamebreak was released. It's a rather interesting sort of card: on the one hand, it seems like it wants to go in a more control-oriented deck, because it's extremely and brutally effective at killing small creatures and making them stay dead. On the other hand, you don't always want to be damaging yourself in those sorts of decks, much less being mono-red. But for that strangest of beasts, the slow but aggressive mono-red deck, this is the card that pretty much single-handedly makes them viable. It damages the opponent, it removes blockers with extreme prejudice, and archetype staples ranging from Shivan Dragon to Arc-Slogger aren't killed by it.

Constructed: 4/5
Casual: 4/5
Limited: 3/5
Multiplayer: 4/5

Michael "Maikeruu" Pierno

Today's card of the day is Flamebreak which is a three mana Red sorcery that deals three damage to each player and each creature without Flying plus creatures dealt damage with it can't be regenerated that turn. 
This is a very solid board sweeper that can be designed around to have your loss minimized and in particular is support for Chandra's Phoenix and to a lesser degree Chandra's Spitfire.  This is clearly intended for a mono-Red deck with burn or evasion as the primary mechanics and is for the most part an upgrade to Pyroclasm in those builds.
 
For a Limited format with this it can be difficult to manage the triple Red casting cost and any kind of Flying theme, though artifacts creatures can help improve those odds.  Even by itself it is a useful both as burn and removal and is well worth the first pick in Booster and consideration for Sealed, if at least half the deck can be made Red.
 
In Multiplayer this is an excellent card that really powers up Chandra's Spitfire and clears the way for a potential kill very early in the game.
 
Constructed: 4.0
Casual: 4.0
Limited: 4.0
Multiplayer: 4.5

Mattedesa

Deck Garage
Flamebreak
 
From Hammer of Bogardan, to Cursed Scroll, to today's card, we're hitting up some classic burn deck tech. With eh triple read in its cost, it's clearly only for a mono-red constructed deck. Three mana to deal 3 damage to everything on the ground and all players is a pretty good deal. If something can survive it, you should have a lightning bolt or something else to help you finish it off.
 
The fact that creatures can't be regenerated from this may not seem like a big deal, until you face off that guy with the Troll Ascetic or the guy that has Asceticism on the board. Then, you'll realize just how useful neutralizing that annoying regeneration can be!
 
The art is a classic depiction of why we call such cards and decks "burn". It looks like it hits so hard and so fast that the poor victims never knew what hit them.
 
Constructed: 4
Casual: 3
Limited: 2 (triple red is hard!)
Multiplayer: 3.5

Michael Sokolowski

Sometimes Magic really knocks it out of the park with their card art. You can almost feel the impact of the scorching wave of flames hitting that poor what's-left-of-a-person.
 
Flamebreak is a pretty good card. Its job is to clear the board of multiple small to midrange threats, paving the way for your big guys to finish the job. 3 mana for 3 damage to everything (without flying) is a reasonable cost, although you're almost certainly playing mono-red with that colour intensive mana cost. Red control decks do exist, and the 'doesn't hit things with flying' bit can actually come in handy if you've got some dragons out.
 
You might look at this and be reminded of more recent cards, namely Anger of the Gods from Theros, or even Slagstorm. Which one is best? Well they all do more or less the same thing with some minor variations. Anger of the Gods and Slagstorm can get rid of an army of bird tokens, that could be handy. Flamebreak and Slagstorm can be used as some extra damage to finish off the opponent directly, not just hit creatures. Flamebreak also burns through regeneration and Anger of the Gods exiles preventing lots of graveyard shenanigans. All very useful in different situations. You could even look at Volcanic Fallout, as it's got the whole instant and uncounterable thing going for it at the cost of one less damage.
 
The king of these types of effects used to be Pyroclasm, of course. You would see it in all sorts of red decks back when it was in standard.
 
I think Flamebreak is a fine card, though. 9 times out of 10 I'd probably like the exile ability from Anger of the Gods slightly better, but Flamebreak still holds its own if you were to run that instead. Either way, 3 damage tends to kill quite a lot of things run by aggro decks, which is basically part of what makes red control viable in the first place.
 
You know what they say, though. When you play with fire in red, some things are going to get burned.
 
Or most things.
 
Or everything.
 
Constructed: 3.5
Casual: 3.5
Limited: 4
Multiplayer: 4


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