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CardShark Content - Stefan Vainberg (1/31/2005)

Pro Tour Kobe was perhaps one of the most interesting pro tours in a long time. Two seemingly unfunctional archetypes arose, one of which claimed first place and the other of which hit second. With only Mirrodin and Darksteel as the legal sets, Ravager Affinity seemed to be a shoe-in for winner. However, two new archetypes, Big Red and Tooth and Nail
Tooth and Nail
Tooth and NailSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
7
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
134
Artist:
Greg Hildebrandt
Text:
Choose one - Search your library for up to two creature cards, reveal them, put them into your hand, then shuffle your library; or put up to two creature cards from your hand into play. Entwine 2 (Choose both if you pay the entwine cost.)
, rose up and conquered the field. Eventually, after a grueling match, Big Red was victorious. Here is Kuroda's build:

lands:
16 mountains
4 darksteel citadels
4 blinkmoth nexus
creatures:
4 arc-sloggers
4 solemn simulacrums
spells:
4 electrostatic bolts
4 shrapnel blasts
4 barbed lightnings
4 damping matrices
4 pulse of the forges
4 fireballs
4 detonates
sideboard:
4 molten rains
4 echoing ruins
3 furnace dragons
2 talismans of indulgence
2 talismans of impulse

Amazingly enough, this build was solid, but by no means today would even win a Friday Night Magic event consistently. Nevertheless, its main concerns were of beating raffinity, and with 4 echoing ruins, 4 detonates, 3 furnace dragons, 4 damping matrices, and to some extent 4 molten rains this task was not extremely difficult.
Today, Big Red is amazingly different, and its strategy has even shifted; before, it was important to continuously burn until the opponent would be dead. Nowadays, the bulk of the burn goes towards ripping apart little creatures, then swinging with a huge fatty a few times and winning. Here is a sample decklist:

lands:
17x mountain
1x shinka
4x blinkmoth nexus
creatures:
4x arc-slogger
4x solemn simulacrum
2x ryusei
2x kumano
4x hearth kami
spells:
4x magma jet
4x electrostatic bolt
4x seething song
4x shock
2x pulse of the forge
2x pyroclasm
2x sensei's divining top

sideboard:
4x shatter
2x boseiju, who shelters all
2x pyroclasm
3x boil
2x grab the reins
2x molten rain

The sideboard for this deck is very meta-dependent. Since the current Big Red is played in standard and not block, it is imperative to have answers to the numerous U/x controls, ravager affinity, and tooth and nail.
In the main deck, seething song accelerates a turn 4 ryusei or a turn 3 arc-slogger/kumano. Accelerating these fatties will often win the game outright, as even raffinity will have some problems getting through these tanks. Shock
Shock
ShockSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
206
Artist:
Randy Gallegos
Text:
Shock deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
/electrostatic bolt/magma jet offer creature removal. Magma jet and sensei's divining top are in there for library manipulation. This time around, 4 pulse of the forges are unnecessary, as the beaters will most likely get the job done outright. Pyroclasm
Pyroclasm
PyroclasmSet: Ice Age
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Pat Morrissey
Text:
Pyroclasm deals 2 damage to each creature.
works well against weenie swarms, and hearth kami is amazing in his ability to go 2-for-1 against a frogmite, blowing himself up as the damage is stacked to destroy an artifact land.

Matchups:

Mono Blue Control:

Pre board: 50%: This all depends on your aggression. If you can outrace a counter war, chances are you will win. Make sure to keep a kumano on reserve versus keiga and arc-slogger/ burn for meloku, which will be a very large sore if left untouched.

Sb strategies: +3 boils, +2 boseijus, -4 electrostatic bolt, -1 sensei's divining top

Post board: 60%: Even with all the hate in the world, Control matchups are tricky. Save all burn for the creatures and make sure to make quick work of shackles. Cast boil no earlier than turn 5, and never cast a spell without boseiju if your opponent has 2+ untapped lands. Pace yourself and you should come out victorious.

Ravager Affinity:

Pre board: 60%: This deck was made to rip affinity apart, and playing aggressively is the key to victory. Considering that electrostatic bolt can kill any of raffinity's creatures, and shocks and jets will take care of everything except enforcers and ravagers, this matchup should be fun.

