Full Force is a weekly draft series focusing on specific archetypes or build around cards in the newest sets. Stop by every week for a new episode!
Looking back at what I have done for Legacy Cube so far, I was a little surprised I didn’t yet cover Mono-Red. It’s so perfect for a Full Force episode! Mono-Red almost demands that you force it from the start. The deck is so focused on getting “bad” cards that are cheap and overwhelming the opponent that it becomes pretty difficult to jump ship once you’re in it. It’s an archetype that rewards a slavish devotion to the colour, ignoring other bombs (I’d easily take a late Magma Jet over a late Consecrated Sphinx if I was sure I was Mono-Red).
Be very careful though. Mono-Red requires you to “force” it, but it also can’t support multiple drafters. It requires a lot of one and two drop creatures and if you are stuck fighting over them your deck will end up awful. For this reason you need to pay very close attention to what is wheeling out of the packs. If you take a Lightning Bolt, hoping to wheel a Jackal Pup and it doesn’t come back it’s a good sign to start looking for an exit strategy.
When I said that Mono-Red needs to draft traditionally “bad” cards, I really mean it. A pitfall I see a lot of Mono-Red decks falling into is drafting cards like Inferno Titan, Stormbreath Dragon, and other five and six drops. I’ve definitely had decks that needed to play those cards to fill the last slots, but I’ve never had a good Mono-Red deck that wanted those. You want cheap and fast, which doesn’t always equate to what people think of as good. Thundermaw Hellkite is a great five drop, but I will easily take a one or two drop over it. The goal is to get your manabase down to fifteen lands (or less!) so that your deck can constantly draw pressure; which you just can’t do and reliably cast a bunch of four or five cost spells.
Picking low drops early lets you be selective with the few bigger things you do want. I try not to play more than three or four cards that cost four or more but there are a few I always look for. Koth of the Hammer is one of the best cards in Mono-Red, despite being a four drop. Hellrider and Hero of Oxid Ridge (Hero is not in this iteration of Cube) are the other big hauls. They’re good because they have an immediate impact, with both haste and relevant abilities, and can close out a game fast.
Now that we’ve gone over the tips for drafting a Mono-Red deck, let’s talk about game 2 of round 1 from the video.
I had some bad luck in the video and I turned my bad luck into tilt and killed myself in game two by keeping a hand that I shouldn’t have. There’s no perfect way to get rid of “tilt”, that frustration you get that leads to misplays, but it helps to take a step away. I did the right thing at first, I looked at the odds of my draw working out, but then immediately decided to go against those odds and gamble with a very risky hand. Magic Online gives you a lot of time to make a move, especially if you have a fast deck like this. Don’t jump into it. Stand up, take a break, and walk away.
For almost a decade I worked with children and adults with special needs. I was on a team with Behavioural Therapists, Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, and more. From that experience I can tell you it is can be hard to control your emotions and be rational at times, but there are a lot of techniques that you can use to increase your focus and calm yourself. A cold glass of water is both alerting and calming. Exercise helps focus and relieves stress as does deep breathing techniques or having a crunchy snack like crackers or a piece of gum. Your mouth and jaw is the center of a lot of nerves and pressure from chewing or a massage can help you refocus. There’s a reason when people are stressed or thinking you’ll see a lot of this:
It’s not easy to do in the moment, but using some calming techniques is really useful to help clear your head and make the right decision. Online this is pretty easy, in person it’s more difficult, but be prepared. The next time you go to a GP take some gum with you, or a bottle of water. A quick pause, a few sips, or some gum to chew can make a big difference.
Next week Full Force dives into the next set Amonkhet! Prepare for the Trials!