Mono-red decks were among the best of the best the Dominaria United Standard season, and Brothers' War added even more playthings to this Magic: The Gathering archetype staples to fire red mages up. The overwhelming power and large metagame share of mono-black decks in Standard put the format into a place where only decks that can consistently beat mono-black stand a chance at performing.
Thankfully for mono-red, one of the best ways to beat these oppressive mono-black decks is by getting under them early with aggression. Mono-red decks aside though, The Brothers' War also introduced some upgrades to a number of other less popular meta decks as well as some interesting new answers.
7/7 Mechanized Warfare
Mechanized Warfare is a combo-centric card that increases the damage of red sources and artifacts. While this might seem like a somewhat niche enchantment at first glance, there's already a deck that's seen some success in Standard which makes use of both of these card types: the black/red Rakdos Anvil. Anvil decks have struggled ever since Mono-Black climbed to the top of the meta.
Mono-black's access to incidental life gain from sources like Graveyard Trespasser and Sheoldred, the Apocalypse alongside the deck's aggressive creatures simply make the Anvil engine too slow to be reliable. However, Mechanized Warfare presents an opportunity for all of this to change. The issue remains though that Invoke Despair still acts as a clean answer to Mechanized Warfare despite denying mono-black players an extra life loss and card draw trigger. That being said, maybe that denial alongside the added damage Mechanized Warfare offers is enough to make the difference. Only time will tell.
6/7 Goblin Blast-Runner
Yet another upgrade for Rakdos Anvil arrives in the form of this sneaky one-drop. While a one mana 1/2 is far from good on its own, Rakdos Anvil is home to enough sacrifice effects between Blood tokens, Anvil triggers, and cards like Voltage Surge and Experimental Synthesizer to activate Blast-Runner's triggered ability consistently.
This not only turns the Goblin into a 3/2, but also gives it the ever-useful keyword menace. Not to mention, the Goblin itself is another cheap target to sacrifice to your Anvil in a worst-case scenario. Suffice it to say, it's hard to imagine a world where this card doesn't improve the Anvil deck through the addition of a new aggressive creature.
5/7 Pyrrhic Blast
Speaking of sacrifice effects, here's a weird card that has definite potential as a sideboard player at the very least. Pyrrhic Blast requires you to sacrifice a creature as a part of its casting cost. While this might seem detrimental, this card can actually turn into a huge two-for-one swing in your favor if you manage to cast it at the right time.
Casting Pyrrhic Blast on a creature you control in response to an opponent targeting it with removal blanks their removal spell, allows you to deal damage equal to the creature's power to any target you desire, and draws you a card to replace Pyrrhic Blast. It's especially important that this card allows you to target anything as this means Pyrrhic Blast will always provide value by defaulting to hitting the opponent's life total directly. However, four mana is a lot to hold up, and this card's high casting cost may very well be the death of it seeing play.
4/7 Tyrant Of Kher Ridges
Control decks have struggled to find a place in the new Standard due to the large amounts of value midrange cards like Invoke Despair and Serra Paragon provide, but Tyrant of Kher Ridges is a step in the right direction. This big dragon offers an inherent two-for-one thanks to dealing four damage to a creature as soon as it hits the battlefield.
Furthermore, this is a proper game-ending threat thanks to the flying keyword, and the Dragon's fire-breathing ability that allows you to heavily pump its attack as long as you've got access to a lot of red mana. All in all, this Dragon is a good tool for control players fighting to make something happen while also being a great addition to Dragon commander decks.
3/7 Giant Cindermaw
Does anyone else get Rampaging Ferocidon flashbacks from this new Dinosaur? Granted, Giant Cindermaw is a heavily nerfed version of its notorious raptor brethren, but giving red decks the ability to prevent life gain will always be dangerous.
After all, life gain is one of the primary ways that players can combat the aggression of red decks. Additionally, Cindermaw comes with a healthy four power, and the trample keyword, making it likely this creature will manage to crack in for at least a couple of life points.
2/7 Brotherhood's End
Brotherhood's End is a callback to the Modern staple board wipe Anger of the Gods. From Slagstorm to Sweltering Suns, we've seen many versions of this effect throughout Magic's history and they've always been playable.
The difference with this one is that Brotherhood's End happens to deal damage to Planeswalkers as well as creatures. Alternatively, you can cast Brotherhood's End to eliminate every artifact with mana cost three or less from the battlefield. Both of these additions are quite powerful to tack on, especially considering the prevalence of low mana Planeswalkers and artifacts in the current Standard meta. Looking past Standard, Brotherhood's End may even have a place in sideboards against certain artifact-reliant decks in other formats.
1/7 Monastery Swiftspear
Last but certainly not least, Monastery Swiftspear returns to Standard with a bang. A staple ever since its original printing in Khans of Tarkir, Monastery Swiftspear remains to be one of the best aggressive creatures in Modern Burn strategies.
The combination of haste, prowess, and a toughness of two make Monastery Swiftspear an aggressive and resilient threat that requires an answer sooner rather than later. Considering the fact that mono-red is already a dominant deck in the Standard meta, the inclusion of this power-proven Monk may just be enough to push mono-red as the meta favorite over mono-black. If you missed playing with Monastery Swiftspear its first time in Standard, all we can caution is that you don't miss your second chance.
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