Hello fellow deck techs and brewers and welcome to my first article. I want to use this space to look at decks outside the very top of the food chain but still in the high level competitive tier. I’ve seen enough articles on energy decks and how to sideboard against Ramanap Red to last me a lifetime so this is a place to take a look at other angles of attacking the current meta game in standard.
Today I want to take a look at a version of a deck that Ive been playing for a while with some success. Its fast, its brutal, and it can win in a hurry if it curves out well, its Rakdos Artifacts.
While Im sure it comes as no shock to anyone that getting Hazoret the Fervent out and attacking on turn 4 is one of the best ways to win a game of magic in the current standard I don’t think the only place she belongs is in a mono red deck. Perhaps the best mechanic to come out of the Kaladesh block is energy but it also gave us a lot of great artifacts and payoffs for using them.
Unlicensed Disintegration is still one of the best removal spells in the game, and with the number of artifacts in this deck, getting the extra 3 damage is almost a given. This deck looks to leverage its removal package and clear the way for some savage hasty attackers while still having answers for long games and a sideboard plan to handle longer matchups. Adding hasty beaters like Yahenni and the Fleetwheel Cruiser only add to the potential ‘Surprise you’re dead’ effect of this deck and with Cut // Ribbons in the graveyard as well you’re wins can come out of nowhere.
Being able to discard quickly without giving up card advantage can be clutch in getting Hazoret on the offensive so a couple of copies of Key to the City along with a set Boodrage Brawler can let us discard things like Cut // Ribbons, Scrapheap Scrounger, and Dread Wanderer which you can use later on from the graveyard. Adding to that a couple of copies of Claim // Fame to bring some of these guys back swinging and our graveyard becomes an easily accessible resource for us while keeping our cards in hand count low. Key to the City can also help us get Hazoret through any kind of board stall or token swarm by making the red god unblockable. This Kaladesh artifact can be a big help against energy decks with a Longtusk Cub or a Bristling Hydra that can just stonewall Hazoret if they get big enough.
There is an argument to be made that in place of Bloodrage Brawlers we should be running Gifted Aetherborne or Earthshaker Khenra but I love the sheer power of the Brawler. A 4/3 on turn 2 is gas no matter how you slice it and when our gameplan is to get the Fervent one out and swinging this guy can be the creature that lets us do that a turn faster.
The sideboard plan has answers mostly to deal with control using copies of Duress and Lost legacy as well as one of my personal favorites, Raiders Wake. It may be that Im missing something here but in a deck full of cheap recursive creatures with haste, attacking every turn is fairly easy, and forcing opponents to discard and lose life every time we attack seems like a no brainer. Four mana is a lot to pay for an enchantment but it goes off the turn it comes into play so its not unreasonable considering how powerful it can be in games when you need that extra reach. If you can attack and cast duress with Raiders Wake on the battlefield your opponent loses 2 cards and 4 life; not a bad deal when you’re losing the game to card advantage. Copies of Abrade and Lost Legacy help us deal with artifacts and other problem creatures like opposing Hazorets or Glorybringers with Chandra for added support against control. Aethersphere Harverster helps for aggro matchups and, again, those dreaded Glorybringer and we have a couple copies of Vraska’s Contempt to handle The Scarab God.
Black red aggro and mono black aggro have flirted with top spots over the last few months and I think they will both remain powerful contenders for the foreseeable future. The low curve/high impact cards in this deck let it attack through most midrange strategies and the sideboard has all the tools you need to make this deck a threat in the long game.