How to Draft Red Decks in Neon Dynasty Limited

So, the draft tables aren’t letting you have the multicolored green decks like they used to, you can’t get into Ninjas and you’re tired of losing with everything else in Neon Dynasty Limited? Have I got a solution for you!

While red is widely considered to be the worst color in the format (with 17lands.com backing up this idea at a surface level), I found myself in the situation that I mentioned above, decided to give the red decks a try and have had a great run with mono-red and black-red decks in the format.

Today, I want to walk through why I think drafting red decks work despite the color’s poor aggregate win rate, how to identify when to draft the deck and the cards that make the deck tick when you find yourself in a position to draft it.




Header - Why Draft Red?

Looking at red’s top commons on 17lands’s aggregate win rate data page, you’ll see that even the top commons are winning at a lower rate than some of the medium level commons of other colors. For context, the better green, blue, white and black commons range from about 57 to 60 percent game-in-hand win rate. This begs the question: why put yourself at the disadvantage of starting with red cards when the other colors offer better cards?

Well, diving a bit deeper into the data, you can see that red itself might not be the issue, but instead the colors that people are choosing to pair red with. Remember, the data above is aggregate and is representative of how the red commons perform in every red deck their played it.

If we look at the win rates of each red color pair, we see that while Rakdos (red/black) is performing quite well, the other decks have put up some truly dismal results. For context, the format average win rate for 17lands users is currently 55.6 percent.

Looking even closer at the data, if you look at specifically mono-red’s win rate (defined by 17lands as a deck with no more than three cards that are not red or colorless), you can see it’s a deck that’s excelling in the format!

Of course, you may say “well of course a monocolored deck will be good, it’s bound to be a strong deck if the color was open enough to not need a second color” but I would point out that mono-red greatly outperforms monocolored decks of some of the format’s stronger colors like blue and white.

And of course, if you filter red’s top commons and look at how they perform in mono-red or black/red, as expected, there is a notable improvement in their performance.



The takeaway from this of course, is if you’re drafting red, try your best to stay as close as you can to mono-red, or pair the red cards with black cards. The red cards play much better with themselves than they do with green, blue, or white.

Generous VisitorSpirited CompanionImperial Oath

Aside from just looking at the data, this intuitively makes sense to me as the green and white cards don’t pair well with the red ones. Green cards care about enchantment while red cards care about artifacts, and the majority of white’s good cards want to go in slower decks which clashes with the incentives of the red cards.

The secondary answer to “why draft red?” is that I think we’ve reached a point in the format that it makes sense to do so. We’ve gotten to a point where most people drafting the set understand what the weak and strong colors are so most of the table will be walking in with a slight bias away from red cards before they even crack their first pack. There’s some tables this is more true for than others, and you need to be judicious when gauging exactly how true this is for your table, but I’ve had quite a few drafts lately where I was the only red drafter.


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1 thought on “How to Draft Red Decks in Neon Dynasty Limited”

  1. Luis Alonso Calle

    Thanks for this article. I’m totally gonna give a chance to red(/black) cards that I usually skip them.

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