Red Elemental Burn

Discussion in 'Casual Decks/Variants/Etc' started by Terentius, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. Terentius The Instigator

    EDIT: This is outdated; current deck is

    This is a from-scratch deck that started from a new player-friend's interest in Fire Servant. As I mentioned in my other thread, I have a thing for art and themes; all of the burn is based on fire elements rather than lightning.

    Creatures: 20
    4x Brighthearth Banneret
    4x Smokebraider
    3x Fire Servant
    3x Cinder Pyromancer
    3x Chandra's Spitfire
    3x Nova Chaser

    Enchantments: 4
    4x Braid of Fire

    Instants: 12
    4x Incinerate
    3x Flame Javelin
    2x Chandra's Outrage
    3x Chandra's Fury

    Sorceries: 2
    2x Flame Slash

    Planeswalkers: 2
    2 Chandra, the Firebrand

    Lands: 20
    12 Mountain
    4 Forgotten Cave
    3 Smoldering Crater
    1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
    60 cards

    Alternate cards I have:
    2x Nova Chaser
    4x Flamekin Harbinger
    3x Cinder Pyromancer
    2x Chandra's Spitfire
    2x Chandra Nalaar
    1x Chandra Ablaze
    1x Chandra's Phoenix
    3x Reverberate
    3x Reforge the Soul (I often find myself with an empty hand by turn 5)
    2x Obsidian Fireheart
    2x Heartlash Cinder
    2x Incandescent Soulstoke
    1x Flame Slash
    4x Cerebral Eruption
    4x Pyromancer Ascension (can never get this to trigger...)

    Win con: get out Fire Servant early and often, burn by any means, use high power creatures when able
    I can get by without Fire Servant, I just need a smooth mana curve and will need either recurring damage from creatures or draw power for spells. Probably some combination thereof, with the former leading and the latter finishing, hopefully with Fire Servant.

    • Soulbright Flamekin + Smokebraider/Braid of Fire - mana trick to play expensive burn spells and Planeswalkers when I don't have the lands; it was more necessary in earlier versions of the deck with the alternate cards
    • Braid of Fire + Instants/fire breathers
    • Champion Flamekin Harbinger/Heartlash Cinder with Nova Chaser, procs again leaving
    • Chandra's Spitfire + Cinder Pyromancer/Planeswalker/Obsidian Fireheart/other burn - Cinder Pyromancer works especially well because Spitfire procs again
    • Chandra, Pyromaster is still too expensive
    • Better lands
    My initial version had 80 cards with more of the alternates and played a lot more creatures, hoping to snag a Reforge the Soul at a good time. It didn't work well, so now I'm try to focus it down. Of course, this comes at the cost of versatility.

    Questions, comments, thoughts, and/or ratings?
  2. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    There is always some card that I am totally obsessed with and believe should be in every deck ever. Last year it started out being Griselbrand. I mean, look at the guy. Yeah, Yawgmoth's Bargain was OK, but it wasn't a huge freaking demon. But more recently I've fallen for Young Pyromancer aka Wannabe Chandra aka The Little Shaman that Could. I heard you like elementals and I heard you like fire, so we put elementals in your fire so you can burn while you burn.
  3. Terentius The Instigator

    Hello again, my reliable critic.

    What am I gonna do with 1/1 tokens? And what would I take out for that..?

    What I really want is for Cinder Pyromancer to read "creature or player" instead of player. I thought it did read that for quite a while until my friend corrected me. Shoot, I'd pay 2 more mana for that.
  4. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Hardly. I didn't say the deck sucks or anything like that. I actually appreciate the fire/elemental theme and think it's a fun idea. I suggested a single card that I think fits the theme and seems like it would work. If that's too critical for you, I don't see why you'd solicit commentary in the first place. I mean, I'm assuming we probably have different ideas of what constitutes a "critic" in this context, but usually when I see it like that, it's meant in a derogatory way, so that's how I read it. Anyway...

