It’s baaa-aaaack. It’s been a long time since mono-red was a real player in Standard, but we’re back to a place where there are powerful 1-drops, overpowered creatures, and plenty of ways to prevent flood in this aggressive deck.
Bomat Courier has been one of the focal points of these decks over the past few Standards. Bomat was extra important to decks that cared about artifact synergy, although this deck doesn’t at all. Instead, you want the 1-mana haste creature that can cash in for a few extra cards in the late game (and have pseudo cycling when hellbent late).
Soul-Scar Mage adds an early prowess creature that makes your burn spells a little bit more valuable. You’re looking to deal as much damage as possible early, so getting in for 1-2 damage per turn is already nice, but shrinking large blockers permanently with your direct damage can be a game changer.
Falkenrath Gorger just goes to show what a 2-power 1-drop is capable of. While you can get value by discarding additional Gorgers to a Bomat Courier and madnessing them into play, you’re playing this card for early damage and that’s really it.
Earthshaker Khenra is a massive addition to the deck. A 2-power haste creature for 2 is already exactly what you want to be curving into, and disabling a blocker can create a ton of damage in a deck like this. In the late game, this gives you some flood protection. It costs 6 mana, but you’re getting a free 4/4 haste creature out of the graveyard that should also turn off any blocker for the turn. This ends games.
Bloodrage Brawler is undercosted for its huge stats. You’re looking to end the game in a hurry, and you have lots of ways to turn off blockers, so you’re fine with some card disadvantage to get a 4/3 creature for 2.
Kari Zev, Skyship Raider offers good stats on the offensive. Being a legend means you can’t play too many copies, but the first one is effective.
Ahn-Crop Crasher gives you 3 power in haste for 3 mana, continuing your theme of paying 1 mana for 1 power haste and 2 mana for 2 power haste. Turning off a blocker, however, is where the Crasher really earns its keep. Curving out a 1-drop into Brawler into Crasher means even an opponent who was able to deploy a blocker will be taking up to 9 damage on turn 3. This makes it easy to close out games, especially when the Crasher untaps in 2 turns.
Reckless Bushwhacker allows you to get in with more haste and more damage. This can lead to your biggest turns, but will be clunky when you can’t surge, so you’re not interested in too many copies.
The top of your curve goes to Hazoret the Fervent, and it’s no surprise why this card is so powerful. You empty your hand quickly, especially with cards like Bomat Courier and Bloodrage Brawler. This also gives you some extra reach in the late game and even more flood protection.
Built to Smash is mostly just a 1-mana Lava Spike. It can help you win combat, but you’re mostly looking to finish off an opponent by dealing 3 extra damage for a single mana. Cartouche of Zeal is your final spell and it adds a ton of options. Pumping power, granting haste, and removing a blocker are three things this deck loves.
The final addition to red aggro decks comes in Ramunap Ruins. You’re rarely going to take damage from your land, but you also will rarely care when you do. This gives you yet more reach and flood protection as a way to deal 2-4 points of damage in the late game, immune to opposing countermagic.
Red is most definitely back, with enough weapons to help it get to the top of the standings!