Sullivan Library – How To Make a Good Red Deck In Standard

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Friday, June 13th – By his own admission, Adrian only posted a “passable” record at Pro Tour: Hollywood. While he made a little money with his 10-6, he feels he punted two matches. His deck choice, however, was not a mistake. In fact, despite some kooky looking inclusions, he still feels it’s the best way to build a Red deck in Standard…

I only posted a “passable” result in Pro Tour: Hollywood. In the end, at 10-6, I ended up making a small amount of money — enough to cover my costs — but still, unspectacular in many ways. Sure, this record was sufficient to tie me for 38th place with Rob Dougherty ($1050), and also tie me for 63rd place with Antonis Fyssas ($520). For my part, the tie-breaks put me at 60th ($550), which, after all of my expenses for my trip, left me with a cool twenty bucks in my pocket after I got home.

I know that I’m disappointed. Not disappointed in the deck at all; far from it. Disappointed in myself, certainly. I know that in the first day of the tournament at Hollywood, I totally punted two matches, hard. I’ve used this description of the nature of my mistake a few times:

Imagine you have an important letter you want to mail. In front of you is a mailbox. In your hand, you have that letter. In the other hand, you have the stamp. You put the letter in the mailbox, and after you close the box, you realize your error: you forgot to put on the stamp.

The literal example of this is versus Merfolk, a good burn deck’s best matchup, came into play when I made this simple error. Versus a summoning sick Reejerey and an attacking Lord, I chump block with a 2/2, and after combat, Incinerate the Reejerey, with the intention of offing both of the Merfolk on the table. In response, he Unsummons his Reejerey, planning on simply losing his Lord. In response, I make the boneheaded play of poking his creature with a Mogg Fanatic and a Keldon Megaliths, wasting my turn, losing my goblin, and accomplishing nothing. In the face of my board, he barely manages to kill me, and a Mogg Fanatic still on the table, paired with a Megaliths, would have completely torn him open. Alas.

Before we go much further, let me present, fully, the deck I played at the Pro Tour, at Regionals, and what I would strongly recommend to anyone planning on playing in a Standard event.

Word of Seizing was Manabarbs at the Pro Tour; this was a mistake.

A note on naming conventions. Some people may remember my old decks, Chevy Blue, Turbo Chevy, and the deck Zvi Mowshowitz took to Pro Tour: Chicago, Chevy Fires. Whether true or not in the real world, “Chevy” was an old-school name that people that I worked on decks with would apply to “good” versions of decks that were out there, based on the following story:

When I was in high school, I was in cross country. One of my teammates, Josh, would always tell us stories about “Jeff.” None of us had ever met this guy, so we don’t know whether or not he was real, especially given how outlandish some of the Jeff stories were. In one such Jeff story, Josh told us how they were driving a truck down a steep road on a bluff when an incredible storm started. Jeff didn’t slow down, not even when he passed at high speed, another truck that was spinning around on the wet road, hydroplaning.

“Shouldn’t we slow down? Look at that truck! It’s hydroplaning!” exclaimed Josh.

“Nope,” grunted Jeff. “This here’s a Chevy. That’s a Ford. Bad design.”

Telling this story so pleased everyone involved in Cobra Kai, especially Scott Johns. “Yep, okay, this deck is ‘Chevy Fires’.” Most of you will still remember it as Zvi’s “My Fires,” but even he still refers to it as Chevy Fires.

So, in calling this deck “Chevy Red,” yes, essentially what I’m doing is calling every other Red deck a “bad design.” This is a pretty large charge. I’m going to go into what it is that makes this so, first by exploring the Red decks that were in the Day 2 of the Pro Tour that I feel were purely “worse.” This doesn’t mean that they were so bad that they couldn’t succeed, of course. Merely that they were not as well put together. If we look at Chevy Fires, for example, the majority of Fires builds in that Top 8 would be called by those of us on Cobra Kai “bad,” and Zvi did so explicitly after the Pro Tour. I think we made our case way back then, and I’m going to make that same case now.

