Aggro decks are good in the early days of a format.
This piece of Magic advice is so often quoted that it would be cliche were it not so frequently borne out in tournament results. Players bring untuned decks and brews that won't pan out, and the easiest way to capitalize on these decks is to bring a streamlined aggressive deck that consistently punishes stumbling.
That said, the bread-and-butter red aggressive deck hasn't taken hold since the release of Kaladesh. Vehicles looked to be that aggro deck, but it morphed into a midrange deck, and Smuggler's Copter, one of the best aggressive tools, especially for discard-focused red decks, was banned.
But red aggro never dies; it merely goes dormant until the format has a critical mass of efficient, aggressive cards. Hour of Devastation didn't give the deck many new tools, but it looks like the tools it does have are enough to push red aggro over the threshold of viability.
The primary gain is Earthshaker Khenra, a great way to push through annoying early blockers on the first few turns and punch through the last points of damage should the game go long. The versatility there is key, and something that red aggro hasn't had access to. Ramunap Ruins adds another mana sink at essentially no cost, so while it may not look like much, the incredibly low opportunity cost makes it a significant addition.
The sum of the parts is a deck that has plenty of reach through haste creatures and direct damage as well as a pile of built-in ways to make blocking very difficult for your opponents. The threat of these Falter effects puts them in difficult positions where they want to trade off resources and protect their life total, but they are never sure they will get the chance to.
It remains to be seen whether this deck will settle in as a top-tier option in the format or a fringe deck, but it's good to see a classic archetype return to the limelight.
- 4 Bomat Courier
- 4 Ahn-Crop Crasher
- 4 Bloodrage Brawler
- 4 Earthshaker Khenra
- 4 Falkenrath Gorger
- 2 Reckless Bushwhacker
- 4 Soul-Scar Mage
- 2 Hazoret the Fervent
- 1 Kari Zev, Skyship Raider