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Budget Magic: $100 Mono-Red Hollow One (Modern)

Bonjour, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! This week, we're heading to Modern to revisit one of my all-time favorite Budget Magic archetypes—Mono-Red Hollow One—but with a bunch of powerful new Modern Horizons 2 additions! The deck looked a lot different when we first played Mono-Red Hollow One almost three years ago. Faithless Looting was legal, and the deck was very focused on getting value from the graveyard with cards like Prized Amalgam and Bloodghast. Sadly, Hollow One fell out of popularity once Faithless Looting was banned. But now, thanks to Modern Horizons 2 adding cards like Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar, Blazing Rootwalla, and The Underworld Cookbook to the format, the deck looks like it might be back, better and cheaper than ever! Can the new additions return Mono-Red Hollow One to prominence? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Budget Magic: Mono-Red Hollow One

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The Deck

Mono-Red Hollow one is a combo-ish, madness-esque aggro deck. Our main goal is to use cards like Burning Inquiry and Goblin Lore to reduce the cost of Hollow One and power out Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar while also stocking our graveyard with recursive threats like Ox of Agonas and Flamewake Phoenix. When things go well, the deck can get off to some absurdly fast starts, although it also has the ability to grind out longer games thanks to card advantage and graveyard recursion.

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Our namesake Hollow One is the centerpiece of the deck. Our main goal is to use cards like Burning Inquiry and Goblin Lore to make the 4/4 free. With a bit of luck, we potentially can end up with multiple Hollow Ones on the battlefield as early as Turn 1, which is hard for most decks to beat. Of course, Burning Inquiry and Goblin Lore are random, so there's also a chance that they will make us discard things we want to keep in hand (like Hollow One), so the plan is high risk but also high reward. Thankfully, we have a bunch of other cards that can take advantage of Burning Inquiry and Goblin Lore's ability to let us cheaply draw and discard cards.

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Our biggest new additions from Modern Horizons 2 are Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar and The Underworld Cookbook. Since Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar needs us to discard a card for us to be able to cast it (for just a single mana), it's a natural fit with cards like Burning Inquiry and Goblin Lore, along with our other looting and rummaging effects. One Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar hits the battlefield, it's extremely powerful, first tutoring up an The Underworld Cookbook, which offers a more controlled way to discard cards to power out Hollow Ones, get Ox of Agonas into the graveyard, or madness Fiery Temper or Blazing Rootwalla. As we discard cards, we also make Food tokens, which can be helpful against aggro as lifegain but are mostly used with Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar as removal. Sacrificing two Food for a creature to deal six damage to itself actually deals with a lot of creatures in the format and helps to clear the way for our big Hollow One attacks to close out the game.

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We have a few other ways to discard cards to support Hollow One and Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar. We technically can't cast Street Wraith since we don't have any black mana, but it's still one of the best cards in our deck since we can cycle it (which is discarding a card) for two life. This helps us to reduce the cost of Hollow One and also combos with Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar (a Street Wraith cycle allows us to play Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar on Turn 1). Insolent Neonate offers another cheap body that can rummage if we are willing to sacrifice it. Meanwhile, Ox of Agonas is really important to the deck, offering us a way to play a longer game if our aggro plan fails. Thanks to Burning Inquiry and Goblin Lore, Mono-Red Hollow One is really good at filling the graveyard, which allows us to escape Ox of Agonas for just two mana to refill our hand. In longer games, we can often do this several times as Ox of Agonas will end up dying and going back to the graveyard, making it an almost unbeatable (outside of graveyard hate) source of card advantage against removal-heavy control and midrange decks.

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Rounding out our main deck are two old Hollow One staples and a powerful new addition. Flameblade Adept can deal a lot of damage for just a single mana, in conjunction with Goblin Lore and Burning Inquiry to pump it by making us discard cards. Some of our best starts involving playing it on Turn 1, following up with Burning Inquiry on Turn 2 to make it a 4/2 menace, and then dumping our hand of Hollow Ones and Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar. Flamewake Phoenix is just a two-of, but it offers another card that is good to discard since we can get it back from the graveyard cheaply as a hasty 2/2 flier once we get a Hollow One or Ox of Agonas (or a pumped Flameblade Adept) on the battlefield. 

As for our new addition, Blazing Rootwalla is pretty absurd in our deck, giving us a threat that we can play for free if we discard it. This helps us get off to even faster starts. In our perfect world, we'll be discarding cards to Burning Inquiry or Goblin Lore on the first two turns of the game to get Hollow One and Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar onto the battlefield. Any Blazing Rootwallas we discard happen to come along for free. While a 1/1 for one might not sound like much, being able to pump it into a three-power creature for just a single mana makes it a real threat, especially when we manage to go wide with a bunch of creatures, making it tough for our opponent to block them all.

