Tag: searing-blood

Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - August 28, 2014

Boros Burn Modern by Teruya Kakumae (1st at Grand Prix Kobe on Aug 24t...

Champion’s Deck

Vexing Devil - Boros Burn Modern

Boros Burn Modern by Teruya Kakumae

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.


The creature package is very tight and comprised of some very cheap drops. Eleven one drops showcase just how low the curve of the deck is with perennial Goblin Guide with its hasty beats and uncommon ability to provide information to this color combination, Vexing Devil leaving your opponent with the decision to take a smack to the dome if he isn’t able to deal with it otherwise, and a trio of Grim Lavamancer who will often find a graveyard well stocked in fetchlands and burn spells. There is also a two drop in relative newcomer Eidolon of the Great Revel which once you’re ahead on life can come down to lock out any opposition. The rest of the spells in the deck consist of a plethora of burn spells designed to ruin your opponent in just a few turns. The deck boasts basically fifteen bolts providing three damage for one mana with full sets of Lava Spike, Lightning Bolt, and Rift Bolt supplemented by a trio of Shard Volley. Then it is filled out with two cost burn starting with a full set of Skullcrack which is the decks insurance against lifegain from Sphinx’s Revelation, delaying the infinite life combos in the various Birthing Pod builds, or even a cripling life boost from a Martyr of Sands. Next a trio of Boros Charm are easily four damage to the dome but can in a pinch save your army from untimely death with indestructibility or even grant one of your soldiers Double Strike to one shot for a kill. The last inclusion is the decks only straight removal with Searing Blood which is great against all the low toughness creatures that litter the format and tacks on a bolts worth of damage if that creature does find its way to the graveyard.
I am intrigued by his build and feel the move away from Black which these decks had been regularly splashing into White for the Charm and better sideboard options is a great move. The only thing I am questioning is the twenty lands where this low curve would seem to thrive on eightteen, although with three Shard Volley you do need few more land but I’m reluctant to go to three in the first place. It’s great to see a good ol’fashioned Aggro deck rise up to the top where the format does appear rife with Combo and Control. Still, I am hoping that a viable Dark Boros deck splashing both White and Black for all-star Dark Confidant to enable the deck with a draw engine will emerge one day. Until then this deck will have to satisfy my cravings to burn my opponents into toasty piles of ash, definitely something near and dear to the flames in my heart.
Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter
Email: ejseltzer@hotmail.com
Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - June 26, 2014

Champion’s Deck – Mono-Red Aggro by Kevin Rand (1st at SCG...

Mono-Red Aggro- Rubblebelt maaka

Mono-Red Aggro by Kevin Rand

1st Place at StarCityGames Standard Open on 6/21/2014

Again we continue with what is slowly looking to be a dominance of Red as we continue creeping into The Bloody Summer. The strange thing being that usually Mono-Red aggro is best positioned at the beginning of a new Standard season when control is not yet prepared to take on an unknown meta, but the abundance of Midrange strategies have allowed Aggro to slip into the metagame and start to dominate. This deck has taken elements of both Festus Resendez winning list and Tom ‘The Boss’ Ross to come up with an amalgamation which delivers a forceful punch with precision and alacrity.

The deck is at its core a solid creature beats concoction with more then half of its slots devoted to them with an extremely low curve reminiscent of a brew we would expect from Legacy. The deck is chock full’o one drops loading up on value with them all. With two power for a single Red we find both Firedrinker Satyr and Rakdos Cackler coming strong out of the gate. We also have Legion Loyalist which with Battalion grands First Strike but more importantly Trample to your assault, and Foundry Street Denizen who when dropped on turn one can offer you so many turns of added value from each and every other creature you pop into play. On two mana you basically have the rest of the team starting on Burning-Tree Emissary to try and chain multiple creatures into play right away, Ash Zealot as a value drop with Haste to lay down the beats as fast as possible, and Firefist Striker with its Battalion trigger to neutralize any big blocker and ram additional damage down your opponents throat. There is also Rubblebelt Makka but he is really there as a cheap pump to ram through as much extra damage as possible working along side Titan’s Strength to take huge chunks out of the opponents life. The deck also has a trio of Shock and a pair of Searing Blood which help to ensure that the path to victory goes unhindered by opposing creatures.


It’s hard to say if the meta will continue to be soft to Red based decks but judging by all its success I guess you’d be a fool not to join in. I’m hesitant to say that this is the best strategy but it is always a strong strategy in the hands of a compitant mage. The only caution I would provide is that people are certainly aware of the deck and should plan accordingly. Also, don’t be one of the fools who says that it’s just a simple Red deck and I can pilot it like an expert without practice. This deck requires a precise use of its resources and knowing when to go all out as opposed to ensuring you don’t over commit is crucial. Just make sure you drive it around the block at least a few times, but most of all feel the burn.

Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter
Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - June 19, 2014

Champion’s Deck – Mono-Red Aggro by Festus Resendez (1st a...

Mono-Red Aggro - Firedrinker Satyr

Mono-Red Aggro by Festus Resendez

1st Place at StarCityGames Standard Open on 6/14/2014
It looks like it’s a good time to be a Red mage in Standard, Patrick Sullivan must have been jumping for joy. Not only did the winner of the Grand Prix in Moscow play a Red deck but also Tom ‘The Boss’ Ross piloted one for his Standard portion at the SCG Invitational. The most interesting about that is they all ran on similar but completely different lines and stretched the bounds of Red to the limit. This deck is one of the more creature heavy builds.


