Video Daily Digest: The Osbournes

Hey, don’t be afraid to go rogue at SCG Indianapolis! Modern is a format where you can find success on your own terms some weekends, and here is the latest case in point!

When Todd Stevens brewed a Skred Red variant that utilized the newly
printed Sarkhan, Fireblood, I was, to say the least, skeptical. To say the
most I was actively derisive of Todd’s pie in the sky vision of casting a
three mana looter in Modern as a means of improving a fringe archetype.

So, of course, as punishment for my mockery, the Magic gods unleashed Skred
Dragons upon the world through their chosen messenger, Ozzy Kelly. In a
Modern Classic that I’m sure was bigger than several of the Opens I’ve top
8ed, he took Todd’s ragtag bunch of firebreathing monsters to heights they
haven’t reached since we visited the plane of Tarkir years ago.

Here I am, eating a large plate of flame-grilled crow, taking a closer look
at a deck that has several positive things going for it.

First, the density of removal is going to make you good against creature
decks. Between twelve removal spells in the maindeck, seven sweepers
between maindeck and sideboard, and the abilities on Glorybringer and
Chandra, Torch of Defiance, it’s a tough task to get a single non-Kor
Firewalker creature to stick around long enough to attack. Skred and
Ratchet Bomb can handle larger creatures that red typically struggles with
while Lightning Bolt and Draconic Roar double as reach when you’re ready to
turn the corner.

Todd may have gone a little overboard on removal with this draft, but the
deck is always going to be removal-heavy so you’ll have a fair chance
against the Humans and Affinity decks of the world.

The next positive is how resilient the threats are. Glorybringer provides
immediate value, Thunderbreak Regent accentuates the reach spells, and
Stormbreath Dragon basically never dies to anything. I was surprised there
are only two in the list since I think Stormbreath has been a solid Modern
card without a home for a while now. If you want to cut back on removal,
adding more copies of it would be the first place I’d start.

Of course, the biggest knock on Skred Red is its lack of card selection.
It’s traditionally very reliant on its opening hand, and its primary source
of card advantage, Scrying Sheets, gets shut down by Blood Moon…Awkward.
But Sarkhan, Fireblood solves that problem with its looting ability, while
allowing you to ramp out your Dragons while still casting necessary
interaction. In long games, it even becomes a must answer threat itself due
to the potentially game-ending ultimate.

So maybe I was wrong. After all, Todd does have a history of innovating in
Modern. From Bant Eldrazi to G/W Company to Eldrazi Tron, he’s left an
indelible mark on the format. Perhaps this is just the next in line. I’m
sure Todd will let us all know in his article later this week.