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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Mar 26 2018 12:00pm
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In Pauper there are 3 well known Mono Red archetypes you see people choose from. Those archetypes are Burn, which uses mostly burn (who could of guessed?) spells such as Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning to win the game as quickly as possible by sending them upstairs to their opponents head. Goblins is a tribal aggro deck that uses mostly creatures to do the damage and has a few burn spells to either remove creatures off the battlefield or to do the last few points of damage and then Red Deck Wins uses a mix of good burn spells and fast red creatures to win the game as quickly as possible.

All these decks want to do the same thing and that is they want to win quickly and give your opponent the least amount of time to actually play a game of magic. Let's check out what these decks look like, starting with Burn.

 

 

 

Burn is very straightforward at first glance. You want to find 7 Lightning Bolt like cards, send them to your opponents face and win the game, however it isn't that simple.

 

When playing burn you need to identify when to kill a creature, in what order to play which burn spells based on mana cost, how much burn the spell does and playing or sorcery versus using an instant. You need to constantly be doing precise math to figure out the correct line for victory and it can honestly be very fun.

 

Burn is also good because you don't really care about creature removal, which is what most decks in the Pauper format use as their non creature spells. You can also be a control deck thanks to cards such as Curse of the Pierced Heart and Thermo-Alchemist being recurring damage. Against aggro decks such as Elves, White Weenie and Stompy to name a few, you can point your removal spells at creatures and still win the game by chipping away at your opponents life total.

 

One bad thing about Burn is that you live more off the top of your deck and variance can hit you harder because unlike Goblins and Red Deck Wins, you don't have a lot of creatures that stay in play and can get in damage every turn. If you draw 2 lands too many, you can end up losing the game just based on that alone and so you do have to keep that in mind. Another problem for Burn is life gain. In formats like Modern or Legacy, you get cards like Skullcrack to stop your opponents life gain cards, but in Pauper, you will find no such type of spell, so you must do precise math and account for anything. You do have Flaring Pain to at the very least stop cards such as Circle of Protection: Red for a turn so you can finish off your opponent, but you need a good amount of mana and enough burn to win and it can be very hard to sculpt a perfect hand scenario without card drawing spells.

 

Now let's now go ahead and take a look at Goblins.

 

 

Goblins is a tribal aggro deck that works best by combining all of your creatures together and taking advantage of their special abilities. You have your aggressive 1 drops with Goblin Cohort, you have removal in the form of Sparksmith and you even have a combo kill with building a board, playing a creature or 2 and then playing a kicked Goblin Bushwhacker to turn everyone sideways.

 

Goblins doesn't have a lot of burn spells to finish off their opponents and in fact you rarely use Lightning Bolt on your opponents face. Goblins is best known for being able to go wide by filling up the battlefield with tons of creatures and chipping away at your opponents life total 1 combat phase at a time, so 1 for 1 removal like Doom Blade is nowhere near enough to keep you from your goal. You can also find yourself winning a staring contest when you are facing another aggro deck and the battlefield is clogged up and full of creatures.

 

A big reason Goblins are able to go wide is that you have Goblin Sledder and Mogg Raider to make use of your Goblins that get blocked or killed before damage actually happens and still get in for extra damage.  Since Goblins goes wide with creatures and has re-curable damage every turn, cards like Circle of Protection: Red are not the end of the world, but it still sucks to have to fight against it and will give you headaches.

 

Goblins however suffers from a big problem and that is Pauper has a ton of deal 1 damage to every creature type of cards such as Electrickery or Nausea. It is true you have Goblin Sledder, but the problem is that it is only a 1 toughness creature and dies to literally anything under the sun. You need to be able to bait out these types of spells and learn when and when not to over commit to the board state.

 

A big problem with Goblins as a whole, is that when you combine all of your creatures, Goblins can be fast and lethal very quickly. However on their own, your creatures are extremely small and weak and easily dealt with. You must make good attacks, play your spells in the correct order constantly and do precise math every turn and if you do all these things correctly, your opponents are gonna have a very bad and hard time.

 

Last but not least, let's check out Red Deck Wins

 

 

Red Deck Wins doesn't clog up the board like Goblins does or send a ton of burn spells at your opponents face. Instead you play fast and cheap creatures, turn them sideways every turn and finish your opponent off with the little burn you have.

 

Red Deck Wins has a lot of creatures with haste and almost every creature has 2 toughness, making them a bit harder to kill and easier to swing with in combat. Since you have so many 2 power creatures that only cost 1 mana and so many creatures with haste, you can be faster than Burn or Goblins most of the time.

 

A problem however with Red Deck Wins is the fact that don't go wide, so 1 for 1 removal is better against you. You also don't play a ton of burn so you have to hope your creatures do most of the work. Cards such as Prismatic Strands and especially Circle of Protection: Red can easily steal the game on their own, so Flaring Pain is mandatory in my opinion.

 

Since you are fighting mainly with fast haste creatures, you aren't always strictly living off the top of your deck like you are with Burn and your creatures aren't totally weak on their own like Goblins, you are more in the middle, making it a bit tougher for your opponent to slow you down. This deck really shines against the slow control decks and has a good game against the Non-Bogles combo decks. However it can fall a bit behind against other aggro decks because your creatures don't generate card advantage and can be outclassed quickly if the game goes long enough.

 

Remember you are a straightforward deck, lack of burn spells and lack of being able to go wide and around your opponents removal and creatures can catch up you. You are never playing to survive and make the game go long, you are always play to win and end the game quickly.

 

Verdict and Conclusion

I personally like all 3 decks. With that being said however, I think burn is probably your best bet these days since it doesn't really care about removal and that is the big thing in Pauper.

 

With Goblins, you easily get outclassed by other aggro decks and Electrickery effects are everywhere. Red Deck Wins is good, but it turns on removal from other decks and it isn't hard for Delver, Kuldotha Boros and even Control archetypes to keep Red Deck Wins in check.

 

Burn goes above the battlefield and doesn't care to interact all that much and plays more like a combo deck. I think that is your way of playing Mono Red these days. Let me know what you think in the comments!

 

Would you like to compete in a free Pauper tournament with some great prizes? Head on over to Gatherling.com on Tuesday nights at 8pm EDT and play in our weekly Pauper Classic Tuesday's event! Join the chat #PCT to chat with us and feel free to find most of the competitors on Discord!

 

Thanks for reading! See you guys next time!