Lavaclaw Hammer

I've been testing this list for a while now and I've not lost yet. Beating U/W/R Control, U/B Control, RDW, Infect and Eldrazi Green so far. Check it out.

Now that I've got time I'm going to throw a bunch of stuff together and explain the reasoning behind my choices, as well as pointing out how the deck works.

Win Conditions:

This is a pretty good threat density, considering all the support that they have in the form of burn, and supporting creatures. Lavaclaw Reaches is the unexpected one added. I think that it doesn't get enough credit, and as a manland for this deck has won me as many games as Koth and Dragonlord have.


Again, along with the high finisher density there is a large amount of helpers that can give you the extra push, or just outright seal the game. Lightning Bolt and Staggershock ride the line between 'helper' and 'utility' for me, as they can be used as both (though all the instants and sorceries complement the Kiln Fiend.) Kiln Fiend rides the line between 'helper' and 'win con' and the only reason it doesn't belong with the latter is its fragility.


This is where the true strength of splashing black shows itself. The ability to doom blade something is invaluable to an aggro deck like this, especially when staring down a BSA or Wurmcoil. All of a sudden you can kill those lifelinkers that really stick a thorn in your side, and in the case of Wurmcoil you put the second life linker into bolt range. It's beautiful. Consuming Vapors can help against black opponents, and other aggro decks (or stuff like Eldrazi and Valakut.) The Duress/Inquisition/Ricochet Trap combination turns RDW's worst match-up into a favorable one. I have yet to play a control deck that can deal with that trifecta on top of the pressure from Dragonlord/Lavaclaw/Koth. Arc Trail works great in tandem with Kiln Fiend, and is overall a utility card that can also end games.

Sideboard to taste. I like it in its current incarnation, but I'm always open to suggestions. I find this has a hand up on the traditional RDW or Koth Deck Wins because of the black splash. Duress, Inquisition, Doom Blade and Lavaclaw Reaches make this deck so much better than a plain red. It also doesn't give up any power in Kargan Dragonlord's realm, and actually makes the match-up against control favorable.

Goblin Guide: Easily the best one drop available to red. It’s hasty, and it can work extra advantage in allowing you to see your opponent’s top card. It can potentially go against you in giving your opponent CA, but the early damage is usually worth it.

Kiln Fiend: This creature’s a beast. With all the spells in your deck (minus Koth) being sorceries or instants that also do damage or remove the creature that may be stopping Kiln Fiend from hitting…this guy can get big and hit hard.

Kargan Dragonlord: MVP of the deck, in my opinion. If you drop this guy on turn 2 he’s an immediate kill or be killed card. Within 3 turns, usually he can be an 8/8 Trampling Pumping Flier…and that’s pretty nasty considering. If the opponent has no answer for him they usually lose.

Inferno Titan: Icing on the cake. Whether the game makes it far enough for him to be useful is questionable, but he’s a pretty crazy addition. On top of being a forking lightning bolt he’s also a 6/6. Can deal that last push of damage needed to finish the job, eliminate chump blockers, stop an opposing titan, etc.

Lightning Bolt: Do I really need to explain this one? The best burn spell there is, baby. 3 damage on 1 red. Bolt is just super versatile.

Duress: One of the reasons I splashed black in the first place. This either draws out counterspells, takes out counterspells, or can take out the removal they may be packing to get rid of your Dragonlord or Inferno Titan. Not only that, but it gives you a vast amount of information about your opponent’s hand allowing you to prepare for the future.

Doom Blade: Gives red an answer to those big creatures we can’t burn to the ground and may be stopping us from killing, or threatening us with death themselves. BSA, Wurmcoil, Baloth, WoO etc. They all become manageable with this in the deck.

Arc Trail: Great for going against other aggro decks (with creatures), and awesome for dealing that extra point of damage that you sometimes need to kill a creature, and still get 2 through to the dome. It’s a very underrated burn spell that is definitely very useful.

Staggershock: I know it’s only 4 damage for 3 mana, not that that’s horrible, but it’s also split up over 2 possible targets if you so desire, and it helps guarantee that your Kiln Fiend will be decently sized at least twice. Another aggro killer, or dome shooter. Two for ones make me happy.

Koth of the Hammer: I don’t think I have to explain this one – he lays down the beats. A 4/4 haster at the very least, he can add that extra mana to make Dragonlord disgusting, and he can give you timmy mountains that will usually end the game for you.

Lavaclaw Reaches: This manland has been a house. When you’re done trading or burning all of your creatures, or the enemy creatures, and you need something to finish the job off this is always available. Being able to pump its offensive output is a huge bonus, and let’s you get away with matches you might not normally win. This is one of the other reasons to splash black.

Ricochet Trap: I’ve always heard that control is the worst MU for aggro, usually. That said, Ricochet trap is a great answer to the permission heavy control decks that are rampant in the current metagame. It lets you get that Koth out unimpeded, or that Dragonlord you need to stick badly so that you can end the game.

Inquisition of Kozilek: Same deal as duress. Helps you draw out those counters, but the beauty of this one is that you can side it in against aggro over Duress and take out their creatures (Ezuri, Archdruid, Dragonlord, etc.) It, again, improves most match-ups and gives you invaluable hand information to digest.

Tunnel Ignus: Having the misfortune of facing this with my ramp deck, I can legitimately say this thing hurts ramp hard. With a metagame just full of ramp this can easily be the extra push needed before they can combo off.

Consuming Vapors: Nasty black creatures avoiding doom blade and whatnot. Not to mention rebound working with Kiln Fiend, and gaining life. A two for one is always good in magic.


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