It’s hammer time, [card]Koth of the Hammer[/card] time to be precise. Modern is incredibly diverse right now with many different kinds of decks, each attempting to win by a different means. We have Twin that will either combo or tempo you out of the game, Delver that plays a fair tempo game, Tron that goes big, Amulet Bloom which can go crazy before anyone can interact, and so many other decks. So why on earth are we talking about [card]Koth of the Hammer[/card]? It’s simple, because in Skred Red he is all powerful and today we’re going to go over why you might want to play this fringe deck.
What is Skred Red:
Skred Red is a mono-red control deck that features Koth Vom Hammerclan ([card]Koth of the Hammer[/card]), [card]Blood Moon[/card], and Skred. This deck can be aggressive, mainly it wants to keep the board clear and stick a [card]Blood Moon[/card] or [card]Koth of the Hammer[/card] early. Koth ultimates quickly and in a 22 mountain deck this means that you will likely be able to keep anything from ever touching you as well as burn off your opponent’s face. That’s fun right?
Why play Skred Red?
Skred Red is not a tier one deck. However it is fairly inexpensive and hoses creature based decks as well as greedy mana bases. If your opponent is unaware of why you’re playing snow-covered mountains then they may not play around turn three [card]Blood Moon[/card], a play that can completely lock some decks out of the game. The biggest reason to play this deck is if you enjoy watching everything your opponents love burn.
2 Scrying Sheets
22 Snow-Covered Mountain
4 Blood Moon
4 Koth of the Hammer
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Relic of Progenitus
3 Volcanic Fallout
4 Boros Reckoner
4 Demigod of Revenge
4 Simian Spirit Guide
2 Blasphemous Act
1 Chandra, Pyromaster
3 Dragon’s Claw
4 Rending Volley
2 Shattering Blow
Words on the Mainboard
The mainboard has a lot of 4 ofs because it wants to stay consistent. The 4 [card]Blood Moon[/card]s are there to punish the players who think it’s cool to jam every color under the sun into their list. Keep in mind that against some decks a [card]Blood Moon[/card] will be of little consequence, looking at you Affinity and Merfolk. The 4 Reckoners are there for more than just [card]Blasphemous Act[/card] out of the board. This little minotaur wizard is a solid beater that makes blocking difficult for your opponent. He is also fantastic at protecting a [card]Koth of the Hammer[/card]. If established early him plus [card]Volcanic Fallout[/card] can make combat difficult for your opponent. For example if they block with a [card]Wurmcoil Engine[/card] then you can activate first strike and before regular damage play Fallout and redirect the extra two from Reckoner to the Wurmcoil. Alternatively it turns your Fallouts into Char.
Skred and Lightning Bolt are of course your premier point and click removal spells. Relic is there to keep away the early Tasigur or Zombie Fish as Skred won’t be able to handle it before turn 5. Relic of course also hates on [card]Goryo’s Vengeance[/card] and other graveyard strategies. Right now it’s a big bonus to be able to play 4 in the mainboard. You might think that this interferes with the Demigods of Revenge but so long as you’re not aggressively exiling all graveyards it should rarely be an issue.
Finally there is the [card]Simian Spirit Guide[/card]. This card is here to let you go turn 2 [card]Blood Moon[/card] or turn 3 [card]Koth of the Hammer[/card]. Hell even being able to tap out against Twin with a Guide and removal spell in hand can be enough to bait the twin out and get them. In a lot of ways this deck is all about the “got ya”. I mean…. there are two [card]Boil[/card]s in the sideboard….
The biggest issue with this version is that it can simply lose to itself as it has little to no deck manipulation. Some cards to consider for fixing this are [card]Magma Jet[/card], [card]Solemn Simulacrum[/card], Chandra, Pyromaster, [card]Outpost Siege[/card]. Why am I not playing these? I am still playing around with the numbers and card choices. A lot of the time I find that [card]Scrying Sheets[/card] is what I want and might consider increasing to 3 in the main. Chandra used to be in the main for me alongside [card]Pyrite Spellbomb[/card] but both cards were largely underwhelming at the time and I have not returned to them. The Chandra in the SB should probably be an Outpost Seige as once more Chandra has simply been unimpressive.
