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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Oct 10 2016 11:00am
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Burn is not an aggro deck, it isn't a combo deck and it is not a control deck, the deck is actually all 3. The deck wins by combining at least 7 cards that deal 3 damage to the opponent (Lava Spike and Lightning Bolt for example) and pointing them at your opponents face for the win. It can also take the control rout when it needs to and it can also be just as fast as any aggro deck.


As always, if the video is not good for you or if you just prefer a deck list, here is the list for your viewing pleasure.

- 75 Cards Total
4 Thermo-Alchemist
4 Keldon Marauders
8 cards

4 Lightning Bolt
3 Needle Drop
3 Searing Blaze
4 Fireblast
14 cards

4 Rift Bolt
4 Lava Spike
4 Chain Lightning
4 Flame Rift
16 cards
4 Curse of the Pierced Heart
4 cards
18 Mountain
18 cards

3 Martyr of Ashes
3 Gorilla Shaman
3 Pyroblast
2 Flaring Pain
4 Incinerate
15 cards


There isn't much I can say about what Burn does or how it plays. You take spells that deal damage and chuck them at your opponent till they die and that sounds pretty easy. The catch is, you need to know how to sequence your spells in the correct order or else you will find yourself a few points short of winning, when you could of actually won the game. Thermo-Alchemist is the new toy that this deck gets and it is great, it makes your deck much faster by adding in extra points of damage, every time you play a burn spell and having 3 toughness makes for a good blocker as well. 

Now it is time to let me show you how a pro (in my wildest of dreams I am) like me messes up sequencing, by checking out the videos.


Match 1 vs UR Drake



Game 1 my opening hand was not great, with having 4 lands, but the spells were very powerful and so I decided to keep. My opponent had a very curve out with drawing cards and resolving threats while I decided to concede once I drew my 8th land and my opponent had me dead in 2 turns and had 5 cards in their hand.


Game 2 I had a one land hand, which isn't much better from having 4 lands, but I only needed 1 land to get my hand going and it was very good otherwise. I drew into a second land and resolved a Keldon Marauders on turn 2, putting my opponent on a quick clock after resolving my suspended Rift Bolt in that same turn. My Keldon Marauders dealt the full 5 damage that it is capable of, but my Thermo-Alchemist was met with a Flame Slash very quickly. I resolved a Curse of the Pierced Heart and was taking little chips out of my opponents life total every turn, while my opponent didn't have much going on. I suspended a Rift Bolt a few turns later and my opponent fell to 4 life and was now facing lethal damage from any burn spell and letting the ability of my curse resolve, I won the game the next turn.


Game 3 my opening hand was great with a Curse of the Pierced Heart, a Keldon Marauders, a couple of lands and some burn to go along with it. My opponent and I went back and forth for a while, but I finally got my opponent to 4 life with an Incinerate in my hand and a Curse of the Pierced Heart in play and was ready to win, but unfortunately I also only had lands past those 2 cards. I drew a Keldon Marauders and was able to get my opponent to 2 life after they gained a life back off of their SwiftWater Cliffs, but my Incinerate got countered and the next turn they put the combo together and I lost.


This match can be a big coin toss because they don't have many counter spells to work with, so a lot of your spells can end up resolving and it does not take much to win the game. Games 1 and 3 I just got very unlucky and drew too many lands, which can happen with the Burn archetype and is sometimes what turns people off to it. They have their gain life lands and Ghostly Flicker to gain even more life, which can make winning the game difficult and that is why trying to sequence correctly and making sure Fireblast or Flame Rift resolve is very crucial to you winning the game.


Match 2 vs White Weenie



Game 1 my opening hand was very good with only 2 lands, a creature and a good chunk of burn. On turn 2 I decided to cast my Thermo-Alchemist instead of getting the full potential out of Searing Blaze because not only did it block well my opponents creatures, but if it went unanswered, I was going to win the game very quickly and that is a key way to with the Burn archetype, give your opponent the least amount of draw steps possible and finish the game quickly. Unfortunately for me my opponent had a removal spell and now I was stuck, facing down a good amount of pressure. My opponent started to flood the board with creatures and I found myself unable to unload all of my burn spells in a quick enough fashion. My opponent was able to put me to 1 life and I was able to do the same and I used Flame Rift to draw the game. Looking back, I am not quite sure of the math, but I think had I used the Searing Blaze for 3 damage on turn 2, I might have won the game, so I kept that in mind.


