Red Deck Wins has always been a popular and relatively inexpensive deck, and it has the power and consistency to steamroll any deck that stumbles. Despite RDW’s recent successes, you can still build a powerful version of the deck on a budget. Here’s the deck I put together:
3 Reckless Waif
4 Furnace Scamp
4 Spikeshot Elder
4 Stormblood Berserker
4 Stromkirk Noble
4 Brimstone Volley
4 Volt Charge
4 Shrine of Burning Rage
4 Manic Vandal
4 Vulshok Refugee
3 Perilous Myr
4 Arc Trail
Stromkirk Noble has quickly taken its place as the premier 1-drop in Red Deck Wins. It’s a bit pricey, but the power of this card is undeniable. Stromkirk Noble isn’t as fast as Goblin Guide was, but it has the ability to keep growing larger and eventually win the game on its own. In addition, the evasion ability comes up far more often than you might imagine.
Furnace Scamp gets progressively less valuable as the game goes on, but the possibility of getting 4 damage for a single mana is worth the risk. With all the burn spells in the deck, it shouldn’t be very difficult to get through if you manage to cast this during your first few turns.
Unlike the previous 1-drops, Spikeshot Elder continues to be good regardless of when you draw it. It mercilessly slaughters 1-toughness creatures, of which there seem to be many, it can ping your opponent if you have some extra mana, and it turns on Bloodthirst later in the game.
Reckless Waif can be a bit awkward at times, but it becomes quite powerful once you learn how to maximize its effectiveness. It’s obviously a beating against control, but it can be surprisingly easy to transform it against more aggressive decks. With fifteen instants in the deck, you can often avoid casting any spells on your turn without sacrificing anything; and once you do, a 3/2 for only 1 mana is quite a threat.
Stormblood Berserker is a huge threat for its cost, and with fifteen 1-drops, it should be fairly easy to make sure you get Bloodthirst on turn two. A 3/3 for 2 mana is already very good, and tacking on an excellent evasion ability makes this guy very difficult for your opponent to deal with in combat.
Shrine of Burning Rage has been a staple of Red decks since its release, and it continues to be a very powerful card. It can singlehandedly win games if left unchecked, and it can often let you achieve victory from the brink of defeat just by casting a Red spell or two.
Volt Charge is quite valuable in this deck, proliferating counters on Stromkirk Noble, Stormblood Berserker, and Shrine of Burning Rage. Killing a creature isn’t too bad either. The value you get out of proliferating is more than worth the extra mana over Incinerate.
Although it isn’t as impressive as Volt Charge, Incinerate is still a solid burn spell, and is quite the bargain at only 2 mana. Before the reprinting of Lightning Bolt, Incinerate was the paragon of efficiency, and it remains a very effective way of dealing with creatures, planeswalkers, and opponents.
Brimstone VolleY is the rising star in the world of burn spells. It’s already seeing heavy play, and is particularly effective in this deck. With so many small and inexpensive creatures, along with the healthy suite of burn spells, it shouldn’t be difficult at all to turn this expensive Incinerate into a cheap Beacon of Destruction.
If Brimstone VolleY is the rising star of the new set, Geistflame is the underdog. There are a surprising number of 1-toughness creatures seeing heavy play right now, and Geistflame deals with them quite effectively. Unlike Arc Trail, you don’t have to wait for a second creature to be played, and the low cost means that, in a pinch, you can use it to activate Bloodthirst fairly easily.
Arc Trail is still very effective against decks that play a large number of small creatures, and it can be swapped in for one of the more expensive burn spells to maximize the number of creatures you can kill.
Manic Vandal has always been quite good against decks that rely on artifacts, and it continues to be a great sideboard option against those strategies. It destroys a key artifact when it enters the battlefield, then either trades with another creature or attacks for 2 each turn until it’s dealt with.
Vulshok Refugee is a great threat for the mirror match, and it can often be killed only by Shrine of Burning Rage. If you’re on the offensive, it can rush right past blockers in the red zone, and if you’re on defense, it makes attacking profitably very difficult for your opponent.
Perilous Myr is also quite effective in the mirror match, and one of its main purposes is to kill opposing Refugees. It can also provide some card advantage by trading with a1/1 and killing another creature with its ability.
