Let’s face it, our shared hobby can sometimes be a little bit on the expensive side. Having to keep up with yearly Standard rotation can run you up a sizeable bill, and that is if you stick with only one deck. Things don’t get much better when we head to Modern. One of Magic’s most popular eternal formats, the initial investment can run upwards of $1,000 (about £780 for us in the UK), for a top tier competitive deck. But luckily for you, there is hope out there for the more budget minded of us in the community. So today, we will be looking at a sweet budget option for breaking into the Modern format. What’s more this deck will be more competitive, so you can head straight down to your local FNM and have a good chance to win some boosters. So before we get started brewing Standard again with Hour of Devastation, let’s have a look at Modern Mono-Red Kiln Fiend.
Not too long ago, R/B Kiln Fiend decks were a popular archetype for those who wanted to finish up their games quickly. It was not unheard of for the deck to achieve a turn three kill, and so it won many games seemingly out of nowhere. Unfortunately, the deck suffered a major blow with the banning of Gitaxian Probe. The probe allowed many combat based combo decks to check if the coast was clear, before going in for the final swig. Sadly, since the loss of this valuable cantrip; the deck has slid down the pecking order, and isn’t as popular as it once was. However, there has been a mono red version of the deck making the rounds on MTGO, and it is pretty sweet.
Instead of using blue spells to draw fresh gas, this version of the deck goes all in on pump spells and combat tricks. The main win condition of the deck is of course the namesake, Kiln Fiend. At a 1/2 for two mana, the Fiend doesn’t look like much. But once we start casting one or two Instants and Sorceries, this little guy can get a whole lot bigger. The deck also runs two other creatures in the form of Blistercoil Weird and Monastery Swiftspear. Both of them benefit from our wealth of non-creature spells, albeit not as well as our Kiln Fiends does.
The deck is rounded out with sixteen Mountains and a lorry full of combat tricks. Brute Force, Mutagenic Growth and Titan’s Strength provide the pump package, while Assault Strobe and Temur Battle Rage can give our creatures Double Strike. We also run a playset Apostle’s Blessing to allow us to protect our creatures, or even give us an unblockable attacker. Finally, we run playsets of Desperate Ritual and Manamorphose to help pump up our creatures, as well as providing extra mana in order to cast more spells.
The sideboard is adjustable depending on your own meta, but the inclusion of some removal in the form of Lightning Bolt is always a good idea, and Smash to Smithereens for Affinity. Skullcrack works to counter life gain, and Dragon’s Claw is great against Burn. Finally, Young Pyromancer can provide an alternative win condition, allowing us to go wide if our opponent is playing a heavy creature deck.
I like this deck a lot. Not only can it be super quick, which can surprise many opponents, but since the deck contains no Rares or Mythics the deck is very affordable. You can pick up the entire deck for around $70 in the real world, (about £55 sterling). Having played it a bit online, I have found it very effective. Unlike many other mono-red decks such as burn, we are not as vulnerable to hate cards such as Leyline of Sanctity. This makes the deck far more resilient, which can be a pain for your opponents to deal with. The deck can be upgraded as you see fit, but I would consider some of your own Leylines to fight back against hand attack, as that is the key weakness of the deck.
But why not have a try at playing the deck yourself? Maybe you can add some other colours to your mana base, or different pump spells to better suit your needs. If you do try it out, get in touch and let us know how you got on, we look forward to hearing from you. But until next time, Good Luck and Have Fun.