Mono-Red Control

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Mono-Red Control

Postby Doktor_Sleepless » Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:13 pm

Anyone who knows me knows I have a small sweet spot for Koth of the Hammer (hence the set still sitting in binder even though his value tanked post-rotation). After reading Karsten Cotters latest article on Legacy at SCG http://www.starcitygames.com/article/25486_Eternal-Europe-ndash-Week-One-Of-2013-Legacy.html, I'm more convinced than ever that a Blood Moon effect based mono-red deck ought to be a viable angle of attack for this meta. Not only are greedy mana bases making Blood Moon better than ever, but Abrupt Decay is pushing the format to accept higher cmc spells. What follows is a rough outline I've been tinkering with, and a few cards in parentheses after that are being considered as possible inclusions.

4 Koth of the Hammer
4 Blood moon
3 Magus of the Moon
4 Trinisphere
4 Chalice of the Void
4 Volt Charge
3 Chandra, the Firebrand
3 Magma Jet
3 Crucible of Worlds
4 Phyrexian Revoker
4 Mox (chrome or diamond… probably chrome)
4 City of Traitors
4 Ancient Tomb
4 Wasteland
1 Ghost Quarter
7 Mountain
(Sensei’s Divining Top)
(Simian Spirit Guide)
(Mishra’s Factory)
(Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale)
(Bonfire of the Damned)

The idea here is that early turns are spent on Chalice of the Void, Trinisphere and Blood Moon effects, then aggressive red planeswalkers and disruptive creatures to apply pressure, and Volt Charge/Magma Jet to help keep the board clear and build up to game winning planeswalker ultimates. Should regular bolt be in here? Possibly, but like Pithing Needle it was excluded for higher cmc cards with similar effects because it interacts negatively with Chalice of the Void. The Volt Charges are a nod to the need for bolts and for the need to play through my own Trinisphere. That the tacked on effect plays well with Koth and Chandra is a bonus. Normally I would auto-include some number of Mishra's Factory and Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale (to help protect Koth and Chandra, as well as to apply more pressure, and to deal with aggro decks, respectively) but they don't play well with the Blood Moon, so it's possible that there should be 4 Magus of the Moon, not 3. I've also considered Volcanic Fallout as a sweeper, but I think Bonfire of the Damned might be better. I know the deck wants a turn one 3-drop, so Simian Spirit Guide might belong in there as well.

Anyone care to offer any insights/recommendations?
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Re: Mono-Red Control

Postby apistat » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:02 pm

After looking over your list, I have to ask what you think this deck would have over MUD or Painter/Stone? You are basically playing the stompy shell without the instant win potential of either deck, thus providing your opponent more opportunities to draw out of your lock. You aren't gaining any advantages by extending the game because you have very limited capabilities for manipulating your library.
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Re: Mono-Red Control

Postby Doktor_Sleepless » Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:37 pm

What this deck has over PainterStone: not spending $1k on a set of Imperial Recruiters. Not all of us are Michael Dye, some of us can't afford to drop that much on a card that only sees play in one deck.

What this deck has over MUD: Not outright losing to Null Rod and Stony Silence or a well placed Swords to Plowshares.

I feel like you could make the same arguments that you made in regards to this deck when speaking about Dragon Stompy, and if you were playing during the Zendikar/SoM era of Legacy, you'll remember Drew Levin outlining the reasoning behind Dragon Stompy as a meta choice. Basically the thinking is that while you may not be actually comboing, you have fierce disruption in the early game and a very fast clock in the "late" game, which in the current meta is the mid-game for most decks. The bonus that this deck is more resistant to the most popular removal spells than Dragon Stompy's Arc-Sloggers, Gathan Raiders, and Rakdos Pit Dragons seems relevant.

Once in place, Koth's emblem can easily keep almost any game in place. Between the bonus of proliferate and the lack of disruption, a Koth ultimate should be fairly easy many games. Add some attack pressure and Chandra's abilities (never underestimate the power of a Chandra -2 with Volt Charge, 6 damage and no net loss of loyalty is a thing, as is 4 damage and scry 4) and I think there's a very real possibility that a deck like this could be well positioned against the legacy meta right now. I base that assessment entirely on my observations of the mana bases I'm seeing friends play this weekend in SCG Dallas and on my observation that Abrupt Decay is becoming extremely prevalent and Force of Will is becoming less popular.
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Re: Mono-Red Control

