The New Standard Format

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The New Standard Format

I’ve been doing a great deal of playtesting, and in this article I’d like to show you the results and discuss the new Standard format.  I usually have a lot of stories or personal thoughts in my articles, but change is happening so rapidly with results and the format is coming so quickly that I think it’s best to just get down to the nitty gritty.  Let me show you where I believe our journey is headed:

Playtesting and Proxy Tournaments

My playtesting has consisted of a few hours of practice a day on Cockatrice, with the bulk majority of it revolving around tuning my Mardu Midrange build.  Additionally, one of my local game stores, Netherworld Games, held a proxy Standard tournament last Thursday which gave a nice peek-in to possible ideas going forward.  The tournament was around 20 people and despite the small size most of the room had significant accomplishments under their belts.  Multiple pro tour players, judges, and local grinders were all in attendance.  It was a blast, and the decks were all over the place but definitely had a large amount of similarities to draw from and show what the format’s pillars will be.  While I played Mardu that day to a 2-2 finish, I lent out a Mono Black Aggro deck that went 4-0, and there were several Mono Red lists present.  I too had been working on Mono Red, just having trouble deciding which direction is correct so I plan to discuss some of the possibilities here.

Mardu Midrange and its Genesis

Old Mardu Midrange Take 1 – 9/18/14

4 Soldier of the Pantheon
4 Pain Seer
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
4 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
4 Butcher of the Horde

2 Sorin, Solemn Visitor
1 Godsend

3 Bile Blight
4 Hero’s Downfall
4 Mardu Charm
1 Utter End

4 Nomad Outpost
2 Temple of Silence
1 Temple of Triumph
1 Mana Confluence
4 Caves of Koilos
4 Battlefield Forge
4 Bloodstained Mire
2 Mountain
2 Swamp
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Sideboard
4 Thoughtseize
4 Nyx-Fleece Ram
4 Crackling Doom
3 Drown in Sorrow

This was the list I initially had tuned on Cockatrice and played in the tournament.  I beat a Mardu Aggro deck, a GB Reanimator deck, and narrowly lost to B/R Aggro and Mono Green Devotion.  Both my losses were fairly close, and I should have likely won the Aggro one except I made a critical mistake in one of the games.  If you’re just scrolling my article for decklists, do not copy the one above.

The list had some very pertinent flaws.  Online the manabase had been OK, but not stellar, and the mistakes fleshed themselves out over the course of the tournament.  The creature package wasn’t performing either.  If any of you have SCG Premium, you’ll note that BBD has been brewing a similar list and he came to many of the same conclusions that I reached.  I just saw his article today and was nodding my head in agreement all the way down the line, so clearly these issues that I found were valid concerns.  Cockatrice’s shuffler is also not perfect, so real-world testing gave me a second look at what needed to be done.

From the tournament, I gathered these were the issues:

  • Too much pain came from lands, too much mana flood / screw occurred.  More scry was needed.
  • Ground beaters were largely ineffective when everyone is playing Courser, Fatties, and Midrange creatures.
  • Evasion is very good, people largely had a huge issue with fliers.  Hero’s Downfall is the most common removal spell to deal with this, and it’s only x4 of one card in most lists.  Specifically, fliers with five or more toughness.  Arbor Colossus was the answer from Green decks, and you could just kill him before he does anything.
  • The deck had too many three casting cost spells, many of which didn’t stunt the early game of my opponents.
  • I needed more value, whether it be 2-for-1s, draw power, or simply anything that would keep the gas of the deck going
  • Some cards were just not good in this build because they couldn’t get through, close the game, or weren’t as relevant to the format.  Those cards were mostly:  Brimaz, Thoughtseize, Soldier of the Pantheon, and Godsend.  Thoughtseize is more complicated, so more on that later.

There were positives too:

  • Butcher and Rabblemaster were absolutely insane.  Both cards should be format pillars going forward
  • Mardu Charm’s flexibility was great, but Hero’s Downfall was just better 90% of the time.  Mardu Charm is probably still worth having, but not as a x4 of for most lists.  People love the modes, and I completely get that, but you just want to either kill all the dudes or kill THEE dude no matter who he is.
  • Crackling Doom was incredible.  This card is the new Blightning, and that is no lie.  It needed to be maindeck.
  • Drown in Sorrow was effective, but I quickly made the switch to Anger of the Gods when I figured out the mana, and have been playing it maindeck for the last week.  It kills Elvish Mystic, Caryatid, basically everything in the format aside from Courser, and it gives you a fantastic game 1 against Aggro.  Control so far looks to be more midrange-ish in build, so it’s not a fully dead card like it would have been last season, and it exiles Bloodsoaked Champion against Mono Black which is quite important.  It also gives you outs to very troublesome cards like Hornet Queen and Empty the Pits
  • Pain Seer provided good card advantage, but the life loss was too much, especially in combination with the lands.  He also just had moments where I couldn’t attack with him and he lost immediate value.

