Higher Standard: Week 8 Mono Red Mardu

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Standard

I’ve started to play a lot more Magic recently. Standard is a ton of fun, and while the video series that is going on between Legit and Pure has either shown that I am terrible at Magic (pretty likely) or am picking the worst sides of the matchups that we have featured (a little more likely).

This week we are showing up a Mono Red deck. This list caught my eye from Grand Prix San Antonio. It was a trial winning list, and I wanted to try out a red deck, but not one that was the normal run of the mill red deck. Having access to black and white mana in the deck opened up the ability to play some non burn removal in the form of Murderous Cut. It also gave us the ability to play with Crackling Doom, which is a card I had yet to cast in Standard and was something I really wanted to play with.

While most red decks do not take an extreme splash, I liked this decks ability to do so. While I would not be boarding in the white cards against my Sultai playing opponent, being able to bring in Glare of Heresy against Elspeth, Sun’s Champion or Battlewise Hoplite (or anything else in the heroic deck) is fairly neat. The splash also gives us a great card in the control matchup, Erebos, God of the Dead. We also get the remaining Crackling Dooms, which I feel would be outstanding against stuff like Heroic or Abzan Aggro.

To me the best thing this deck has going for it is the inclusion of Prophetic Flamespeaker. The red Shadowmage Infiltrator is a card that I had never cast before, was much hyped, and then fell out of favor quickly when it was released. Red cards want to be super aggressive, and while this guy does attack for two, he also comes into play on turn three. Red decks sometimes run out of gas and having access to this creature in theory allows us to keep the pressure up with the cards we exile. Being able to pluck two burn spells off the top of the deck is great! On the other hand getting two lands leaves one with a small feeling of despair. However those two lands are not there for us to draw anymore so at least we have that going for us.

Let’s take a look at the decklist that we are playing today.

This looks like a typical Mono Red deck right? You have the usual suspects in Swiftspear, Ediolon and Rabblemaster. Those guys are backed up with a plethora of burn, and Titan’s Strength makes an appearance to smooth our draws and pile on damage in a hurry. On paper this deck looks pretty good against Midrange (you play some dorks and remove their blockers with Doom or Cut.) It looks fairly good against aggro as well, Flamespeaker has a pretty big butt when compared to Rakasha Deathdealer (unpumped naturally), but the control matchup looks to be pretty awful. We look to be weak to stuff like Bile Blight and Drown in Sorrow, which I was pretty sure my opponent would have in his deck.

Here is a look at the deck Casper is playing this week.

This matchup is going to be awful. With a full set of Bile Blight and Hero’s Downfall being joined by Silence the Believers, Sultai Charm (which kills EVERYTHING in my deck.), and Kiora, the Crashing Wave, it looks like Casper built this deck just to troll me. That is not the case. Though the inclusion of Dead Drop is awfully suspect. This deck has fifteen main deck removal spells! I have fifteen creatures in my deck! Hordeling Outburst gets negated by Bile Blight and Aetherspouts. There is Hornet Nest and Pharika’s Cure in the sideboard! Kiora is so good against Eidolon of the Great Revel. It’s also good against Purphoros.

Seriously had I known this before we started recording we would have continued to record the Sultai vs Sultai mirror match, and that came down to Villainous Wealth. The mirror match also was kinda boring and hard to pay attention to while I was playing it, so we ended that after the first match.

Back to the match at hand though. I was on tilt and super salty about the entire thing. Looking back on the series I should have called it after it became clear I was going to struggle to win a game, much less a match. That point came after the first match by the way. I won that one but only because Casper had a clock management issue and timed out. I’m claiming that one as a legitimate win though, because I feel like I was going to burn him out. The next three matches are not even close and it’s just more of me getting salty and going on tilt, and after finishing this up and thinking about it I realized I was sideboarding wrong. I actually won match five though!

I should have taken every creature that did not have haste or some other ability that did not deal direct damage out of the deck. Cut was of course getting replaced, but Rabblemaster was awful. Outburst was the pits. Flamespeaker was a dream. Had I sided out Cut, three Outburst and the Flamespeakers (keeping the Rabblemaster because it may or may not make a token which can attack once before just going away.) and brought in the Stormbreath Dragons, Eidolon, Erebos, Battlefield Forge, Crackling Doom, and Arc Lighting, I turn into burn deck that also blanks most of his removal. While Dragon would not be a huge threat to deal damage it at least has to be a better use of my mana than Flamespeaker. I am not sure that this nine card boarding plan would have been the thing to do, or if it would have won me extra games, but it is something to think about it and be aware of if the flavor of Sultai is more this than Whip based in your area.

Let’s watch some videos of a super tilted content manager!

I also have a bonus video, the aforementioned Sultai Deck vs Sultai deck, I did cast Villainous Wealth so I technically kept my teaser from last week accurate!

I actually like the deck a lot. Having access to the splash was pretty neat, while useless, against Casper and I can see the deck being fine against the field. However if you are looking for a Red deck, I strongly suggest the Mono Red Cruise deck instead. Treasure Cruise is a real thing, and people should cast that whenever they have the chance to do so!

Next week we come back to Bad Matchup Mondays as I take a look at Jeskai Aggro while Casper pilots a pretty neat Grixis Control list. I’m gonna need to get some water because the hypernatremia is real.

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