Historic Mono Red Obosh Aggro Deck Guide

Fanatical-Firebrand-Rivals-of-Ixalan-Art

Hi everyone, my name is Luca. I’m a 14 year-old magic player from Honolulu, Hawaii. I have been playing MTG since an extremely young age, and recently I made the top 8 of a Standard MagicFest Online Weekly Championship. I was playing my version of Gruul Fires, which was not very popular at the time. I like MTG Arena because I’ve found that, with the amount of convenient practice I can get on the platform, I can build and tweak my own decks, and ultimately succeed with them, as long as I think hard about the card choices.

I really like playing competitive off-meta decks, and Historic is the perfect place for that! I tried many different Historic decks out to find a consistent one that would be easy to rank up with. The top decks of the meta leading up to this Historic season were mainly Field of the Dead and Gruul Aggro, but in the new meta, I figured that there would be many Yorion decks. I tested with a Golgari Obosh deck with some success, but I kept losing to the Control decks until I brewed up my build of Mono Red Obosh. I knew that it could be good against both control (because of its speed), and aggro (because of its late game capability). I ended up going 15-1 and making the top 10 of the Historic Mythic Ladder; I felt like I could barely lose a game!

Decklist

This is the Historic Mono Red Obosh deck that got me to #7 in Mythic:

Card Breakdown

Obosh is a companion that requires all the nonland cards in your deck to have an odd converted mana cost and, in return, he functions as a late game finisher in any opening hand and enables all of those cards to deal double damage while in play. Oftentimes you cast Obosh late in the game for 5 mana, and if you have some creatures, you basically win the game on the spot. The deck is extremely explosive, but also plays grindy late games surprisingly well. There have been many Standard Mono Red Obosh lists that have been running around for the past few months (but no Historic version until now), so first I will talk about the staples of this deck:

Heraldic Banner – This is one of the best cards in the deck. It allows you to turn your 1/1’s into 2/1’s, which deal 4 damage with Obosh in play, and allows for some great curves of banner into a 1-drop, which is part of the reason for this deck’s explosiveness. The biggest reason for this card’s inclusion is that it allows for curves of Banner into Obosh, setting up the kill as early as turn 4. I would never dream of sideboarding this card out against any deck!

Bonecrusher GiantBonecrusher Giant has seen lots of play in Standard over the past couple of months. This card is a curve by itself; it’s also one of the only 2 drops that the deck can run, as it’s technically a 3 drop but has Stomp as an Adventure. With so many Naya Winota decks running around, it is key to have 4 of these in the maindeck. It also just happens to have 4 power, meaning that with an Obosh in play, it deals 8 points of damage on its own. The Giant isn’t too effective against the Control decks, but is too good against the aggro decks to leave out of the maindeck. 

Anax, Hardened in the Forge – This is one of the best cards in the deck against any matchup with lots of removal/board wipes. Being able to make a couple of tokens after they sweep your board often decides whether you win or lose games; pair it with a Banner, and the tokens do tremendous damage by themselves, allowing you to go-wide and win some stalled board states. Another great thing about the card is that it has the potential to have an extremely high power, turning itself into a lethal threat that must be blocked while Obosh is in play.

Light Up the Stage – This card is extremely powerful against almost the entire field,, most of the time. It’s usually a 1 mana draw 2, which allows the deck to run a lower amount of lands, as you can keep hands with 2 lands, a Light up the Stage, and a 1-drop. Newer players tend to make the mistake of playing Light up the Stage on turn 2, when they for sure know what they are playing on turn 3. For example, if you have a 1 drop, and then your opponent plays a Llanowar Elf, then it might not be the best idea to play Light Up the Stage with a Chainwhirler in hand (doesn’t apply if you are digging for a land), as Chainwhirler will probably be better than any other turn 3 play in your deck in that spot. The only time that this card is not that great is when your opponent is playing a creature deck, and you’re on the draw. In that case, I would suggest siding some out.

1 Drops – The same core one drops tend to crop up in every Mono Red Obosh deck: 4 Scorch Spitter, 4 Fervent Champion, and a couple of Tin Street Dodger. Most lists tend to play more 1-drops, so we have a few more that we will go over later on.

Skewer the Critics – This is a card that does not see play in the Standard Mono Red Obosh lists, as it is a little too clunky. In Historic, however, it works out quite nicely. Against aggro it can be a kill spell, and against control, it can deal 6 damage for one mana. Many have asked me why I don’t play Shock over this card; the answer is simply that it deals more damage. With Obosh in play, the extra 2 damage could easily end up deciding the game.

The above cards were already Standard staples, so now we’ll get on to the new tech!

Goblin Chainwhirler – Chainwhirler allows you to kill some of the most prominent creatures in the format (such as Llanowar Elves), while also being a 3/3 with first strike, which is highly impactful against most of the aggro decks. Another upside to this card is that, with obosh in play, it does 2 damage to your opponents’ entire board. Sometimes this can kill 2-3 creatures, gaining you insane value in the late game. As a bonus, it also damages your opponent, triggering Spectacle. 

Fanatical Firebrand – This is the 3rd best one drop in the deck; it’s still very good, but there’s nothing truly exciting about it. It shines when your opponents play t1 llanowar elves, giving you an easy answer to the card. Another thing to note is that with Obosh in play, it deals 2 damage when sacrificed, usually trading up for better creatures.

Sideboard

ShockShock is a great answer against small creature decks, which deals 4 damage with Obosh in play, giving you a way to push through extra damage or even burst them down immediately at 6 mana.