Here are the players playing Red who made Day 2, and my rough estimation of their Red archetype:

Andre Coimbra — Sligh
Mario Pascoli — Sligh

Guillaume Cardin — Red Deck Wins
Adrian Sullivan — Chevy Red
Antonis Fyssas — Magus Burn
Per Nystrom — Magus Burn

Anthony Ferraro — Straight Burn

Filipe Constancio — Magus Burn
David Irvine — Demigod Burn
Chad Kastel — Demigod Burn
Chris Nighbor — Sligh

Luiz de Michielli — Magus Burn

I’ve eliminated Red/Green lists and Red/Black lists for simplicity’s sake.

It becomes clear, especially if one reads Andre Coimbra report from the Pro Tour, that there is something to this basic idea run by Coimbra and Pascoli, of running a curved base of attack, and following it up with burn. These two, along with Wisconsin’s Chris Nighbor (who co-designed the Red deck piloted by Evan Erwin), run eleven or twelve one-drops, maxing out issues of curve. Of these three, the only one that makes sense to me, in and of itself, is Coimbra’s version, (Pat) Sullivan Red. So, what is it that doesn’t make sense to me about Nighbor’s or Pascoli’s list? It’s Tattermunge Maniac and Lash Out, and these cards are shared with nearly every other list.

On Tattermunge Maniac

If you ask me, you have to have a lot of incentives to be playing this card. This is a format, going into things, where we expected that the major decks were going to be Faeries, Elves, Merfolk, Reveillark, and Doran, with some degree of Red in there. And, pretty much, that is what showed up. Going into Regionals, we could also add on Stuart Wright Stoken Tokens. In either case, it seems to me that playing Tattermunge Maniac is largely going to be an exercise in hoping things work out well.

For each deck, even Faeries, there are an abundance of blockers that can stick their neck in the way of a Tattermunge. When the Tattermunge works out is when you are in a de facto Aggro-Control space for a while, where you simply continuously blow out of the way every blocker that might hop in the way of the Munge. This can be a task that will work out, and when it does, you will note how fantastic that game went for you. But Tattermunge Maniac is not Jackal Pup, nor is it even Goblin Cadets. By being forced to attack every turn, you are essentially often going to be forced to toss away your Tattermunge on the turn of the hat. Worse, a late game Tattermunge is nearly always a complete waste of time. Since you must often, then, hold it in your hand until it might be good, it also competes with your needs for mana in a turn where you’re probably going to be doing other things.

The only way that Tattermunge Maniac makes any sense is if you’re going to be able to have access to a lot of competing creatures that can attack and potential access to a card that can repeatedly gun down men. This is where Magus of the Scroll does double duty. But, conversely, this is a place where Magus of the Moon does not. Magus of the Moon is not a competing attacker, and thus, further weakens the Tattermunge.

Tattermunge Maniac is almost a sacred cow to the Red deck. But the problem with Tattermunge Maniac, as compared to Jackal Pup, is that it virtually always compels you to be spending your burn spells upon creatures. As anyone who has played Red can tell you, once you get to the point where you’re forced to direct your burn at creatures, you’re often stepping down the road where losses can occur. Coimbra’s deck is the only deck playing Tattermunge Maniac that seems at all rational, because the Munge is a part of twenty realistic attackers, and a full set of man-lands. The other nine players playing Tattermunge are, in my opinion, making a grave mistake. Even Coimbra board it out against nearly every matchup.

The False Lure of Lash Out

Lash Out, Lash Out, Lash Out. I’m going to make a big claim here: in Standard, there is no reason to be running Lash Out in the main of your aggressive deck. Maindecking Lash Out is a mistake.

The problem with Lash Out is simple: you don’t want to be running a Terror. Lash Out, in essence, is a conditional Terror with a conditional poke of damage added on for good measure. You can only Terror smallish creatures with it, and if your concern is to be doing something like that, there are many, many cards that you could be using for the same ends.

Some people like to make the claim that in a creature format (which this largely, clearly is) Lash Out is a better Incinerate. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The big advantage that Incinerate has is that it can be unconditionally aimed at someone’s face. People will often respond that when you get a Lash Out clash to work out in your favor, it’s like you got a ‘free’ Incinerate off. But you didn’t.

