Those playing in Magic: The Gathering's Standard format just got a bunch of new cards at their disposal with the release of Core 2019. Taking a look at what the new set offers, we've come up with an affordable ($50-ish) and aggressive Standard deck that players can bring take to their favorite local game store's events.
A mono-red deck, the basic thought is simply to count to 21. Or rather, from 20 to zero. To do that, we need to hit hard and fast.
In the early game, we would ideally want to plop down one of our Soul-Scar Mages. Not only does this provide one of the more powerful first turn creatures in Standard right now, but it also immediately gives us a wizard to give Wizard's Lightning a hefty discount. Failing the Mage, holding back for a turn-one Shock for weenie removal can be almost as good. Unless you're absolutely in love with your hand, there is no shame with a turn-two The Flame of Keld, but we'd rather hold that until later when we'd like to refill our hand as to not lose whatever advantage we've gained. What we ultimately want to do with this deck's early game is pop down a turn three Guttersnipe so that we can supercharge our burn spells. Those extra two points of damage Guttersnipe provides will add up very quickly.
Should the game grind out a bit because of life gain or answers by the opponent, Jaya Ballard has your back. Her first ability basically reads "play free burn spells" and flows nicely into Fight with Fire. When it comes to the deck's ultimate kill spell, we have some options. If we can't Guttersnipe our way to victory with deck's smaller burn spells, there is also the scalable Banefire as well as a kicked Fight with Fire.
The sideboard we've put together for this deck is largely based on what we've seen both locally and in looking at similar decks of recent memory. It's here that you'll find your extra copies of Abrade for both direct damage and artifact hate, as well as extra Fight with Fires if we find ourselves against a grindy matchup. When going against decks with a lot of counterspells, Lightning Mare is there for us. If we find ourselves on the wrong end of hexproof, we can sub out three mountains for a trio of Detection Tower. And we threw in two copies of Goblin Chainwhirler because, well, of course we did.
We've goldfished this deck many times and played a number of simulated digital games with it. We're quite happy with how it tends to fire off. It's not perfect, but it can be easily upgraded if we ever decide to up the budget a bit.
Are you running this deck at your LGS? If so, leave us a comment and tell us how you fared!