How BDM Kept Me from a Reckless Impulse

Reckless Impulse

Reckless Impulse from Innistrad: Crimson Vow

  • Card Name: Reckless Impulse
  • Mana Cost: 1R
  • Card Type: Sorcery
  • Rules Text: Exile the top two cards of your library. Until the next turn, you may play those cards.
  • Flavor Text: A stitcher looks at their creation and sees the result of years of study and hours of toil. A devil sees a new plaything.
  • Illustrated by: Mathias Kollros

Last month I really liked this Mono-Red beatdown deck with Reckless Impulse. While I played a variety of decks to earn my Mythic rating, with only one pip to go, I used it to win the crowning pip in Best-of-One.

Designed — or at least promoted (to me) — by the popular YouTube streamer CovertGoBlue, this deck is a joy to play. Instead of clunky large creatures like Thundering Raiju, it is exceptionally stingy with its casting costs… Almost all “1” and “2” mana.

You’re never going to get to only one mana in Standard (versus a format with wider pools of cards, like Modern)… But CGB certainly made the effort.

The Secret of Reckless Impulse

This deck is hyper-aggressive… Even more aggressive and “low to the ground” than other aggressive Red Decks in Standard right now. Every single creature has haste! You might not want to play Bloodthirsty Adversary on turn two, but it’s nice to know that you can, and that she will fill your second turn with two or three damage.

But that’s not the secret! You see, most Red Decks in Standard have at least “mostly” creatures with haste. Some even have bigger and more imposing ones at the four, like Thundering Raiju. What makes CGB’s deck different is how it is laced together.

There are three cards that do this in concert:

  1. Ancestral Anger
  2. Blazing Crescendo
  3. (and of course) Reckless Impulse

All three of these cards either draw a card or have some proxy for drawing a card attached to them. Ancestral Anger is a “cantrip” … That is, you draw a card directly when you cast it. Blazing Crescendo sets a card aside in exile, where you can play it this turn or next. Both of these spells reward you for having creatures with haste. If you have a Phoenix Chick about to attack and the opponent only planned to take one damage, they might be eating two or even four, while you put yourself in a position to draw an extra card.

Since 1/3 of your cards are lands, the presence of Ancestral Anger, Blazing Crescendo, and Reckless Impulse help to lace a deck together with only 20 lands. CGB was thus able to shave two lands out of the usual 22-land Red Deck shell, while simultaneously increasing its access to lands and the deck’s general distribution of lands and spells over the course of a game.

Reckless Impulse itself is less aggressive than its two sister spells in this deck, but does you the solid of “drawing” two cards instead of only one. One note on how to correctly play Reckless Impulse: In most cases you’ll want to play the card before deploying your basic Mountain for the turn. In some cases you’ll flip over two Mountains, meaning that if you play a land first, you’ll lose access to one of them. This is not always possible, and never possible in the case that you’re stuck casting it turn two; but it remains a good rule of thumb.

This deck is awesome. I love it. I mentioned it on CoolStuffInc before leaving for San Diego (pro tip: use promo code “Flores” for 5% off at CSI). Now I’ve even made a video about playing it!

Why Didn’t I Play This Deck at the Regional Championship?

To be fair: This is kind of a gimmick deck.

There was a time when any Red Deck would have been considered kind of a gimmick deck… But this was one in a particular way. If you’re playing Best-of-One on Magic: The Gathering Arena, the opponent’s deck is by definition set. They only have what defense they have and they don’t know what’s coming at them before the first land is played.

The opposite was simply not to be true at the Regional Championships. An “open deck list” tournament, the opponent would have access to my full 75 at the start of each match. Participants literally walked around with printouts of their decks and handed them over for the opponent to study every round!

There are two strikes against this deck in a format like that:

  1. In Best-of-Three, even if you win Game One, the opponent will have the opportunity to bring in all their instant speed removal for the sideboard games. In the current Standard, that removal includes multiple discounted cards that both kill small creatures and gain life.
  2. In Best-of-One, where I fell in love with Reckless Impulse & company, the opponent would not necessarily know what was about to happen. If an opponent has removal in Best-of-One, they might still use all their mana main phase to tap out for a future attacker or otherwise make a proactive play. With open deck lists, opponents would know to play more conservatively. They might hold up mana for removal. They might just bluff removal! Either way, Ancestral Anger might not land (or even be cast). You need cards like Ancestral Anger and Blazing Crescendo to land just to draw your land in this deck. Poison 🙁

My friend and longtime collaborator Brian David-Marshall was the one who convinced me not to play a deck I loved for the above reasons. He was probably right.

Brian and I recently got the band back together. You might like MichaelJ, but I bet you love BDM. Give our latest episode of Top 8 Magic a listen, and tell him to make more on Twitter.


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