Magic The Gathering: Arena - 10 Tips To Creating A Top-Tier Red Deck

In September 2018, Wizards Of The Coast brought the massively popular card-based strategy game, Magic The Gathering online with Magic The Gathering: Arena. The online version of the game follows a freemium model and after two years in beta launched to a strong reception.  The game has since introduced many new players to the world of Magic and is still going strong.

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Deck Building is probably the most essential aspect of the game. Players can build their decks around preferred playstyles, based on mana colors and strategies. The quality of a person’s deck plays a huge part in how well they perform against other players, and a well-designed deck is more likely to win out against rarer or stronger cards in a bad deck. So if you want to build a deck with the red color in mind, this is the guide for you.

10 The Plan

As with building any deck in Magic, a Red Monocolor deck requires a strategy to play around with. And for the Red deck, the strategy is aggression. Your goal with a red deck is to put out as much damage as possible. And ideally, do it as fast as possible. So, a red deck will prioritize high damage output with lower mana costs. As opposed to saving up and building mana for more damage later, your goal will be to end the round as early as possible, and the deck will reflect that.

9 Lands

The number of Lands in a deck is almost a meme in the Magic community. If you ever watch a deck-building discussion, there will inevitably be comments underneath it about someone’s deck losing because they have too many or too few lands.

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It is very important, how many lands you decide to keep, and for an aggro red monocolor deck, you need to have no more than 22 lands. And within those 22 should be a few lands like [[Castle Emebereth]], lands which give your entire team buffs.

8 Start Small

Once you have your Lands up and some Mana flowing, you have to set up for some damage. For an aggro red deck, you would do that by playing small creatures. Don’t just fill up with any small creatures though. You always need to be looking for more value for every drop of mana you spend, and that is the case with your small creatures too.

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Pick small creatures like [[Akoum Hellhound]] or [[Fervent Champion]] which give you attack boosts for the early game. These cards will allow you to get significant damage in the early parts of the game, where your opponents would be storing mana for setups and have fewer defenses.

7 Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Along with these Creatures, you need to have some cheap Spells. Cheap burn spells can save you in some hairy early game situations. Cards like [[Shock]] can remove attackers and save you, or remove defenders and leave the player open for attack. Since having a lot of creatures ready to damage is important, these cards are very useful. Along with these, keep some cheap Pump spells too. These are spells that will boost your characters, allowing them to get more damage done. Cards like [[Boulder Rush]] or [[Rimrock Knight]] can provide a lot of damage in the early turns

6 Adding Value

With all this, you should be getting an advantage in the early game more often than not. Now that you are moving towards mid-game, you need to push that advantage. This you can do with Value-based 3 drops. Cards like [[Anax, Hardened In The Forge]] which give you good stats, and add token Creatures. These Creatures are very good to swarm enemies with and give protection against board wipes. Similarly, cards like [[Bonecrusher Giant(Stomp)]] act as cheap removal while also being a solid Creature.

5 Go For The Kill

While your 3-4 value drops hold the fort and keep a constant stream of damage, you still need some big bombs to finish the game with. And that’s the last part you need to add to your deck. Cards like [[Torbran, Thane Of Red Fell]] boost the damage of all your cards as you move to swarm your enemies. Or, add cards like [[Embercleave]], which gets cheaper as you have more attacking creatures, boosts the equipped creatures stats, and gives it double cleave and trample. Well played [[Embercleave]] moves can singlehandedly win games.

4 Resist Temptation

Now, when you’re constructing your aggro monocolor deck, it is very easy to get tempted into picking bigger cards. Huge, shiny dragons can be very attractive, with their giant damage numbers. And they look really, really cool. However, be very mindful of the Converted Mana Cost (CMC) when picking these bigger cards.

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Remember, your goal is to get your strongest cards out fastest, and it is nearly impossible to get 7 Mana dragons out quickly in a Red Monocolor. As a general rule, stick to cards below CMC 5. Unless you have a very good card and a very solid, effective strategy for using it, it is advised to stick to this rule. There are obviously exceptions to it, but huge cards generally won’t play too well with this deck.

3 Stand Your Ground

Once you are in a game with someone, do not be stingy about using your removal cards. Playing an aggressive deck doesn’t mean just mindlessly attacking everything. Use your spells and token cards to ensure that you have a straight shot at the player. Your job playing with this deck is to keep the opponent at bay. You cannot let your opponent gain any ground, while at the same time you have to ensure your creatures survive to damage the opponent. So, use your spells and creatures as and when you can, to ensure that you have a straight shot at the opponent at all times.

2 Trading Up

Don’t be afraid to trade in the early game. Rather, be very aggressive in your trade. Having your 1-drops or 2-drops dying while killing your opponent’s small Creatures is valuable for you. This will turn the game in your favor. Your opponents will probably not have as many small Creatures to play in the early game as you do. You will naturally have more room to attack your opponents directly, and if you use cards like [[Infuriate]] or [[Tin Street Dodger]], this can translate to big advantages early on.

1 Strengths And Weaknesses

The idea with this build is to go for a lot of early Mana damage, enough that it can put you in a very good position by the time your opponent sets up. As such, it is pretty good against most other decks, if played well. However, it isn’t an automatic win deck, (no deck in this game is), and it has a few obvious weaknesses. The first is if your opponent can resist your early damage.

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Either through blocking and countering or by using Regen spells. If you lose this early advantage, there aren’t many good ways to recover from that. The other big weakness it has is against larger Mono-red decks or small Mono-red mirrors. There it will come down to your strategy versus the opponent’s strategy. The Mono-red is a good deck for beginners to the game, as it has a straightforward strategy baked into it, but it might be better to diversify a bit once you get more comfortable with the game.

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