Mono-Red Aggro is almost always a powerful budget option in Standard. For whatever reason it seems like red consistently gets amazing 1- and 2-mana options for creatures and spells at low rarities, much more than the other colors.
Right now red is especially abundant with amazing early-game plays at common and uncommon. There is absurd depth to developing tier-1-crushing decks from stacks of draft leavings, with varying style.
I’ve been having success with a hyper aggro Heroic Red version, but we will explore other options as well.
This is where I want to start. All of these red 1-drops feed off of targeted buffs to absurd effect. If your 1-drop isn’t stopped in the first few turns, that may be all you need to kill the opponent before the midgame even gets going.
Akroan Crusader and Satyr Hoplite are commons and Monastery Swiftspear is an uncommon—and each of these in a synergistic shell is actually more powerful than the rare Firedrinker Satyr or Zurgo Bellstriker.
This heroic red 1-drop 12-pack will be gone by the next fall set… but for now we can take advantage.
There are plenty of options for targeted buffs to grow your 1-drops. The best option may be a varied mix for unpredictability.
Dragon Mantle is nice for smoothing out either mana screw or mana flood.
Titan’s Strength has the scry effect and punches the hardest.
Hammerhand does it all.
Rouse the Mob can push over the top with trample.
Coordinated Assault goes crazy with 2 attacking creatures.
And Temur Battle Rage is an over-the-top wombo combo to finish the game before it gets going.
Burn is early-game removal to clear the board and late-game reach across the table to incinerate their last few life points.
Burn is always good, always cheap, always printed at low rarities, and is a big reason for why budget red is so consistently good.
Mardu Scout has good stats as a 3/1 for 2. The dash ability gives you extra use of your mana, haste punch, and a way to play around sweepers.
Goblin Heelcutter is pretty incredible. For 3 mana you stop a blocker and hit them for an extra 3. It provides a similar effect to Act of Treason… except you get to PICK IT UP and play it over again! Or you can play it at 4. Amazing card.
This package would play differently than a heroic deck, but there’s definitely potential to build this way instead.
Two good options from the new set. Both punch hard and give you extra use for your mana in the late game. Both are decent options for a red budget deck.
Finally we have Mountain which makes all this possible. Basic lands come into play untapped and make colored mana right away—and they’re practically free off the ground!!
How many Mountains you play is totally up to preference. Would you rather lose because you didn’t have enough lands to get going, or lose because you drew a few extra and couldn’t finish the opponent off?
For my build I like 20 lands to offer the best chance of curving out for a turn 4-5 kill. Ideally you play your last land and play your last card and push through for the win.
Whatever you decide is your choice, but I have been really liking this main deck list.
Standard Dirt Cheap Dirty Red
Fast heroic strategy that can attack through Siege Rhinos and other fat. It’s well positioned to push over and through creatures, and race anyone who thinks they can go this fast.
If you’re weak to anything it’s abundant removal. You are threat light. Wild Slashes, Bile Blights, and sweepers can stop you from ever getting going. You may lose with all these buffs and burn rotting in your hand.
Your focus in sideboarding should be upping your threat density against removal-heavy decks. This could mean boarding in any and all creatures instead of buffs.
If there’s one card in particular that can really flip the matchup it’s Outpost Siege.
While it’s a rare, this provides the best effect available to compensate for the deck’s weak point. Both modes work—one provides the reach you need, the other gives you the gas you need.
For other sideboard options, it makes sense to fill out some more slots with burn. The main deck is geared more toward heroic buffs, but against other fast strategies you want as many early burn spells as possible.
If this sideboard is out of your budget, get creative, or just play with 60. The main deck is sweet enough.
Budget Red is always a great go-to option for competitive Standard decks for cheap. This heroic strategy is dirt cheap, and I have found it to be competitive with top tier decks.
I highly recommend this strategy for those looking for an entry point into Standard. There’s a lot of depth here and plenty of room to tinker for taste. Feel free to experiment and try out some new cards if that’s what you fancy.
Make sure to check out the video series from last week, and if you try it out let me know how it goes! Good luck and have fun!