Hello everyone and welcome back to Standard Issue! We have made it! Finally here we are in Ravnica and have left the metallic machinations of Kaladesh and the ancient gods of Amonkhet behind. I have been waiting for this moment for several months now and I am sure many of you have been as well. Ravnica has not disappointed either for there are plenty of powerful new cards to brew with and this last MTGO deck dump had 51 Standard 5-0 lists. The red menace seems to have been abated with plenty of archetypes doing well…at least for now. Today I want to talk to you about my “if you can’t beat them join them” attitude and why I have picked up what may be the next best deck, Mono-Red Frenzy.
For quite awhile now red aggro decks have dominated the format and when the tools are there for the deck to exist it has done well. Generally, aggressive decks will do well in the beginning of a format while people are still refining their decks yet lately they have been the dominating deck of the format. While I do believe the tokens decks are going to be a big contender in this new Standard format Experimental Frenzy is a powerful card for these aggressive strategies to go long and kill the opponent out of nowhere. Here is the list that I went 3-0 at a local standard tournament on Monday:
Mono Red Frenzy - (by Dylan Tracy)
4 Fanatical Firebrand
4 Ghitu Lavarunner
4 Runaway Steam-Kin
4 Viashino Pyromancer
4 Goblin Chainwhirler
2 Rekindling Phoenix
4 Lightning Strike
4 Wizard's Lightning
4 Experimental Frenzy
3 Lava Coil
2 Legion Warboss
2 Fiery Cannonade
3 Fight With Fire
1 Risk Factor
1 Rekindling Phoenix
2 Siege-Gang Commander
This makes you low to the ground in game 1 just trying to come out and do as much damage as possible and win quickly. Frenzy allows you to combo off with burn spells. Runaway Steam-Kin is another pivotal card in the deck allowing you to keep casting spells on your Frenzy turns and can just grow to be a 4/4 and smash for a bunch of damage. The general play pattern is to attempt to play out your hand by turn 4 or 5 then resolve an Experimental Frenzy and then you basically combo off by playing a bunch of spells and using Steam-Kin to create extra mana. There was a game where on turn 5 I just dealt 20 to my unsuspecting opponent. Experimental Frenzy is a messed up magic card. One thing to remember when you have a Frenzy in play is during your Upkeep look at the top card of your Library to see if it is an Instant then you can cast it before drawing it.
The Sideboard I have been tweaking a bit and will vary but the decks I was looking to beat were Control, Tokens, Golgari Mid-range, and other red based aggressive decks.
Lava Coil is probably the best way to deal with an opposing Rekindling Phoenix in Standard and is the only clean answer the deck has to one other than just infinitely blocking with a Phoenix of your own. This also will kill a Venerated Loxodon and Trostani Discordant out of Seleysna.
Fight With Fire is important as removal for the number one enemy of red aggressive decks, Lyra Dawnbringer, and is seeing play in a variety of decks so I want to have an answer to her. Not to mention in long matchups I may bring in 1 or 2 to kick and deal 10.
I am playing 1 Risk Factor in the board right now and haven’t really had a chance to see how it plays. I could see it being awkward with Experimental Frenzy but also see it working well. Currently bringing it in in Control matchups but may just start trying it out more often to see how I like it since I haven’t really seen the card yet in game.
Legion Warboss was an inclusion for Golgari whose cards are all about value so I thought that Warboss would be a decent card against them allowing you to get more than a card’s worth of value out of one card. Also against control of you resolve a Warboss it can be very annoying for them to have to deal with and then if they do opens them up for you to attack them with more. I also was considering Warboss for the mirror in sideboarded games with the idea that both decks may be trying to go bigger and Warboss allows you to go wide and can mentor some of your smaller creatures and generally will get value on the turn you play him. Also would be an inclusion against Tokens in an attempt to go wide with them.
I have brought in the extra land and extra Rekindling Phoenix in just about every game 2 wanting to be sure that I hit my land drops and Phoenix is such an important card in so many matchups that I want to be able to consistently cast one.
Siege-Gang Commander was an inclusion for Control and the for going bigger in the mirror. Having Legion Warboss and Siege-Gang Commander you can have an army of Goblins to throw at your opponent and demands a sweeper to answer them and you can still get value out of the cards even if they do have an answer.
Fiery Cannonade is here to attempt to stop the Selesyna decks from going off before Venerated Loxodon pumps them out of range and is a must have in this format since i expect tokens to be popping up everywhere now.
Going forward I would like to try out adding white to the deck to be able to cast cards like Deafening Clarion to have a better chance at sweeping up the tokens decks. Tajic, Legion’s Edge is another card I am pretty interested in trying out especially him being able to Mentor some of these smaller creatures allowing them to attack through some things they may not have been able to otherwise. Treasure Map is a card I have seen some other 4 Frenzy decks and I really like that idea but haven’t tried it out myself. Treasure Map allows you to Scry away the top card of your library when you have Frenzy in play to increase your combo potential then also draw you cards allowing you to draw the lands off the top of your deck after you can’t Scry them away anymore.
There is much to explore with this deck still and when the next set comes out along with Blood Crypt and Rakdos I’ll be interested to try out adding black to the deck and see if R/B can come back to the forefront of the meta game. I fought against it for so long and wanted to play anything but the red deck but I just can’t ignore such a powerful aggressive strategy.