Mono Red Aggro Historic Deck Guide

Amonkhet is back on Arena! Although it is in Historic this time, long time Arena players may remember casting old favorites like Glorybringer and Scarab God in the standard of old. But now, we have all new cards to mix and match for new decks. One of the cards I’m most excited to play with is Soul-Scar Mage.

Soul-Scar Mage

This has been one of my favorite cards in Modern and Pioneer, so I’m very excited to be able to play it in Historic.

The Deck

Being the red mage that I am, I have been brewing since the announcement of Amonkhet’s return, and have come up with a hyper-aggressive red deck that I can’t wait to play.

This deck is 4 Monastery Swiftspear and 4 Eidolon of the Great Revel shy of the deck I play in Pioneer. So, I know the main works, even if we’re missing another powerful 1-drop.

No other 1-drop we have access to can match Swiftspear in power, so in her place I am playing 2 copies of Hazoret the Fervent and 2 more basic lands to compensate for the slightly increased curve.

Hazoret the Fervent

Hazoret gives us a huge beater in the late game and allows us to turn any bad top deck into a Shock, enabling herself as an attacker when we struggle to empty our hand naturally. Also, since she has haste, she can get in of a sneaky chunk of damage versus tapped out opponents. Having indestructible means she is hard to remove and doesn’t fold to board wipes, which is fantastic.

Normally, I am hesitant to put extra lands in an aggressive deck, but thankfully we have a new toy in Ramunap Ruins.

akr-326-ramunap-ruins

This bad boy turns slight flooding into a little bit of damage. Giving us a mana sink in the mid to late game is a nice quality of life change for red decks.

To compensate for the lack of Eidolon, I play 4 Bonecrusher Giant as it is a versatile and impactful card. Being able to remove a creature and then play a big body is relevant, especially versus other creature decks.

How does it fit in the meta?

Well, Amonkhet really shakes things up and I don’t know all the cool new decks that could pop up. So, all I can do is match this deck up against existing favorites and new brews that I have tested and that work well – all of this, I’ll go over later.

This deck lacks the combo insta-kill of Goblins, but what it does have is raw power, speed, and consistency, all in one fine package. Having burn to go over and close out a game is something Goblins sorely lacks. For these reasons, I am confident that this is close to the mono red deck we will see popping up as the alternative to goblins.

Video Showcase

The Sideboard

With the meta still developing, I think it is smart to cover the basic bases: other aggro decks, bigger creature decks, and creatureless decks/control. After that, we can cover known niche strategies. I don’t include combo here because it is such a broad term and combo can be with or without creatures.

Abrade is fantastic. Giving us a way to remove creatures and destroy artifacts in one card frees up a lot of space in the board.

Lava Coil has become the standard in removing annoying creatures, and is perfect for hitting Questing Beast and Glorybringer.

Goblin Chainwhirler has proven itself time and time again. There is no way I would play less than two of this card, since he really breaks the mirror and cleans up all the pesky tokens running around. With Amonkhet, he got even better, since he has fantastic synergy with Soul-Scar Mage, putting a -1/-1 counter on all your opponents’ creatures.

Chandra, Acolyte of Flame is probably the best planeswalker we have access to, doing everything we want. She is fantastic after a sweeper and at flashing back a late game burn spell or even Light up the Stage, which can really refuel us.

Alpine Moon is there to stop Field of the Dead, plain and simple. With Hour of Promise, I think the deck just hit a whole new level, so be ready for it.

Rampaging Ferocidon stops life gain and really punishes tokens and other aggressive creature strategies. I wanted to play at least two of this guy, which is why I don’t play more Chainwhirlers.

Soul-Guide Lantern is my graveyard hate of choice, because it can come in and snipe a Uro or Cauldron Familiar, then blow up the graveyard or draw us a card when needed.

When boarding, you should know what we have 3 Wizards for each copy of Wizard’s Lightning. Generally, you will cut wizards in a lot of matchups as they are our weakest cards. When you do, a good rule of thumb is, for every 2 wizards you remove, cut 1 Lightning. Now this is just a guideline, but maintaining a 3:1 ratio is ideal.

