Time to kick off my archetype guide series for M19 Limited. Just like last time, I’m going to start with what I consider to be the best archetype and go in descending order. This doesn’t mean that you should force or even really prioritize drafting the best archetype(s). That’s one of the number one things that prevent people from doing well in Draft. Every color combination you know how to draft well is a weapon in your arsenal that you can use to put together a good deck if your neighbors aren’t playing those colors, or if they’re just being underdrafted in your Draft pod. What matters is knowing how to draft a variety of decks well, so you can always draft around the good cards you open or the colors being underdrafted around you, no matter what colors they might be. All that said, I’m going to start with R/W Aggro because I think it’s the best archetype in the format, and where better to start this series than at the top?
In Core Set 2019, R/W is all about aggression. You want your cards to be small, cheap, and fast. You want to beat the opponent while they still have cards in hand they can’t cast. Or by swarming around their more powerful cards and dealing lethal damage despite them having bigger and better stuff in play or in hand. Dominaria had Fungal Infection, Vicious Offering, and Shivan Fire for cheap removal to stop a swarm. M19 has only Shock.
That means that removal won’t be very effective at stopping you. But M19 does have plenty of cantrip/utility 1/3s and 1/1s, so you need to plan to attack through, over, and around those. That means generic 2/2s and 2/1s aren’t very effective unless enhanced. Flying and menace, however, are awesome. There are also a lot of big, slow, effective creatures in M19, so going wide and pumping your team is very effective. Those two plans combine to form a powerful aggro deck. Pumping your team for a turn isn’t going to win you the game if you are dealing your opponent 8 damage from 17 to 9, but if you dealt them early damage with menace and flying creatures, then it will most likely reduce their life total to 0.
M19 has everything you could ever want for this strategy, which is why I think it’s the best archetype. The removal is almost always going to be top priority because it ensures that you can keep attacking. After that, you want to put together a good curve and have enough total creatures that you will have a team to pump but also ways to enhance them so that they never get blanked. I usually like about 16 creatures and 8 spells in this deck. I usually play 16 lands. Angel of the Dawn does double duty, so it’s the best card after the removal. It can even pass Shock and Electrify if your curve is low and you are good at going wide. Creature curve is more important than a slightly better creature, so prioritize having a good curve heavily.
Here are the commons I like to play in this deck in roughly the order I draft them once established in this color combination/strategy:
Good Sideboard Cards
Uncommons, Rares, and Mythics
(Goblin Trashmaster and Volley Veteran both swing wildly in value.)
Thud is a great combo with Hellion. I usually don’t main Sarkhan, Fireblood in Boros unless I have a 6-mana Dragon but I sideboard it in versus defensive decks.
(Tectonic Rift is very good versus any removal/flyer light defensive deck.)
As your deck gets more creature heavy, Inspired Charge gets better quickly. As your deck gets more removal heavy, it gets worse quickly. The cards are listed roughly according to power level, but curve is extremely important. If you have a low curve and it is pack 3, take Siegebreaker Giant much higher. If you have 4+ 5-mana cards, I would cut it from my deck for a playable 2-drop. Goblin Motivator is very good. It has diminishing returns because ideally you draw one per game, but I would take the first 2 copies aggressively, then move down copy number 3 towards the bottom of the optimal list and copy number 4 would be a playable, but not an optimal.
Currently I win easily when I have this deck without even many uncommons or rares if my deck is filled with cards from the optimal list, but this deck is being heavily drafted in the MTGO Competitive League, so I don’t get to end up in it very often. If I am seeing optimal commons for it, I’m all about it. What’s being drafted tends to differ from place to place, so I’m hoping that these cards will be more available in the GPs. You must judge for yourself if it’s open wherever you are drafting by reading the packs in the Draft, but if it’s open or being underdrafted in your area, I would lean heavily in this direction. Heroic Reinforcements is the truth.