The Most Free Wins in Modern: Red

through the breach

Hi all,

This article series is for the trolls.

Sometimes we admire the topdeck wars, the bluffs, the Jedi Mind Tricks, and the bait. Sometimes we admire watching someone wallow in their helplessness. We drop a bomb, then watch them untap, draw, and concede.

We save a screenshot of their rage quit.

Red is not a very interactive color. Its permanent destruction is limited mostly to artifacts and lands, and the latter only serves to prevent interaction. Red can kill creatures of toughness lower than five in most cases, but these same spells that the red mage would use to kill those creatures are generally targeting the opponent instead.

That being said, some bombs create more free wins than others.

The Candidates For Best Free Wins In Modern Red

All of these cards require some conditions to be met, and some of these conditions are easier than others. Below are a lot of cards that are difficult to interact with successfully in Modern-legal Red.

8) [c]Stone Rain[/c], [c]Molten Rain[/c], [c]Fulminator Mage[/c], [c]Avalanche Riders[/c], and [c]Boom[/c].

Conditions for a likely win upon resolution:

  • It isn’t the first one you resolved.
  • Your opponent took a mulligan.

No one feels good after losing to land destruction. One of the beauties of Modern is that so far this archetype hasn’t hit the critical mass or quality permanent-based lock components necessary to be a format fixture. Modern players do not have to deal with [c]Smokestack[/c], [c]Trinisphere[/c], and [c]Wasteland[/c]. Still, if you are able to cast a few of these on an opponent, especially when they are already stumbling, you have taken a few giant leaps down the road to victory.

7) [c]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/c]

Conditions for a likely win upon resolution:

  • Your opponent is playing Storm, Eggs, Jeskai Ascendancy combo, or another deck that requires the resolution of a lot of spells.
  • You are ahead in board position when he resolves. In particular, it is very difficult to defeat him if you are up two creatures to zero.

The infamous red Eidolon said to have ruined the Legacy metagame and threatened to make Burn a short step away from Vintage playability is often a free win, but he’s not too shabby at Nickel-and-Diming the opponent either. His ability to grind out a game and win upon impact make him a big contender.

eidolon of the great revel

6) [c]Boil[/c]

Conditions for a likely win upon resolution:

  • Your opponent is playing Islands and has no counter available.

Now, this seems like a steep pair of conditions, but Islands are represented in a huge percentage of the Modern metagame. Even without decent counterspells, blue is a dominant color. When facing Scapeshift, Twin, Esper Control, Cruel Control, Merfolk, and many others, [c]Boil[/c] can outright win the game. Your opponent may not realize it upon resolution, but after the game, they can trace it back to this moment.

The other reason that [c]Boil[/c]’s conditions are not too demanding is that it is an Instant. It seems very unlike red to have such a powerful effect at this speed, and that is why it will stay in Modern sideboards for a long time.

5) [c]Anger of the Gods[/c], [c]Firespout[/c], [c]Pyroclasm[/c], and [c]Volcanic Fallout[/c]

Conditions for a likely win upon resolution:

  • Your opponent is playing an aggro or tempo deck.

Any symmetrical effect that you can build your deck around in order to break the symmetry is going to be back-breaking when its conditions are met. Each of these cards have their place in the top seat in certain metagames. During the Delver-Cruise era? [c]Volcanic Fallout[/c]. When Naya Zoo is popular? [c]Anger of the Gods[/c] and [c]Firespout[/c]. In Tron? [c]Pyroclasm[/c]. These effects are so often equal to [c]Hymn To Tourach[/c] in Legacy where instead of picking two cards at random, you are getting to look at their hand, pick the threats you need to remove, and still require them to spend turns and mana on them as well.

anger of the gods

4) [c]Through The Breach[/c]

Conditions for a likely win upon resolution:

  • You have successfully built up to five mana without your opponent being able to discard it, counter it, or interact with the creature put into play.
  • You have a [c]Protean Hulk[/c], [c]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/c], [c]Griselbrand[/c], or [c]Primeval Titan[/c] in your hand.

These conditions, unlike the ones for [c]Boil[/c], are definitely steep. This card is a tall order. Still, the instant speed once again salvages the card into something extremely destructive, and there are very few times that it resolves without a handshake.

3) [c]Faithless Looting[/c]

Conditions for a likely win upon resolution:

  • Your opponent isn’t playing graveyard hate.
  • Within the 8 other cards you’ve seen by turn one, you hit one of your dredgers or reanimation targets.

This one comes from left field, I know. Still, graveyard hate is so rare in Modern, and the fact is that [c]Faithless Looting[/c] sets up the future [c]Goryo’s Vengeance[/c] or [c]Unburial Rites[/c] to create a win that is difficult for your opponent to interact with. People even play the infinitely inferior [c]Ideas Unbound[/c] and [c]Izzet Charm[/c] for the same effect. [c]Faithless Looting[/c] isn’t a fast win, and it isn’t immediate, but it is definitely the reason you are going to win the majority of the times that you cast it.


2) [c]Form of the Dragon[/c]

Conditions for a likely win upon resolution:

  • Your opponent does not have [c]Lingering Souls[/c] tokens with [c]Intangible Virtue[/c] and [c]Honor of the Pure[/c] on the battlefield.
  • Your opponent isn’t playing Enchantment hate.

Ah, here is a very specific pair of conditions that are unlikely to be the case. Enchantment hate, like Graveyard hate, is seen seldom in Modern. Only when [c]Slippery Bogle[/c] rears his head around 2% of the winning metagame do people even seem to consider boarding in enchantment removal. It is much more difficult to get to 7 mana to cast [c]Form of the Dragon[/c] or [c]Enduring Ideal[/c], but how beautiful it is to watch a squirming opponent when you do!

And the winner for the most rage-inducing Red card in Modern is:

Wait for it …

… almost there …

… and the winner is …

1) [c]Blood Moon[/c]!

Conditions for a likely win upon resolution:

  • Your opponent is not on Merfolk, Soul Sisters, Burn, Martyr Proclamation, Mono Blue Tron, or Affinity.

This looks like it’s a lot of decks, but we’re still talking about a huge chance to win when playing against 75% of the Modern metagame. If not for the prevalence of Burn and Affinity, I think I would exclusively play [c]Blood Moon[/c] decks. In the current environment of people realizing that [c]Amulet of Vigor[/c] and [c]Summer Bloom[/c] are good, [c]Blood Moon[/c] is quite possibly Modern’s only hope to defeat it reliably.

So many mana-bases are full of greedy decisions and so devoid of fetchlands. No card in Modern causes as much suffering and anguish as [c]Blood Moon[/c].

blood moon


A few of these cards, including the winner, are worthy to be played in the maindeck and built around.

Red is one of the easier colors to explore in this regard. White is by far the easiest to find easy win cards, but it will be the hardest to choose only a few to highlight. Nevertheless, I will take it upon myself to provide you all this service.

I love trolls.