Solar Flare – Game 1
I lost the roll, and my opponent took a mulligan. I kept a hand of two Mountains, Furnace Scamp, Spikeshot Elder, Incinerate, Volt Charge, and Shrine of Burning Rage. My opponent opened with a Darkslick Shores and passed the turn. I drew a Stromkirk Noble, played a land, cast the Noble, and passed the turn. My opponent played a Glacial Fortress and passed back. I drew Incinerate attacked for 1 with Stromkirk Noble, then played a land and cast Spikeshot Elder followed by Furnace Scamp. I ended my turn. My opponent played a Plains and passed the turn. I drew a Mountain and attacked with everything for a total of 4 damage, sacrificing Furnace Scamp do deal another 3. I then played the land, cast Shrine of Burning Rage, and passed the turn. My opponent cast Think Twice at the end of my turn. On his turn, he played a Glacial Fortress and cast Solemn Simulacrum, searching up a Swamp. He ended his turn. I drew another Furnace Scamp and cast Volt Charge, killing the Simulacrum and proliferating the Noble and Shrine. I then attacked with both creatures, dropping my opponent to 7, and passed the turn. My opponent cast Forbidden AlchemY, putting a Mana Leak and two lands into his graveyard, and passed the turn. I drew Brimstone VolleY and attacked with both of my creatures. My opponent flashed in a Snapcaster Mage, which I Incinerated before it could block. He dropped to 1, and I passed the turn. My opponent drew his card and conceded.
Solar Flare – Game 2
I kept a hand of three Mountains, Reckless Waif, Stromkirk Noble, Stormblood Berserker, and Brimstone VolleY. My opponent opened with a Glacial Fortress and passed the turn. I drew a Mountain, played it, and cast Reckless Waif. I ended my turn. My opponent played Darkslick Shores, cast Think Twice, and ended his turn. I drew Brimstone VolleY and attacked for 1. I then played a land and cast Stormblood Berserker before passing the turn. My opponent played a land, cast Doom Blade on the Berserker, and passed the turn. I drew a Mountain and attacked for 1 again. I then played a land, cast Stromkirk Noble, and passed the turn. My opponent cast Forbidden AlchemY, putting a Mana Leak, Solemn Simulacrum, and Island in his graveyard. He then played Isolated Chapel and passed the turn. I drew another Mountain, played it, attacked for 2, and passed the turn. During my opponent’s upkeep, Reckless Waif transformed. He played Solemn Simulacrum, fetching an Island, and passed the turn. I cast Brimstone VolleY at the end of his turn, killing the Simulacrum. I drew Spikeshot Elder and attacked for 5. I then played a land, cast the Elder, and ended my turn. My opponent cast Day of Judgment and passed the turn. During his end step, I dropped him to 6 with Brimstone VolleY. On my turn, I drew another Mountain, played it, and passed the turn. My opponent cast Think Twice during my end step. He then played a land, cast Consecrated Sphinx, and passed the turn. I drew Geistflame, played my land, and passed the turn. My opponent attacked for 4 with the Sphinx, then played a land and cast two Phantasmal Images, both copying the Sphinx. He ended his turn and I cast Geistflame to kill one copy. During my upkeep, I flashed it back to kill the other. I drew Incinerate and passed the turn. My opponent attacked with the Sphinx again, then played a land and cast Liliana of the Veil, then activated her +1 ability. I cast Incinerate in response, but he countered it with Mana Leak. He discarded a Seachrome Coast and passed the turn. I drew Spikeshot Elder, cast it, and passed the turn. My opponent attacked for another 4 with the Sphinx, then played a land and cast Oblivion Ring on the Elder. I shot him for 2 in response, and he cast Solemn Simulacrum, fetching a Plains, then activated Liliana’s +1, discarding a land, and he ended his turn. I drew a land and conceded.
Solar Flare – Game 3
I took a mulligan and kept a hand of two Mountains, Stromkirk Noble, Furnace Scamp, Stormblood Berserker, and Volt Charge. I played a land, cast Stromkirk Noble, and passed the turn. My opponent played Isolated Chapel and passed the turn. I attacked for 1 with the Noble, then cast Stormblood Berserker and ended my turn. My opponent played Darkslick Shores and passed the turn. I drew Shrine of Burning Rage, and attacked with both creatures. My opponent cast Doom Blade on Stromkirk Noble and took 3. I then cast Shrine of Burning Rage, followed by Furnace Scamp, and I passed the turn. My opponent played Seachrome Coast and passed the turn. I drew Geistflame and cast Volt Charge to deal 3 to my opponent and proliferate the Shrine and Stormblood Berserker. I then attacked with both creatures, sacrificing the Scamp to drop my opponent to 5. I ended my turn, and my opponent cast Forbidden AlchemY, putting a Grave Titan and two lands into his graveyard. He then drew his card and conceded.
Control decks like Solar Flare should be fairly soft to this deck, since your opponent often doesn’t have the resources to deal with all of your spells, and you can usually kill him before he gets his finishers out. Shrine of Burning Rage is key here, giving you a huge amount of reach to help close out the game. One thing I discovered is that you need to be aware of Think Twice, since, if your opponent has that on the play, he can effectively stop Reckless Waif from transforming.
If you’re a fan of Red decks, but can’t afford to shell out piles of cash for play sets of cards like Koth of the Hammer, this is a great alternative that keeps most of the speed and power of the deck intact. With the heavy focus on burn, even Day of Judgment will have difficulty keeping your opponents alive under your onslaught.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, you can find me on the forums under Twinblaze, on Twitter under @Twinblaze2, or simply leave a comment below.