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The SCG Tour® stop in Dallas last weekend showed us that Ramunap Red, U/W Approach, and Energy-based decks are still the decks to beat. Personally, I'm not one to choose among the Tier 1 decks to bring to any given tournament. Instead I like looking between the cracks to find something solid that isn't on everyone's radar.
I love to play aggro when people aren't expecting it. Ramunap Red is far too popular to play for my tastes, which has me looking into other colors for something similar, yet fresh.
- 4 Scrapheap Scrounger
- 4 Dread Wanderer
- 4 Glint-Sleeve Siphoner
- 4 Night Market Lookout
- 4 Vicious Conquistador
- 3 Hazoret the Fervent
- 3 Yahenni, Undying Partisan
We've seen iterations of Ramunap Red with a slight black splash before, sometimes for Ammit Eternal, and sometimes for Scrapheap Scrounger, Unlicensed Disintegration, or both. What we haven't seen is a base-black deck splashing for a few red cards.
Dragonskull Summit is secretly a big addition to the manabase of a deck like B/R Aggro. Foreboding Ruins and Smoldering Marsh were extremely bad for me when I played Ramunap Red splashing black for Scrapheap Scrounger back in the Team Constructed Open in Atlanta. Entering the battlefield tapped is horrific. Dragonskull Summit lets you lead on your basic land and only need one of them to be untapped.
Truth is, the red one-drops aren't very good anymore. Falkenrath Gorger was more important than it looked and even Village Messenger has been missed too. The problem now is red doesn't have two-power creatures on Turn 1 anymore. Soul-Scar Mage has been justifiably bumped up to a four-of, but still needs work to be two power. There isn't too much room in Ramunap Red for noncreature spells for prowess. Bomat Courier is fine, but it doesn't beat down as potently as I want.
Rigging Runner is unreliable in the same way that Goblin Glory Chaser was. It needs a certain situation to become a fully powered 2/2, and if the requirement is never met, then you're left with a very poor piece of cardboard. Rigging Runner is basically never a card I want to cast on Turn 1. Even if I followed up on Turn 2 with two more Rigging Runners, I wouldn't be ecstatic about my battlefield position.
Black is the color with the highest density of "two-power" creatures for one mana. Vicious Conquistador and Night Market Lookout can finish off the opponent with their attack triggers if they're low enough. The resiliency of Dread Wanderer is the main appeal for playing a black-based aggro deck. The ping effects are sweet to actually finish off games. Still, more reach is nice to have.
Lightning Strike and Hazoret the Fervent are possibly the best two spells in the Ramunap Red deck. Neither requires you to have red mana in the early turns, either. By this I mean casting Lightning Strike isn't a necessity, as you are likely to want to progress your battlefield. Hazoret is best after you've dumped your hand, which of course is later in the game too.
You're a little soft to Glorybringer now that Grasp of Darkness is gone. I don't quite like Walk the Plank and think Lightning Strike is a better choice for that slot. I wouldn't mess with Abrade and would rather focus on killing opponents rather than artifacts.
Your two-drops have card advantage elements that complement the aggressive nature of your one-drops. Aether Hub and Glint-Sleeve Siphoner make a mini-combo on their own that can get you up a card very early. Scrapheap Scrounger hasn't been showing up much since the decline of Mardu Vehicles, but when the time is right, I think Scrapheap Scrounger is going to make a comeback in a big way. B/R Aggro is one of the best shells for it right now.