Winning the Regional Championship with Red Deck Wins:In-depth & sideboard guide
19/12/2022 · 13 min read
We aren't rushing, we are waiting
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Alejandro Sepúlveda, I’m a competitive player from Chile and I won the South America Magic Series Regional Championship with Red Deck Wins.
As usual, this type of deck tries to pressure the opponent’s life total from multiple angles with aggressive and difficult-to-deal threats as well as powerful finishers that can close the game quickly and effectively depending on the match-up.
Current Pioneer Meta: key cards
Out of sight, out of mind.
Considering the fluctuations of the Pioneer metagame , different versions of Red Deck Wins have been sprouting here and there in the leagues and RCQs; some of them are very low to the ground with Obosh, some others try to abuse the synergy between Burning-Tree Emissary and Anax, while others, like mine, are grindy aggressive decks trying to do fair things with medium cards in a world of unfair decks and great cards.
My problem with the low to the ground versions of the deck is that you can’t rely on your small threats to keep dealing damage as much as you want after turn 4 and if your opponent is on a rather stable life total, there won’t be a way for you to close the game.
Same on the Spectacle package, although you can get some explosive starts game 1 in a closed decklists event, once your opponent is aware of what you are up to, they will start to try to set a more defensive position turning your light up the stage into a worse divination when you can’t trigger spectacle at will.
Another set of important cards that I decided to leave out were Soul-scar Mage and Goblin Chainwhirler.
I think that these 2 must go together or just be left out, and in this very moment, Chainwhirler is not providing enough value to be worthy of the slots required, also the incidental damage that you might take from the Ramunap Ruins will add up quickly once you draw multiples.
My current version of the deck
So… what are we playing then?
|3 Kari Zev, Skyship Raider||$0.39|
|3 Hazoret the Fervent||$3.99|
|4 Bonecrusher Giant||$0.35|
|4 Kumano Faces Kakkazan||$0.35|
|4 Monastery Swiftspear||$0.35|
|4 Eidolon of the Great Revel||$15.99|
|4 Rampaging Ferocidon||$8.99|
|2 Spikefield Hazard||$0.99|
|4 Play with Fire||$2.29|
|4 Lightning Strike||$0.25|
|1 Shatterskull Smashing||$9.99|
|1 Scavenger Grounds||$3.99|
|1 Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance||$3.99|
|1 Castle Embereth||$0.35|
|2 Den of the Bugbear||$7.99|
|4 Ramunap Ruins||$1.29|
|2 Roiling Vortex||$1.79|
|2 Soul-Guide Lantern||$0.35|
|2 Chandra, Torch of Defiance||$6.99|
|3 Rending Flame||$0.25|
|3 Leyline of Combustion||$0.69|
|3 Rending Volley||$3.99|
I like to call him Ferocipartner
What you see here is a Rampaging Ferocidon deck. I like to call it 'Ferocipartner', as it will be the most important card in your deck, warping the flow of the game around it, especially in match-ups where having a solid board position is key.
He will lead the charge against the creature match ups, making your opponent rethink their strategy around him, they will try to leave up two blockers, they will get one of said blockers burned and you will run a victory lap as you get your 14th free Ferocidon attack of the tournament.
Let's take a look at the other cards that will join Ferocidon in our deck.
Eidolon of the Great Revel
Eidolon of the Great Revel is the card you want to see the most when non-creature spells are the deal of the day; it will quickly eat through your opponent's life total. But be ready to side it out in some creature-heavy match-ups, since Eidolon isn't a great fighter if the board stalls. You'll end up hitting yourself a lot, and if you do, you'll likely lose the game.
Kari Zev is great; she dodges opponents' stomps, she is super annoying versus Monowhite and Monogreen, and she enables that sweet, little thing I like to call...TURN 3 EMBERCLEAVE. If you happen to do that, you are allowed to run two victory laps; I always recommend asking a judge before running any victory laps.
Hazoret & Embercleave
Hazoret and Embercleave are your finishers; they can and will take down the game on their own once you put them on the table. Your opponents will take notice of that, so remember to use it as an advantage, especially when you see your opponent making the math for a potential Embercleave swing and you don't have it. You can steal a few free attacks here and there if you make a believable bluff.
Hazoret is really good against Rakdos since they don't have a clean solution to deal with her, and she will push through their blockers until they block with Sheoldred.
Just don’t Yam Wing Chung yourself.
Scavenger Grounds is kinda free without Chainwhirler, I think it's good to have maindeck graveyard hate just in case. Remember that you can sac other Deserts in order to activate it, or you can sacrifice it to Ramunap Ruins to have a 5th Ramunap.
Shatterskull Smashing is decent, and sometimes you just kill two small chump-blockers and take the lead. Remember that with Ferocidon, every single way to kill a creature might mean another free attack and another victory lap.
Den of the Bugbear
Only two Den of the Bugbear... Are you crazy, Alejandro? Nope, I just got tired of losing games to drawing taplands on turn four. I mean, the card is great, but you aren't activating it until turn five, so you aren't in a hurry to draw them at all.
