Mono Red Aggro Theorycraft – Throne of Eldraine Standard

bonecrusher-giant-art
Bonecrusher Giant (ELD) Art by Victor Adame Minguez

Mono Red Aggro has always been a staple deck archetype in MTG Arena. Its speed, consistency, strength and low cost to build the deck has been the major selling point for many players. The deck is prevalent especially in best-of-one game modes, where it shines even more without the need for sideboards. This is why it is usually the first competitive deck recommended to craft for new players.

In Core Set 2020 Standard, the deck has fallen slightly in the competitive metagame due to the rise of Field of the Dead decks but it still showed that it can still perform well in tournaments to prey on slower decks. As Standard rotation is about to happen, players will be wondering what will happen to the deck and how they need to adapt with the new cards in Throne of Eldraine as well as the implications with the cards being lost.

Fear not however! Mono Red decks usually exist in the Standard format one way or another, it is just a matter of how strong it can be – whether it dominates the meta, or just exists to keep some decks in check.

Note: As of writing this article, Throne of Eldraine has a little bit to go left to be spoiled – so who knows what more will be added! This will be updated as we know more.

Cards we are Losing

Goblin Chainwhirler and Lightning Strike are probably the biggest cards to lose in the current deck (not counting Rampaging Ferocidon as it is swiftly going back out after being unbanned), and created the most memories – from killing Risen Reef and Llanowar Elves in one swoop, to killing Wildgrowth Walkers as its Explore ability triggered.

Of course, Ghitu Lavarunner, Fanatical Firebrand, Viashino Pyromaner and even Wizard’s Lightning are also all going. They all had their own roles – from finishing off Teferi, Time Raveler to triggering Light Up the Stage – and will sorely be missed, but are definitely more replaceable.

Cards that are Staying

Luckily for us, the core power of the deck lies in its resilience that Experimental Frenzy gives us as well as the explosiveness of Runaway Steam-Kin and card advantage of Light Up the Stage.

We still have cards like Shock, Risk Factor which has been a part of the deck on and off also, and let’s not forget Skewer the Critics still exist as a Sorcery speed Lightning Strike. The Spectacle cards may now be slightly harder to trigger without Fanatical Firebrand and Viashino Pyromancer, but that can be a minor nuisance more than anything. In a nutshell though, the core of the deck is here to stay, it is just a matter of what to replace the rotating cards with.

Cards that are Coming

Throne of Eldraine previews have been an exciting one so far- we have seen some truly interesting cards in this set and there are definitely a few candidates for Mono Red Aggro that we are eyeing on so far – from main deck cards, to sideboard cards.

  • Torbran, Thane of Red Fell: This card can finish off opponents if you already have a board presence or bunch of burn spells you can cast in your hand, similar to The Flame of Keld.
  • Castle Embereth: This will be a quintessential card in all red decks, as it is almost free to play even if the upside is not too huge.

These are all potential candidates for the new Mono Red Aggro deck.

  • Fervent Champion: Our new Player Spotlight card requires Knights and Equipments to be truly effective, but even without it it has haste and first strike, all just for one mana.
  • Robber of the Rich: Can provide card advantage, similar to Thief of Insanity or Dire Fleet Daredevil. It even has haste and reach!
  • Bonecrusher Giant: Flexible card, above the curve creature.
  • Slaying Fire: 4 guaranteed damage for 3 mana seems good enough. It can compete with Risk Factor in its slot.
eld-141-seven-dwarves

Seven Dwarves also should get a special mention, because in theory it could be very strong even if you manage to draw 2 or 3. It’s still probably not a great idea to play these with Legion’s End in Standard, though you can hedge on that and use these as a budget option (considering Throne of Eldraine is a relatively playable rare heavy set).

We are also getting some interesting sideboard options here, in addition to the vast options we have so far (e.g. Fry, Lava Coil):

Decklists

Let’s have a look at a few options that could be viable in Throne of Eldraine Standard.

