Last week I wrote about how aggro decks were struggling and I didn’t find success with any. But things change and now I like aggressive decks–today I’ll talk to you about my two favorite ones.
My biggest problem with this strategy has been the manabase. I tried to make Knights work and I tried to make Rakdos and Golgari decks work, but the manabase was so fragile that you had too many non-games. My problem was also that I tried to put black cards in my deck, as I was probably obsessed with Spawn of Mayhem or something. Mono-black unfortunately isn’t good enough, as the lack of playable two drops makes it unappealing.
It was when Doom139 (one of the most brilliant people in my chat) told me to try Aaron Barich’s Mono-Red deck that I found out how strong Torbran, Thane of Red Fell is, and I felt in love.
Mono-Red – Aaron Barich
18 Mountain 3 Castle Embereth 4 Bonecrusher Giant/Stomp 4 Fervent Champion 4 Rimrock Knight/Boulder Rush 4 Runaway Steam-Kin 2 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell 4 Scorch Spitter 2 Experimental Frenzy 4 Light Up the Stage 4 Shock 4 Skewer the Critics 3 Slaying Fire Sideboard 2 Chandra, Acolyte of Flame 1 Embereth Shieldbreaker/Battle Display 2 Experimental Frenzy 2 Flame Sweep 4 Lava Coil 2 Tibalt, Rakish Instigator 2 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
I chose to play this deck in the “Win Every card Challenge” on Magic Arena few days ago and it was a blast. The deck is pure fire in Best-of-1; I went 9-2, and then Gabriel Nassif played it and went 11-2. Decks like this are normally better in Best-of-1 because of the hand smoothing algorithm, but this deck can rock even in the Best-of-3 queues.
The deck is lacking Cavalcade of Calamity, as that card makes you play a plethora of bad creatures like Torch Courier, Footlight Fiend or even the Gingerbread man(!) Last week a Mono-Red Cavalcade deck Top 4ed the MOCS Playoff, but I believe that Aaron’s deck with Experimental Frenzy and Runaway Steam-Kin is just overall a better deck that can grind even longer games.
I thought Rimrock Knight was a bad card, but it does work very well with both Runaway Steam-Kin and Fervent Champion. It’s a solid 2-drop and a nice combat trick, especially on your first strike creature.
Torbran, Thane of Red Fell was the card that surprised me the most. I love that in the sideboard you can customize your deck with 4 Experimental Frenzy against the Control decks, and 4 Torbran against the decks where you need to race and kill them as soon as possible.
Right after rotation, I was often asked how playable the combo Witch’s Oven + Cauldron Familiar was, and I always gave dismissive answers on how I am not a fan of individual weak cards that are sort of powerful together.
But when Daniel_Garcia made the Top 4 of the MOCS Playoff with RB Aristocrats, I was immediately hooked and tried it on my stream, taking it all the way to the Top 20 of the Mythic ranks!
RB Aristocrats – Daniel_Garcia – 4th Place MOCS Playoff 5 October 2019
4 Blood Crypt 2 Castle Locthwain 4 Fabled Passage 6 Mountain (343) 8 Swamp (339) 1 Rankle, Master of Pranks 4 Cauldron Familiar 3 Gutterbones 4 Mayhem Devil 4 Midnight Reaper 1 Murderous Rider/Swift End 2 Orzhov Enforcer 2 Priest of Forgotten Gods 3 Angrath's Rampage 1 Bedevil 1 Chandra, Acolyte of Flame 3 Claim the Firstborn 2 Light Up the Stage 1 Mask of Immolation 4 Witch's Oven Sideboard 1 Bedevil 1 Chandra, Acolyte of Flame 1 Claim the Firstborn 4 Duress 4 Flame Sweep 2 Noxious Grasp 2 Theater of Horrors
The deck is wild–it has a plethora of combos in it. The first is Witch’s Oven and Cauldron Familiar, as you’re able to get two sacrifice triggers to exploit Mayhem Devil and drain your opponent for one, as well as getting a free blocker. If you have Midnight Reaper around, you also draw a card each time for free.
Mask of Immolation is an additional sacrifice outlet, and since you also have Claim the Firstborn it often acts as a removal spell + value. Claim can also be used to give haste to your own creature, which is often relevant with cards like Priest of Forgotten Gods that are incredibly powerful but also very fragile. Mayhem Devil is definitely the king of the deck, and you often kill people out of nowhere with it. It works wonders with Chandra, Acolyte of Flame, and it’s nice with Fabled Passage and Angrath’s Rampage.
Just like Mono-Red, I prefer this deck in Best-of-1, as it’s faster and the algorithm helps your bad manabase.
I don’t believe these two decks are on the same level of Golos Field or Oko Ramp, but I do believe they are fun and cheap decks that can definitely make their mark in this early Throne of Eldraine Standard.