Playing Mono Red vs the current Pioneer metagame
Yeah, right, but how does it play against the top decks?
Well, I think that you have game against everything, but you don’t have “free games”.
VS Rakdos Midrange
Rakdos Midrange is a difficult game, one you can solve with an early Hazoret or by protecting your Ferocidons by offering other threats in the early game. Connecting Kumano into Eidolon is great too, since it dodges Bonecrusher Giant and Bloodtithe Harvester and can attack through Fable. Kumano into Bonecrusher/Ferocidon makes blocking a nightmare and offers a way to attack through a resolved Sheoldred.
Games 2-3 are easier, since Leyline is extremely punishing against them. I beat four Rakdos Midrange players during the course of the Regional Championship, and I felt really good.
VS Mono Green
MonoG is kinda easy as long as you kill the turn 1 elf, or you have a hand that allows you to goldfish them before turn 4, which is unlikely. If you don't kill the turn 1 elf, your opponent might end up doing skateboard tricks with your soul.
If you happen to kill the turn 1 elf into turn 2 Kumano + Monastery Swiftspear into turn 3 Ferocidon, you basically win the game on the spot, since everything they have on turns 2-4 is very underwhelming.
VS Izzet Phoenix
Vs Izzet Phoenix you lose game 1 vs shredders 3/5, same on g2-3, Never. Let. Shredders. Go. 3/5.
Never. Let. Shredders. Go. 3/5
The Kumano counter is once again super important, since it changes the power dynamics of the opponent's removal suite; a 3/3 Eidolon requires them to have two spells in their graveyard.
a 5/4 bonecrusher giant always requires 2 fiery impulses..
It is very easy to lock one's opponent out of the game with Leyline and Eidolon.
VS Azorius Control
Azorius Control is kinda tricky, so respect the counterspell effects and play around them, even if it means out-tempoing yourself. Remember what we said: “We aren't rushing, we are waiting”.
Therefore, one of your most important cards here is Roiling Vortex, so make sure that your Vortex hits the table and sits there, and watch your opponent slowly melt to death. It's like putting them in the microwave on low temperature for 3 hours.
VS Mono White
Monowhite is hard; they have a lot of interaction and Thalia can make your life a nightmare. Use the Kumano counter wisely and remember that Bonecrusher Giant's Stomp can make a real mess if your opponent tries to brave the elements after declaring blockers.
You have to play smart against Greasefang; you can deal a lot of incidental damage with Eidolon of the Great Revel and, with a little help from Mr. Ferocidon, you can easily lock them out of the game. Remember that Scavenger Grounds asks you to sacrifice a Desert, so you can sac a Ramunap Ruins and have another bullet in case the game goes long enough.
I really liked the flow of the deck; the main deck feels stable and the sideboard choices can be devastating for your opponent.
- 3 Leyline of combustion
- 3 Rending flame
- 3 Rending Volley
- 2 Soul-Guide Lantern
- 2 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
- 2 Roiling Vortex
It looks like a pretty regular sideboard until you see "Rending Flame" and, to be honest, I was too lazy to search for Soul Sear.
Anyway, the thing is, you need to deal with Sheoldred as soon as possible; the other option is Roast, a card that kills Sheoldred and a bunch of other ground creatures, but nothing spectacular. I'm here for the fireworks, for the spectacular, and Rending Flame/Soul Sear feels spectacular indeed.
Are we able to deal with all the classic cards we will face?
- Sheoldred: Check
- Baneslayer Angel: Check
- Teferi, Hero of Dominaria: Check
- Big sharks: Check
- Karn out of storm the festival and an etb effect: Check
- Skysovereing, Consul flagship: Check
- Lovestruck beast: Check
- 3/5 Ledger Shredder: Check
Everything at instant speed, so yes, the card is pretty good.
Why not Unlicensed Hearse instead of Lantern? I think it is possible that immediately after you play unlicensed hearse, they will destroy it, play treasure cruise or play another stitcher supply and combo anyway. Lantern is more effective if your plan is to gain enough time to not get killed.
Mono G devotion
Lotus (this match up is terrible)
GW Angels (conceding inmediately is also an option)
End Step, And a Couple Of Tips
Swap Rending flame for Soul sear and you are good to go, the deck feels great and other than Lotus and Angels, you have game against everyone, so I really expect you all to run as many victory laps as you can with my dear friend Ferocipartner.
I would consider running a couple of damping spheres if lotus stars to climb, but I hadn’t have enough time to test it out, and even then, I wouldn’t consider it unless Lotus rises to a significant portion of the metagame.
That’s all for today folks!
Have a great one!
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], Taking the Modern Challenge with Calibrated Blast: primer and sideboard guide, Winning the Brother's War Limited Challenge: Tips, tricks & analysis, The Ultimate Guide to Rakdos Midrange in Pioneer
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Published: 2022-12-19 00:00:00