Feature Article from Seth Manfield

Solving Standard - Mono-Red Aggro

Seth Manfield

3/12/2020 11:02:00 AM

submit to reddit » Print «

It has not been that long since I wrote an article about Mono-Red Aggro, but since then many players have started to make a claim about Mono-Red not being good in Standard. We need more believers in the Cleave out there! To be fair the metagame has shifted a bit, so that means Mono-Red also needs to change. I'm not going to claim that this deck is miles ahead of the rest of the field—we saw in the matches that games can be rather volatile.

What I will say is that there are no really bad matchups. Jeskai Fires and Temur Clover certainly aren't good matchups, but my record against them on the ladder is very close to even. This is, in my opinion, still the best aggro deck in the format. If you are looking to attack, this is the deck to be playing.

Vs. Temur Clover

Vs. Temur Clover

This matchup doesn't change much after sideboard, so the plan is the same: find a turn to get Embercleave down when they tap out if possible. With mana untapped, you have to worry about cards like Brazen Borrower, Bonecrusher Giant and Aether Gust coming into the equation.

Vs. Jeskai Fires

Vs. Jeskai Fires

We are able to upgrade our threats after sideboard, as both Unchained Berserker and Chandra, Acolyte of Flame are quite difficult to answer if the opponent doesn't have exactly the right interactive spells. Like many matchups it is die-roll dependent, and you want to keep Deafening Clarion in mind. It is a delicate dance knowing when you can afford to play around it or not.

Vs. Azorius Control

Vs. Azorius Control

This plan is very similar to the plan against Jeskai Fires. I'm still torn about how many copies of Torbran and Embercleave to leave in, but keeping some Bonecrsushers in allows you to hedge against Cerulean Drake. If the opponent does have Cerulean Drake you need Bonecrusher Giant, since Stomp allows you to shut down the Drake's protection.

Vs. Rakdos Sacrifice

Vs. Rakdos Sacrifice

Rakdos has been gaining popularity recently, but I have been winning from the Mono-Red side of the matchup fairly consistently. Scorch Spitter generally lines up pretty poorly against Cauldron Familiar decks.

Vs. Jund Sacrifice

Vs. Jund Sacrifice

This is the same plan as versus Rakdos Sacrifice.

Vs. Bant Ramp

Vs. Bant Ramp

Generally speaking, when you board in Unchained Berserker you want to take out a two-drop in its place to keep the curve the same.

Vs. Mono-Red Aggro (The Mirror)

Vs. Mono-Red Aggro

Rimrock Knight is very bad on the draw, as you want creatures that are able to block. While it is a little better on the play, it still gets blocked by everything, so in the end it is what I'm cutting in this matchup alongside one Torbran. This will often become a race, especially with less removal and no Experimental Frenzy anymore.

Vs. Sultai

Vs. Sultai

Another spot where I would keep in more Bonecrushers if I suspected Cerulean Drake. The different versions of Sultai Midrange greatly vary right now, but I believe they are generally one of your better matchups.

These are the matchups I think you are most likely to face off against in Standard right now. Definitely check out my previous article for some more thoughts on this deck, and happy Cleaving!