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Much Abrew: Mono-Red Devotion (Explorer)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Explorer Anthology II was finally released on Magic Arena, and while it has a bunch of sweet cards to help turn Explorer into real Pioneer, by far the most important of these cards is Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. While we already know what Nykthos can do in Mono-Green Devotion, some of the other colors—like Mono-Red Devotion, for example—can do even more hilarious and explosive things! Can Mono-Red Devotion compete in Pioneer? What sweet shenanigans does it enable? Let's get to the video and find out on today's Much Abrew About Nothing!

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Much Abrew: Mono-Red Devotion

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  • Record-wise, Mono-Red Devotion crushed it! We went 5-0 across five matches at mid-Platinum on Magic Arena, only dropping a single game along the way, and that was mostly because we got stuck on three lands for the entire game! While Mono-Green Devotion is still one of the scariest decks in Explorer (and Pioneer), Mono-Red doesn't feel that far behind!
  • Mono-Red Devotion's plan is pretty simple: add as many red mana symbols to the battlefield as possible to power up Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx and then dump our hand with the absurd amount of mana Nykthos makes. 
  • One of the biggest upsides of Mono-Red Devotion, as compared to other colors, is that it gets a lot of "free" red mana symbols thanks to Burning-Tree Emissary and Leyline of Combustion, which help us get off to some super-explosive starts. The deck also gets a surprising amount of removal that also adds mana symbols to the battlefield, with cards like Bonecrusher Giant, Chandra, Torch of Defiance, and Goblin Chainwhirler
  • It's also worth pointing out that, unlike some other devotion decks, Mono-Red Devotion actually has a pretty realistic shot of winning if we don't draw Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, just by curving out with random, decent red creatures and planeswalkers. While the Nykthos games are the deck's big selling point, it's functional enough when played fairly without Nykthos mana too.
  • There are two primary plans for winning the game. First, we can just go super wide thanks to Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx mana and beat our opponent down with random red creatures. Second, we have Fanatic of Mogis, which potentially can burn the opponent out of the game directly if we get enough red pips on the battlefield or manage to stick Fiery Emancipation. A Fanatic of Mogis dealing triple damage is almost always lethal.
  • My favorite part of Mono-Red Devotion is its weird stax plan. Cards like Eidolon of the Great Revel and Leyline of Combustion are in our deck mostly to add red mana symbols to the battlefield, but they also punish our opponent with two damage whenever they cast a cheap spell (for Eidolon) or target us or our permanents (for Leyline). While two damage here and there isn't going to end most games, things become even more exciting once we start adding cards to the battlefield that increase that damage. With Torbran, Thane of Red Fell on the battlefield, each Leyline or Eidolon trigger hits our opponent for four. With Fiery Emancipation, they hit for six. And if we ever manage to get both Torbran and Emancipation on the battlefield at the same time, the damage from Eidolon of the Great Revel and Leyline of Combustion will double up to four by Torbran, Thane of Red Fell and then triple by Fiery Emancipation, making each trigger smack our opponent for a massive 12 damage!
  • So, should you play Mono-Red Devotion in Explorer? I think the answer is yes! The deck does some really sweet and powerful things, and our win rate was great! While I don't think it's quite as broken as Mono-Green Devotion (Karn, the Great Creator is an absurd card), it felt strong enough to at least be a solid second-tier deck; one that can do some hilariously explosive things with the right draws!


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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