With an aggro deck like this the most important factor of your strategy is to be dropping at least one creature every single turn until you mash your opponent into a bloody pulp which is why we find no Scry lands. We start the curve with two one drops that come out swinging with two power each from Rakdos Cackler which if is not unleashed usually means you’re about to die and Firedrinker Satyr who’s drawback will be largely nullified by the amount of beats he will inflict on the opponent. Then we hit a mass of two drops starting with the hasty first striker Ash Zealot, also Firefist Striker that when attacking with two others will nullify the opponents best blocker and then Burning-Tree Emissary that enables your lightning starts by chaining into more spells to advance your board faster then the opponent can mount a defense. We also find two quality three drops to continue the curve with perennial wall of death in Boros Reckoner which turns combat math from simple addition into complex algebra, and Chandra’s Phoenix that has a limited amount of direct damage spells to bring it back but is still a hasty flier to bring forth death from above. Our last creature is the curve topper Fanatic of Mogis that comes in as a late game play once you have your army mobilized to take full advantage of a surprise blast of Devotion to Red to the opponents face, hopefully to put him down for good. There is a support package of burn coming primarily from a full set of Lightning Strike, but also a pair of Shock, a pair of Magma Jet and a singleton Searing Blood all help to either clear the way for your creatures to get through or blast straight up to the dome.

This deck exemplifies what it means to be The Beatdown. It looks like Aggro has positioned itself between Control and Midrange in the metagame right now to exploit it’s speed and destructive nature. Now has been a great time to blast your opponent to bits either using creature or burn based strategies. It’s not likely that this Red mage dominance will continue but shows that any given weekend you can not count out any deck that has power behind it. And counting from twenty to zero has been a fundamental aspect of this game of Magic.

Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter
Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - June 18, 2014

Champion’s Deck – Boros Burn by Igor Gorbunov (1st at Gran...

Boros Burn - Skullcrack

Boros Burn by Igor Gorbunov

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.

If you like a deck that goes all out in pounding your opponent to a pulp with a relentless assault of burn baby burn then this is definitely the deck to tickle your fancy. Don’t think though that it just pilot’s itself as you are always faced with the decisions of how to best utilize your mana and spells each and every turn. As you are limited by your draws be sure to practice and know your match-ups in advance so you can realize which way you need to fight. This is the ultimate race where your resource is your life vying against his, don’t be afraid to take a couple hits from his creatures if it means you get to blast his dome for a few extra points and kill him a turn faster. But on the flip side make sure you kill his creature before it gets you. In the end you’ll find that the rush of this deck makes it so worth playing.
Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter
Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - May 12, 2014

Boros Burn standard by Tyler Winn (1st at SCG Knoxville Standard Open ...

Champion’s Deck


Chandra's Phoenix_Buy-a-box Promo - Boros Burn standard

Boros Burn by Tyler Winn

1st Place at StarCityGames Standard Open on 5/10/2014

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.

Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on twitter
Three Kings Loot - January 16, 2014

Born of the Gods – Xenagos God of Revels, Karametra God of the H...

Xenagos, God of Revels
Xenagos, God of Revels – this is where I am really getting interested in playing a very aggressive GRuul deck.  Looking at the recently spoiled Fanatic of Xenagos paired up with his God we already see a huge potential to end games quickly but then add Boon Satyr into the equation and we have what amounts to a serious beatdown.

Karametra, God of Harvest
Karametra, God of Harvests – while on the surface it appears to be a pretty interesting ramp card the fact that you need to follow her up with a stream of creatures to trigger the search out your lands.  If it triggered whenever you had a creature enter play aside from being completely bah-roken it would have been much more reliable.  It’s hard to feel out how this card is going to play out but it looks like it doesn’t quite live up to the expectation.

Mindreaver – a new and interesting spin on Grimoire Thief, this snappy little wizard could pose as a nuisance against some decks.  While very situational and also requiring a spell to target him for his trigger you can often get lucky and hit a relevant spell on the first try.  Just be sure to always keep up two blue or they’ll try to jam it through as soon as they see an opening.  Would have been miles better if the cards were exiled face down the same as the Thief.

Ragemonger – minotaurs are the stuff made of legend and this block is certainly rife with their legendary lore.  The most appealing part of this new minotaur is that you chain out additional copies for just one colorless mana so you can get a small army assembled with ease.  And while the cost reduction only applies to red and black mana there is still a plethora of creatures it will work to make cheaper, and in multiples even your Boros Reckoners can become free.

Searing Blood
Searing Blood – following along a similar vein of Searing Blaze, this guarantees a bolt to the dome as long as the targeted creature dies.  Just be sure your opponent doesn’t have a buff to save his creature and you’ve basically got a handy two for one, in a sense.  I can’t wait to hit a Firedrinker Satyr with this one and hit my opponent with a nasty five blast to the face.

Unravel the Æther
Unravel the Æther – this one was definitely designed specifically to deal with the Gods Indestructibility within the block.  The shuffling back into the library also prevents and kind of graveyard recursion shenanigans.  While exile would have been much more permanent it also would have made the cost much higher.

Bile Blight
Bile Blight – not too bad as a spot removal for the cost and capable of demolishing token armies, but it certainly isn;t enough of a catchall to warrant taking a spot from other removal.  Also at issue if you are in a mirror match there is a high risk that you’ll be hindering yourself in the process.  The time I’d most want to see this is when facing down multiple Boros Reckoner.

 Thassa’s Rebuff
Thassa’s Rebuff – why not slot this into Mono-Blue Devotion shell, certainly not as a four-of but I could easily see utility with two.  Sure you’ll have those turns where the devotion count just isn’t high enough but with Thassa, the Bident and Domestication in your deck as non-creature sources of devotion I wouldn’t think it to be all too hard to get what you need.