Saturday, 1 December 2012

A glance at highlander mono red

Sup guys,

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

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)
firebolt  tarfire  Icy Manipulator
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
wasteland  char  Skullclamp (1)
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 
blinkmoth nexus  wasteland 
ghitu encampment  wooded foothills 
dust bowl 
mouth of ronom 
pulverise  ravenous trap  Pyrokenisis
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
cryoclasm  chaotic backlash  Smelt
crash  ensnaring bridge Shattering Spree
ancient runes  everlasting torment  Blackvise
shatterstorm  magus of the moon  Pulverize
boil  scald  Pyrostatic Pillar
boiling seas  sulfur elemental  Sulfuric Vortex
anarchy  anarchy  Flame-tongue Kavu
detritivore  boil  Anarchy
Random comments:

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.

Combo decks
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.

But yeah, if you haven’t given mono-red a try, chuck it together for a highlander event and burn some cunts :D