Magi-Nation Card Review
Magi-Nation Duel has only one traditional format, Constructed, where all cards are legal except for a limited few. Cards will be rated in this context with the rating scale shown below. These grades do not tell the whole story and should be viewed in the context of the writing which accompanies them.
1: Unplayable. Actively bad or detrimental to your board own board in some way.
2: Low-Impact. Not actively bad but doesn’t do a whole lot.
2.5: A little better than “meh”.
3: Role Player. Cards which are simply not played as much but either could be good given
support or are at least decent or fun options.
3.5: Very strong with the required support.
4: Staple. Strong cards which see lots of play (or should) but are not completely busted.
5: All-star. Practically an auto-include in most if not all of decks from that region.
Now, on with the show:
Amanax – 5
This is a card (and a rating) that will probably confuse new players. He has terrible energy numbers which should by rights make him unplayable. He has one starting card. What’s going on? Pyromaniac is one of the most powerful magi texts in the game and, in combination with his starting Syphon Vortex, will combine to enable Amanax to get up to 25-30 energy on himself when he flips. You just target the biggest creature you can and Vortex them for everything, then trigger Pyromaniac to gain double the energy you just dealt in damage. From there you have so much energy that you can try to overpower the competition.
Ashgar – 2.5
Hey, this guy draws cards right? There’s Magma Armor in Cald right? Six energize is good. Ten starting energy stinks. He has five starting cards, including the un-printed Boomstick and Krawg, and they’re even all playable cards. It’s just a shame that Nerve requires you to basically die to draw a card. That’s a really bad effect, even in a region that isn’t good at drawing cards and wants all the help in that area they can get.
Barak – 4
He’s big, he’s beefy, he’s got decent starting cards. Prophecy allows you to control your draw for the turn or manipulate your deck for in case you can draw extra cards somehow. One of the best things about Barak is that he can slot into any deck type just fine and still do his thing.
Barak the Red – 4
The alternate Barak gets a starting card upgrade in Flame Rudwot and a more powerful power in Command. Command lets him tutor for any Cald creature at the cost of 1 energy and a card. This means he turns your worst card in hand into the exact creature you need right now. This makes him ideal for creature-based decks (most of them) and bad in the rare “creatureless” variety.
Gar – 4
Many players can see how good Quilla, a 14/7 magi with no text, is. Many players can see how good Tryn is. I’m not saying Gar is as good as either of those magi, but that’s only because he’s in a much worse region. Strengthen means as long as Gar has a creature out at the end of his turn, he is generating 7 energy per turn. This is especially good when compared to many of the other Cald magi, who tend to have low energy numbers overall.
Good Ol’ Ashgar – 3.5
Some of you may have read one of my earlier articles about setup magi. This guy is unfortunately the best one Cald gets access to. While he relies on his starting Krawg to draw you extra cards, Good Ol’ Ashgar otherwise just gets you a consistent few turns at the start of the game and sometimes a board clear with Flame Geyser going into your second magi.
Grega – 3.5
If it weren’t for her terrible starting energy of 10, Grega would be good. Thermal Blast is an entire decent card, and she can really blow up a lot of stuff given that her Ring (which she starts with) and her power allow her to Thermal Blast twice per turn for no additional cards spent. She’s not going to live very long though.
Jory – 3.5
This guy is good. His starting cards are way above average and synergize nicely together with Heatwave, which is a really annoying effect to deal with. The only reason he’s not a 4 is that you have to skew your deck to include more spells than normal which is a real cost.
Magam – 2
Naroom gets to Vitalize for 2, which is 50% less. Even if Magam’s Vitalize cost 3, she wouldn’t be great. At 4, it’s just way too bad.
Magam, Flamesmith – 5
But don’t worry! They… fixed her? Man this card is annoying. Gorgle’s Glasses is one of the few ways Cald gets to draw extra cards, so starting with it is sick. The combination of Flame Boost and Flame Strike means Flamesmith passively generates 9 energy worth of value every turn she sits on the board. Yes, your opponent can play around the Flame Strike, but it’s often annoying to do so and you’re still getting your value anyway.
