With the release of the Dragon’s Maze set, Wizards of the Coast decided to only do one Event Deck per set. Now, all the value could go into one deck. The Dragon's Maze Event Deck was an instant success, with decent value in it. The deck included three copies of the useful token generating Lingering Souls, two copies of the popular Enchantment Rancor, Commander favorite Parallel Lives, and shock-land Godless Shrine.
For the Magic 2014 Core Set, the Event Deck was entitled “Rush of the Wild.” Not only did it provide the building blocks for a competitive Red/Green “Gruul” Aggro deck, but it had zero cards that rotated out of Standard in October 2013. This was very useful for newer players who were just getting into Standard at the time. With this deck, if you paid $20 or less for it, you basically made your money right back.
Let’s take a look at the creature line-up.
2 Burning-Tree Emissary
1 Deadbridge Goliath
2 Dryad Militant
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Ghor-Clan Rampager
2 Kalonian Tusker
1 Ogre Battledriver
1 Pyrewild Shaman
2 Rakdos Cackler
1 Rubblebelt Raiders
2 Skarrg Guildmage
1 Wild Beastmaster
1 Wrecking Ogre
Right off the bat, we have six rares! Also, back in 2013, Burning-Tree Emissary was a money uncommon. It’s still a good card now, even after being reprinted at common. Dryad Militant wasn’t money, but it’s a fantastic and playable uncommon in a wide variety of decks. The Militant still sees play in the Modern format.
Elvish Mystic is a functional reprint of Llanowar Elves, and a full playset has always been welcome to see. Ghor-Clan Rampager is another uncommon that sees Modern play, as well. The Rampager was a “money” uncommon when this deck released. There’s a full playset of them in here.
Other notable uncommons are Rakdos Cackler, Slaughterhorn, and Kalonian Tusker. Cackler and Slaughterhorn don’t really see play anymore. But Kalonian Tusker does still see play in Mono-Green Devotion decks in Modern.
Are there any good rare creature cards in the Magic 2014 Event Deck?
Frankly, there aren't many money rares in this deck, but some are worth a look. Deadbridge Goliath is a 5/5 for 2GG, which is in itself good value. Its Scavenge ability, while expensive, is also quite useful considering that you have some sweet combos with it within this pre-con.
Wild Beastmaster is a very nice aggro card. While she is fragile on her own, she can do a lot of damage if she’s big enough. She was a 3-of in top-tier mono-green decks, and was still considered a “bulk rare.” Plus, she is a great target for Deadbridge Goliath’s Scavenge ability; give the counters to Wild Beastmaster and swing out with a +6/+6 bonus to all of your creatures!
Rubblebelt Raiders isn't a bad creature, but it never saw much play because it’s a 4-drop. Hellrider was a strictly better creature in Standard for that mana cost at the time. But, Raiders is a card that can get scary in a hurry, especially if you have the ability to give it haste with a card like Ogre Battledriver.
Speaking of Ogre Battledriver, I've always felt he was underrated. Not having haste dissuaded aggro deck-builders from wanting to play him. Still, being able to give any other creature hitting the board +2/+0 and haste until end of turn is pretty significant. Wizards of the Coast seemed to include him in every Event Deck that they could for awhile. He just never really caught on in Standard.
Meanwhile, Pyrewild Shaman and Wrecking Ogre are okay Bloodrush creatures that are great for casual and Limited play. They aren't really the best options for competitive play, although both creatures are playable in Commander.
Are there any powerful spells in the Magic 2014 Event Deck?
Next we’ll look at the non-creature spells:
1 Armed // Dangerous
1 Clan Defiance
2 Flames of the Firebrand
1 Gruul Charm
1 Mizzium Mortars
Armed and Dangerous is a nice little Fuse card, especially considering that the two halves can target different creatures. You can give your best attacker +1/+1 and double strike, while making your opponent’s army block an Elvish Mystic for the LOLz.
Mizzium Mortars is a fantastic burn spell, even if it’s sorcery speed, mainly because it does four damage for only one and a Red. Plus, Mortars has a sweet overload ability that can murder an opponent’s board. It hasn't aged well, but it was a very good card at the time.
