R/B Aggro took a hit from the loss of Smuggler’s Copter that it couldn’t really recover from in Aether Revolt. Too many of its creatures were too small to maximize Heart of Kiran’s strengths, and the deck eventually faded from popularity. The new “hellbent” cards from Amonkhet may help revitalize an archetype that already wanted to empty its hand and madness out some spells.
Hazoret the Fervent is the big payoff in this new style of R/B Aggro. Hazoret isn’t doing too much until you get down to 1 card in hand, but once you do, you’re getting a pretty incredible threat. A 5/4 haste indestructible creature for 4 mana will beat up on anything in combat, and if you’re able to empty your hand quickly, that could happen extremely early in the game. The ability to discard cards to deal damage to your opponent helps Hazoret attack, but is also a fantastic madness outlet. Hazoret has a weakness to Grasp of Darkness and Cast Out, but so do many other creatures that cost 4 or less mana.
Bomat Courier’s stock went way up with the addition of Hazoret. Not only are you getting a 1-mana creature, which is perfect for emptying your hand, but you’re getting a potential outlet to discard your hand when it’s profitable to do so. A Bomat Courier with just one or no cards under it will allow Hazoret to start attacking immediately. In addition, Bomat can be another madness enabler or a way to recoup card advantage in the middle of the game after getting in for a bit of damage.
Dread Wanderer is a new addition that’s perfect for a deck looking to empty its hand and get aggressive. A 2-power creature for 1 is just where you want to be, and you don’t care whether this thing dies in combat, to a removal spell, or even gets discarded. Your hand will be empty soon enough, so even though this isn’t the world’s best blocker, it will be ready to come back for more when needed.
Scrapheap Scrounger is still a great way to get aggressive consistently. A 3-power creature for 2 that’s resilient to removal, combat, and discard is perfect here.
Bloodrage Brawler is another new addition that complements everything this deck is trying to accomplish. At 4 power for 2 mana, the Brawler can end the game in a hurry. When you’re looking to reduce your hand size to 1 (or fewer), the drawback can actually be a benefit.
With so many ways to discard, you’ll want madness cards like Fiery Temper. Lightning Bolt is a great card, and Temper is often better when you’re combining it with a Bloodrage Brawler. With enough ways to discard, Alms of the Vein starts to look appealing. A play set of this burn spell gives you the beginning of serious reach.
It isn’t surprising that Key to the City is excellent in a deck with 8 madness cards, the need to get to 1 card in hand, and plenty of creatures that come back from the graveyard. You can turn it into card advantage later when you’re already hellbent and can control the size of your hand, and it allows you to force through your oversized 2-drops and red God.
R/B Aggro is different with all of its empty hand synergy, but those cards look powerful and combo well with what you already have. This could be a real force going forward.