Atarka Red didn’t get much from Oath of the Gatewatch. The red aggro cards just aren’t really on a Constructed level, there is no need for Ally synergies, and adding colorless mana to a red deck for the Eldrazi isn’t really realistic. There is one standout, however.

Reckless Bushwhacker is an improved version of an already excellent card. The surge cost is cheap and the power level is high. Being able to play a creature, or even multiple creatures from a token producer, before a Bushwhacker will result in tons of damage. Bushwhacker is the perfect complement to Atarka’s Command and is functionally very similar. Atarka’s Command was already the most feared card in the deck, so 4 additional similar cards is a dream come true.

While there is nothing else that truly stands out to me for Atarka Red from Oath, this single addition does change the way that Atarka Red can be built going forward. No longer does the deck need to rely on the combo, but you can keep a few pieces around. Opponents need to respect the combo of Become Immense and Temur Battle Rage without the deck actually leaning on it to win. Spot removal is so good against a combo that revolves pumping a single creature. Spot removal is also so poor against cards like Dragon Fodder, Hordeling Outburst, and Reckless Bushwhacker. Adding more creatures to the deck and enabling yourself to go wide, while also being able to go big, means you’re attacking from more angles than most decks are equipped to deal with.

Make sure you have the full 4 copies of Reckless Bushwhacker ready to go the next time you play Atarka Red—playing 3 or fewer is a mistake in current incarnations of the deck—and you’re going to be very happy with the results!

Atarka Red

Korey McDuffie, 1st Place at a Standard Open