Has Mono-Red Aggro❄ Overtaken Mono-White Aggro❄ In Kaldheim Standard?

Is Mono-Red Aggro❄ the deck to beat in Kaldheim Standard… or not even the best aggro deck in the format? Five SCG creators say what they’d play.

Rimrock Knight, illustrated by Chris Rallis

Welcome to What We’d Play! With the arrival of Kaldheim, many are unsure what they’d play in Standard. That’s where we come in and let you know what we’d play and why we’d play it. Hopefully this advice aids in your decision making for your next Kaldheim Standard event!

Shaheen Soorani — Azorius Control

Azorius Control in all formats is still a go!  I wish I could kick this Doomskar fever, but I simply cannot.  The number of times I have used a sweeper on Turn 3 has been minimal; however, the altered play patterns of my opponents were common.  Fewer committed threats to the battlefield, and more time for control to dig itself out of a life loss calamity, have been the effects of Kaldheim across the competitive formats.

Although the removal in Azorius Control is weaker than that of the competitors, there’s no debate on the late-game.  The sweepers, universal answers, and threats are all highly impactful, making this list an easy choice for the weekend.  I have written some about Esper Control, showcasing the superior removal inclusion with a slight hit to the manabase.  That’s a route I may go, but for now, Azorius Control has a strong gameplan against fast and slow decks alike.

Ari Lax — Naya Adventures

I played Gruul Adventures yesterday in the SCG Tour Online $5K Kaldheim Championship Qualifier to maximize my time between rounds of the Arena Open, and I quickly regretted the absence of Showdown of the Skalds and Giant Killer. Maybe less so since I did get the max seven wins in the Arena Open, but my $5K result took a hit. Naya remains the truth for classic Adventures lists, and I love Dom’s decision to lean into aggression and replace The Great Henge with Showdown of the Skalds rather than Embercleave.

I did play Kyle Boggemes’s list, which meant I was playing with Arni Brokenbrow for the first time. I did not regret that decision and neither did Dom. People are doing stupid stuff like playing Unleashed Fury and instead you can play an actual creature that basically does the same thing. When people respond to the Kazuul’s Fury combo version of Naya Adventures and play stacks of removal, classic Naya Adventures will keep up the same level of pressure and have good cards instead of bad.

Autumn Burchett — Mono-White Aggro❄

With my MPL and Rivals League Weekend on the horizon, I’m left unsure of the correct deck to register. There are a lot of powerful, proactive decks in Kaldheim Standard, and whilst they all have their various edges, it’s not clear that any one of them is actually ahead of the field. It really does feel like, as long as you’re attacking, you’re doing at least something right at the moment.

All that said, if I were forced to choose a deck right now, I’d find it hard not to register Mono-White Aggro❄. The deck can curve out with the best of them, putting real pressure on the unprepared and punishing stumbles harshly. What’s really impressive about this deck though is its resilience, both in how much explicit and implicit card advantage the deck has access to and in how Maul of the Skyclaves and Sword of the Realms allow each small threat of yours to grow into something terrifying as your prior threats get answered.

I’ve not changed my Mono-White Aggro list since my article on the deck was published last Friday, and the only change I’m really toying with the idea of at the moment is potentially replacing a couple of copies of Maul of the Skyclaves with some maindeck copies of Lurrus of the Dream-Den. The thinking here is that, with many people upping their removal count to fight the rise of aggressive decks, it’s less likely Maul is going to stick, whilst the card advantage Lurrus offers, especially when combined with Selfless Savior or Alseid of Life’s Bounty to protect this powerful Cat Nightmare, can really punish opponents for leaning into spot removal too hard. I’m not confident in that change yet though and so have not committed to it in the above decklist.

Dom Harvey — Naya Adventures

Ari yelled at us all to play Naya Adventures last week, so I listened and I won a lot. The Gruul Adventures core has held up well despite gaining little from Kaldheim and I was very impressed with the white cards. Giant Killer is a premium removal spell that also unlocks clogged battlefields afterwards and makes Edgewall Innkeeper a good card more consistently.

Compared to cards like The Great Henge that require more setup, Showdown of the Skalds is more flexible and hedges against the exploitability of Gruul’s gameplan against cheap removal. Ari notes that Showdown ought to push your curve lower and Embercleave — the most powerful card left in Standard by many metrics — shares that incentive. As a result, this list forgoes expensive cards like Goldspan Dragon in favour of the full four Giant Killer and more cheap threats.

Glass Casket is another big reason to play white, answering Seasoned Hallowblade and Lovestruck Beast in a way Scorching Dragonfire and Fire Prophecy can’t. I wasn’t sure if Sultai Ramp (Yorion) would stay on top after the recent rise of aggro but it remains popular and its anti-aggro measures will have some splash damage against you so I’m trying Roiling Vortex as a narrow but effective hate card and Reidane, God of the Worthy as a broadly applicable, disruptive threat.

Corey Baumeister — Esper Blink (Yorion)

Kaldheim Standard is on the move once again and this week’s hottest deck is for sure Mono-Red Aggro❄. This hyper-aggressive deck is punishing all of the Sultai Ramp (Yorion) players who are just trying to beat up on other midrange decks. That’s why I think it’s a perfect week for white-based exile removal to rise back up to its rightful place at the top.

Esper Blink (Yorion) has always been great at dealing with other aggressive decks like Gruul Adventures and Mono-White Aggro❄ but has real struggles with Dimir Rogues and Sultai Ramp (Yorion). The good news for us is that when Mono-Red Aggro❄ numbers go up combat Sultai, Dimir Rogues’s popularity will go down as it’s not a good matchup for those archetypes.

I would expect to see a very good showing from this archetype for the MPL/Rivals League this weekend. If you want to see this deck in action, check back on Wednesday for my Droppin’ Baums!