Welcome back to another venture into WAR Standard with me here in Strictly Standard. No format is complete without representation from decks across all of the archetypes. And no format can go long without people trying to make their favorite deck work, no matter what. This includes the hyper-fast linear aggro decks that are so polarizing, with some people saying its the most fun way to win while others claim it’s the “death of Magic” whenever they perform well.
Today we are going to review the top performing aggro deck from Magic Arena and Start City Games Open winner Will Pulliam’s Mono-Red list. Mono-Red has been a pillar of the Arena metagame since back in the days of the closed Beta. This deck has been around forever, and it keeps getting new, powerful, cheap tools to prop it up. Especially in the best-of-1 format.
4 Viashino Pyromancer
4 Runaway Steam-Kin
4 Goblin Chainwhirler
4 Ghitu Lavarunner
4 Fanatical Firebrand
2 Wizard’s Lightning
4 Lightning Strike
2 Skewer the Critics
4 Light Up the Stage
4 Chandra, Fire Artisan
2 Tibalt, Rakish Instigator
3 Risk Factor
2 Rekindling Phoenix
2 Legion Warboss
4 Lava Coil
2 Dire Fleet Daredevil
This deck operates on the same axis as the mono red list from last season. The big change is swapping out the 4-Mana card advantage engine, replacing Experimental Frenzy with Chandra, Fire Artisan. Chandra doesn’t provide quite the “out of nowhere” flurry that Experimental Frenzy does, but she does provide a level of consistency that the deck needs to push forward in this new Standard full of powerful new Planeswalker spells.
Taking a peek into the sideboard, the only other addition to the deck is 2 copies of Tibalt, Rakish Instigator. Being a mono-red player from Ixalan Standard, I was definitely missing the protection against life-gain strategies that Rampaging Ferocidon provided. That card died for the sins of Hazoret the Fervent and one of my hopes for the Amonkhet block rotating was that they would list the ban list, but alas, this dino stayed sidelined. Now with Tibalt, we get that option back in our toolbox.
Mono Red did a great beginners strategy because it provides new players with a consistent and powerful strategy of dealing damage and turning creatures sideways without the worry of dealing with complicated decision trees or getting color screwed that is inherent with the greedy Mana bases in the 3-color decks. I think this deck has staying power to remain viable in WAR Standard, especially in Arena best of 1. Please comment below and let me know what you think of the new tech and join me next time as we dive into the greater meta of WAR Standard.
Eric has been an avid Magic fan and player since re-discovering the game in 2012. He is a Red mage at heart but likes to confuse himself with the varying decision trees presented by mid-range and control decks from time to time.
Eric plays mostly casually with his 9-year-old daughter, but manages to get out for every prerelease and a few FNM’s and GP’s every year.
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