Deck of the Week: Return of the Red Deck

Simon IrvingStandard

This week’s Banned & Restricted announcement has dramatically reshaped Standard. As Rivals for Ixalan arrives, four widely played cards will be leaving the format. The removal of Attune with Aether and Rogue Refiner from the Energy lists was not surprising, but the two bans targeting Mono-Red were considerably more unexpected. Both Ramunap Ruins and Rampaging Ferocidon (RIP, my clever girl) gave the deck reach and counterplay against strategies attempting to stop the rush of red attackers. As a post-Rivals Standard arrives, red players like me are looking for a path forward. 

For some, that path may be literal – Path of Mettle, in fact. The powerful Boros enchantment has great potential in a deck almost exclusively made of creatures with haste. However, splashing for white may be asking too much of Inspiring Vantage, so we still have a strong incentive to stay mono-red.

Here’s what Standard Mono-Red could look like at FNM’s next week:

4 Bomat Courier
4 Fanatical Firebrand
2 Soul-Scar Mage
4 Earthshaker Khenra
3 Kari Zev, Skyship Raider
4 Ahn-Crop Crasher
4 Hazoret the Fervent
1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
4 Shock
4 Lightning Strike
3 Abrade
21 Mountains
2 Scavenger Grounds

2 Harsh Mentor
2 Pia Nalaar
2 Glorybringer
2 Chandra’s Defeat
2 Magma Spray
1 Abrade
3 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
1 Scavenger Grounds

Replacing Rampaging Ferocidon with Ahn-Crop Crasher essentially returns the deck to its pre-Ixalan form. This deck is more aggressive in the early turns, and can make use of Fanatical Firebrand, the new utility-oriented one-drop from Rivals. Losing Ramunap Ruins also lets us shave a land from the list, since reaching five mana to activate Ruins is no longer something to worry about. That extra spot helps us run extra one-drops, giving us a better chance of an explosive start. Even without Ramunap Ruins, though, Scavenger Grounds can provide the deck with critical counterplay to The Scarab God and God-Pharaoh’s Gift strategies that may soon be prevalent in Standard.

Replacing the reach and inevitability of the old Ramunap Red is hard, and this deck leans much more on Chandra, Torch of Defiance against any control strategies. Additionally, without Ferocidon in the picture, Authority of the Consuls is once again an extremely powerful card to sideboard in against red. Yet, the aggressive red core can still be incredibly potent against any opponent arrogant enough to think blocking with creatures will save them from being blitzed into oblivion. Sleeve up those Ahn-Crop Crashers, dust off your extra basic Mountains, and run rampant through the new Standard with Hazoret once again.


Header design: Justin Treadway
Header image: “Chandra, Torch of Defiance” by Magali Villeneuve