The Big Red Deck

Red is one of the most ubiquitous colors in Modern, largely due to the raw efficiency of Lightning Bolt. Despite that, there are relatively few dedicated Red decks in Modern outside of Burn. Even within the Burn archetype, we’ve seen relatively little innovation outside of splashes for cards like Bump in the Night or Destructive Revelry. This week, MissG808 is looking to change things:


This is an interesting, more controlling direction to take burn in while we’re in an Eldrazi dominated format. The problem with Burn in an Eldrazi format is the Eldrazi deck can reasonably race you. To that end, MissG808 has opted to build something a little slower and bigger than we’re used to seeing out of a burn deck.

The key changes are the inclusion of Ensnaring Bridge and Anger of the Gods, which discourage playing aggressive creatures like Wild Nacatl. Instead, MissG808 has opted for threats with Haste or pseudo-haste. Something like Vexing Devil is particularly powerful because it has a body which can compete with Thought-Knot Seer heads up. On the other hand, Grim Lavamancer is a response to the aggressive creature decks like Goblins and Merfolk who are trying to sneak underneath the Eldrazi menace, while Goblin Rabblemaster is a powerful threat against sweeper-based control decks.

The most interesting component of this deck is the corner case cards Ensnaring Bridge allows you to add to the deck. For me, Shrine of Burning Rage is the most interesting card. As the format shifts away from Abrupt Decay, this becomes an incredible way to punish players who want games to go longer, particularly when you can just sit behind an Ensnaring Bridge and accumulate counters. Similarly, Koth of the Hammer is a great way to win a game against a midrange creature deck like Eldrazi. Your Mountains are of comparable size, and if you can just hide behind Ensnaring Bridge, you can accumulate counters and emblem up to close out the game.

Given this deck is intending to play a longer game and many of your cards can deal more than three damage, you can afford a couple of slots as a way to shore up difficult matchups or as a concession to consistency. That’s where Dragon's Claw and Faithless Looting come in. The Dragon's Claw slot could be filled with any number of powerful cards against decks you anticipate facing frequently, like additional copies of Smash to Smithereens or Molten Rain depending on whether you expect to see large quantities of Affinity or Tron. Faithless Looting then helps you to find the key spells you need, like Ensnaring Bridge or Shrine of Burning Rage. These points add up, and while this may never overcome a more traditional burn deck in terms of popularity, the adaptations make it a great choice for the current Modern format.

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