The two breakout decks from Pro Tour Magic Origins were UR Ensoul Thopters and Mono-Red. Mono-Red has been around forever, but the addition of Abbot of Keral Keep and Exquisite Firecraft gave the red deck a new dimension. An early threat that could also be used for card advantage is fantastic, and the addition of a powerful burn spell to the arsenal put the deck over the top. After rotation, the loss of Lightning Strike and Stoke the Flames meant red decks started going in other directions. By far the most popular version focuses on the “combo finish”—essentially just big pump spells (Become Immense, Titan’s Strength) with Temur Battle Rage to deal massive damage.

Any time a deck finishes 5-0 on Magic Online in a tough premier event, I will take notice. Only dropping 1 game in those 5 rounds is extra impressive. MTGO player _Emlopes managed to pull off that feat with a deck I haven’t seen around, but that reminds me strongly of some of the Big Red decks of previous formats. Rarely do you see a mana base of 20 Mountains and 3 Haven of the Spirit Dragons, but that’s exactly what we have here.

This deck still has all the early drops, with 11 creatures that can be deployed on the first turn, but that’s when things take a turn for the large. 7 token makers allow the deck to go wide, while 4 Thunderbreak Regents and a couple of Sarkhan, the Dragonspeakers let the deck go big. There aren’t a ton of ways to turn on Draconic Roar, but they’re there, and when on, it’s going to be awfully tough to keep up. A playset of Exquisite Firecrafts means that not even countermagic will save an unsuspecting opponent. Some extra card advantage (or perhaps a finisher with enough tokens in play, depending on your chosen mode) from Outpost Siege round out a mono-red deck that I wouldn’t mind sleeving up and taking for a spin.

Big Red

Standard Champ Qualifier, 1st Place by _EMLOPES