After the tournament, I talked with some of the pros in the shop about the mana, and later addressed a lot of the problems above.  My next iteration that I’d play for a few days was this:

Old Mardu Midrange Take 2 – 9/20/14

1 Ashcloud Phoenix
4 Master of the Feast
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
4 Butcher of the Horde

4 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker

2 Suspension Field
4 Crackling Doom
4 Hero’s Downfall
4 Anger of the Gods
4 Lightning Strike

4 Temple of Silence
4 Temple of Malice
4 Temple of Triumph
3 Bloodstained Mire
2 Caves of Koilos
2 Battlefield Forge
2 Mountain
2 Swamp
1 Plains
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Sideboard
4 Nyx-Fleece Ram
3 Despise
2 Suspension Field
1 Arc Lightning
1 Revoke Existence
1 Reprisal
1 Utter End
1 Crippling Blight
1 Banishing Light

Results improved immediately.  The manabase was fantastic, and was largely based on suggestions from local pro Matt Severa.  He was preparing a different deck for the upcoming Pro Tour in Honolulu, and I noticed some big differences with his mana in relation to mine.  I talked with him for a while and he made some good points about how running 12 scry lands isn’t actually that bad because the deck doesn’t feature any early plays (or at least ones that are necessary to play on-time) and you can always scry away extra land or unwanted cards.  In his other deck he was running a few tri-lands, but he said depending on the build they can largely be substituted as needed.  So far in every game I’ve played online, I’ve hit my colors as needed and had no issues whatsoever.  The scry lands have given the deck good staying power, and with running maindeck Anger of the Gods I’ve been able to haymaker most of the decks out there without missing a beat.  Let me tell you, it’s very satisfying to cast Anger of the Gods and then drop any one of the creatures in this deck.

Speaking of the creatures, I wanted ones that closed the deal.  This deck needed to turn the corner faster, and cards like Soldier, Pain Seer, and Brimaz weren’t cutting it.  Since big fliers were punishing people at the tournament, I turned to the biggest ones available in Master and Sarkhan.  Some people are running both Sarkhan and Stormbreath, but I think that requires more ramp or a higher land count and ultimately running 7-8 five drops of that nature is guaranteed to create some awful hands.  Master of the Feast has  a pretty big built-in liability, but the card your opponent draws almost always has to be a removal spell for him or they’re busted.  There are frequently board states where you have a Master and a Butcher, and your opponent is dead in two turns.  That’s also assuming you haven’t Lightning Strike’d them, Crackling Doom’d them, or Rabble’d them, all of which do happen.

All that said, I still am not sure on Master, so I began playing around with other options.  He’s good against most of the non-black decks, but the decks that have Hero’s Downfall do have that as an answer and most of the time have Murderous Cut as well.  When removal becomes plentiful, his upside goes down drastically, and he’s not great in multiples unless you are sure it will lead to a win the next turn.  You can sac him to Butcher though, so your opponent can’t rely on a personal Howling Mine if you don’t want them to.

Ashcloud Phoenix was one of the first options I tried out, again another suggestion from Matt Severa.  I had dismissed him early when seeing the spoiler, but after further review I started to see that he could be a big annoyance to most opponents.  The worst they can do is kill him, or exile him, but if they do the former you’re still getting a body out of him and later taking them to the dome for damage when he un-morphs.  While he doesn’t have haste, a 4/1 body is no slouch, and you can even sac him to Butcher for value.  It’s certainly not powerful enough to warrant the playset in most builds, but he’s a great miser if not a 2-of.  Furthermore, it’s important that he’s one less mana than Stormbreath, as you’re already cluttered at the top end of the deck and only running 25 lands, even if 12 of them have scry.

