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Pauper Monored 1drops: Deck and Sideboard Guide

Lucas Giggs
31/08/2023 · 10 min read

Quick intro

In my most recent article on Monored , I discussed a new and more grind-oriented build, featuring creatures that synergize well with spells and cards like Reckless Impulse and Wrenn’s Resolve.

These additions brought a consistent grind power to the deck, equipping it to take on nearly any deck in the format. Recently, an even more aggressive build has been producing impressive results. Today, I’ll be discussing this new iteration, including some card choices, mulligan decisions, and a sideboard guide against the format's major decks.

Updating the Deck

Mono Red Kuldotha. Builder: Schiaveto.MTGO - Magic Online
2nd in MTGO Pauper Challenge #12574125 20-Aug-2023
Maindeck (60)
Creature [16]
4  Goblin Bushwhacker   $2.79
1  Monastery Swiftspear   $0.59
2  Monastery Swiftspear   $0.59
1  Monastery Swiftspear   $0.59
4  Voldaren Epicure   $0.39
4  Goblin Blast-Runner   $0.35
Artifact [8]
3  Lotus Petal   $9.49
1  Lotus Petal   $9.49
4  Experimental Synthesizer   $0.59
Instant [12]
4  Lightning Bolt   $1.29
3  Mutagenic Growth   $2.49
1  Mutagenic Growth   $2.49
4  Lava Dart   $0.39
Sorcery [8]
3  Chain Lightning   $0.35
4  Kuldotha Rebirth   $1.99
1  Chain Lightning   $0.35
Land [16]
4  Great Furnace   $2.49
1  Mountain   $0.01
8  Mountain   $0.01
3  Mountain   $0.01
Sideboard [15]
3  Flaring Pain   $2.29
1  Gut Shot   $2.29
4  Tormod's Crypt   $0.39
3  Gut Shot   $2.29
4  End the Festivities   $0.69
Buy this deck:

$68.93 Tix @cardhoarder   $1.72 / Week @cardhoarder   $127.42 @tcgplayer   $107.27 @cardkingdom  

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The decklist is fairly standardized, and it appears that the 75 card count has reached consensus among players who have switched to this build instead of utilizing Reckless Impulse. The deck has several advantages, such as being incredibly explosive, and it doesn't provide much time for decks that perform better in the mid/late game to effectively counter your threats. On the flip side, running such an all-in deck leaves little room for error, so any life point lost or gained could potentially be a game-changer.

Card choices

Experimental Synthesizer

For me, this card forever altered the level of red decks. In this build, primarily consisting of 0/1 drops and lands, it's highly unlikely you won't be able to cast any revealed card, even in the early turns. It synergizes well with other cards, such as Kuldotha Rebirth and Goblin Blast-Runner, making it effective at all stages of the game. Plus, it puts a highly relevant body into play in the late game, one not affected by Pyroblast/Red Elemental Blast. Many argue that Monastery Swiftspear is so good it merits a ban, but in my opinion, the card that really makes this type of deck work is Synthesizer. This is not to downplay the little monk's merit, but the artifact enables more explosive turns, with card advantage and the ability to be reused, all while putting a significant body into play.

Lotus Petal

A card that was never highly utilized in aggro decks, but makes perfect sense in this deck. It triggers prowess, synergizes with Goblin Blast-Runner, functions as an artifact for executing Kuldotha Rebirth, and allows for turns with multiple spells. Often, it's not the top deck's best card, but having it in the lineup makes the deck much more consistent overall, especially during the most explosive turns the deck can provide.

Tormod’s Crypt

Some monored decklists utilize Relic of Progenitus as graveyard hate, and admittedly, I'm not entirely certain which would be superior. Relic has the upper hand in longer games, where you don't necessarily need to exile on the same turn it comes into play, just continually exile one per turn and when it's truly necessary, you handle the graveyard and draw a card. Tormod's Crypt is more useful when you need to act early turns and exile at the right moment, but as you develop your board, the Relic sometimes taxes you of a mana which could be crucial to enhance your board state. Both have their pros and cons, but for a deck as aggressive as monored, which demands every available mana, I believe Tormod's Crypt might be slightly superior.