Game 2 my opening hand was great with a couple of lands, a Keldon Marauders and a very good chunk of burn spells at the ready. I drew into a Searing Blaze and decided to kill my opponents creature to get full value out of it. On turn 5 I had my opponent at 11 with a Curse of the Pierced Heart in play and 2 copies if Fireblast in my hand, but did not have the 4th Mountain to use both of them. My opponent had both Standard Bearer and Prismatic Strands to stop me from killing them and I couldn't survive all of their attacks and we were on to the next game.


Game 3 my opening hand was not the best and was very slow, but I was going to be able to get good value off of my Keldon Marauders and had a couple of Curses in my hand to start chipping away at my opponents life total. On turn 4 I had my opponent at 14 life and only had a 2 cards in hand, but they were both Fireblast and I had 4 Mountains in play. I drew into a third copy of Fireblast and was almost dead, I then drew a Keldon Marauders, but my opponent had a removal spell for it and since I was dead the next turn, I just decided to go for the win and lucky for me, my opponent did not have a Prismatic Strands to stop me.


Game my opening hand was amazing with a creature, a couple of lands and good mix of burn with a Fireblast to finish my opponent off. My opponent did not have a fast draw and I decided to play the control deck and kill my opponents Kor Skyfisher so my Keldon Marauders could get through. My opponent played another Kor Skyfisher and then used Sunlance to kill my creature, but they were not on 3 lands and I had 2 Fireblast in hand at the ready. On Turn 6 I had 2 Fireblast and a Chain lightning in hand with my opponent at 11 life and a Curse of the Pierced Heart in play and I was at 17 facing 2 Razor Golems. My opponent then had a Prismatic Stands to live for the turn, but did not have a way to flash it back the next turn and I took the victory.


This match can be tough because the White Weenie deck can win quickly and Prismatic Strands can be a huge headache for you to deal with. You are the control deck here and so you have a to find a good balance of pointing burn spells at your opponent and at their creatures so you can live long enough to win the game. But as you saw, sometimes you kill them so quickly that they aren't able to stop everything you do and can squeeze out the win.


Match 3 vs Affinity



Game 1 my opening hand was decent, it wasn't very powerful, but I did have a Thermo-Alchemist and a Keldon Marauders to get game going fast and so I decided to keep. My first draw was a land and my opponent played a Carapace Forger on turn 2 with metal craft active and the game was off to a great start. I drew into another Alchemist and my opponent did not play another creature, which was great because the next turn I drew a land, I was able to use Needle Drop and draw a card and drew into a Fireblast and now suddenly I was very close to just winning the game. I drew into a Lava Spike and my opponent was dead because when I used all of my cards, combined with Thermo-Alchemist's ability to untap, I was exactly 14 points of damage and luckily my opponent had nothing and I won the game.


Game 2 was not a game at all, I played a Gorilla Shaman, my opponent killed it and I had another one as back up and my opponent scooped shortly after, due to their lack of lands in play.


Affinity is just a race game 1, whoever deals 20 damage first is the winner and either deck can be faster than the other. After sideboard, if you don't have Gorilla Shaman to get the free win, you run the risk of your opponent using cards like Hydroblast disrupting your spell mix and you run the risk of them running cards that gain them life (Feed the Clan for good example). The reason why life gain cards hurt so much is because, dealing 20 damage is very doable, but dealing more than that can be almost impossible. I would suggest running the Gorilla Shaman if you have access, you will win a lot more against Affinity.


Where we go from here? Updates to the deck list, aftermath thoughts and possibly more!


It looks like the changes to the Burn deck made it run much smoother in my eyes and I am very satisfied with how the deck ran and functioned. I ended the league going 3-2, losing to Delver Blue in the final round, which is always depressing, but it happens.


