All-in Red is an appropriate way to play Red. Red represents passion, risk, excitement, sacrificing the future for the present. Going all-in from the start just feels right.
Our starting point is 6 Mountains. Six, because 6/60 or 1/10 is just enough to build excitement over the chance to start with or without a land. Also because the number 6 is aesthetically pleasing in relationship with 60.
Mountain is an extremely powerful opener. There’s a lot we can do for a single red mana. From just a single red mana it’s possible to win a game THIS TURN.
Whether we do or we don’t may be up to chance, and that’s the excitement of playing with red.
If we’re only playing 6 Mountains, let’s play Goblin Charbelcher. With 6/60 = 1/10 Mountains, we will on average flip over 9×2 for 18 damage per activation. On average, this is a kill in Modern.
“On average” means some of the time it works and some of the time it doesn’t. You get the feeling that you are rolling dice and that maybe shouting as you toss them/activate the Belcher will help you.
It doesn’t get much more all-in than sacrificing all of our resources for a 1-shot random chance at victory or defeat.
Our favorite Spirit Ape is an extremely tricky card- exile this card from hand at any time to make a Red mana at instant speed.
Playing with this card feels like cheating at times because it breaks the rules of how and when to make mana. We can get extra mana in our turn or an extra mana out of nowhere for surprise.
Simian Spirit Guide is also a decent stand-in for Mountain to get a game started.
Lotus Bloom is a bit slow but it gets us 3/7ths of the way to casting and activating Goblin Charbelcher. Three mana in one turn is a ton of mana for one card, and this one is worth the wait.
Aether Vial is an extremely powerful mana generator for creatures, but how does this help us for Goblin Charbelcher?
Well, Aether Vial to start the game works a lot like Lotus Bloom to start the game. Start ticking Aether Vial up and Aether Vial becomes a huge mana boost by way of creature mana rituals.
This Aether Vial + mana creature combo is a great way to ramp to Goblin Charbelcher without actually playing any lands.
Red always gets the best red mana rituals. The epitome of win now or forever lose. Now over later. Present over future.
Infernal Plunge combos perfectly with our mana ritual creatures.
Traveler’s Amulet or Wanderer’s Twig are great options for pulling extra lands from our deck to stack the odds for Goblin Charbelcher. While we start with about 18 damage average, every land we pull out of our deck ups that number.
These cards also work as mana sources as we ramp toward 7.
Empty the Warrens is a great alternative win condition. With all of our fast mana and ability to play 7 spells in one turn Empty the Warrens can make a massive swarm of Goblins to quickly finish the opponent off.
Alternatively we have heavy-hitters like Arc-Slogger, Deus of Calamity, and Demigod of Revenge, but I think Empty the Warrens is the more competitive option at this point in time. These creatures are still good though.
With knowledge of the opponent’s response tools we have the information on when to move in on a Belcher or an Empty the Warrens.
Turn-1 Blood Moon anybody? Blood Moon is drastic disruption and can lock the opponent out until a win condition shows up.
Some decks lose on the spot to this, especially in the early stages of game 1.
With these cards we can craft a potent all-in Red deck. An extremely erratic luck-based deck that can crush any opponent or do absolutely nothing—depending on chance.
Some of us are red mages, some of us are green mages. If you are a red mage, you understand the merits of this deck. All-in red is its own reward.
Join me on Friday as I pilot All-in red against Modern opponents, and see how it runs. In this video series I will discuss possible sideboard options as well as tips and tricks. See you then!