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IF YOU WANT BLOOD
(A Companion Piece to FRENZIED PEASANTS OF RATH)
by B. Siems , 6.3.05

This time, I blame myself.

Previously, in a fit of Magic-related nostalgia brought about by rereading an old Abe Sargent article, I fell back in love with Tempest red in general and the card Blood Frenzy in particular. Perhaps the good folks here at Pojo will link to my last article, since this time I was kind enough to not mention that other site. ;)

At any rate, constant thoughts about this card are logged in my head and I won’t be happy until the meme spreads, infecting the rest of the Pojo community. Important safety tip: I’m more of a Peasant player/casual duelist myself. If you’re looking for the newest tech in Standard, yer outta luck, son. But if, like me, you prefer kickin’ it old-school or you’re ballin’ on a budget, then welcome.

Since the obvious is often the most overlooked, let’s start there:

BLOOD FRENZY

Tempest common

1R Instant

Target attacking or blocking creature gets +4/+0 until end of turn. At end of turn, destroy that creature.

Blood Frenzy is a Fists of the Anvil/Blood Lust that WILL kill it’s target at the end of the turn. So what can we do with that?

SUICIDE SQUAD

First off, there’s the “kamikaze” factor: Cast Blood Frenzy on your attacking creature after blockers are declared. In a deck full of low power/toughness creatures, the weenies become enormous though short-lived threats. If you prefer playing with creatures with some muscle to them, the big and beefy set become something truly frightening to behold, especially if your creatures have trample. (Mmmm! Trample!)

Blood Frenzy also plays well on defense and makes a nasty surprise for an opponent’s attackers. The momentum of a typical game of Magic often goes back and forth. It’s safe to say that you’re going to find yourself playing “D” at some point, sweating it out as you’re forced to chump block your opponent’s attackers. Not a problem! Declare your blockers, cast a Frenzy or two and watch his jaw drop as the tide of battle turns again.

RED “TERROR”

Blood Frenzy has one big advantage over it’s cousin card: it give red the ability to destroy creatures directly. Yes, the home of Shock and Lightning Bolt has itself a good ol’ time frying meat with a toughness under 3, but it often comes up short against bigger creatures. Blood Frenzy is an effective means of creature kill. Unlike Terror and it’s kin, the Frenzy doesn’t care if the target is black, green, artifact or any other such nonsense! So long as it’s hitting a blocker or attacker it is happy. Yes, you’ll often face numerous tactical decisions (“Do I sacrifice a chump blocker to take that Blastoderm out or should I take a few points of damage instead…”) but remember: No pain, no gain!

 

STORM WARNING

Now that I’ve established the practical uses for Blood Frenzy, it’s time to get creative. Let’s see what happens when we meet some of the other inhabitants of the neighborhood, the ghetto that is Tempest block red. I, for one, am quite happy it lives there as it gives a pyromaniac like myself a number of interesting and common toys to play with.

The first of these toys is Fling. (1R instant, sacrifice a creature: Fling deals damage equal to the sacrificed creature’s power to target creature of player.) Work one of your boys into a Frenzy and then Fling him over the wall. Watch the life totals take a rapid dive. So simple, so elegant and yet oh so deadly! I get giddy just thinking of the combat math: Lowly 1/1’s become Lava Axes. 2/2 creatures transform into Ball Lightnings. Throwing Frenzied 3/3’s makes me swoon!

In a similar vein, Goblin Bombardment makes a nice compliment to all of this. It doesn’t deal as much damage as Fling, but it is an enchantment and can be reused over and over again. Since your Frenzied boys are suffering from a terminal case of death, there’s no harm in launching them from a catapult.

Speaking of chucking creatures, any creature with the word “Flowstone” in it’s name is your new best friend. These critters gain a +X/-X bonus for each red mana. Oh heavens! I feel faint again…

BLEEDING OUT

Once we leave the confines of Rath, things open up a little more. Fling has a number of cousins, from Reckless Abandon and Goblin Grenade to creatures like Bloodshot Cyclops. Skull Catapult would make a fine replacement for Goblin Bombardment. And of course pump creatures are plentiful.

This is only scratching the surface of what Blood Frenzy is capable of. With only a single red mana in it’s casting cost, it’s easily splashable. I could spend hours thinking of ways to abuse this card, if only I had the time. ;) Instead, I will finish this off with my top five combos.

1) ISOCHRON SCEPTER: Imprint and go to town! (Say, isn’t Fling an instant too?)

2) TOKEN CREATURES: They were disposable anyway…

3) SPIKESHOT GOBLIN: I recognize that his value comes from being a sniper, hiding in the bushes and picking away at the enemy one at a time. However, I’m more than willing to upgrade his firepower and send his ass to the front.

4) GRAVEYARD CHA-CHA: Once you go black, you never go back? (Carrionette, Ashen Ghoul, Nether Shadow, Necrosavant, etc.) HA! Stay closer to home with Squee, Goblin Nabob or our Rath homeboy Shard Phoenix.

5) BALL LIGHTNING (see also Spark Elemental, Blistering Firecat and Skizzix): Swoooooon!

Send hate e-mail to whatever@hcinet.net.

B. Siems

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