The order of these Threat Evaluation articles is listed by historic power level. Grixis will always be the most powerful combination of colors in Magic in my mind because of how long the game existed before Tarmogoyf. Control Slaver and The Perfect Storm are two format defining decks in the most powerful format: Vintage.
All that aside, what are we up against if we see a Mountain, pass? Burn. You’re up against Burn, and you are 25% done with game one.
For this period in time, the article could end there. Eidolon of the Great Revel has gotten everyone all shook up, and time will tell whether it is just a flash in the pan. In fact, stay tuned for an article about how it shakes up the game, not just the format.
Nevertheless, if we’re being fair, there are lots of other options. As we did in the Swamp, Go article, we will similarly ignore the lists we have already posted.* First, let’s cover the mono-red lists. It is interesting to see once again that there are more mono-red options than mono-blue.
*- I have realized that there are already omissions in previous articles of decks that I have missed. These will be covered in the final article six, and the first five will be edited to include them for easier reference.
Bringer of the Red Dawn
A look at the mono-red decks in Modern.
Or, how this same effect is reaching critical mass, this is distinguished from Red Deck Wins by fewer creatures and the inclusion of Lava Spike or any other card that targets the player only.
Tell-tale signs: Spark Elemental. Other than that, trust me, you’ll know.
Red Deck Wins
Skred Red/Snow Control
This deck is perfect in the right meta, and today’s meta is not it because of all the combo. Any deck trying to beat Skred Red with creatures is going to have a tough time: it has mass removal with Pyroclasm and Blasphemous Act, the best spot removal with Lightning Bolt and Skred, and Boros Reckoner. Dragons will come to clean house at the end of the day.
Tell-tale signs: Unless some Burn player is being cute, Snow-Covered Mountain without any source of Green mana lets you know what you’re up against.
Well, the thing is, this is a pretty consistent turn four aggro deck against a goldfish. Some decks function as goldfish for four turns, so sometimes Goblins gets there. It loses so much in the port from Legacy, though, that it can’t consistently compete.
Tell-tale Signs: Foundry Street Denizen, any spell that puts a 1/1 Goblin token into play are used here and nowhere else.
Red Sun’s Zenith
The decks listed in this category are seen frequently and not mono-red but also do not include blue or black.
Omitting the blue element for Primeval Titan, Gruul Scapeshift has the combo kill or a potent beat-down plan with giants and Polukranos, World Eater. The deck is required to play a significant amount of Mountains for the Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle kill, so the double green mana costed beaters can be awkward.
Once again, a deck has cards that include “Mountain” in their text, and this time it’s the once-banned Wild Nacatl. Now we’re left scratching our heads as to why it was banned. Variants include Tribal Flames Zoo that splashes blue for Geist of Saint Traft and Snapcaster Mage or little zoo with Loam Lion, Kird Ape, and even maindeck Gaddock Teeg.
Boros Angel Twin
This midrange combo deck eschews Pestermite and Deceiver Exarch for Restoration Angel and Palace Guard. Alternatively, some flickering brews combine enter-the-battlefield effects such as Blade Splicer with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and the angel.
Tell-tale signs: Rugged Prairie is not played anywhere else. Also a Boros mana-base with any creatures that have a hint of Death and Taxes give the heads-up.
Norin The Wary
Here’s a very rarely seen deck in dailies that is seen quite frequently in the 2-man queues. Part Human aggro, part Soul Sisters, part EDH-level triggers, this deck is all fun, if underpowered.
Like a red scarab, you won’t see these as often, but they do happen and include Mountains.
This was a thing before the un-banning of Wild Nacatl. Some players use Faithless Looting and Vengevine with all of the 1-drops, while others combine cards like Burning-Tree Emissary and Priest of Urabrask with Myr Superion or Storm Entity. These topped out at about $20, which is significantly less than the $1k Zoo decks of today.
Mono Red Storm
Here is a budget storm deck that skimps on sources of blue mana for purely monetary reasons. Cards like Goblin Electromancer, Desperate Ravings, and the efficient draw package are replaced by Empty the Warrens, Reforge the Soul, and sometimes Young Pyromancer. Some players run some number of Burning Inquiry, Goblin Lore, and Locket of Yesterdays. The Pyromancer Ascension and Past in Flames engine is still the same.
Tell-tale signs: It’s easy to see this in the early game with the above mentioned cards. Other suspend spells may see play such as Riftwing Cloudskate.
I mean, who can resist? Stormbreath Dragon and Thundermaw Hellkite are played on their own and quite hard-castable, and there are a host of other dragons that finish the game quite well when combined with Dragonstorm.
You can observe that these articles are getting smaller. We have precious few lists that are Green or White without including the other three colors. Fortunately, some of these decks are my favorites, so maybe I can flourish the descriptions up some for you all. In the meantime, here’s a Modern Silverblack brew with Mountains.
Modern Silverblack Skred Red
20 Snow-Covered Mountain
4 Stormblood Berserker
4 Vulshok Refugee
Other Spells (28)
2 Into the Maw of Hell
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Molten Rain
4 Pyrite Spellbomb
2 Shrine of Burning Rage
4 Aura Barbs
2 Shrine of Burning Rage
4 Smash to Smithereens