On the same topic of wanting more aggression, I added Lightning Strike over Bile Blight.  While Blight is still a very sick card, not being able to kill four toughness creatures without trickery and not being able to go to the dome left the deck soft in many games.  Strike is not a perfect choice, and I’m still playing around with it, but when Blight is mostly one-for-one’ing in the early format I think the burn route is a better one.  Moving Anger of the Gods to the maindeck also made it so that you didn’t need Blight’s effect, so the slot where Blight was can largely be filled with various options for the long or short game depending on your meta.

The sideboard underwent some changes too.  Nyx-Fleece Ram has been underwhelming, but I feel he’s pretty much a necessity against Jeskai Burn.  I’m currently trying out Pharika’s Cure in the same slot, as it’s typically better against Aggro, but the Ram is better as a catch-all so he’s still probably still the correct choice.

Thoughtseize is an enigma in this format.  We all know why it’s good.  It takes their best card, it protects your cards, and it’s as efficient as it gets.  I GET that.  But, it’s bad against redundancy, and in the case of this burgeoning format, that’s a plethora of fatties that all are basically the same (kill us or die!).  It’s bad against these Mono Red and Mono Black aggro decks that are just unloading one-drops on you, and it’s bad against Control decks that have lots of burn which seems to be the flavor of the day.  What it IS good against is your own mirror.  The person trying to play Mardu Control, or Temur Control, or whatever variant you choose where they sit back with a few limited threats.  For that reason, I’m still working on squeezing it in my sideboard.  Despise is relevant in many of the same situations, so the end result will probably be a combination of the two, or four of one and one of the other.  BBD made a good point in his recent article that leading with Thoughtseize into Rabblemaster feels like the old Thoughtseize / Pack Rat combo, but it’s not exactly the same and neither is the format.  I often cast Thoughtseize only to reveal a sea of creatures that I’d much rather battle with a bigger and better one of my own (or race them).  The decision to play it is probably the right one, but it’s a tough debate.

There’s some great one ofs, and that’s a good point to take you into the current list I have from this morning.  It’s still being tuned, but it has some nice options and I’m pretty happy with how far I’ve come with it:

Mardu Midrange (Updated Today) 9/22/14

1 Ashcloud Phoenix
3 Master of the Feast
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
4 Butcher of the Horde

4 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker

4 Crackling Doom
4 Hero’s Downfall
4 Anger of the Gods
3 Lightning Strike
2 Read the Bones
1 Mardu Charm
1 Crater’s Claws

4 Temple of Silence
4 Temple of Malice
4 Temple of Triumph
3 Bloodstained Mire
2 Caves of Koilos
2 Battlefield Forge
2 Swamp
2 Mountain
1 Plains
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Sideboard
3 Suspension Field
3 Nyx-Fleece Ram
3 Thoughtseize
1 Zurgo Helmsmasher
1 Deicide
1 Arc Lightning
1 Scouring Sands
1 Utter End
1 Banishing Light
(other considerables:  Hammer of Purphoros, Reprisal, Empty the Pits)

Mono Red Aggro

I’d be remiss if my “Red Deck Winning” website didn’t talk about a Mono Red deck!  I wish the results I’ve been getting were better, but it’s still hugely a work in progress at this point.  There were several people at the Proxy tournament trying to crack the mold with Mono Red, but most of them went 2-2 or worse as I expected.  It’s just very tough to play Mono Red against a field of Green Devotion, Sweepers, and potentially faster Aggro decks.  Rabble Red lost some pieces, where Mono Black Aggro didn’t lose much at all and quite possibly is better now than it was.  What Red does have though is Reach, along with a huge amount of cards that say “YOU CAN’T BLOCK” or “GIVE ME YOUR CREATURE”.  WR Heroic was a top 8 deck at Pro Tour Journey into Nyx, and so far it looks like that’s the way you need to take Red.  It’s a shame because there’s some truly good cards in Sarkhan, Phoenix, and Crater’s Claws that beg for a bigger build, but ultimately I think a lot of the other Midrange decks out there might be able to outclass you.  I do say that with great hesitation though, because some of my “Big Red” builds have been testing well and this format is currently quite vulernable to Burn.  Eidolon of the Great Revel is also just as great as he ever was, and I think people are forgetting he exists.

