Green is supposedly the "buff color" but arguably the best buff in the game is red

Elderwood Embrace and Gift of Steel are both +6 overall ATK/Life but at +3/+3 Gift of Steel is more aggressive than Elderwood Embrace while still giving a huge +3 Life boost. I can’t understand why Red would have a buff just as powerful as the best instant green buff. Worse yet, the life buff is limited to “combat” creatures making most other red creatures irrelevant.

After adding 3 Elderwood Embrace, green decks will usually resort to Tiki Caretaker or Ruunin’s Guidance which are both +2/+2 but Gift of Steel is a +3/+3 and Red can complement it with powerful removal that Green does not have.

It would almost be fine if “combat” creatures were offense-based as befits Red but completely contrary to this notion Underground Brigand is a 3/5, able to take down most low-faeria creatures and still survive, buffing it with Gift of Steel brings it to 6/8. This is enough to survive battle against a Collossus and Red can still destroy it afterwards with Seifer’s Wrath. Indeed, this is taking a lot of cards but the “Brigands” both “float” in the sense you get part of your Faeria back every time they fight and Red is already very good at keeping presence at the wells by using its removal, the other “combat” are all very tough as well.

My suggestion is to remove the Life buff from Gift of Steel (or make +2/+1) and if it’s equipped to a “combat” creature, it deals an 2 damage to your opponent whenever it fights OR gives you 1 additional faeria. This could help Red’s Burn and “float” themes without overlapping with Green as it currently does.

The +3 health being limited to combat creatures is a big negative. I’d say 2/4 is better than 3/3, too - but very slightly. If Elderwood Embrace was red everyone using red would take it over Gift of Steel IMHO.

+3/+3 is better than +2/+4

I’m not sure, you might be right. Here’s how I see it:
The chances you’ll need that extra +1 health to survive are similar to the chances you’ll need that extra +1 damage to kill your enemy. But extra health less is likely to be wasted then extra damage. I guess that both dying is usually better than both surviving though, so that might even it out some. And if you’re attacking gods the damage is better too. So I’m not sure. Depends on deck, of course.

Don’t forget green also having Gift of the Rakoa, which can provide some crazy buffs at times. Yesterday morning I had it give +8/+8 to a Grim Guard.
Requires obviously a lot more specific deckbuilding to be a workable buff, though.

Have been off playing for a bit, but my current deck is based around this - Battle Toads, Ultra Frog Tossers (often with Aurora’s Creation), and lotsa small ones. I have gone over +10/+10 quite a few times.