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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Mar 08 2022 11:56am
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I know last week I wasn’t too enthusiastic about the Rakdos Mad Burn deck. However, I am enthusiastic about burn as I find it to be a fun and challenging archetype to play in any form you build it in. I have said this before, but lots of players will say that burn is a very easy deck. This in my opinion is a common misconception, as to me, Burn can be very difficult. You need to know proper math, proper sequencing, you need to plan on top decking specific spells at specific times and the list goes on. This makes Burn great for anyone, new or a veteran of the game.

Today I want to talk about a list from the 5-0 dump posted on 2/23/2022 and piloted by the player Amoras27. Come with me, Sign your blood away, put your faith in the rats from the crypt and I am gonna stop trying to be funny. Let’s rock!


Crypt Rats – The only creature in the deck (sort of) and it is a good one. It can be both a source of burn damage and a board wipe. Just be careful because the damage also hits you.

Okiba Reckoner Raid – This is a pretty interesting one from the new Kamigawa set. It is an enchantment that drains your opponent for 2 and gives you 2 life. Then it flips into a 2 power creature with Menace. This might not seem all that great, but against control decks where not a lot of creatures will be played, this card can do a lot of work. Remember you are a burn deck, every point of damage matters and if a creature can get in extra points of repeated damage, it did much more than its job.

Bump in the NightLava Spike is a great card for burn decks. This is pretty much the same spell but with Flashback. You don’t want the game getting to that point, but it can come up.

Fruit of Tizerus – Not quite a Lava Spike since it only hits for 2. However, it has Escape. This means the spell is reusable and can drain for much more damage in the long run.

Vampires Kiss and Sign in Blood – Here are your card advantage spells for the deck. While Sign can only target one player, it is still a good source of card draw and necessary. Vampires Kiss is very good and I wish you could play 5.

Tyrant’s Choice – A Flame Rift that doesn’t hit you. Almost wish you could play 5.

Sovereign’s Bite and Alms of the Vein – These are kind of like Lightning Helix except they can’t hit a creature if you need to. Still really good though for your game plan.

Soul ReapSearing Blaze is a premier spell in Burn because it allows you to deal with creatures and still burn your opponent. While Soul Reap can’t hit green creatures, it fills the same role that you need.

Contaminated Ground – This one is quite interesting. It can mess with your opponents mana and cost them life for using the land. It is kind of like Spreading Seas but not as good because Seas draws you a card. With Ground, your opponent doesn’t have to use the land and it can be a wasted card that didn’t gain you any progress or not gain you enough. I don’t like this cad personally and would much rather it be something else, however, since Expedition Map is back in the format, you will probably need this card to fight the Tron menace.

The manabase isn’t anything to special. It is 18 lands made up of 2 Rakdos Carnarium to help cast your Bump in the Night from the graveyard and it helps you mulligan less. Piranha Marsh is cute as it drains your opponent for 1, but it comes into played tapped which does sour me, I won’t lie. In Burn based strategies, I hate come into played tapped lands because it only takes 1 turn of being slow to lose you the game. I would rather have basic lands, but I can understand the points of damage it deals adding up over time.. The the rest of the lands are just Swamps.

The Sideboard

Choking Sands – Take this you Tron fiends! This can also be decent against some midrange opponents in theory, but being 3 mana is a lot.

Cuombajj Witches – A great creature to have against decks like Elves and Faeries.

Geth's Verdict – Bogles and Heroic can be a pain in the neck. This will hopefully help with that.

Trespasser's Curse – This used to be a premier spell when squirrel storm was a thing. Curse is still good though and can be devastating against the right aggro deck. I am looking at you Elves.

Verdict and Conclusion

The last time I brought you a Mono Black Burn deck, it was much more creature based and less spell oriented. This list is much closer to a traditional Burn build that most players will be used to.

I like what this list has going on. With Crypt Rats, you have a way to wipe the board and progress your game plan. With Sign in Blood and Vampires Kiss you have a lot of card draw and you also gain a good amount of life. Although you would rather not make to the late game, you can do it and have a good shot at winning and your opponents removal spells don’t do much to you in this version.

Do I think you should play this deck over Mono Red Burn? For leagues you can definitely get results with this deck as Burn in general can just rip opponents apart. As a whole however, my answer is no because I think Mono Red Burn is a better archetype overall.

Don’t get me wrong, I think this deck is cool and has a solid game plan. However, your spells in Mono Red Burn are much cheaper and deal much more damage at a faster pace. You might be asking but what about the life gain aspect of this deck? My answer to that is you don’t need to gain life if you are just going to kill your opponent before they kill you. With Mono Red Burn, you get the same spells as this deck for the most part, but again, you will be faster and that makes all the difference in my opinion. For challenges I would stick to red burn.

I will say this. Since almost all of your burn in this deck comes in the form of loss of life, there are reasons for you to play this deck. For example, if you are playing a local event where you know fellow players will have cards such as Circle of Protection: Red, Prismatic Strands or Hydroblasts, then this is a great alternative to playing Mono Red Burn. However, the reasons to play this over red burn are very far and between.

However, with all this being said, as always, do remember my words are not gospel. I will always encourage you to try a deck that I bring you despite my personal feelings. Remember that results will vary and always remember to practice!

Would you like to compete in a free Pauper tournament with some great prizes? Head on over to Gatherling.com on Tuesday nights at 8pm EDT and play in our weekly Pauper Classic Tuesday's event! Join the chat #PCT to chat with us and feel free to find most of the competitors on Discord!

Thank you so much for reading. Best of luck to you in your next tournament and I’ll catch you all next time!