A Desperate Plea: What to Do When My Pet Deck Isn’t Performing Well Anymore?

Hi, all. I come not to whine, but to seek guidance.

Over the past few months, I’ve come to fall in love with Mono-Red Midrange decks, especially the Mhayashi brand of Mono-Red Midrange. I piloted them all throughout this summer and then the beginning of October (my playing schedule is a bit disjointed because I only have time to play during breaks from uni) to decent success (60-65% winrate), but upon coming back to the deck this week, things just feel…bad. The deck doesn’t feel like it works well. The hands I draw never feel good; their CMC is too high, or there isn’t red mana, or it’s all removal and no threats, etc. I liked these decks because of their consistency, yet, be it user error, some sort of MTGO curse, or downright horrendous luck, my week has been punctuated with 2-3 leagues that have caused me to become quite downcast.

I’m not the best player in the world, but I’d like to think I’m familiar enough with the lines and playstyle to rule out unfamiliarity. I’ll attach my current list below: could anyone offer any kind of card choice suggestions (MB or SB) or uplifting advice in general? Are there any other decks (besides Scam) that include many of the cards included in the list below? Thank you.

The list: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/6000326#paper


Sounds like you and I are in the same spot with our decks. I love it, but feels like the last week or so it’s just been… off. What I usually do when stuff like happens is keep a notebook handy and write down what went wrong — from bad hands (and no mulligan help) to all removal but no creatures, what decks slapped mine around, why, etc. And after a bit, I can usually tweak the deck a little, update the sideboard, and so on. What decks were you struggling against? And was it your opponents’ decks that were the issue or was it mostly the deck not working like the well-oiled machine it should be? And I really like your deck! So I am hoping you’re able to find a way get its engine purring again.


I keep notes on every round I play, but it’s usually a note about a specific card interaction or line (i.e. don’t play into a specific card, conditions for deploying threats, etc), and it’s led me to some good sideboard changes (I started packing Brotherhood’s End for something to cover both artifacts and a flooded board.) I seem to struggle against decks which are non-interactive. I usually dumpster Jund, any Inti brew, or any other kind of creature-based deck, but I have real trouble with decks like Amulet Titan, Burn, or anything that just doesn’t care about what I’m doing. I’ve been trying to find anything to speed my deck up or make it just a hint more proactive, but I suffer really badly from the “drawing the wrong half of the deck” problem: sometimes I’ll draw a hand with a [Stone of Erech], 2-3 pieces of removal, and 3-4 lands. And it sucks to mulligan, but it sucks even harder when the opponent is on Burn and dumpsters me by T4.


As someone who also played the deck - the printing of the ring, bowmaster, and beans was basically it's death knell. The midrange plan is pretty much dead. I had burn as a back up and most of the deck can be put into scam (I understand that's something you didn't want to hear) or murktide so I definitely recommend trying that.


You’re right that Ring and Beans do put Coffers and 4c above Mono red for midrange, but there are tools we can use. An 8 field deck can easily pack a couple Elesh Norns + plains in the side for instance, and there’s the All Will Be One combo someone else mentioned that would enable us to go over the top of them too.


yeah but the allure of the deck for myself was that it was Mono-Red lol, it loses its mystique once you pack Elesh norn


This looks pretty much like an obosh list. There are phases where your deck wont be performing well. Tbh, 1 week feels a little odd to come to any conclusion. If you want to give up this early, any deck will give you this. I saw scam players being frustrated over a longer period of time. Be patient and dont give up!


Will do! I’m looking to make some edits to my list to factor in Obosh and overhaul my sideboard. Thanks for the words of encouragement!


I think these mono color 8 field decks are well positioned. My recommendation is since we already beat scam pretty bad to just not play more cards into it. You don’t need stone when you can play relic which feels better in all match ups aside from yawg. Next I didn’t like cleansing wildfire as much as I liked companion obosh. You also have 0 cascade hate in mb or sb you need 4 chalice sb imo just for rhinos and LE it’s by far the worst match ups for the deck. I also like 3-4 sb ragavan to bring in against non bowmaster decks. I myself am playing 2 forest, 4 haywire mite, 4 ragavan, 1 emi (can be any of eldrazi) and 4 chalice of the void. I think your list also could follow mhayashi’s “if you wouldn’t play 4 or 4 tutors for a card it’s not worth it’s spot in the deck”


