Mono-Red Prison - A Feasible Archetype?



  • Hi all, you may remember my username from that time I put powerless mono-Red into the top 8 of a Vintage Challenge online. Well, I'm back to chat, because I think this may be an unexplored archetype in Vintage.

    After losing my first two matches in Day 2 of the Legacy GP yesterday, I dropped at 7-4 to play in the 1:30 Vintage event. Because when else am I going to get to play Paper Vintage?!

    So I sleeved up the following list (which is different from the one I top 8'd the Challenge with):

    11 Mountain
    4 Ancient Tomb
    4 City of Traitors
    4 Chrome Mox
    4 Simian Spirit Guide
    4 Null Rod
    4 Blood Moon
    4 Magus of the Moon
    1 Trinisphere
    1 Chalice of the Void
    4 Sulfur Elemental
    4 Goblin Rabblemaster
    4 Fiery Confluence
    4 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
    3 Ricochet Trap

    Sb

    4 Sin Prodder
    4 Leyline of the Void
    4 Ensnaring Bridge
    3 Sudden Shock

    Of note: 2 Chrome Mox should undoubtedly be 1 Mox Ruby and 1 Black Lotus, but I don't own any paper power.

    Biggest changes: threats are now Sulfur Elementals and Rabblemasters - Sin Prodder has moved to the board (and maybe out of the deck entirely) and Hazoret doesn't do much in a format full of StP. So we play these threats that generate actual advantage (Chandra, Rabblemaster) and virtual advantage (uncounterable Elemental that kills Monk tokens).

    How did I do playing in my first paper event?

    I 4-0'd.

    I played Landstill, Landstill, Ravager Shops, and Jeskai Mentor.

    The combination of Blood Moon, Null Rod, and Ensnaring Bridge seems amazing in Vintage. This deck attacks on an axis that other taxing decks, like Eldrazi and Shops, don't. Additionally, those matchups are SO GOOD, as they struggle to deal with a Blood Moon (just like their Legacy counterparts.)

    Now, I don't claim to be any sort of expert. This could easily be beginner's luck or a hot streak, but I would love to hear some opinions. Thanks!



  • Just wanted to say CONGRATS! And Ricochet Trap is Mad Props.



  • Harsh mentor seems like a real magic card in vintage



  • @gkraigher I think the only problem with Harsh Mentor is that everything else the deck is doing is trying to turn off what it hits. Blood Moon and Null Rod would take away 95% of the potential damage from Mentor and it's a worse value than the other threats.



  • Not even squeezing 1 Strip Mine in there?Also Im a strong advocate of 2 Bazaar in such decks. Good job



  • @KeeperX said in Mono-Red Prison - A Feasible Archetype?:

    @gkraigher I think the only problem with Harsh Mentor is that everything else the deck is doing is trying to turn off what it hits. Blood Moon and Null Rod would take away 95% of the potential damage from Mentor and it's a worse value than the other threats.

    Its true most of what mentor wants to do gets shut off by the rest of the deck. But getting a mentor down early to punish your opponent while looking for lock pieces to shut off their deck isn't a bad thing.



  • @KeeperX Have you considered Testing Insult/Injury, with Rabbelmaster could be a 1 swing wonder.



  • @Serracollector I actually bought a playset in foil for testing in Legacy. It seems quite good against True Name Nemesis, too.



  • This archetype already exists in Legacy and it's called Dragon Stompy. It's a great port though, congrats!



  • @KeeperX What option(s) were chose the most with Fiery Confluence? I never even knew it existed. Seems intetesting.



  • @Serracollector
    I imagine that it's going to typically by Lava Axe mode, but destroying opposing color relevant Moxen is always good. That's the beauty of this card - it's flexible as it needs to be.



  • @Serracollector As @Koby said, it was almost always Lava Axe+ or triple Shatter, though it does a good Anger of the Gods impression vs Mentor sometimes.

    In Legacy, it gets cast with multiple modes more often. D&T often gets all three modes, whereas delver tends to get 2x damage to creatures, 1x damage to opponents.



  • i'll sleeve this up and test it out. my play group has an oath deck, doesn't seem that good of a matchup...



  • Since this is deck is playing 4 Null Rods, I think we shouldn't be playing any Chrome Moxes. As you said, Ruby and Lotus are fine replacements for the first two, but maybe the last 2 should be Lotus Petal and maybe a Crystal Vein or an off-color Mox. I just don't want to two-for-one myself in a deck like this; it lives and dies by its opening hands, and so I don't want to lose a card if I can help it.

    Another question: Is this a deck that wants to play any other sphere effects? In Legacy, I understand that it runs more Trinispheres, but since you can't do that in Vintage, maybe you want some normal Spheres of Resistance instead of other random cards.

    Finally: Is Sulfur Elemental supposed to be in the main and Ensnaring Bridge in the side? I would have naively thought it should be the other way around.



  • Elvish spirit guide plays through null rod.

    But I guess it's nearly identical to chrome Mox in the sense that it's a 1 for 1. But the accelearation doesn't stay on the board.

    Ideally wouldn't this deck just run moxen, lotus, sol ring and crypt?

    I dont think you need 4 Chandras. But I figured the deck plays so many redundant copies of cards because of chrome Mox.

    Maybe chrome Mox is the reason why the deck functions properly. The off color moxen don't produce red.