Postby apistat » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:04 am

Here is that Big Red deck that has been placing well in the Northeast:

Henry Decker's "Big Red"

[deck]2 Inferno Titan
4 Sandstone Needle
4 Ancient Tomb
4 Scalding Tarn
3 Sensei’s Divining Top
4 Mountain
4 Seething Song
3 Worldspine Wurm
3 Through the Breach
4 Sneak Attack
3 Pyromancy
4 Simian Spirit Guide
4 Emrakul, the Aeon’s Torn
4 Defense Grid
2 City of Traitors
1 Wooded Foothill
2 Griselbrand
1 Lotus Petal
1 Reforge the Soul
3 Blood Moon

1 Blood Moon
2 Chaos Warp
3 Chalice of the Void
1 Through the Breach
2 Volcanic Fallout
4 Leyline of Sanctity
2 Woodfall Primus[/deck]

It certainly looks like a pile but this is the second time it has Top 8'ed an NELC which is one of the most competitive Legacy tournaments in the country. This kind of deck really isn't my area of expertise so I can't really offer feedback on the list. At the very least, you should try sleeving it up for a weekly tournament.

Edit: It took first. Plus, who doesn't want to kill people with PYROMANCY?!?!?! How fucking awesome is that?
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Re: Mono-Red Control

Postby eldashgato » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:01 pm

I can't even wrap my head around this second list. It looks like a budget Sneak and Show deck, i.e., one that plays Seething Song over Show and Tell and Defense Grid over Force of Will. Do you have a link to the other top 8 decks from this event?

I remember a lot of bad casual decks that tried to kill people with Pyromancy + Polar Kraken.
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Re: Mono-Red Control

Postby Doktor_Sleepless » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:53 am

It has taken a few minutes to wrap my mind around that list, but after doing so, this must be said:

That list is the STONE COLD NUTS.

Is that the same vein I was thinking of when I started this thread? No. I was looking to explore the more controlling aspect of red, locking out resources with a highly aggressive threat in play. That list exploits the more combo aspect of red (red is one of the funny colors on the pie, in that because it has never really been locked cleanly down in terms of flavor, it gets some parts of blue, some parts of green).

First off, in response to the budget list comment, your perspective is incorrect. You are a mono-red combo, and the goal is to power up a ton of red mana quickly to make plays that are nutty. The disturbing thing here is that the mediocre-appearing plays are the most powerful by far. You know what creature is awesome? Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. You know what's hands down better than him in this deck? Worldspine Wurm. Observe the interaction between the wurm and Through the Breach and Sneak Attack. Not only do you annihilate your opponent's life total, but you leave enough behind on enough trampling bodies to ensure you win the next turn. Sure, it's nutty to drop a 15/15 annihilator 6 for a bunch of :symr: , but it's not actually a guaranteed win. Swinging for 15 trample, then leaving behind 15 more trample on 3 bodies (large enough to kill all but the biggest goyfs) is pretty close to a guaranteed win. The list actually has back-up win cons in Griselbrand and the spaghetti monster. Even here though, the giant demon looks like more of an engine to fuel pyromancy wins than anything else. :6mana: and any two fatties in hand and your opponent needs stifle not to lose the game. When you can seething song into five of it, things get out of hand fast.

You know the really sick part of this deck? Sandstone Needle. I'm actually a little shocked this made it in, but I get it. Yeah, it's prime Wasteland material, but if they don't have the waste? Forget it, game over. You're staring down sol ring level mana plus accelerating spells on turn 2. Sick life.

I haven't goldfished this yet, but looking at the numbers, I'm a little iffy on some of them. I feel like not everything is completely optimal, but if anyone could track down tournament reports or footage from any of these events, that'd be awesome. I would guess at a glance that a second lotus petal or third City of Traitors might be correct (especially the third city), that inferno titan might be unnecessary (or at least sub-optimal, although he is hardcastable and pretty much demands StP), and that a little room for a faithless looting or two might be excellent.
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Re: Mono-Red Control

Postby eldashgato » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:55 am

A little off topic, but Sandstone Needle doesn't surprise me at all. It appears on several buylists at .05 or higher, actually. I have a ton of these set aside, if you need some.

I think I like Wurmcoil Engine over the Inferno Titan. I'd also like to see Grim Monolith somewhere in this list.
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Re: Mono-Red Control

Postby apistat » Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:52 am

The top 8 is here: http://jupitergames.info/articles/2013/52837/decklists-february-nelc. Again these are not small, podunk tournaments. They are giving out playsets of duals for top 8 (every month) so you have pretty high quality players/decks making the Top 8.