Gruul Charm is a nice little utility charm, even if not the best of them. One of its options makes me scratch my head: gain control of all cards you own? People stealing your creatures for a turn is a thing, but it always seemed a bit too situational to me. But, the other two modes are nice. Deal 3 damage to all flyers and make no ground forces able to block for a turn. Pretty solid card, honestly.
Sadly, when it comes to burn cards - often a key part of aggro decks - Flames of the Firebrand and Shock are the best this deck has to offer. Anyway, Flames of the Firebrand, despite costing 2R, can ping up to three things; against the right board state, that's pretty devastating. Shock is only 2 damage, which doesn’t kill a lot of the things you would need to kill with it. Still, it's always been playable in Standard.
So, direct damage and burn spells are places the deck can very cheaply be upgraded. Fortunately, at the time, Theros would bring back Magma Jet and provided us with Lightning Strike. These were easy replacements if you wanted to upgrade this deck right away. Of course, now there are many new options to upgrade this deck.
Lastly, I would like to make an honorable mention for a rare that I particularly loved at the time,
Clan Defiance. It didn’t get much love because a sorcery speed burn card doesn’t really fit into an aggro deck. However, it can kill three things! The best part is, you can do just one or two of those things. In the right situation, this card can kill two of your opponent’s best creatures, AND hit them in the face! I’d play one or two of these just to win out of nowhere. It’s a very underrated card, but it's really only ever seen play in Commander, where it's actually super powerful.
Does the Rush of the Wild deck have a good mana base?
Now the mana base:
4 Gruul Guildgate
1 Rogue’s Passage
1 Stomping Ground
OK, Guildgates are neat. But, in aggro, they are not exactly what you're looking for if you can help it. Temple of Abandon from Theros, even though it comes into play tapped, at least gives you the Scry 1. The Stomping Ground is awesome value, though. This deck was a nice way for players to get this highly sought after land for Modern. Rogue’s Passage is also neat tech to slip one of your double striking big guys in for the kill.
What does the sideboard of the Magic 2014 Event Deck contain?
2 Act of Treason
3 Annihilating Fire
2 Gruul Charm
1 Savage Summoning
The sideboard is solid, if not incredibly inspiring. These sideboards were a nice feature of these Event Decks, and there are a couple of great cards here. The Skullcracks are obviously amazing against life-gain effects, and are valuable uncommons nowadays.
Annihilating Fire is extra removal. Naturalize is, well, Naturalize. Enlarge is not as good as Overrun, but played on Wild Beastmaster is pretty fun. The extra Gruul Charms may come in handy, as well, and Act of Treason can steal your opponent’s best creature to use against them in an alpha strike.
The most interesting card here is Savage Summoning, a rare card that received tons of hype upon its release. Since, it has only seen some fringe play, as it never proved to be much of a game changer. Still, it has a nice effect that can be useful in control match-ups. Also, flashing in a Wild Beastmaster on their turn is always useful. Flashing in, anybody, really, and it is a nice little trick… But yeah, it’s best against control decks, not really much else.
What’s the final verdict on the Rush of the Wild Event Deck?
Overall, back in 2013, if you’re were just looking for a shell for a red/green aggro deck, this was a good buy. If you were a newer player, it was best to just hold onto the stuff, since it was all still playable for another year. At the time, the Stomping Ground alone made your money back, and all of the other cards were just a bonus. This was one of the best value Event Decks Wizards has printed since Verdant Catacombs was in the Vampire Onslaught Deck!
This is a playable deck out of the box. But, it is better if you buy a second copy to supplement the existing Dryad Militants, Burning-Tree Emissary, and additional copies of Wild Beastmaster, Ogre Battledriver. Of course, a second Stomping Ground never hurt anyone.
Even now, you can find copies of the Rush of the Wild Event Deck for under $15! It's still worth buying simply for the Stomping Ground and value uncommons. It's one of the best value Event Decks around, without a doubt, and it’s still fun to play at the kitchen table!