Nara – 3
She’s a very interesting magi. Ergar is a great creature to support. Rare Spirit is very powerful. Overall, there’s just not a lot of cards that interact well with what Nara does.
Pyte – 3.5
If you haven’t yet, build a dice-rolling deck around this guy. I promise you’ll have fun. 15/5 in Cald is actually great, and so is Respite. Anything Cald can do to draw extra cards goes a long way. Again, the only reason he doesn’t get a higher rating is the fact that he warps your deck build a lot.
Raega – 3
Cremate is a strong power that requires a lot of energy on a magi not very good at generating a lot of energy.
Sinder – 2.5
A little better than “meh”.
Sinder, Apprentice – 3
This guy has a ton of good stuff going for him but just doesn’t really have a home. Spells you’re looking at include Equilibrate and Heal. I’m open to being proven wrong here, I just don’t think anyone has made him good yet.
Traveling Healer – 4
This guy has big energy numbers in Cald. Grudge will actually trigger sometimes because Orothe is a commonly-played region and he gets two tries instead of just one. Bolster is very similar to basic Gar’s Strengthen, becoming better at 3 creatures affected.
Tryn Flame-Saver – 1
I hate this card so much. 2i went so far out of their way to make sure you couldn’t do anything busted with her powers that they added what is, in my opinion, the worst rules text in the game: “Effect: Your cards cannot add energy to Tryn Flame-Saver”. Whatever you were thinking of doing to make this Tryn awesome, that line of text means it almost assuredly doesn’t work. Yes, she’s a dual-region magi which is inherently strong by itself, but that text just ruins everything.
Valkan – 3.5
I’ve spent so many hours trying to make Valkan good. Pyromancy is an incredibly powerful effect. He just never has enough energy to do any of the fun things I want to do with him.
Ven – 3
It’s still probably too expensive for what it does, but this Vitalize is much better than Magam’s. Plus he has more energy. Still, he doesn’t do a whole lot.
Vorga – 4
Shatter has a target most of the time and so is quite good. Repeatable relic destruction can hose some decks by itself. Vorga also starts with the best card in Cald, Scroll of Fire.
Xandia – 3.5
Good energy numbers for Cald, good starting cards. Burning Desire is most often a 3-for-5 rate (because you’re building around her and including bigger dudes in your deck). Sometimes you get to discard Silth to it though (but yes, then you have to put those in your deck).
Barak the Red
Good Ol’ Ashgar
Arbolit – 3
Since most Cald magi start with one of these, it turns a pretty low-impact card into an automatic one-of in most Cald decks.
Ash Hyren – 3
This card does stuff, it’s just too expensive for most Cald magi to actually play.
Braggle – 4
Mirror Shield + Morph is very annoying. This guy’s still just so solid, even after every region has a Crushing spell.
Caldera Aq – 3.5
Drawing cards in Cald is fabulous. All this card needs is an Ergar to become very strong. You have the Caldera Aq use Spark, then trigger its own Heartwarming for essentially 1: Draw a card. Even if Ergar isn’t how you trigger this, it’s still on rate at 2: Draw a card, it’s just not exciting then.
Charg – 3
They were printing more and more Attack Step-oriented cards for Cald but before Daybreak anyway they hadn’t quite got there on the theme. This is a pretty good creature for those type of decks.
Cinder Hyren – 3.5
Not good early. Pretty good late, especially when you’re shuffling your Ergars and Giant Arbolls back in because you ran out.
Coal Ergar – 2.5
Diobor – 2.5
This is a 1-for-2 that you have to have six energy to actually play, or you can use its other mode: a six-energy creature with no text. Technically it does stuff at a profit but really? You want to put this in your deck?
Diomant – 3.5
It’s a Diobor with a much better rate that only hits magi. This is actually a playable card, especially if you have an Abraxin’s Crown running around.
