Mono-Red Kuldotha Deck & Sideboard Guide
22/12/2023 · 6 min read
Mono-Red in Today's Pauper Meta
Hey folks, Alessandro here, back after a lengthy hiatus!
This time around, I'm bringing you a guide for the current Pauper deck I'm playing, with which I've won the MTGO Pauper Challenge this last week.
As we've all been aware throughout the year, Mono Red Kuldotha and its various iterations have consistently been Tier 1 in the Pauper metagame. It has shown mixed results, depending on how the meta shifts towards decks that are capable of dealing with it directly or that have an effective sideboard to counter it.
A couple of weeks back, we took a hit when Monastery Swiftspear was banned —a significant blow given it was, without question, the best creature in the deck. Despite this setback, we've been introduced to a new creature that offers the deck a fresh lease on life. It may not be on par with Monastery Swiftspear, but it's currently the most viable option we've got to fill that void.
|4 Voldaren Epicure
|4 Goblin Blast-Runner
|4 Goblin Bushwhacker
|4 Goblin Tomb Raider
|4 Experimental Synthesizer
|3 Chromatic Star
|4 Lotus Petal
|3 Galvanic Blast
|4 Lightning Bolt
|4 Kuldotha Rebirth
|3 Chain Lightning
|2 Goblin Grenade
|4 Great Furnace
|3 Relic of Progenitus
|4 Reckless Impulse
|3 Red Elemental Blast
|2 Unholy Heat
|3 Cast into the Fire
Mono Red Aggro is all about hitting the ground running with an early game blitz using our creatures, and then, if the opportunity arises in the mid or late game, clinching the match with a strategy focused on Burn spells. After clinching a win at the Pauper Challenge, I've come to realize the sheer power of this deck—it has a highly efficient game plan and can outplay any other deck out there.
For those looking to dive into Pauper, I'd definitely recommend Mono Red Aggro. It's not only fun but also boasts a straightforward yet solid strategy, and it's a consistent winner. Remember, practice makes perfect. You might need to run through a good number of games to truly get a feel for the deck—understanding its nuances, making smarter plays, learning its interactions, and figuring out how to handle each matchup. This is the case with any deck, but if you're aiming for top results with Mono Red, be prepared to put in plenty of practice time.
As I've mentioned before, the primary game plan of this deck is to come out swinging with an aggressive creature strategy and then close out the match with a barrage of Burn Spells. The heart of this deck lies within its Artifacts; they are the key that unlocks the potential for all the interactions within the deck and empower our cost-effective cards.
Alright, so diving into the core strategy for our creature base, after extensive playtesting and fine-tuning, I've landed on the optimal lineup here: we're talking 12 creatures plus a playset of Kuldotha Rebirth. This composition feels like the most powerful and consistent for our deck's framework.
Now, I've always been on the fence about the strength of Goblin Bushwhacker and how many to run in the deck. But lately, I'm sold on the idea of maxing out at four copies. The card has proven itself for several reasons, and I'm convinced that having the full playset is the way to go to maximize our game plan.
- I can sacrifice it to Goblin Grenade to deal 5 damage to my opponent.
- On the play, it clearly improves the deck's win rate.
- It's versatile and packs a seriously sweet surprise factor.
After this, I won't go into much detail about the rest of the creature lineup; they're classical staples in Mono Red. Goblin Blast Runner might have been on the fringes for a few months, but in my opinion, it's an incredibly strong creature with a ton of potential to keep taking down wins.
The Classic Artifact Core is more or less what's been consistently played throughout the year, with the exception of Lotus Petal and the ongoing debate over Chromatic Star versus Implement of Combustion. In my view, Lotus Petal is a fantastic addition to the deck, enabling highly explosive plays early on that often translate into wins. It synergizes with the entire deck overall, though its downside is that it's a pretty weak card during the mid-game and late-game phases.
As for my preference of Chromatic Star over Implement of Combustion, it comes down to the flexibility Chromatic Star offers in terms of mana. We have to keep in mind that ours is a deck that runs on a low land count, and sometimes it's more beneficial to sacrifice Chromatic Star for that crucial mana rather than using that same mana on Implement of Combustion for a single point of damage. It's a debatable topic, for sure. I don't claim to have all the answers, but from my experience and the positive outcomes I've had, I'm quite comfortable running Chromatic Star in my build.
I'm really happy with my current lineup. Personally, I enjoy mixing up a variety of Burn Spells rather than just going the straightforward route with four copies of each. Take Goblin Grenade, for instance; that card is just insanely good. I can't count the number of times I've clinched wins thanks to those sweet 5 points of damage it delivers – it's a seriously powerful addition to the deck.
The debate over Galvanic Blast versus Seal of Fire is another hot topic when it comes to deckbuilding for this archetype. I rank Galvanic Blast higher than Seal of Fire, primarily because the potential for 4 points of damage with Galvanic Blast is just too significant to ignore. Plus, I have plenty of synergy in my deck to make Goblin Blast Runner work its magic without needing Seal of Fire.
Orzhov Midrange / Boros Midrange / Golgari Gardens
Right now, Mono Red Aggro is an undeniable top-tier contender. It's highly likely that we'll see some tweaks to the decklist in response to the evolving metagame, especially as shaped by key players in the competitive MTGO scene or European tournaments.
I highly recommend giving this deck a spin—it's not only immensely fun and fast-paced, but also incredibly efficient. This goes for newcomers looking to break into competitive play or seasoned players who might be second-guessing their deck choice.
Until next time!