Metagaming Modern: Skred Red

Skred Red is a mono red control deck that utilizes Blood Moon, Snow-Covered lands and Skred to deal with big creatures that Bolt cannot hit. Despite being a control deck in it’s roots, Skred Red is capable of a fast beatdown after it turns the corner on the back of the likes of Koth of the Hammer and Stormbreath Dragon. There is no consensus about the best build, some choose to play with Boros Reckoner while others look for Thunderbreak Regent or Pia and Kiran Nalaar. In my opinion, it comes down to the number of Abrupt Decays, Lightning Bolts and Terminates in the metagame.

The core

While the creature base is more or less optional, there are some core cards you cannot play without.

3 Blood Moon 3 Mana rocks or Simian Spirit Guides
4 Koth of the Hammer 4 Skred 4 Lightning Bolt 4 sweepers
4 Wincons (Reckoner, Stormbreath, Thundermaw, Pia)
22-23 Snow-Covered Lands (including two Scrying Sheets)

The rest is up to the pilot to pick the best cards for the expected metagame. Many go for mainboard Relic of Progenitus and/or Pyrite Spellbomb, with the latter adding another form of reach or a simple cantrip. As far as card advantage goes, I usually play with one mainboard Chandra, Pyromaster that doubles as an advantage engine as well as a limited removal.

While the deck mulligans and topdecks quite well, it only has a few cantrips and little card advantage or card filtering, meaning that you are susceptible to mana flood or screw. But when the deck works, it does so with an ease. Some players opt for Magma Jet for card filtering, but not much testing has been done.

Snow-Covered Mountain (Photo)

Not many decks are able to fight Koth of the Hammer, which is a main wincon in the deck. With the rise of Nahiri, the Harbinger there are more and more Dreadbores and Pithing Needles running around, but Koth is still a hard planeswalker to beat for most and remains the best wincon we have (and 1-on-1 Koth eats Liliana of the Veil alive)

Stormbreath Dragon is the Go-To dragon in Skred as it dodges Path to Exile and tokens from Lingering Souls while starting the beatdown on the turn you cast it. Even it’s Monstrosity can be relevant when racing or when your opponent has many cards in hand due to Blood Moon preventing him or her from playing Magic the Gathering (auch!). Needless to say, I believe Skred Red is well positioned in the Modern metagame as it thrives against creature based decks.

Stormbreath Dragon Art

The match-ups

Before we start this discussion, let me just say that a turn two Blood Moon (Simian Spirit Guide) can win games on it’s own.

If we go by the Modern Nexus metagame shares, we can see that the whole Tier 1 is literally all creature decks, plus Burn and Jeskai Control. All of the Tier 1 match-ups except Burn are either in favor of Skred, or are a 50-50 game. Resolving a Blood Moon against Jund or a second sweeper against Affinity is enough for the win most of the time. However, as stated before, Skred Red can have some consistency issues due to mana problems, lack of card filtering and a relatively small number of cantrips.

Skred does have a few really bad match-ups, starting with Burn (and Zoo to some extend), GR Tron, Lantern Control, Ad Nauseum, Storm, Through the Breach decks and blue-based tempo decks that are packing a lot of permission. However, against (non-Lantern) control decks Skred plays out a bit like Tron, and we know how that usually goes.

With all the creature decks prevalent, and Dredge becoming more and more popular, a following maindeck Skred Red looks more than decent:

Skred Red by treach, current iteration

Creatures (12)
Thunderbreak Regent
Stormbreath Dragon
Thundermaw Hellkite
Simian Spirit Guide

Planeswalkers (5)
Koth of the Hammer
Chandra, Pyromaster

Artifacts (6)
Pyrite Spellbomb
Relic of Progenitus

Spells (15)
Lightning Bolt
Skred
Anger of the Gods
Volcanic Fallout
Blood Moon
Lands (22)
Scrying Sheets
20 Snow-Covered Mountain

Sideboard (15)
Outpost Siege
Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
Pithing Needle
Ratchet Bomb
Anger of the Gods
Spellskite
Molten Rain
Shatterstorm
Smash to Smithereens
Batterskull
Dragon’s Claw

Bear in mind that this is a current decklist for my local metagame where there are zero Dredge, Storm or Ad Naus decks, so the coast is clear and sideboard has no additional grave hate like Grafdigger’s Cage. Burn count being low is the reason that I dropped the third Dragon’s Claw in favor of a catch-all in Ratchet Bomb.

However, if I were to take the deck to a more competitive event (SCG, Grand Prix, PPTQ, WMCQ), I would probably look to remove Thundermaw Hellkite (pet card) for another mainboard relic, and would try to fit a Sarkhan instead of a Thunderbreak or Stormbreath in the main. I would look to up the number of Dragon’s Claws to three and add a second Spellskite to the board.

Skred Red is definitely not the best deck around, but it’s a decent metagame deck that doesn’t cost a fortune (specially if you already own Blood Moons) and beats on greedy and/or creature-based decks. It has a lot of spot removal and sweepers, and red gives us a good amount of artifact hate as well. I might give it another chance on the upcoming events, but I doubt I will sleeve it for GP Lille.

For more about Skred Red, visit the Primer on MTGSalvation.

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