Drakan – 4
Guy is solid.
Ergar – 5
Finally. Best Cald creature right here. This guy is the most important piece of probably the best Cald deck type, as he allows your creatures to combine with Scroll of Fire to start shooting down your foes, one Spark at a time.
Ember Hyren – 3.5
In Cald this requires some building around, since a lot of the best Cald creatures don’t attack as often as some other regions (like Naroom). It’s still quite a strong card, you just have to support it.
Ember Vard – 4
Exactly as good as it is in Arderial. You have a Brushfire right?
Fire Chogo – 3.5
This thing looks awful but it starts to get very efficient very fast when Scroll of Fire is in play.
Fire Grag – 3
You have to discard a two-energy creature for Metabolize to be efficient, and Cald has no shortage of those if they want them. It can be powerful, I just don’t know what you’re doing with it. I suppose Flame Trulbs are decent ammunition.
Firestorm Orish – 2.5
Another one that’s exactly as good in Cald as it is in Arderial. Firestorm nets your board one energy, which is fine but nothing to write home about. In practice, it’s a little better than that because you get to put three energy onto something that can really benefit from that. You still need to discard two in order to gain the three. No cheating, because that would be unfair… or something.
Flambit – 4
The rate on this is 3-for-6, which is good. Magi damage is underrated. Cald can certainly make use of growing its creatures. It gets better if you can use its excess energy so it has room for synergy cards, despite not being affected by Scroll of Fire. This isn’t a three-of, but is a good, solid card to put in your deck that won’t disappoint unless you have too many.
Flame Hyren – 3.5
This card is for combo players. Do not play it straight-up. It’s not worth it. When you’re doing something wacky with it though, you’re in the market for a big payoff.
Flame Jakla – 3.5
You have to get all the energy off the magi for Heat Syphon to be really good, but if you combine this with other incidental ways to damage magi (Jory, Flambit, Abraxin’s Crown, etc.), it’s a strong power (1-for-3 rate).
Flame Rudwot – 4
If I had a 4.5 rating, this would be what it looks like. Flame Rudwot does everything. It burns, it grows, it synergizes with other good cards in region, it gets better in multiples. Staple+ rating.
Flame Trulb – 4
The first many times I read this card Familiarity was very confusing so here’s the DL: 1) Bograth/Cald decks are not a thing, 2) They see themselves so the first one you play grows to 3, and if you have multiples they become 4, then 5 energy when they hit play. That’s awesome.
Giant Arboll – 5
This is the second-best Cald creature and 1/3 of the puzzle of the typical Cald engine (the others being Ergar and Scroll of Fire). Also, the errata on this card actually made it better and I think that’s cool. Being able to survive to Healing Flame again is quite nice. In any case, Healing Flame combined with the other pieces of the Cald engine can generate a big energy advantage.
Granas – 4
This card is extremely solid. It’s really just as good in Cald as it is in Underneath, but not played as often. Being Burrowed on the enemy turn allows Granas to survive, while Pummel allows it to attack well even after they chip it down for a turn or two.
Greater Vaal – 3
Kaboom. The probability that you break even on Immolate is roughly 11%. The probability you turn a profit is basically 72%, for 83% or 72% success rate depending on how you think about it. That’s pretty good for rolling dice, actually better than a single die roll. The thing is, the fact that this large energy investment can fail coupled with the relatively rare amount of times where such a big, splashy amount of damage is required often sidelines this card. We’ll see why in a second.
Inferno Xyx – 3.5
Here’s why. The times where you need the huge hit of damage, this thing will deliver 100% of the time. For one extra energy, you get three more damage (not that there’s too big a difference between 12 and 15, but it does matter occasionally. The support this needs is a target where tons of damage actually matters.
Ithapher – 3
The fact that this doesn’t affect AOE spells and powers hurts it quite a lot, as does the fact that a Cald engine already requires two four-energy creatures to function so a third would make it unwieldy a lot of the time.
