The Pros and Cons of Ember Hauler

One of the exciting new M11 cards that seems to be a “goes straight in” for Red Decks is Ember Hauler:

Ember Hauler
Ember Hauler

Ember Hauler is efficient. He is a 2/2 for two mana, and unlike previously “good enough” Red two drops like Ironclaw Orcs or Goblin Raider (I actually remember having a conversation with Randy Buehler where he told me he made sure to have Goblin Raider in the Core Set to make sure Dave Price had a two drop), instead of a crazy drawback… it has a crazy superpower!

Goblin LegionnaireThere is a clear precedent for this card. Remember Tsuyoshi Fujita’s Extended Boros Deck Wins deck? The old man played four copies of Goblin Legionnaire.

Ember Hauler is like a Goblin Legionnaire that only has the “Red” ability.

Ember Hauler is clearly better insofar that you don’t have to play White to play it; plus, no one has ever played Goblin Legionnaire’s White ability in Constructed combat. No, never, not one time.

So: advantage Ember Hauler.

In addition, there are subtle plus-ones for Ember Hauler. Sure, neither one can run by a Silver Knight… But unlike the supposedly better Gold plated version, Ember Hauler can set up a Malakir Bloodwitch for a Searing Blaze instead of being ignored [like, you know, the White ability on Goblin Legionnaire].

Advantage Ember Hauler.

So if all those advantages weren’t enough, Ember Hauler costs two colored mana to play (same as Goblin Legionnaire), but unlike the Apocalypse Gold Goblin, Ember Hauler’s operating mana is colorless! So if you have a stray Tectonic Edge or whatever, you can funnel that mana into Ember Hauler instead of having to make sure you didn’t spend all your Mountains at the main phase candy store before passing the turn. This is probably going to be at least medium important for the “chump block that giant and deal to to your motherlovin’ face” phase of the Red v. Green matchup, as you desperately hope to draw burn before being overrun (or possibly even Overrun).

Advantage. Ember. Hauler.

So Goblin Legionnaire was good enough. Good enough in fact to Top 8 an Extended Pro Tour against Psychatog and Life from the Loam. By all early indications, Ember Hauler is just the better Goblin Legionnaire (minus the goofball eviscerated Healing Salve wannabe that no one ever played anyway).

So why does this blog post speculate on the “Cons” of Ember Hauler?

Other than the possibility of opportunity cost (the great Katsu Mori found room for only two Kargan Dragonlords, leaning on old school Hellspark Elementals on two, instead), there is just one:

No more damage on the stack.

Part of the reason Goblin Legionnaire was such a bruiser was that with damage on the stack, he was a 2/2 that could play like a 4/2 (or I guess in pretend unicorn land he could tackle the opponent’s x/2 and save two points of damage or maybe win some fight elsewhere). Ember Hauler lives in a different universe.

Who’d win, Hulk or Superman?

I mean any reasonable person would just say “Hulk” — and the fact of the matter is that the Hulk is the strongest one there is, and the Hulk writers say they wrote him to be able to beat up Superman if it ever came down to it…

But Superman is the poster boy of a different universe.

Can you have a conversation that includes both Hulk and Supes? Yes.

Will fanboys agree as to who would win this battle of biceps? No.

Does it really matter? Again no.

They are from different universes and don’t really meet under regular circumstances. That is the problem with Goblin Legionnaire and Ember Hauler. The new mono-Red guy seems like it might be better — certainly comparable — but because they exist / existed in such non-compatible environments, the comparison is almost moo (you know, like a cow’s opinion).

Snap Judgment Rating – Role Player


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#1 MTGBattlefield on 07.05.10 at 4:32 am

The Pros and Cons of Ember Hauler…

Your story has been summoned to the battlefield – Trackback from MTGBattlefield…

#2 DoctorPhanan on 07.05.10 at 6:19 pm

Ervin Tormos, quarterfinals of PT LA 2005. It was done once!

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