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Four Shades of Standard Red


Hello everyone. Innistrad: Midnight Hunt officially enters Standard tomorrow, and Throne of Eldraine, Theros Beyond Death, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, and Core Set 2021 all rotate out. Standard will officially be shaken up by these changes, and you'll likely need to find a new deck to play. When a new set comes out, my go-to deck is Mono-Red Aggro. This week, I have a few new aggressive Mono-Red decks for you that feature new cards from our latest release, so let's get started.

Mono-Red Burn

The first deck I have for you features a variety of spells that deal direct damage to your opponent. Let's take a look at the deck.

Thermo-Alchemist is a creature that you'll see a lot in decks utilizing spells to 'burn' their opponent's life away. By tapping Thermo-Alchemist, you'll be able to deal one point of damage to your opponent. You can then untap Thermo-Alchemist by casting an instant or sorcery spell (which will often deal additional damage to your opponent). By tapping Thermo-Alchemist repeatedly during the game, you can deal a significant amount of damage to your opponent. One fun trick is to leave Thermo-Alchemist untapped during your opponent's turn so it can act as a blocker if needed. Then, at the end of their turn, you can tap it for a point of damage and untap it at the start of your own turn.

Seize the Storm is a great sorcery in this deck. It allows you to create an Elemental creature token whose power and toughness are equal to the amount of instant and sorcery cards in your graveyard plus the number of cards with flashback you own in exile. This means that the power and toughness of this Elemental will change throughout the game as you cast more and more spells. This token can act as a great blocker, or you can use it to go on the offensive and swing for a ton of damage. Even if you can finish off your opponent when you attack, you can often lower their life total just enough to allow your other spells to get the job done.

Mono-Red Control

The next deck I have for you utilizes direct damage spells to control the amount of creatures your opponent has in play. Let's take a look at it.

Meteor Swarm
This deck includes multiple spells you can cast to deal direct damage to your opponent's creatures or planeswalkers. Cathartic Pyre, Demon Bolt, and Meteor Swarm can all help you keep both creatures and planeswalkers in check on your opponent's side of the battlefield. Cinderclasm is a little more restrictive, and can only damage creatures, but it will also affect your creatures, not just your opponent's. Finally, Igneous Inspiration offers this deck a bit of reach by allowing you to deal damage to any target. You can use this to deal your opponent the final blow when the battlefield becomes too crowded for attacking to get the job done.

Helping you cast your spells easier is Rowan, Scholar of Sparks // Will, Scholar of Frost. Rowan has a static ability that allows your instant and sorcery spells to cost one mana less to cast. This will often allow you to cast an additional spell during your turn that you wouldn't have been able to cast had she not been on the battlefield. Rowan's +1 loyalty ability also acts as another source of direct damage to your opponent. While you'll usually deal a single point of damage when you use this ability, there are ways of drawing additional cards in this deck, so there will be times you can deal three points of damage with it instead.

Mono-Red Midrange

Next, I have a deck for you that's a bit more midrange that the previous decks have been. It combines some cool creatures along with other spells that can help give you a leg up during combat. Let's take a look at the deck.

Festival Crasher
Festival Crasher has become one of my favorite creatures to play in a deck like this. Its regular stats of 1 power and 3 toughness make it a very capable blocker. The fact that it gets a +2 bonus to its power for each instant or sorcery that you cast enables you to either attack in situations where you would otherwise not be able to, or to defend against creatures much larger. Raze the Effigy works wonderfully when cast upon Festival Crasher, but it can be very effective when cast on any unblocked creature as well.

Festival Crasher isn't the only reason to cast instant and sorcery spells. Spellrune Painter // Spellrune Howler and its nightbound version, Spellrune Howler, also get a bonus when you cast an instant or sorcery spell. Spellrune Painter gets a +1/+ bonus, while Spellrune Howler gets double that bonus. Since you're already casting spells to get these bonuses, you might as well deal some additional damage with Thermo-Alchemist. Plus, all of those instant and sorcery spells will help you hatch Smoldering Egg into Ashmouth Dragon in no time, giving you a 4/4 flying Dragon and another means of dealing direct damage when you cast an instant or sorcery spell.

Mono-Red Goblins

The final deck I have for you this week is a Goblin tribal deck that is capable of flooding the battlefield with boosted Goblins that can hit like a ton of bricks. Let's check out the deck.

Hobgoblin Bandit Lord
This deck has a tendency to snowball if given the chance. All of the creatures in this deck are Goblins, and all of them have a mana value of three or less. This enables you to build up a fair-sized force quickly. Once you have Battle Cry Goblin or Hobgoblin Bandit Lord in play, the power of your team will be able to trigger any pack tactics abilities you may have. That enables Battle Cry Goblin to create a 1/1 Goblin creature token that's tapped and attacking. It also allows Hobgoblin Captain to gain first strike for the turn. Each of these abilities can allow you to sneak in for additional damage, getting your opponent closer and closer to defeat.

One additional way to get through extra damage is with the help of Zariel, Archduke of Avernus. Zariel's +1 loyalty ability will give all of your creatures a +1/+0 bonus for the turn in addition to haste. That haste will allow you to attack with creatures you've just cast, making it difficult for your opponent to know how many creatures to hold back for defense. Take advantage of that uncertainty and build Zariel's loyalty toward his ultimate -6 loyalty ability. This will give you an emblem that allows you to attack a second time during your turn. This will also make combat decisions difficult for your opponent, allowing you an easier march toward victory.

Wrapping Up

As you can see from these decks, even though they are all Mono-Red decks, they all play differently. One opts to defeat your opponent with direct damage spells; one uses creatures to push through damage. One is a tribal deck, and one is more controlling and draws a bunch of cards. Whatever your play style is, it's pretty likely that you'll be able to find one of these decks to your liking.

What do you think of these decks? Do you have any suggestions for improvements? Let me know by leaving a comment below. Also, feel free to share this article with your friends anywhere on social media. And be sure to join me here again next week as I continue my search for innovative decks in Standard. I'll see you then!

-Mike Likes

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