Sideboard Guide for known decks

Versus Field of the Dead

InOut
+2 Alpine Moon
+2 Rampaging Ferocidon
+2 Soul-Guide Lantern
-2 Hazoret the Fervent
-4 Shock

Hazoret is just too slow here and gets chumped by the zombie tokens. Shock is weak and doesn’t have targets. We beautifully cut two 3-drops for two more 3-drops, and 1-drops for 1-drops so our curve don’t spike. Rampaging Ferocidon stops some life gain and annoys them when they start pumping out tokens. Soul-Guide Lantern removes Uro from the equation. You may be tempted to bring in Chandra, but her tokens just get walled by the 2/2s and she spikes our curve.

Goblins

InOut
+2 Lava Coil
+2 Goblin Chainwhirler
+2 Rampaging Ferocidon
+3 Abrade
-2 Hazoret the Fervent
-4 Viashino Pyromancer
-3 Skewer the Critics

I’m not gonna lie: this matchup is a coin flip. We take on the role of the control deck; our job is to control the board and get in for as much as we can, while trying to hold off Muxus.

We cut Hazoret as it is just an expensive blocker. Pyromancer gets blown out by Chainwhirler, but we retain a 2:1 ratio on wizards, which is acceptable. I heavily trim on Skewer the Critics because they are sorcery speed and require us to do damage for the reduced cost, which is a tall order when we are playing as the control deck.

Control

InOut
+2 Chandra, Acolyte of Flame
+2 Rampaging Ferocidon
-4 Shock

These matchups are easy for the most part. I cut Shock for not having targets. I add in Chandra as she is a great follow-up to a sweeper and hard for them  to interact with. Rampaging Ferocidon looks odd but he cuts down life gain and is a decent threat that is hard to block for a deck that usually will have 1 creature max. Soul-Scar puts in work withering down would-be problem cards like Baneslayer Angel to a 2/2 or smaller, which can’t trade with the dinosaur. Ideally, we would have Tibalt, but I couldn’t make room sadly, but I may update the sideboard to include him soon. Hazoret puts in a lot of work in these matchups.

Sacrifice

InOut
+2 Lava Coil
+2 Soul-Guide Lantern
+2 Rampaging Ferocidon
+3 Abrade
-2 Hazoret the Fervent
-4 Viashino Pyromancer
-3 Skewer the Critics

This matchups can be hard if they set up well. Rampaging Ferocidon really hurts the cat combo, Lava Coil is additional removal that exiles, Soul-Guide Lantern controls the graveyard, and Abrade pulls double duty in taking care of Witch’s Oven and being another removal spell.

Cards not in the deck and why

Grim Lavamancer: This guy isn’t as good as he is in modern because we don’t have fetchlands to fill our graveyard as quickly.  I get that you can reuse burn in the grave to use him, but any long time burn player in modern can tell you the downsides to this card.  He is very frail and a bad top deck when you are racing and trying to close out the game.

Earthshaker Khenra: This card would be a lot better if Goblin Chainwhirler didn’t exist. I can see finding room for it, but I think it is just weaker than our other cards.

Ahn-Crop Crasher: This guy is expensive for what he does and just not where I want to be with goblins, elves, tokens, and other swarm based decks running around, since they make his exert lackluster.

Conclusion

I really love this deck and think it will be in a fine spot in the meta going forward. Red decks like this is are by far my preferred playstyle and I have had a blast playing it. Feel free to follow me on Twitch and subscribe to my Youtube to see me play this deck and other great decks on Arena. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook for the memes and other cool lists. Hero out!

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The MTG Hero

My name is The MTG Hero. I have played Magic for over 15 years. I am a consistent high Mythic ranked player. Follow me on Twitch and subscribe on YouTube!

7 Responses

  1. says:

    In the sacrifice sideboard plan, what’s the reason for not sticking to your rule of thumb and cutting 2 wizard’s lightnings along with the 4 pyromancers over the skewers?

  2. says:

    In bo1 version you can definitely add some scorched deserts to trigger spectacle easier on your spells. You basically decide between them and chainwhirler

  3. Firearasi Firearasi says:

    What’s your take on the other direction of burn, namely taking out the wizards package and add thermo-alchemist as the main fuel(and my version use hidetsugu’s second rite to shorten the distance)?

  4. says:

    Any reason to not just include Rampaging Ferocidon in the main deck? You side them in in every listed matchup and they never seem bad. What would you replace to make room for 2 main?

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