With War of the Spark’s prerelease weekend in the book, it is time to start thinking about the first War of the Spark Friday Night Magic (FNM). The first week of a new standard brings with it a challenging new environment where players want to try out new cards in the best decks from the previous standard and many new ideas will center on the thirty-six planeswalkers in the set.

Below I have a deck for you that should be successful in week 1 of War of the Spark Standard. Mono-Red is typically a great week 1 deck. The straightforward aggro strategy will punish new decks that are slow and any that are unrefined. Let’s look at the Ravnica Allegiance build of Mono-Red.

At the FNM before the mid-night prerelease for War of the Spark, I played mono-Red and piloted the deck to a 3-1 record. My only lost was to the other player that when 3-0 on the night and he beat me 2-1 in close games with his Gruul Warriors deck. Here is the deck.

War of the Spark Mono Red

Creatures (16)
Fanatical Firebrand
Viashino Pyromancer
Ghitu Lavarunner
Goblin Chainwhirler

Spells (24)
Light Up the Stage
Skewer the Critics
Shock
Lightning Strike
Wizard’s Lightning
Risk Factor

Lands (20)
20 Mountain
Sideboard (15)
Lava Coil
Fight with Fire
Rekindling Phoenix
Fiery Cannonade
Experimental Frenzy

The deck also got me from diamond to Mythic on Magic the Gathering Arena, so it definitely has the power to compete with the top decks in the format. This is a variation of the popular mono-Red build. Out of the build is Runaway Steam-kin and Experimental Frenzy with Risk Factor and Wizard’s Lightning taking their place. In mirror matches, it typically beats the popular build because of the Risk Factors and the additional direct damage that allows the deck to move towards more of a control deck, if needed to deal with mono-Red threats like Runaway Steam-kin.

A big question as War of the Spark standard begins is whether the deck has the power to remain a tier 1 deck. I have not seen much talk about Mono-Red yet, but I think it will remain a strong deck in the format.

The return of Chandra, Fire Artisan returns a nice piece for the deck. Fire Artisan is not as powerful as Chandra, Torch of Defiance, but it has the power to be a finisher for the deck. Drawing two cards a turn gives the deck needed card advantage and helps to filter through the deck efficiently. Getting to Chandra, Fire Artisan’s ultimate gets you seven cards that allows you to refill your hand and deals seven damage to your opponent or to a planeswalker. The cards you draw should give you options to end the game, if the seven damage does not finish off your opponent.

A potential piece for Mono-Red is Dreadhorde Arcanist. Arcanist’s ability to recast an instant, sorcery equal to or less than its power from the graveyard for no cost when it attacks can cause massive damage at no additional cost. The problem with Arcanist is that it requires a bunch of one cost spells, but the deck prefers spells that are two or three cost. Some of these spells can become one cost, if damage is dealt this turn or a wizard is on the field, but this will not activate Arcanist ability. Another new option is Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin. He creates at least two 1/1 goblin tokens when he attacks and attacking increases his power and toughness (+1/+1). This makes each additional attack more and more goblins. Krenko has the potential to be a great go wide strategy, but with 1 / 2 stats when he enters play, he is venerable to direct damage. Right now, I prefer Krenko because I think it will give more value, but it may require spells like Samut’s Sprint to get the most out of the card.

War of the Spark Mono Red

Creatures (14)
Fanatical Firebrand
Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin
Viashino Pyromancer
Ghitu Lavarunner

Planeswalkers (3)
Chandra, Fire Artisan

Spells (24)
Shock
Lightning Strike
Light Up the Stage
Skewer the Critics
Wizard’s Lightning
Risk Factor

Land (19)
19 Mountain
Sideboard (15)
Goblin Chainwhirler
Lava Coil
Fight with Fire
Rekindling Phoenix
Fiery Cannonade

I’m excited to play with these upgrades. Until next time, good luck playing your, win condition.