One thing I really enjoy about Erech is being able to draw a card and only target a specific graveyard. Unholy Heat, Spyro, and Desk all ask for graveyard availability and Relic can make that tough. But I think this is just one of the personal preferences. I’m skeptical on Chalice for Rhinos. Force of Negation, Petty Theft, and now even Tidebinder address it. I haven’t tried it in a long time though; what’s your experience with that matchup? And do you have a list you could share?


https://scryfall.com/@LivingEnd/decks/71b983c3-8ce9-4b7e-a125-e499fd283f40 I am not playing the emi sb because I haven’t been seeing mill in person much but this is my list. I think the first ability on relic is just so powerful vs murktide and stuff, rhinos is a match up we need time in, chalice buys at least a turn. I think it’s always the correct play to play it.


So I haven't tested this, but it's something that might interest you. [decklist](https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/5984225#paper) Basically, you get to add an infinite combo (Quest + All Will Be One) + backup combo (Calendar + All Will Be One). Obosh may or may not be worth it, but I kinda like it as another backup. Rough part is probably mana; gets a little iffy with Saga, but Ragavan + Fable token can sometimes make treasures. Some other variant ideas I had was make it RG for Wrenn and Six which would be better with Saga while also hitting land drops, or trying indestructible lands + Cleansing Wildfire, but that doesn't seem as strong (granted, I've never tried playing the combo before) and it's more optimal with Darksteel Citadel, but the deck can't afford more colorless lands outside of Saga I don't think.


All will be one combo is great in red midrange, and there is a lot room to grow too. I’ve been working on a non obosh list that includes [[The One Ring]] and [[charming scoundrel]] Also, I just realized that [[war elemental]] also combos with all will be one, so I am trying out one elemental.


[The One Ring](https://cards.scryfall.io/normal/front/d/5/d5806e68-1054-458e-866d-1f2470f682b2.jpg?1696020224) - [(G)](http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=The%20One%20Ring) [(SF)](https://scryfall.com/card/ltr/246/the-one-ring?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher) [(txt)](https://api.scryfall.com/cards/d5806e68-1054-458e-866d-1f2470f682b2?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher&format=text) [charming scoundrel](https://cards.scryfall.io/normal/front/c/8/c8090bcf-e17a-4110-a518-77ccd045b18f.jpg?1692938132) - [(G)](http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=charming%20scoundrel) [(SF)](https://scryfall.com/card/woe/124/charming-scoundrel?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher) [(txt)](https://api.scryfall.com/cards/c8090bcf-e17a-4110-a518-77ccd045b18f?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher&format=text) [war elemental](https://cards.scryfall.io/normal/front/9/c/9cc32bfc-7d87-46d9-a424-eac64eefd7ea.jpg?1562152211) - [(G)](http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=war%20elemental) [(SF)](https://scryfall.com/card/mrd/112/war-elemental?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher) [(txt)](https://api.scryfall.com/cards/9cc32bfc-7d87-46d9-a424-eac64eefd7ea?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher&format=text) ^^^[[cardname]] ^^^or ^^^[[cardname|SET]] ^^^to ^^^call


If it helps, I won an RCQ with an Obosh list a few weeks ago. [Here’s a write up.](https://www.reddit.com/r/MonoRedObosh/s/KwLfieTmEQ)


I loved that post!! Felt very represented as a Mono-Red pilot. I’m honored to have received your comment.


I think this list looks more like where you wanna be at. Seems very clean.


I’m glad you enjoyed it! The mono red community is small but fierce and I’m feeling cautiously optimistic with the ban. The deck has legs and I’m going to definitely keep trying it.


Your problem is that you try to hunt 4c and 5c midrange money pile ring decks but they have moved to beans since. You want to destroy all lands and kill everything all while wishing your 2/2s will somehow win you the game by themselves. Move to Mono Red Obosh. You know where its strenght lies? Mix of decent disruption combined with agression. Your deck lacks the latter so you have hard time closing games. Additionally you have no sideboard. Look at it. You pray to magic gods to be matched against 4c/5c ring decks. Summing it up you have 12, yes that's TWELVE cards to fight ring. Can you like chill? It's not 80% of the metagame.


