If you’re like me, then you will be having an absolute blast with the current Standard environment. Although there are the ‘top decks’ that you will inevitably come across, you can play a wide variety of builds and still have a decent chance of doing well even in the more competitive events. I myself have had a lot of fun brewing decks for the current format, from Vampire Elephants to Mill, the sheer number of decks that you can build and find success with is certainly large. However, no matter what I end up brewing I almost always find myself going back to one of my first loves, mono-red, or Red Deck Wins.
An archetype that will always be somewhat viable, RDW is one of the fairest strategies in all of Magic. It doesn’t try to do anything clever or sneaky, it simply does its best to reduce an opponent’s life total from twenty to zero as quickly as possible. Easy to learn but difficult to master, aggressive red decks are a mainstay in many formats and probably always will be. In fact, Mono Red is currently one of the most played decks in the standard format, seeing top table representation in many recent tournaments.
Using the powerful synergy between Runaway Steam-Kin and Experimental Frenzy, the deck can chain multiple burn spells in a single turn, and utilizing this combination the deck can win games very quickly if left unchecked. Throw a couple of Rekindling Phoenixs into the mix and a playset of Goblin Chainwhirler and you have a deck ready to take down an RPTQ or even a Grand Prix. Despite all of its strengths, the power of mono-red comes at a cost – quite literally in fact, as cards like the Rekindling Phoenix can (and will) set you back a pretty penny.
But what would you say if I told you can put together a standard mono-red build at a price less than the cost of a single copy of Teferi, Hero of Dominaria? And what if that deck could be built for around two tix on magic online? But wait- there’s more. What if the deck was actually powerful and was capable of fighting toe-to-toe with decks whose cost dwarves its own? Well then, today’s deck tech will be right up your alley.
4 Fanatical Firebrand
4 Ghitu Lavarunner
4 Electrostatic Field
4 Viashino Pyromancer
4 Lava Coil
4 Lightning Strike
4 Wizard's Lightning
4 The Flame of Keld
3 Sentinel Totem
4 Diamond Mare
4 Fiery Cannonade
4 Fight with Fire
This budget version of mono-red has a lot in common with it’s powered-up kin, containing most fo the staple cards we have seen played on the top tables of big tournaments. The main difference is that this deck doesn’t contain any rare or mythic rare cards, which dramatically reduces the cost of the deck. It also makes it very easy to build in Magic Arena as it can be built without having to gather a bunch of rare/mythic wildcards. But what do we run if we’re not running Chainwhirlers and Experimental Frenzy?
Well, lots (and I mean lots) of ‘damage amplifiers’. These are cards that increase the damage output of our creatures and spells, turning them from effective to downright brutal. In our deck these take the form of Electrostatic Field, Guttersnipe, and The Flame of Keld. Electrostatic Field and Guttersnipe add damage to all of our burn spells, hitting our opponent for one or two damage, respectively, with each cast. This is very relevant against control decks as the spells don’t have to resolve to still dome our opponent.
The Flame of Keld takes the place of Experimental Frenzy in our deck and does a very similar job in providing card advantage at the cost of the cards in our hand. It also does double duty and gives us an explosive turn of damage which can easily close out a game via its third chapter. Team up with a Guttersnipe and a The Flame of Keld with three counters, and a single Shock goes from two damage to an obscene seven damage for a single red mana. Now tell me that doesn’t sound like something you want to do.
The rest of the deck is a pretty standard affair, with Fanatical Firebrand, Ghitu Lavarunner, and Viashino Pyromancer filling out our creature slots, and playsets of Lava Coil, Shock, Lightning Strike, and Wizard’s Lightning making up the other non-creature spells as burn and removal when we need it. Throw in twenty Mountains and that makes up your mainboard. For the sideboard we have a few cards to help out against certain bothersome matchups. Sentinel Totem keeps decks like G/B Midrange from recurring their threats, Diamond Mare helps us stay ahead in the mirror while Fiery Cannonade handles token and go-wide strategies. Finally, Fight with Fire helps us deal with Lyra Dawnbringer and other larger threats that can ruin our day.
And there you have it! Budget RDW for Guilds of Ravnica standard. The deck is super cheap and surprisingly powerful, being able to go toe-to-toe with the top tier decks during my testing. If you do decide to give it a try, let us know how you get on in the comments down below, and don’t forget to like and subscribe to keep up to date with all we do here at Master of Magics. This weekend a bunch of us will be heading over to Magic Fest Liverpool, so if you are planning on going yourself please feel free to come by and say hi. Until next time then, good luck have fun!