Jakla Prowler – 1
A highly conditional region hoser? No thank you.
Karkik – 3
So many conditions to factor in before this works. Most of the time the payoff isn’t very big anyway.
Kelthet – 3
Like with Fire Grag, I’m not sure what you’re trying to accomplish with this guy, but you sure can make it big if you want to.
Krawg – 4
If this card were in a region that had higher energy on their magi or liked to attack stuff more, we’d probably think it was busted. It feels busted when Ashgar plays it. Overall, it’s just good.
Lava Aq – 2
The cost on Firestorm is huge. It requires you to play a 4-energy creature, spend 2 of its energy, and then discard one of your creatures (it could just be the Lava Aq itself). For 3-4 energy, would you like to deal 1 to everything on your opponent’s board? No? Poison Baloo Root does almost the same thing? Look, I know you can boost this up. I know it hits their magi too. It doesn’t do nothing, but it’s so bad.
Lava Arboll – 3
An Arbolit with a bit more oomph that doesn’t get better because of incidental starting card-ness.
Lava Balamant – 3
It’s a creature that gets better when it attacks stuff. Straightforward, boring, overall only played if one of your magi starts with one.
Magma Hyren – 4
This hyren has legs. I don’t mean literally because who would know? I just mean it does a lot of stuff in very similar vein to Flame Rudwot. This card is just always value.
Magma Jile – 3
It’s fine. There’s nothing you can do to make your opponent play into it. It’s hilarious against Bograth.
Magma Parmalag – 3.5
Making your whole team not lose energy in attacks is an enormously powerful ability. Yes, the cost is high, but so is the potential reward. In practice, you don’t see this played much because Cald Attack decks hadn’t quite got there.
Primat – 2
Doesn’t do much, especially in a region that can deal one damage basically at will.
Quor – 3.5
Surprisingly annoying. It needs support from a lot of cards to really pack a punch (mostly just ways to grow it), but the chip damage adds up.
Quor Pup – 2
On the other hand, when Quors are little, they don’t do much. Moving the energy from your magi is a very inefficient way to grow a creature, and the odds are not good that this survives to attack anyway.
Raxis – 4
In either mode, Shatterfire is a great deal. The fact that your opponent gets to choose is a drawback, because they will choose whatever is best for them, but this is repeatable until they kill your Raxis and you’re not going to be sad in either case really. Just don’t plan your entire game on the outcome of Shatterfire. Use it as incidental value. Also, if you need to guarantee the relic destruction, just damage their magi first.
Rock Silth – 2.5
What Cald magi can actually play this card?
Saladarit – 3
Guard is a powerful defensive ability that your opponent can play around 100% of the time by not attacking your thing or simply by killing it with spells and powers. In practice, you probably don’t have time for this.
Silth Giant – 2.5
Swallow Whole is really neat, especially in light of this mythical Cald Attack deck that never quite got there. Again, what Cald magi has 10 energy lying around to play this, even on the flip?
Smoke Xyx – 3.5
Very similar to Magma Parmalag but with a lower cost and a smaller effect.
Spark Chogo – 4
Spark Chogo is a small energy investment that can trade up most of the time and doesn’t need any help to do so. That’s a good card.
Vaal – 2.5
Yes, but when you attack with a 2-energy creature it’s not all that threatening, even if your dude will survive.
Volcano Hyren – 3.5
I have such dreams of using Conflagration on this guy and then lighting the world on fire with Valkan. Yes, that’s a combo. Mostly, this is too much of an energy investment.
Yollum – 3
Abraxin’s Crown – 4
This card is deceptively powerful. It basically allows things that only hit magi to hit creatures and vice versa, which opens up a lot more avenues of attack. The splashiest example is hitting a magi that has been hoarding energy for 15-16 with Inferno Xyx, but there are a lot of others.
