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Mono Red Auras

Written by James Heslip on . Posted in Casual Magic

Mono Red Auras

James Heslip

James is a budget Magic connoisseur who values silly strategies and rogue decks. He has been playing Magic since 1998, and competing in Legacy events since 2010. When he is not teaching high school English, he can be found brewing Casual and Legacy decks to play with his students and peers. Always appreciative of feedback, he loves it when people send suggestions and share crazy decks with him!

In recent sets there have been a slew of powerful aura and aura-related cards released. With all of this support, who could help brewing some great aura-based decks? Certainly not me! Today’s article focuses on a spicy Red strategy which slings auras like nobody’s business. I couldn’t stop with just one deck, though. Like Ramp Week a while back, I’ve got four more aura strategies to show, one for each color! Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. First on the list, we have Mono Red Auras. 

The Core

First printed in 1997 as a part of the Tempest set, Crown of Flames is an oft-forgotten aura with a powerful ability. No, not the “firebreathing” buff, though that’s not entirely worthless. Instead, we want to focus on the crown’s ability to bounce itself back to your hand for the low cost of one mana. This allows you to save it, should the creature enchanted by it be faced with inevitable demise. However, it is also an easily abused effect. Any card which triggers as a result of Crown being cast, coming into play, or targeting, can be triggered as many times as you want (as long as you have the mana).

Mark of Fury is similar. Though not quite as powerful in the later game when mana is abundant, Mark returns to your hand for free. This makes it better in the early turns of the game. Despite the subtle differences, they are similar enough in function that we can easily build an entire strategy around them. Four copies of each gives us plenty of consistency to work with. 

The Backup

The question now becomes, how do we abuse these cards? The simplest way is through the Theros ability Heroic. Akroan Crusader becomes a token-spewing machine with Crown or Mark, allowing for some consistent and low cost swarming. Satyr Hoplite, also from Theros, will grow in size permanently every time you attach one of the auras to him, making him a must-answer threat immediately.

Though technically not Heroic, Brood Keeper has an ability similar to Crusader. With a casting cost of four she is much more difficult to pay for than her peers, but the ability to easily hatch multiple dragons each turn is well worth it. Double the stats of Crusader’s tokens, flying, and firebreathing make just a few hatchlings a real problem for whoever is sitting across from you.

Heroic isn’t the only way to abuse these creature-based enchantments, though. Take Firebrand Archer, for example. Sporting a Prowess-like effect, she can ping our opponent for damage every time we cast Crown or Mark. We don’t even need to be targeting her with them!

Champion of the Flame and Valduk, Keeper of the Flame are the last of our creatures. Neither flame brother has an ability that triggers when an aura is cast, comes into play, or targets. However, they do love being enchanted by anything you can throw on them. With so many enchantments in the list, it is easy to make Champion a huge beater early in the game. Similarly, Valduk can spawn elementals just as quickly as Akroan Crusader or Brood Keeper can generate their respective tokens.

Champion and Valduk do need some auras that stick around. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to keep them covered. Furor of the Bitten gives an absurd  +4/+4 when enchanting Champion of the Flame, and Madcap Skills gives him some pseudo evasion. Eternal Warrior lets you keep him around as a blocker, even with Furor forcing him to attack each turn. Speaking of blocking, Hammerhand can allow for some early damage, or a game-ending push. Again, each of these auras also work well with our Keeper of the Flame, too.

The Final List



Cost: $8 at the time of publication

Playing the Deck

Each card in this deck allows for early, powerful aggression. Pilots can emphasize the swarming potential of Akroan Crusader, Valduk, and Brood Keeper, or the raw power of Satyr Hoplite and Champion of the Flame. It all depends on how you want to present a threat to your opponent. Which will they have a more difficult time dealing with? How you decide will determine which of your one-drop creatures you want to spend your early turns spamming with auras.

In some cases, simply spending your mana to cast the same auras repeatedly will be the best choice. Usually, though, you will want to add some variety to your side of the field. So, in the mid game you should find yourself sticking Firebrand Archer and Champion of the Flame down. This is when your opponent should really start feeling the heat. 

If all that wasn’t enough to end the game, Valduk and Brood Keeper will be able to finish things. As you build your mana, you will eventually be able to cast one of them and start spamming Crown of Flames. Nothing in the deck tops the four CMC of Brood Keeper. As the game goes on and your mana grows, though, you will always have a place to dump it. Either through casting and recasting crown, or through the firebreathing it provides and the dragon younglings that hatch with it. 

 

Though not an enchantment itself, Helm of the Gods can compound Champion’s growth ability. Other empowering cards, like Taste for Mayhem and Infectious Bloodlust can also be used if you like going full voltron. In this case, you might also consider Shambling Suit as a beater similar to Champion.

Ghitu Firebreathing is a higher CMC Crown of Flames, more or less. You can play it if you find yourself wishing you had more bounce auras. Taste for Mayhem, Reflexes, Emblem of the Warmind, Fencer’s Magemark and other non-buffing enchantments provide some utility.

If Firebrand Archer and the Heroic creatures are more to your liking, then cards like Monastery Swiftspear, Burning Prophet, and Spellgorger Weird should be right up your alley. I prefer those already included in the deck, but each has their benefits.

Conclusion

Day one of Aura Week is done! What did you think of today’s list? Tell me about it on my facebook page. You can also send me an email at Spooky386@gmail.com. Wondering how my decks have changed since I last wrote about them? Check out all of my updated deck lists here!

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