One thing to remember about a burn spell to the face, any burn spell, is that it is —1 Card Advantage. This doesn’t mean it is necessarily a bad play. But it does mean that you are making the choice to give up card advantage in favor of damage to the dome. Arguing that you’ve managed to get a ‘free’ Incinerate is a card advantage argument. But that actually doesn’t follow, since you have not in fact gained any card advantage, real, or virtual, or essential.

Going to the face can be completely critical. With Red decks, you are often in a top deck situation, or even an in-hand situation, where you can just send 6 to 11 to someone, and taking a —3 away from that can be the reason that you lose. Lash Out is a creature kill card, whereas other burn spells (which are in abundance) are potential face-domers. In many, many games, this distinction is critical, and in many matchups it is especially so.

What you are getting is a card that cannot do damage to the face unless you are lucky. If we look at an almost rational list, like Mario Pascoli’s, we can see what this means. Here is his curve.

0: 23 Land
1: 15
2: 10
3: 8
“6”: 4

His average casting cost, is, corrected for the required two land and the one Lash Out that we know needed to be there is ~1.4. This is lower than nearly all of the opposing decks you could expect to face. Further, ties are losses, as far as Lash Out is concerned. 38+% of the time, you will definitely lose, because you will reveal a land. At 41% of the time, you will reveal a one-cast or two-cast; versus, PV’s Faeries, you have a 51+% chance to lose that clash. If you do the math, you’ll see that you stand to win versus PV roughly 35% of the time. Against other opponents, it is worse. Versus, say, Jacob Van Lunen Red Green, you’re down to 34%. Heck, even a common Blue/White Reveillark deck puts you at 28% to win. Your average Lash Out, then, becomes this: “conditional Terror, plus do (maybe) 1 damage to your opponent”.

But, perhaps most quietly egregious is your inability to figure out how to measure the cost of a clash. Yes, it is the case that both you and the other player have the opportunity to increase your draw. Given that you both have quality decks, there should be a negligible difference in how your draws are improved (though if one of you is with a clearly better deck, this becomes less negligible). The difference is this: you spent the time. Sure, both of you are theoretically improve your position roughly the same amount, but you’re the one who took the time to make that happen.

Lash Out might be forgivable, then, on the basis of scarcity. In Block, for example, there really aren’t any solutions to the need for Lash Out in a Red deck, but this is a case of simply resources. Alternatives don’t exist. The only place where Lash Out makes any sense in Standard is in a mid-range or a controlling deck, where you are completely happy to have a Terror. In that situation, critiquing a card because it is “merely” a conditional Terror is not relevant, because that is, perhaps, all you want it to be. You can often identify these decks that are rationally using Lash Out by their lack of other burn spells or their inclusion of sweep effects. The Jacob Van Lunen deck is a great example of this, running both Firespout and a paucity of true burn spells. There, the choice is Lash Out because their plan doesn’t generally include burn to the face, because its resources don’t let it make such a plan, even if we substitute Incinerate. At the same time, a “Terror” that will maybe do an average of +1 damage to the dome is absolutely acceptable.

Other Cards

Those are the big two, but there are other cards that I didn’t include that many people chose to play.

Demigod of Revenge: Osyp had a list that he’d been kicking around that sported these, and I have to say, I just didn’t see the appeal. In order to truly support Demigod, it struck me that you’d need to run a full twenty-five Red-producing land. Yikes. The two Demigod guys bore this out, running just that many. And what do you get? You have a slower deck with some staying power, but you give up free wins that can come from Mutavault, and you force yourself into a higher curve where a Reveillark player or Faeries player may have already won. Meh.

Three-drops: There are all kinds of rationales for people’s three-drops. Sulfur Elemental, Fulminator Mage, Boggart Ram-Gang, and Countryside Crusher all have one major difference from the good three-drop, Magus of the Moon: they can’t win the game on their own in this format. Sure, you’ll have games where one of those cards just “gets there,” but far more often you’ll still have to work at it. This is not a format where you can pussyfoot around like that with your card slots.

