The 2014 Optimal Multiplayer Cube - Red

The Optimal Multiplayer Cube - 2014

  1. Introduction
  2. White
  3. Blue
  4. Black
  5. Red
  6. Green
  7. Gold
  8. Colourless
  9. Non-Basic Land
  10. Optimal Multiplayer Cube 2014
  11. Budget Version
  12. Legacy-Legal Version
  13. Conclusion


The red vote was completed on October 20th 2014.

The Top 40
The red section in a 360-card cube is 50 cards in size. As we are listing the top 80% we are after the top 40 cards in our power rankings for red. In order, these were:
  1. Insurrection (20.0)
  2. Blasphemous Act (17.3)
  3. Purphoros, God of the Forge (17.0)
  4. Rolling Earthquake (14.5)
  5. Earthquake (14.0)
  6. Taurean Mauler (10.0)
  7. Wheel of Fortune (9.8)
  8. Sulfuric Vortex (9.3)
  9. Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker (8.5)
  10. Vicious Shadows (8.3)
  11. Mass Mutiny (8.3)
  12. Balefire Dragon (6.5)
  13. Fanatic of Mogis (6.0)
  14. Chandra's Spitfire (5.3)
  15. Comet Storm (4.8)
  16. Mana Geyser (4.5)
  17. Wildfire (4.0)
  18. Urabrask the Hidden (4.0)
  19. Sneak Attack (3.8)
  20. Destructive Force (3.5)
  21. Banefire (3.3)
  22. Krenko, Mob Boss (3.3)
  23. Goblin Welder (3.3)
  24. Reforge the Soul (3.0)
  25. Chain Reaction (2.5)
  26. Scourge of Geier Reach (2.3)
  27. Repercussion (2.3)
  28. Guttersnipe (2.3)
  29. Goblin Bombardment (2.0)
  30. Gratuitous Violence (2.0)
  31. Molten Primordial (2.0)
  32. Splinter Twin (1.8)
  33. Thundermaw Hellkite (1.8)
  34. Mana Flare (1.3)
  35. Possibility Storm (1.3)
  36. Viashino Heretic (1.0)
  37. Acidic Soil (0.5)
  38. Dwarven Blastminer (0.5)
  39. Stormbreath Dragon (0.5)
  40. Dragonmaster Outcast (0.3)

The Curve

Okay, the problems with the initial curve...
  • Our creature-to-spell balance here is 16-24. Not the worst we've laid eyes on, but we still have to do four swaps to get this balance right.
  • The curve is currently at 5-4-8-6-10-7. This looks wacked out, but red always has - it generally looks like an inverse curve, with large amounts of low- and high-casting-cost cards, with sod all useful in the middle. As we can see, we've made large strides in the last year or two at CC5 (probably too much)... it would be nice to at least try to smooth it out a little bit.
  • We've been trying to keep our global resets to a minimum, and red is pretty high on them - two Earthquake variants, two Wildfire variants, Chain Reaction and Blasphemous Act are all here. We probably want to halve this.

Fixing the Holes

Fixing the Creature/Spell Ratio
We need to drop four spells for four creatures. Let's kill two birds with one stone first of all, and drop an Earthquake variant, a Wildfire variant and one of the other reset spells.
Rolling Earthquake is better than Earthquake in a vacuum, but let's be honest... most of us are only ever going to have proxies of this (unless we splashed out for FtV:Annihilation), and we're only going to be removing it when we get to the budget section, so let's stick with Earthquake.
Wildfire is the classic version and cheaper to cast than Destructive Force, so we'll keep that onboard too.
Blasphemous Act was one of our top cards, so we're obliged to keep that ahead of Chain Reaction.
-1 Rolling Earthquake
-1 Destructive Force
-1 Chain Reaction
From there, we're trying to drop a CC5 card or two as well, so let's drop the lowest-ranked CC5 spell. That would be Possibility Storm.
-1 Possibility Storm
We actually had four decent creatures in the bottom of our red count this year, too! Let's add those...
+1 Hateflayer
+1 Kargan Dragonlord
+1 Moonveil Dragon
+1 Norin the Wary

Fixing the Curve
After the above swaps, creatures now have a curve of 3-3-3-2-5-4, spells a curve of 2-2-5-3-4-4, and we have an overall curve of 5-5-8-5-9-8. That's close to as good as we can get. Let's just drop one more CC5 card for a CC4 one, just to make that divot in the curve a little smoother.
The lowest CC5 spell left in is Stormbreath Dragon, which is fine to drop... that's only going to get removed in the budget version anyway.
-1 Stormbreath Dragon
There are no CC4 creatures left in this year's tally, so we're back into 2013 for one. That would give us the always-useful Flametongue Kavu... good pick!
+1 Flametongue Kavu

