Standard - Budget Brews - Upgrading Armed and Dangerous
For today’s Standard budget deck, we’re upgrading the red/white starter deck, Armed and Dangerous. The additions will set you back 12 common, six uncommon and six rare wildcards. This is an aggressive Equipment synergy deck, needing a good mix of both Equipment and creatures for it to function.
The early creatures in the deck now consist of Fireblade Charger, Kor Blademaster and Dwarfhold Champion. They all benefit from Equipment in various ways and they’re all Warriors, which is relevant for Kor Blademaster.
One of the new rares we’ve added is Akiri, Fearless Voyager. It gives the deck an extra card advantage engine that can also protect our key creatures from removal by leaving up white mana. Bruenor Battlehammer is the centerpiece of the deck, allowing for some very explosive turns where you can move Equipment for free. Haste is one of the best keywords to pair with the legendary Dwarf, as it represents a lot of damage out of nowhere. We still have our one copy of Halvar, God of Battle which also offers the flexibility of Sword of the Realms as extra Equipment.
We have made some big changes in the Equipment department, adding a full set of Boots of Speed. This allows Bruenor to attack for eight damage the turn we play him. Leather Armor pairs perfectly with the two copies of Rune of Speed, allowing us to equip one creature for free every turn to give it +1/+1, ward 1 and haste. It also shines alongside Akiri, as we can easily start drawing extra cards and protect our important creatures. With Bruenor in play it can even represent additional damage. Just make sure not to confuse the free equip cost from Leather Armor with the one from Bruenor.
The remaining Equipment which were all included in the original configuration are Dancing Sword, Maul of the Skyclaves and three copies of Dwarven Hammer. They can all offer some form of evasion between flying and trample. These expensive Equipment will benefit from Bruenor’s discount the most and they become even more threatening when paired with double strike from Blademaster or Halvar.
Frost Bite is our removal spell of choice, replacing Roil Eruption. The included Snow-Covered basics can still ensure three damage in the mid to late game. We can’t afford to play too many interactive spells, but at just one mana Frost Bite can often be a lifesaver when facing other aggressive creature decks while we’re setting up our Equipment synergies. The one copy of Showdown of the Skalds is also still there to give us an extra boost in card advantage alongside Akiri. The final wildcards are used to complete our playset of Needleverge Pathway, a very useful land for any red/white decks going forward.
A good sideboard includes multiple copies of Burning Hands to deal with large green creatures or planeswalkers like Wrenn and Seven. Additional copies of Showdown of the Skalds could be useful when facing grindy control strategies to give us more staying power in the late game. Reidane, God of the Worthy can help punish snow mana bases and decks trying to cast expensive noncreature spells. We still need a healthy ratio of creatures and Equipment, so when it comes to sideboarding, sometimes less is more.
The main upgrades that are left involve the mana base. A couple creaturelands like Den of the Bugbear offer an extra mana sink and give you more staying power in grindy matchups. You can always add more copies of certain rares that are already included in the deck if you are having good results with them. As long as you maintain a reasonable mana curve and a good mix of creatures and Equipment there’s no wrong approach to building this equipment deck. Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients is another example of a great card in this archetype. While now overshadowed by Bruenor, it can still offer an alternate angle of attack in games where it’s difficult to keep your creatures in play. If you enjoy Rune of Speed you can also consider including Runeforge Champion alongside more runes.