    Good questions. Your deck doesn't have cards that take synergy with Young Pyromancer to ridiculous levels, but it's still a pretty strong card. Keep in mind that you're not paying anything for those tokens. They are a free bonus that accumulate as you play the instants and sorceries you would be playing anyway. At the very least they are chump blockers. They can also attack, of course. In a pinch, they'd make viable fodder for Nova Chaser. Young Pyromancer is a 2/1 with a rather threatening ability as far as board position goes. Even if you're not going out of your way to make the deck take advantage of it, that's a decent two-drop, which will probably trade up in combat or eat a removal spell that would otherwise have been saved and used for Fire Servant. Depending on the opponents you'll be facing, that last part could be a very important consideration. If your opponents have spells to get rid of creatures, and you make them use those spells on your smaller creatures, they might not have the answers available when you play your larger creatures. Not having tested this deck, I can't say for sure what would happen, but I'd imagine that many opponents would be forced to trade one of their own good creatures to stop this thing, since the alternative is to let it keep attacking. With an instant-speed damage spell like Incinerate, you can even generate a token and let Young Pyromancer trade with a much bigger creature. Oh, and if they don't get killed, they're even better when you get multiple copies out. There are a lot of options with Young Pyromancer, and overall they may or may not work for you as much as other cards. But I do suggest trying it out.

    As for what Young Pyromancer would replace, I'd lean toward cutting other small creatures. Soulbright Flamekin is another 2/1 for 1R, but its ability seems too situational. I'd rather make a 1/1 every time I cast an instant or sorcery than be able to turn 6 mana into 8 mana, and the trample aspect doesn't seem like something that would really synergize with the rest of this deck. I think I'd also prefer Pyromancer over Smokebraider, but that one is really dependent on how your tempo has been working for you...

    Well, it does synergize with Chandra's Spitfire pretty nicely. Some creatures, like this one and also Young Pyromancer, benefit more from having a higher amount of direct damage spells in your library. How good they are relative to your other choices depends on how much you want to focus on creatures and how much you want to focus on direct damage.
  5. Terentius The Instigator

    Apologies, that was meant as nothing but a compliment. I appreciate the effort you put into critiquing my decks, and your advice is very reliable!

    Smokebraider is a must, but being that the mana trick is not as useful in this deck's current form, I could drop 2x Soulbright for Young P. But I would want to accompany him with Incandescent Soulstoke for a solid level of effectiveness, who in turn would have to replace... Spitfire? It's not landing as much without Cinder Pyromancer. Ugh, so many good cards...
  6. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Ah, thanks then.

    So many good cards indeed. Hm, it's a pity that so many of the really efficient spells are lightning-looking (Lightning Bolt, Rift Bolt, etc.) ones instead of fiery ones. Is Fireblast an option? I know it's old and hasn't been reprinted much, but it's a common and not in huge demand. It's usually more popular as a finishing blow in highly aggressive decks, but it could work here too, especially with Fire Servant on the battlefield. You could even hardcast it pretty easily if you played an early Braid of Fire. With its alternate casting cost, it's also pretty nice with Reverberate, if you end up using that one. Tapping two mountains for the mana to cast Reverberate and then sacrificing them to cast Fireblast with Reverberate copying it and Fire Servant on the battlefield is 16 damage to your opponent, which is probably lethal unless that opponent has been gaining life.

    It seems like a lot of this depends on your ratio of burn spells to creatures. Narrowing your card choices for a decklist probably comes down to a combination of how creature-based you want your damage to be, what kind of decks you're going up against, and personal preference. I suggest testing different versions of the deck (either on a computer with a Magic simulation program or just using proxies by shoving pieces of paper with card names in front of cards in sleeves) against some sample opposing deck, so you can find out what you like best.
  7. Terentius The Instigator

    Time to revisit this. I need more successful from-scratch decks!

    -1 Fire Servant
    +1 Chandra's Spitfire
    +1 Nova Chaser - I foolishly used to hold this creature back for blocking. It doesn't cost much, high probability to do high damage, will kill most whatever blocks it, and can buy me time as well as reproc Harbinger.
    -1 Pyre Charger - Fire-breathing on a non-evasive, low toughness creatures isn't very good.
    -1 Vengeful Firebrand - Same as above.
    +2 Obsidian Fireheart - A 4-bear with an ability that will get more use out of the "braid" pair, and help Spitfire, as well as general damage. EDIT: it does not synergize with Spitfire like I thought it would.
    +3 Cinder Pyromancer - I'm gonna rely on this guy a bit more. He's really consistent damage, and sets up Spitfire as I mentioned before.
    +2 Flamekin Harbinger
    -2 Soulbright Flamekin - Since I dropped all the big non-instants, I can drop this and bring it down to 60.

