No too long ago in standard, every deck worth it’s salt was running Jace, The Mind Sculptor, and for good reason, however lately,there seems to be a shift. Where every deck wanted to be blue, it seems now there’s a clamber to be playing red. There are two mono-red decks, a RUG deck, a Red-White aggro deck, UB Tezzeret decks are playing red and even UW control has begun shuffling up mountains. The red revolution is here.
So why is red being played so much? First off, we have the aggro end of the format, Memnite, Goblin Bushwhacker, Signal Pest, Kuldotha Rebirth and Contested War Zone. These cards in one of our mono-red decks allows a player to potentially kill on turn two, but turn three is quite regular. This amount of power and speed is what attracts some players to the colour, since your opponent needs definite answers straight off, or they will lose quickly. Taking a look at the other big aggro deck, Boros, they run a bit slower, feeding off of the Stoneforge Mystic, Squadron Hawk and Sword of Feast and Famine package. Their mountains however, give them other aggro creatures like Plated Geopede and burn like Lightning Bolt as reach, there’s even a burn heavy deck running off of a few creatures like Goblin Guide, Kargan Dragonlord and Plated Geopede. So speed and reach draw the aggro portion of the field towards this end of the colour pie.
The rest of the field though, takes notice. UW control decks themselves are running the Stoneforge Mystic package, which means that the format is saturated with creatures with power two or less, which means the other side of red, namely sweepers, Pyroclasm and Slagstorm, get a power boost. But also, in light of the one toughness creatures, Cunning Sparkmage is back, yet again to cause trouble, and is easily accompanied by Stoneforge Mystic and Basilisk Collar to help remove bigger problems. Even a large red finisher is seeing play in RUG decks, Inferno Titan has become a powerhouse in the face of small guys and three toughness Squadron Hawks carrying swords. With all these deck running lots of creatures, the burn decks can once again run the powerhouse card that is Searing Blaze, almost reacting to a trend they helped set.
Down to a more specific level, red provides some excellent sideboard cards for certain match ups, Manic Vandal for example is finding his way into a lot of player’s lists thanks to both Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas and of course, Sword of Feast and Famine. Where often red is far from being format defining, in today’s standard metagame, it’s not only providing the questions and problems, but also the solutions.
I’ll leave you with a RDW top 8 list from a recent SCG Open:
4 Koth of the Hammer
Thanks for reading, and thanks for sharing.