We may be entering into the year of the rat in 2020, but if things break the right way the year of The Ox(of Argonas) could start early.

Last Summer was the renaissance of Modern Red decks. We went from Burn being the best choice with some outliers to having a solid 4 different ways to play mono red aggro that were all viable. Then Faithless Looting was banned and all except for Prowess were pushed down a tier or dismantled altogether.

When the bannings first happened Arclight Phoenix lost a lot of what I needed to be that deck that just pressures you and doesn’t stop. I played with a few ideas, and found that the Hollow One shell still had the tools to get the bird into the yard before turn 3, but did so at the cost of consistency. With Burning Inquiry and Goblin Lore we have all the churn we ever need but if the wrong cards end up in the graveyard it can be all for naught.

Enter the Escape Mechanic. I know a lot of excited Dredge pilots down to test out of Argonas, but this spicy boy does have a few other homes and in the Hollow One/Arclight Phoenix shell we may as well call this spicy boy Trappey Bull. Only a handful of decks have the ran self mill to get Ox into the yard. The trigger does the best impression of Bedlam Reveler I have ever seen and gives us just what we needed to make sure we 3 spell if the random discards break the wrong way. Able to be played as early as turn 3 itself if your Inquiry into Goblin Lore didn’t do enough.

(4 + 4 = 8)

This is not Faithless looting, but rather a fusion of the back half and Bedlam Reveler.

Bedlam has been utilized in Prowess and Phoenix decks to great effect, but was always not as reliable in a Hollow Phoenix shell. With Ox in the mix we can still run a couple Bedlams with our 22 instants and sorceries and not fret if he gets discarded. Bedlam could just get the cut eventually the more Ox proves he can come through. This slot could prove useful for more Graveyard spells. Risk Factor perhaps?

All I can say is it feels great to be playing Hallow One on Turn 1 and 2 again. I feel this is close to what we want, but who knows what other old strategies could slot in now that we have a use for all these graveyard cards outside of a dredge shell.

Keep burning my friends.