Now that we’ve had a few weeks to analyze Throne of Eldraine Standard, it’s safe to say that midrange archetypes have been dominating the format. Bant Golos, Jeskai Fires, and G/B Adventure have shown to be the strongest contenders based on results from MTG Arena, Magic Online, and StarCityGames.com Philadelphia. With no aggressive strategies in sight, these midrange decklists have slowly began to cut down on single target removal and overall hate for aggressive creature-based strategies.
I want to briefly talk about the upcoming ban announcement that has been expedited and will take place on October 21. I think the current state of Standard has some issues, but the format has only had a few weeks to develop. I do think it’s healthy for Wizards of The Coast to examine the results for the upcoming digital Mythic Championship before making any hasty decisions. I don’t think banning 《Field of the Dead》 or 《Golos, Tireless Pilgrim》 is a must, but these cards do create long games and repetitive play patterns, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see one of these cards banned.
Choosing Mono Red -Sidestepping the Midrange Heavy Metagame-
After playing many long and exhausting games with both Bant Golos and Jeskai Fires, I found myself wanting to try a more aggressive and streamlined strategy as an attempt to sidestep the midrange-heavy metagame. After testing, I was overly impressed by Mono Red. Throne of Eldraine gave red a few new tools in the form of cards like 《Bonecrusher Giant》 and 《Torbran, Thane of Red Fell》. Combined with powerful staples like 《Runaway Steam-Kin》 and 《Experimental Frenzy》, the core of Mono Red is still showing to be extremely powerful. Let’s get to the decklist….
4 《Castle Embereth》
-Land (21)- 4 《Fervent Champion》
4 《Scorch Spitter》
4 《Runaway Steam-Kin》
4 《Bonecrusher Giant》
3 《Torbran, Thane of Red Fell》
4 《Light Up the Stage》
4 《Skewer the Critics》
4 《Slaying Fire》
4 《Experimental Frenzy》
(Editor’s Note: Decklist was fixed on 17/10/2019.)
This matchup is heavily dependent on who plays first. Don’t be too surprised if the games go long. I often win by setting up a late game Torbran with cheap burn like 《Shock》 and 《Skewer the Critics》. Golos players typically board in some number of 《Devout Decree》, 《Aether Gust》, and 《Knight of Autumn》 in this matchup. Our maindeck is built with Golos in mind, so we don’t have much to sideboard here. I board a couple 《Chandra, Acolyte of Flame》 in on the play because it’s hard to answer and applies pressure around their board sweepers. If you see or suspect multiple 《Knight of Autumn》, I recommend two Tibalt over the last two 《Shock》s.
Jeskai Fires is one matchup I am always glad to be paired against. Jeskai is somewhat dependent on drawing 《Fires of Invention》, and we do a great job at applying pressure while being able to burn their planeswalkers. It’s important to avoid losing 《Runaway Steam-Kin》 to 《Deafening Clarion》. Longer games tend to end poorly for Mono Red because 《Planewide Celebration》 does a great job of closing out the game. I board in 《Lava Coil》 here because it kills 《Fae of Wishes》 and 《Sarkhan the Masterless》‘ dragon token.
G/W & G/B Adventures
These are extremely close games that can go either way. G/W Adventures is the toughest of the two because 《Venerated Loxodon》 can generate an overwhelming advantage early. Post board is much better for us because we get to skim some of our weaker creatures for efficient removal. These Adventure decks are soft to 《Flame Sweep》. If Adventure variants frequent your local metagame, then I could easily see adding a third 《Flame Sweep》.
Simic Ramp is one matchup you want to avoid. We don’t have a clean answer to 《Oko, Thief of Crowns》 game one. Lifegain in the form of 《Hydroid Krasis》, 《Gilded Goose》, and Oko makes squeezing the last few points of damage next to impossible. The matchup does get substantially better postboard. 《Fry》 efficiently answers Oko, and 《Tibalt, Rakish Instigator》 does a great job of neutralizing Simic’s life gain.
Red Mirror Match
This mirror match completely revolves around 《Experimental Frenzy》. The player to curve into 《Experimental Frenzy》 is a huge favorite. I recommend playing very defensively before and after you cast Frenzy on curve. Post board, most players will up the amount of removal in their deck. Since there is no answer to 《Experimental Frenzy》, I highly recommend muliganning subpar hands in hopes of getting an 《Experimental Frenzy》 in your opening hand.
I’m excited to see how Throne of Eldraine Standard shakes out. The results from the digital Mythic Championship will have a huge impact on the future of Standard. Although midrange has dominated Standard up to this point, that doesn’t mean aggro isn’t viable. If you’re tired of long drawn out games that often end with a horde of zombies, or you just enjoy attacking, then I think Mono Red is the perfect choice. Mono Red is powerful, fun, efficient, and affordable.
If we do see bannings after the Mythic Championship, be on the lookout for an updated red decklist and sideboard article from me!
Brandon Ayers (Twitter)