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April 18, 2019

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Upgrading Lightning Aggro on a Budget

Good evening players! Today we’re looking at the second 2019 Challenger Deck – Lightning Aggro. This will be the second of four articles, feel free to look at the first one here.

As with my first article, I’ll be doing my best to delve into the reasons for the changes, how many changes we’re making, and what the mainboard and sideboard of each deck will look like once everything is said and done.

Given the simplicity of most mono red decks, Lightning Aggro plays straightforward right out of the box. It’s a quick and deadly deck that you’ll want to send straight onto the board, and with the minute changes I’ll be putting into place, every draw will be deadlier than the last.

Let’s take a look at what the deck looks like before the changes:

Lightning Aggro

Creatures: (21)
Fanatical Firebrand
Ghitu Lavarunner
Runaway Steam-Kin
Viashino Pyromancer
Goblin Chainwhirler
Rekindling Phoenix

Sorcery (3)
Lava Coil
Banefire

Instant (12)
Shock
Lightning Strike
Wizard’s Lightning

Enchantment (2)
Experimental Frenzy

Land (22)
22 Mountain

Sideboard (15)
Fight with Fire
Lightning Mare
Diamond Mare
Fiery Cannonade

Change 1

When I first looked at this decklist, there was an immediate eyesore in the form of four Lightning Mares. We’re not playing horse tribal, so let’s swap these for the far superior option of Skewer the Critics. The sheer rate that you’ll be doing damage to your opponent will always make the spectacle cost trigger. The return of Lightning Bolt in Standard? Yes, and it’s here to stay on your mainboard.

Change 2

We’re just hating on horses in this list, aren’t we? Though Diamond Mare can work with the right deck dynamic, it simply doesn’t fit with the ‘gotta go fast’ mentality of this deck. So, with a bit of debating, cutting these chrome horses makes room for other welcome additions, like three copies of Banefire and an extra Rekindling Phoenix. Banefire in particular is a fantastic card that can demonstrate the diversity of red’s removal kit. The Phoenix is there mostly as a backup if the first phoenix is snuffed out.

With all these changes in mind, let’s see what the final product looks like:

Upgraded Lightning Aggro

Creatures: (18)
Fanatical Firebrand
Runaway Steam-kin
Viashino Pyromancer
Goblin Chainwhirler
Rekindling Phoenix

Sorcery (6)
Banefire
Lava Coil

Instant (8)
Shock
Skewer the Critics

Enchantment (2)
Experimental Frenzy

Land (22)
22 Mountain

Sideboard (15)
Fight with Fire
Lightning Strike
Fiery Cannonande
Ghitu Lavarunner

The opening salvo you want for this deck lets you get the most out of your removal kit while giving you enough creatures to keep control of the board. With the sideboard as it is, Fight with Fire is a fantastic addition if you find that you’re getting more mana than you need, while Fiery Cannonade offers a board wipe option if you’re up against a lot of X/1’s and tokens overall.

With that, I hope you find these upgrades on a budget helpful. Until part three, may all your rares be mythics. Happy playing!