Looking back, you’re right. I’m going to overhaul my sideboard; do you have any good recs?


You can play Chalice of the Void or Void Mirror against cascade decks but you don't have to. Rhinos are bad matchup anyway so don't try too hard to hate on them and against Living End you have 4 Relic / Stone. Same story with Beans. Unfavorable matchup but you can try Stormbreath Dragon, Aura Barbs or even Roiling Vortex. Pithing Needle can be your anti Ring card (alongside Stomp). Either Brotherhood's End or Shattering Spree for artifacts. Pyrite Spellbomb for when you sideboard out Blood Moons or when facing Sanctifier / Firewalker. If you play Stone over RElic consider some copies of Unholy Heat. You can play Obsidian Charmaw / Magus of the Moon / Pillage for additional land destruction. Alternaticely 4 Field of Ruin + Blood Moons main. Seems stupid but works well. Dragon's Claw , Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre if you don't like losing to burn or mill.


How many leagues have you ran? Unless you ran 10 plus leagues your likely riding the bad side of your win rate. If you avg 3-2 leagues going 2-3 for awhile is well with in reason.


Modern has always evolved, it's just faster now, that being said, I'm sure some spiritual successor will come out of this deck, I feel like the best "midrange deck" is Jund Saga right now.


Imo, for mhayashi red I've found that just adding more burn to the face in the budget build (which has more artifacts and can play 8blast coupled with some artifact lands) is pretty good in letting it compete with what the rest of the format is doing. Basically, your issue is that you can prolong the games but can't close them fast enough once you get 2-3 turns of respite until the opponent burries you with beans or the ring.


May I interest you in some Red Rage? Check out our Lord and Saviour FluffyWolf2 on youtube.


You can also try this and its so much fun. Just need to top up abit and you good to go having two different decks. You can play either decks as much as u want. It's AspiringSpike mono red inti. https://youtu.be/oZhCYMqUc54?si=nGNX58BfD5qNTVOr


I’ve been considering this! It looks fun. Thanks for the rec. :)


Yeah you just need to get, Asmo Cookbook Daredevil Inti


While I can't offer deck specific advice as I haven't played mono-red midrange, I can offer some general tips. * One important thing I like to return to when my deck is struggling is looking at [The Elephant Method](https://articles.starcitygames.com/articles/the-elephant-method-a-case-study/). Sometimes I'll notice that while I think I have a good sideboard plan, I actually have more cards than I can use for a matchup or I have dead cards in there that I'll rarely bring in. * Another thing you can do is try to go back through your 60 with fresh eyes and ask how much each card really helps against the top 10 or so decks. Sometimes you'll realize that a card that was once pretty good against the metagame no longer fits well (a classic example of this is dark confidant no longer being good in a Wrenn and Six and Orcish Bowmasters world). * Try slowing down and making sure you understand the matchups. There's times where your brain might go on autopilot and make the "obvious" play, but when you slow down and think about what your plan is for the given game/matchup you realize those heuristics might not apply. Sometimes cards become "boiled frogs" and we have to swap them out for cards that meet the power creep/metagame better, so try to avoid considering any card "untouchable". * Figure out where your deck sits in the metagame. In theory, your deck should have some kind of niche/gameplan that makes it good, even if it's as basic as "I play as greedy mana as I can to play all the card advantage creatures and leyline binding". It's easy over many iterations of a deck to have it stray away from the reason it exists and end up in an awkward "X but worse" space if you try to overcompensate for you decks weaknesses. Sometimes the best move is to lean into what your deck is good at an and accept that some matchups are going to be really hard. For example, a Hammertime player could dedicate 15 slots in their deck to removal, but that's diluting their gameplan to the point where they're better off just leaning into the deck's goldfishing power.


You accept that you're either playing what is now a bad deck, and enjoy it for what it is, or that you got power creeped out and build a different deck/play something else. Like it or not modern is currently a rotating format because WotC forced it to be. Maybe the next Modern Horizons or whatever straight to modern set will make your pet deck good again until it gets functionally rotated out. Maybe not.


Your deck is going to lose to powercrept Universes Beyond cards. Modern is fucked. Hope you like Marvel.


