Burn deck that I built for my brother

Discussion in 'Casual Decks/Variants/Etc' started by Oversoul, Jun 24, 2017.

  1. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    About 20 years ago, I forcibly introduced all three of my siblings to Magic, as they were too young to stop me. Of course, this didn't really lead anywhere other than helping me learn some of what worked and didn't as far as basic gameplay skills. Later, both of my brothers would briefly return to Magic at a few points, mostly when they had friends in school who wanted to play. My youngest brother, Matt, didn't understand the game very well, but he'd occasionally want to play it with my other brother, our neighbor, or with one of his own friends. However...

    -Until recently, the last time I could remember Matt playing Magic at all, he was maybe 10 years old, younger than I was when I started playing for the first time.
    -Matt didn't play often enough or pay enough attention to get a very good grasp of the game. He could remember the turn structure and such, but he hadn't reached a point of learning advanced strategy.
    -Matt didn't own his own cards and our brother, Josh, because of his personality, was not inclined to let him borrow a deck that would have a semblance of a chance against him.
    -Back then, Matt had a below-average reading level for his age and had trouble comprehending the mechanics behind any cards that weren't very straightforward. And because reading was difficult for him, he didn't like playing in situations where a lot of reading would be required.

    So the deck he almost always played, if he could, was my Burn deck. It was very simple and straightforward, and didn't put him in spots where he had to read much or use much strategy.

    Earlier this month, my brother got back into Magic. And while he has changed a lot, he is still a big fan of aggro decks. Actually, as before, he doesn't have much interest in playing anything besides aggro decks. He remembered my old Burn deck, asked if I still had it, and asked about borrowing it or buying it from me. I did loan it to him, but didn't want to get rid of a deck that I've had (kinda sorta) since the 90's. So as a sort of birthday present, I made him his own Burn deck.

    Right now, his deck is better than mine anyway. My Burn deck is in a kind of limbo right now. For his, I built a simple creatureless version. Going creatureless wasn't initially my goal, but the more I thought about it, I realized it was a good fit here. Matt loves aggro decks (currently borrowing and using the Into the Breach Event deck, which Spidey and I played here on the forum and found to be pretty fast) and he'll have plenty of opportunity to try different versions of creature-based beatdown decks. Also, the birthday thing was more of an impulse after the fact (his birthday is over a month out) and when I thought I was going to throw this together and have him give me some cash for the cards I bought to complete it, I was trying to keep costs down. The creatures in my own Burn deck are the most expensive cards in it (Vexing Devil, Goblin Guide, Eidolon of the Great Revel). Also, this deck has a bit more variety in damage spells for him to try out and see what he likes.

    So it's nothing all that special or unusual, but it's yet another Burn deck.

    Core damage-dealing
    4x Lightning Bolt
    4x Chain Lightning
    4x Lava Spike
    4x Rift Bolt

    Situational heavy-hitters
    2x Scent of Cinder
    3x Reverberate
    2x Thunderous Wrath
    4x Flame Rift

    4x Fireblast
    3x Shard Volley
    2x Sonic Burst
    2x Cave-In

    2x Sulfuric Vortex
    20x Mountain

    Probably any monkey can play this. But for some reason, I'll explain anyway. The idea is to hit the opponent with lots of spells very quickly, bringing the opponent from 20 life down to 0. Rift Bolt has a turn delay, so it should be prioritized for casting first. I tend to hold onto Lightning Bolt and cast the other single-mana spells first, but that part doesn't matter too much. Scent of Cinder can potentially hit for more damage (usually 4, but 5 isn't out of the question), but is a bad topdeck. Thunderous Wrath is an excellent topdeck, but generally dead in an opening hand. Either Thunderous Wrath drawn too early or Scent of Cinder drawn too late can serve as fuel for Sonic Burst or Cave-In, both of which are generally held in-hand until the opponent is within lethal range. Shard Volley competes with Fireblast in using mountains as fuel, but the deck probably draws more than two lands and aims to cast exactly one copy of Fireblast, so this is acceptable. With Fireblast, the usual approach is to tap out, use mana to cast spells that bring the opponent down to 4 life, then cast Fireblast. But it is also possible to float the mana and, after Fireblast is on the stack, follow it up with either Reverberate (copying Fireblast) or Sonic Burst (pitching another card and ensuring that Fireblast isn't the random card discarded to Sonic Burst). Sulfuric Vortex is the slowest card in the deck, but it does have some minor utility in blocking lifegain and providing an inexorable clock against opponents who fail to destroy it.

