It seems to me that Extended is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, especially with Grand Prix: Los Angeles in just a few days. In recent forum posts, some people have expressed the desire for additional coverage of decks beyond the top few (Faeries, Zoo, etc), so today I am actually going to be covering a slightly off the radar deck. My inspiration for this article actually came about as I played at a Grand Prix Trial this past weekend (just for practice mainly, although helping my friends win byes also seemed like a reason).
Between the trial and a subsequent tournament at the site, I played against 5 Mono-Red Burn decks in a total of eight rounds. That is certainly a lot of Lava Spikes, and it got me to thinking about why this deck is so popular. There are a number of factors, such as cost to assemble the deck, the perceived ease of playing it (although it seems to me that any deck takes some skill to play, even one as simple as the “all burn spell” deck), and just the general metagame factor of good matchups against the decks one wants to beat.
While I personally wouldn’t play the deck, that doesn’t mean I think that nobody should, and there appears to me an almost strictly better version available for those who want to light up their opponents. The fundamental strategy of the Burn deck is that all of its spells (and even some of its lands!) damage the opponent, and eventually will overwhelm whatever answers they may have to straight burn. By playing only creatures like Mogg Fanatic, Spark Elemental, and Keldon Marauders, even traditional removal spells aren’t very strong, as damage is generally dealt either way. The following deck does lose a little bit of that immunity to creature removal, but the upsides seem to vastly outweigh that. The original decklist is as follows:
There are several ways that an investigator might confirm suspicion that burns are intentionally inflicted, rather than accidental in nature. One factor in considering whether a burn is intentionally inflicted is the nature of the burn. A contact burn of irregular shape is typical of accidental contact with a hot item such as a pot on a stove or an iron. Burns of this nature are typically ...