Sb Strategies: +4 shatters, +2 pyroclasms, -4 shocks, -2 pulse of the forge

Post Board: 75%: Things get REAL fun here. You can pyroclasm and wipe out a full board, and there is nothing like ramming a shatter after your opponent sacked their entire board to ravager. However, if you let any creature, particularly the ravager, grow beyond 5/5; things could get real hairy real fast. Aggressively blowing up every artifact you see is the key to winning the matchup.

GB Control

Pre Board: 40%: Lord I hate the new rock. Death Cloud
Death Cloud
Death CloudSet: Darksteel
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
40
Artist:
Stephen Tappin
Text:
Each player loses X life then discards X cards from his or her hand then sacrifices X creatures then sacrifices X lands.
s are a huge pain in the butt, and very rarely will you be able to recover from such a large nuke. Kokushos add insult to injury; ramming a ryusei into one will usually end up with you in a very tight spot. The only real way to win game one is not missing any land drops and keeping removal on hand the whole time.

Sb Strategies: -4 Hearth Kami
Hearth Kami
Hearth KamiSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
C
Number:
171
Artist:
Luca Zontini
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
X, Sacrifice Hearth Kami: Destroy target artifact with converted mana cost X.
s, +2 Grab the reins, +2 Molten Rain
Molten Rain
Molten RainSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
101
Artist:
Hugh Jamieson
Text:
Destroy target land. If that land is nonbasic, Molten Rain deals 2 damage to the land's controller.
s

Post Board: 45%: It's better, but not by much. Grabbing a Kokusho and flinging it will usually result in your victory. Molten rains need to go all out against swamps, as 3 black mana means death cloud is ready to come out. Play the same as the first game, but bear in mind you have several new answers for the Death Cloud
Death Cloud
Death CloudSet: Darksteel
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
40
Artist:
Stephen Tappin
Text:
Each player loses X life then discards X cards from his or her hand then sacrifices X creatures then sacrifices X lands.
and Kokusho, so you will undoubtedly do better this time around.

Tooth and Nail
Tooth and Nail
Tooth and NailSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
7
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
134
Artist:
Greg Hildebrandt
Text:
Choose one - Search your library for up to two creature cards, reveal them, put them into your hand, then shuffle your library; or put up to two creature cards from your hand into play. Entwine 2 (Choose both if you pay the entwine cost.)


Pre Board: 40%: It's pretty safe to say that an entwined Tooth and Nail
Tooth and Nail
Tooth and NailSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
7
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
134
Artist:
Greg Hildebrandt
Text:
Choose one - Search your library for up to two creature cards, reveal them, put them into your hand, then shuffle your library; or put up to two creature cards from your hand into play. Entwine 2 (Choose both if you pay the entwine cost.)
for Abunas/Angel will spell game over. However, if your opponent nails out colossus/kiki or colossus x2 or vampire/trike, they will need to have at least 10 life to survive your burn. Play aggressively and make sure you keep spot burn at hand.

Sb Strategies: -4 Hearth Kami
Hearth Kami
Hearth KamiSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
C
Number:
171
Artist:
Luca Zontini
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
X, Sacrifice Hearth Kami: Destroy target artifact with converted mana cost X.
, +2 grab the reins, +2 Molten rains

Post Board: 60%: Molten rain any lone urzatron you see, and grab any colossus. Don't let your guard down and burn incessantly. Manaburning in order to keep a pulse of the forge bouncing back into your hand is an extremely good strategy.

Treat the Krark Clan Ironworks
Krark Clan Ironworks
Krark Clan IronworksSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
4
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
134
Text:
Sacrifice an artifact: Add 2 to your mana pool.
Matchup the same as you would affinity, and you should be fine.

Big Red has been around for a long time, but only now has it gained so much power. Once Mirrodin rotates out, a good idea would be to splash black for Betrayers', Champions', and Saviors' removal.

If you are looking for an easy way to win your next FNM, Big Red is not the deck for you. Learning how to Mulligan aggressively is extremely difficult, and expect to lose many times before you get the hang of the deck. But once you do, there will be very few decks that will be able to easily trounce you, and that makes Big Red so big.


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