Removed From Game – The Twelve Decks of Christmas #2: Mono-Red

StarCityGames.com 10K Open - Los Angeles

Tuesday, December 29th – Put on your party hat, pull a cracker, and join Rich on a festive tour of a dozen decks in Standard. A great place for newer players to learn about the main components of Magic’s most popular Constructed format, with a deck a day for the next two weeks.

How did you find playing with Jund yesterday? See, one of the things that most people forget to tell you is that for everyone whining about playing against Jund, there’s someone on the other end having a whale of a time playing it. I trust you managed to pull off some foolish Cascade action, and that at least once you reduced your opponent to near-tears of frustration.

Today meanwhile, we turn our attention to something extremely streamlined. There are few decks around in any format that are more deliciously dedicated than this one. Here’s the list:

This deck can produce absurd draws, killing an opponent on turn 3. How? Turn 1 Goblin Guide, attack for two. Turn 2, another pair of Goblin Guides, attack for six, they’re at twelve. Turn 3, Ball Lightning, attack for twelve, good game.

You’re well within your rights to point out that finding three Goblin Guides that quickly is an unlikely scenario, but Goblin Guide into Hellspark Elemental into Ball Lightning is exactly what this deck is meant to do, and that combination leaves your opponent at five, with a 3/1 Trampler ready to Unearth and a 2/2 in play.

Of course, most decks will have a Path To Exile or a Lightning Bolt ready for your Ball Lightning, but you have to expect at least some resistance. Step forward Hell’s Thunder. Against Lightning Bolt it just shrugs, and against most of the potential blockers in the format, because it flies. Just as important, it comes back, just like the Hellspark Elemental, meaning they have to deal with it twice.

As for Plated Geopede, that’s the reason you have a full suite of eight lands that cause you pain in a Mono-Red deck that doesn’t need them. Essentially, they’re each a spell that reads: ‘Lose one life. Deal two damage to target opponent.’ At least, that’s what you hope they do, as Landfall gets to trigger twice, turning your humble 1/1 into a 5/5. Even laying a single Teetering Peaks turns it into a 5/3 First Striker.

Of course, you don’t want to run all this five-power goodness into a piddling little blocker, so that’s where your spells can come in handy. With eight instants that cost just one mana to deal either two (Burst Lightning) or three (Lightning Bolt), it’s not only cost-efficient to blow a blocker out of the way, but you should have mana spare for another attempt to shorten the clock.

As for the late game, which as far as we’re concerned begins round about turn 3, you ideally want to reach five mana. That’s the point at which Hell’s Thunder can be Unearthed, and Burst Lightning can be Kicked. Play a few games with this, and you’re going to find people conceding having laid two tri-lands, and with one of them still tapped. A massacre, in other words. Have fun burning people to a crisp, and then join me tomorrow for something from the other end of the spectrum.

Until then, as ever, thanks for reading…