    I haven't played this exact version, but it's close enough to what I've used in the past that I know it tends toward a fourth-turn kill if left unchecked.
  2. Terentius The Instigator

    Any multiplayer viability?
  3. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I didn't build it with multiplayer in mind, but my brother mostly played it in three-player games and did well with it. I don't know what his friends' decks looked like, but I suspect that they're a little on the slow side, laid-back casual decks, not really prepared for something this fast. I remember when I played my own Burn deck in three-player games, I'd try to soften up both opponents and then pull back a bit, holding onto instants and trying to pit both opponents against one another. Opponents could develop boards of creatures, but then I'd see if I could get them to attack each other. The threat is sort of, "If you attack me, I'll blast you with all of my spells and we'll both be so badly hurt that the other player will finish us off. If you attack the other player, I might use my spells to get rid of blockers." With politicking like that, it can be quite realistic to win against two people. After some damage has already accumulated, Reverberate (I used Fork back in the day, but either works) on Flame Rift can create a huge burst of damage to both opponents and could easily finish off one opponent and put the other in lethal range of a Fireblast or Lightning Bolt. But trying to kill two people is a delicate balance, because the deck has no blockers and is basically one-dimensional.

    For a more multiplayer-focused Burn deck: there was my "Wheel in Flames" concept: http://www.casualplayers.org/article/get.php?action=getarticle&articleid=37195

    I'd intended to come up with other takes on multiplayer Burn, hence the "Part 1" in the title of the article.
  4. Mooseman Isengar Tussle

    Number 2, number 2!!!!!! No Ransac poo......
    Chandra Ablaze won me a multiplayer game once along with that wall of diffusion.
    Oversoul likes this.
  5. Psarketos Metacompositional Theoretician

    Two thoughts: Up the Reverberate count, both because its one of my favorite cards and because the flexibility it gives, countering counterspells, discarding a discard players hand, or just doubling your own burn in the moment for 2 mana, is amazing. Second thought is to add Structural Distortion - again one of my favorite cards that adds to your overall burn capacity while also hindering your opponents deck development, in some cases crucially (think Inkmoth Nexus or Wurmcoil Engine).
  6. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I settled on 3 copies of Reverberate after what I'd consider to be preliminary testing, and while the exact right number might vary, the deck is in Matt's hands now. I haven't discussed it with him in a while (last I heard, he was pretty happy with it). My qualm with Reverberate is that you're usually just hoping to copy Fireblast and if you can't, it starts to look inefficient. It still went with 3 copies because I was that desperate for efficient burn spells. Having Reverberate up and actually getting to copy some awesome spell played by the opponent isn't out of the question, but it's not the norm. This is kind of a testament to how good Reverberate is: in a deck that would really rather not be messing around with this effect, I'm still convinced it warrants a few copies.

    Structural Distortion is a fine card, but doesn't really fit in this sort of deck. It's four-drop, and that's the turn where I am hoping to drop multiple cheaper spells and deal lethal damage to my opponent. This kind of Burn deck takes things to the extreme. There are other very strong burn spells, such as Searing Blaze, Exquisite Firecraft, and Skullcrack that I didn't go for here because the whole idea is to go all-in on direct damage to the opponent from the beginning. The ideal sequence is something like...

    Turn 1: Mountain, suspend Rift Bolt (opponent at 20).
    Turn 2: Mountain, Chain Lightning, Lava Spike (opponent at 11).
    Turn 3: Miracle into Thunderous Wrath, Lightning Bolt, Fireblast (opponent dead).

    Or something similar. There are a lot of variations on that. But usually, one doesn't get quite that lucky and a fourth-turn kill is more likely. More sane decks can get away with burn spells that have better utility, but this one is all about low mana costs and high damage. It doesn't have any creatures or any real disruption. I reluctantly threw in a couple of copies of Sulfuric Vortex, but I still don't like it.

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