1st at Grand Prix Kobe on Aug 24th 2014
Now here’s a deck that calls straight to my heart. As I’m an Aggro player in the blood Red has always been a color I most associated with. I’ve followed burn through Standard from year to year, Extended back in the day, Legacy while Mental Misstep was legal, and of course now in Modern. The two main draws of this deck is that there are few lifegain issues in the meta as Soul Sisters is not the most popular deck choice while you’re deck has a wealth of removal to deal with many of the life gaining creatures in Pod decks, and with a largely fetch/shock manabase common to the format most decks do between two and six damage themselves in the first two turns.
Grand Prix Moscow Champion – Standard on June 15th 2014
Once again the power of fire to the face was able to propel this Tomahawk missile of a deck right to the top of the victory podium. Showing how powerful a linear strategy of simply throwing everything into reducing your opponents life total to zero really can be, this design is a well oiled machine dedicated to death and destruction. This really appeals to the little fire imp which resides in my heart and is a variation on the classic burn theme which has existed in magic since the days of Fireball and Lightning Bolt.
The deck is a little light on the creature side but has found two spicy dudes that synergize with the deck extremely well given the 26 spells that are played at instant speed. The first is Young Pyromancer which on its own isn’t a very intimidating creature but once you start slinging some spells the party gets started and guests will arrive, and don’t think that lowly 1/1’s aren’t any good because every single point matters with this deck. The other creature comes with Chandra’s Phoenix that can do some real damage as a hasty flier but also will find its way back to your hand rising from the grave whenever one of your spells blasts into the opponent. The manabase also affords you space to squeeze in three copies of Mutavault that are able to maneuver their way around any sorcery speed removal. Then we get into the burn suite of the deck which is massive. There is at one cost Shock capable of delivering a two point blast either to the player or if necessary any of his smaller creatures. The mass of the burn is found at two cost starting simply with Lightning Strike which is simply three points going to the opponents dome or one of his creatures. Next we have Magma Jet which is another flexible two points but the most important part is the Scry 2 which helps the weakness of this deck a bit as there is no real draw available to you. Against decks that play with lifegain, the true nemesis of burn, you have Skullcrack which as a surprise against Sphinx’s Revelation decks could very easily snatch victory from what would be an almost certain defeat. The flexibility of Boros Charm is almost universally wasted with the four point blast to the face as the Double Strike will rarely do more damage but if you have a sizable force you might need the Indestructible against a sweeper. The last two cost burn is a removal spell with Searing Blood which will do two points of damage to a creature but has the added bonus where if that creature dies will do an additional three to its controller. And the last burn spell is the Warleader’s Helix with a four point shot while also providing a four point lifegain as an added benefit. The last spot in the deck is taken by the removal of Chained to the Rocks which is capable of exiling almost any creature threat that is able to skirt the other options from direct damage.
Here’s a spicy little Aggro number that while by no means any sort of new concept is quite a sight for sore eyes. It’s nice to see that the Mono-Black Devotion (or more accurately now Golgari Devotion since rotation) was not able to reach the summit, although it did put three decks into the top 8. This is a powerful and fast deck which is highly capable of coming from out of nowhere and beating down the opponent in the blink of an eye.
The main focus of Boros burn is to throw burn spells at the opponents face in a fast and furious fashion. To that end we find 22 of the decks spells able to spew lightning to the dome, and additional burn from the decks removal. The varieties of burn come based off of how much damage they will do and land in three varieties doing either two, three or four damage. The starting point of the deck comes with our basic burn at one cost in Shock which is just a straight-up two point blast, but also with two points of burn we have Magma Jet which for its cost of two will also Scry 2 for the deck as some of its only ‘draw’ ability. Then we have three point burn both costing two with Lightning Strike and Skullcrack, but Skullcrack while not being able to target creature has the added value of shutting down lifegain AND damage prevention for the turn which can foil plans of many decks to try and recover from an initial onslaught. And finally we get to the four point burn spells with Boros Charm which will primarily be wasted of its other abilities to blast opponents to an early grave and Warleader’s Helix that will rebuild your life total if you have been under pressure already in the game. As a compliment to all of these burn spells the deck runs Chandra’s Phoenix that will no doubt be returned to hand anytime it has found its way into the graveyard. The other maindeck creature is Eidolon of the Great Revel which may seem like an odd choice seeing that this deck is packed with so many cheap spells but when you drop him you should be far enough ahead and using your burn is either an equal loss on life or you deal those crucial points extra. As the manabase allows for it there’s also a full set of Mutavault which often are those last points needed to seal the deal. For removal the deck is able to use any of the many burn spells of course but also includes Chained to the Rocks and Searing Blood which itself does double as a burn spell when you are able to rid the board of the intended target. For draw the deck has some Scry from both Magma Jet and Temple of Triumph, but also actual drawing from Wild Guess which can easily cycle unwanted lands later in the game. You’ll also notice that the deck eshews Boros Guildgate in favor of Mana Confluence in order to avoid any additional into play tapped lands which go directly against the speed of this deck.
