Mono Red decks are always popular in modern for 2 reasons. One, they’re cheap, and even cheaper on MTGO. Two, they’re usually pretty good! Modern rewards linear decks, and mono red does that well. However, you get flexibility too – cards like lightning bolt don’t always have to go to the face.
This particular list came in <$100 in paper, so that’s a bonus!
Check out the video below
How I designed the deck
This is pretty simple, the shortest section I’ll ever write here. I found several different lists, picked the cards I wanted to play with (The Flame of Keld being the main 1), and then cut 4 Surgicals from the sideboard. Done.
Warning – this section contains info on the matches. If you don’t want to know the results, don’t read on!
Match 1 vs Eldrazi Tron – Opp has Turn 2 Chalice on 1 and I scoop. Game 2 the op has T2 Dragons Claw. I try to fight through it but my Young Pyromancer dies and my Copters’ can’t do enough. Leyline of the Void has even turned off my Grim Lavamancer!
Match 2 vs Hogaak – The opp wins the dice roll and puts 16 power into play on Turn 2 (5 of which hits me). Game 2 a combination of relic and 2 chainwhirlers keep the board in check, and the op scoops on Turn 5. Game 3, opp has turn 3 Hogaak but our soul scar mage + bolts shrink it. We manage to kill the hogaak in combat Turn 4, bolt a bloodgast then remove the GY, and opp can’t recover! 1-1 in matches.
Match 3 vs G-Tron – We win the dice roll and start attacking. They’re on 3 life at the end of our turn 3, and we’re holding double-bolt, so they have 0 outs. Game 2 they make a turn 3 wurmcoil into turn 4 ugin, which we can’t beat. Game 3 they stumble a little and don’t have tron until turn 4 at best, but they’re DOB so scoop.
Match 4 vs Altar of the Brood combo – this deck seems crazy, and we get killed out of no-where in Game 1 (T1 Altar of the Brood, T2 Liquamental Coating doesn’t look threatening, but Turn 3 Saheeli has us)! Though we died fast and we have little interaction for that type of combo, it does seem to need 3 pieces that don’t do anything by themselves, so hopefully they’re not so consistent!
Game 2 goes long, with both decks stumbling a lot. I’m not sure how we win it, but we do! Game 3 we flood out a bit, but then draw 2 flame of keld to draw out of trouble. The opp plays some removal but our deck is able to keep playing bolts, and we get the kill on Turn 10. 3-1 in matches.
Match 5 vs Humans – We lead on a 1-drop into 1-drop + bolt their hierarch. There’s a bit more back n forth, but we manage to keep the board relatively clear thanks to Soul Scar Mage and just get across the line. Game 2 our hand is a bit awkward, with just 1 creature and 2 Flames, and reflector mages just keep me out of doing anything. Our bolts have to go towards creatures instead, which means they’re not under any pressure. Eventually the creatures get there!
Game 3 (the 1 that matters)!! – Op has Turn 2 Auriok Champion, which is scary as! I get a few things on the board and try to go wide. The board gets gummed up and nothing crazy happens for a while. A whirler rogue looks set to ruin my day but chain whirler picks off the tokens. Im forced into chump block mode with a young pyro in play, but opp is now on 30 life! A Mantis Rider comes down and its GG!
So in the end, we go 3-2. The deck was decent, but hate cards exist for it, mostly because of Burn’s popularity. On top of that, Faithless Looting has since been banned. That may mean that Fiery Temper and Flame of Keld need to go, but there’s a million ways to build mono-red and have a competitive deck. Just search MTGGoldfish for recent lists, there’s always some out there! It’s also a deck with a nice upgrade line to burn, with any “canopy” lands you have laying around always improving the deck.