With a new Standard format, the old rules still apply. When in doubt, go aggressive. Craig Krempals took one of the most aggressive strategies you could find to a Top 8 in a Constructed Team Open. What looks like a mono-red deck at first actually utilizes cards from all of the Jeskai colors to shore up some weaknesses.
This deck is heavy on the 1-drops. One of the big knocks against Mono-Red when Ixalan came in was that it lost some of its powerful 1-drops in Falkenrath Gorger and Village Messenger. With Soul-Scar Mage being so underpowered, this deck still features 16 1-drops, despite not playing the Mage. Bomat Courier is still the best of the bunch and is utilized in all of the aggro decks that can play red. A 1-drop with haste is already nice, but Courier has the potential to draw a few extra cards later, or a ton of cards late in the game.
Speaking of 1-drops with haste, Fanatical Firebrand is the new Mogg Fanatic with a twist. Being able to attack right away is great, and of course you can sacrifice your Firebrand immediately to deal 1 damage to a player or creature. Unfortunately, you can’t really do both, as the sacrifice is a tap ability.
The red Pirate 1-drops add another aggro dimension to the deck. Daring Buccaneer requires another Pirate in your hand to really be great, but assuming that you can fill that requirement, you get a 2/2 creature for just 1 mana. The floor of a 2/2 for 3 mana is definitely poor but not necessarily crippling. Rigging Runner is much weaker on turn 1, but you’re playing 16 1-drop creatures and 8 of them have haste. This gives you access to draws where you can play three 1-drop creatures by turn 2 and make your Runners full-sized.
Kari Zev, Skyship Raider is a carryover from Mono-Red aggro decks. Another Pirate, Kari Zev swings in for 3 damage for just 2 mana. Having menace and first strike makes Kari Zev quite hard to block, and Ragavan will keep coming back for more.
Ahn-Crop Crasher adds more haste to the deck and makes sure that blocking won’t come easy. A 3-power haste creature for 3 is already a great rate, but turning off a blocker to make sure the 1-drops and Ragavans continue to hit is awesome.
What needs to be said about Hazoret the Fervent? You’re playing a deck with 16 creatures that cost a single mana, so there’s no deck better at emptying its hand. They’re going to need to be tapping mana consistently to deal with all your early pressure and Hazoret is going to be a problem.
Lightning Strike and Shock are the removal spells of choice. These are the burn spells that are most efficient and can target your opponent, so they get the nod over cards like Abrade. This deck is looking to maximize damage early and often, so targeting your opponent is crucial.
The real curveball comes from Path of Mettle. For 2 mana, Path will sweep up a lot of the 1-toughness creatures in the format. Your deck has immunity to the effect. With 16 haste creatures and 7 first strike creatures, flipping Path is academic and only Daring Buccaneer doesn’t help in this mission. Once flipped, Metzali can take over. It ramps your mana a bit, which can be awesome with Hazoret, but it’s also the “new” Ramunap Ruins as you can continue to Shock your opponent and don’t even need to sacrifice anything besides some mana each turn. Forcing the opponent to sacrifice an attacker gives you additional inevitability.
Red Aggro decks have proven to be near the top of the metagame in Standard, and Path of Mettle provides a sweet new effect for some late-game power!