This version of the deck is incapable of dealing with multiple 5 toughness plus creatures before turn 5. This means that we can be weak to Tron if we do not disrupt them early by playing [card]Blood Moon[/card]. Big ramp decks like Tron and G/R [card]Scapeshift[/card] are in general going to be bad matchups but with all the land hate in the format, it is probably okay to play a tournament with the hope of dodging these two decks.
Here we want to be sticking a [card]Blood Moon[/card] early and disrupting their tron lands so we can get a Koth or Demigod out before [card]Oblivion Stone[/card] comes down to ruin our day. This is not a matchup where [card]Blood Moon[/card] is going to simply win the game on its own. After board the 2 Shattering Blows come in with a Fallout and [card]Pyroclasm[/card] going out. In this matchup we are the aggressor. It is not a favorable matchup but it is by no means unwinnable. Wurmcoil will be your biggest problem as the 6 points of life gain can push you out of the game.
Vs. Grixis Control/Delver
Blood Moon is not nearly as disruptive as we want it to be and can therefore be removed after board. I would not take them all out but most can go as it will often feel like a dead draw. How you board in this matchup beyond adding the three [card]Dragon’s Claw[/card]s in place of three [card]Blood Moon[/card]s is up to you. I have sometimes brought in the Chandra and two Boils but other times decided to be a total psycho with [card]Blasphemous Act[/card]. I would suggest trying to figure out how conservatively your opponent is playing. If they keep jamming creatures then the Acts are totally reasonable. This match will often come down to top decks. Scrying sheets is your best friend here as it can keep you from missing important draws.
If they are playing a heavy island build bring in Boils. If nothing else playing a one sided [card]Armageddon[/card] will make you smile and this deck is largely about the fun factor.
Vs. Jund / Junk
[card]Blood Moon[/card] is better here and this matchup is often a toss up as they have access to multiple 5 toughness creatures. However [card]Blasphemous Act[/card] is not unreasonable and they will have a hard time answering Koth before he ultimates. This is the one matchup where I will look to take out the [card]Simian Spirit Guide[/card]s in favor of sideboard cards as a 2/2 for 3 mana is not helpful and I have rarely been in a spot in either of these matchups where accelerating with Guide felt like I was getting anywhere.
This matchup is great for us. We have a ton of ways to take apart Affinity’s game plan in our massive removal suite. [card]Blood Moon[/card] keeps the man lands away too. Our issue comes with [card]Etched Champion[/card] but unless it has a [card]Cranial Plating[/card] attached to it we can often win with our Demigods in the sky. Koth ultimate here is backbreaking for our opponent and will end the game most of the time. After game one we want to bring in the [card]Shattering Blow[/card] to handle [card]Cranial Plating[/card]. Just take out two Relics for it. If you are worried about Ravager bring in the [card]Spellskite[/card] to redirect the modular trigger and take out another Relic as it is little more than a cantrip for us here.
[card]Blood Moon[/card] is your best friend here. It will often end the game all by itself. Our removal is typically enough to remove their creatures but draws backed up by [card]Apostle’s Blessing[/card], [card]Glistener Elf[/card], and multiple pump spells can be a big issue. In testing I have found this match to be a bit of a coin toss in both sideboard and mainboard games.
If it is the combo version the spot removal plus Relics are often enough to break up the deck and disrupt their plan. This match is fun because we get to bring in [card]Blasphemous Act[/card] and if you haven’t figured it out yet I love that card. The danger in this matchup is keeping a hand that is lighter on the sweep removal and not being able to keep up with the swarm that your opponent produces.
Blood Moon. Nothing else matters. If you land a [card]Blood Moon[/card] turn two or three they do not have enough basics to win before you do.
So is the deck worth playing? I’d say yes but I have a lot of fun playing decks that are not considered tier 1. If the meta you are expecting is going to be full of elves, robots, and greedy three or four color mana bases then play this deck. If the meta is likely to have a lot of counter magic or storm then stay away from it as there will be little interaction on your end and the games will be highly unfavorable. Play this deck if you want to have fun and are okay with the fact that there will be a couple of nigh unwinnable matchups for you.
Thank you for reading. I’d love to hear your feedback and I’ll happily answer any questions about the deck. I’ve been playing it now for over a year and it is by and large my pet deck.