So there we have another great contender to battle for control in this post Journey into Nyx metagame. It is well positioned to be the Standard format staple Aggro deck going forward. I would be very surprised if some style of this deck is unable to reach into the top 16 of the major tourneys going forward. I would be very confident to sleeve this up any weekend and expect to compete for the win.
Oh burn…ever since the printing of Lightning Bolt there have been Red mages looking to blast their spells straight to the dome. Each block there is always a Mono-Red or R/x deck that is straightforward, efficient and appeals to highly aggressive players. This deck is just one like that exactly.
While this deck is Boros by strict definition Red is the primary color with White a splash to add a few excellent cards. The creature package is is set with a tight curve building from Ash Zealot which can be a highly effective beater and the First Strike coupled with burn allows you some utility. Boros Reckoner has always been interestingly unique with his ability often making combat math complicated enough to hold off enemy attacks from even happening. Then with seventeen burn spells in the deck and additional help from Chandra her bird Chandra’s Phoenix is able to attack with impunity knowing that getting it to rise from the grave back to your hand is an almost guarantee. There is also a pair of Stormbreath Dragon which help the deck just go straight over the top when the games start to run long and can also be a huge surprise you’re dead. Because of the primarily Red base to the deck it can squeeze Mutavault into the manabase easily to get additional ground pounders. Then we find Chandra, Pyromaster who is the only source of card advantage in the deck and if you can ultimate it is doubtless that she’s going to hit the paydirt on that roll of the dice, and incidentally can prevent a big blocker from thwarting your attack while building loyalty. For straight removal we have Standards newest best impression of a Swords to Plowshares in Chained to the Rocks which should not have issue with the enchant Mountain clause given 15 copies in the deck. The rest of the deck consists of a plethora of burn spells which can double as either removal or damage right to the dome. We find a mix of Lightning Strike and Searing Blood as simple burn for the deck while the others carry some utility with them. Magma Jet helps to filter through your deck which is a key ability for this style of deck as draw isn’t one of these colors strengths. Warleader’s Helix is a beast of removal with four damage it’s able to get into those bigger creatures and coupled with First Strike creatures can surprise a chump block into the removal of a huge creature. And finally the ‘Boros’ deck would not be complete without the utility from Boros Charm which can either be that knockout punch taking down four points of life, can save your army from sweepers or is able to turn one of your creatures into a formidable fighting machine to Double Strike your opponent to the death.
In my heart I’ve always been an aggro player so the instant I saw this decklist it really appealed to me. There is a critical mass of burn spells in this deck which will inevitably lead to the toasted carcass of your opponent sitting across the table from you. The deck boasts a throng of two dozen dome scorchers with 2 pointers Shock & Magma Jet, 3 pointers Lightning Strike & Skullcrack, and 4 pointers Boros Charm & Warleader’s Helix. And half of the burn spells double up with additional valuable capabilities. Given the limited card drawing in these colors the Magma Jets get paired up with the Temples help gas the deck with some very integral scry action. The non-damage abilities of Skullcrack prove especially potent against not only mega life gain such as Sphinx’s Revelation or Gray Merchant but also many of the post board answers that will come in against this deck. The creatures are particularly suited for this composition with Young Pyromancer able to spew forth a potent army to either chip away more life points or hold back a ground assault and Chandra’s Phoenix which with this deck will never be hanging around the graveyard too long. The removal of the deck, not that the burn doesn’t double as removal as well, comes in the form of Chained to the Rocks which is particularly well positioned right now to deal with indestructible threats such as Thassa or Erebos. The deck is capped with a pair of Chandra, Pyromaster which should be primarily used to grind some card advantage but the first ability is very good at working down life totals while the ultimate if achieved will net either 6, 9 or 12 points of damage. With this much raw power behind it I could definitely see myself taking this one for a spin