Mono Red Aggro Deck Guide – Throne of Eldraine Standard – October 2019
Introduction to Mono Red Aggro
Mono Red Aggro (or also known as Red Deck Wins abbreviated to RDW) has one goal: To reduce the opponent’s life total to 0 as quickly as possible. This deck archetype is always around in Standard in one form or another, and is well positioned in the meta when there are an abundance of slower and greedier decks to keep them in check.
The weakness in this deck’s archetype has traditionally been due to the lack of card advantage and running out of steam. Should your opponent have the opportunity to disrupt our game plan, you would run out of spells to play quickly. The introduction of Light Up the Stage and Experimental Frenzy, allows the deck to compete have more reach for mid to late game.
This traditional version has a combination of creatures and burn spells. Another version revolves around Cavalcade of Calamity, which we will cover in our later upcoming guide.
Mono Red Aggro Decklists
4 Bonecrusher Giant (ELD) 115 4 Castle Embereth (ELD) 239 2 Experimental Frenzy (GRN) 99 4 Fervent Champion (ELD) 124 4 Light Up the Stage (RNA) 107 16 Mountain (ELD) 265 4 Robber of the Rich (ELD) 138 4 Runaway Steam-Kin (GRN) 115 4 Shock (M20) 160 3 Skewer the Critics (RNA) 115 4 Slaying Fire (ELD) 143 3 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell (ELD) 147 4 Scorch Spitter (M20) 159 2 Chandra, Acolyte of Flame (M20) 126 2 Experimental Frenzy (GRN) 99 3 Fry (M20) 140 4 Lava Coil (GRN) 108 2 Redcap Melee (ELD) 135 2 Tibalt, Rakish Instigator (WAR) 146
Deck updated: October 11, 2019
The core strategy of the deck is simple – to defeat your opponent as quickly as possible using creatures and spells with lower mana costs. The deck however, is not as one dimensional as it seems. You need to make decisions each turn on whether to go directly to your opponent, or balance dealing damage to their planeswalkers and creatures.
The main thing is to not to put yourself in a card disadvantage, and waste cards on your opponent’s blockers and planeswalkers unless absolutely necessary. Though you have access to cards like Light Up the Stage and Experimental Frenzy, they may not be enough to help you come back from opponents that have stabilized already.
With the introduction of Throne of Eldraine and standard rotation, the deck loses almost irreplaceable cards like Goblin Chainwhirler and Lightning Strike, but also gains some strong options at a cost of a higher mana curve.
- 4 Skewer the Critics: With the loss of Lightning Strike and Wizard’s Lightning, this is the most cost efficient burn spell we have that can hit both the opponent and their creatures. It being a Sorcery makes it much less appealing but we have to make use of what we have.
- 4 Slaying Fire: This is a new addition from Throne of Eldraine and ideally with this card you want to finish off your opponents rather than killing their creatures or planeswalkers. The card’s position is more precarious as 3 mana burn spells is not usually where you want to be.
- 4 Bonecrusher Giant: Not much needs to be said about this ubiquitous red card. In a world where Murderous Rider and Realm-Cloaked Giant may be prevalent, it will be even better. It does require a total of 5 mana investment to get the most out of this card, so keep that in mind also.
- 2 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell: Torbran will act as a curve topper and finisher. You do already need a someone decent board presence for this card to be good, and if you cannot make use of it right away, Oko, Thief of Crowns renders it almost useless. Keeping it in your hand until it can be used optimally may not be a bad idea.
- 4 Light Up the Stage: Being able to have access to two more cards for just one mana makes this card a must include in all Mono Red decks. It makes your draws more explosive and even able to find you the lands you may need.
- 2 Experimental Frenzy: With the curve and mana intensity of the deck rising slightly, the card is becomes a bit too slow. Since it is bad in multiples, 2 copies may be enough.
- 4 Castle Embereth: We think that four copies of this card in the deck is correct, as there will be almost no downside to playing it. You will want to have this land in most games, especially that your game plan involves several creatures.
Best-of-One Card Substitutions
For best-of-one, you want the deck to function faster and Torbran, Thane of Red Fell helps us do that. In this case, you want add an extra copy, and then cut the higher costing cards such as Slaying Fire and Experimental Frenzy and add more one drops (which we have a wealth of options) to have more board presence.
Budget Card Substitutions
- Fervent Champion: This card is just a 1/1 for haste that can occasionally buff each other for an extra power in this particular deck. We don’t recommend crafting this card just for this deck, as there are other replaceable cards such as Tin Street Dodger, Gingerbrute, and so on.
- Robber of the Rich: This card gives you the card advantage that the deck needs, especially that less copies of Experimental Frenzy is being played. Like Fervent Champion, unless you will use this in other decks (for example, Rakdos or Gruul), crafting this card just for this deck is probably not worth it. Rimrock Knight is another good budget option instead.
Matchup and Sideboard Guide
Position in the Metagame
As it stands, the deck is not favored in the competitive metagame at the moment as there are other decks that go over the top much better. Due to the strength of individual mono colored cards in Throne of Eldraine, it is better to combine them to make two or three colored spells. Play this deck only if you prefer its consistency and budget concerns due to a limited collection.
Generally against other aggro match ups it comes down to who starts first; if you are on the play, you want to curve out as best as you can so consider a mulligan if you do not have one or two drops in your opening hand. On the draw, you will be on the back foot and want to stabilize by killing your opponent’s creatures and protecting your life total.
Having your creatures stick to the board is key and it will boil down to trading and burning each other’s creatures until someone gets more card advantage. In this sort of deck, you want to sideboard by taking out creatures with not much impact (such as Robber of the Rich, Fervent Champion) and bringing in cards like Lava Coil so you always have answers to their creatures. Slaying Fire is also not as good due to its high mana cost and do not need to full 4 damage to your opponent’s creatures.
Experimental Frenzy is the card you would want to see the most versus control or slower decks, as you will run out of steam quickly as they deal with your creatures. Torbran, Thane of Red Fell is not at its best here as your creatures will not be around the battlefield for too long (though it will still be good in best-of-one games where they cannot prepare against it).
You generally want to sideboard in more card advantage and resilient cards such as Chandra, Acolyte of Flame and Chandra, Fire Artisan. Robber of the Rich will also prove to be excellent here. Shock and the one drops are not as good in this matchup, though you shouldn’t take them all out as you still need to pressure your opponent.
- October 2, 2019: Deck guide overhauled for Throne of Eldraine Standard Season 1.
- June 14, 2019: Deck updated for War of the Spark Season 2.
- May 19, 2019: Deck guide added.