Owen’s Pick of the Week – Mono-Red Aggro

My pick of the week is Mono-Red Aggro, piloted by JB Milo to a 6th place finish recently in Dallas. It’s clean, crisp, and most importantly: it wins. I’m a big fan of decks like this and I have a huge amount of respect for his 20-Mountains-all-4-ofs approach to maximize consistency.

Now the point of my Pick of the Week series is to tell you what deck I would play THIS weekend, and since there is no major Standard tournament this weekend due to the prerelease, I’ll break down the cards that I’d add to this deck from Dragons of Tarkir.

One of the first cards that drew my attention was Dragon Fodder, and for good reason. We already know and love Hordeling Outburst, and I suspect Dragon Fodder will see play for similar reasons. It’s very good against removal, it’s a cheap, reliable threat that works well with both Foundry Street Denizen and more importantly convoke. There’s only one convoke card in the deck in the form of Stoke the Flames but that interaction is so powerful it cannot be understated. When you have this awesome burn spell and some percentage of the time you can just cast it for free that is insane value. The Dragon Fodder tokens are Goblins which have some synergy with Goblin Rabblemaster, but my guess is that this will be more of a drawback than a bonus—all told, a negligible one, though.

Zurgo Bellstriker is an excellent, aggressively-costed card. 4 Zurgo Bellstriker will be mandatory in every Mono-Red deck. Yes, it’s legendary, but I don’t care. It’s way too good to have as many 2-power 1-drops as you can. If the opponent stumbles even a little bit they take a bunch of extra damage, and if they do kill it then there’s no drawback for having drawn two. I suspect they’re totally fine to draw in multiples, especially since if it were to die to a mass removal spell then you’d be happy to have a 2/2 dash to try and close out the game.

Lightning Berserker is a thrilling card as well. When uncontested it’s a fireball every turn. I agree this won’t happen very often, but it’s worth mentioning to demonstrate that the ceiling for potential on this card is very high. I also like to have a good number of creatures that have dash because they can act as burn spells or repeated sources of damage that trigger Foundry Street Denizen. It feels like drawing multiple copies of this card will be bad, so I’d stick to only two or three for now, but don’t be afraid to play four if you’re happy each and every time you draw it.

The next question is, what should you cut? Mardu Scout and Searing Blood are the first cards I’d look to trim. It might be tempting to look at the other one drops, but don’t touch them—Foundry Street Denizen makes this deck tick.

Until next week, enjoy turning guys sideways and burning faces.

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