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Arena Boys Deck Guide: Mono-Red Shops


We’re continuing to burn through our viewer-submitted lists, and this week it was WeeksyBaker who got in touch with a supremely sweet list. We called it Mono-Red Shops as an homage to Vintage’s Workshop decks because not only is it full of artifacts, it also has Powerstone Shard threatening to make a squillion mana to power them out!

In truth, the bulk of the gameplan centers on the list’s planeswalkers. Both Karns, Saheeli, and Ugin make a hell of a team–particularly Saheeli and Karn, Scion of Urza–and with an abundance of removal as well as highly flexible planeswalker abilities, this deck has a surprisingly large range of postures it can adopt depending on the situation.

It’s difficult to categorize this deck properly. It has elements of midrange despite a total lack of creatures–even though it’s full of removal and planeswalkers, it doesn’t play like a control deck. It plays to the board very effectively and can chase down a victory in astonishingly diverse ways. In short, it rules, and you should give it a go!

Mono-Red Shops by WeeksyBaker

4 Clifftop Retreat
4 Interplanar Beacon
3 Mobilized District
9 Mountain (343)
4 Sacred Foundry
4 Karn, Scion of Urza
3 Karn, the Great Creator
4 Saheeli, Sublime Artificer
2 Ugin, the Ineffable
4 Powerstone Shard
4 Treasure Map/Treasure Cove
4 Shock
2 Fight with Fire
3 Lava Coil
3 Lightning Strike
2 Fountain of Renewal
1 Star of Extinction

Sideboard
1 Parhelion II
1 God-Pharaoh's Statue
1 Meteor Golem
1 Thaumatic Compass/Spires of Orazca
1 Navigator's Compass
1 Transmogrifying Wand
1 Primal Amulet/Primal Wellspring
1 Sorcerous Spyglass
1 Sentinel Totem
1 Fountain of Renewal
1 The Immortal Sun
1 Traxos, Scourge of Kroog
1 Helm of the Host
1 Chaos Wand
1 Gilded Lotus

Card Choices

As you can see, there is a ton of removal in this deck. Red removal is reasonably well-positioned given the need to split damage across both creatures and planeswalkers, and being able to kill five-toughness creatures with Fight with Fire means you don’t need to rely on a second color for “unconditional” removal. The numbers might not be right–Lava Coil is probably less good than Lightning Strike at the moment, given the need to kill planeswalkers like Narset on sight.

The planeswalker suite is both powerful and a ton of fun to work with. Saheeli powers out Servo tokens every turn, which go on to buff Karn tokens. Karn, the Great Creator offers a good amount of flexibility with his -2, while Ugin is a terrific finisher (whose static ability is bonkers in this deck). These planeswalkers don’t have the huge, splashy impact of Nissa or Liliana, but they provide huge amounts of incremental value with surprising swiftness.

Cards like Treasure Map and Powerstone Shard help to develop the mana of this deck. Treasure Map is an Arena Boys favorite, of course, but in this deck it generates three artifacts to power up Karn tokens and also provides another source of raw card advantage. The first Powerstone Shard is embarrassing; the second is incredible, and there’s usually places to dump your mana in this deck.

We definitely got some of the numbers wrong. Fountain of Renewal was a hedge against aggro decks (we didn’t face many this week), but probably just isn’t needed, particularly with Saheeli’s ability to gum up the board. Conversely, Star of Extinction overperformed as a sweeper–seven mana is very achievable in this deck.

The mana base has a few little wrinkles. Mobilized District is an all-star in a planeswalker-heavy deck that can generate a lot of mana (it’s amazing how we continue to underestimate creature lands), and Interplanar Beacon is a good way to buffer your life total that also allows you to cast Saheeli off colorless lands!

Finally, the sideboard. This is a wild collection of artifacts principally designed for entertainment. Feel free to customize your sideboard as you see fit, but be sure to include Statue, Meteor Golem, Sorcerous Spyglass, and The Immortal Sun in it. The Immortal Sun might seem weird in a deck with so many planeswalkers, but it’s very easy to put yourself in a position where it hamstrings your opponent while leaving you (relatively) unaffected.

Gameplay

This deck is super weird when it comes to gameplay. As I mentioned, it’s a midrange/control hybrid; it plays a lot of classical control elements like removal, card draw, and planeswalkers, but is still able to play to the board incredibly effectively. It can go wide with Saheeli and big with Karn at the same time, and is relatively adept at keeping the board clear with its abundance of burn spells.

By and large, however, you want to manage the board, defend your planeswalkers, then drive towards a victory. You might push damage through with a big Karn token, flood the board with Ugin’s 2/2s, or just grind them out with raw card advantage before blowing up the world with a Star of Extinction and finishing them off with Mobilized Districts.

You can win in many different ways, but most of them involve having one or more planeswalkers active across multiple turns. That gives the deck a somewhat defensive bent, I suppose, but doesn’t mean you can’t be proactive. Your planeswalkers provide respectable threats very quickly, so don’t be afraid to get aggressive.

The most important card in the deck is probably Saheeli. She opens up some of the most bizarre lines of play–turning a Servo into a Powerstone Shard for extra mana or a Karn token for extra damage is just the beginning. She’s excellent against every deck, as she provides early blockers against aggressive decks and incremental threats against control.

Moving Forward

This deck isn’t perfect, and the numbers still need a bit of work here and there. Fountain of Renewal might not be necessary, and another Star of Extinction actually might be a good call. I’d like a Banefire in there, too, as another mana sink. Finally, I don’t think the Parhelion II in the board is worth such a significant downgrade to the mana.

Mono-Red Shops by WeeksyBaker

4 Interplanar Beacon
4 Mobilized District
12 Mountain (343)
1 Karn’s Bastion
1 Blast Zone
2 Field of Ruin
4 Shock
2 Fight with Fire
3 Lava Coil
3 Lightning Strike
2 Star of Extinction
1 Banefire
4 Karn, Scion of Urza
3 Karn, the Great Creator
4 Saheeli, Sublime Artificer
2 Ugin, the Ineffable
4 Powerstone Shard
4 Treasure Map/Treasure Cove

Sideboard
1 Crucible of Worlds
1 God-Pharaoh's Statue
1 Meteor Golem
1 Thaumatic Compass/Spires of Orazca
1 Amulet of Safekeeping
1 Primal Amulet/Primal Wellspring
1 Sorcerous Spyglass
1 Sentinel Totem
1 Fountain of Renewal
1 The Immortal Sun
1 Silent Gravestone
1 Helm of the Host
1 Chaos Wand
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Pendulum of Patterns - Planeswalker Deck Exclusive (Core set 2019)

We add some extra removal spells at the expense of Fountain of Renewal and clean up the mana enormously. Now that we don’t need to play white, we can add excellent colorless utility lands as well as a Crucible of Worlds to the board–it’s now possible to put basic-light opponents into a Field/Crucible lock! Blast Zone is useful in a range of situations, especially against low-to-the-ground decks, and Karn’s Bastion is well-suited to a planeswalker-heavy deck.

The sideboard gets a bit of a do-over, but to be honest it’s still messy as all hell. As I mentioned, there are some cards in there that are untouchable, but outside of them you can kind of go nuts. As fun as it would be, I do think the deck is a lot better without Parhelion II–you just don’t need it in order to win games.

That’s it for this week–we’ll be back with another viewer-submitted list next week! We’re now taking submissions for decks with Core Set 2020 cards, too, so make sure you send ’em in!

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