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By Jeremy Lichtenbergeron
Mono Red Eldrazi: Hour of Devastation Updates
It’s been a just over a month since I wrote the original primer for this deck, and oh boy, much has changed! The deck got a little love and managed to pop up in some pretty big spotlights. Thanks to Todd Stevens going 5-0 with it, it was picked up by Star City Games, Channel Fireball, and a few other websites. I’m going to go over the revisions for Hour of Devastation Standard and how we can best utilize some of these new cards. Let’s get into it.
By all means, please review the original post for the basics on each card in the deck, as this serves more as more of an update. But either way let’s start with the new additions:
Ramunap Ruins is just a straight up dual land for the deck, and they replace four mountains in the deck. It provides us with both colorless or red mana at any given time. Granted, we have to pay one life, but it is one life well spent. The secondary ability is just icing on the cake and can steal random games with a little extra reach. We definitely want the full playset. I’d also point out that the art is absolutely gorgeous.
Abrade clearly does a great job at killing both creatures and artifacts. It gives us the flexibility to shatter a Gearhulk, Monument or Colossus, but also just deal 3 to anything in the way. Instant speed means that we are no longer tied down to as much sorcery speed removal. We feel safe with four copies in a relatively unknown meta.
As with many things, the 75 is up for constant tweaks and changes, but without further ado:
The list probably looks quite different from the last version you saw in my original primer. I’ve added some black to the deck in the form of Canyon Slough and upped the land count to 25. I’ve experimented with 26, but have been pretty happy with 25. Canyon Slough gives us access to black for the Ribbons side of Cut, as well as the ability to bring back Scrapheap Scrounger (more on that in a minute).
Which brings me to Cut//Ribbons. It’s already proven itself to be a fine removal spell and a great way to close out games. It’s not super straight forward, but with the combination of Aether Hub, Crumbling Vestige and Canyon Slough we have the ability to pay BB and cast Ribbons, giving the deck some added reach, not unlike what some RUG decks were doing last season.
The creatures remain the same except for one change, a Glorybringer comes out for one main Obligator. With decks possibly running Chandra’s Defeat, I wanted the extra Smasher over the Bringer. Token strategies are also popular at the moment, so I believe trample is more relevant.
Finally, I cut Incendiary Flow completely and it breaks my heart. I love the card, but with Abrade coming into the deck and Zombies declining, I moved away from the flow.
The sideboard is in testing at the moment. We don’t know what to expect from Hour of Devastation Standard quite yet, but we do know which decks are currently doing well. I’ll review each of the sideboard cards and when they could potentially come in.
Almost Made The Cut
We finally got graveyard interaction in the form of Crook of Condemnation, and it’s quite a powerful one. The ability to target a specific card is great for spells getting cast via Torrential Gearhulk, a Scrapheap Scrounger that wants to come back, or really any graveyard based strategy that might sneak under the radar. Once again, I don’t want to commit too many cards to the unknown, but this card is just barely outside of the cut. If anything changes, I will try testing this right away.
Blazing Volley is specifically for token strategies like Monument and a cheap way to keep the board under control. I didn’t want to oversaturate the sideboard with such a narrow card, but I think it warrants some more testing.
Eldrazi Obligator has been added to the main and is still in the board. The ability to either have an early hasty threat, or swing the game later gives the deck some tricks down the stretch. I’m not expecting too many big creature strategies right out of the gate, so one main and one board will suffice for now. Unless, of course, the GR ramp decks are the real deal. Which they might be.
Hope is back! I had pulled Hope of Ghirapur shortly after I wrote the original primer because control virtually dead. Additionally, many people weren’t too convinced of its ability to make plays. With Hour of Devastation upon us, I think control is ripe for a comeback in a big way. The ability to lock your opponent until your next untap step means that you can resolve any spell you need to – like Hour of Devastation for example, or we can hold back a Fumigate for a turn to get additional beats in. It’s my hope that this will be a viable card again.
Perhaps the biggest addition to the 75 is four copies of Scrapheap Scrounger. It pushes our deck lower to the ground, while still staying resilient to control decks. While we only have two consistent sources of black mana, sometimes all we need is to bring back a single Scrounger. These are in the board specifically for controlling matchups.
I removed the mainboard copy of Sweltering Suns, but it’s perfectly reasonable to shift one Harnessed Lightning or Abrade out for it. I’m not entirely sure how prevalent Monument decks will be, so for now we’re only operating with two Suns in the 75.
Lastly, Warping Wail. While all modes can be relevant, the main reason for this in the board is for spells like Hour of Devastation and other powerful sorceries like Approach of the Second Suns. They can also come in for decks that bring in Thing in the Ice, but chances are you won’t be exiling many creatures with it. These give us some ability to fight back and make for a fairly diverse set of options in the 75. If you’re playing a lot of tap-out style control decks for some reason it’s good.
