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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Dec 14 2021 1:03pm
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The last time I spoke about Mono Red Fiend, I admit I wasn’t very enthusiastic about the archetype. Honestly, I am still weary about the archetype. However, that doesn’t mean I am ready to give up on the archetype, especially considering there are some new toys that recently came out for the archetype to use.

The list we will be looking at today was part of the 5-0 dump from 11/17/2021 and was piloted by the player Naoseinenhum2. Alright let’s not waste your time and get right into it.


Kiln Fiend – This is the main win condition of the deck. Do not ever play less than 4 of these In my opinion.

Festival Crasher – A functional reprint of Kiln Fiend just about. With the same ability, you get 1 less power each time, but in return, this creature has 1 more toughness. In a format like Pauper where most of the time you will run into something like a Lightning Bolt or better for removal, the extra toughness instead of power kinda sucks. But hey, it still helps.

Firebrand Archer – Usually you will find this creature in a burn shell, but it works quite well in this deck as well. This gives you some extra reach and makes it so you can win outside the red zone. This version of Mono Red Fiend isn’t exactly an all in version, so after you get in a huge attack, you can use Archer to burn your opponent out for the final points of damage.

Kessig Flamebreather – A functional reprint of Firebrand Archer for the most part. However here, instead of it having 2 power, it has 3 toughness. In this case, this is actually good because it is a good blocker for the aggro matchups. I personally think Thermo-Alchemist is better, but this card can have an impact the turn it is drawn and that could easily come up.

Lightning Bolt – This is an aggro deck with red in it. I am sure no one is surprised to see this. Yes you only run 3 because you can’t play everything and need to make cuts somewhere.

Lava Dart – In this deck, this is better than Lightning Bolt in my opinion. For 1 mana and sacrificing a Mountain, you get to deal 2 damage and trigger your Fiends twice. If you could play 5 of these, it is possible you would.

Fireblast – This is a pretty good finisher for a deck like this.

Faithless Looting – I am not surprised to see this in this archetype, although I am a bit surprised to only see 2 copies. However, you need to make room for the next card.

Reckless Impulse – Man do I love this card. It doesn’t say you only have till the end of turn to play the cards you get off of it, it says until the end of your next turn. This card packs so much card advantage, I hope to see it used more in the future.

Ancestral Anger – This card is interesting. It isn’t extremely powerful, but it does draw a card and in a deck like this that is really good to keep the gas flowing. The bonus is it pumps your creature more for the other copies in your graveyard.

Mutagenic Growth – A free pump spell. More importantly, it is a free spell period. This makes it extremely valuable for a deck like this.

Apostle’s Blessing – Not only is this a counterspell to removal, it can also be a win condition.

Temur Battle Rage – Here is your big all in card. You won’t need more than 1 copy because you are only ever going to try and win in 1 big turn if you feel safe. Your game plan first and foremost is chipping in damage wherever you can in chunks. Opening yourself up to removal and exhausting your resources are not a good idea and so I like playing only 1 copy of this.

The manabase – Nothing fancy here, just 19 Mountain. You don’t want any come into play tapped lands because you don’t want to be slowed down. Any turn you are slowed down, you could lose the game right there. Do not change the manabase in my opinion.

The Sideboard

Apostle's Blessing – Another copy in case you are up against a mono colored deck or a heavy removal deck. It isn’t great in every matchup. For example, against Tron this isn’t all that good because it doesn’t stop Moment’s Peace or Dignitary so bringing it in doesn’t do all that much.

Lightning Bolt – I almost want to say this will come in against everything, but that isn’t necessarily true. The 4th bolt is good against control decks where you need reach because eventually the game will go passed the point of being able to get in through the red zone. However, against a deck like Affinity or Stompy, you want to be the combo deck and Lightning Bolt isn’t going to do enough. That is how I feel about it.

Temur Battle Rage – When you are against a matchup where you can go full combo mode, you are gonna want an extra copy of this to try and win fast.

Cleansing Wildfire – No one likes you Tron. (This isn’t true, I like Tron sometimes)

Electrickery and Fiery Cannonade – Everyone needs some board wipes. It sucks that Cannonade kills your Kiln Fiend, but you have back up.

Pyroblast – I’m not a big fan of only 1 copy of this personally. Oh and it is for blue matchups.

Reckless Charge – This is great for when you go into full combo mode because you can buy time with your board wipes and then set up your hand to win in 1 turn. I am sad there isn’t a second copy here.

Smash to Smithereens – I don’t think this is necessary. The 3 damage isn’t much and these days, having a shatter effect isn’t enough against Affinity or Tron. In my opinion, I would remove Smash and add another copy of Reckless Charge and 2 more copies of Pyroblast. This is just my personal opinion, it may not be correct.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

Well, I can tell you this. I like this list a lot better than the one I talked about last time. A big reason for that is the card Reckless Impulse. I feel like this card gives this deck a big way to get card advantage and set up without giving up resources.

One card I miss in this deck is Crash Through. Being able to give your Kiln Fiend trample and dig a card deeper is quite useful in a deck like this. I suppose you are playing Ancestral Anger in its spot, but I am unsure if Anger is better.

My issues with this archetype however still stand. A simple removal spell can ruin your day and you do have to use a lot of resources each time you want to make a big turn. Unlike Infect, you have to deal 20 damage and not 10 and unlike Burn, you do have to get in through the red zone a few times to win and even then, your reach is quite limited.

I like the addition of Festival Crasher, but getting +2 power instead of 3 could be an issue in the long run. I like that this version doesn’t play Rite of Flame or Manamorphos. Instead you have Mutagenic Growth and a bit more reach. However, as I said earlier, I really think this deck is missing a card like Crash Through to help drive the damage home. I think getting to pay Reckless Impulse helps a ton, but can only get you so far.

Would I play this deck? For leagues I think it is fun and cool to try out. For the challenges, I personally would stay away. I just think the risk is too high and the deck is countered fairly easily. I have an issue with the lack of ways to give your Fiends Trample. It would feel really bad to play against something like White Weenie, you use a ton of resources and you can’t do much because they just have to block your creature to soak up damage.

Do I think this archetype is bad? No I am not saying that. What I am saying is that I personally think the deck loses to itself too often. In the Pauper meta of today, I think this deck just isn’t well positioned. Will it stay that way? I don’t think so, but this is how I feel for right now. However I will say that if you want to pick up the deck, I would look at both lists I brought you and combine them in some way.

Since submitting this article, this archetype took a top 4 spot in the Pauper Challenge that took place on 11/28/2021. (the results were posted on 11/29/2021). As I have said before, I do not speak the absolute truth, I just give my opinions. Again, I don’t think this deck is bad, but I don’t think it will place well consistently and overtime will lead to negative value. I am perfectly willing to be proven wrong and wish you the best of luck in your next league and/or challenge!

However, with all this being said, as always, do remember my words are not gospel. I will always encourage you to try a deck that I bring you despite my personal feelings. Remember that results will vary and always remember to practice!

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!

Thank you so much for reading. Best of luck to you in your next tournament and I’ll catch you all next time!