I think if you are going to mess with the list it is fine to move cards around within general categories, but to trust the general ratios. For example:

Dudez(11):
2 Inferno Titan
2 Griselbrand
3 Worldspine Wurm
4 Emrakul, the Aeon’s Torn

Fast Mana(19):
1 Lotus Petal
2 City of Traitors
4 Sandstone Needle
4 Ancient Tomb
4 Seething Song
4 Simian Spirit Guide

Enablers(10):
3 Through the Breach
3 Pyromancy
4 Sneak Attack

Filter/Dig(4):
3 Sensei’s Divining Top
1 Reforge the Soul

Disruption(7):
4 Defense Grid
3 Blood Moon

Mana(8):
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Mountain
1 Wooded Foothill

When you look at it like this I think the question isn't "what can we change?" it is "Why is that there?" For example Inferno Titan seems inferior to Wurmcoil because he isn't leaving tokens behind. On the other hand he is a better offensive threat. He is dealing 9 damage off of a Breach or Sneak Attack and is a beast when hardcast. Certain things do seem kind of random like 1 Reforge or singleton Lotus Petal, but in general I prefer to test the existing build and then tweak it to my playstyle.

For reference here is the list he played in the December NELC and Top 8'ed with:

4 Defense Grid
2 Pyromancy
4 Through The Breach
4 Sneak Attack
4 Seething Song
4 Faithless Looting
2 Worldspire Wurm
3 Griselbrand
1 Blightsteel Colossus
3 Inferno Titan
1 Lotus Petal
4 Simian Spirit Guide
1 Ulamog, The Infinite Gyre
4 Emrakul, The Aeons Torn
7 Mountains
3 Sandstone Needle
2 City Of Traitors
2 Karakas
4 Ancient Tomb
1 Grim Monolith

2 Volcanic Fallout
1 Inferno Titan
3 Chaos Warp
4 Leyline Of The Void
1 Meekstone
1 Aether Flash
1 Blood Moon
1 Grafdiggers Cage
1 Pyroblast

So he has shifted around the numbers of creatures, enablers, and filter he was playing. I don't know if those changes were simply due to additional playtesting or meta shifts.
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Re: Mono-Red Control

Postby aberosh1819 » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:11 pm

I can't love this enough. And? It costs less to get what I'm missing than what I've made on holding onto my beat Bayous for the past few months. Even though it won't be ANY kind of surprise in the local meta after being on this board, it feels like it's totally worth having it in the ol' back pocket on the off chance that I make it to play on Thursday some day.

I'm just wondering at the Woodfall Primus out of the board. Is it to get rid of Omni off of an opponent's Show and Tell? Shouldn't that match-up be strong enough already? Maybe to kill a random Jace? I'm bad enough at Legacy to actually wonder at this.
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Re: Mono-Red Control

Postby Doktor_Sleepless » Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:09 pm

Looking at the alterations between the lists, he must have felt that Ulamog was not as strong as wurm. I could see that being the case on a through the breach, as annilihator 4 w/o trample is sometimes less relevant than 15 trampling damage in the very late game. I'm assuming that Griselbrand is basically in there as a way to combo off further and lock the win, as opposed to being the actual win condition (which seems to be spaghetti monster/wurm). That being the case, I'm guessing he found blightsteel wasn't quite getting through for the win most of the time, and leaving them at 9 poison was irrelevant.

That immediately makes me wonder about the possible efficacy of swapping emrakuls in favor of blightsteel colossi and increasing the griselbrand count to go heavier in on the combo. but I'm sure that's just me being a sucker for infecty robots.

As far as the changes between the lists, I notice that his more recent version cuts his guys from 14 to 11. His filtering changes from faithless looting to Sensei's divining top and a singleton Reforge the Soul (which seems better, as neither of the replacements carries the numerical card disadvantage of looting). This makes room for maindeck Blood Moon (which is awesome) and is probably why some number of Inferno Titan is correct (since you can reliably hit enough mana to use extraneous late game seething songs to hardcast it).

Since Tedrow made the mistake of giving me a set of Sandstone Needles and I have the rest of the deck barring Sneak Attack, Pyromancy, Through the Breach, and Griselbrand, I now want to build this badly. New legacy project.
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