Ox of Agonas is Filling Out a Main Deck Near You!
Ox of Agonas is a reasonably established sideboard card… But seeing this in the main deck of Mono-Red Beatdown indicates a heretofore unheard-of level of metagame bias.
It’s not that Mono-Red can’t plausibly play, say, one five drop. But we don’t know that it should be this five drop. (Like Terror of the Peaks might make more sense.) The Mono-Red Beatdown deck doesn’t consistently get to five mana in the first place… So this is a card played in anticipation of being milled by Ruin Crab or one of its buddies. The plan is not to play it for five, but rather to play it for two.
We see multiple copies of the same in Temur Ramp… But that’s at least an archetype that can get to five (often early after a Cultivate).
Weird maybe, but probably good. What’s not good though…
Who Do You Even Want Shatterskull Smashing Against?
Shatterskull Smashing, despite being played typically as a three-of or even four-of in Mono-Red, doesn’t seem good to us at all.
It is the DEFINITION of bad spell and bad land. As a spell, this card doesn’t sit great in a deck that, again, doesn’t get an awful lot of lands onto the battlefield. But its the role as a land that really stings.
All the Mono-Red Aggro decks play four copies of Castle Embereth. Just one Mountain will turn every copy of Castle Embereth you draw “on” for the rest of the game. But what if your first “Mountain” (read: untapped source of red) is a Shatterskull, the Hammer Pass? You’re twice bitten, right? First by the three life you’re forced to invest to get down what is probably a kind of ratty one drop; and then later every time you want to play a Castle Embereth.
This card is increasingly a liability if Mono-Red establishes itself as a top contender. More mirror matches means more opportunities to start the opponent on a free Lava Spike. Ouch!
Totally reasonable in Ramp decks, though.
Speaking of Ratty One Drops…
This card might not look like much, but it’s got nice synergies with Torbran, Castle Embereth, and surprisingly, Embercleave. We envision quite a surprise when the opponent sweeps your board but leaves the ‘cleave.
Way better than that red Steppe Lynx, anyway :/
You Probably Won’t Believe this Yasharn, Implacable Earth deck!
Go ahead. Mike didn’t know what it did initially, either:
Seriously, how great is a four mana / draw two that leaves a 4/4 body? This card is nutso on rate!
… And it even has another line of text!
Sorry, Enchantments-Aristocrats mirror; bigger sorry, Doom Foretold. This Boar is keeping your bacon right where it is!