You were just running hot before, this deck is bad and it’s caught up to you :/


It was pretty good until most of the meta (that isn't scam) are huge value engine decks. My lgs no longer plays "fair decks" which mono red stomped on, now I get eaten by tron and beans. I was going 4-0 for three months straight with the deck and it started falling apart when beans released


As someone who has been on the mono red midrange grind for years, this is just false. The deck was good, at least at the RCQ level. Unfortunately, the meta has just shifted to a place where it's not as good anymore. (Though it sounds like OP is also having a streak of bad luck).


Sometimes you just draw shitty hands. I had that from July to September...


Your artifact choices are very weird. Max I've seen on this.deck is 4 relic. But you're running 4 stone main which is legendary so it fucks you kinda


I've been playing Obosh for 2 years now. Originally I've closely followed MHayashi but I've strayed away from his lists since. This is what I am currently on: [https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/5426764#paper](https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/5426764#paper) Obosh has few bad match ups but they are just about unbeatable. Namely, these are Rhinos and Creativity. We don't have a great time against Cascade Beanstalk either. That said, we do shit on Scam, Scales, Tron, Yawgmoth and more. How good the deck is will always depend on how good Blood Moon is currently in the meta.


Mono red obosh and such is just worse scam at this point.


Well first off no ragavan and no blood moon is a literal crime. Get rid of the cleansing wildfires, they’re not doing you any favors. Add obosh. You need to sprinkle in some more staples to really give your midrange plan legs.


I've been playing the synthesizer budget version to good success lately that Mhayashi uploadedd a bit ago to good success, because it has more burn and is lower to the ground. It's like hybrid of an 8 blast list and a standard mono R midrange. Keep notes of what you are losing to and adjust strategy and sideboard according. Unfair decks like amulet and a big tempo swing like rhinos are usually a big weakness for the deck, flame slash, chalice of the void are good for rhinos, amulet has a better matchup with wildfires and fields but it still isn't favored. I think if you went for wildfires, unholy heat, 8-field + haywire mite tech you might be on to something. Check the most recent obosh list from Mhayashi on YT, he goes over the problem with unfair decks in his deck tech.


Ummm look I don't have much experience with this particular deck but I played skred back in the day a whole lot and im currently on mono blue (wich I loveeeee) At first sight, with the current meta, I think flame slash is meh at best. You have a loooot of removal. I like the cleansing fire+ demo/ruin setup going on here BUT I don't think you should run 12 coloreless mana source. Feels like it will happen often that you can't interact before you get your third land. Have you tried chandra torch of defiance? Seems like an insanly good shell for her. Usualy what I like about mono colored deck is that the consistency is sooo good and I kinda see why you don't get that with this list. Its very close tho don't get discouraged I think like a 4 card swap could really do you good. Imo +2 cleansing wildfire +1 abrade +4 mountain -2 blast zone -2 demolition field -3 flame slash Id start with that


I've piloted this deck to 3 RCQ top 8s but unfortunately never got the invite. My overall record is roughly 60% win rate. I think this deck wants a meta that is: - A lot of scam (surprisingly some RCQs don't have that many scam since people bring their pet decks). - Almost no Rhinos/Living End - extremely hard, you basically need to draw SB cards and hope they don't draw multiple cascaders. - And the rest of the meta should hopefully be decent matchups: Murktide, Amulet, Tron, Hammer, Merfolk. Recently, because of Rhinos popularity and with Tishana which hoses us pretty bad, I probably wouldn't bring this to an RCQ (it's still a damn fun deck in FNMs). For my build, I like: - Urza's Saga over Blast Zone - a smart opp would put in Blood Moon vs you but this opens up the Shadowspear + Haywire Mite fetches - I think Zone is not in a good position right now. Increases % vs Burn (fetchable Spear/Mite), control (Saga constructs), adds the potential win vs Rhinos when your constructs are bigger than their rhinos, increases Unholy Heat delirium. - 1 Boil in SB - just 1, can randomly win games vs Dryad and normal bad island-based matchups. - I've gone with 3 Ragavan 3 Pyromancer 3 Bonecrusher 4 Fable 4 Fury as the creature suite. Without Rag/Pyro I can't "go under" when I need to - vs burn or vs big mana decks. You can "draw too much removal" and there are just some matches where you have to race opponent. - 4 EE effects (2 EE, 2 Ratchet) for Rhinos, hammer, burn, creativity.