Throne of Eldraine season has arrived! I hope everyone enjoyed prerelease weekend and now has a better idea of how the cards from Eldraine work and their potential impact on standard. Today I want to look at one of the decks I expect to see early in the season, Mono-Red. There will be several Mono-Red builds early in the format because most of the key cards from the previous version of the deck have rotated.

One version of the deck will be built around Cavalcade of Calamity. This version of the deck will rely on one power creatures to get Cavalcade activations to quickly defeat your opponent. This deck was around during Core Set 2020 season and will only see minor changes for Throne of Eldraine season. Here is my take on the deck.

Mono-Red Cavalcade of Calamity, Scott Trepanier

Creatures (25)
Chandra’s Spitfire
Fervent Champion
Scorch Spitter
Gingerbrute
Footlight Fiend
Tin Street Dodger
Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

Planeswalkers (3)
Chandra, Acolyte of Flame

Instants (8)
Shock
Heartfire

Enchantment (4)
Cavalcade of Calamity

Land (20)
14 Mountain
Dwarven Mine
Castle Embereth

The goal of this deck is to get many one power creatures onto the field and use the damage from Cavalcade of Calamity to beat your opponent. With one Cavalcade in play, it only takes a few turns to deal a death blow to your opponent.

Throne of Eldraine adds several new pieces to the deck that make it more powerful. Fervent Champion and Gingerbrute are the new one drops from the set. These help to reduce the need for higher cost cards like Scampering Scorcher. Fervent Champion has haste and first strike making it an important inclusion in the deck because it can survive early in the game against other low-cost creatures. Gingerbrute is an artifact creature that also has haste but can become blockable only by other creatures with haste. This allows it to attach through larger creatures guaranteeing damage that is difficult to prevent.

The other new creature addition to the deck is Torbran, Thane of Red Fell. Why Torbran? His ability is game ending. When a red source does damage, it does two additional points of damage. Torbran coupled with Cavalcade of Calamity causes three points of damage when a one power creature attacks. If you cast Torbran on turn four, have a Cavalcade on the battlefield, and have cast three or four other creatures, you should get at least nine damage from Calamity and additional damage from creatures that get through.

Throne of Eldraine also provides lands that advance the decks game plan. Dwarven Mine produces a token dwarf, if three mountains are in play. Getting creatures from land provides great value. Castle Embereth gives the deck the ability to buff creatures during combat. For three mana you can give each creature +1/+0. Doing this when you do not have another use for your mana can add a few extra points of damage that can end a game. The key to using Castle Embereth is activating the ability after declaring your attack, so that Cavalcade activates. Both lands are nice additions to the deck, and we will see what the right combination of them is in the deck as the format develops over the next few weeks.

Overall, Cavalcade of Calamity presents a powerful deck option in the format. It will remain a viable deck in the format, if other decks do not contain many board wipes. But if board wipes become a mainstay in the format the deck lacks the resilience to recover against mid-range and control decks.

Another option for Mono-Red is to go big. Throne of Eldraine provides several new creatures and spells that make a mid-range deck a viable option in the format.

Mono-Red Fires of Invention, Scott Trepanier

Creatures (20)
Fervent Champion
Robber of the Rich
Skarrgan Hellkite
Bonecrusher Giant
Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

Planeswalkers (4)
Chandra, Acolyte of Flame

Instants (8)
Shock
Slaying Fire

Sorceries (4)
Light Up the Stage

Enchantments (3)
Fires of Invention

Land (21)
Dwarven Mine
17 Mountain
Sideboard (15)
Flame Sweep
Lava Coil
Fry
Grafdigger’s Cage
Embereth Shieldbreaker

The advantage of going for a mid-range build of Mono-Red is that more of the powerful red cards in the format can be played. The key card in this deck is Fire of Invention. At first glance, Fire of Invention looked like an O.K. option, but Experimental Frenzy looked like the better choice based on what we have seen from the card since it entered standard. Playing over the past couple of days with Fire of Invention has changed my mind. What Fire does better than Experimental Frenzy is make sure that you get a good playout each turn. Being able to cast Torbran and Bonecrusher Giant on the same turn with only four mana on the board improves the decks efficiency significantly.

The other big addition to the deck is Torbran. As I discussed above. His ability to increase the damage of any red source by two increases the overall power of the deck.

Fervent Champion is the replacement for Fanatical Firebrand in the deck. Champion has haste and first strike. It also can give another knight +1/+0 when it attaches. The first strike ability allows it to kill one toughness creatures that block it and survive. Also, when Torbran is in play, it becomes a 3/1 with first strike that can kill most potential blockers.

Robber of the Rich is a crazy addition to the deck. When he attacks and your opponent has more cards in hand then you do, the top card of your opponent’s deck is exiled and you can play it. In my game play so far, I have used my opponent’s Assassins Trophy against them and even gotten access to Teferi, Time Raveler. Using your opponent’s deck against him is not something that red gets to do. Usually, that is reserved for blue decks. Robber of the Rich is a must in almost any red deck.

Bonecrusher Giant/Stomp gives the deck a powerful creature and spot removal. Stomp is Bonecrusher Giant’s adventure. It allows him to do two damage to any target. This can take out a low toughness creature or with Torbran in play it does four damage. Bonecrusher Giant is a 4/3 giant that does two damage to your opponent anytime it is targeted by a spell. This discourages your opponent from directly targeting Bonecrusher Giant.

The deck’s finisher is Skarrgan Hellkite. At the end of the previous season, I used a mid-range Mono-Red deck to make it to Mythic level on Arena featuring Hellkite and Rekindling Phoenix. Hellkite has flying, riot, and the ability to do two damage to any target when it has a +1/+1 counter on it. This allows you to give him haste or a +1/+1 counter. Most of the time, adding the counter is the right decision so that it can active Hellkite’s ability to do two damage to any target. Most of the time when I got Hellkite into play, I won the game within two turns.

The ideal way the deck plays out is playing Fervent Champion on turn one and doing a point of damage. On turn two getting Robber of the Rich out, attaching with him and getting access to one of your opponent’s cards. Turn three you play Chandra, Acolyte of Flame to continue the aggro early game. Then on turn four the deck shifts toward its mid-range strategy. First you play Fire of Invention with your four mana and then use its ability to cast a second spell. Ideally, this is Torbran, so he can increase the damage that your creatures on the board will do. From here, its all about playing your three, four, and five drop creatures. When your opponent can not keep up with your pace, the game ends quickly.

Overall, I like the power of this version more than that of the Cavalcade deck. It has more resilience against the better decks in the format and the ability to do large amounts of damage on a single turn.
I plan to keep experimenting with it to see if I can find a better combination of higher cost cards. Naheb is an option I want to explore along with Opportunistic Dragon.

Until next time. Good luck finding your win condition!