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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Mar 16 2022 10:42am
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Madness is a tough deck for me to evaluate. I want to love it in the Pauper format because there are a lot of cool cards with the keyword and because of nostalgia from playing UG Madness in standard back in the day. However, I feel like most of the cards are slow and under-powered compared to other cards you could be playing. You also have to jump through a few hoops to get Madness going which can also be a downside. In the end though, many players still play Madness decks and there are plenty of good cards with Madness that are actually good. Players even put up decent results from time to time with Madness based strategies though, so take that for what you will.

Today though, I want to talk about a deck involving Madness that caught my eye and gave me a smile. Mono Black Burn is a deck I also spoke about a little bit ago and I am a fan of the archetype. The list we will look at today was part of the 5-0 dump from 2/16/2022 and was piloted by the player vonSchwarz8. They mixed Madness and Burn together into a pretty wicked Rakdos deck. I won’t ramble any further. Lets do this!


Voldaren Epicure – This is one of my favorite creatures in recent memory honestly. It isn’t the biggest being only a 1/1, but only cost 1 mana, deals a damage to the opponent and helps you draw a card. This basically does it all for any Burn deck. The best part is that in order to draw a card with a Blood Token, you need to discard a card first and that is awesome because you have cards with Madness. I personally wish you could play 5 of these.

Kitchen Imp – It costs 4 mana, this is true. However, you should almost always be casting it for its Madness cost. It is a 2 power creature with flying and Haste. That might not seem like much, but it goes a long way to helping the overall speed of this deck.

Creatures are fairly important in a burn deck because they are repeatable damage. When you are trying to bring your opponents life total from 20 to 0 in the quickest amount of time, every point matters. Any extra damage a creature can get in is extremely important. Now this is a double edge sword however, because at some point creatures can become dead draws to a degree, but you don’t want the game getting to that point anyway. The goal is to win before that part of the game is even a thought.

Lightning Bolt and Galvanic Blast – The 2 best burn spells in the format (in my opinion) and it is no surprise why they are in this deck. You can get metalcraft going fairly easily so Galvanic Blast is perfect In this deck.

Fiery Temper – Another 4 copies of Lightning Bolt basically. Card is perfect for what this archetype is trying to do.

Faithless Looting – Gotta keep the cards flowing and it helps trigger madness. Looting continues to show why it is such a powerful card. You might be asking, why isn’t this played in the Mono Red Burn archetype? That is because it doesn’t do any damage to the opponent and you don’t want to be discarding cards. Burn needs to cast every spell they have and unlike this archetype, Burn does not play cards with Madness.

Bump in the Night – A great card for any burn deck playing black. Not only does this card have Flashback if somehow the game goes that long, (pray it doesn’t) but this card doesn’t deal damage, it makes your opponent lose life. This means cards like Prismatic Strands do nothing against it.

Vampires Kiss – Remember Sign in Blood? This is basically that but better for a deck like this. It gains you 2 life, is easier to cast because it doesn’t cost double black and gives you Blood Tokens, which in most situations will be better for this deck.

Alms of the Vein – Another great card for a black based burn deck as this one gains you life, which could mean you get another turn to top deck that final burn spell you need. It does cost 3 mana, this is true, but its Madness cost makes it only cost 1. If you could play 5 of these, it would definitely be a consideration.

Soul Reap – This one can be tricky as it does nothing against green creatures. However, other than being completely dead against Stompy and Elves, this is a pretty cool removal spell as it can make your opponent lose 3 life. I personally am not a big fan of it, but in the right meta, it can definitely be a great card.

Deadly Dispute and Blood Fountain – Here are some more card advantage spells. Dispute can get you a good amount of card advantage and remember, Blood Tokens are artifacts. Blood Fountain is a great card for this deck as both of your creatures are good to return (I lean more towards returning 2 Epicures myself) and it brings along a Blood Token. I think Blood Fountain is just an insane card overall.

The Manabase

Drossforge Bridge, Vault of Whispers and Great Furnace – Here are your artifact lands for the deck. You need artifacts for Metalcraft and Deadly Dispute, so these lands make sense. I like not maxing out on Vault and Furnace because this way you don’t make yourself weak to artifact destruction for unnecessary reasons.

Rakdos Carnarium – You can be somewhat mana hungry, but at the same time you don’t need too much mana to function properly. Having a couple copies of this bounce land can help you with take mulligans less and also some mana fixing. Do be cautious though as you don’t want to keep a 2 land hand and then end up being a bit too slow. You also need to be aware of cards like Cleansing Wildfire.

The rest of the manabase are basic lands made up of 6 Mountain and 3 Swamp. You don’t need any tech or gimmick lands. You want to be straight to the point and as quick as possible.

The Sideboard

Diabolic Edict – You don’t see Diabolic Edict over Chainer's Edict too often, but the instant as opposed to sorcery speed can be a big deal.

Duress – Great card against combo and control decks. Don’t necessarily just throw it out there turn 1. Cards like Duress get better as the game goes on so that after your opponent is done drawing cards, sculpting their hand or using their spells in a specific order, you can use Duress to rip their best left card out of their hand and get perfect information.

Fiery Cannonade and 1 Psychotic Haze – Every deck can make use of a board wipes. This archetype is no different.

Nihil Spellbomb – Here is some graveyard removal that doesn’t hit your graveyard and still draws a card.

Red Elemental Blast – Take this you pesky blue mages!

Smash to Smithereens – For our artifact overlords.

Verdict and Conclusion

I will be honest. I do like this deck, but I like it because it is a Burn deck with Madness in it, not because it is a Madness deck. As I said, I just don’t think Madness based archetypes are very good, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily shouldn’t play archetypes involving Madness in them.

The thing I like most about this list is how much card advantage it has. Blood Tokens, Deadly Dispute and Faithless Looting all give this deck a way to fight into the mid game and combining with that with cards such as Fiery Temper, it gives you big shot at winning if the game has gone on too long.

However, there is a bit of a caveat to that. While this deck has tools to fight the mid game, you don’t necessarily want to get to the midgame. Burn decks are good because they can win so fast and because all they usually need is 7 spells and every top deck is basically a card that deals 3 or more damage. What you lack in speed compared to Mono Red Burn, you make up for with card draw and being able (in theory) to fight through life gain or cards like Circle of Protection: Red easier. However, Mono Red Burn still beats those cards and is a much faster and more consistent deck.

Do I think you should play this deck? I would personally suggest Mono Red Burn if you want to play challenges. Mono Red Burn is faster, has cheaper/faster bolt cards and plays Fireblast. Fireblast is actually quite an important finisher for Burn against a lot of archetypes in my opinion. For leagues or a local tournament though, I think this deck is cool and a fun alternative to Mono Red Burn. It is something new to try, but I don’t think this deck does anything better than Mono Red Burn does.

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!