It's a lazy Sunday morning...actually it's 12:20pm! Mario and I are curled up on the couch. Neems is in Canberra, Adam and Dan are asleep, seems like a perfect time to do a highlander blog!
I'm pretty frickin hung over too be honest. Hung ovaries...was at a wizards, hoes and hobbits dress up party last night. I wore a cape made from a rug and cuff links, Wilfy spotted me at the train stop and loved it haha.
Oh, and I had to ride that tram for 10 minutes with all the Stereosonic doof heads "sick cape mate herp derp hurr hurr".
Ok onto the magic...I guess that was kind of magic, I was dressed as a wizard after all.
So I thought I'd talk about monored/red deck wins/RDW/red/burn/sligh/ponza whatever the fuck you wanna call it.
It's surprising how deep mono-red is. Three different styles that have been around the melbourne scene are Shanley style, Crompo style and Mulch style.
I dug up old lists of Glenn (Shanley) and Neil's (Crompo) decks. You can tell how old they are by the most recently printed cards in the lists, obviously their lists would have to be updated for the new sets, points-list and metagame. I'll brief the different styles:
His plan is destroy lands to disrupt you, burn any threats you play and eventually win via card advantage from his bigger spells and many manlands. Glenn's been in countless top8's and won a timetwister at some stage. The deck is stylish and he plays it well. The deck's mascot has got to be orcish librarian haha, that little guy does it's thing. Glenn's success is a real credit to Highlander's nature.
All in suicidal burn. Burn them straight of Crompton. In the early days of the Metagames card store Neil won 3 consecutive Mana Drains or something silly like that. Was pretty embarassing. At least I can say that he only beat me once.
Non-basic hate and cards to complement it. Moxes to cast the moons asap. Limited dig with Magma Jet and Faithless Looting to find the moons. All my little dudes aren't the strongest cards but under a moon your opponent will be too crippled to deal with them.
Ok the lists:
Please excuse the long and difficult to read lists, to make them a little easier to read I sorted them thusly:
- 1st category: Spells you play at the earliest opportunity, sorted by curve
- 2nd category: Reactionary spells, sorted by curve
- 3rd category: mana
- 4th category: sideboard
|SHANLEY STYLE||CROMPO STYLE||MULCH STYLE|
|gorilla shaman||black vise||Figure of Destiny|
|orcish librarian||figure of destiny||Grim Lavamancer|
|seal of fire||goblin guide||Jackal Pup|
|iron myr||grim lavamancer||Rakdos Cackler|
|phyrexian revoker||lava spike||Stromkirk Noble|
|hearth kami||mogg fanatic||Ash Zealot|
|simian spirit guide||seal of fire||Blood Knight|
|fulminator mage||spark elemental||Gorehouse Chainwalker|
|ensnaring bridge||ankh of mishra||Kargan Dragonlord|
|stone rain||emberwilde augur||Phyrexian Revoker|
|molten rain||flame rift||Porcelain Legionnaire|
|pillage||hellspark elemental||Rakdos Shredfreak|
|goblin ruinblaster||keldon marauders||Shrine of Burning Rage|
|solemn simulacrum||pyrostatic pillar||Slith Firewalker|
|ravenous baboons||sulfuric vortex||Bloodmoon|
|avalanche riders||price of progress *||Boggart Ramgang|
|flametongue kavu||burst lightning||Magus of the Moon|
|nevinyrral’s disk||chain lightning||Cursed Scroll|
|ingot chewer||lava dart||Jeska, Warrior Adept|
|arc-slogger||lightning bolt||Koth of the Hammer|
|siege-gang commander||rift bolt||Ruination|
|icy manipulator||shock||Umezawa's Jitte (1)|
|chain lightning||chain of plasma||Thundermaw Hellkite|
|lightning bolt||fire ambush||Chain Lightning|
|shattering spree||incinerate||Burst Lightning|
|demonfire||magma jet||Faithless Looting|
