This entry is part 8 of 10 in the series Technology

By Mark Mahler

mahler, mark - headshot





This week I’m wrapping up my discussion of mono-red, the color so nice I had to write about it twice.

It’s no secret that we here on CommanderCast are a bit biased in favor of everyone’s favorite underdog, but if there’s one thing that the new Commander 2014 product proved conclusively, it’s that playing mono-red can be a lot more fun and flexible than haters give it credit for.

And he even got the color right.

With that sentiment (and visual) in mind, let’s take a look at some suggestions for ways in which you can let red do it’s thing without catching the wrath of the table.


Targeted LD

Playgroups traditionally eschew mass LD, but I find that no one complains much when you blow up a Gaea’s Cradle. The moral of the story is that people like their lands, but the more outrageous the mana boost (or annoying ability–I’m looking at you, Maze of Ith), the more they need to go boom.


Big thanks go out to Captain Redzone himself for turning me onto this card.  I actually own a few from Revised, but I never considered how truly versatile this card is in mono-red.  Calvin explains its usefulness far better than I can, so give his explanation a listen over on Episode 171: Monocolor Pun.


Bounce an island or blow up a blue permanent. Oh, decisions, decisions…


This card is my definition of a rattlesnake.  Even if you never activate it, it’s worth it just for the fear you’ll instill in their greedy, nonbasic land-lovin’ hearts.


In the interest of full disclosure, playing this dude might still get you stabbed, but the effect is so awesome it might be worth it.


Nobody suspects you to run Annex in mono-red. Though, for that matter, nobody suspects you to run Annex period. This one is mostly good for the lulz it generates.


Have you ever wanted to play Keep-Away with somebody else’s creatures?  Now you can.


Trust me, this makes reference totally makes sense to those of us old enough to appreciate it. You youngins will just have to ask your folks.


Narrow, but surprisingly effective, hate for most any playgroup.  Bonus points if you play it against a Grand Arbiter deck.


Honorable Mention: Yawning Fissure

A Fleshbag Marauder for lands.Sure, you’ll only ever get basic lands with this, but sometimes it’s worth it to set everyone’s manabase back a turn.

Pain cards

Controlling a manabase can often be more about punishing someone for getting greedy with said manabase. With that in mind, here are a few cards that ought to smack your opponent in the face for playing Asuza for the millionth time.


Sometimes the classics are classics for a reason.


There are five “arsonists” in Magic and it’s a crime that the one card that deals with blaze counters isn’t one of them.  On the plus side, it’s nice to be able to repeatedly scale up the damage your opponent receives each turn with this little guy, all for the low, low cost of one & double red.


Should read, “Zo-zu, the Ramp Punisher.” No one will like you for playing this card, but your games sure will end sooner (especially if he’s your commander).


I like to encourage people to run basic lands and pain can be a great motivator. This is also a nice way to shake up your metagame if your playgroup has contracted that most common of Commander ailments: nonbasic land addiction.

Go ahead, Pillowfort, bluff that counterspell.

Honorable Mention: Scald

Yes, yes, I know that I’m the guy that said not to play Boil in EDH because it just makes people salty, but what’s a few points of damage between friends?

Permission Cards

I’m a firm believer that the best types of control in a social game like EDH is less about hard-locks or denial than consequences.  These are some of my favorite picks for allowing your opponent to do anything they want–at a price.


Counterspells are for the weak and cowardly (or so I tell myself anytime I’m not playing blue).  These make sure your opponents are suitably encouraged to let spells resolve.


This guy should read, “Removal Magnet,” because that’s what he becomes the moment you use his activated ability.  In fact, I rarely use him as anything but a rattlesnake card and he excels in that capacity.


As much as I love ramp, it’s a strategy that’s sorely in need of ways to keep it in check.  These two help.

Man, do I love this card. There’s nothing like making your opponent go all in or sit there and stew.

*This has to be the thinnest basis for random pop culture reference I’ve ever made, but it’s worth it.  Be advised: you don’t want to watch this at work or within earshot of small, medium, or probably even large, children. Enjoy.


Honorable Mentions: Shivan Wumpus, Tectonic Instability

And that’s it for me this week, guys & gals.  Thanks again for reading my article.  If you’ve got any favorite mono-red tech for dealing with troublesome manabases that I might have overlooked, feel free to post them below.  

Until next time, remember: blowing up a Gaea’s Cradle or Cabal Coffers is the gift that keeps on giving.

Series Navigation<< Technology: New Year’s ResolutionsTechnology: Resource Denial in Mono-Red, part 1 – Don’t Piss Off the Entire Table >>