I have not made any changes to my list because I am very comfortable with the way it looks right now. If you do not have access to Gorilla Shaman, the next best solution is Smash to Smithereens, but if you can afford the Gorilla Shamans, I would easily buy them up. I can also see swapping Martyr of Ashes for Electrickery if you think Delver Blue will be popular as well. I think my list as close to, if not already the basic stock list for Burn, but that is because the deck is very optimized for what the format looks like.


If you expect the mirror a lot more, than cutting Flame Rift can also be a very good choice, but I think Flame Rift being a sorcery (does not get hit by Dispel and that is huge) and dealing 4 damage for only 2 mana, will win you many games (or get you the draw in my case) and your overall win % should go up, but results may vary.


So what is my verdict? I think this deck is still great, if not, better than it used to be. I think it is a fine position right now, even with Peregrine Drake decks running around and I can say I have lost my fair share of games to the Burn archetype while piloting UR Drake as well. If you are just starting out to pauper and love Burn in other formats or love the color red and the strategies that come with it, I would highly recommend this deck to you.


Pauper Classic Tuesdays happens every Tuesday on at 8:00pm, always Eastern Standard Time. It's free to enter and a lot of fun. I also stream it as well every Tuesday! I will be looking to stream more during the week when I have time, I hope to see you all there!


Thank you all so much for reading and watching and I will see you next time!


To the person that made a by Arctic_Ghost at Mon, 10/10/2016 - 21:41
Arctic_Ghost's picture

To the person that made a comment through facebook. I apologies I don't use facebook for comments.

But yes the lands coming into play tapped can sometimes screw you over, or the caves not being mountains for Fireblast can be a pain in the butt.

I run Burn a lot by TheWolf at Tue, 10/11/2016 - 04:26
TheWolf's picture

Great articles as always. Burn is my go-to archetype, and I have found running 1 copy of Forgotten Caves is about right in most cases.

I agree. I've basically by Fred Bear at Tue, 10/11/2016 - 08:49
Fred Bear's picture

I agree. I've basically settled on 1 Forgotten Caves when I play burn. You really don't want to see it early, but being able to draw an extra card is often worth it.

Great Article (Last Week Too) by Fred Bear at Tue, 10/11/2016 - 09:16
Fred Bear's picture

I've really enjoyed your articles and videos the last couple of weeks as I have a soft spot for burn (it was the first deck I ever played when I learned Magic). Over the last couple of weeks, I've come to about the same decklist, with some minor edits. A couple of questions: (a) Is Searing Blaze necessary as a 4-of? I find that if you don't play it on turns 2-4 (with a land drop) it winds up dead in hand (2 mana for 1 damage seems terrible in this deck, especially as the game progresses). (b) It felt like you ended up with 2 Fireblast a lot over the matches we saw. Would you drop the count? I like to hit one, but drawing the second often feels like a wasted draw. (c) What are your thoughts on Thermo-Alchemist? Much like Searing Blaze, I feel like he often winds up as 2 mana for 0 damage. When he works, it's great, but I haven't felt like he works often enough.

Again, loved the content! Well done.

Man you guys really like my by Arctic_Ghost at Tue, 10/11/2016 - 14:06
Arctic_Ghost's picture

Man you guys really like my content? Awesome, you don't know how much the kind words mean to me!

a: I hate Searing Blaze in this format for the exact reasons you are saying and that is why I chose to play 3 so that I can see one early enough for me to be good and then hopefully not see any until late in the game when I am holding a mountain or I will not see one and have a better time. Sadly when Searing Blaze works, it is damn good, so I still think some number is right.

b: Fireblast is a blessing and a curse, I think you want 4 because you will be able to (well, should be able to) get 4 mountains and cast both of them. I think going less than 4 is not correct because at the end of the day, you want to see one of them at the very least, very quickly because it does help close out the game easily.

c: Thermo-Alchemist can be good and bad. It is the old Baneslayer Angel argument when she was in standard long ago. "But she just dies to doom blade", but the fact is, your opponent will not always have the removal spell and when they don't, you will find that you win the games way easier and way faster with the Alchemist. It can sometimes be a dead card because it dies so easily, this is true, but the trade off is very much worth it.

Again thank you all for the kind words!