Here for example here is one of the Big Red builds I’ve been working with:

Big Red 9/18/14

4 Monastery Swiftspear
2 Firedrinker Satyr
4 Altac Bloodseeker
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
1 Prophetic Flamespeaker
1 Ashcloud Phoenix
1 Stormbreath Dragon

2 Chandra, Pyromaster
3 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker

2 Hammerhand
3 Magma Jet
4 Lightning Strike
4 Stoke the Flames

4 Temple of Triumph
4 Battlefield Forge
3 Mana Confluence
3 Bloodstained Mire
11 Mountain

Sideboard
4 Eidolon of the Great Revel
4 Chained to the Rocks
4 Searing Blood
1 Deicide
1 Arc Lightning
1 Suspension Field

Other possible considerables:  Generator Servant, Hammer of Purphoros, maindeck Chains

Red Deck Wins 9/18/2014 by Todd Anderson of StarCityGames

4 Akroan Crusader
2 Arena Athlete
4 Firedrinker Satyr
3 Foundry Street Denizen
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
4 War-Name Aspirant
3 Mogis’s Warhound

20 Mountain

4 Dragon Mantle
1 Coordinated Assault
2 Lightning Strike
4 Stoke the Flames
4 Titan’s Strength
1 Hall of Triumph

Sideboard
2 Jeering Instigator
3 Eidolon of the Great Revel
1 Coordinated Assault
4 Magma Spray
4 Searing Blood
1 Peak Eruption

I like Todd’s list, and I think it’s the foundation of where most early builds will be.  I personally haven’t been running Arena Athlete, and I’m still very high on Monastery Swiftspear, but ultimately it boils down to metagame guesses.  I think the “can’t block” clause is the name of the game right now, and Todd respects that.  War-Name Aspirant has been surprisingly strong in testing, and Mogis’s Warhound is an old standby from the BR Aggro deck I wrote about a while back.  People also forget how good Dragon Mantle can be, especially if the format leans away from Control.  That card can come out of nowhere and deal 5-10 damage if your opponent doesn’t expect it, and it gives you a great mana sink when you have nothing better to do.

The strongest cards in the deck in my opinion are Titan Strength and Hall of Triumph, as a lot of people will be coming at you with sweepers expecting Mono Red in the early format.  Mono Red always preys on early formats, and while I wouldn’t be surprised to see a top 8 berth at the SCG, I strongly doubt one is going to win.  The tools “might” be present, but putting them together is proving awfully difficult.

My two biggest problems with this list are the lack of Hammerhand and having only three Eidolon of the Great Revel in the board.  Hammerhand has been extremely good for me, putting creatures out of sweep range, disabling blockers, and doing its best Madcap Skills rendition.  Auras are not the type of card you’re particularly in the business of wanting, but I think it’s wrong not to play some number of Hammerhand as it’s just that good.  There’s certainly room in Todd’s sideboard where he has x4 Magma Spray and x4 Searing Blood which seems excessive.  If the format leans Midrange, those aren’t the correct cards, and while I love winning all the Aggro matches you put yourself in a liable situation everywhere else with that package.  Cards like Peak Eruption have a true chance to shine going forward, as Mana bases will be greedy and so far average casting costs are going up.

Lastly on Mono Red, one potential route I could see it going is a hybrid of the two lists above.  One of my all time favorite Red decks was a build that went ever so slightly higher on the curve to accommodate Planeswalkers and Grindy games, and I believe given the drastic increase in card quality as you go up the chain in this format, this might be the correct choice.  This last list is in extreme beta, so I wouldn’t jam it at a tournament just yet, but it hopefully will spark some ideas:

Big  Sligh 9/22/14 (Testing)

4 Firedrinker Satyr
4 Monastery Swiftspear
3 Foundry Street Denizen
4 War-Name Aspirant
2 Borderland Marauder
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
2 Ashcloud Phoenix

3 Chandra, Pyromaster

4 Magma Jet
4 Lightning Strike
4 Stoke the Flames
2 Arc Lightning

4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Temple of Malice
15 Mountain

Sideboard
4 Searing Blood
3 Hammerhand
2 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
2 Torch Fiend
1 Arc Lightning
1 Jeering Instigator
1 Mountain

Other Decks in the Format

I’m not going to go over these in detail, but these are some of the decks I expect to have some competitive life in the early format.  If you’re assembling a testing suite, this is where I’d begin:

Mono Black Aggro (by Red Deck Winning, similar to my list that went 4-0 at the Proxy Tournament)

4 Tormented Hero
4 Bloodsoaked Champion
4 Gnarled Scarhide
4 Pain Seer
4 Spiteful Returned
4 Mogis’s Marauder
4 Master of the Feast