Budget Constraints
Three cards in this list (just - damn your price, Wheel of Fortune!)...
Last year, we replaced Wheel of Fortune with Molten Psyche, which remains a good straight swap.
For Kiki, Born of the Gods gave us Felhide Spiritbinder, which pretends it can do the same thing. In reality, it's nowhere near as good, but it's the budget edition of Kiki alright.
There is absolutely nothing like Sneak Attack, though, so it's probably safer to just go and find the next-best 4CC red spell. There weren't any more at this CC this year, so we head back into the 2013 vote, and that gives us Furnace of Rath.
-1 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
-1 Sneak Attack
-1 Wheel of Fortune
+1 Felhide Spiritbinder
+1 Furnace of Rath
+1 Molten Psyche

Archetypes to Add
The mana curve for red currently looks like:
That's about as nice as we'll ever get red's curve looking. Let's just make sure our last ten cards are as evenly-spread, and things will be fine.
Red has traditionally been bad at having solid archetypes in Multiplayer cube, but it's slowly getting there.

Goblins: This tribe has always traditionally been too aggro for Multiplayer (i.e. it takes out one player, and then runs out of gas and gets stomped on). However, a few cards are now bringing this into the realms of playability. It wins by generating masses of Goblin tokens. We already have Krenko and Purphoros in our 40, and that's a great start. We also want to see Siege-Gang Commander and Goblin Warrens in here at the very least (and while Khans of Tarkir wasn't a valid vote for this year's cube, the KTK uncommon Goblinslide is also worth a look if you wish to build your own).
Direct Damage: Red has always been good at burn, but it's been hard to ramp enough in a Limited environment like Cube to make this work. As such, you want to be running burn spells that recurse (like Red Sun's Zenith and Fanning the Flames), along with the great cards we already have in our 40 (particularly Comet Storm, Banefire and Mana Flare). Setting out the five spells is easy, but the creatures are much harder. Anything that is draftable and allows ramp is a good start (such as the underrated Soulbright Flamekin), but after that, you probably just want to put in anything that plays nicely.
Dragons: Timmy's favourite archetype for red, this basically consists of Dragonspeaker Shaman, Crucible of Fire, the four best dragons not in our 40, and four decent spells to back them up. And then get out of the way, obviously. Smile
Blanket Damage: This is a fast red Multiplayer deck built around Sulfuric Vortex and global damage. Most of the pieces for this have been voted into the 40 already - Vortex, Repercussion, Acidic Soil, Blasphemous Act and Chandra's Spitfire are all decent pieces for this. You will also want to run Flame Rift, Sizzle and Quest for Pure Flame at the very least, along with perhaps Coalhauler Swine on the creature side. But be aware - this archetype is very dependent on Glacial Chasm being available in the land section, and also really wants Spitemare and/or Boros Reckoner in the Boros section, so it does bleed into other sections of the cube.

Example Goblin Archetype
+1 Siege-Gang Commander (Loves being next to Krenko and Purphoros)
+1 Goblin Rabblemaster (New Goblin-centric lord)
+1 Ib Halfheart, Goblin Tactician (A Goblin lord that makes opponents not want to block)
+1 Goblin Wardriver (A useful little battle cry dude)
+1 other decent Goblin creature (There are a few worth considering, such as Skirk Prospector, Skirk Fire Marshal, Goblin Piledriver or Warren Instigator).
+1 Goblin Warrens (Spams out goblin tokens like crazy)
+1 Empty the Warrens (Goblinstorm!)
+1 Mogg Infestation (A surprisingly flexible one-sided Wrath)
+1 Goblin Offensive (Spams out more tokens)
+1 other Goblin spell (Either something that makes more goblins or makes use of them in the same way Goblin Bombardment does... Goblin Grenade is great, but it may short on sacrifice targets here).

Example Direct Damage Archetype
+1 Soulbright Flamekin (A little red ramper who has his uses)
+1 Chandra's Phoenix (Recurses next to burn)
+1 Fire Servant (Damage doubler)
+1 Satyr Firedancer (Likes having damage thrown around)
+1 creature that ramps (e.g. Emrakul's Hatcher, Exuberant Firestoker)
+1 Red Sun's Zenith (Recursable burn spell)
+1 Fanning the Flames (And another one)
+1 Chandra, the Firebrand (Forks your spells)
+2 more burn spells of choice (this would be where you add in Rolling Earthquake if you have it!) Smile



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