Janky Brews: Mono Red Devotion for Historic

You ever looked at a card and thought “I can build around that”. Or forced through an architype despite everything telling you that it was a terrible idea, only to discover that despite all the odds it actually works! That my friends, is the joy of been a Janky Brewer, the deck building rebels of the Magic world.

In this series of articles, we aim to shine a light of those decks and the people who brew them. To kick things off I’ll be sharing a deck that I brewed up one night while perusing my collection on Magic Arena. A deck that plays to my strengths as a Magic player, all be it in a slightly unorthodox way. Today, we will be seeing what happens when you play suboptimal cards in the hope of winning with the aid random Jump Start uncommon. So let’s have a look and see if we can make Mono Red Devotion a reality in Historic.

The key card of the deck is Fanatic of Mogis. This 4/2 Minotaur from the original Theros block is kind of like the unpopular cousin to Gray Merchant of Asphodel, been able to dish out damage equal to your devotion to Red without the benefit of gaining life from the exchange. Now while this is defiantly a down grade from the all star that is ‘Gary’, it does have the benefit of been in the most aggressive colour. This mean that Fanatic of Mogis will probably not have to pull all the weight, and can be supported by an aggro pack of creatures.

To achieve this, we want to include a mix of aggressive creatures and high ‘pip’ cards to help push the devotion count up. Starting as we always do, let’s look at the 1 drops first. Fanatical Firebrand is a classic hasty one drop that doubles up as removal against any pesky X/1’s. Next up we have Skirk Prospector, which while not an immediate threat like it few goblin, can be useful at ramping out into more powerful creatures.

Speaking of ramping up, Runaway Steam-Kin works to add extra mana to our pool once it is pumped up enough, or just as a beat stick should we require. Our next two, 2 drops help pump our devotion count with full playsets of Ember Hauler and Wily Goblin. Ember Hauler not only adds two pips to our count but works as removal should the need arise. Wily Goblin on the other hand helps us ramp up with the treasure it generates, and since both of these are goblins, they can be sacrificed to Skirk Prospector for addition ramp.

Moving up to the 3 drops we have a playset of Goblin Chainwhirler and Anax, Hardened in the Forge. Chainwhirler is one of my favourite creatures from Dominaria Standard, winning me many games either with its beat down potential or by sweeping away X/1 blockers for an alpha strike. It also adds three to our devotion count and is on curve for Fanatic of Mogis. Anax on the other hand is the other devotion payoff we have, acting as a huge threat and removal insurance.

Finishing off our creature package we run a playset of Fanatic of Mogis and three copies of Torbran, Thane of Red Fell. We have already talked at length about Fanatic of Mogis, but it’s important to remember not to rush to play it on curve unless it is your only play. Instead, hold off and play Torbran or other high pip count creatures to maximise your potential damage. Speaking of Torbran, the dwarf lord is a game ending threat in his own right, able to boost the damage you can dish out. It can also help make your other damage source more effective, which can be back breaking for our opponents. Believe me, there is nothing quite like casting a Chainwhirler and seeing it deal out a one-sided Anger of the Gods.

The last non-land card in the deck is three copies of Embercleave to act as an instant speed win condition, especially if we attach it to Anax of a big swing. When it comes to lands, we can either go budget and run twenty-two Mountains, or go a little bit more spicy and add some utility lands like Ramunap Ruins or as I am doing with Castle Embereth.

Creatures (35)
Skirk Prospector
Fanatical Firebrand
Ember Hauler
Wily Goblin
Runaway Steam-Kin
Anax, Hardened in the Forge
Goblin Chainwhirler
Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
Fanatic of Mogis

Artifacts (3)
Lands (24)
21 Mountain
Castle Embereth

Sideboard (15)
Lava Coil
Roiling Vortex
Shredded Sails
Phoenix of Ash
Tormod's Crypt

When it comes to the sideboard, we have a lot of options, but I like to start things off with some targeted removal. Lava Coil is a decent option that exiles the damaged threat, while Shredded Sails helps take out flyers or artifact as is needed. Roiling Vortex helps stop life gain and punishes decks like Tibalt’s Trickery while pinging our opponents over the course of the game. Phoenix of Ash is a great recuring threat that can avoid ground-based blockers, while Tormod’s Crypt takes care of our opponents recurring threats.

And that is Mono red Devotion for Historic. What do you think about today’s deck? Is this the kind of random brew you would like to play? Or have you a different janky deck you want to try out? Please let me know in the comments below, and while you’re there you could like and subscribe to keep up to date with all we do here at Master of Magics.

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