1 Sign in Blood
2 Crippling Blight
4 Thoughtseize
4 Hero’s Downfall

4 Bloodstained Mire
17  Swamp

Sideboard
4 Grim Haruspex
4 Pharika’s Cure
3 Boon of Erebos
2 Murderous Cut
1 Hall of Triumph
1 Despise

Mono Green Devotion (by Ranjan Pradeep)

4 Elvish Mystic
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Voyaging Satyr
4 Genesis Hydra
4 Courser of Kruphix
4 Eidolon of Blossoms
1 Nylea, God of the Hunt
4 Polukranos, World Eater
4 Nissa, Worldwaker
3 Arbor Colossus

12 Forest
4 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
4 Wooded Foothills
4 Windswept Heath

Sideboard
3 Hunt the Hunter
3 Setessan Tactics
4 Nylea’s Disciple
2 Hornet Queen
1 Arbor Colossus
2 Hooded Hydra

Jeskai Burn (by Chris VanMeter)

4 Goblin Rabblemaster
4 Mantis Rider
2 Narset, Enlightened Master

2 Chandra, Pyromaster
2 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker

2 Banishing Light
2 Suspension Field
4 Jeskai Charm
4 Lightning Strike
4 Magma Jet
4 Stoke the Flames
1 Arc Lightning

1 Island
2 Mountain
2 Plains
4 Battlefield Forge
2 Flooded Strand
2 Mystic Monastery
4 Shivan Reef
4 Temple of Epiphany
4 Temple of Triumph

Sideboard
2 Suspension Field
1 Deicide
4 Disdainful Stroke
1 Gainsay
2 Negate
1 Keranos, God of Storms
3 Anger of the Gods
1 Arc Lightning

Jeskai Ascendancy Combo (from Reddit)

4 Kiora’s Follower
4 Rattleclaw Mystic
4 Sylvan Caryatid

4 Commune with the Gods
4 Divination
1 Burning Anger
4 Dragon Mantle
4 Jeskai Ascendancy
2 Karametra’s Favor
4 Nylea’s Presence
1 Stratus Walk
2 Dig Through Time
2 Retraction Helix

2 Forest
4 Mana Confluence
1 Shivan Reef
3 Temple of Abandon
2 Temple of Mystery
4 Temple of Plenty
4 Yavimaya Coast

Sideboard
4 Circle of Flame
4 Eidolon of Blossoms
2 Keranos, God of Storms
3 Magma Spray
2 Swan Song

B/G Constellation (based off old lists, still needs updating and probably better as BUG)

4 Elvish Mystic
2 Nighthowler
4 Satyr Wayfinder
2 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Boon Satyr
4 Courser of Kruphix
4 Eidolon of Blossoms
3 Nyx Weaver
2 Nylea, God of the Hunt

4 Strength from the Fallen
4 Commune with the Gods
1 Kruphix’s Insight

8 Forest
3 Mana Confluence
4 Llanowar Wastes
4 Temple of Malady
3 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

Sideboard
4 Nylea’s Disciple
1 Bow of Nylea
2 Doomwake Giant
1 Agent of Erebos
1 Unravel the Aether
2 Murderous Cut
2 Hero’s Downfall
2 Thoughtseize

Jeskai Control (by  Sam Bruning, 4-0 at the Proxy Tournament)

1 Keranos, God of Storms
2 Narset, Enlightened Master
2 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
1 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker

3 Magma Spray
4 Lightning Strike
1 Last Breath
1 Deicide
2 Disdainful Stroke
4 Dissolve
4 Banishing Light
2 Jeskai Charm
3 End Hostilities
1 Jace’s Ingenuity
3 Dig Through Time

4 Mystic Monastery
3 Temple of Enlightenment
1 Temple of Triumph
1 Temple of Epiphany
4 Flooded Strand
4 Shivan Reef
1 Battlefield Forge
3 Plains
2 Island
3 Mountain

Sideboard
4 Nyx-Fleece Ram
4 Anger of the Gods
1 Magma Spray
1 End Hostilities
1 Reprisal
2 Disdainful Stroke
1 Pearl Lake Ancient
1 Fated Retribuition

Sultai Reanimator (by Todd Anderson)

4 Ashen Rider
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Satyr Wayfinder
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Courser of Kruphix
3 Sidisi, Brood Tyrant

