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Welcome to the RDW (Red Deck Wins) Primer!
Red Deck Wins, commonly abbreviated to RDW, is a fast-paced aggro/burn deck that can usually be separated into two sub-types. The first of these two sub-types is a build that typically runs anywhere from twelve to eighteen creatures on average. It runs less burn than the second sub-type of the two sub-types, the more burn focused build, which usually runs fewer than twelve creatures while the majority of the deck is burn. Both of the decks aim to win by or before turn four, usually, and tend to lose steam after that point (the highest cmc in the deck tends to be four or less, so there aren't many big threats that can help out in the late game).
Why play RDW, you ask? RDW is a deck that's built on speed. If you like to end games quickly, RDW's a deck you'll enjoy. Because of this fast-paced strategy, your opponent has to waste resources and empty their hand quickly if they want to make it past turn three. Decks like control have trouble doing this since RDW runs a bunch of cheap spells and can therefore cast multiple spells in a turn, and in the cases of Hellspark Elemental and Hell's Thunder, the control player can't stop the damage by countering the source of it. RDW is also a very straightforward deck. If you don't like thinking about plays or determing the best time to go off with a combo, you'll probably like RDW. Most turns go play Mountain, play spell/creature, attack if you cast a creature, end. This lasts for three to four turns on average, and if you're doing it right, you win after that.
Enough introductions, though, let's get started breaking down the deck itself.
Like I said earlier, RDW is typically broken up into two distinctly different sub-types. The first of these is the more creature heavy build, and the second version is the more burn oriented build. So far, in Modern at least, the creature heavy build has been more successful, so in the card explanations below I'll be focusing more on that build. If you're looking for sample lists and don't care about card explanations, head on down below and check out some of the lists I've supplied.
Now, onto card explanations!
GOBLIN GUIDE R
It's a 2/2 with haste for R. The "drawback" of having your opponent get an extra land draw every now and then works both ways -- they get an extra land (which shouldn't matter as the plan's to kill them off before they can play stuff) and you get to see what they're playing (which makes killing them off easier). Guide's a staple in all RDW builds in every format. It's just that good.Rating: GRIM LAVAMANCER R
Turns fetches and used burn/creatures into cheap damage. The main problem I have with it is that it sucks vs. spot removal and it's useless until a turn after you play it. It's not necessarily a bad card, but by no means is it an all-star like Goblin Guide is.Rating:
FIGURE OF DESTINY
I like Figure of Destiny a lot because it's really versatile. It can put pressure on your opponent early, eat removal, act as a threat late game, etc. It's also semi-staple if you splash White. The main reason I wouldn't run it in every build is because it can be a bit slow and investing a bunch of mana into it only to get PtE'ed sucks, but otherwise it's an awesome card.Rating:
KELDON MARAUDERS 1R
Great card. You're guaranteed to get at least two damage in with this guy (unless he's countered), and if he doesn't get removed, he'll be putting in work.Rating:
HELLSPARK ELEMENTAL 1R
Hellspark's basically a reccurable Lightning Bolt on a stick. He laughs at any kind of non-exile removal, usually gets in before the opponent can chump block him, and is overlal just a really good card. Rating:
BALL LIGHTNING RRR
I personally wouldn't run Ball Lightning in Modern. Zoo's pretty much guaranteed to have a creature out by then that can trade with it, and I guess you can still get some damage in which is good, but for three mana I just don't think it's necessary. Probably comes down to player preference.Rating:
HELL'S THUNDER 1RR
A 4/4 with flying and haste that can be Unearth'ed for 1RR. Definitely a good card. It's a bit expensive to Unearth it, but the potential damage you can get in with it is what makes the card so good. It's also really good against Zoo since they have trouble blocking fliers.Rating:
LIGHTNING BOLT R
One of, if not the, best card in the deck. Gets rid of most creatures played in the turns that matter, and it's super cheap and cost efficient. Staple.Rating:
SHARD VOLLEY R
Basically another Lightning Bolt, except it costs R + a land. Obviously not as good as Lightning Bolt, but still a good card.Rating:
RIFT BOLT 2R
So, I heard we like pseudo-Lightning Bolts?Rating:
MAGMA JET 1R
Scry 2 helps the deck, consistency wise, a lot. The two damage can also be enough to end the game sometimes, and for two mana, it's definitely a card to consider running.Rating: SEARING BLAZE RR
Thanks to fetches, Searing Blaze should almost always be doing three damage to a player and a creature, which essentially makes it a double Lightning Bolt. I don't see it being useful (in the main deck) at more than two or three, but it's definitely useful.Rating:
GROVE OF THE BURNWILLOWS
See Punishing Fire.Rating:
Good in builds that run at least 12 creatures, preferably more.Rating:
ARID MESA / SCALDING TARN
Good with Searing Blaze and they thin your deck so you draw more creautre/spells. The life loss doesn't really matter in this kind of deck because you should be ending the game before it becomes an issue.Rating:
Card's OP. Run 18-22.Rating:
Quote from LovelyRitaYou mention Searing Blaze in your land section but not in your spell section, you should add it.
The Punishing Fire/Grove of the Burnwillows combo may be worth mentioning. Not every list will want to run it, but it's definitely a consideration.
Hell's Thunder could be worth consideration as well. It's tough enough to withstand a lightning bolt, and while it's not super-cheap to unearth, the actual damage density of the card is excellent, getting a total of 8 damage without wasting 2 cards in a deck with little/no card advantage is good.
You should add magma jet to your spell list. I suspect it will be a necessary card to improve the deck's consistency.
Quote from ArcaneIn the MWS world, for many players, winning also makes you a noob.
The same applies to:
-Knowing the rules.
-Using old versions of a card (yeah, it has hapenned to me: "Ugh... ugly pic noob")
<@MarkRosewater> THis is a secret we've carefully guarded but for this chat I'm going to spill the beans.
<@MarkRosewater> Some cards in Magic are better than others.
<@MarkRosewater> Ssh, don't tell anyone.
Quote from BlippyTheSlugPoetry is the tampon for my mental menstruation.
Quote from AesnathThe one thing about stigma lasher over the leyline is that it isn't a dead draw in multiples as you can attack with it. Pushing four leylines in reduces the aggressiveness of the deck more. I'm not saying that lasher is better then leyline (it's MUCH less reliable for turning off lifegain) but there is a justification for it.
I also think it's worth mentioning that rachet bomb's a pretty important SB card for a deck like this as it can remove hate in a way that mono-red would not otherwise be able.
I also really want to play Browbeat in this format.