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Much Abrew: Five-Color Mono-Red Dragonlords (Pioneer)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. This week, we're heading to Pioneer to play a deck that manages to be both mono-red and five-color while also playing nearly every Dragons of Tarkir Elder Dragon and Tiamat to find them, which I guess makes the deck Five-Color Mono-Red Dragonlords! How can a deck be both mono-red and five-color? Are Elder Dragons like Dragonlord Dromoka, Dragonlord Silumgar, and Dragonlord Atarka even good in Pioneer? Let's get to the video and find out on today's Much Abrew About Nothing!

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Much Abrew: 5C Mono-R Dragonlords

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  • Record-wise, we ended up going 3-2 in our Pioneer league, although the deck felt pretty solid in general. The only match that didn't feel especially close was our loss to Enigmatic Fires, where our opponent simply out-valued us with Yorion, Sky Nomad, Enigmatic Incarnation, and blink synergies, and even that match went three games. While the deck looks a bit funky in paper, it actually played really well, especially against aggro and midrange creature decks.
  • To answer the question in the intro ("How can a deck be both five-color and mono-red?"), the answer here is twofold. First, we have a bunch of Treasure production from cards like Magda, Brazen Outlaw, Goldspan Dragon, and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, which offer one-shot ways of making mana outside of red while also ramping us into our Dragons. Second is our mana base, which is technically mono-red but does have five-color Dragon lands like Haven of the Spirit Dragon, Temple of the Dragon Queen, and Secluded Courtyard. This combination actually proved to be pretty effective at letting us cast our off-color Dragons. I only remember one game where we had a Dragonlord stuck in hand that we couldn't cast because of mana-color issues (it was a Dragonlord Silumgar that we got back from the graveyard by sacrificing a Haven of the Spirit Dragon), which is pretty impressive considering the wild mana costs of our deck.
  • Overall, the plan is pretty simple: cast big Dragons and trust that they'll win us the game, which they usually will. Ideally, we'll spend the early game ramping and killing things and then slam Dragon after Dragon until our opponent can no longer keep up. 
  • As for the Dragons themselves, we didn't really get to do anything with Tiamat, mostly because we just didn't draw it. Dragonlord Ojutai also never hit the battlefield, but the other three Elder Dragons—Dragonlord Dromoka, Dragonlord Silumgar, and Dragonlord Atarka—were all impressive. Dragonlord Dromoka specifically felt incredibly strong, offering a huge lifelinker against aggro and then also being solid against control as counterspell hate. I came away feeling like it was super underrated in Pioneer. Dragonlord Silumgar won us a couple of games by stealing our opponent's best creature, although it does come with some risk since our opponent can potentially kill Silumgar and get their creature back mid-combat for a blowout. Finally, Dragonlord Atarka felt unbeatable for most aggro decks, coming down to wrath away their board and, as an 8/8, being difficult to kill, although it does cost seven mana, which can sometimes make it a challenge to live long enough to cast it.
  • Apparently, Dragon's Fire cares about the power of the Dragon you reveal, not its mana value. Today, I learned...
  • One card I'm really not sure about is Magda, Brazen Outlaw. We got to see the good and the bad of the two-drop in our league. We did have a game where we got to five Treasures and used Magda to tutor up Dragonlord Silumgar, and it essentially won us the game on the spot. On the other hand, as a 2/1 for two, in some matchups, Magda, Brazen Outlaw gets stonewalled by small creatures and doesn't do much of anything at all. Perhaps its biggest upside is that opponents think of it as a scary card so they tend to spend removal on it, which is one less removal spell to kill a Dragon.
  • While the deck felt great against aggro, we did get seriously out-valued by the Enigmatic Incarnation deck, which made me wonder if we could use some more card draw in the deck to help keep up with control and grindy midrange decks. More copies of Dragon's Hoard might be the answer. The mana rock was great pretty much every time we drew it, ramping us into our Dragons and typically drawing a couple of extra cards. I could imagine finding room for the full four copies rather than the current two. Another interesting possibility is Sarkhan, Fireblood, which is great ramp and filtering but might just die too fast to really be effective, especially against aggro, considering we don't have that many early-game blockers. While the deck felt good enough in its current format, I think there is still room for brewing and improving.
  • So, should you play Five-Color Mono-Red Dragonlords in Pioneer? If you're a fan of Dragons, I think the answer is an easy yes. While I don't think the deck is broken, and it might not even be top tier, it did feel powerful and managed to post a winning record while playing some spicy, old Elder Dragons that don't usually show up in Pioneer!


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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