I’m glad you think so highly of me! Even so, I still feel like there’s a lot more for me to learn in this matchup, which is why I’m sad that I was too busy to be part of this…
I agree with pretty much everything @ARMed_PIrate said, though. I will note that Fire is really good against beginners, since they’re going to play in a way that it can punish hard. Against a real opponent, though, you probably have to lean on Bamstamper Lizzos and Molting Firebirds a lot if you go Fire Tech II, and while you can probably slip Hotter Fire in too to make them even stronger, be wary that it makes Bloodlust (one of your more reliable haste-giving options) deal extra damage to whatever you target with it – which can be a mixed blessing, since that makes it better as targeted removal, but also makes using it for haste more painful.
Tower is the best anti-Calamandra option Red has, but only if you’re defending. If you can kill her (without overextending, hopefully), then there’s no need for a Tower!
Yes, Wandering Mimic is such a big part of what makes Balance scary for Red in particular. Red doesn’t care about things like Potent Basilisk as much (except if you’re using Fire…), but the potential for haste from a faction that normally has none is terrifying. With that in mind, always be careful about what abilities you leave around for it to mimic. Most of the time having something attack with haste and live is good, but against Balance it’s bad. Most of the time leaving your flying units out of the patrol zone is fine, since there’s little they can block anyway. Against Balance, especially if you’ve also left something with Haste alive, it might be the last mistake you ever make. On the other hand, if you don’t leave them any abilities to mimic, they’re just expensive 4/4 units.
Yes, Kidnapping is almost mandatory against Green. The only time I could see it not being useful is if someone went heavy on Murkwood Allies, but I don’t know if that kind of strategy can win without eventually transitioning to something worth Kidnapping.
I don’t like Pillage all that much myself, but that’s because I (over)value hand size. Especially if you’re player 2, teching Gunpoint Taxman is good both as defense and to punish floating gold without having to go down on cards. Plus, Taxman is a pirate, so if you do keep Pillage around you can combo it with his ability to steal $3 in one turn! Very useful against the economy faction.
Blood is definitely the strongest spec within the red faction as a whole, but it’s worth noting that Anarchy Tech III is one of the best options for closing a drawn-out game. My first win on these forums (in a game against @FrozenStorm) came from going Blood Tech II, ramming him with enough things to wipe his board every turn, and just when I couldn’t keep doing it any more, I was able to play a Pirate Gunship using the Tech III and Tech Lab I’d built a turn or two before. Not that this is necessarily the best strategy! Just remember that there’s multiple ways to win, and base racing is only one of them.
(That last sentence might have been partly directed at you, @ARMed_PIrate. )
I’m sure at least some of that was just repeating things others have said, but hopefully my near-midnight ramblings can help in some way!