    -2 Chandra's Outrage
    -1 Chandra's Fury
    +3 Flame Javelin - May swap back to Chandra's Outrage for one more mana, as that can hit a creature, deal direct damage, and sets up Spitfire.

    +4 Forgotten Cave - These cycle lands really help.
    +3 Smoldering Crater - Same as above.
    +1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx - Pulled one from a booster and it was just sitting in my binder.
    -8 Mountain

    What I really need is draw power once my mana is set up. There's Reforge The Soul I mentioned in the original post, and I've tried using/proxying Font of Mythos, Howling Mine, and Staff of Nin with less than great results. Faithless looting/Wild Guess seem like decent options, but I already used them in my Pain Animator, and I don't much want to discard.
  8. Terentius The Instigator

    I decided the solution to my main problem with this deck was to split it into two decks, in a manner similar to something I did for the two UW decks I posted a while back.

    Since I first started building my own decks, I've always had the problem of trying to cram too many cards in, mostly because I want my decks to do a lot of things, which I want because I like my decks to thrive under as many conditions and scenarios as possible. Does anyone else encounter this?

    In this situation, I can split a disjointed pile of cards into two more focused decks that have similar aspects and themes, but have two completely different strategies and playstyles. And also, perhaps most importantly, I get to use more of the cards I wanted to play with in the first place. The two decks have a shared base of cards (20 in this case), and the rest are the mutually exclusive. The shared base has its own sleeve color (red in this case), so I can pick them out and swap them between the two decks (orange sleeves). Obviously I couldn't have nonuniform sleeves in competitive play, but for kitchen table purposes the shared base is diverse enough so I can't predict what a card is by the sleeve color.

    Creature Burn
    Creatures: 27
    2x Grinning Ignus - More effective in this deck due to Brighthearth
    4x Smokebraider
    1x Stigma Lasher
    3x Flamekin Harbinger - Can seek out a piece of the main damage combo, but usually gets Nova Chaser so I can get the ETB again
    4x Brighthearth Banneret
    4x Cinder Pyromancer - Half of the main damage combo
    4x Chandra's Spitfire - Other half of the main damage combo
    3x Nova Chaser - Mainly used to stall and force opponents to deal with it
    2x Incandescent Soulstoke - Still unsure on this one

    Enchantments: 4
    4x Quest for Pure Flame - Great fun!

    Artifact: 1
    1x Staff of Nin

    Sorceries: 5
    4x Flame Slash
    1x Flames of the Firebrand

    Planeswalkers: 2
    2x Chandra, Pyromaster

    Lands: 21
    14x Mountain (5)
    3x Forgotten Cave (3)
    2x Shivan Gorge
    1x Smoldering Crater
    1x Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
    60 cards

    Creature Burn can output huge amounts of damage, but it's a glass cannon.

    Instant Burn
    Creatures: 17
    2x Grinning Ignus
    4x Smokebraider
    1x Stigma Lasher
    3x Soulbright Flamekin - I hit the mana trick often enough to want to keep this
    4x Fire Servant - Get this out fast
    1x Cinder Elemental - Unsure on this one too; it's never around when I need it
    1x Ember Swallower - This with Monstrous is better than those fire-breathers I was using; I haven't hit the Monstrous yet but it sounds sweet, especially because I run a low land count
    1x Obsidian Fireheart

    Enchantments: 4
    4x Braid of Fire - Get this out fast too

    Artifact: 1
    1x Staff of Nin

    Instants: 14
    4x Incinerate
    4x Flame Javelin
    1x Chandra's Outrage
    2x Chandra's Fury
    3x Reverberate

    Sorceries: 4
    4x Flame Slash

    Planeswalkers: 2
    2x Chandra, the Firebrand

    Lands: 18
    11x Mountain (5)
    1x Shivan Gorge
    4x Forgotten Cave (3)
    2x Smoldering Crater
    60 cards

    Instant Burn is a bit slower and does overall less damage per turn than Creature Burn, but is somewhat less reliant on critters that can be destroyed easily. I may try to work in Fireblast or other burn spells.

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