The rest: Magus of the Scroll, Shock, Sulfurous Blast, and Shard Volley are the last cards that other people maindecked that I didn’t. Of them, I respect Magus of the Scroll and Shock. While Shock is underpowered, it is a role-player, and far more useful than Lash Out, for numerous reasons (cost, dome-ability, etc.). Magus, here, serves as a one-drop that can sometimes be a Cursed Scroll. I’d prefer numerous other one-drops, since I think the Cursed Scroll ability will rarely be useful, but I respect it. Sulfurous Blast is a mistake, I think. If you are playing Sulfurous Blast, that means you are either not running Magus of the Moon, or you are running at cross-purposes to your own Magus. This is unacceptable. Shard Volley is a card that seems to scream “The Game Can Not Last!” Well, sorry, but it will, a lot of the time. Giving up the two cards isn’t exciting. Worse, you still have to play the mana. This is not Fireblast.

Why I played What I Played

Some people that saw my deck openly mocked it. There was a good reason for that. Many of the cards just didn’t seem to make sense to them. I think they were seen as an attempt to “be different.” I could care less about being different for difference’s sake; I want to win. Each of the cards I played in my deck was an attempt to get closer to winning. I’m still very aggravated at my finish. I clearly pissed away two full matches, simply by being a terrible player. While obviously I don’t know that I’d have finish as well if I hadn’t been fighting in the Bad Player Brackets, I am pretty sure that I still would have placed highly. All of my testing in the aftermath of Pro Tour in preparation for Regionals backs that up.

There are the uncontroversial choices of my deck. Mogg Fanatic, Keldon Marauders, Magus of the Moon, Rift Bolt, Incinerate, Flame Javelin, and 23 lands is unlikely to bring up too many eyebrows. But what about the rest of the deck?

1 Kher Keep (and only 3 Mutavault)
3 Simian Spirit Guide
4 Sudden Shock
4 Browbeat
2 Orcish Librarian

What do these choices mean?

The Land

All of my playtesting had given me this conclusion: the deck wants to have 23 land. If you look at the Day 2 Red lists, you’ll see that that is the average played. Further, my testing was showing that I wanted no less than 20 lands that came into play untapped. In addition, my testing was showing that I wanted no less than 19 lands that produced Red. So, push comes to shove. Do I play 24 land, do I cut a Mutavault for Kher Keep, or do I cut the Kher Keep and run 4 Mutavault?

What it really boiled down to was the recognition of just how crazily powerful Kher Keep is. Whenever you have the time and inclination, you can make a crappy little 0/1 guy. What he represents is another block at some point in the future. What this ends up creating is a situation represented by this example:

The board is stable, and empty, and you have both depleted your resources. You have a Mutavault and a Kher Keep, and your opponent cast a Chameleon Colossus. At the end of their turn, you make your first Kobold. You draw, say go, and now they ask themselves, “Is it worth attacking just to kill that Kobold, and take a swing back of two?” Sometimes this is the question, and they don’t even know it. Perhaps they swing, eat a Kobold, and drop a man, only to have it burned out of the way, the Kobold replaced, and the Mutavault hit in for another two. Often the best answer is just to wait. In the meantime, you build up a small army of Kobolds, and each represents more time that you’ll have to draw the cards you need to win the game.

There is nothing correct about neglecting this card in your Red deck. Aside from the potential for Mogg War Marshals, there is no better card that you can run in the mirror (or versus many decks where blocking is a real possibility). The only thing that keeps you from running two (or even three) is that it is a Legend.

Simian Spirit Guide

Wow, do these guys ever rock.

The best way to talk about Simian Spirit Guide is to ask yourself, first of all, “Am I accelerating into anything that is truly relevant?” In this case, the answer is YES! Magus of the Moon, in many matchups, will result in a victory. Even dropping it a turn sooner can turn games into complete routs. Elves and Faeries are especially prone to this problem. What is a Faerie deck to do with a turn 2 Bitterblossom, if not cast it? They generally have nothing to fear from a Red deck on turn 2. If you come out and punish them with a Magus, that will usually end the game right there, barring a phenomenal serious of draws from them. On some occasions, you can sometimes even open up with draws that are largely unbeatable, like my Regionals draw of Turn 1 Keldon Marauders, Turn 2 Keldon Marauders and Mogg Fanatic. Yes, I was going to be at —4 card advantage when it was all over, but they were still at 10 before they had taken their third turn.

