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By: CheshirePlaysGames, Albert Caynes
Feb 13 2020 1:00pm
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In old legacy formats and in cubes, you will likely at some point run up against a card called Sneak Attack, a red enchantment that people playing it will boast to you about how they dropped a turn four or five Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and proceeded to smash their opponent's face in until they were dead dead dead. I mean, that person is usually me because that action is SUPER SWEET. Sure Sneak Attack is legal in commander, but having to tutor for it and having it susceptible to removal is a big pain in the glutes. Theros: Beyond Death changes this, and I'm so much more excited to play a mono red deck than EVER before.
 

 
 
Looking around all the Legendary creatures, I was a little disappointed that so few seemed playable enough as a commander to warrant me building them into a deck. But then I saw Purphoros and I feel in love harder than a Seagull bombing you at the beach for your fresh bag of hot chips smeared with enough sauce to put even the healthiest human in hospital. It was a snack attack!
 
Having an indestructible god is one thing, but having it not be a creature if you don't have enough devotion is actually a heck of a lot better than one may expect. Purphoros is expensive on cast, but when he hits the field he is ridiculously hard to get rid of outside of exile or sacrifice effects. Why is this such a great thing? Having a Sneak Attack on a stick means we can go ahead and break our usual “build around synergy, not the commander” because he's so hard to kill. Sure his ability and casting cost are both a lot more expensive, but this makes him a lot more balanced and as above, costed correctly.
 
Flameshadow Conjuring
 
One of the first cards we should look at is Flameshadow Conjuring, one of the coolest mono red enchantments you could ask for and essentially turns Purphoros's ability into red red and two, put a creature from your hand onto the battlefield and create a token copy of it. Those creatures gain haste this turn.
 

MIXED MEAT CHICKEN, LAMB, BEEF

The five mana to play him initially seems pretty risky and I'm not going to argue that point, so instead we need to try and ramp Purphoros out as fast as we can. Ruby Medallion reduces the mana cost of all red spells we cast by one, Sol Ring is an auto include, Arcane Signet is really just a flex spot and you could even put a Fellwar Stone here instead, Mind Stone has the added bonus to help draw a card in the late game, Heraldric Banner gives all our creatures +1/+0 and is a mana rock, Nyx Lotus might enter tapped but as you put big beef eaters in play, it taps for more and more mana and finally we have Lotus Field that helps fill our graveyard for a late game surprise Underworld Breach.
 
 
We also have some more unconventional ramp cards in Pyretic Ritual, Seething Song and Ironcrag Feat. Sure these don't net a heap of mana, but they can be pretty amazing with Backdraft Dragon and Underworld Breach allowing for some pretty cool late game shenanigans. Runaway Steam-Kin is something I would try out for a while, he's really slow and you will likely not be casting a lot of spells due to Purphoros. Mana Flare is pretty risky as it ramps everyone at the table, so maybe hold it up until you can play it while your opponents are tapped out. Fires of Invention is actually pretty good for us despite the drawback of being able to cast only two spells during our turn and locking us out of spells during the opponents turns. Just remember that you can use Purphoros OUTSIDE your turn! Dockside Extortionist is sort of ramp and when played at the right time, can net you a stupid amount of treasure tokens. Treasure Nabber is a ramp gobbo I'm on the fence about, as he helps steal artifacts tapped for mana until the end of your next turn.
 

EXTRA CHEESE

Red lacks the great card draw that we usually get from playing Izzet, so we need to be a little more creative with our draw spells. Faithless Looting, Thrill of Possibility and Tormenting Voice all allow us to dig down two cards deep and get reused later via Backdraft Dragon and Underworld BreachEndless Atlas is seriously good in this deck as we will likely always have at least three Mountains in play at most times. Combustible Gearhulk is sort of pseudo card draw, but we can also get extra triggers out of it as below. Bedlam Reveler is a panic button to draw three cards at the cost of discarding out hand.
 
Wheel of Fortune
 
Getting really creative is where this deck shines. Wheel and deal is the name of the game! Dragon Mage is a bit risky, but it forces everyone to ditch their hands and restock with a fresh seven cards, likely putting off a bunch of game plans and unbalancing the game. Chandra, Flamecaller's minus zero allows us to wheel our hand for the same number of cards and can also act as a boardwipe. Wheel of Fortune is a pretty solid wheel as per the above Dragon, being able to burn everyone's hand is great to draw a fresh seven. Magus of the Wheel is exactly the same effect, as well as Reforge the Soul. Notice the theme here is that we can keep filling the yard for the last game Backdraft and Underworld! Finally, Ignite the Future is probably the single most broken card in this deck with Underworld. Remember that we can play this from the graveyard for it's mana cost and removing three cards, mix that with a heap of mana and you're in for a massive free play combo!
 

TOMATO, LETTUCE, ONIONS

Okay well look, we haven't really covered the REAL purpose of the deck yet, so here's the secret. It likes to attack with big dumb creatures and smash face as hard as it can. That's it, nothing to see here. Torbran, Thane of Red Fell helps us deal two extra measly damage, laaaame. Oh wait, its not lame when you add in Berserkers' Onslaught and Avatar of Slaughter give all your creatures double strike, you can't spell SLAUGHTER without LAUGHTER. Angrath's Marauders makes all damage you deal doubled, mixing that with our double strike enablers and all of a sudden you're killing the table.
 
