As we celebrate the holidays, we're bringing you some of our favorite decks from throughout the year.
Enjoy these fun flashbacks into last year’s favorites.
Wizards of the Coast Staff
've lost to Dragon Mantle before, but not usually in Standard. When I played against Tom "The Boss" Ross on Magic Online, Dragon Mantle and Titan's Strength were cast, and I did in fact lose to them. That intrigued me enough to get his list, which he even ended up taking to 1st place at a StarCityGames Invitational Qualifier.
The base of the deck isn't that different from "normal" mono-red, which is to say that it has one-drops, Burning-Tree Emissarys, and burn spells. I would have a hard time imagining not playing Rakdos Cackler, Emissary, or Lightning Strike, and it would appear that Tom Ross agrees.
Where it gets interesting are the other spell slots, and what lands Tom chose to play. Seventeen Mountains doesn't seem too interesting, until you realize that there are zero Mutavaults and only seventeen lands total, which is a big departure from the norm. Part of the power of this deck is that it plays not a single card that costs more than two, and the majority of the cards only cost one. That prevents mana flood, sets up more explosive draws, and makes the deck very consistent. The thing it does might not be as powerful as casting a Fanatic of Mogis for ten, but it does roughly the same thing every time, which is attack for a lot in a very short period of time.
Akroan Crusader and Dragon Mantle are a pretty nice combo, and Madcap Skills and Titan's Strength further push the heroic theme. There's even a singleton Arena Athlete to benefit from these spells, although it's not nearly as important as the Crusader. Even if you don't draw Crusader, all of the Auras and pump spells give you a great mana-to-damage ratio, and at very low cost.
All I know is that I got double–Titan's Strengthed out, making the deck look pretty sweet from my side of the table.
Tom Ross's Heroic Red
Standard – Winner, StarCityGames.com Invitational Qualifier
Luis Scott-Vargas plays, writes, and makes videos about Magic. He has played on the Pro Tour for almost a decade, and between that and producing content for ChannelFireball, often has his hands full (of cards).