If you think of the card like a split card, it becomes all the more palatable.

0: Remove this card from the game, add R to your mana pool.
2R: 2/2

When you are a Red deck, sometimes, all you want is just another body. You don’t want to be flooded with this guy, so three is where you cap him out at. I know I stole many games with this guy at the Pro Tour and Regionals.

Sudden Shock

Split Second is nothing to sneeze at. Yes, it’s true that Sudden Shock is just Shock for +1 mana, but that isn’t all that there is to it. The “Sudden” aspect to the card can help you guarantee that a Scion, or a person, will die. Using it on a Perfect or a Colossus with two points of first strike damage already on it is fantastic. In order to actually play around Sudden Shock, your opponent will generally have to play in ways that aren’t normally efficient or rational. Given that you aren’t likely to actually be holding the card, it is more correct to usually not play around it, even if that will often mean unfortunate things happen.

Again, I know that I stole many games with this card at both events.


Browbeat is a bad card. But when did that ever stop a card from being played in a deck?

Bad cards are just fine as long as they are doing something rational. In this case, we’re talking about a format in which it is fully rational to have two cards do nine damage (Keldon Marauders and Flame Javelin). In a world like this, is there a clear, right call for how to handle a Browbeat?

Browbeat is bad when your opponent can simply transform it into a loss of tempo, with little risk of fallout. This is the case in largely creature-based decks. In such a deck, handing you either cards or sucking up damage can often be just fine. You need to translate those cards into damage. If your deck is more largely creatures, why then, you have a delay before those cards’ damage can be turned around. You really need to be playing a deck which can turn those cards back into damage pronto.

In those situations, what do you do? Do you give a person three more cards to burn you out? Do you just suck it up and take the five? If it is actually a hard call, you are presenting the kind of Solomon to your opponent that is akin to Fact or Fiction in that they can fully lose the game by making the wrong call. They don’t know your hand, and so it can be all the worse for them. If they misjudge it, that can be it.

Five damage is nothing to sneeze at. It is more than a Finks can recover from, and if you don’t bother to kill the Finks, it is a lot more.

Red has this problem where it can fizzle out. Browbeat provides a choice: let me hit you in the face really hard so I don’t have to make it much farther, or give me a tank full of gas.

Orcish Librarian

Ah, the mocked Librarian. Librarian, much like Browbeat, is a way to keep the tank full of gas. If you’re not convinced on Librarian, I urge you to read him. Here, I’ll help:

Now, get out your old Red deck that doesn’t run him, and just pretend to activate his ability a few times. You’ll see, quite quickly, that what you have here is a living Sensei’s Divining Top with a shuffle. If you’re not planning on using him, he can attack. In a pinch he can block. But, with that ability, it’s hard to lose games that you haven’t already lost. When you think about how he works, you’ll note that it is almost as though your hand size is reaching into the top of your library. You know what is coming up for several turns (if you want), and you can plan for it. Furthermore, you’ll find sideboard cards all that more easily, and any card that you might need to win the game all the sooner. Digging for a Magus of the Moon? Orcish Librarian sure makes it show up faster. Want to guarantee your land drops? Again, the Librarian will do the trick.

I don’t remember ever being decked by a Librarian, in all of the years it has been around. I came close, once, having only three cards left in my library, but I’d drawn so much gas that I far outpaced my opponent, and pulled out what looked to be a completely unwinnable game.


The current sideboard is incredibly close to the sideboard I ran at the Pro Tour, minus the terrible Manabarbs. Manabarbs can be great, in theory, but first you have to manage to get it into play, and you can only even attempt to do that if you’re in a position where that is advantageous (and you don’t fear it will get worse before you resolve the Barbs). This is kinda sucky. Here are the board cards I would recommend:

Everlasting Torment

This card is much maligned, but for no good reason. What people fail to realize about this card is that it is good against the decks you will bring it in against whether they draw life gain or not. The best part of the card is not that it stops life gain (though that is great), but that it gives everything wither.

