Disclaimer: This article contains custom card designs. If you are a Wizards of the Coast employee you have my full permission to use any designs or ideas within this article without my explicit written consent or prior knowledge, or without giving me any sort of credit.I love this game and I want to help it in any way I can.
Eh, worth a shot.
So today, someone raised an interesting point on Mark Rosewater's (Magic lead designer) tumblr page.
He raises the obvious example that, overwhelmingly, these cards are just bad. The potential to lose what you were digging for in the first place makes almost every red looting spell (before Dark Ascension) not worth it.
I want to discuss the flip side of that coin, the flavor.
I feel that sometimes in concepting cards, especially in core sets, where they are less restricted by setting and culture, that Wizards falls back onto some of the more flanderized aspects of the colors.
In the case of red's random discard, the idea that red is the incarnation of chaos.
While effects that represent some form of chaos are indeed well within red's slice of the color pie, most of the best examples are those that benefit red in some way, by destroying something bothersome, or by forcing the other players to play by your rules. Discarding at random isn't chaotic, it's, well, stupid.
And while red is prone to living down here (points to the base of the head) in the impulse zone! It's by no means stupid. A red mage wouldn't ignore good advice given to it, and it surely wouldn't give away valuable resources given half the chance.
Now I feel there is one key exception to which the random discard works well; Insanity!(well, gambling makes two, actually, but I don't have an article for that, so you're stuck with this.)
The best example of this out right now is Desperate Ravings, you don't get to choose what to keep, because you're going crazy! Brilliant!
I think what I'm trying to say can be summed up rather succinctly; When a red card is given a random effect, it should be because it paints a picture, not because its red.
Here's an example I came up with: