Mtg Stone Rain

Ah yes… It’s the classic Stone Rain. This common red sorcery is the defining card for red’s land destruction theme if only because it is so ubiquitous. In fact, it has been with Magic the Gathering in every core set from Alpha all the way to the Ninth Edition. Various other sets such as Ice Age, Champions of Kamigawa, Mirage and Tempest have also included it. Interestingly enough, it is also one of the few cards to have seen print in all three Portal Editions.

For the more modern player though, Stone Rain may seem like an overly simple spell. Simply pay its casting cost of two colorless mana and one red mana and watch it destroy one target land. Yet it is this design simplicity that allows it to be so friendly to newbies and still allow it to be useful to the more experienced player.

Stone Rain shines in both limited and constructed formats. Limited environments especially can make Stone Rain absolutely deadly especially when the card pool encourages players to go for multicolored themes. The humble Stone Rain may yet disrupt your opponent’s grand plans for almost everything in Magic the Gathering requires not only mana, but the right color of it. In that sense, Stone Rain will exaggerate any misfortune your opponent may have should he have a mana screw or insufficient lands in general in his opening hand.

Even when an opponent has a sufficient number of lands to reduce the effect of a Stone Rain, Stone Rain will still delay your opponent’s early game development. There may also be times when every mana counts well into the mid-game due to the activation and upkeep costs of permanents already on the battlefield. At the same time though, Stone Rain itself is very easy to cast due to it requiring only a single colored mana.

In constructed formats, Stone Rain can still do its job in just about any deck type. But usually, you will want it as part of a land destruction deck. Of course, nowadays there are plenty of other substitutes for Stone Rain that can do the job. But it is a testament to Stone Rain’s design and implementation that it is difficult to find a card that is strictly better than it. For example, Pillage and Vindicate are both more flexible and yet is more color rigid in their casting cost requirements. Apart from possibly blue, the other colors all have their own fair share of land destruction and Stone Rain is one of the more color friendly land destruction spells out there. Ice Storm, while similar, is generally more difficult to obtain and as such, Stone Rain remains as a favorite especially amongst casual players.

This author personally feels that Stone Rain will probably do best as part of a green/red deck. Green has its own weapons of land destruction as well as land manipulation. The option to get something like Llanowar Elves on turn one is also fantastic as it leads directly into a turn two Stone Rain. Splash the tiniest bit of white and you can even get Ajani Vengeant to set a deadlock on the game later on. Arbor Dryad, Wasteland and Rishadan Port can serve dual purposes. Note that in all these scenarios the color friendliness of Stone Rain makes it a fantastic option over many of its peers.

Sadly though, targeted land destruction strategies do not work well at all in free-for-all multiplayer formats. Just like disruption themes in general, land destruction is usually reserved strictly for duels. That is just the way these cards are designed.

Overall though, Stone Rain is a great card that is actually useful in a variety of settings without being ridiculously overpowered. The same cannot be said of many of today’s cards where power creeping seems to be the norm. While the once mighty Shivan Dragon has been supplanted by creatures like Steel Hellkite (a more powerful artifact version), Stone Rain still has its merits. Still, the decision not to include it in the more recent core sets may not bode well for Stone Rain and it may be possible that a strictly superior (read: broken) version of it may find print in the near future!