Deck of The Week: Modern Burn

Posted in Kulturecade by - September 30, 2015
Deck of The Week: Modern Burn

Welcome to the newest weekly Kulture Shocked feature: Deck of the Week. Every week, we’ll be highlighting and dissecting a new deck for many of Magic: The Gathering‘s most popular formats, and even some you’ve never heard of. Our inaugural edition features a bit of self promotion as I examine a deck in one of my favorite formats, frequently piloted by one of my favorite players. Myself.

The Burn strategy is nothing new to Magic. Racing against the clock to take your opponents life to zero as quick as possible takes many forms. From the mono red strategy of Goblins to the three color combination of Infect, Burn decks can end the game as early as turn 3 and can deal double digit damage in a single turn.

This three color strategy is one I adopted heading into Grand Prix: Omaha after being convinced to abandon a Blue/Red/Black Delver strategy. While the core of the deck has stayed the same, certain cards have snuck their way into the deck as the format has changed with time. For our first deck, I’m excited to showcase, AeroPaws’s Three Color Burn.

AeroPaws’s Three Color Burn

Creatures: (15)                                                Land (20)

1 Soulfire Grandmaster                                  2 Arid Mesa

2 Eidolon of the Great Revel                          2 Wooded Foothills

4 Vexing Devil                                                2 Stomping Ground

4 Goblin Guide                                               1 Temple Garden

4 Monastery Swiftspear                                 4 Sacred Foundry

2 Rugged Prairie                                            1 Fire-Lit Thicket

Spells (25)                                                      1 Forest

2 Atarka’s Command                                     1 Plains

3 Lava Spike                                                   4 Mountains

4 Lightning Helix

4 Mutagenic Growth

4 Boros Charm

4 Lightning Bolt

Sideboard: (15)

2 Eidolon of the Great Revel                            2 Suppression Field

1 Anger of the Gods                                             2 Shatterstorm

2 Blood Moon                                                        3 Wear//Tear

1 Spirit of the Labyrinth                                    2 Dragon’s Claw

So, if the sideboard wasn’t evidence enough that this deck hasn’t been updated in a while, then perhaps I should spell it out. Not since the release of Fate Reforged has this deck seen a significant update. Perhaps for the reasons of cash flow or availability of cards, the mana base, sideboard and main deck all suffered.

While I’ve considered adding Black to the deck, taking it back to it’s four color roots, for now, lets focus on the current three color build as its very obvious at this point, this deck needs some serious help to be modern viable. Lets begin at the point in which matches are won and lost, the sideboard.

At the time, excessive card draw ran rampant in my local meta. The likes of Storm and even cards like Sphinx’s Revelation saw modern play at my local game store. However, as I discovered, with a larger player pool, Spirit didn’t do much and that teeny tiny ass of hers made sure she really impacted the game state any way.

Another victim to a changing game, Dragon’s Claw was very effective for me when Burn, URX Twin and URX Delver were a bit more prevalent in the meta game. While Delver and twin still see a significant amount of play, I think our sideboard can be a bit stronger without these two cards devoted to the mirror match.

With Eidolon of the Great Revel moving to the main board we are left with five sideboard slots to fill. With those slots I’d like to maybe stream line the board and try and rely less on specific deck hate, and more general protection. Postboard, Burn seems to run out of gas a bit easier, especially when staring down cards like Kor Firewalker and Timely Reinforcements. Is there a way that we can either end the game quicker, or get over the top of these game warping cards? In an attempt to answer both of these questions, I come up with a sideboard like this.

Sideboard: (15)

1 Rending Volley                                     2 Suppression Field

2 Anger of the Gods                               2 Shatterstorm

3 Blood Moon                                         3 Destructive Revelry

2 Chained to the Rocks

In a different meta, this sideboard may not be ideal, but for me it works wonders. I’m a believer in the power of suppression field and how warping a deck around it can be. With decks running Fetchlands like basics and the power Merfolk has shown, the ability to shut these things down for two mana is nothing to ignore. With the addition of the extra Blood Moon and the switch from Wear//Tear to Destructive Revelry, we’re better positioned to get over the top quicker, while still keeping the speed of the deck in tact.

Whether due to money or separate decks competing for the cards, somehow over time this deck’s mana base became a mess in the worst way. A lack of fetches mean that we are drawing into basics, shocks and filters far too often, pushing the rest of our spells deeper into the deck. Filtering out lands with fetches is a very real thing in Modern and sadly is the cornerstone of most decks. However, a greedy mana base is very susceptible to Blood Moon. Thankfully, our deck doesn’t much mind a ton of Mountains, however there is still a very real concern that we could get locked out.

Land: (19)

3 Arid Mesa

3 Wooded Foothills

2 Windswept Heath

2 Plains

1 Forest

3 Sacred Foundry

1 Fire-Lit Thicket

1 Temple Garden

3 Stomping Ground

With extra filtering, we are able to more reliably draw into better spells rather than drawing into a shock land or another basic. With our deck not caring so much about life, we are a bit more open to being able to go with a higher fetch count. I’ve seen numerous burn lists running more fetch lands than this, however I feel eight is a comfortable number. Perhaps with meta shifts and further testing this number may increase.

With Eidolons needing a place in the main board, we are left again with the need to make some adjustments. Soulfire Grandmaster, while an excellent “flair piece” never really accomplished what I wanted her to during combat. While I’m sure she will find a home in Modern down the road, right now is not her time in the sun.

Notice how we cut one mountain from the land section? That slot now belongs to Eidolon number 4. You may be asking your self as I once did, “How can a deck like this handle so much life loss? Everything I play costs less than three!” The answer is simple… So is every one else.

The typical Splinter Twin build contains cheap burn and cheap counter spells, so while your Lightning Bolt costs you an additional 2 life to play, so does theirs… along with their Mana Leaks, Spell Pierces and so on. Also, Eidolon will likely eventually eat a bolt himself, a wonderful trade costing your opponent a card from their hand, and two tics from their life total.

Only time and further experience will determine whether I’ve made this deck better. I don’t claim to be the absolute arbiter of all Magic, however, with nine years under my belt, I feel that I’ve learned a thing or two about the game. Deck building is never an exact science and personal preference is a huge factor in piloting a deck. Hopefully the tips I’ve shared above can help you in your quest for improvement and can maybe inspire you to reexamine your own creations in the quest to make them the best they can be.

If you want to see your deck featured in the Weekly Deck column, shoot me an email at I’m always on the lookout for fun, unique and exciting decks and formats. Just include your name and a brief description of the deck and how it works. Please format your deck in the standard DCI decklist format.

This post was written by

He is the senior editor at Kulture Shocked. A Nebraska boy born and raised, where he spends most of his time as a writer. When not tearing up Xbox Live, he spends most of his time divided between Magic: The Gathering and his fiancee.

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