I have played different mono-red decks in the past and my main problem with all of them is playing against decks with strong enchantments (e.g. Circle of Protection: Red). As soon as this enchantment is out on the battlefield, I have lost. This can be played on turn 2, and my opponent can even mulligan to increase his chance of having this card in his starting hand.

While playing mono-red, I don't have Counterspells and enchantment destroyers. How do I handle these threats? I am looking for ideas legal in Standard, and legal in Legacy. "Red must be fast and win before enchantments are out" is not a good solution, because in the example above the enchantment can hit in round 2.

  • What Standard-legal enchantments are having trouble with, exactly?
    – adamjford
    Sep 26, 2011 at 16:51
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    Isn't the answer to 'How do I deal with X with mono-red?' always 'kill him or her before X has a chance to matter in the game' ;)
    – Affe
    Sep 26, 2011 at 19:11
  • @adamjford : Leyline of Sanctity from M11 troubled my red shooter deck a lot, it basically is an instant lose if my opponent has it in his opening hand. After M11 leaves Standard, this will only haunt me in Extended and Legacy.
    – Demento
    Sep 26, 2011 at 20:40
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    @Affe : I know, that's the usual response. But against a Circle of Protection in round 2 or a Leyline of Sanctity before the first round it is hard to land a killing blow earlier ;).
    – Demento
    Sep 26, 2011 at 20:42
  • Keeping in mind that CoP's aren't in standard and often don't even make the sideboard (depending on current metagame) in other formats, I think "Kill them before it matters" Is a good strategy for red a lot of the time. And keep in mind that the metagame is often a "rock-paper-scissors" type alot. There will always be some deck where you will almost always against that deck and other decks where you would almost always win against that deck. Feb 29, 2012 at 20:39

9 Answers 9


There are a few artifact answers to Enchantments in standard. Red will have access to those dealing with permanents, which are going to be slower. However, there are "ramp" cards in Standard for red that help you get them out more quickly.

Ratchet Bomb, can come out quickly, but takes time to "charge up" to the point where it can deal with more expensive enchantments. Although slow, it also deals with other permanents (eg. planeswalkers). If you get it out before the enchantment or planeswalker and charge it up, it can be a threat on the board causing your opponent to think twice before casting.

If you can ramp into a Spine of Ish Sah, say with a Geosurge on turn 4, you will be well on your way to victory, and getting rid of that pesky enchantment.

However, I think the most efficient way to deal with enchantments in standard, if you insist on mono-red, is to use the Sylvok Replica, and access green mana through dual lands and/or a colourless ramp like Alloy Myr, Manalith or even Sphere of the Suns that also helps you power your X burn spells and getting bigger threats out more quickly.

But at that point you may as well just splash green dual lands or ramps and put Naturalize on the sideboard.

In Legacy, if it's Blue enchantments you're concerned about, Jaya Ballard, Task Mage is a great choice. Aura Barbs punishes those who dare use enchantments against you. Of course, Larry Niven's Disk has been the go-to solution for red burn decks since forever.

PS. I don't agree with this:

Red must be fast and win before enchantments are out" is not a good solution, because in the example above the enchantment can hit in round 2.

Meh, CoP:Red isn't in Standard anymore, and even in Legacy the opponent is unlikely to have enough mana to deal with all your threats if you have a red weenie swarm, or save some of that red magic for when he's tapped out. You also have colourless options.

Red decks still win because they're fast. They generally aren't afraid of many enchantments.

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    +1 for everything from the "PS" onwards. Mono red doesn't have a serious problem with enchantments in Standard; the question is based on a really quite doubtful set of assumptions. Sep 26, 2011 at 20:24
  • +1: OMG! I never thought about Ratchet Bomb, that's a great idea. Especially since I have 4 of them lying around already :). I will have to experiment with splashing other colors, although I prefer to keep my burn decks mono-colored. Using Geosurge and the Spine seems a little bit expensive to get rid of a single enchantment. Without any testing, I think I prefer Ratchet Bomb, especially against cheap enchantments.
    – Demento
    Sep 26, 2011 at 20:50
  • @thesunneversets : How do you deal with Leyline of Sanctity if your deck contains a good amount of shooters? You can of course target enemy creatures and hope to do enough damage with your own, but in my experience I need to do some direct damage as well against a strong deck to be fast enough with mono-red.
    – Demento
    Sep 26, 2011 at 20:53
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    @Demento: just point your burn at the opponent's creatures and then use your creatures to attack.
    – David Z
    Sep 27, 2011 at 4:13

If you're genuinely that afraid of Circle of Protection: Red, fight fire with fire and resolve a Manabarbs or three; back in standard as of M12.

Alternatively, there are many, many red cards in the history of Magic that specify that their damage can't be prevented. Banefire, Demonfire, Everlasting Torment, Excruciator, Flames of the Blood Hand, Flaring Pain, Leyline of Punishment, Lightning Surge, Unstable Footing, Urza's Rage...

  • 3
    +1 for unpreventable burn, especially for Legacy. The obvious solution to prevention effects hadn't occurred to me, alas. :)
    – ghoppe
    Sep 26, 2011 at 22:05
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    +1 for the long list of cards with unpreventable damage. I will see which ones I can get my hands on to experiment with. Manabarbs is also interesting, although I have to test it to see how effective it is with my red decks.
    – Demento
    Sep 27, 2011 at 9:57

For white enchantments, Anarchy should do the trick in Legacy.

