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Budget Brew: Mono-Red Goggles (26 Tix)

Tired of Reflector Mage ruining your day? Don’t play any creatures into it! Spell Queller getting you down? Burn it to a crisp! Today’s deck is built to warm burn mages’ hearts without lighting their wallets on fire. Rather than go low to ground with a bunch of small creatures, this red deck looks to go big with copied spells, card draw, and burn easily capable of dealing double digits all at once. Intrigued?

Mono-Red Goggles: 26 Tix

The cards in the deck all come together to tell a nice tale by the fire:

Pyromancer’s Goggles

This card is still incredibly powerful but demands to be built around. A danger of building a Goggles deck is that without the card you usually aren’t doing a ton of powerful things. Additionally, counterspells and discard can be a real problem. The good news is that outside of Clash of Wills, no counter is really going to cause you a problem and while Transgress the Mind is somewhat prevalent in Standard, you still have 3 copies of Goggles in the deck and plenty of card draw to find a second copy if needed.

Once you do land a Goggles this deck completely takes off. The most important combination is Goggles and 1-mana spells so you aren’t taking turn 5 off. This means you’ll sometimes want to save a Fiery Impulse or Magmatic Insight for a turn or two to turbo charge them when Goggles is deployed. The main goal is to just burn everything that moves with Goggles and then win with either Fall of the Titans or Bedlam Reveler, which helps provide a late-game punch.

Drownyard Temple

This card looks a little strange but the combination with Magmatic Insight and Tormenting Voice should not be underestimated. Returning the Temple on turn 3 lets you land a Goggles a turn early, and late game you can both discard the Temple for an effect and still return it for mana for your big expensive plays. Geier Reach Sanitarium is another option, but I find its effect less relevant in a deck that already wants a ton of lands in hand to discard and ends up spending a ton of mana trying to keep up with the board. I originally had one copy but I think that Mountain is just better since you’ll often want quadruple-red in any given turn and 4 colorless lands is already quite a few with that goal in mind.

Collective Defiance

The playset of Collected Defiance makes up about half the cost of the deck but its effect isn’t really replaceable. Some games you’ll just have way too many lands in hand and it digs you out of that hole. Additionally, it bridges the gap turn 4 before you get a Goggles down to kill a creature and deal some incremental damage to the opponent. This is key to the midgame switch where you change targeting your burn at creatures to crisping up your opponent’s face. Furthermore, you can collect some Fiery Tempers over the course of the game and find you don’t have the time to cast them since they are less mana efficient than the other spells in your deck. But with Defiance you can discard them all and cast a flurry of burn spells on the cheap. This works even better if you copy the Defiance with Goggles as you’ll get a chance to cast any instants with your second hand before discarding it for a new third hand. Sometimes you’ll also draw into a Temper, which can then be immediately discarded for a single red mana.

Bedlam Reveler

Sometimes you just need more gas and Bedlam Reveler has proven itself again and again in Standard burn strategies. You can afford to use burn spells on creatures early knowing that you’ll be able to refuel in the late game thanks to the Reveler. It also helps close out a game quickly, though it doesn’t live all that often since it’s the lone target for your opponent’s removal. I’ve still found it great despite that downside because the draw 3 mode is really what this deck is most interested in.

Thermo-Alchemist

You’d think this all-star would make the main deck but there are two main reasons to board him instead. First is that he isn’t a spell. When you’re running Pyromancer’s Goggles, you really can’t afford to run many non-instants and sorceries. The second reason is that he ends up a giant liability. Suddenly your opponent’s Reflector Mages and Dromoka’s Commands become much better against you (though Command stopping burn is already quite annoying). All the black decks pack Grasp of Darkness and Languish, which are otherwise embarrassing. For this reason it’s better to have a more streamlined approach for game 1, and then bring in Thermo-Alchemist against control decks where your creature removal spells are ineffective.

Playing the Deck

Your main objective while playing Goggles is simply to land Goggles. Part of the fun is finding the best route to do that. It’s important to know typical sequencing from your opponent’s deck so that you can sequence your turns properly. Let’s analyze a few common scenarios.

First, you’re playing versus Bant, and they pass with 3 mana up. Don’t cast Tormenting Voice! Spell Queller is a nightmare here, and more importantly your opponent will have to choose to either play the Queller for tempo and let you resolve your Voice next turn or do nothing and pass up with mana again. Both these scenarios benefit you since ultimately Bant can’t keep up with a Goggles in a game that was at parity. Avoid playing into their lines and you’ll have the best chance of winning. For this reason take any opportunity to play removal spells at sorcery speed. Spell Queller punishes you, but Dromoka’s Command will be the nail in the coffin you could have simply avoided. Dromoka’s Command is fine against you otherwise, but not incredible. To play around it with Goggles, you’ll sometimes want to send 2 copies of a burn spell at a single important creature to get around the damage prevention mode, though be sure you’re still beating the +1/+1 counter if one copy gets prevented.

If you’re playing against Jund Delirium or Temurge and your opponent plays a Nissa, Vastwood Seer or Pilgrim’s Eye, kill it! You might have to hold off on returning a Drownyard Temple to ramp to Pyromancer’s Goggles but Distended Mindbender and Elder Deep-Fiend will put you too far behind if you don’t take the opportunity to kill the emerge fodder. Make sure you’re using your burn spells speedily in these matchups to burn your opponent down since otherwise you’re going to take a giant beating from Emrakul, the Promised End. You can’t really engage with that end game and so in a weird sense you’re the beatdown in these matchups. You’ll be better equipped post-board to speed up the burn clock, but if you switch quickly to aggro burn on turns 4 or 5, game 1 is still very winnable.

Possible Upgrades

The best option to really take this deck to the next level is adding white and Nahiri. She is so good at cleaning up problem permanents while also fueling the rest of your deck. If I added 3 Nahiri, I’d cut the Shreds of Sanity, a Bedlam Reveler, and a Lightning Axe from the deck to make room. I’m unsure if it’s correct to add a -8 target for Nahiri like Emrakul, but that might be okay if it turns out you’re able to cast Emrakul often enough in games to matter. Getting a Bedlam Reveler for a recast the following turn is already pretty good so that extra step might be unnecessary.

Be careful when adding new aspects to the deck that you don’t destroy the Goggles engine. It might be tempting when adding white to include some other powerful cards such as Declaration in Stone, but you’ll be weakening the deck’s overall synergies. That said, the archetype does have some room for iteration so feel free to tinker with the blueprint form this article.

I’ve really been enjoying brewing even in a Standard that is quite hostile to it due to the strength of Bant Company. Still, there’s lots of room for innovation and other powerful options worth exploring. I’ve been doing some brewing on stream, some of which ends up in my articles here, so if you want to be a part of the action, join me on Tuesday mornings and early afternoons at twitch.tv/nealoliver88. I came to Mono-Red Goggles after exploring a Harness the Storm shell that didn’t quite get there thanks to a brew idea by viewer Blm4l, so if you have an idea come hang out and it might even inspire a future Budget Brew!

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