Playing the Deck

By far my biggest tip for playing the deck is that, thanks to the addition of Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar, it is often better to wait until Turn 2 before casting Burning Inquiry. While it might be tempting to fire it off on Turn 1 in the hopes of hitting a Hollow One or two, if we wait until Turn 2, we can Burning Inquiry, play any Hollow Ones we have in hand for free, and also play an Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar. Of course, playing Burning Inquiry on Turn 1 makes sense if our hand has a couple of Hollow Ones and no Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar, but it's no longer the default thanks to Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar.

Speaking of Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar, a single Street Wraith allows us to play it for one mana on Turn 1, which is a really solid start, even if it isn't as explosive as having multiple Hollow Ones. 

The combo of The Underworld Cookbook and Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar is extremely powerful in a lot of matchups. One of Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar's biggest upsides is that it is a repeatable removal spell if we have Food to sacrifice. As a result, it is often wise to discard extra land or cards like Ox of Agonas to The Underworld Cookbook aggressively, even if we don't have an Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar, so that when we do get it on the battlefield, we'll have enough Food tokens to sacrifice to kill one or two of our opponent's creatures immediately.

One of the biggest upsides of this build of Mono-Red Hollow One is that it doesn't really care about the graveyard all that much. The first version we played in 2018 couldn't really beat graveyard hate since it was very focused on things like Bloodghast and Prized Amalgam. This build is more madness based. While graveyard hate is still fine against us since it shuts down Ox of Agonas and Flamewake Phoenix, it isn't an automatic loss since cards like Blazing RootwallaAsmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar, and Hollow One don't care about Rest in Peace or Leyline of the Void. The drawback is that we're slightly slower since we don't have the possibility of discarding multiple Prized Amalgams and Bloodghast and getting them into play for free on Turn 2.

Wrap Up

All in all, we finished 3-2 with Mono-Red Hollow One, which is a fine record for a budget deck. Both of our losses (and a couple of our wins) were incredibly close, coming down to a single card or point of damage, and really could have gone either way. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Mono-Red Hollow One is how good it was at grinding out longer games. We didn't get any free-win draws where we had multiple Hollow Ones on Turn 1, but we did play some really long, grindy games, and thanks to Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar and Ox of Agonas, we were able to fight through removal and keep up on resources. While the possibility of super-fast starts might make the deck look like a glass cannon, in reality, it is surprisingly good at playing a long, fair game of Magic.

As far as changes to make to the budget build of the deck, I'm not sure there really are any. I tried Dragon's Rage Channeler in the deck, and while it could be good, it's somewhat hard to turn on without Mishra's Bauble, which is a bit too expensive for the budget. Vengevine would be the biggest addition to the deck, but it's way too expensive to fit into the budget build. While Hollow One has a lot of possibilities as far as upgrades, they all require adding a bunch of money to the budget.

So, should you play Mono-Red Hollow One in Modern? I think the answer is yes. The deck is a solid budget option with the ability to pick up fast wins but also grind out longer games. It can also be upgraded in a few ways, which is always a nice option to have if you pick up a budget deck. If you like spinning to win and crazy, random things happening, Mono-Red Hollow One might be the perfect budget Modern deck for you!

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I almost didn't include an ultra-budget build this week, mostly because getting Mono-Red Hollow One down near $50 requires cutting most of our sweet new Modern Horizons 2 editions, which makes the deck look a lot more like the original version we played a few years ago. Without Asmor and The Underworld Cookbook, our best bet is to go graveyard heavy with Prized Amalgam, Scourge Devil, Hellspark Elemental, and Flamewake Phoenix. This makes the deck super explosive (likely even more explosive than the build we play for the video) but also much more likely to get destroyed by graveyard hate. We also lose much of our ability to play the long game since Ox of Agonas and Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar are two of our best cards for grinding out incremental value. This isn't to say that the ultra-budget build is bad—I think it can still win a decent number of games—it's just a lot different from the normal budget build. Hopefully, Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar keeps dropping in price as Modern Horizons 2 is opened, which would make it a lot easier to build a $50 budget version of the build we played today.

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For our non-budget build, we have the Feasting Troll King Hollow One deck that has been increasing in popularity in Modern since the release of Modern Horizons 2. The biggest addition to the deck is Vengevine, which is pretty insane in a deck with multiple creatures that can be played for free. If we can discard a Vengevine or two and then cast our Hollow Ones and Blazing Rootwallas, we can build an unbeatable board as early as Turn 1. Feasting Troll King gives us even more graveyard value and another way to take advantage of the Food we make with The Underworld Cookbook. While the tier version of the deck plays a bunch of dual lands so you can hard-cast Vengevine and maybe even Feasting Troll King, this isn't 100% necessary. You could play the exact same list (swapping Ancient Grudge in the sideboard for something like Ingot Chewer) with an all-Mountain mana base, and it would play the same most of the time, while also dropping the cost of the deck down near $200, which would make the deck look something like this...

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Anyway, that's all for today! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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