Hellion Crucible – A Magic the Gathering Card Review

Hellion Crucible is an interesting non-basic land in the Magic 2013 Core Set. It taps for a colorless mana, but it also can tap for 1R (1 generic, 1 Red) to put a pressure counter on it. Once it has two pressure counters, you can tap for 1R to remove those counters and sacrifice the Crucible to create a 4/4 red Hellion creature token with haste. Is that worth a total investment of six mana (3 generic, 3 Red), though? I wouldn’t think so.

It’s not terrible, though, for a non-basic land. If you have open mana on a turn to use on its pressure counter ability, it’s worth it. A 4/4 creature token with haste can help in certain situations, so it’s a nice utility card to have in a mono-red deck. If you have multiple copies of these in play, it can make for quite a predicament for your opponent having to suddenly deal with a 4 power creature that you didn’t actually have to cast.

Especially in Mono-Red decks, six mana can be used far more efficiently. Yet, despite not being the best card due to the mana investment, Hellion Crucible did see Standard play in Red Deck Wins back in 2012 and 2013. Some builds played a single copy while others played two copies. Even the occasional Rakdos Control or Jund Midrange deck would play a copy.

As is the case with many fringe Standard cards, Hellion Crucible would prove even more useful in EDH, especially in competitive Zurgo Bellstriker decks. Sure, that one creature is usually not going to make much of a difference in the battlecruiser format, but it’s not terrible as a mana-sink. Still, better Red lands have been printed since 2013, and Hellion Crucible has slowly been lost to time. In 2021, it’s a land you’re best off passing on.

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