Tag Archives: RDW

Monored Blitz


In order to counter Shawn’s RDW, which can be seen here, I thought it would be in my best interest to create my own version of RDW (fight fire with fire you might say…get it? Because it’s red deck vs re…<clears throat>…). Having played against another one of Shawn’s aggro decks in the past, I know better than to try to play a midrange or control deck as it usually ends up…not good..for me. Unfortunately, this deck that I’m about to share with all of you didn’t end up being Standard-legal. The bad news is that probably means an ass-kicking on Saturday night if I don’t come up with something else between now and then. The good news is that I created something really, really decent (in Legacy). There are no massive creatures in this deck, just a horde of 1 to 3 drop creatures powered by pump and burn spells.


Insanely fast with tons of combos. I’ve been able to consistently pull off having a Guttersnipe, Young Pyromancer and a Kiln Fiend or two on the board, then playing an instant, sorcery, or both. Good times.


Mass removal spells. Any opponent that isn’t dead within the first 5 or 6 turns. Midrange this deck ain’t.

The Deck (60 cards):

Creatures (28)

4x Kiln Fiend

2x Firedrinker Satyr

1x Vexing Devil

2x Zurgo Bellstriker

3x Guttersnipe

2x Minotaur Skullcleaver

1x Firefist Striker

1x Valley Dasher

1x Prophetic Flamespeaker

2x Young Pyromancer

1x Monastery Swiftspear

1x Hellrider

1x War-Name Aspirant

2x Screamreach Brawler

1x Ire Shaman

1x Hardened Berserker

2x Satyr Hoplite

Spells (14)

1x Rouse the Mob

2x Flame Slash

3x Magma Spray

2x Dynacharge

1x Roast

3x Titan’s Strength

1x Shock

1x Trumpet Blast

Lands (18):

18x Mountains

Do You Want to Build Some Standard?

(Editor’s Note: Chris asked this question a couple of weeks ago. Before you ask, yes he sang it just like the girl from Frozen. He has a beautiful singing voice.)

I was never interested in the various formats of Magic or what they meant until about a month ago. One of my favorite Magic streamers pointed me to the Vintage Super League on the Magic Twitch page as his stream ended. Left without any options, I followed the link. Boy, am I glad that I did. I have watched every episode, learned Magic from some of the best players, and even developed a rooting interest. I’m bummed that one of my new favorite players and commentators got bumped for being in last place. This is not about Vintage, though. My article on VSL is here and I might revisit it at the end of the season.

My voyage through the history of Magic continued with the StarCityGames.com Modern event (I know Chris said that we shouldn’t advertise them until they pay us, but click the link and tell ’em 2 Guys Gaming sent ya. Maybe that will lead to something.) in Baltimore. By this time, I knew more bout the archetypes and strategies of Vintage, but knew nothing about Modern. Once again, that was about to change. One player in the event captured my attention, admiration, and imagination with his deck. That story is told here.

Of these two formats, I liked Modern the most. While it can be fun to watch the turn one and two kills in Vintage and watch how some of the most powerful cards in the history of the game interact in the hands of the best players, at times it can be anticlimactic. Because those enablers aren’t available in Modern, the games are generally more interactive. Unfortunately, there aren’t many Modern events shown, so I just watched the Vintage Super League every week and hoped to find a random streamer playing Modern.

I avoided Standard for one main reason. I heard that Standard consisted of mainly the same decks with little to no variation. Having only watched Hearthstone in a competitive setting, this worried me. Because Hearthstone has such a limited pool of cards, the competitive scene is literally the same few decks played all the time. Because Hearthstone is free to play and online, I then see those decks from many of the players that I meet in game. It’s boring and tedious. Competitive Magic doesn’t suffer that problem. Since there are so many more cards, the same archetype will look diverse from player to player. Larger decks also increase variance and the same deck plays differently in each game.

I finally tuned in for Standard one weekend during a Star City Games broadcast. They advertised the event during the Modern one. I noticed that it was in Miami, winter still raged here in Massachusetts, and I wanted to live vicariously through all the lucky warm people in Florida. I never expected that I would experience the insanity depicted in the picture below.


I absolutely loved it. Sometimes it is fun to try to break this game that we love. It’s what I’m attempting to do with every deck that I build. I’m never this successful but that is why I’m where I am and they were all in Miami on that cold weekend.

Clearly, Standard is more than just a gimmicky life gain deck. It’s about the skill and the intrigue, the perceived heroes and villains, the wonder and promise of a new set. Dan Lebatard is fond of saying that sports are soap operas for men. I no longer care about sports the way that I once did, but video and card games have taken their place. Hell, watching streams are much more fun than watching sports because even if the game or match isn’t interesting, you can bet that chat will be.

From pointing out incorrect missed lethal to upholding the virtues of proper land placement and pace of play, Twitch chat rarely fails to entertain. The only thing that I don’t like and can’t understand is the persistent spam for no reason. I know that I sound like an old man. In this instance, I’m proud of my old man-ness and defend it against the unwashed spamming masses. I go to Twitch to learn (no kap) and the spam makes learning and conversation impossible. Wow, that digression…but watch me bring it all back. That’s one of the reason I only watch Magic streams now. The spam does not exist, questions can be answered, and intelligent discussions are the rule rather than the exception. The chat for Star City Games hovers just on the edge between spam and productive, but their coverage is top notch. Their announcers know a lot about Magic, are passionate about the game, and are entertaining. Since discovering their stream, I have not missed and event and I am even planning to go to Rhode Island to see one live.

