Which Colours Should I Play – Red

Red was traditionally known as a very aggressive colour that has poorer options as the game gets longer, however to some extent this is no longer true. The colour certainly has many excellent spells and creatures that fill the 1 to 2 mana range, but has also been increasingly given more midrange options that fill the 3 to 4 mana slots. Red is most known for direct damage burn spells such as Lightning Bolt, but has increasingly been relied on for creatures that generate card advantage such as Pia and Kiran Nalaar with their ability to remove multiple threats.

In terms of spells red has Lightning Bolt which is one of the most played spells in Modern. Bolt is extremely cheap, and the flexibility to hit either players or creatures makes this card very coveted because it fills a variety of roles. However, the 3 damage limit makes Lightning Bolt ineffective against very large creatures. Red also has access to Volcanic Fallout and Anger of the Gods which are fantastic options to be used against aggressive decks. However, as before, the damage limitation renders them ineffective as the game wears on and larger threats are played. Roast gets around the limitations of other red removal spells by putting out 5 damage, however it has problems of its own with the increased mana cost and being sorcery speed. As a splash colour however red offers Terminate which is one of the best no-strings-attached removal spells in the format and cards like Atarka’s Command which are endlessly flexible and provide many options to a variety of decks.

Regarding creatures, there are fantastic examples in Eidolon of the Great Revel, Goblin Guide, and Monastery Swiftspear. These creatures allow you to start the game at a blisteringly fast pace, and to hopefully finish the opponent off early. More midrange options that can carry later stages of the game include Grim Lavamancer, which lets you mine your graveyard for long-term value. Red also has access to Boros Reckoner, which puts up a very tricky roadblock to navigate for a lot of decks, and Stormbreath Dragon which can be a really nice finisher given haste and protection from white (Path to Exile). More recently red has been handed some nice card advantage creatures in the form of Bedlam Reveller, Sin Prodder, and Pia and Kiran Nalaar. It now has multiple creatures to choose from when playing a long game oriented deck, and focusing on card advantage.

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