Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Red Death

I recently found out about this deck after someone had a dream/wrote about it online. Seriously. You know a deck’s got to be sweet if people are thinking about it in their sleep, right?? The good news for us is that one man’s dream can be our opponents’ nightmare! Today’s list is called Red Death, a BR Burn/Control deck that looks to hit the opponent with discard and mana denial before beating them down via creatures and burn spells. Burn decks offer a fast and consistent clock, but can also be a sort of glass cannon against combo decks, as they don’t offer many (if any) ways to interact with spells. Red Death offers a bit of a slower clock, but gives the player ways to control what their opponent can do.

Red Death’s plan is to deny the opponent first before going for the win. How you want to do that is very situational and varies greatly depending on who is on the play. For example, if you go first, you want to lead with discard if possible because it could mean denying them a turn 1 play. Another option is to play Hypnotic Specter, as this offers a threat and discard that an opponent has to find an answer for. If you’re on the draw however, you want to focus on mana denial. Red Death has a lot of answers for 1-drops, but it can be difficult to find an answer to a big creature. 1-drops aren’t going to beat you right away, so you have time to take them out once you’ve established control of the board. Keep in mind, these are some general rules of play, and I’m sure exceptions can and should be made.

When I found Red Death online, the MB was already Ancient-legal, but I decided to make a few changes that I want to explain. The most obvious is that I took out the 4 Phyrexian Negator. The main reason I did this is that Lightning Bolt is very prevalent in the format, and can be cast if the opponent has a land drop. You can be denying your opponent mana the whole time, but if they have a Bolt and land in hand, they can destroy your board state. I decided to add 3 Grim Lavamancer for more control/damage, and a single Ball Lightning as an extra source of damage. The other main change I made to Red Death was to its land base. The original deck only had 3 Badlands, and no Mountain, because the 4 Bolt and 3 Chain Lightning were its only red spells - it didn’t need them. This version relies more on red mana, so I decided to put in 4 Badlands and 1 Mountain. In all honesty, these creatures/numbers can be changed, but you guys know how I enjoy leaving that up to you.

Red Death used to be a pretty popular deck in Legacy, but was chased out of the format with the introduction of Tarmogoyf. Ancient doesn’t suffer from the ridiculous creature power creep of Legacy however, and remains a solid and fun choice in the format. I’ve provided an example of the deck but I’m sure there are ways to fine tune it. As always - Happy Brewing!

Red Death


3 Swamp
2 Mountain
4 Badlands
4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Polluted Delta
4 Wasteland

Total: 21


4 Hypnotic Specter
4 Nantuko Shade
3 Rotting Giant
1 Wretched Anurid
3 Grim Lavamancer
1 Ball Lightning

Total: 15


4 Lightning Bolt
4 Chain Lightning
4 Hymn to Tourach
4 Duress
4 Sinkhole
4 Dark Ritual

Total: 24


4 Tormod’s Crypt
4 Engineered Plague
3 Terminate
2 Red Elemental Blast
2 Pyroblast

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