Barak’s Ring – 2
This is not one of the amazing Purity rings. If they had made it a power so it could synergize with Scroll of Fire and what have you, it would probably be good, but as is it limits your deck building in a big way while not providing much of a benefit.
Blast Gloves – 3.5
This can sometimes be a very nice effect, and it’ll certainly be providing a big energy advantage when you want it. I’ve found though, that these situations are relatively rare.
Boomstick – 3
Starting: Ashgar. It kills stuff pretty dead, but costs too much for most situations.
Disc of Inferno – 2.5
Highly conditional and somewhat costly.
Everburning Wick – 4
This card is neat in creature-light decks, where Really Short Fuse will trigger a lot. Overall, you’re making a down payment of 2 energy to deal probably 6+ damage, so that rate is excellent. The drawback of course is that it requires your opponent to play into it, which is very real.
Firefly Amulet – 3
I love this card. It turns any (Cald) card in your hand into “0, Discard this: Deal 2 damage to a Creature”. It turns any Cald spell in your hand into Firefly Swarm, which is a pretty nice little spell. Protecting your creature engine has serious value and this card can help you do that, but it doesn’t pack a lot of oomph.
Flameplate Armor – 3.5
While this card requires an expensive 2-energy payment and your opponent can see it happening the entire time, this is some serious protection. Cald magi already experience massive energy shortages much of the time, and anything that prevents your opponent from exacerbating them is a good tool to have access to.
Gorgle’s Glasses – 5
This is Cald’s best way to draw extra cards. While the 2 energy is an enormous cost for Cald magi, Pyrovision is quite an irreplaceable ability.
Gorgle’s Ring – 3
50% chance for a bad outcome, 50% chance for a good one. That’s not good enough. With Pyte and/or Loaded Dice it can be really fun. You’re not spending any energy to do this.
Grega’s Ring – 3
Pretty much only sees play on Grega because she starts with it, as it requires three activations before you’re ahead of simply playing the Thermal Blast spell three times. I don’t think this card should cost 2 energy. Probably only 1. It’s a repeatable damage source though.
Heat Lens – 3.5
Unlike other discard effects in the game, this one is hard to remove because it’s on a relic. It’s also repeatable. It also lets you look at their hand. Creature decks don’t want this as much because they’d rather spend energy building their board than not affecting it at all. However, creature-light spell decks love this card because it gives them game against their biggest weakness by shutting down speedy threats like Warrior’s Boots before they hit play.
Magam’s Ring – 4
Good protective card. 2 energy to re-play a 4-energy creature is fantastic. Even a 3-energy creature is good. Just make sure you’ll turn a profit on this and it’s pretty great. Also, it gives you one additional blocker in front of your magi’s face.
Magma Armor – 2.5
You’re probably dying through this anyway. Ashgar variations and Sinder, Apprentice appreciate this card though.
Molten Gauntlets – 1
Why does this cost 3? Also, there are plenty of games where Heatstroke will never trigger. Also, it’s a nonbo with your own Giant Arboll.
Rod of Coals – 1
Cald has so many other efficient ways to do this, what are you putting this in your deck for?
Scroll of Fire – 5
This is the best card in the entire region. Pyromancy basically has the text: “Every card in your deck is now better at doing the thing it does”.
Sinder’s Mantle – 3.5
Omen of Fire is insane. This is the biggest payoff for playing a Cald deck that wants to attack things, and it is a very real payoff at that. That said, the combination of the Burnout effect and the fact that Cald Attack decks aren’t great (at least until Daybreak. I’ll do a Daybreak review last) moves this card down to a 3.5.
The Last Words – 3.5
In days of yore, I thought this was a better Scroll of Fire. Thankfully, the community turned me around on it. First of all, the 2 cost is very real. Secondly, “Your Spells, Powers, and Effects can not discard energy from opposing Magi” is a very detrimental text. It means that you have to actually attack them to kill them, and so your deck must be set up in a very specific way that allows you to do that. This version of Pyromancy is undeniably powerful but also very limiting, and is probably best as a one-of or in a very singular deck.