2 Rescue from the Underworld
4 Sultai Charm
1 Whip of Erebos
3 Commune with the Gods
4 Endless Obedience

4 Forest
3 Llanowar Wastes
2 Mana Confluence
4 Opulent Palace
4 Temple of Malady
4 Yavimaya Coast
2 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Sideboard
4 Nylea’s Disciple
2 Reclamation Sage
4 Murderous Cut
1 Whip of Erebos
4 Thoughtseize

Abzan (by Brian Braun-Duin)

4 Elvish Mystic
4 Voyaging Satyr
4 Wingmate Roc
4 Courser of Kruphix
3 Anafenza, the Foremost
4 Polukranos, World Eater

4 Sorin, Solemn Visitor

3 Abzan Ascendancy
2 Abzan Charm
4 Murderous Cut

3 Forest
2 Plains
4 Llanowar Wastes
2 Mana Confluence
4 Sandsteppe Citadel
4 Temple of Malady
4 Windswept Heath
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Sideboard
2 Banishing Light
3 Nyx-Fleece Ram
2 Bile Blight
1 Utter End
3 Nissa, WorldWaker
4 Thoughtseize

Mono White Devotion (by Reid Duke)

4 Soldier of the Pantheon
4 Vanguard of Brimaz
3 Phalanx Leader
4 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
2 Eidolon of Countless Battles
1 Heliod, God of the Sun
2 Purphoros, God of the Forge
3 Wingmate Roc

4 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
4 Launch the Fleet
3 Defiant Strike
1 Ephemeral Shields

9 Plains
4 Temple of Triumph
4 Battlefield Forge
4 Wind-Scarred Crag
4 Nykthos, Srhine to Nyx

Thanks for reading, and as always,

Keep Tapping Those Mountains,

– Red Deck Winning

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8 thoughts on “The New Standard Format

  1. When are you planning on doing an article about Khans and Modern?

    I’ve already upgraded my Modern Goblins as soon as Hordeling Outburst came out, lol

  2. I’ve been testing mono red kinda similar to your big sligh, just without chandras and phoenixes, + titan’s strength, frenzied goblin and searing blood, went 10-2 on cockatrice, beaten just by abzan mid (0-2, only two games i got mana flooded) and WW(1-2) of old standard…great page and insights, staying tuned for more from you. cheers

  3. I’ve been focusing more on the anti blocking cards recently for red. And I feel like Arena Athlete has a place along side Monastary Swiftspear, Akroan Crusader and possibly even Satyr Hopelight. Also, Coordinated Assault and Hammerhand. That’s a whole lot of tempo for not a lot of mana. Yet slightly slower than the last blocks sligh list. The combos are there. Then I start thinking about sweepers… And start wondering, hey maybe Mogis’s Warhound… But then I think…. Rabblemaster… Then it’s back to the fear of sweepers. The Struggle is real! So far the Arena Athlete has been doing well. Monastery Swiftspear is amazing and satyr hope lite has been a bitter sweet. Rabblemaster is amazing but always seems to fail me when I need it most. “Blockers” ” mana screw” “removal” etc…. Through all this chaos of trying to figure out what to play I managed to ” try not to laugh” it worked pretty well and was always reliable so far that is.. Drum roll……… A main deck singleton sideboard superstar…. Act of treason. Won me three games ( one a top deck against temur.) until control pokes its head around the corner I think I’ll be doing this ballsy main deck singleton. Or maybe I’m a madman? What do you think?

  4. Hey Sean and Tomas,

    My crew and I went to SCG Indy last weekend, we built Mono Red Heroic and have been testing it since (even though I played Mardu). Here are the conclusions we’ve largely come to so far:

    – In the Heroic list, Rabblemaster is “fine” but not actually that great at three mana. He runs into a lot of brick walls in this format, and while he should still be in the 75, I’m not sure he’s a maindeck card for this very particular list. Hordeling Outburst is incredible, because it synergizes with Monastery Swiftspear, Foundry Street Denizen, Stoke the Flames, and Hall of Triumph. It’s also excellent late game pressure and helps you not overextend into sweepers early on.

    – The “Can’t Block” clause is very crucial. Right now we’ve settled on 2-3 Frenzied Goblin along with x4 Hammerhand, and Blinding Flare out of the board. Satyr Hoplite wasn’t cutting the mustard (similar to what you found), nor was Coordinated Assault (also similar), so those cards were cut within about an hour of playtesting Friday night.

