Grinding on MTG Arena

Carlos Romao

Carlos Romao



Since the announcement of the MTG Arena Mythic Invitational, 99.9% of the Magic players have dreamed about being in this tournament. It is a $1,000,000 tournament with $250,000 prize for the champion. This money can change the life of the player in every aspect. If you are one of the players chasing this dream and playing the Arena ladder to get your spot at the tournament, let me try to help you with this article.

After the introduction of Arena ladder, Magic got a new format called Best-of-1. We were not used to play one single game (unless you are playing a mirror of controls) to determine who is the winner in a competitive level. This new world had no rules and Mono-Red saw the perfect environment to create chaos and claim its throne as the King of the BO1!

If you still don’t believe me, just hear what I have to say – I am a control player. Whenever I can play control, I will play. Whenever I cannot play control, I will try to play no matter what. I tried to play control at the BO1 ladder, but I couldn’t because it was so hard to find the right building to react to the field and even there is a red sea over there, at the end you will play against other decks. I had to embrace my red side and it was the best thing I could do!

Best-of-1 vs Best-of-3

Night // Day

If you are in doubt of what kind of game you should play to climb the ladder, in my opinion, it depends on how many hours can you play MTG Arena during your day. If you can do large sessions and grind hard, you should go for the BO1. If you do not have a lot time, I think you should go for the BO3, since you can work on a good sideboard plan for the field and have a better winning ratio while playing less games in a shorter period of time.

BO1 is ideal for grinding, but it does not mean you do not have to have a well-tuned deck. If you play a weird version of Mono-Red, your chances of winning drop a lot, and this will make your job even harder than it is. Because of this, I will present my thoughts about the most powerful aggro deck in BO1!

Some Reasons to play Mono-Red

In my opinion, Mono-Red is the best deck for BO1 in MTG Arena. It has all the elements a deck needs to succeed in this crazy world.

  • Your decisions are not complicated.
  • You can play way more games with a Mono-Red than you can play with other decks. Your grinding sessions will have more games and you will get better results at the end because of the quantity of games you played.

The grinding possibility that Mono-Red allows you to do on the ladder is amazing. You are going to play so many games that variance wouldn’t matter. I am not the best mathematician in the world, but I am pretty sure you can play at least 10 to 12 games with Mono-Red in one hour.

Light Up the StageGoblin Chainwhirler

Also, after the release of Ravnica Allegiance, Mono-Red improved a lot because of that gorgeous uncommon named 《Light Up the Stage》. For 1 red mana (if you pay 3 mana, you did something wrong) you can draw two cards! Wizards, you must be crazy giving this red deck more resources to make the game even easier to win!

《Goblin Chainwhirler》 is also a key card in this deck. Some versions of the new Mono-Red are not running 《Goblin Chainwhirler》 anymore, but I simply refuse to remove this card from my beloved aggro. This card allows you to be favorite against the other two popular fast deck of the field: Mono-Blue Tempo and White Wennie.

Without the sideboard, they have to keep their toughness one creatures around and to have a chance of winning, they cannot play around 《Goblin Chainwhirler》 on the early turns. If they slowdown the start, it will give you a lot of time to build your game. If they decide to explode (I think it is the right thing to do), your opponents will give you the opportunity to have a massive card advantage. A 3/3 body with first strike is also something that White Wennie cannot deal with in a proper way.

Siren StormtamerDauntless BodyguardFanatical FirebrandViashino Pyromancer

In the mirror, this card is also great since it deals with 《Fanatical Firebrand》 and 《Viashino Pyromancer》 while it gives you “three life” (if you manage to attack with the 《Goblin Chainwhirler》 in the mirror, please take a screen shot and send it to me) because I am pretty sure they will be target of a three damage spell. Before Ravnica Allegiance, 《Goblin Chainwhirler》 was the best card in BO1 format.

On the matchup matter, there is no bad matchup for this deck. The field is basic Bant Nexus, Mono-Red and a little bit of Esper Control, Sultai Midrange, White Wennie and Mono-Blue Tempo. I do not think any of these decks is favorite against Mono-Red. Some Bant and Esper Controls with 《Revitalize》 can be difficult, but they do not dominate our Red Baron.

(Editor’s Note: 《Nexus of Fate》 is banned in BO1 on Feb. 14, 2019.)


Let’s start talking about the deck. 19 lands are the ideal number for me. You do not need more than 4 lands (even less) to make your deck run as it should be. You have 《Runaway Steam-Kin》 and 《Light Up the Stage》 to help you with the mana flow.

Risk FactorExperimental Frenzy

The toughest decision I had to do on my list was 《Risk Factor》 and 《Experimental Frenzy》. I believe 《Experimental Frenzy》 is better because it allows you to win games you would never have the chance. Also, it closes the mirror match very well. The mirror match tends to be a longer game than usual since everybody is trying to avoid the creatures to connect. Most of the games are decided on the topdeck after the board is clean and 《Experimental Frenzy》 helps you a lot (really?!?!?). I like to put up a show and there is no better feeling to run hot on the 《Experimental Frenzy》 with 《Runaway Steam-Kin》! 《Risk Factor》 is good too and I think at the end it is the customer choice. Both cards (《Risk Factor》 and 《Experimental Frenzy》) are amazing when you need to close the deal and make your opponent concede.

I do not run the 《Electrostatic Field》 because it does not work well against non Mono-Red decks. Even though there is a red sea in BO1, the card is a burden to carry on the other matchups. Also, without 《Risk Factor》, 《Electrostatic Field》 loses a lot of power. It is better to have an active creature that can attack by itself instead of having an opportunist wall.

Good Luck on the Ladder

Thank you for reading my article and support for Hareruya and all the teams they have. I decided to write this article because I know how excited some people are about grinding the ladder and assuring a spot among the 8 players that will compete for the largest prize in Magic: The Gathering history.

If you have any question, please feel free to ask. You can go to my facebook fanpage and send me a direct message. I hope you all enjoyed this article and see you soon.

Carlos Romao @Jabsmtg

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Carlos Romao

Carlos Romao Winning the 2002 World Championship , and a finalist of Pro Tour Kaladesh on his resume, we have an outstanding player representing Brazil. His strong point is using blue color control. With his draw and counter spells leading him to a clocklike game plan, stacks his records filled with victories. Coming from the same province of Thiago Saporito, Lucas Esper Berthould, he joins the Hareruya Pros together. Read more articles by Carlos Romao