Scroll of Fire
The Last Words
Disc of Inferno
Rod of Coals
Bombard – 2
Not good enough by itself at all. You’re actually losing energy 50% of the time. Support synergies help this card more than others, but its high cost and the fact you need the synergies in place in order to want to play this means it’s just nowhere close to worth it.
Brushfire – 4
Every Cald deck should play at least one and probably two. The ability to always have access to a Brushfire cannot be overstated. Again, Cald is bad at drawing cards and you have to make the cards you do get go a long way. This goes a really, really long way.
Crushing Heat – 4
Turning off magi and relic text is pretty dope. It’s a Crushing spell in a region with direct damage synergies. You’ll want to play this.
Fire Ball – 2
This is the baseline and it isn’t good. Crushing spells are a 1:1 rate but they have huge upside. This doesn’t, costs an entire card, isn’t repeatable, and generally has no utility whatsoever beyond hitting magi. There are countless other ways to do this for cheaper or better in Cald.
Fire Flow – 2
Moving the energy from your magi means this is energy disadvantage. I can’t come up with a scenario where that rate of return is worth it. Perhaps the combo players in the community have found one. If so: tell me about it!
Firefly Swarm – 3
I love this card too. It’s fun and has a unique effect. It’s just not incredible at anything.
Flame Control – 3.5
Here’s a combo card if I’ve ever seen one. I’m rating it at a 3.5 because I’m certain someone has done something nutso with it but I don’t know what or who.
Flame Geyser – 3
Really only sees play on Ashgar because it’s too expensive and basically kills you when you cast it. This is how you transition from Ashgar into your next magi when you’re done with him.
Flame Spurt – 2.5
I mean it discourages things from attacking you but not by a whole lot.
Gorgle’s Gift – 4
This card is great. As with all the Gift spells, you want to find ways to turn the creature bounce into an advantage. In this case, you get to save a low-energy, high-value creature, such as a Giant Arboll after it has used Healing Flame, for another use. You can also just bounce your Arbolit over and over because everyone starts with that guy.
Lava Blast – 2.5
Really only interesting in multiplayer… which no one plays. I used to play multiplayer a lot, and it’s quite fun actually. In one-v-one games, this does slightly more than nothing.
Lava Flow – 2
It’s a Fire Ball that can kill Burrowed creatures instead of hitting magi. It can’t kill a Granas though.
Searing Touch – 3
You need four creatures out, then a relic (preferably one that costs zero) to make this truly worth it. Even when you have these conditions met, the payoff isn’t that big. I think it’s cool and fun but not more than that.
Singed Pride – 3
This is a funny card that they can and will play around but it’s fun and can punish people for good play.
Spark – 2.5
This is a 2-for-3. Meh.
Spirit of Cald – 2.5
This ability costs you two cards and the price of including this in your deck. They just killed you. They don’t have to play a lot of creatures to their field, and this will therefore probably not be that good.
Spirit of the Flame – 3
It combos with Nara. That means you have to play Nara. It also puts Cald creatures into your discard pile for Cinder Hyren or whatever other shenanigans. Mostly, cards in Cald are not so easy to come by that you can afford to spend them in this manner.
Sulfurous Spirit – 3
At its best this is a 2-for-4, which is good. Sometimes you can’t play it because the cost is prohibitive.
Syphon Vortex – 5
If you’re playing this card straight-up, it’s fine but not amazing. This is the only Cald spell that you can regularly do silly broken stuff with. That high power ceiling makes it the best Cald spell.
Thermal Blast – 3.5
You break even 67% of the time just on spec and there are a lot of ways to make it better than that. Both high- and low-rolls with this card can be game-breaking.
Wildfire – 3.5
Here’s your big AOE spell. It needs a minimum of three enemy creatures but that’s a relatively low bar a lot of the time. With support it does really shine. As opposed to Flame Geyser which kills you too.
Spirit of the Flame
Spirit of Cald