Currently I have a mono-red deck built around the synergy of Chandra, Acolyte of Flame and Cavalcade of Calamity. I'd like to improve the deck but I don't have the deck building chops. Most of the good ideas in the deck were stolen from other versions of the deck that beat me up. The current deck list is:

The break-out's shown in MTG Arena are:

Creature ratio and costs

Card Types

Some things I've considered include:

How do you think I could improve the deck? The best answers will include details as to why they're making the suggestions they're making so I can improve my deck building skills.

  • In order to get a good answer, you need to state the problem you're trying to solve. "Improving the deck" doesn't count because it's too broad. Are you having trouble in specific matchups? Which? Do you play BO1 or BO3 with this deck? If BO3, what does your sideboard look like?
    – Hackworth
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 7:46
  • @Hackworth I had to look up BO1/3. I mostly play best of one. I don't know the terms to describe the decks that beat me but I have trouble with control (I think that's the term) and 3 Mana Oko decks. I don't have a sideboard except for a redcap something that's 4 damage for 1 Mana against red targets. Mostly I feel like I do okay but I could win more matches if my deck was put together better since I get into places where I'm stuck and can't do anything to prevent my upcoming demise 3 to 4 turns in the future. Hope that helps. Sorry I don't have better info for you.
    – Erik
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 20:54

3 Answers 3


If you're playing with Cavalcade of Calamity you must go aggro - full out aggro. It's very weak if you're not being aggressive. Consider: if it's turn 6 and you're playing cards like Chandra, Awakened Inferno, Cavalcade is going to be sitting there doing nothing. Cavalcade is only useful if you're attacking, and by extension that means you must play aggressive creatures. Your curve needs to start at 1 mana, and in turn that means you can't run many expensive cards.

You should remove these:

  • Chandra's Pyrohelix - this card is inferior, you have better removal options (Slaying Fire and Bonecrusher Giant especially)
  • Chandra's Regulator - the expensive Chandras aren't aggressive enough, so this card isn't worth it.
  • Scorching Dragonfire - again, you have better removal options.
  • Leyline of Combustion - not enough impact. If you could reliably start with it on the battlefield, maaaaybe, but if you can't, it's just too expensive to do too little.
  • Scampering Scorcher - you can't run many expensive cards. With lots of 1-drops, you don't have the power level to compete in the mid-game; you need to run fewer lands and try to overrun the opponent. You can only run so many 4-drops and Torbran is too good to give up.
  • All cards >4 mana - per above.
  • Dwarven Mine - this card isn't bad, but it's not appropriate for a beatdown deck. It only becomes better than a basic Mountain at 4+ mana, which you don't want to get to all that often. Meanwhile you will get games where it enters the battlefield tapped and those are crippling to an aggressive strategy. You are better off running Castle Embereth, not too many copies though because you'll get all-Castle hands and then it becomes clunky.

Cards you should run:

  • Fervent Champion - strong one-mana card.
  • Light up the Stage - it's how you keep up in cards.
  • Skewer the Critics - it's 3 damage for one mana if you can trigger Spectacle, which you'll often be able to (although not necessarily pre-combat).
  • Experimental Frenzy - usually reserved for post-board games, this is the best source of card advantage you have.
  • Runaway Steam-Kin - too powerful to not run. It can reach 4/4 for a 2-mana creature which is huge, plus the combo with Experimental Frenzy is very strong.
  • Tibalt, Rakish Instigator - stops opposing lifegain, generates 1/1s which trigger Cavalcade.
  • Slaying Fire and Bonecrusher Giant - per above, these are your removal spells that can also be used against the opponent. Being able to burn opponent is important; at some point opponent will likely stabilize the board and your win condition becomes burning them.

Some example lists:

  • Lots of great info in here. I'm going to dig into it tonight. One thing I didn't understand is 'postboard game'. Did you mean games in real life?
    – Erik
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 20:43
  • @Erik "postboard" means after sideboarding. These only happen in best of 3 (traditional constructed in Magic Arena language). If you're playing BO1, the concept is irrelevant; there are no post-board games.
    – user22925
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 22:01
  • That makes sense. At first I thought you were referencing old slang for playing cards (pasteboards). If the links in your answer don't discuss this, why is Experimental Frenzy reserved for post-boards and when would you use it?
    – Erik
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 22:10
  • @Erik in general, post-board games slow down. The opponent is less likely to be run over, because they're going to bring in cheap ways to interact with you. It's in situations like this when you don't run over your opponent that you need more cards, i.e. that's when Experimental Frenzy shines.
    – user22925
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 2:08

I play the Cavalty/Torbran deck and had a lot of wins with it. The problem in my opinion with your deck is inconsistency. A lot of 1 or 2 offs of cards wont help you with consistency. In my eyes you should make your deck faster (more aggro) as a red deck should be.

I would lose the Chandra's Pyrohelix, Chandra's Regulator, Scorching Dragonfire, Leyline of Combustion, Chandra's Flame Wave, Embercleave and the Dwarven Mines. As mentioned before 1 Leyline and/or regulator isnt going to do anything, and run more of it makes your deck to slow. The burn spells are outclassed by the simple Shock,(so i would run 4 of those) and skewer the critics. (3-4 as see fit) Embercleave and dwarven mines are buffing your 1 power creatures and that is something you dont want in the Cavalty of Camality deck.

Chandra, Flame's Fury and Chandra, Awakened Inferno I am not a fan of in this deck (to slow/high on your mana curve.) But can be included if really wanted as finishers.

There is al lot of room now to add things to the deck. So after adding the staple burn spells (shock and skewer) I would add a lot of good 1 power creatures, or something that makes them. As you mentioned, Legion Warboss and Krenko, Street Kingpin are a perfect fit in my eyes. 4x Legion Warboss and 2/3 Krenkos will do. They create a lot of 1/1 goblins which even if only attacking will do dmg thanks to cavalty. Also Fervent Champion is nice to have 4 of. Haste and first strike on a 1/1 1 mana creature screams aggro. I myself do like to add Tin Street Dodger as an evasive 1/1 creature with haste, but this one is up to debate.

Last, while playing Red aggro, you will run in the fact that you run out of steam. To counter this we need carddraw. In mono Red this comes down too: Light up the Stage, Experimental Frenzy and/or Chandra, Fire Artisan. I always include Light up the Stage (3-4 copies) and 2 of Experimental or Chandra.

So you should end up with a wave of 1/1 creatures (with haste) that already do damage on attacking through Cavalty of Camality, Burn spells and all this damage will be buffed by Torbran. And in the later turns you are prepared with some effective card draw.

Just my 2 cents.

(edit) I confused the dwarven mine with the red castle. This makes it even worse in my opinion. Dwarven mine is to slow, you cant have that you play dwarven mine the first 3 turns

  • Thanks for the feedback this is helpful. I'm going to look at it in more depth tonight.
    – Erik
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 20:44

I also play cavalcade, and I note that you don't have Lava Coil or Heartfire for removal, a playset of at least one of those (or Skewer) are necessary adds. Other than that, Light up the stage, shock, tin street dodger, torch courier are all good options. Cut pyrohelix, regulator, dragonfire, leyline, flame wave, embercleave, awakened inferno, and flame's fury. Cut the 4 dwarven mines and add 3 or 2 castle embereth, you don't need 24 lands in this deck. Maybe 22, 19 mountains and 3 embereths?

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