    – There’s no problem running Act of Treason or Harness by Force, and they both synergize well with this deck. I have no problem with a 1 or 2 of in the 75 somewhere. I don’t think it’s the right answer a lot of the time though because against decks like, for instance Mono Green, they have a lot of mana dorks to get in the way of whatever you steal. That said, it’s a very powerful effect, even against them. Against decks like Abzan and Temur, you’re often taking their only relevant card, so it truly shines in those matchups.

    – Mogis’s Warhound is absolutely fantastic, it was a nice carryover from the older B/R Saito list I was running for a bit last season. It lets you get over blockers and triggers both Heroic as well as Prowess, which is what this deck is in the market for. The only problem is you have a very limited number of slots, and I think the deck wants to have a few more burn spells main to supplement Stoke the Flames. Decks like Mono Green can cast Hornet Queen pretty fast, which stalls the board when they’re usually at single digit life. At this point your only outs are to overwhelm them with guys or wait for a burn spell. So on this note, I’m still working on trying to squeeze in an Arc Lightning or two into the maindeck.

    Current List:

    Mono Red Heroic – Red Deck Winning 10-1-2014

    4 Firedrinker Satyr
    4 Akroan Crusader
    4 Foundry-Street Denizen
    4 Monastery Swiftspear
    2 Frenzied Goblin
    2 Mogis’s Warhound (might become 1/1 split with Arc Lightning)

    4 Hordeling Outburst
    4 Dragon Mantle
    4 Hammerhand
    4 Titan’s Strength
    4 Stoke the Flames

    20 Mountain

    Sideboard
    4 Goblin Rabblemaster (against anything slow that doesn’t present heavy blockers that can kill him)
    2 Eidolon of the Great Revel (control, slower decks, situational use)
    2 Hall of Triumph (jack of all trades, against sweepers, to not overextend, to go over the top)
    2 Magma Spray (Mono Black Aggro aka Bloodsoaked Champion, regular aggro as well)
    2 Searing Blood (Aggro, decks that present targets, or decks where you need more reach)
    1 Arc Lightning (Aggro or decks where you need more reach)
    1 Blinding Flare (Midrange decks trying to block, you might want a second copy)
    1 Frenzied Goblin (Midrange decks trying to block)

  5. My deck list is very close to yours. My main issue with the Herioc list is the 1 herioc creature that you are building around. Is that enough? I love Akroan Crusader, but I just think the power level of other cards make for a stronger overall list. I’m not sure about the 2-drop slot. I’m currently using War-Name Aspirant, because of the ability to move around chumpers, but thinking about testing Mogis’s Warhound in it’s place (or just more burn?). Sideboard is mainly burn for both utility and going over the top, which still allows us to do what we do best, without changing our game-plan too much.

    Rabble Red
    http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/rabble-rawr/

    4x Firedrinker Satyr
    4x Foundry Street Denizen
    4x Monastery Swiftspear
    3x Frenzied Goblin
    4x Goblin Rabblemaster
    3x War-Name Aspirant

    4x Hordeling Outburst
    4x Hammerhand
    4x Stoke the Flames
    3x Titan’s Strength
    2x Lightning Strike
    1x Trumpet Blast
    1x Hall of Triumph

    19x Mountain

    Sideboard
    2x Arc Lightning
    2x Fated Conflagration
    1x Harness by Force
    2x Lightning Strike
    2x Magma Spray
    2x Scouring Sands
    2x Searing Blood
    2x Eidolon of the Great Revel

    Lastly, here is another I am testing, which is an all-in burn strategy. What we need in the next set is a Delve burn card…3R Delve Lightning Bolt. I wish.
    Mono-Red Burn
    http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/18-09-14-to-the-face/

  6. Random recommendation if you go back to the R/w list you posted, ride down plays way better than Suspension Field in the board. Most things you’d use suspension on will be blocking anyway, it triggers Swiftspear at instant speed and a lot of people aren’t ready for it, and giving a huge rabble trample is devastating. Like you already said, Harness is fantastic in the current meta and I’ve had success with that in the board of R/w as well. Between that and Chandra’s “can’t block” affect, you get tons of reach without having burn. Last card I’m loving s Hushwing Gryff in the board. The 2 biggest issues I’ve had with the deck is a string of Rhino’s or Disciple, and making their effect miss can win games.

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