Burn Up the World

Discussion in 'Casual Decks/Variants/Etc' started by Oversoul, Dec 5, 2014.

  1. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    As I've pointed out in the past, I've had a Burn deck since 1998 or so, and it's the only deck of mine that hasn't been completely dismantled since then. My deck has evolved a whole lot in those 16 years, as I acquired better cards and as new sets introduced new tools. But I'd like to think that the Fireblasts are still original (Al0ysiusHWWW had the deck in his home for a few years, so I don't know for sure), so there's still that one thread connecting this to the deck I built all those years ago.

    In 2004, I wrote an article about Burn. For some reason, that article kept receiving comments years later, moreso than my later, better articles. There was an amusing trend in which people would comment on that article noting the lack of some card that hadn't even been printed back when I wrote the article.

    In 2010, I went to Exalted Games in Tacoma and competed in a Legacy tournament. Al0ysiusHWWW brought the Burn deck for me to use. He'd modified it heavily from how it had been when I'd last seen it. My only match loss, occurring in the first round, was to the other member of our playgroup (briefly seen at the CPA under the name Unsanitarypigs), piloting a CounterTop deck. He went on to take first place.

    I adjusted my decklist a bit since 2010, but mostly I just used it to test a few other casual decks. I didn't bother to physically alter the deck much, although I toyed with lists and included one of them in a Comboist Manifesto article. The actual deck still had some cards that Al0ysiusHWW had added, which I wanted to get rid of (Magma Jet in particular). I wasn't really paying attention. Until a couple of months ago, I didn't even notice that for the past few years, my Burn deck somehow had five copies of Arid Mesa, making it an illegal deck.

    Well, I'm finally returning to this deck in earnest. It's time to burn up the world. This is the current decklist...

    2x Cave-In
    4x Chain Lightning
    4x Flame Rift
    4x Lava Spike
    4x Rift Bolt
    4x Fireblast
    4x Lightning Bolt
    4x Price of Progress
    2x Thunderous Wrath
    4x Arid Mesa
    1x Barbarian Ring
    1x Bloodstained Mire
    7x Mountain
    3x Scalding Tarn
    4x Eidolon of the Great Revel
    4x Goblin Guide
    4x Vexing Devil

    No sideboard yet. I'll see about that eventually. For now I want to fine-tune the maindeck. I'll be running some tests to see how the manabase should be. My deck is in a weird spot at the moment: some of the cards prey on a plausible Legacy metagame, while others aren't really typical for a Legacy Burn deck. Specifically, Price of Progress is a bomb against most opponents in a good Legacy metagame, where the vast majority of lands are nonbasic, and Eidolon of the Great Revel shines against the efficient tempo-focused decks that tend to dominate in Legacy. Vexing Devil, on the other hand, is great as an opening play, but can end up being a dead card against many Legacy decks.

    Thunderous Wrath is unheard of in Legacy tournament Burn decks, and I think that this is a mistake on the part of the community. The card is a disaster in opening hands, especially after mulligans, but in a deck with zero draw spells, it is the best topdeck there is for a Burn deck, easily beating out everything else for efficiency with the sole exception of a big fifth or sixth turn Price of Progress. Even though the card has been dismissed by tournament players, I was drawn to it and all of my testing has vindicated my decision to run two copies. Three would ruin opening hands too often to be worth it, but two is safe.

    Cave-In is another one of my unusual choices. Even Al0ysiusHWW was opposed to this one when I first included it in my decklist (hence the lack of Cave-In when I played Burn in that tournament using the version of the deck that he'd arrived at). Cave-In is sort of the opposite of Thunderous Wrath: you don't ordinarily want to topdeck it. Card disadvantage for the weakest burn spell in the deck makes Cave-In seem dubious. I include two copies anyway because the card has some utility that nothing else can accomplish. For no mana cost, I can turn dead cards in my hand into damage. Cave-In works well with non-miracled Thunderous Wrath, with extra copies of Firestorm, with superfluous creatures, or as a finisher when I'm tapped out and have an extra burn spell in my hand.

    I'm on the fence regarding Barbarian Ring, a card that has flowed in and out of this deck over the years. I was actually going to cut all copies of Barbarian Ring, but I couldn't locate my Unglued basic lands (I forget where I stored them) and I left one copy in for the sake of my manabase. Barbarian Ring is a land that doubles as a burn spell, but it is problematic for three reasons. Firstly, cards that hurt my own life total cripple me in matches against other aggro decks, which is the same reason I'm not running Street Wraith and also why I'm hesitant to use so many fetchlands. Secondly, Barbarian Ring interacts poorly with Price of Progress. Thirdly, it's the only land in the deck that doesn't help fuel Fireblast. At only one copy, Barbarian Ring seems to be useful more often than not, but I don't know...

