Wheeling and Dealing 4: Obsessive, Angry, Insane, Burning; Red
Red is a color known for getting the hose. Seriously. Over the years in magic, red has gotten following effects in its color pie:
Direct Damage, Spell Redirection (blue gets more and better), Spell duplication (rare, more common and powerful in blue), Mana Acceleration, Haste, and not seldom a few odd effects like P/T swap. All in all, there is very little that red can do that another color can’t do better. But red holds a monopoly on good Burn. The only other color that gets real Direct Damage often is black, but there there’s always a hefty price, as by for example Drain Life. But red regularly gets 3 damage for 1 mana. No other color gets deals like that in level burn. While red may not do all that much well, what it knows, it does. Obsessive, I may add. Mono-Red Burn is considered a playable deck in Standard, Legacy, and Extended.
Red, historically, has had its moments. Let us not forget the Sligh archetype. The original Sligh deck, run by Paul Sligh, was “The deck that shouldn’t have won”. Well, it placed second in the PTG, at that time qualifying for the Pro Tour. Then, Jon Finkel piloted This Build to the semifinals of the 1998 World Championship. It was on the wave of decks that were the forerunners from today’s skill; The Keeper and other decks that decided to suddenly run 60 cards and *gasp* a mana curve. Anyways, to make a long story short, sligh won. Its aggressive curve and “Which is better? Why not take both?” approach caused it to win games in the then relatively innocent metagame. It developed into Red Deck wins, the (arguably) best red burn-based deck. Red doesn’t have such a colorful history as most of the other colors. Indeed, you just have to look at its history to understand why there is so little talk about it. Sligh, Red Deck Wins, Goblins, Burn. I believe there were no other mono-red decks that were successful. Red has taken part as a role in many other decks, including Type-1 Fish variants, Dragonstorm, and Uba Stax. And Goblins. Lots and lots of goblins.
GO!blins has been one of the more successful decks in many formats. Onslaught Block goblins could win on turn 3 with a god hand. And goblins, both Vial and Extended versions, span tiers one and two across three formats. A turn one resolved lackey basically says, “Good Game”, as it is usually followed by a turn two Goblin Warchief x2 and a turn three Piledriver x3!!! Goblins race pretty fast. They are one of the best reasons to play red in any format other than standard.
The other really ‘red’ deck, and the deck that everyone will immediately associate with red, is BURN. Burn is, classically, red. There is no color that got burn as good as red. DON’T YOU START WITH ME, BLUE!!! Red has the best burn. Period. I could make a list, but I think I can sum it up with two words: lightning bolt. Have I made my point? I hope so, because that was a coding nightmare. Good, let’s move on.
Red is the color if impatience. Of desire. Very early on, red showed its true flavor-as destructive. From Stone Rain destroying lands from alpha on, red seemed hellbent on chaos. Red has a general hatred of civilization; its hatred for nonbasic lands with cards like Blood Moon, Dwarven Blastminer, Ruination, and Price of Progress is legendary. The only color that comes close is Green. Red is also for chaos. Grip of chaos, chaoslace, and anarchy are just few of the many cards that show this. It is in love with chaos, despises civilization... what else? Ah, right... violence. From Lava Axe's flavor text to good old Gratuitous Violence, red loves to fight. It has plenty of pain magnification effects to add to the violence. Another weapon that red loves. Oh yeah, and Super Smash Bros loves red... see here for details. Brawling, using brute force, chaos... well, let's face it, that's all that red can do. It has no counterspells. The only disruption red has available is against artifacts, and even though it has occasional mass destruction, it still pretty much rolls over and dies to a COP. But who cares? You'll kill him before he can do that. :twisted:
I think that's all there really is to say about red. Chaotic, brutal, and very, very mean. Until next time, when we talk about black, here's a decklist to tide you over; the infamous Sligh list Finkel took to worlds courtesy of Netdeck Archives.
4 x Ball Lightning
3 x Fireslinger
4 x Ironclaw Orcs
4 x Jackal Pup
4 x Mogg Fanatic
4 x Cursed Scroll
4 x Fireblast
3 x Hammer of Bogardan
4 x Incinerate
4 x Shock
4 x Wasteland
18 x Mountain
Notice: It plays whatever it can get its hands on. It plays IRONCLAW ORCS. that card is virtually unplayable. And this was at worlds. Goes to show you how far a solid curve can take you. Finkel may have lost in the semifinals, but this was still a victory for red. Gogo Red!
Next week (I hope): Black!
Your friendly neighborhood psychopath,