  • This was my thought as well...
    – Stephen
    Sep 26, 2011 at 17:26
  • +1: Interesting card. Could be a useful sidedeck card for private play when I expect to be up against W.
    – Demento
    Sep 26, 2011 at 20:43
  • +1: COPR is the only enchantment that can resonably prevent a red deck from winning. That does not mean that a red mono deck is unbeatable just that a copr will pretty much beat one every time if you can not deal with it.
    – Chad
    Sep 28, 2011 at 17:49
  • Chad: Actually, I generally have a much easier time going through CoP: Red (which stunts their own development a bit and can be overwhelmed) than, for instance, something like Warmth... Mar 9, 2012 at 23:34

One of red (and black)'s weaknesses is not being able to deal with enchantments. If you're insistent on remaining mono-red, and you're playing with Legacy-legal cards, Chaos Warp is one of your only options.

With regards to (pre-Innistrad) Standard, this mono-red deck seems to do fine without enchantment removal. I'm not convinced that red's inability to deal with enchantments is a problem in this format.

However, in post-Innistrad Standard, if any decks with problem enchantments end up being top tier, one possibility is to play Boros (red/white) instead, and use Silverchase Fox as a sideboard card.

  • +1 for a good answer. Chaos Warp seems dangerous against some decks, but I can see me using it against a specific deck I am having problems with. Looking forward to Innistrad a lot - if I want to do something red again, I will consider Boros as an option.
    – Demento
    Sep 27, 2011 at 10:00

Artifacts are the way to go in that case.

Phyrexian Revoker and Pithing Needle shut down COP:Red, and the Revoker itself can deal damage (and isn't affected by the Circle of Protection in the first place). These cards are also good against other stuff like planeswalkers 'n 'at.

  • Welcome to Board & Card Games SE! I'm surprised no one else remembered Pithing Needle.
    – Alex P
    Feb 28, 2012 at 23:23

Various answers have given a lot of different ideas, so this is an attempt to put them all in one place. These are some options for dealing with enchantments in mono-red:

  1. The one red card that can remove arbitrary permanents: Chaos Warp

  2. Colorless spot-removal, like Karn Liberated, Lux Cannon, Unstable Obelisk, or Ugin, the Ineffable

  3. Colorless mass-removal, like Nevinyrral's Disk, All Is Dust, Ratchet Bomb, or Blast Zone

  4. Splash another color, such as using Rootbound Crag and Game Trail to give you access to Naturalize or Back to Nature

  5. If the enchantment has an activated ability (such as Circle of Protection: Red), you can prevent its ablity from being used, such as with Pithing Needle or Phyrexian Revoker

  6. If the enchantment is a particular color, you can destroy it with cards like Anarchy or Jaya Ballard, Task Mage

  7. If you are having problems targeting creatures (such as from Privileged Position), use Arcane Lighthouse

  8. If you are having problems targeting players (such as from Leyline of Sanctity), use Stuffy Doll

  9. If you are having problems from damage being prevented (such as from Circle of Protection: Red), use unpreventable damage, such as Everlasting Torment, Leyline of Punishment, Banefire, or Skullcrack


Mages' Contest is a red counter spell from Invasion. Instant, two red and one colorless. It reads: You and target spells controller bid life. you start the bidding with a high bid of 1. In turn order, each player may top the high bid. The bidding ends when the high bid stands. the highest bidder loses life equal to the high bid. If you win the bidding, counter target spell.


I've always played red. I just stick a couple of Nevinyrral's Disks in, sure its going to take all the creatures, artefacts and enchantments. Team it with Safe Haven then hide your biggest slugger before setting off the bomb. I use Bogardan Phoenix (comes back into play if placed into the graveyard) which allows me not to worry too much if I have to set it off and be left with nothing on the table. I use Fiery Mantle which comes back to your hand if it hits the graveyard and allows me to pump up any character to do some serious damage.

I've built my deck to be able to achieve 3-4 turn victories but also to go toe to toe for 30 turns with a white deck with protection. Inclusions of cards like Mirror Universe (swap life with your opponent) Zuran Orb (sacrifice a land: gain 2 life) will keep you plugging if things get dire.

hope that helps.


I had the same issue a while back so I sideboarded

and then so I would get out of the red damage play Volt Charge so I can, if not deal damage to the player, at least kill a creature and put counters on the Ratchet Bomb and/or Lux Cannon. The cannon is best because you can use it over and over again and if you have it in play and have no real threats keep pumping it it says remove 3 counters so you can simply end of his turn remove 3 counters, destroy one permanent, beginning of your turn destroy another one (even lands!). A Lux Cannon is a response to most threats. Its one setback is that it costs 4, and if you don't have Proliferate, it takes 3 turns to pump it.

In my deck I added more Proliferate, Tezzeret's Gambit is simply awesome. More than once I played Lux Cannon turn add counter passed next turn two Volt Charge, Proliferate 2 times, turn cannon destroy target permanent to finish I have 8 UR dual lands that come into play untapped about 80% of the time, so I can play Tezzeret's Gambit.

I have 3 Flashfreeze sideboarded because if my opponent has red or green he can Naturalize or Shatter the Ratchet Bomb or Lux Cannon before I can use it.

  • 1
    I edited this pretty heavily, but parts of it (esp. 2nd paragraph!) are still barely understandable... Nov 3, 2012 at 5:11

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