Playing the deck

This is an aggressive deck that mostly consists of drop1, so you will always have something to play in turn1. But be careful, very reactive hands aren't ideal. If you have the chance to play a Kuldotha on turn1, even if it means sacrificing a Great Furnace, go for it. The deck functions well with just one land, and creating 3 creatures on an empty board puts a lot of pressure on the opponent.

Example Hand #1

This is quite a keepable hand, but we've got a very intriguing option for turn 1. Even with forfeiting a mana, it's an incredibly aggressive play and one of the best this deck can pull off: furnace, monastery, petal, kuldotha, swing for 3 and end up with 4 creatures. Mutagenic Growth further assists us with the math and aids our monk in evading Lightning Bolt and/or Galvanic Blast. These more aggressive plays explain players' preference for this list over more grindy ones, with 8 recks (Reckless Rage and Wrenn’s Resolve).

Example Hand #2

This is also one of the best hands to keep, even if we don't purchase land. Making three creatures on turn 1 is highly effective against most of the decks in the meta . If we do buy land, that's 8 damage on turn 2, with removals available if necessary. Take full advantage of the most powerful plays this deck can make.

Example Hand #3

Here's a demonstration of the significance of Lotus Petal in the deck. We have several options, such as generating two creatures in the first turn, but I wouldn't advise that. In my opinion, the optimal play here is to create Monastery, Petal, and hit for 2. If you don't draw a land in the next turn, create a Synthesizer and try to find a land, and from there, strategize your game development. Petal can be crucial for turns where we want to cast more impactful spells.

Matchups & Sideboard guide


The new Affinity is far more aggressive and explosive due to the inclusion of All That Glitters , so we can almost consider it as a combo that can take you down in one or two turns. Reserve your removals for creatures that can potentially defeat you, especially Ornithopter. On the bright side, unlike Grixis Affinity, this deck has virtually no main-deck removals, so we can adopt an aggressive strategy without fearing a responsive removal. One of the drawbacks of this list, I believe, is that it contains no cards that can remove artifacts, as we don't have anything particularly relevant, so we stick to the same post-sideboard plan. However, depending on the expected metagame, we might want to sideboard in some Cast to Fires, likely substituting some Gut Shots/End the Festivities.



It's important to distinguish that Mirror and Monored 8 Reck are two different matchups. For instance, End the Festivities performs exceptionally well against the former but doesn't have much impact on the latter. We need to reserve our burn spells primarily to deal with Monastery Swiftspear, but we must be wary of a surprise Mutagenic Growth. Nonetheless, we should take the opportunity to eliminate it when we can. The rest of the creatures are not particularly significant. We can exchange Kuldotha tokens and while Goblin Blast-Runner can be tricky to block, it's generally not a major concern. Utilize your burn spells and combat tricks to your advantage, especially with Monastery in play. Casting Kuldotha early on can be very beneficial, but it becomes even better with Bushwhacker, especially post-sideboard, as we'll have to contend with 4 copies of End the Festivities.

Monored 8 Rack

This deck has a much more grindy playstyle, which we can take advantage of by applying heavy pressure early in the game and preventing it from stabilizing. Once again, Monastery is the primary target for burn spells, the rest is all about executing Kuldotha and transitioning to a swarm strategy (some decklists incorporate End the Festivities in their main deck, but we can't afford to play around it). We're not changing anything from the previous setup, but here we can start playing around sweepers, with Bushwhacker delivering surprise attacks.


