Drafting Red Aggro in Core Set 2019

Core Set 2019 was the only set in a very long time that wasn’t drafted at the Pro Tour, but I still got the chance to draft it last summer while preparing for GP Turin and Italian Nationals.

The archetype I loved the most by a wide margin was red aggro with Boggart Brute and Goblin Motivator, and now thanks to Magic Arena, I can finally play it again.

Those of you who watch me on twitch.tv/andreamengucci know my love for this archetype, and how I’ve tried my hardest to make it work.

If you’re interested in a general overview of the format, LSV has a refresher guide on the six best archetypes. Today, I’ll share the key to the archetype, and why I think it’s much better than other things you can do in Core Set 2019.

Boggart BruteGoblin Motivator

Boggart Brute is a significant threat, hard to block, and super cheap. It’s at its the best when paired with Sure Strike, since your opponent will get two-for-one’d for a big blowout, and if they don’t double-block, then they will take a ton of damage and give you enough time to burn them out with Lava Axe or Thud.

Goblin Motivator is a cheap creature that offers incredible starts. It’s a a huge boost and a lot of extra damage. A turn-1 Goblin Motivator is the most threatening thing you can face in Core Set 2019.


There are, of course, other strategies available, but I tend to dislike most of them.

Divination gives birth to various blue control decks, but I generally dislike these a lot because the aggression of red and white decks is often too much, and playing Cancel and Bone to Ash is too clunky when facing Oreskos Swiftclaw on turn 2.

The same thing is true for Oakenform and green-based creature decks. Unlike my friend Christian Calcano I truly despise Auras, and even if you can do some fancy combos with Druid of Horns and Satyr Enchanter the deck is too weak to the numerous spot removal in the set, as well as the very good go-wide decks.

Black-white life gain, on the other hand, is an archetype I like, but one that needs a lot of pieces, whereas in order to draft red aggro you don’t need much.

Red Commons Pick Order

Boggart BruteShockElectrifyGoblin MotivatorSure StrikeViashino PyromancerGoblin InstigatorSparktongue DragonOnakke OgreHavoc DevilsHostile MinotaurAct of TreasonLava AxeTrumpet BlastFire ElementalTormenting VoiceCatalyst ElementalCrash ThroughSmelt

While some might argue that Electrify is better than what I give it credit for, it’s the same exact as it was for Amonkhet. This archetype is too fast, and you’d just as likely prefer to play a Sure Strike over it.

I’m still going to take Electrify over Sure Strike because you will always get 2+ Sure Strike if you want them, whereas people (or Magic Arena bots) prioritize Electrify in decks like Izzet or Gruul, but don’t be afraid to take Sure Strike over Electrify in pack 3 if you have zero. It’s just so important, and it will be much harder to win without one.

The same is true of Goblin Motivator. Don’t be afraid to pick it very high in pack 3 if you have zero, but don’t pick it too high early in the Draft because you want to play 2-3 maximum.

An image of the cards in a mono-red aggro deck from MTG Arena.


Andrea Mengucci, M19 Draft

11 Mountain
5 Plains
3 Goblin Motivator
1 Dark-Dweller Oracle
1 Dismissive Pyromancer
3 Goblin Instigator
2 Boggart Brute
1 Catalyst Elemental
1 Onakke Ogre
1 Hostile Minotaur
1 Inferno Hellion
1 Havoc Devils
1 Heroic Reinforcements
1 Angel of the Dawn
1 Shock
1 Thud
3 Sure Strike
2 Act of Treason

I went 7-2 with this deck, and it was a blast!

Act of Treason + Thud came up three times and it was insane! I also had Dark-Dweller Oracle to help make Act of Treason work. While you often prefer to be mono-color rather than splash two cards with five sources, the power level of the two white cards is just too high to ignore.

I value Thud highly because its synergies with cards like Act of Treason and Inferno Hellion can turn a game around.

Mono-Red can come together, but it’s much easier to draft Boros.

Pegasus CourserInspired Charge

Pegasus Courser is the best white common, even better than Luminous Bonds, because of how well it plays with Star-Crowned Stag and other aggressive creatures.

Inspired Charge, on the other hand, gives you great reach and makes Goblin Instigator a premium 2-drop as opposed to a mediocre 2-drop.

When drafting Boros, same as for Guilds of Ravnica, I want to play two Stone Quarry because you cannot afford to get color screwed in these kinds of aggressive decks. You can’t afford not to play Rustwing Falcon or Goblin Motivator early in the game as they will get much worse later.

This is another example of a deck that I collected 7 wins with on Magic Arena on stream.

An image of a red-white deck from MTG Arena.

There is one less Fire Elemental, and one more Lava Axe than you see in the picture.


Andrea Mengucci,  M19 Draft

7 Mountain
7 Plains
2 Stone Quarry
3 Rustwing Falcon
1 Goblin Motivator
1 Goblin Instigator
3 Viashino Pyromancer
2 Lightning Mare
1 Loxodon Line Breaker
2 Pegasus Courser
1 Boggart Brute
1 Sparktongue Dragon
1 Hostile Minotaur
1 Heroic Reinforcements
1 Sure Strike
2 Inspired Charge
2 Luminous Bonds
1 Spit Flame
1 Lava Axe

Mid-draft I switched Fire Elemental for Lava Axe because I felt the need for an extra burn spell to pair with the three Viashino Pyromancer, so I was happy to include Lava Axe, which won me multiple games.

Lava Axe and Inspired Charge give inevitability to this archetype and makes it very hard for control decks or slower decks to win.

I love red aggro and Boros decks. I’m a very aggressive player in Draft, and Core Set 2019 perfectly fits my strategy.


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