Hello again Modern fans. I hope everyone had a great holiday season and is ready to start the year off with some new Modern decks. This week we are going to be looking at a deck that many of the “cool kids” think is a deck for a new or cheap player.
We’re talking about Burn, and while many games, when taken at face value look very easy and straightforward, there are going to be many others that you have to think your way out of some sticky situations. Burn is one of the most inexpensive ways to get started in any format, and Modern is no different. Burn is also a top tier Pauper deck, and I’ll supply a decklist at the end of this article that can be used at the new for 2016 Pauper FNM hosted by The End Games.
Burn decks, much like Ricky Bobby, just wanna go fast. We are essentially a combo deck masquerading as an aggro deck, trying to assemble the cards to deal 20 damage before our opponent can mount an effective defense. In a format where two and three color decks frequently deal between 1 and 5 damage to themselves on the first turn, burn is a serious threat, even if you’re not on the fully optimized list.
Monastery Swiftspear – At our budget Monastery Swiftspear is the best creature we have access to. Swiftspear is amazing in our deck, getting bigger with every spell cast and you’re almost never going to be sad to see it in your hand.
Ash Zealot – Since we can’t have GoblinGuide at our budget, Ash Zealot is going to be pinch hitting, and in
my opinion doing an admirable job. Haste and First strike are great, and in a format with Snapcaster Mage, Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, Faithless Looting and Past in Flames, she has three very relevant abilities.
Hellspark Elemental – Re-usable hasty beater, and the Trample is relevant in a non-zero number of games. His little brother Spark Elemental was added to the deck as another way to deal 3 damage to the opponent on turn 1.
TO THE DOME!!!! – Most of these are pretty self explanatory, in a perfect world you point them at the opponents face repeatedly until they offer the handshake. The big outlier is searing blood, which is going to be amazing in some games, and completely useless in other. We rarely want to blow burn spells on an opponents creature, so Searing Blood and Searing Blaze (if your mana base can support it) provides an important service. The matchups can get complicated very quickly, but we’re not here to quibble, we’re going TO THE DOME!
Well that’s enough words and pictures, time to go TO THE DOME!!!
Playing this deck was like a seat of the pants thrill ride. Without the re-usable damage afforded by Eidolon of the Great Revel and Goblin Guide, and the deck thinning provided by fetches we were always down to our last couple of cards when the games ended. It was definitely interesting, and if you watched all four videos you got a good look at some of the life gain we’re up against, and saw that it is certainly beatable, but is by no means easy.
Where do we go from here? You can basically go two ways with the deck we started with this week. You can finish optimizing it as a Boros Burn deck, or splash for Destructive Revelry and Atarka’s Command while keeping the burn focus. Another option that has been very popular at Grand Prixs and SCG Opens lately has been Nacatl Burn which can be more or less creature heavy depending on your taste. The creature burn decks feature a lot of the same burn spells but add in aggresively costed creatures like Wild Nacatl, Kird Ape and sometimes Vexing Devil. Which strategy you employ is up to your personal taste, but they are very effective decks.
Final Note: One of the best thing about this deck as a starter deck is that it’s very close to the fully optimized 75 at our very meager budget, because most of the cost of the deck is tied up in just a few cards. The most immediate upgrade to this deck would come from a playset of Goblin Guide, but at over 100 dollars for a playset it was out of our budget for this series. Amuch more reasonably priced option is a playset of Eidolon of the Great Revel, which is also used in legacy burn to great effect. If you’re a current standard player and have an assortment of red fetches those can be quickly added which will assist with deck-thinning and make Searing Blaze an almost strictly better Searing Blood. This deck is going to cost you right around $100 on www.theendgames.co
As Promised here is a top tier Pauper Burn deck, which uses a fair number of cards from our decklist above.