Deck of the Day – Frontier Atarka Red

That Emrakul, the Promised End card is pretty great.

It’s not necessarily great to play against as the answers are so limited. The regular counters don’t stop the Mindslaver ability and you have to play bad cards to even interact with Emrakul on most levels. There’s also no real way to disrupt the graveyard to make it more challenging to cast.

It’s not necessarily great to play with, either. Do what you can to stabilize the board or to build up enough energy to spin the wheel and get your Emrakul, the Promised End out. From there, decimate your opponent’s board, hand, and eventually life total.

Okay, so it’s not great for play, but it’s super cool and flavorful! That’s something, right?

One great way to beat Emrakul, the Promised End would be to swarm around it, but that’s easier said than done in Standard. Not the case in Frontier, however, thanks to the little red creatures and some incredible reach.

1-drops really put the hurt on decks trying to build up to big mana. Monastery Swiftspear gets in early and often, always threatening to get bigger than the creatures that might try to block it. Both Zurgo Bellstriker and Lightning Berserker can come down on turn 1 to get the beatdown going or, or dash out to play around potential sweepers and sorcery speed removal.

Abbot of Keral Keep is the perfect card for aggressive decks. It can come down early and inflict meaningful damage, or come down slightly later and offer card advantage. You can play lands off the Abbot, so make sure to hold off on playing one from your hand after turn 2!

Smuggler’s Copter is the biggest gain for Atarka Red from their previous incarnation. With so many cheap creatures and token makers, this is the perfect card for the deck. You get that reach in an evasive creature as well as some incredible card selection.

The reason this deck is Atarka Red and not just mono-red burn is Atarka’s Command. The baseline stats on this card deal 3 damage to the opponent at instant speed for 2 mana. That’s already a reasonable rate. With creatures in play, Command represents closer to 7 damage for 2 mana. This will pump Swiftspears and Abbots twice thanks to prowess, and all your tokens and small creatures. Giving your entire team a bonus while dealing 3 damage on top of that is phenomenal. The other modes come up rarely, but they’re there. Stopping life gain can be useful, but playing an additional land is a pretty rare one to matter. Don’t forget that Atarka’s Command somewhat surprisingly grants reach—that one definitely matters!


Tokens are great in conjunction with mass pump. Dragon Fodder and Hordeling Outburst both provide excellent rates for their mana cost (and can even crew Copters).

Goblin Rabblemaster provides more tokens and can go over the top, while Reckless Bushwhacker adds another mass pump effect to the horde of Goblin tokens.

Stoke the Flames is far above the curve on power level. With all of these tokens, it’s easy to cast for essentially no mana. Cast Hordeling Outburst and trigger prowess into Stoke the Flames, again triggering prowess, for a massive swing. Add Wild Slash and Become Immense as additional burn spells—and make no mistake that Become Immense is often a 1-mana 6-damage burn spell in this deck—and you have incredible reach for the late game.

You wanna try to make a quick Emrakul? Be my guest! Even a turn-4 Marvel activation will often still die to the swarm of Goblins on that extra turn.

Atarka Red

Arai Yuusuke, 5-0 at the Hareruka Frontier Cup


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