Wither is completely crazy against Green decks. Green is expecting to be able to overpower you with creatures. Instead, they quickly find that even if a burn spell isn’t killing off a creature, it is practically neutering it. Especially in the face of some of the repeatable damage sources that will be available after board, and the first striking of Ghitu Encampments, an Everlasting Torment will leave their deck with few options in maintaining any kind of staying power. That it turns off the life gain (and persist) is really just gravy. Removing prevention, by that analogy, is giblets.

Jaya Ballard, Task Mage

Jaya is one of those cards that comes in against seemingly every matchup, but doesn’t belong in the main deck. Jaya’s whole role is to completely dominate the board. Until she is killed, she will make life hell for creatures. This puts her in the same space as Orcish Librarian and (in most matchups) Magus of the Moon as “must kill” creatures. If you have enough of them, one will stick. Jaya is so potent in some matchups (say, Merfolk) that an active Jaya is all but game in most instances.

Jaya has the important other ability of being able to convert dead cards into Incinerates. Yes, you’re planning on using that ability (and the quasi-Pyroblast, in some matchups) on creatures, but you can also just use it to go to the dome, and not worry about blocking. In a damage race, this can be incredibly key. Her Inferno ability, while rarely activated, is a huge threat.

Jaya also helps support both Everlasting Torment (as a repeat damage source) and Keldon Megaliths (as a discard outlet to activate Megaliths). Speaking of which…

Keldon Megaliths

Sometimes, you just want more mana. And sometimes, you want to be able to brush off all of the annoying creatures. And sometimes, you want an uncounterable damage source. If you want all of those things, so much the better, but Keldon Megaliths is happy to deal with just one…

Especially in combination with Jaya and Everlasting Torment, you can have a kind of inevitability that could give a damn about the life gain plan of many decks. When you get ‘the trifecta’ versus most Green decks, they are just doomed. Any creature that they drop out is going to be killed, if not immediately, than incredibly quickly, and if they don’t drop a creature, the free damage is going to go to their head. It takes a huge amount of life gain, dropped before the Torment, for it to even matter that they’ve gained life.

In any matchup where you’re going to have to plan to go to a mid- to late-game, Megaliths is a huge weapon.

Wild Ricochet

To understand the power of Wild Ricochet, you need only understand what is going to happen in some matchups. In Red on Red, they will cast Flame Javelin. Wild Ricochet becomes a 12 life swing, one from which it can be nearly impossible to recover. Versus Primal Command, things can be devastating. In the most common mode, the end result is that you will gain 14 life (and them 0), and you both will search for your favorite creature (yours will either be Magus or Jaya). In less common modes, their attempt to plow you under (usually to get rid of Everlasting Torment) will turn into Plow Under them. Heaven help them if they ever cast Profane Command — that is a recipe for their death.

Even when you’re not playing versus the correct Commands or burn, it can be occasionally a go-to card. While not a combo with Keldon Megaliths, it still represents a huge threat to an opponent’s plans. It is worth noting that you can Wild Ricochet your own spells just to make them into a Fork. One of my opponent’s got to learn this the hard way, when I did 19 damage to him between his end step and my main phase.

However, the most fun aspect of Wild Ricochet is the number of stories you get to tell when you cast it. I’d include some here, but this is already a pretty long article…

Word of Seizing

This ended up being my catch-all answer. Manabarbs was supposed to be the “I dunno what to do to you” card, and a threat to Reveillark. Instead, this role is now Word of Seizing, and to great effect.

Word of Seizing has a large number of potent powers. First of all, it can be a Split Second Threaten. This sounds unexciting, but in practice it often translates into enabling seven or more damage. It can also be used defensively to deal with an opponent’s big men. Here, it is possible to translate two Huge Men into two Dead Men, or at worst a poor Fog.

More importantly, it can answer Reveillark. So long as they aren’t running around with Gargadon suspended, you can steal a Reveillark before it leaves play, even when it is Evoked, and deny them the benefits of the Reveillark. This can be huge. There are far too many games where their entire game plan is leading up to the Evoking of Reveillark, and you can essentially Misdirect it, if only to recover your own Mogg Fanatic and random other guy. Your use of the ability doesn’t have to be good… simply not letting them have it is enough.

