A new season of Magic has arrived and with it comes the rush to climb the competitive ladder and claim victory. Throne of Eldraine has brought with it many new and exciting cards, and the community is abuzz with a ton of different brews. Whether it’s people making Food a viable archetype, stoking the Fires of Invention, or even trying to make Happily Ever After a thing, it is fair to say that Standard will never be the same again. Today I wanted to talk about one of these new (ok it is not that new, but Torbran has pushed it up a tier or two) decks. One that is so explosive and aggressive that it can leave most other decks in the dust. Today, we talk about Torbran Red.
Now some of you may remember that I played a version of this deck during the sponsored Early Access Throne of Eldraine Streamer Event, and I had a blast swinging in for a ton of damage. However, since then I have tweaked the deck to make it more efficient. Taking a leaf out of Jessica Estephan’s book, I made some changes to my previous build and arrived at a list I believe could do very well during the next few months of Standard. So, without further ado, let’s have a look at the deck.
The main strategy of the deck is to take advantage of Cavalcade of Calamity and a steady stream of one-power creatures to apply increasing pressure to our opponent’s life total. Speaking of one power creatures lets look at a few. First off, hasting threats like Tin Street Dodger and Torch Courier give us immediate damage while Scorch Spitter brings along its own version of Cavalcade of Calamity, and Grim Initiate gives us some protection from wrath effects by leaving behind another 1/1 to take its place.
We also run a playset of Chandra, Acolyte of Flame to help add to the number of 1/1’s we can attack with. She is also great at grabbing a burn spell to reuse in a pinch if we need one to push the necessary damage on the ground or to burn our opponent’s face. We also team her up with Chandra’s Spitfire, which with a Cavalcade of Calamity on board can end games with a single swing. However, even with all the possible damage this deck can produce, it can sometimes fall a little short of the mark.
That is were Torbran, Thane of Red Fell comes in. With Torbran on the battlefield, all of our damage sources are increased by two, including our Cavalcade of Calamity triggers, which I shouldn’t have to tell you can get really obscene. Suddenly, that little 1/1 can deal up to six damage if left unblocked, and if they have a few friends (let’s say from a Chandra, Acolyte of Flame activation) then the game can quickly be over.
The rest of the deck consists of playsets of Shock and Skewer the Critics, as well as four copies of Light Up the Stage. Shock and Skewer are solid removal spells for small to medium-sized threats, but when Torbran arrives they become even more potent, likely becoming game-ending burn spells. Light Up the Stage, on the other hand, gives us card advantage, which is something an aggressive deck can always make use of. Add in nineteen Mountains and that fills out our mainboard.
4 Scorch Spitter
4 Grim Initiate
4 Tin Street Dodger
2 Torch Courier
4 Chandra’s Spitfire
3 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
4 Cavalcade of Calamity
4 Skewer the Critics
4 Chandra, Acolyte of Flame
4 Light Up the Stage
4 Reckless Air Strike
3 Mask of Immolation
4 Flame Sweep
For the sideboard we run a playset of Reckless Air Strike to handle both Artifacts and aerial threats, and run some sweeper in the form of Flame Sweep to deal with other aggressive weenie decks, as well as three copies of Mask of Immolation in order to push through damage when our opponent clogs up the board. Finally, I’m running a playset of Fling for the comical play of sacrificing a pumped-up Chandra’s Spitfire for lethal damage, but you could also play something more sensible, like Lava Coil if you don’t like fun.
And that is Torbran Red for Throne of Eldraine Standard. I’ve been having a lot of fun playing this deck on the Arena ladder, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up building it in paper for FNM. There are also some additional cards you could include in the deck if you want to increase its power level slightly. Castle Embereth can potentially replace four of your Mountains to add some extra power once you have emptied your hand of threats, while Fervent Champion could easily take the spot of another less impressive one drop creature. These are only if you want to tweak the deck and you shouldn’t feel you have to if you want to keep the deck more budget-friendly.
But what do you think of Torbran Red? Is it the kind of deck you want to play, or have you been excited by something else from Throne of Eldraine? Why not let us know about it in the comments below. 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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