Based off of the current meta, the top four decks should be something along the lines of Temur Energy, Mardu Vehicles, GB Energy, and U/W Monument. No sign of control at the moment, but control typically struggles in brand new metas anyway. Mono B Zombies still shows up occasionally, but not much has changed for that deck with HOU, so the matchup should be more or less the same. We aren’t as heavily favored since we removed Incendiary Flow and Chandra, Flamecaller, but it still should be a win for us most of the time.
This is a slugfest each and every game. What I’ve had the most success with, is to kill the Cubs immediately,and focus on racing Bristling Hydra – it sounds pretty obvious, but it’s important to not lose focus on killing your opponent, vs. having to worry about threats we can’t deal with efficiently anyway.
There are a few different versions of Temur Energy, but the imporant point to note is if they’re running Elder Deep-Fiend and Kozilek’s Return, or if they’re playing Chandra and Glorybringer. Being able to kill anything that moves in the matchup vs Elder Deep-Fiend is key to winning. Control the board and apply pressure quickly to win here.
Don’t overextend into a Kozielk’s Return! Magma Spray is one of the most important cards here for us, but they will also bring them in if they see Reshaper, so I try to board some of them out. We can’t do a ton against Confiscation Coup outside of Warping Wail if our opponents bring them in, so just be aware of that possiblity.
Cards Out: 1x Abrade, 2x Matter Reshaper or a combination of Abrades and Reshapers.
Cards In: 2x Magma Spray, 1x Eldrazi Obligator, and occasionally Warping Wail to counter Confiscation Coup.
This matchup used to feel about 60/40 in our favor, but with the addition of Abrade, it should shift even further towards us. We used to rely on Harnessed Lightning and an additional energy to kill Heart of Kiran, but now we can shatter it whenever we please. Gideon dies rather easily to Glorybringer and Reality Smasher, while the rest of their board can be managed by our burn spells. Take care to not get blown out by Archangel Avacyn and you should be fine.
Post board, they tend to switch to a slower control deck with Planeswalkers, Oath of Liliana and Fumigate. They will probably board out smaller creatures in favor of removal and walkers, but they will probably board out their Fatal Push, making Scrapheap a great inclusion to pressure them.
This matchup can get out of hand quickly. An unchecked Winding Constrictor almost always is just an instant-lose. Without the snake, they can flounder a bit though. Verderous Gearhulk is the other card we need to be concerned with, oh and Longtusk Cub too. Thought-Knot Seer becomes a liability thanks to Grasp, so I board out a few copies on the draw usually. Eldrazi Obligator can steal a big Gearhulk or Cub, but it’s up to you if you want to keep one additional Thought Knot for the Obligator. Abrade pulls double duty here – shattering a gearhulk as well as answering the snake on turn 2. Our stock 60 cards can usually combat this deck fairly well, but it’s very close and I’d be hard pressed to say it’s favored.
Cards Out: 3x Thought-Knot Seer
Cards In: 1x Eldrazi Obligator, 2x Magma Spray
The hot deck right now is U/W Monument. Sometimes they go mono white, but U/W seems to be the preferred version. Before Hour of Devastation this was a matchup favored for U/W, but Abrade helps move it closer to 50/50. Being able to kill Oketra’s Monument is key, but not game ending. They play four copies, and being legendary means they often have one stranded in their hand anyway.
Playing around Spell Queller and Dusk//Dawn can be tough. I’ve found the key to success is, unsurprisingly, to overwhelm the board with Reality Smasher and Hanweir. Blazing Volley clears tokens, provided they don’t have a Gideon emblem laying around, and Sweltering Suns should clear everything. Just remember to play around Metallic Rebuke when possible.
Warping Wail should be used exclusively to counter Dusk, as we have enough removal to kill Selfless Spirit, although Spirit can make for some annoying boardstates. I end up boarding out Matter Reshapers to make room for more removal. W/U plays exile type removal and Dusk cleans up Reshapers so it can be difficult to get value from them, and they feel pretty medium-impact in this matchup anyway. The one copy of Harnessed Lightning comes out because typically they’re aimed at Selfless Spirit and you get nothing out of it.
And that about wraps it up for today. If you have any questions or comments about anything, let us know! If you enjoy the content please give us a like on Facebook and a follow on Twitter, it means a lot!
Jeremy Lichtneberger has been playing Magic since the mid 90s. He loves to brew in all formats – especially Standard and Modern – but is more than happy to just talk decks and game theory. He also writes for MTGStocks.com.