Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
– Throne of Eldraine
October 23, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 4
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Torbran’s mana cost and game effect recalls one of the most infamous red cards in history: Furnace of Rath, from Tempest. Despite the fact that the Furnace is a symmetrical enchantment which can potentially backfire on you, it has long been a staple in casual formats, particularly multiplayer settings where it gives burn decks a fighting chance against multiple opponents. Torbran is more fragile in a sense – though four toughness isn’t trivial, by a long shot, in Standard – but being one-sided reduces a different element of risk. Being able to attack and block also helps his prospects significantly in 1v1 settings, where aggressive red decks can include him without having to ever stop attacking. Throne of Eldraine also has some other strong cards for mono-red decks, notably Slaying Fire and Castle Embereth, so I’m expecting great things out of this particular king.
Torbran, Thane of Red Fell is a pretty powerful effect, making all of your red sources hit harder. It calls to mind the Future Sight card Pyromancer’s Swath, in a way; you’re making your sources hit harder. The downside here is arguably Torbran’s awkward casting cost: triple red is not a particularly user-friendly casting cost!
Still, Torbran is quite powerful in spite of that, and even his seemingly mediocre statline looks better when you realize he’s effectively a 4/4 in combat. There’s a lot to like about him, and while I’m still not enthused about his casting cost, he still does enough well to be a solid part of Standard.
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