Finally, Word of Seizing can answer the unexpected. Teferi’s Moat is no longer a lock-out of your attack phase. A surprise permanent can be answered, regardless of what it was. Maybe you didn’t expect to see that Chandra Nalaar or Story Circle, or what-have-you. It doesn’t matter. Word of Seizing doesn’t care.

Why Play This Deck?

Simply put, because you have very little to fear from any opponent. Traditional Blue/White Reveillark is an absolutely terrible matchup (you have to start shooting their men, and then it all goes to hell), but the more modern versions are far less prepared for you. You have the advantage versus Faeries, Elves, Doran, Merfolk, and (as much as you can) the mirror. That’s pretty great. I haven’t playtested versus some of the Big Mana decks, and I imagine that they might be a difficult matchup, but even there, they don’t seem insurmountable.

Also, the deck is generally pretty fun, and fairly cheap, as far as decks go.

I know that I’ve played it a ton of times, and I never tire of it. There is something exciting about the feeling of casting these Red cards a touch early because of Simian Spirit Guide, or using Orcish Librarian to set up your deck. It’s exciting to get that Blue Fact or Fiction feeling out of your Browbeats.

For those of you who do choose to play the deck, here are the general sideboarding notes.

-4 Browbeat, -4 Rift Bolt
+3 Jaya, +3 Megaliths, +2 Word of Seizing

-4 Browbeat, -2 Keldon Marauders, -1 Simian Spirit Guide
+3 Jaya, +3 Megaliths, +1 Word of Seizing

-4 Browbeat, -3 Simian Spirit Guide, -1 Mountain, -4 Keldon Marauders
+3 Jaya, +3 Everlasting Torment, +3 Wild Ricochet, +3 Megaliths

-4 Magus of the Moon, -1 Mountain, -4 Sudden Shock
+3 Jaya, +3 Wild Ricochet, +3 Megaliths
(+2/3 Word of Seizing if you fear Big Creatures)

-3 Simian Spirit Guide, -1 Mountain, -4 Sudden Shock, -1 Rift Bolt
+3 Jaya, +3 Word of Seizing, +3 Keldon Megaliths

Big Mana
-4 Magus of the Moon, -4 Sudden Shock, -3 Simian Spirit Guide, -1 Mountain
+3 Word of Seizing, +3 Megalith, +3 Torment, +3 Jaya

If you’re looking for a Red deck to play, there are only two decks from the Pro Tour that aren’t irrational… this one, and Andre Coimbra deck. But mine is more fun! The choice is yours!


Adrian Sullivan

Special Bonus!

Here is the Elf deck I gave to one or two people for Regionals. It is based, in heart, on the massive amounts of playtesting that Owen Turtenwald did for Hollywood with his own Elf deck. I tried out Slaughter Pact in it, and was amazed by how crazy an impact it had on the deck. Occasional Pro Tour competitor, Madisonian Ben Rasmussen, used this deck to qualify for Nationals in Chicago, and Bennie Smith played it in his own Regionals, although to a much worse result (why oh why did you cut the board cards, Bennie!)

4 Forest
4 Gilt-Leaf Palace
4 Llanowar Wastes
3 Mutavault
1 Pendelhaven
2 Swamp
4 Treetop Village
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

1 Boreal Druid
2 Chameleon Colossus
3 Civic Wayfinder
4 Imperious Perfect
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Wren’s Run Vanquisher

4 Nameless Inversion
4 Profane Command
3 Slaughter Pact
4 Thoughtseize

4 Squall Line
3 Primal Command
3 Sudden Spoiling
3 Kitchen Finks
1 Chameleon Colossus
1 Faerie Macabre

Here are my short notes to Ben:

Squall Line is to dodge Damnation/Wrath and to BE Damnation/Wrath versus Fliers. Primal Command is for lifegain or to answer unanswerable non-creature permanents. Kitchen Finks is for lifegain and for beating down in a race (a la Faeries). Chameleon Colossus is for pro-Black. Sudden Spoiling is for Counterspelling Reveillark and for creature wars. Faerie Macabre is a Primal Command tutor target (in appropriate matchups).

This deck is incredibly powerful, and I also highly recommend it to anyone playing Standard.