Grand Prix Champion Brandon Burton knows his aggressive decks with reach.
The energy mechanic out of Kaladesh has brought a number of new weapons to the forefront of Standard, and the aggressive creatures in both red and green are high on that list.
The standout is Voltaic Brawler. For just a 2-mana investment, you’re getting a 4/3 trampling attacker every turn. That’s better on paper than Putrid Leech in an aggressive shell. Assuming the rest of your deck has plenty of other energy enablers and you’re the one of the offensive, you can’t get a better rate than this.
Bristling Hydra sits at the top of your curve. For 4 mana, a 4/3 creature isn’t blowing anyone away. But the fact that the Hydra enters with 3 energy that you can use to make it larger and give it hexproof for a turn means this is a really resilient threat. One of the biggest downfalls of aggressive decks with a “combo finish” is that removal can interact really well with them. That isn’t the case here.
Electrostatic Pummeler is what really makes this deck tick. There are lots of ways to get energy here and there, so getting at least 2 activations shouldn’t be overly complicated. A single spell to give the Pummeler +4/+4, combined with 6 energy, threatens to deal 20 on turn 4. With various other combinations of spells, that can be unbeatable.
Servant of the Conduit is a nice way to get extra energy, is reasonably sized at 2/2, and can provide some mana ramp when you need to cast multiple pump spells in a turn, or accelerate you into a turn-3 Bristling Hydra.
Longtusk Cub is a great energy sink and enabler once it gets going. The base stats of a 2/2 for 2 that needs some help is a bit below par, but the payoff for having lots of energy sitting around or an opponent on no blockers is big.
With all of these creatures that are ready to attack for massive chunks of damage, you’ll want to find a way to end the game in 1-2 swings. Uncaged Fury is the best of these. Giving your creature double strike and the +1/+1 bonus means you’re dealing massive damage. One of these on a hexproof Bristling Hydra is 12 damage alone, and on a Voltaic Brawler that already has trample, it doesn’t take much more to end the game.
Larger than Life looks pretty underwhelming as a sorcery-speed pump spell, but it doesn’t matter that it’s not an instant when it’s winning the game. The +4 bonus is the biggest around, and trample will crush any hope your opponent had of chump-blocking. Combined with Uncaged Fury, you’re turning any attacker into a lethal threat. A Larger than Life on a Pummeler with 0 help is 10 trample, and some extra energy or another pump spell should get that close to 20.
Built to Smash is another nice pump spell for attackers. It will give Pummeler trample, or can hit a Brawler that already tramples. Blossoming Defense shows how similar this deck is to Modern Infect. You’re looking for ways to both pump and protect your huge threats and Blossoming Defense does both perfectly.
While R/G Energy Aggro isn’t quite as fast as Modern Infect, it doesn’t need to be in order to put up results in Standard. The sideboard has lots of removal and some more threats to help combat opposing sideboards. We’re just seeing the beginnings of what energy can offer, and it’s offering a lot for aggressive strategies!