|shrapnel blast||searing blaze||Lightning Bolt|
|magma jet||shrapnel blast||Mental Misstep|
|burning wish||smash to smithereens||Skred|
|urza’s rage||sudden shock||Magma Jet|
|crystal vein||volcanic hammer||Seering Blaze|
|strip mine **||cursed scroll||Burning Wish|
|great furnace||flame javelin||Incinerate|
|city of traitors||volcanic fallout||Price of Progress|
|barbarian ring||wheel of fortune **||Chrome Mox|
|library of alexandria *||rolling earthquake||Mana Crypt (2)|
|sandstone needle||fireblast||Mox Ruby (3)|
|11 snow-covered mountain||arid mesa||Wasteland|
|mana vault *||barbarian ring||20 Snow-covered Mountains|
|sol ring ***||bloodstained mire|
|forgotten cave||great furnace|
|rishadan port||13 mountain|
|mutavault||mox ruby ***|
|mishra's factory||scalding tarn|
|ghitu encampment||wooded foothills|
|mouth of ronom|
|pyroblast||tormod's crypt||Faerie Macabre|
|red elemental blast||phyrexian furnace||Surgical Extraction|
|pyroclasm||pithing needle||Mindbreak Trap|
|smash to smithereens||pyroblast||Flame Slash|
|scald||red elemental blast||Red-elemental Blast|
|culling scales||blood moon||Pyroblast|
|crash||ensnaring bridge||Shattering Spree|
|ancient runes||everlasting torment||Blackvise|
|shatterstorm||magus of the moon||Pulverize|
|boiling seas||sulfur elemental||Sulfuric Vortex|
Mono-red's mana is sweeeeeet. So pleasant to not have to fetch every game, you just play your lands and it's all good.
Mono-red is cheap!...well apart from Mox Ruby. So it's a great deck to start playing highlander with. If you're building a deck for a friend you could build a deck that's a blend of these three styles and they can migrate to whichever is more their play style.
There are some cards that mono-red really struggles against. If you want to have success with mono-red you’ll need to have plans against these cards:
Big chunky dudes
Sphinx of the Steel Wind, Tarmogoyf, Kitchen Finks, Thragtusk, Baneslayer, Rhox Warmonk, Elderwood Scion etc
Anything with 4+ toughness can be a real pain in the arse. You’ll notice a few unusual cards in mono-red lists that are concessions to fatties; Icy Manipulator, Brittle Effigy, Trip Noose, Burning Wish etc.
You really just need to hope that all the U control decks scare people away from playing these cards. Playing red is quite risky in this sense. Sometimes there’s a guy who’s like “I’m frickin sick of losing to zoo, I’m gonna build GW fatties and crush them” and they crush you. Mono-red is a metagame deck. I always bring Mulch style red to highlander tournaments and if I think everyone’s playing 3+ colour decks I’ll gun it.
Sword of Fire & Ice / Jitte
These are serious problems. The plan to deal with these cards is have the burn spell ready the turn they play the equipment and then in your turn effectively destroy the equipment.
Elspeth, Bitterblossom, Spectral Procession, Lingering Souls...lots of little dudes
Jitte is a good answer to these cards. Burning Wish can find you nifty sweepers as well. If you’re not playing many dudes yourself (eg crompo/shanley style) you can play sweepers.
Mono-red hasn’t got much disruption against combo. It has non-basic hate and random things like ash zealot and phyrexian revoker. Depending on your build you can try race. At a 3 round weekly highlander at Games Laboratory you’ll be unlikely to play against combo but if you want to win a big tournament you’ll need a plan and plenty of good sideboard cards.
This article has been pretty disjointed but whatever. I think I prefer writing articles that go into the finer details of one subject.
Ages ago I wrote a pretty comprehensive article about building aggro decks in highlander, i you have't read it before I suggest you do :) I just gave it a re-read myself.