This is the first rendition of the deck we have drafted. The maindeck is simple and is all 4-ofs – which includes the best Throne of Eldraine red cards. Tin Street Dodger is a hasty Rogue that can make use of the ability of Robber of the Rich. There aren’t any other synergies though, except to kill your opponent ASAP. The deck becomes slightly more expensive because we now have a Mythic Rare.

4 Tin Street Dodger (RNA) 120
4 Scorch Spitter (M20) 159
4 Runaway Steam-Kin (GRN) 115
4 Robber of the Rich (ELD) 138
4 Bonecrusher Giant (ELD) 115
4 Shock (M19) 156
4 Slaying Fire (ELD) 143
3 Skewer the Critics (RNA) 115
4 Experimental Frenzy (GRN) 99
4 Light Up the Stage (RNA) 107
1 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell (ELD) 147 
16 Mountain (XLN) 273
4 Castle Embereth (ELD) 239

1 Chandra, Fire Artisan (WAR) 119
4 Lava Coil (GRN) 108
3 Fry (M20) 140
2 Tibalt, Rakish Instigator (WAR) 146
2 Redcap Melee (ELD) 135
1 Opportunistic Dragon (ELD) 133
2 Legion Warboss (GRN) 109

This version is a cheaper build with Seven Dwarves. This might be a better starting point if burning Wildcards on Robber of the Rich does not seem like a good idea.

2 Footlight Fiend (RNA) 216
4 Scorch Spitter (M20) 159
4 Runaway Steam-Kin (GRN) 115
7 Seven Dwarves (ELD) 141
4 Bonecrusher Giant (ELD) 115
4 Shock (M19) 156
4 Slaying Fire (ELD) 143
2 Skewer the Critics (RNA) 115
4 Experimental Frenzy (GRN) 99
4 Light Up the Stage (RNA) 107
20 Mountain (XLN) 273

1 Chandra, Fire Artisan (WAR) 119
4 Lava Coil (GRN) 108
3 Fry (M20) 140
2 Tibalt, Rakish Instigator (WAR) 146
2 Redcap Melee (ELD) 135
1 Opportunistic Dragon (ELD) 133
2 Legion Warboss (GRN) 109

Personally, I’m not a fan of Mono Red Cavalcade especially in best-of-three matches, as relying on a single card to play other bad cards seem like a recipe for disaster. However, I cannot argue with the explosiveness of the deck and is surprisingly consistent. I think the new version can make space for Fervent Champion and Embercleave, and we can even dream of equipping that to Chandra’s Spitfire. Sounds like a win-more strategy, but even just one activation seems devastating.

4 Fervent Champion (ELD) 124
4 Chandra, Acolyte of Flame (M20) 126
4 Chandra's Spitfire (M20) 132
3 Legion Warboss (GRN) 109
4 Scorch Spitter (M20) 159
4 Tin Street Dodger (RNA) 120
4 Torch Courier (GRN) 119
4 Shock (M20) 160
4 Cavalcade of Calamity (RNA) 95
1 Embercleave (ELD) 120
2 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell (ELD) 147
4 Light Up the Stage (RNA) 107 
16 Mountain (WAR) 261
4 Castle Embereth (ELD) 239

4 Lava Coil (GRN) 108
3 Fry (M20) 140
2 Tibalt, Rakish Instigator (WAR) 146
2 Redcap Melee (ELD) 135
2 Experimental Frenzy (GRN) 99
2 Claim the Firstborn (ELD) 118

Branching Out

Another possible Mono Red deck we can discuss further down the track is a Big Red deck. It is a midrange to control Mono Red deck that people would love to see it work in Standard. We have a lot of Chandra cards to work with, but we lose important cards like Treasure Map and Star of Extinction. We get some decent additions in Throne of Eldraine that might be worth taking a look at later on.

Wrapping Up

Anyway, that’s all we have for now, and we hope you found this enjoyable. I will be tinkering a bit more as we get closer to set release (you can find these on the decks section) and have other deck archetypes in the making. Let me know what you think in the comments below, or say hi at our Discord group!

More Throne of Eldraine Standard Theorycraft

1 Response

  1. marthisdil says:

    Ferocidon does 1 damage to the creature’s controller, not to the creature

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