Zendikar Rising is here. Ravnica “block” and Core Set 2020 have rotated out of Standard, and we now have a new season of new decks to look forward to. As with the start of any standard season, the race is on for most players to find their week one deck. The deck they will be using to score victory after victory before the meta settles on the “best” deck and the ladder turns into an arms race to beat it.
Now I know a lot of people are excited about Omnath and Lotus Cobra and playing with all the colours of the rainbow, but not me. Whenever we hit a new Standard season I reach for my old faithful and play a deck that always sees my right. You all knew this was coming. Its time to see what Mono Red looks like in Zendikar Standard.
Now the main worry of Standard players is that when rotation hits, most of their favourite deck will be lost and they will have to start all over again. Luckily, Mono Red has survived rotation with most of its most powerful and popular cards intact.
Before rotation, the crux of RDW was a solid creature strategy. Backed up with Torbran, Thane of Red Fell or Embercleave to help finish up the game, the deck ran all stars like Fervent Champion, Robber of the Rich, Rimrock Knight and Bonecrusher Giant* alongside the Red Demi God Anax, Hardened in the Forge to overwhelm the board before playing one of its finishers for the quick win.
So, we already have a solid core of the deck still legal for Standard play. Now all we have to do is find some replacement cards for the ones we lost like Tin Street Dodger, and we are all set to go. Thankfully, Zendikar has some great additions for the deck.
First up we have the colour swapped Steppe Linx, Akoum Hellhound. A 2/3 attacker thanks to Land Fall, the Hellhound makes sure that even a land off the top of our deck is a useful draw. Not a great top deck in the late game but if all goes to plan, we should never get to the late game. Next, we have Fireblade Charger. A nice little one drop that is still useful in later turns thanks to Embercleave, this goblin also has the added benefit of been able to ping on death, allowing it to achieve some decent two for ones (or even ‘bolt’ our opponent if we have a Torbran on the field).
Lastly, we have a card no red play should be without. Spikefield Hazard. Now I know what your thinking. “James. That’s only one damage. Wouldn’t it be better to run Shock?’. To that I say, NO! This card is a must run and I’ll tell you why. Uro.
Your opponent loves Uro. It allows them to ramp and gain life, and you know it is coming on turn three. But they have to sacrifice it first and send it to their graveyard. Except no they don’t, because while its trigger was on the stack you pinged it for one damage and now thanks to Spikefield Hazard ability that titan has been sent into exile where it belongs. Now your opponent is crying salty tears and you are laughing at the top of your lungs “HOW YOU LIKE ME NOW”…
Sorry about that. That was very unprofessional. I just really hate Uro. But yeah, Spikefield Hazard is a legit card you should not be sleeping on. And since it can be used as a Land in a pinch to pump Akoum Hellhound, or become a Lightning Bolt with Torbran on the battlefield, it is even useful when your opponent isn’t running Uro.
Speaking of Lands, as well as a playset of Spikefield Hazard the deck runs a full complement of Castle Embereth and sixteen basic Mountains. The Sideboard is a work in progress but looks a little something like this. Tormod’s Crypt for graveyard hate, Thundering Rebuke and Redcap Melee for removal should we need it and Claim the Firstborn to pinch our opponents Uro’s and smack them back. Did I mention I hate Uro.
4 Fervent Champion
4 Akoum Hellhound
4 Fireblade Charger
4 Rimrock Knight
4 Robber of the Rich
4 Anax, Hardened in the Forge
4 Bonecrusher Giant
4 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
4 Spikefield Hazard
4 Castle Embereth
4 Tormod’s Crypt
4 Thundering Rebuke
3 Claim the Firstborn
4 Redcap Melee
And that about does it for Red Deck Wins for Zendikar Rising Standard. What do you think about today’s deck? Is this what you want to play, or have you a different brew 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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* Can we just take a minute to reflect on how good Eldraine