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Budget Magic: $58 (11-Rare) Mono-Red Plot Prowess (Standard)

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another edition of Budget Magic! This week, we're heading to Outlaws of Thunder Junction Standard to see if we can plot our way to some Turn 3 kills with Slickshot Show-Off! The idea of the deck is interesting—it's partly a Mono-Red Prowess deck—but thanks to plot, it also sort of plays like an odd storm deck, where we can plot a bunch of cards and then cast them all in one huge combo turn. Oh yeah, and all of this can happen as early as Turn 3, and all for just $58 in paper or 11 total rares on Magic Arena! How good is plot? Is Slickshot Show-Off as busted as it looks? Let's find out!

Budget Magic: Mono-Red Plot-less

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The Deck

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At first glance, our deck today looks like a Mono-Red Prowess deck, and in some ways, we are. As far as threats, each one either has prowess (or pseudo-prowess) or, in the case of Kumano Faces Kakkazan, triggers prowess. Ideally, we'll stack some of these cards up on the battlefield, sling some spells to grow their power, and kill our opponent in just a couple of massive attacks.

What makes the deck unique is Slickshot Show-Off. The card is wild. It's essentially a flying, hasty Kiln Fiend that we can also plot, which is hugely relevant to how the card plays. I've played a ton of Kiln Fiend decks, and the biggest problem with the two-drop is that you have to run it out and wait for it to lose summoning sickness before it can attack. If it survives, it's pretty easy to one-shot kill opponents, but it doesn't survive that often. Slickshot Show-Off solves this problem with plot. For two mana, we can plot it, then cast it for free (with haste) on the turn we're ready to combo off, and win the game.

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But Slickshot Show-Off isn't our only plot card. We also have Demonic Ruckus and Highway Robbery. Much like with Slickshot Show-Off, we're hoping to plot these early in the game and store them up for one big, game-ending combo turn, with Demonic Ruckus pumping a creature and giving it trample, and Highway Robbery drawing us through our deck to make sure we can cast enough spells to make our prowess threats lethal. 

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Backup up our plot cards and prowess threats are Monstrous Rage and Antagonize, as pump spells to help us force through as much damage as possible. Meanwhile, Play with Fire and Lightning Strike give us burn spells that can deal with small creatures, if necessary, or go face to help close out the game. 

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Last but not least, we have a couple of copies of Wrenn's Resolve as additional card draw, and a couple of Scorching Shots to take down bigger creatures.


Record-wise, we went 9-1 with Mono-Red Plot-less, although as I've mentioned before, I don't really put much weight into records on early-access day because everyone is trying out new things. Instead, what is more important is how the decks, cards, and synergies feel. This is where the deck really shined. Across our matches, we got a bunch of Turn 4 kills (I'm pretty sure that's the average kill turn if you goldfish the deck), along with a couple of Turn 3 kills (or near Turn 3 kills) thrown in for fun. The deck is incredibly explosive, super consistent, and surprisingly strong.

The plot plan of the deck was a lot better than I expected. When I first saw the mechanic, my gut reaction was, "Why would I want to pay for my thing now but not get it until the following turn?" But it turns out that the mechanic is actually super strong if you build around it. The ability to plot Slickshot Show-Off and cast it for free (hopefully while our opponent is tapped down) with all of our mana up to cast spells in order to trigger its ability and grow its power is wild. The card might actually be broken, to the point where it could easily be Modern playable. That said, I sort of expected Slickshot Show-Off to be busted. What surprised me was the lesser plot cards like Demonic Ruckus and Highway Robbery. Those cards don't read as strong as Slickshot Show-Off, but they played really well in the deck. Don't sleep on plot; the mechanic is a lot more impactful than it looks at first glance. 

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One other thing I really like about the deck is its upgrade potential. While I wouldn't change much of anything about the mono-red build, it would be pretty easy to splash into a second color. Green would add things like Picnic Ruiner and Questing Druid, while blue would add counterspells and some other spellslinging payoffs. The mono-red budget version played so well that I'm not sure these upgrades are necessary, but the archetype's flexibility—being a super-strong mono-colored budget deck but also having two-color upgrade potential—is certainly an upside of the deck.

So, should you play Mono-Red Plot-less in Standard? As I mentioned before, it's risky to read to much into early-access day, but the deck played so well and felt so strong that I think there's a decent chance this is one of the—if not the—best budget deck for Outlaws of Thunder Junction Standard. If you're looking for something super cheap that can win a ton of games, give the deck a try! Slickshot Show-Off is that good!


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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