Join the team over on The 99 as we discuss the deck. Let's make a better Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion!

The 99 - Part One - Core Strategy & Mono Red Combos

The 99 - Part Two - Inclusions/Exclusions & Is Neheb Competitive?

The 99 - Part Three - New Combos + Definitive Player Guide

How to Win in Three Easy Steps!

  1. Cast Neheb
  2. Attack w/Neheb
  3. Begin the Assault

Yes, Aggravated Assault is one win condition for the Deck - and By Gnome Means the only one - but that's not precisely what I mean by "Assault." No, as a matter of fact, we're going to engage in many Combat Phases with this Deck, through various methods, but with Aggravated Assault and at least five Cards in Hand, we win the game (barring Neheb isn't taken out by a bunch of dorks, which we have counter measures for). Let's break down these steps further to look at how we win with "the worthy" one.

There are varying combinations of Cards that accomplish this, but to help you immediately see them as you go about playing Hands...

Obviously, these are the agents that help accelerate any Deck. Be certain to look for two available Red Mana sources when seeing if your Hand will yield an early game Neheb. Obvious Cards aside, let's look at the most noteworthy methods to play Neheb out...

Generator Servant - Not only will a Turn 1 Servant set up a Turn 2 Neheb, it will do so with the added function of providing our Minotaur with Haste. This is one of the most compact methods of producing an early game Neheb, allowing us to start the "Assault" much earlier than planned, with a good five-to-six Cards in Hand. Also, bear in mind, this Mana does not need to be spent on a "Creature" spell. Equally important to note is that any amount of this Mana (either just one or both generic produced here) will provide any Creature Haste. This card was made for this Deck. Run it.

Captain Lannery Storm - I know this seems like an odd include... Yup. Not going to disagree with you. However, I strongly feel that she is one of the best forms of Ramp in any Color. During Extra Combats, she'll be netting multiple Treasures to help play out our spells and early game taking out chump blockers (should our Opponents be so foolish). Often times, her ability to Sacrifice Treasures and buff is forgotten (love when this happens). She's secret tech for the Deck and a worthwhile play off a Turn 1 Mountain + Mana Crypt. I cannot put this girl in enough decks.

Vessel of Volatility - This piggy bank not only gives us the Mana sufficient to cast Neheb, it does so in an extremely tight package. We want to Cast Neheb with as many cards in hand as possible. Why this is should be fairly obvious, but our strategy here relies on both the Mana gained from Neheb's on Damage Ability as well as the amount of Cards we will get to draw from it. Less is more here.

Now that we've established just how easy it is to get our Minotaur & Savior Neheb onto the Battlefield, let's discuss the things we'll be doing to our Opponents from here on out. Here are all of the Cards you should be looking for when commencing the attack...

Do not play a Land this Turn. At least, not off the bat. We want to Discard anything and everything that is unnecessary on this Turn. Let's start with what you should absolutely keep in Hand before Neheb's Triggered Ability hits the stack...

This will require a bit of knowledge on your end as to what your Opponents may have in hand with their available Mana, but always stay on your toes. Aside from these, if you have an Extra Combat or Wheel cards in hand, keep those as well. The Wheel should be Cast before the Attack and the Extra Combat spell should (generally) be held until after. Here's what we're digging for...

That's a fairly long list. Let me explain through these... Ideally, you'll have both the ability to Wheel and also cast an Extra Combat. We have a multitude of spells that allow us to recast Cards from our Graveyard, duplicate the effects of spells, recur them, so on and so forth baked in. It's up to you to notice these synergies as we continually attack our Opponents. Also, sometime's we just whiff. The Extra Turn is there for these instances. If we notice that we're slow rolling without a means to Loot for more options, gain an additional Combat Phase or simply Wheel into more solutions, we hold what we can from our last attack and say, "I'll take one more swing at this" with an Extra Turn card. In some cases, we don't need to go infinite to beat our Opponents. Cards like Uncaged Fury & Sword of Feast and Famine give us the additional Damage to simply "Command" someone out and after enough swings, the whole board.

So we know what to Loot for when attacking with Neheb and have a basic idea of how the Deck's main strategy works: Attack, Rinse, Repeat... We're ultimately working towards infinite Combat Steps. Again, this isn't always necessary. However, it is plan A...

As stated, we can win with either infinite Combat Steps or an arbitrary amount of Damage. Let's go over the methods to accomplish this:

This set up costs us 8 (12) Mana total and is a two-card combo with Neheb. The Activated Ability of Aggravated Assault allows us to Cast this before and/or after our initial Combat and continue with further Combats. This is Plan A.