    Lotus and ruby are obvious inclusions unless you are trying to win an unpowered prize.



  • Out of curiosity, why does lightning bolt not make the cut?

    1 of stranglehold seems legit too.



  • OK, gonna respond to a bunch here. Played in the daily last night and went 2-2, got some additional testing with some cards I hadn't tried yet (Sphere, Flashfires).

    Out of curiosity, why does lightning bolt not make the cut?

    So we don't play any 1s on purpose - the reason is twofold. One, the deck is designed to just cast and play 3s and 4s. Two, it's originally a Legacy Chalice deck - while we're restricted to the single Chalice, we also make Mental Misstep a completely dead card.

    I dont think you need 4 Chandras. But I figured the deck plays so many redundant copies of cards because of chrome Mox.

    Blue decks with a bunch of singletons get away with it because there's so much selection and card draw. We are almost always stuck with what we draw in our first 10 cards. Every single piece needs to be as redundant as possible.

    Ideally wouldn't this deck just run moxen, lotus, sol ring and crypt?

    So it's not immediately clear from the decklist, but this deck often struggles to produce red mana without a moon effect. Additional artifacts (that will get turned off by Null Rod anyway) don't help us there.

    We also, absolutely, under no circumstances, can play Mana Crypt. It will kill us. Often times, we do nothing for turn after turn once the lock is in place.

    1 of stranglehold seems legit too.

    Agreed. Hadn't previously considered this.

    Finally: Is Sulfur Elemental supposed to be in the main and Ensnaring Bridge in the side? I would have naively thought it should be the other way around.

    Yes, because our only other maindeck answer to a good Mentor hand is a Fiery Confluence that somehow doesn't get countered.

    That being said, I did lose 2 games straight last night where Rich Shay just tinkered for the Colossus and I didn't have a bridge.

    Another question: Is this a deck that wants to play any other sphere effects? In Legacy, I understand that it runs more Trinispheres, but since you can't do that in Vintage, maybe you want some normal Spheres of Resistance instead of other random cards.

    I tried this last night with 3 Spheres of Resistance. It is no bueno. Making your 3s cost 4 and your 4s cost 5 hamstrings you SO MUCH. I had a game against Ravager Affinity where I had a sphere in my hand and 2 mana on the board, but couldn't cast it because it would lock me out of the only potential outs I had.

    Since this is deck is playing 4 Null Rods, I think we shouldn't be playing any Chrome Moxes. As you said, Ruby and Lotus are fine replacements for the first two, but maybe the last 2 should be Lotus Petal and maybe a Crystal Vein or an off-color Mox. I just don't want to two-for-one myself in a deck like this; it lives and dies by its opening hands, and so I don't want to lose a card if I can help it.

    Off-color Moxen don't work. This deck NEEDS to be able to produce 2R on turn one with the average hand. Lotus Petal is not terrible.

    I'm still very happy with the Ricochet Traps in their spot - it's been a good card.

    I also tried out Flashfires in the sideboard, but I don't think it is where I want to be. Yes, I can't turn off my opponents' mana completely, but if I'm going to play anything, it needs to be Boil.



  • @gkraigher
    What purpose does Lightning Bolt serve? What is it answering?
    There's limited space in the deck to make this like Stax, and the appeal is that it's mostly Legacy legal.

    I could see Viashino Heretic being included for some more artifact destruction, but in general Fiery Confluence achieves this very effectively.



  • Stranglehold does look very strong in this list, possibly in place of 1 Chandra? Also, would Chaos Warp be useful versus Tinker for you?



  • Yes, it's a feasible archetype. I've been playing this kind of strategy since 2009. You can check the old Morphling.de site for my decklist before (Kitz/Quinn Arreza). Yesterday, we had a local vintage tournament and I made it to the finals but lost to an Oath Storm deck. This is my list:

    12 Mountain
    4 City of Traitors
    4 Ancient Tomb
    4 Simian Spirit Guide
    2 Gorilla Shaman
    3 Eidolon of the great Revel
    4 Magus of the Moon
    4 Manic Vandal
    3 Phyrexian Metamorph
    4 Ingot Chewer
    3 Thorn of Amethyst
    4 Null Rod
    3 Blood Moon
    4 Lightning Bolt
    2 Dead/Gone
    SB:
    4 Leyline of Sanctity
    3 Grafdigger's Cage
    2 Dismember
    2 Pyroclasm
    2 Red Elemental Blast
    2 By Force

    My match up were:
    R1 vs Paradoxical Mentor 2-0
    R2 vs MUD Prison 2-0
    R3 vs Eldrazi 1-2
    R4 vs Oath Storm (same player I lost to in the finals) 1-2
    R5 vs MUD Prison (He gave me the win and did some playtest) 2-1
    QF vs Eldrazi Taxes 2-1
    SF vs Ballista MUD 2-0
    F vs Oath Storm 1-2 - I've made a bad keep on the play on the 3rd match. I kept a hand of 2 Mountains, 2 Null Rods, 2 Magus of the Moon, 1 Phyrexian Metamorph. My thought were if I could get to my second turn I could play rods and delay him a bit. He combo out on his 1st turn. I should have mull into Leyline or Grafdiggers or maybe a hand that could cast a turn 1 Rods.


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