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A Guide to Red-Black Aggro in Throne of Eldraine Standard


Last week I got second in Twitch Rivals and first in Fandom Legends with R/B Aggro. It was consistently performing very well for me in the Standard 2020 format and now it has a lot of new toys.

For reference, this is what the deck looked like before Throne of Eldraine, later cutting Goblin Bannerets for 2 Shocks and 2 more Experimental Frenzy.

RB Aggro Throne of Eldraine

One of the downsides of having to play cards like Lava Coil and Bedevil is that when you draw them against decks like Temur Reclamation, it’s effectively like taking a mulligan. Now this won’t happen anymore thanks to Murderous Rider and Bonecrusher Giant, two excellent additions from Throne of Eldraine.

Murderous Rider effectively replaces Bedevil, now even with an easier mana cost. It’s a versatile removal spell that can take down Rotting Regisaur or Oko and comes with a decent body afterwards. The life loss doesn’t really matter in an aggro deck because you will be the one pressuring your opponent.

Bonecrusher Giant costs one more mana than Shock but comes with a 4/3 body that survives Cast Off (the new Wrath of God on Realm-Cloaked Giant) and even Shocks them when they try to target it with a removal spell. Being able to Shock your opponent’s two-drop and follow it up with a 4/3 on turn 3, all for the cost of one card, is amazing value.

Robber of the Rich is red’s version of Thief of Sanity. You will be able to empty your hand fast enough to get the trigger out of most attacks and getting free cards is always good. I liked Fireblade Artist in the previous version, but card advantage seems more important than the occasional ability to throw Gutterbones at my opponent for direct damage.

Robber of the RichGutterbonesSpawn of MayhemRotting Regisaur

At first, when I looked at Rankle, Master of Pranks, I thought it was probably meant for multiplayer games where it can cause quite a mess. I decided to give it a try here and it’s actually very powerful in Standard as well. Haste and flying are two very relevant abilities, making sure it connects easily, and you can even choose multiple modes. It can act as a pseudo-removal spell against one big creature, discard their last card in hand or even make them lose life, all of which comes up pretty often.

The last new card that made it into the deck is Castle Locthwain. The mana base isn’t great so I chose to stay on the safer side and only run 1 copy, but you can probably add another one. I don’t like the red Castle much because it needs 2 more red sources to activate out of 12 total in the deck.

This is my list for Fandom.

R/B Aggro, Throne of Eldraine Standard

4 Blood Crypt
10 Swamp (339)
8 Mountain (343)
1 Castle Locthwain
4 Gutterbones
4 Spawn of Mayhem
4 Dreadhorde Butcher
4 Knight of the Ebon Legion
4 Rotting Regisaur
4 Murderous Rider
3 Rankle, Master of Pranks
4 Bonecrusher Giant
4 Robber of the Rich
2 Lava Coil

Sideboard
3 Experimental Frenzy
2 Lava Coil
4 Duress
3 Legion's End
3 Noxious Grasp
Arena Export

4 Gutterbones (RNA) 76
8 Mountain (ELD) 265
4 Knight of the Ebon Legion (M20) 105
4 Dreadhorde Butcher (WAR) 194
10 Swamp (ELD) 261
4 Robber of the Rich (ELD) 138
4 Spawn of Mayhem (RNA) 85
2 Lava Coil (GRN) 108
4 Murderous Rider (ELD) 97
4 Bonecrusher Giant (ELD) 115
4 Blood Crypt (RNA) 245
1 Castle Locthwain (ELD) 241
4 Rotting Regisaur (M20) 111
3 Rankle, Master of Pranks (ELD) 101
4 Duress (M20) 97
3 Experimental Frenzy (GRN) 99
2 Lava Coil (GRN) 108
3 Legion’s End (M20) 106
3 Noxious Grasp (M20) 110

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Why is this deck good?

  • Good one-drops are hard to come by and this deck has two. Both Knight of the Ebon Legion and Gutterbones are excellent.
  • Haste is a very useful ability in a planeswalker world. Being able to immediately kill Teferi after your opponent bounces your only creature in play can be very important.
  • Rotting Regisaur hits HARD and some decks just don’t have an answer for it on turn 3. You don’t really care much about the card disadvantage if the game ends in three turns.
  • Spawn of Mayhem can also end games pretty quickly and outside of Cavalier of Thorns, there aren’t very many creatures that can block it.
  • Bonecrusher Giant and Murderous Rider provide you with so much value that you rarely run out of steam. I even went so far to cut Frenzy from the main deck because it felt like I just didn’t need it. There are 3 copies in the sideboard because it still gets the job done against Esper and in creature mirrors full of removal spells. It also works well with adventures.

Some cards that I tried and didn’t like:

Footlight Fiend, Scorch Spitter. Just not good enough. Out of the one-drops, I liked Goblin Banneret the most because you can dump extra mana into it if you are flooding out.

Judith, Midnight Reaper. Simply put, Rotting Regisaur is just better. It hits harder and doesn’t die to Bonecrusher Giant or Flame Sweep.

Light Up the Stage. There never seemed to be a great time to cast it. You want to be able to curve out 1-2-3 and Stage doesn’t fit into that.

This deck’s biggest problem is the manabase. It needs to run 23-24 lands because you only have 4 dual lands and getting both colors of mana isn’t trivial. Fabled Passage doesn’t fit into this deck very well though, because you need to curve out and use every mana every turn. Be prepared to mulligan aggressively.

Your best matchups are decks like Temur Reclamation that take a while to set up and only have removal spells that deal 2 or 3 damage. Against creature mirrors and control decks, you can usually outgrind with Frenzy. I had the hardest time against Naya Feather, where if you don’t draw removal for their first creature, they will just run away with the game too quickly, plus Gods Willing is a huge pain.

If you have a choice between Spawn and Regisaur on turn 3, I usually go for the Regisaur unless it looks like my opponent will be able to produce a large number of chump blockers over the next couple of turns (for example, multiple Grim Initiates). Don’t forget you can choose multiple modes with Rankle and that it’s also a Rogue for Robber of the Rich.

One last thing I want to mention is a change I was contemplating before the event but forgot about until after submitting my list. With a lot of great adventure cards out there, which count as creatures everywhere outside the stack, it might be better to run some number of Drill Bits over Duress so that you can discard them.

I don’t have a sideboard guide right now as there is no metagame, but check back next week and I’ll make sure to post one!

Thanks for reading,

Martin

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