Explorer: Mono Red Aggro Budget Deck Tech & Upgrade Guide
In today's article, I present a budget version of Mono Red Aggro in Explorer, with tips on how to pilot it and a guide on which cards to prioritize when improving your decklist to the stock version!Edit Article
Mono Red Aggro.
The Game PlanWhen piloting Mono Red Aggro, your strategy is to try to be aggressive and fast to win the match in a few turns, with a progressive escalation of threats each turn that will eventually culminate in a point where Embercleave and/or a significant amount of creatures on the board will end the game.
Mulligan and Stances
really has everything it takesto cast the artifact as soon as on turn 3 or 4 (which would require a one -drop + Burning-Tree Emissary and another 2-drop and three lands). • This list requires some faith in your topdeck: holding an aggressive hand, but not having the third land-drop, even with Anax, Hardened in the Forge and/or Embercleave in hand is plausible because unless you have terrible luck drawing multiple copies of the same card, any top draw will be a land drop or a spell you can cast. • On the other hand, hands with four lands are very likely to be a Mulligan unless it has all the elements needed to set a good clock and cast Embercleave on turn 4, and you have some indication that your opponent's deck isn't too interactive. • Finally, avoid heavy hands: multiple copies of Anax, Hardened in the Forge and Ahn-Crop Crasher will do nothing if you are not the aggressor from the first few turns of the game.
StancesThe most important point to remember about Mono Red Aggro is that
you will always be the beatdown, and in almost no circumstances it is really worth changing your stance: you need to be fast, sequence your moves and dictate the course of the game from the first turns, preventing the opponent from setting the pace as much as possible. That doesn't mean, however, that you should just play your creatures, attack your opponent, and hope to win the most turns regardless of the consequences. As much as you really prefer to attack and deal damage at every opportunity, it's important to think about whether it's really worth trading your creature with the opponent's, losing a threat of yours to a big blocker in exchange for a few points of damage, if you must cast Lightning Strike on the opponent or their creature, know how to play around a removal by casting Embercleave when choosing a slightly less threatening creature instead of your main threat, among other situations and circumstances to the good development of your plan. That is, piloting this deck also involves a good understanding of how your opponent might play around you and your creatures, the answers they might have, and what strategic approach they're aiming for. “Which creatures or Planeswalkers really are a problem and require you to keep your damage spells?” or “Which cards significantly hinder your strategy and how can you deal with them?” are questions that you should consider from the second or third round, when we usually already have in mind which deck the opponent is running.
Tips and Tricks• Try to save your Ramunap Ruins as your last land drop in the first few turns. Not only will this avoid unnecessary damage for you, it can add a “surprise factor” for the opponent when they are low on life. • There are times when casting Anax, Hardened in the Forge with another Anax on the battlefield can be useful, as when sacrificing one of them to the Legend Rule, the trigger for both will resolve, and you will have created four 1/1 tokens. • Avoid exerting Ahn-Crop Crasher against favorable blockers, unless you can really deal a lot of damage against the opponent that turn, it is preferable to save its ability for unfavorable blocker trades, or for a more opportune moment. However, if an opponent has only one blocker, it is possible that going to race is better than giving time to invalidate two of your creatures at once. • Remember that when dealing damage to a player, Play With Fire allows you to Scry 1, and this can be essential in your opponent's end step in times of need where you need a specific card to win the game. • In the Best of 1 ranked, players occasionally appear with Angels tribal (Selesnya Angels or Orzhov Angels) aimed at gaining high amounts of life each turn. If you find yourself facing this archetype, I strongly recommend that you just concede the match because it's so bad for you that it's not worth the ten minutes you'll spend getting crushed.
Upgrading to the Stock Version
greatlyimprove the performance of your list. Bonecrusher Giant offers a powerful 2-for-1 effect, while also clocking fast and efficiently against the opponent, being a gigantic threat if equipped with Embercleave or on an empty board. Chandra, Dressed to Kill does a bit of everything this deck really wants: she offers extra mana, recurring damage, and card advantage, all on a single card. Finally, Den of the Bugbear is possibly the best manland in the Adventures in the Forgotten Realms cycle, and adding not only more efficient lands for other purposes, it's also your best way to keep the pressure up after a sweeper.
The Important Pieces
shouldn't spend wildcards and slots on specific cards just to make a bad matchup less bad. For example, I see some Mono Red lists using Rampaging Ferocidon or Roiling Vortex at Best of 1 to try and play around Lifegain decks, and while this idea is relatively useful for dealing with this strategy in specific, there will be many other situations where they could harm you and cause some unwanted collateral damage.