 
Speaking of killing the table, red does a great job at extra attack steps, right? Combat Celebrant, Relentless Assault, Hellkite Charger and Breath of Fury give us extra attack steps. Breath actually can be a really stupid combo considering it will make you sacrifice the creature you enchant and keep going until your board is clear, or your opponents are all piles of bloody goo. Ilharg, the Raze-Boar is especially good with this, allowing us to continually dump creatures onto the battlefield and attack over and over.
 

SWEET CHILI, SOUR CREAM AND GARLIC SAUCE

BIG. DUMB. CREATURES. That's the name of the game, putting bug dumb things onto the battlefield, turning them sideways and watching the world burn. But what else can we squeeze out of the deck?
 
Backdraft Dragon gives all our instant and sorcery cards Flashback, meaning we can cast our wheel spells a second time where needed.
Duplicant works as both an exile spell, something sorely lacking in red, and as whatever creature on the battlefield you want it to be. Oh, did you have a (Craterhhoof Behemoth) out? MINE!
Opportunistic Dragon is maybe not one of the cards you want to put into play with Purphoros due to that nasty EOT trigger. Unless you have some ways of abusing that.
Inferno Titan on its own can up and kill someone in the late game. But also he can help nail an opposing commander, given the number of popular commanders with three health.
 
 
Thundermaw Hellkite will tap down the opponent's fliers so we can swing through.
Drakuseth, Maw of Flames on it's own looks seriously underwhelming. In this deck though, it's an amazing workhorse due to our Marauders and EOT triggers.
Etali, Primal Storm is one of my fave red cards ever, being able to steal a card from the top of each player's deck and play it for free is super gross gas.
Hellkite Tyrant not only allows us to steal some poor person's artifacts, if we end up with enough of them, we can steal the game!
Balefire Dragon acts as a solid single player boardwipe, unless we get multiple combat steps in to make it a multi-player wipe instead.
 

DON'T SKIMP ON THE MUSHROOMS

So what about that massive drawback on Purphoros and how can we bend it to an advantage or get rid of it? Playing Reality Scramble in your second main phase is pretty cool for a nice bit of chaos magic, add in Chaos Warp to the mix and cross your fingers you hit something cool. Stalking Vengeance bends Purphoros's sacrifice to to our will, bolting other players to the face when we have to sacrifice our creature. Sacrificing means NOTHING when a Cauldron of Souls gets involved, and it's nice to give our board persist when we plat something like Star of Extinction. Feldon of the Third Path looks to create an artifact from our discard pile, so our pile of dead bodies can still rise up to melt faces.
 
Conjurer's Closet
 
More permanent solutions are better though such as Sundial of the Infinite to end the turn before the trigger goes off, saving our creature in the process. Conjurer's Closet allows us to blink out the creature and skip the sacrifice trigger that was tied to it due to moving zones, this can also give us multiple triggers on ETB effects too. Also, both Conjurer's Closet and Cauldron of Souls work very well with a Warstorm Surge, meaning we can kill out of nowhere.

Purphoros Snack Attack
 

1x Angrath's Marauders
1x Avatar of Slaughter
1x Balefire Dragon
1x Bedlam Reveler
1x Burnished Hart
1x Captain Lannery Storm
1x Combat Celebrant
1x Combustible Gearhulk
1x Dire Fleet Daredevil
1x Dragon Mage
1x Drakuseth, Maw of Flames
1x Duplicant
1x Etali, Primal Storm
1x Feldon of the Third Path
1x Hellkite Charger
1x Hellkite Tyrant
1x Ilharg, the Raze-Boar
1x Inferno Titan
1x Lathliss, Dragon Queen
1x Magus of the Wheel
1x Opportunistic Dragon
1x Rampaging Ferocidon
1x Runaway Steam-Kin
1x Ryusei, the Falling Star
1x Stalking Vengeance
1x Thundermaw Hellkite
1x Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
1x Treasure Nabber
1x Chaos Warp
1x Pyretic Ritual
1x Seething Song
1x Thrill of Possibility
1x Blasphemous Act
1x Faithless Looting
1x Gamble
1x Irencrag Feat
1x Reality Scramble
1x Reforge the Soul
1x Relentless Assault
1x Star of Extinction
1x Tormenting Voice
1x Wheel of Fortune
1x Berserkers' Onslaught
1x Blood Moon
1x Breath of Fury
1x Fires of Invention
1x Flameshadow Conjuring
1x Mana Flare
1x Warstorm Surge
1x Arcane Signet
1x Cauldron of Souls
1x Chaos Wand
1x Conjurer's Closet
1x Endless Atlas
1x Heraldic Banner
1x Mind Stone
1x Nevinyrral's Disk
1x Ruby Medallion
1x Sol Ring
1x Sundial of the Infinite
1x Chandra, Flamecaller
1x Castle Embereth
1x Homeward Path
1x Lotus Field
27x Mountain
1x Spinerock Knoll
1x Strip Mine
1x Throne of the High City
1x Backdraft Hellkite
1x Dockside Extortionist
1x Ignite the Future
1x Nyx Lotus
1x Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded
1x Underworld Breach
 
And there you have it, a deck truly worthy of playing mono red, a deck that can kill out of nowhere and has some really cool tricks to boot. Sure I skipped out on Blightsteel Colossus, but what's your builds look like? I'm off to get a kebab- Chesh