This combo can be established for just 6 Mana and if done before Combat on your Turn, you'll win with an infinite number of Human Wizards. What's nice about this combo is that all cards are effective in the Deck outside of this strategy! Also, should you have Dualcaster and Finale of Promise / Past in Flames / Recoup / Shreds of Sanity you can still accomplish this combo (although slightly more Mana intensive) even with Heat Shimmer in the Graveyard. Sometimes our Plan B will be more viable than A. If so, go for it. However, there's multiple contingency plans to execute on should Neheb or the Dualcaster fail us.

With some recent updates, Neheb has become even stronger. This is an old Combo line, but with the inclusion of Goblin Welder and more importantly Goblin Engineer we have a way to construct this engine efficiently. Engineer will Bury the Sword and with a little help from Lannery and her dear friend the Dockside Extortionist or the previous Artifacts we've laid out provide us the means of setting up this Combo with ease. Also, Engineer's 1R Mana Cost is a blessing, allowing us to use Hall of the Bandit Lord or Generator Servant to not only Entomb our Sword but recover it all at once means we can begin the assault immediately. However, what if you're not fond of swords?

Let me introduce you to the magical, do it all Spellbinder :

The Spellbinder is far from our first option, but we're playing Mono Red here. We work with what we get. Outside of the Spellbound Savage Beating, the other combo lines have multiple moving parts that can be Mana intensive to set up. However, with Shreds of Sanity , we are very capable of assembling any Spellbound combo provided the proper board state. Do not discredit these combos: should Aggravated Assault be Buried, or Dualcaster Mage thwarted, we have alternatives with the Spellbinder . It is recoverable, multi-functional and with effort on the Player a Card that can win games.

The plan for this Deck is simple and completely unpredictable and I absolutely love it. It's hard for your Opponents to get a read on what will happen next as you yourself don't know until the Cards are Drawn. This is easily the most fun I have had playing Mono-Red in a long time. Is it cEDH worthy? I think so, but I'll let you be the judge. If you were looking to play the Dreadhorde Champion, give this list a try and let me know your thoughts. I intend to improve upon this Deck as more and more sets roll out. Also, expect to see Neheb over on The 99 very soon! Be well and stay tuned for some video based primers further explaining the strategy behind Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion .

Patrick Marlett, The 99

October 11th, 2019 - Glint-Horn Buccaneer & Avacyn's Judgment for Fabled Passage & Thrill of Possibility - Turns out... People love removing Glint-Horn. Can't explain it, don't know why, but he rarely stays on the field. He's nice to have, punishing the "Life as a Resource" lists, but I've found a need for 29 Lands again and Fabled Passage is our best bet. Evolving Wilds with upside? Let's get to Turn 4. Also, Avacyn's Judgment comes out for the best Rummage Spell (I said it!), Thrill of Possibilities. We generally used Avacyn's to clear Blockers, but I've found it was little often needed. I would rather we be able to go through our list early game with a Rummage effect and hit the Cards we need for a successful Neheb game than worry over Blockers.

September 3rd, 2019 - Cavern of Souls for Dockside Extortionist - The list has been in need of more Ramp and we got it. Dockside is going to help us make those power plays and push a win on our Turn. Cavern of Souls is a fine inclusion, but we can cut the list down to 28 Lands and still be fine. Neheb is generally best handled after a Cast: he does not win on the spot, so making him un-Counterable is generally needless.

July 13th, 2019 - Bag of Holding , Glint-Horn Buccaneer & Sword of Feast and Famine for Spawning Breath , Grinning Ignus & Obsidian Battle-Axe - Along comes M20, a set that's far more than just a handful of solid reprints. With M20, we trade utilities for utilities. Though I love utilizing Spawning Breath to disallow my Food Chain foes and ramp into Neheb, Bag of Holding is an auto-include to this list and an effect I didn't even know I was waiting for. On Combo Turns, we can now throw Cards into our Bag for access later, with the pay offs being infinitely variable. All that truly matters here is that we can create an over-flowing Hand of Cards that we can use to Loot and generate Mana with. Bag of Holding increases our success rate on Combo Turns and is a must in any Neheb, Dreadehorde Champion list. Neheb's brethren, the Buccaneer is equally suited for this list: while we Discard, we damage our Opponents. All of our Wheel effects, all of our Combats and any/every instance in-between as we "Discard" along the route to Victory, Glint-Horn Buccaneer helps us go wide with our Damage. Now, imagine ending a Turn with a giant Knollspine Dragon and the Buccaneer out: how fun will that Clean Up step be and how Damaging? Now, the last addition is something I should've done long ago... After having placed the Goblins in. Sword of Feast and Famine has long been a success story with Aggravated Assault. It's in the list for the Battle-Axe, an even trade and now a must include for increasing the success rate of our list.

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96% Competitive