Monoblue Faeries

"There are many strategies to play around, but in the first round, playing Kuldotha is the best move. Save your burn spells for Spellstutter when possible, and remember, if you kill one without any other fairies on the field, your spells won't be countered. Since we basically only have one mana drop in the deck, turns where we can cast multiple spells are the most advantageous, making their counters not as effective. Don't be afraid to kill the lesser fairies as they make the ninjas stronger. In the post-sideboard phase, 'End the Festivities' and 'Gut Shot' are very strong cards against his strategy. However, dealing with 8 Hydroblasts doesn't make the matchup very favorable."

UB Terror

A poor matchup, especially if they're utilizing sweepers like Suffocating Fumes in the main deck. They don't have many removals but they can fill up their graveyard quickly, enabling them to cast Tolarian Terror/Gurmag Angler much earlier. The real game changer, however, is Unexpected Fangs. If they manage to attach it to one of their behemoth creatures, things can get infinitely complex. This is a matchup where you can't afford to play around much. A turn-1 Kuldotha is highly effective, even more so if you're on the play. We need to keep the pressure up and not give them the opportunity to mill themselves. A tip for this matchup: Lava Dart could be a game changer when they have a creature with lifelink, as we can use it to remove a small blocking creature, denying them any life gain for that turn. Post-sideboard, the 4 Tormod's Crypts are good, but you also need a clock to make them more effective, and after 3 or 4 spells, it's necessary to stay alert to avoid falling victim to an early Terror.


The construction of the deck progresses at a relatively slow pace, and this works to our advantage in Game 1. Once again, establishing board presence is extremely effective, especially when using burn spells on key creatures like Sacred Cat. The late game is completely in their favor, especially with flying creatures like Basilisk Gate, which can kill you almost instantly. Therefore, applying pressure and taking turns with Bushwhacker are excellent strategies for gaining favorable combat. Post-sideboard, Prismatic Strands becomes a real issue. It's primarily due to this card that we need to have Flaring Pain in our sideboard, the only non-one-drop in the deck.

Boros Lembas

The deck has the capacity to gain significant life and grinds effectively, while generating creatures on a low curve and gaining card advantage almost every turn. None of these features are beneficial to our deck, but creating numerous creatures gives us the upper hand in combat as we are removing the opponent's creatures. We don't have anything to assist us on the sideboard, but they have mass removals, so we adjust our strategy to play less aggressively with Kuldotha, aiming for better turns with bushwhacker. If Prismatic Strands comes into play, we should sideboard in Flaring Pain.



This is a match of pure racing, where we're hoping they don't give Lifelink to their creatures. Mutagenic Growth can be a key card in the combat phase, potentially taking down a creature and removing the worst threat before it gets out of hand. They need a few turns to build a really big creature, which could give us some time to race. Post sideboard, End the Festivities is the best card against the x/1's in the early game, but they have other threats like Freewing Falcon and maybe more experienced players will wait to make a bogle with an aura before they bring in the festivities, but that could work to our advantage, giving us time to build a better board state.

Final words

Mono-red can adopt various strategies, ranging from more aggressive to more midrange, making it one of the top decks in the format. This is without a doubt one of the more aggressive strategies, which could yield rewards in some matches.

Until next time!

If you liked this article maybe you will also find interesting on of the following ones How to beat the Standard metagame with Esper Midrange by Mogged, Temur Creativity Primer & Sideboard Guide [Modern], Modern Mono White Hammer Primer & Sideboard guide, Getting ready for the Vintage Superqualifier: Vintage Simic Fair Primer, Standard Jund Midrange Primer & Sideboard Guide, Standard Dimir Midrange Guide

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Lucas Giggs
MTG Streamer
Hi, my name is Lucas de Almeida Hervás. I'm 31 years old, married, and I live in Indaiatuba/SP, Brazil. I've been playing Magic the Gathering since 2009, but I've been making a living off of it since 2019 through leagues and tournaments on Magic Online. For those who don't know me, I'm 2.17 meters tall, hence the nickname "the tallest Magic player in Brazil."


Published: 2023-08-31 00:00:00

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