Chandra, Acolyte of Flame – Chandra is a great card against control in her ability to dodge board wipes and other spot removal. If you ever get a Banner in play with her, you can make her +s each turn deal massive damage, usually killing your opponent within a few turns, regardless of whether they have a board wipe. 

Legion Warboss – This is another great card against control and Nexus decks; if unanswered, it will end games extremely fast. However, I would only board it in against those decks, since it’s far less exciting if the goblins it produces are just running into their bigger creatures and dying each turn.

Sideboard Guide

Naya Winota

InOut
+4 Shock
+1 Redcap Melee
-2 Tin Street Dodger
-3 Anax, Hardened in the Forge

In this matchup, you want all the removal that you can possibly have. If your opponents don’t have creatures, their Winota is simply a 4 mana 4/4. You do not need to have many threats to beat their deck, so don’t be afraid to keep a hand without one; after all, you always have Obosh. I would, however, try to keep hands with at least 1 piece of removal, since otherwise they will run you over.

Jeskai Lukka Yorion

InOut
+3 Chandra, Acolyte of Flame
+2 Legion Warboss
-4 Goblin Chainwhirler
-1 Bonecrusher Giant

In this matchup, we are just trying to kill them as fast as possible. The reason we are boarding out some of the 3-drops, is that we want to keep our curve as low as possible. In our clunky 3-drop heavy draws where we don’t have much early game, we will usually just lose. To win, we want to have a good amount of early threats, and hopefully a Banner. I would not keep hands without a turn 1 play.

Lurrus Sacrifice Decks

InOut
+4 Shock
+4 Rampaging Ferocidon
-2 Tin Street Dodger
-4 Anax, Hardened in the Forge
-2 Fanatical Firebrand

Lurrus Sacrifice is a deck that just popped up in Historic, and is quickly growing in popularity. Our gameplan in this matchup is just to kill their biggest threats (Priest and Lurrus), while also applying pressure. Sometimes, we can just run them over with early creatures and, other times, we win in the late game. Post-board, we really want to find our Ferocidon, as it will usually win us the game if unanswered. 

Sultai Yorion

InOut
+3 Chandra, Acolyte of Flame
+2 Legion Warboss
+4 Rampaging Ferocidon
-3 Bonecrusher Giant
-2 Tin Street Dodger
-4 Fanatical Firebrand

Sultai Yorion is just the Sultai Explore deck from a year ago, running Yorion. If they ever resolve a Wildgrowth Walker, we need to kill it as soon as possible, or get a Ferocidon out to prevent them from gaining life, while damaging them. It is also a good idea to play around board-wipes/removal, as their deck will usually run lots of them.

Mirror

InOut
+4 Shock
+1 Redcap Melee
-2 Tin Street Dodger
-3 Fanatical Firebrand

As with most Mono Red mirrors, the player with the most removal will usually win. It is also very important to be on the play, not that we can really affect that. Chainwhirler is an extremely important card in this matchup, as it can completely disrupt your opponent’s board. I would try to keep hands that have at least 1 piece of removal, or those which are just very fast.

Gruul Aggro

InOut
+4 Shock
+1 Redcap Melee
-2 Tin Street Dodger
-3 Anax, Hardened in the Forge

In my opinion, Gruul is one of the easier matchups for this deck. From playing this matchup so many times, I have noticed that a lot of the time the games go very long. In these situations, it really helps to have a creature with first strike (Chainwhirler or Fervent Champion), as this will make it so your opponent can’t attack, and you will eventually be able to kill them with Obosh. This is also an important matchup to have some pieces of removal. Don’t be afraid to throw your Fanaticle Firebrand at their Llanowar Elves, as it slows them down a lot.

How to Update the Deck

An important thing to remember is that on MTGA, a deck will not always stay good. The meta changes every couple of days, and it is very important that you keep updating your deck to match these shifts. I have found that tweaking just a couple of cards in the mainboard or the sideboard can make a huge difference. For example, if Winota becomes even more popular than it already is, it is probably a good idea to add a couple more Redcap Melee to the sideboard. It might also be good to add 1-2 shocks to the mainboard if you notice lots of creature decks. If you are playing against lots of Yorion decks, it could be good to up the # of 1-drops in order to make the deck faster. A change I have been thinking about making, is adding some Rampaging Ferocidons to the mainboard. This could help a lot with the Lurrus Sac matchups and the Sultai Yorion Matchups. I would also suggest tracking the games/matchups that you are playing, as this can provide valuable information as to what the current metagame looks like.

Conclusion

Overall, I think that Mono Red Obosh has the potential to be one of the best decks in Historic. It can race the control decks, and out-value the aggro decks. It’s able to run some great creature removal that doubles up as reach in the late game. The fact that one deck never stays the best deck forever means that you should be constantly updating and improving the deck. I hope you enjoyed my article, and I look forward to writing more in the future!

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Rexjak
rexjak
2 months ago

Impressive brew, and a nice first write-up! Love the detail. Looking forward to more by Lucajak.

Chrysologus
2 months ago

Great guide. I love playing this deck in Standard, so now I’m gonna try it in Historic, too. (Previously was playing Rakdos with Goblin Chainwhirler and Call of the Death-Dweller.)

Sylvain
Sylvain
2 months ago

Very good write-up and nice brew! I am looking forward to your other articles.

Partenaires Particulières

Thanks for this deck Luca, I tried it online and got a lot of victories !