    Cards that I might make room for, but that aren't being tested at the moment:

    Grim Lavamancer
    Monastery Swiftspear
    Searing Blaze
  2. Mooseman Isengar Tussle

    I like the deck, but it does seem to do a lot of potential damage to you , but I like the Vexing Devil, why is it a dead card against many Legacy decks?
    I do like Blazing Salvo for burn decks.
    I think there is something missing here, but can't put my finger on it.
    Sorry I can't give you a great discussion of burn, but I don't play legacy (or tournaments) at all.
  3. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Yeah, that's an issue for Burn decks and its prevalence has shifted over time. At one point, I had Street Wraith in my Burn deck, but Al0ysius took it out and added fetchlands. Burn hopes to kill by turn 5, and possibly as early as turn 3, so self-inflicted damage is worth it if it helps me outrace my opponent. This is a weakness against other aggro decks, but pure aggro is less common in Legacy than it's ever been...

    In principle, it's not a dead card. The problem is one of timing. If Vexing Devil is in my opening hand, I play it right away. My opponent either eats the damage, which makes the card better than Lightning Bolt in that situation, or let's me have a 4/3 on turn 1, which is not too shabby for an aggro deck to have, and will deal with blockers to soften opponents up for Goblin Guide or Eidolon. But if I draw Vexing Devil a few turns later and play it, my opponent might drop a 4/5 Tarmogoyf or some other creature that can shut down Vexing Devil. Yeah, I can easily hit most blockers with damage spells, but this is a Burn deck, and I'm not equipped to win a creature battle. I need to force through as much early damage as possible, and a vanilla 4/3 can become useless after opponents get the right blockers, which can happen pretty quickly in Legacy.

    My qualm with Blazing Salvo is that I give my opponent a choice, and most opponents will make the right choice.
  4. Mooseman Isengar Tussle

    But isn't it a choice between two evils?

    I see the problem with Vexing Devils on turn 3 or 4, but then it's a blocker that allows you to take more of your own damage and maybe win the race.
    And by turn 5 or 6, if a burn deck hasn't won, don't you just try to survive to draw one more card, since that should be the answer given all the burn cards in the deck?

    I don't play many burn decks, since they are not very good in multiplayer.
    The only one I ever used (and won with) was using Chandra Ablaze and one other player was milling everyone's library.
  5. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Well, that's a different topic. I'm also averse to cards like Browbeat and Steam Augury (but not Fact or Fiction, because it actually gives you the final say). Most cards that give opponents dichotomies face some situations in which one choice is bad for the opponent while the other choice is merely inconvenient. But in the case of Blazing Salvo, there's another issue that's more specific to dedicated Burn decks: the card can't forcibly damage an opponent. I play Lava Spike, which can't target creatures, because the plan is to simply aim my spells at my opponent. Blazing Salvo is dead against combo or control opponents that have no creatures on the battlefield, and it can be avoided by opponents willing to let it take out a creature. I see Blazing Salvo as more of a Sligh card, something that can cheaply clear blockers or force an opponent to take 5 to the dome.

    Yep, that's the hope. It doesn't work out every game, but I think it's consistent enough to use the card in this deck.


    Challenge accepted.
  6. Mooseman Isengar Tussle

    I'd like to add to that challenge..... if I may.
    75 card deck
    Must use Wall of Diffusion? Please?
    Cursed Totem is a very welcome card in my multi-player decks. ;)

  7. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I'll admit I'm curious about the Wall of Diffusion idea. A multiplayer Burn deck would probably need some blockers (after all, a 0/5 isn't too bad for buying a little time), but I was just thinking of ones that would synergize with direct damage spells. Wall of Diffusion's advantage is awfully specific, though. In my experience, creatures with the "shadow" ability were never popular enough to warrant putting this thing into casual decks. I had a friend who built a blue/black control deck with Thalakos/Dauthi creatures, and I tried out some sort of concept involving Soltari Champion way back in the day. There was also a time when it was fashionable use some of the more efficient Dauthi attackers in Suicide Black decks, especially with Hatred. But that's about it. I haven't seen anyone actually making extensive use of shadow creatures in a long time...
  8. Mooseman Isengar Tussle

    Since we have a very diverse group and they once in a while have shadow (not as a focus). It's also a 0/5 for 1R..... but if that doesn't work, that's okay.
  9. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I thought it might be something like that. Wouldn't Ætherflame Wall be preferable? I do love the Rath block, but it seems like the potential threat of actually killing attacking creatures, rather than just being able to block one, is worth having a 0/4 instead of a 0/5.