So, when Chris suggested that we build a couple of decks that will conform to the standard rules, I agreed to the idea without hesitation. We normally play Legacy (a format that I mistakenly thought was just a different name for Vintage) and have all of the cards from the history of Magic at our disposal. We are obviously limited by cost and availability, but not much else. We have built some fun, and even powerful, decks that you can find by following the “decks lists” link in the menu on the left.

My most recent entry into that category is my first attempt at a standard deck. I am also working on a 4-color deck as my other deck. I doubt that I will be able to afford all the cards, but I have been playtesting it and it is fun, so I might proxy the cards to see how it plays in live competition. As we all know, that can often turn out counter to expectations.

Since I can’t build that deck now (or maybe ever) unless I use proxies, I tweaked my Abzan list to make it standard legal. In keeping with my love of sometimes overlooked mechanics and +1/+1 counters, I tried to make a deck with Outlast and a little bit of Bolster strategy. Chris went Jeskai Heroic, so I answered with Abzan Outlast. I can’t wait to see the match with all the counters flying around. Stay tuned to the page for the aftermath.

Well, that’s the story of how I’ve gone from resurrected Magic neophyte to building and practicing in all formats, even if only virtually in the case of modern and vintage…so far. I bet that many of you have a similar story to tell. Maybe you have the money to actually play in Modern. Who knows? Maybe if I get another summer class, then I will look into getting some cards to put together a starter Modern deck and join an event or two. Hope to see you. If not, tell me about your favorite format or deck in the comments.

Red Deck Wins?

(Editors Note: This is my first attempt at both a standard deck and making a deck that is at least some level of competitive. I netdecked a few decks to see what strategies and tried to use the ones that I thought would work best for my play style. Feedback and suggestions on how to make it better are appreciated and will be considered.)

One of the first decks I ever built was a goblins token deck built around Krenko. It made Chris sweat on more than one occasion and remains one of my favorite decks to play. I’m not usually an aggro player, but it is nice to mix it up now and then. When Chris recommended that we try to keep up with the Standard meta with a couple of our decks (more on my thoughts on that tomorrow), I knew I was going aggro and control. The aggro quickly became an RDW (a deck archetype that many choose as their first foray into any format) and I’m still struggling with the control deck. I tried a Blue/White, but it just felt way too slow and the Sultai deck that I like to play is very expensive. I’m not ready to pay for it just yet. I might proxy up some of the cards to practice with the deck and fill in with the actual cards as I can.

Creatures (19)

Foundry Street Denizen (4): These guys are great in any kind of mono red aggro.
Goblin Heelcutter (4): Once you get all that damage on the board, sometimes you need a way to get it to face. This creature helps with that.
Goblin Rabblemaster (2): Once upon a time, I got a Goblin Rabblemaster from a Fat Pack, learned that people were paying crazy prices for it, searched, and could not find it. When putting together this deck, I found him and his brother, so maybe things were meant to be.
Mardu Scout (4): One of these guys might become Zurgo Bellstriker. For now, though, I love dashing these guys.
Monastery Swiftspear (4): Foundry Street Denizens for the burn spells that we have! Huzzah!
Purphoros, God of the Forge (1): I don’t know how useful this guy is, but I had one of them lying around, so I included it in the deck. Might become a sideboard for particularly annoying control decks.

Instants and Sorceries (14)

Blinding Flare (2): More ways to push damage through the blockers to face.
Hordeling Outburst (4): I love my goblin tokens. Combos with both the Denizen and Swiftspear.
Lightning Strike (4): Fry a pesky blocker or apply to face.
Magma Jet (4): I know that I can play Wild Swipe for 1 mana cheaper and I might end up doing that, but I love the Scry mechanic and want to use it as much as possible before it rotates out.

Artifacts (5)

Hall of Triumph (1): Nice little buff for our teeny tiny creatures to trade up/push them out of easy removal range.
Obelisk of Urd (4): 4 might be overdoing it on this one, but I’ll stick with them for now just to bump up those token.

Enchantment (2)

Outpost Siege (2): Being able to possibly play two cards a turn? Sure, why not.

Land (20)

Mountains (19) and one Urborg because isn’t everyone playing that in this meta?

Sideboard (15)

Anger of the Gods (4): Again, 4 might be overkilling it here, but I found that I was having a really difficult time against certain control matchups. I searched for Red sweepers and this one showed up.
Ashcloud Phoenix (2): Decent flying creature that can return to battlefield and pings every time it gets morphed.
Stoke the Flames (3): More potential burn.
Traitorous Instinct (2): Because I can have a lot of fun with this card.
Wild Slash (4): Some (or all) of these might make it into the main deck. We’ll see.

I don’t think this is bad for a first attempt at standard from a guy who admittedly hates monocolored and hates aggro. In playtesting, it actually performs pretty well against some of the bigger decks. Now that things are changing with dragons, it might need some tweaking. That won’t come until next month when I finally get a chance to pick up my Dragons of Tarkir care package at the Star City Games event. I will update with how the deck performs when Chris and I get together next week. Until then!