Monday, 23 May 2016

Controlled bURn

What can YOU do to prevent wildfires? Apparently play today’s deck. There are a couple of reasons this might make sense. Option 1. You are an arsonist and playing Magic distracts you from your other passion. No? How about option 2. You partake in a Controlled bURn.

The idea of today’s brew is to use the speed of a burn deck, while adding some control to it, so that you can win the game quickly without allowing your opponent to do the same. The tricky part about a deck like this is deciding how much you want to focus on each aspect. Because burn decks are so consistent, I didn’t want to lose that, and chose aggression over control.

Ball Lightning. Originally these were actually Frenetic Efreets. Going back on deciding what aspect I wanted to focus on; I was thinking of just how hard the Efreets are to destroy versus how good they are at damaging the opponent. As I stated before, defense is secondary in this deck, which is why I replaced them with Ball Lightning. This decision also had an effect on the mana base, as they require RRR to cast. While I do not recommend changing a mana base for a single card, the rest of the deck tends to focus on Red as well, while the Blue cards are pretty splashable, so I thought it was worth doing.

Another change I made after my original draft of the deck was removing 2 Fact or Fiction for 2 more Fire // Ice. First of all, this card just screams burn control. Not only can it ping your opponent, but it can also take out 1-2 small creatures, control tempo, find you a new card, et cetera et cetera. The card is fantastic in this deck. So, why not play Fact or Fiction? While it can help you in the card advantage department, that’s looking at a long game that we are not looking to play. Fire // Ice can also generate CA, while also allowing us to focus on our game plan of burning the opponent first and controlling them second.

So if the deck wants to focus on being aggressive, why the Maze of Ith? Because of the low mana curve of the deck, it can afford to play a land that doesn’t produce mana. Because this is a red deck, many of your spells can’t take out big creatures, nor do you want that to be their main focus. Ith thus buys you time against decks such as those, and can be played as a singleton due to protection from counter magic. Maze also makes the Stifles particularly good in the deck because they can not only create tempo but also protect it from opposing Wastelands.

I know this is often the part of the article where I explain card choices, omissions, et cetera et cetera. I did that during the main part of the article because I thought it would be interesting for the readers to see how my thought process works when designing Ancient decks. I don’t know whether this inspires you or not, but I hope it at least gives you something to consider when building your own decks. This format has a vast number of options and it is important to consider which ones best fit in your game plan. Happy Brewing!

Controlled bURn


1 Island
3 Mountain
4 Volcanic Island
4 Wasteland
1 Maze of Ith
8 Fetch lands

Total: 21


4 Serendib Efreet
4 Ball Lightning
2 Grim Lavamancer

Total: 10


4 Brainstorm
4 Force of Will
4 Stifle
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Chain Lightning
4 Counterspell
4 Fire // Ice
1 Psionic Blast

Total: 29


4 Tormod’s Crypt
1 Pyroclam
3 Blood Moon
1 Chain of Vapor
2 Annul
2 Pyroblast
2 Gilded Drake

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