    Anyway, I'm still playing with some ideas for this concept. I've restricted myself to mono-red because building a multiplayer burn deck powered by some ridiculous combo would be too easy if I went with a blue/red deck or something like that. So far, I've largely been distracted by the simple concept of a storm-based Past in Flames deck, pretty similar to what was done in Modern before Seething Song was banned, only I have access to older cards too, so Wheel of Fortune chains are possible, and provide fuel. Such a deck could, very early in the game, string together Wheel of Fortune and red ritual spells, bolstered by some other red card draw spells (Wild Guess, for instance), replay it all through Past in Flames, and finish off a decent-sized multiplayer table with Grapeshot and Ignite Memories (I'm talking about Ignite Memories with 50 or so storm copies, followed up by Grapeshots to pick off any opponents that had empty hands or whatever). This could be very powerful, and wouldn't rely on overly expensive cards. Aside from Wheel of Fortune, it could even be considered a budget deck. Of course, Wheel of Fortune is banned in Legacy, if that matters, but a version using Wheel of Fate or Reforge the Soul would still be quite plausible.

    There are other approaches, of course. Guttersnipe is an obvious means of burning everyone else up, and it's definitely potent, but pretty vulnerable to removal and a deck relying on it as a kill mechanism could be in trouble. Another idea I wanted to explore was the exploitation of Mogg Maniac, although that's not necessarily a multiplayer thing: I just think Mogg Maniac is really cool. For example, with a Furnace of Rath and a Mogg Maniac, I can play cast Blasphemous Act (should be pretty easy in a decent-sized multiplayer game), which hits every creature for 26, allowing Mogg Maniac to dome a single opponent for 52. There were some other concepts I wanted to look into, but haven't yet. In a deck based around it, Hostility could make burn spells do a lot of work. Since a multiplayer Burn deck is probably going to need bigger spells rather than more of them, perhaps cards that copy or recur spells could get the job done, like the new Dualcaster Mage. I might even be able to build a deck that just repeatedly casts Sizzle until all opponents are dead...

    Not going to have more details in the immediate future though. I'll be out of town for a bit and I haven't done enough to try to turn this into an article. At some point soon, though, I do want to write an article about concepts for Multiplayer Burn decks...
  10. Mooseman Isengar Tussle

  11. Terentius The Instigator

    This probably won't work if you're racing, but I get owned regularly by Satyr Firedancer.
  12. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Satyr Firedancer is a good card, but it strikes me as more of a Sligh card than a Burn card.
  13. Mooseman Isengar Tussle

    These are all interesting cards that do stuff to all opponents.
    Can a burn deck be multicolored?

    Breath of Malfegor 3BR
    Crackling Doom RWB
    Crackling Perimeter 1R
    Fanatic of Mogis 3R
    Guttersnipe 2R
    Lobbercrew 2R
    Mogis, God of Slaughter 2RB
    Skullrend 3BR
    Wound Reflection 5B
  14. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Definitely. In my as-yet-unpublished article, I elected to focus initially on mono-red. I forget exactly what my reasoning was in the article, but my take on it is that mono-red feels the purest, if that makes any sense, and also that blue/red has too many ridiculously powerful combos. But I do want to look into other color combinations.

    Let's see...

    Breath of Malfegor: Definitely worth trying out if black can be made to work in this sort of deck.
    Crackling Doom: This one could be especially strong, hurting opponents directly and taking chunks out of their offense.
    Crackling Perimeter: I've always rather disliked the Gates, although there is potential here.
    Fanatic of Mogis: Has red devotion ever been a thing, competitively? I remember seeing blue devotion, black devotion, and green devotion in Standard at some points, but red doesn't seem to have been very popular...
    Guttersnipe: Yeah, this one jumped out right away.
    Lobbercrew: Interesting card because it could potentially fit into any multicolored burn approach.
    Mogis, God of Slaughter: A powerhouse in general.
    Skullrend: Well, this one would certainly make people mad.
    Wound Reflection: Ooh, I didn't think of this one...
  15. Mooseman Isengar Tussle

    This one have won me at least 3 multiplayer games. (I don't play that many in a year, say 10 in total.)

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