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By: TheWolf, Shane Garvey
Oct 09 2018 12:00pm
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Back in January, I wrote an article that looked at the player run Magic Online format, Penny Dreadful. That article ended up being one of the more popular articles I've written for PureMTGO, and so I thought it was about time to go back and revisit the format. If you aren't sure what Penny Dreadful is, go back and read the article, or I will briefly summarize it here.


Penny Dreadful is Magic Online's most budget format. Every card in the format costs 0.01 tix at the time of rotation - that is, when a new, Standard-legal set is released. At this time, card prices are checked, and any card worth that amount is legal for the next season. Cards that were legal but have risen in price become illegal. This is one of the things that appeals to me most about Penny Dreadful; the format has a self-correcting nature. If a deck becomes too powerful or popular, the prices of the cards in that deck tend to rise, and the deck bans itself at the end of the season.

The format is also a great place to brew decks and try new things. With every deck costing less than 1 tix, you can chop and change decks to your heart's content. There are a wide range of viable decks; aggro, control, midrange and combo all exist. 

Now, you may be thinking that the cards would not be powerful cards if they only cost 0.01 tix, but you would be wrong. Cards like Treasure Cruise, Lake of the Dead and Worldgorger Dragon are legal this season; there is no argument that these are good cards!

The Penny Dreadful website has details on tournaments and leagues (both with prize support) that you can enter. Scryfall has a Penny Dreadful filter for finding cards; and MTGGoldfish has a Penny Dreadful metagame page.


Wolf Sligh

As is my habit, in week one of any new format I tend to brew a mono-red aggro deck that I vainly refer to as Wolf Sligh, simply because I can. Mono-red is always my go to deck; it is the archetype I am most familiar with and also the one I am most comfortable brewing. I start by heading over to Scryfall and filtering by red creatures legal in the format. I'm looking for cheap, aggressive creatures. Unfortunately for me, mono-red aggro was the best deck from last season, and many of it's cards (such as Ash Zealot and Chandra's Phoenix) rotated out. After a bit of mucking around, this is what I came up with:



I have a feeling mono-red will not be anywhere near as good this season, but I will try and make the most of it. Hellrider is a powerful addition though, so maybe there will be something there.  I registered for a league run to test it out.


Match 1

For my first match, I played in a mirror. My opponent was also on mono-red. They got off to a blistering start with (Village Messenger:SOI)s and, due to a misclick by me and skipping my turn, there was no coming back. 

I sideboarded in the Vulshok Refugees for the second game. My opponent removed everything and anything I played; they were using (Staggershock:IMA) and it was hard for me to keep a creature out. I managed to play a Vulshok Refugee though and got to work beating them down. However, towards the end of the game I drew three land in a row and, despite getting my opponent down to 1 life, they were able to finish me off with burn spells.

Interestingly, I saw a lot of the same cards in their deck as mine. So maybe I am on the right track.


Match 2

My opponent for this match was on a mono-green stompy deck, using cards such as Leatherback Baloth and Basking Rootwalla, backed up with pump spells like Primal Bellow. In fact, I got a rude awakening about this card when I let a Leatherback Baloth go unblocked and my opponent cast three Primal Bellows in one turn to take me from 20 to 0!

I didn't have a sideboard plan for this deck, so went into game 2 unchanged. My opponent had early defense with (Noose Constrictor:EMN) and Sylvan Advocate and wasn't able to break through for early damage. My opponent won the match easily.

0-2 after 2 matches, without winning a game. I might be quickly shelving mono red I think!


Match 3

My third opponent was playing white/blue control. I got off to a pretty fast start but a Planar Outburst followed by a Story Circle stopped me dead in my tracks. 

Luckily for me, my sideboard is stacked with cards against this type of deck, and I bought in all the Blood Knights, Manabarbs, Goblin Assaults and Mindpsarkers. In fact, it was combination of Goblin Assault and Blood Knight that ended up winning me game 2.

Game 3 was even quicker. Blood Knights, Mindsparker and Manabarbs meant anything my opponent did caused them to lose life, and there was no way they could get around it. I took the match 2-1.


Match 4

This opponent was also on control, this time on 4 colour control (missing green). They were running mass removal such as Radiant Flames and Planar Outburst and, after sideboarding, had Story Circle as well. As you can imagine, this was a tough match up. I went 1-2, winning game two when I was on the play. I managed to get my opponent down to 3 life in game three, and felt I could have won it except I started with a mulligan to 4. 

That leaves me with a 1-3 record and the knowledge that, this season, mono-red is not going to be any good.

That's all for this week. Leagues are five matches but there wasn't much point playing the last one; I had a good idea that mono-red was pretty bad. I plan on revisiting Penny Dreadful in the coming weeks; hopefully you'll join me.