Finally! Wizards has gone too long without a throwback format. I love the older drafts so much. I have a good amount of experience with Shadowmoor, but not tons. I remember it being a lot of fun and not too fast, except for the Intimidater Initiate mono-red deck. So let’s get into it.
Pili-Pala. It can kill larger creatures over time when put on a creature with Wither. The duo is not that great in a mono red deck as it only pumps up when you play a black card. I like having at least 1 Wisp in my decks, if possible. There are tons of “color matter” cards in this block and the Wisps can mess with them, especially the enchantments like Shield of the Oversoul. So, in the end, I decide to go with the Power as I want to stay consistent and Heartmender is not quite strong enough to switch colors yet.
Hill Giant is perfectly fine here. It also keeps me out of black.
Traitor’s Roar, Emberstrike Duo, Viridescent Wisps, Ember Gale, Leechridden Swamp, Manamorphose, Toil to Renown.
Blazethorn Scarecrow, Inescapable Brute, Mudbrawler Cohort, Wild Swing, Manaforge Cinder, Ember Gale, Runes of the Deity
Duergar Assailient. Duergar Assailiant. Desecrator Hag, Heartlash Cinder, Favor of the Overbeing, Riverfell Mimic, Raven’s Crime.
I like this deck a fair bit. It is very aggressive with some nice 2 drops, and some nice finishers like Horde of Boggarts and Jaws of Stone to finish the game. It has some nice synergies like Power of Fire with Pili Pala or any of the Wither creatures, Pyromancer with Flame Jab, or Initiate and Hothead with Flame jab. Flame Jab is very good. One or more removal spells would be nice, but I would give this deck an 8 or an 8.5.
M1G1 against Rustal
Keep a fine hand of 2 Mountains, Stigma Lasher, Cinder Pyromancer, Power of Fire, Horde of Boggarts, and Wicker Warcrawler. He plays a Seedcradle Witch on his first time and I know I need to kill it. I play my Lasher on turn 2. He has no plays for his next turn and I give my Lasher the power of fire. Lasher can attack for more damage, but I am ok with sacrificing a point of damage to be able to put -1/-1 counters on creatures. I kill the Witch immediately. He passes his next turn while I attack for 2 and play Horde of Boggarts. Again, he has nothing. I am nervous at this point and I attack with just the Horde, after playing my Pyromancer, for 4. He plays a Wickerbough Elder and removes the counter to destroy my Power. I play Butcher and Power of Fire, pinging with the Pyromancer each time, taking him to 11. I swing for 5 with the Horde. He simply plays a Juvenile Gloomwidow and passes. I ping him down to 4 at EOT. I ping with the Pyromancer and play Noggle Bandit and the opponent concedes.
I play my Heartlash and a Boggart Arsonists before he plays his first card at the end of my third turn. He plays a Last Breath to exile my Arsonists and takes me to 24. His turn 4 gives him a Barrenton Cragtreads, which could be a problem. I respond with my Sootwalkers and pass. He plays a land and attacks me down to 21. I attack with my Cinder and my Walkers and he drops to 13. I play a post combat Horde of Boggarts. He plays a menacing Twilight Sheperd and the race is on. I attack with my Walkers as he can’t block it and he falls to 10. I play my second Boggarts, and they are both 4/4s. He attacks for 5 and plays his Wickerbough Elder, leaving no Forests open. On my turn, I put power of Fire on my Heartlash and ping the Elder. I use both my Flame Jabs in hand to deal the 2 more damage to the Elder to kill it. I attack with my 2 5/5 Hordes and my Walkers. He double blocks one of the Hordes and I deal all 5 damage to the Cragtreads as I really don’t want to kill the Sheperd. He goes to 2 and concedes next turn.
I keep 3 Mountains, Flame Jab, Pyre Charger, Hotheaded Giant, and Noggle Bandit.
The first play of the game is his Pili-Pala, mine is a turn 3 Bandit. He assembles the combo by putting a Power of Fire on his Pili-Pala. On my turn, I get the 2 for 1 by Flame Jabbing his Pili-Pala and he pings me in response. I drop a Pyre Charger, pump it once, and attack for 4 with both creatures. He plays another Swamp and passes. I discard a land to Retrace Flame Jab to ping him for 1 and play a full-strength Hotheaded Giant. I attack with the team for 7, taking him to 9. He kills my Giant with Gloomlance and passes. I play my next land and pump the Charger to a 7/1 and attack for 9, killing him.
I keep 4 Mountains, Flame Jab, Mimic, and Ram-Gang. He plays a turn 2 Fang Skulkin and I respond with my Riverfall Mimic. He attacks me to 18 and drops a Stillmoon Cavalier. I play my third land and Flame Jab the Cavalier and the Retrace it by discarding another land to kill the Skulkin and attack for 2. He misses his next land drop and plays a Nightsky Mimic. I draw another land and use it to ping the Mimic with Jab and drop the Ram-Gang. I attack for 5, taking him to 13. He draws a card and concedes.
My opponent never showed up. A very anti-climactic end to this fun draft.
I have drafted mono-red a few times and do very well with it each time. I like having some kind of finisher in my red decks, like Jaws or Furystoke Giant, or Nobilis of War. Granted, 2 of those finishers are rare, but any kind of large and preferably hasty creature should usually be enough if pressure was applied early. See you next week!