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By: CheshirePlaysGames, Albert Caynes
Oct 05 2018 12:00pm
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Counterburn has a long and interesting past in the world of Magic the Gathering. Many Magic the Gathering players have put two of the most hated things in MTG together to form a very excellent value machine, counterspells and burn. Blue’s amazing card draw and counterspells mixed with Red’s removal and direct damage sounds like a match made in heaven, but Wizards of the Coast like to pull it back, tone it down and seemingly strip away this once beloved archetype from Standard formats. Until guilds of Ravnica.

Using a series of removal and counterspells, Counterburn can protect itself from taking damage and removing threats before they can even hit the table in most cases. Using burn, the deck should be able to eventually have a way to take your opponent’s life from hero, to zero and grind out games. But that’s what can make the games feel pretty terrible, long and boring. So instead, we want to accelerate the process so all our instant and sorcery spells deal damage to our opponent’s, no matter what that spell does. 


I know I was yammering on about how we can get acceleration on to our spells, but how are we going to do that? Well, we need to lean back in to a previous deck tech we did on good old Guttersnipe. Guttersnipe allows us to deal two damage to each opponent every time we cast an instant or sorcery.
Guttersnipe got a bold new lil sibling in the form of Electrostatic Field. A 0/4 Defender that states whenever we play an instant or sorcery, it deals one damage to each opponent. That’s not terrible, but certainly doesn’t seem so good on its own, but when mixed with Guttersnipe, we're doing three damage per instant and sorcery we play per pair.
Speaking of old time favourites, we are also running two copies of Niv-Mizzet, Parun for a solid late game threat, if we need it. Niv does all you see here and more! I couldn't resist that for some reason. Sorry not sorry. Niv is a neat engine of both direct damage and card advantage because when you draw a card, you deal one damage to any player or planeswalker. If anyone plays an instant or sorcery, you draw a card. So this means that we're extending the chassis of the deck by making all instants and sorceries gain the extra text of “you draw a card and deal a point of damage” no matter who plays the spell.


As you would expect in a counterburn deck, we are running a few choice counterspells to assist with slowing our opponents.
We are running four Ionize because its REALLY that damn good, so good that it actually spurred on this deck idea in the first place. For one generic, one blue and one red we can counter any spell. Ionize then deals two damage to that spells controller. So throw on a Guttersnipe and your opponent is getting BLASTED for four damage when we counter a spell. Count me all in.
Three Essence Scatter are a must this early in standard, because the unknown metagame forces out a lot of creature based aggressive decks.
Only a single copy of Negate in the main deck as you already have four Ionize and we want to make room for some other cool new cards that we really want to try out.


The new hotness spell from Guilds isn't what you might expect. Mission Briefing is an instant for two blue mana that Surveils for two and then choose an instant or sorcery in your graveyard and you can play that card this turn, if you do, that card gets exiled if it goes back to your graveyard.
The wording is oddly specific, right? Well that's because people can still mess with your graveyard in response to you CASTING Mission Briefing, but once the spell resolves, they can't interact once it resolves. Also, this doesn't use an ALTERNATE CASTING COST. This means that you can cast spells with kicker. Also, having played a LOT with Mission Briefing I can tell you this, that Surveil mechanic is all sorts of delicious cake. Like a tripple chocolate mud cake with whipped cream.
Speaking of cool new Instants, Risk Factor is really unique in the fact that it's a punisher mechanic card, but unlike nearly all of the punisher mechanic cards before it, it's not terrible! Two colourless and one red for an instant where your opponent either elects to take a hot four damage, or let you draw three cards. This has me so excited because although it's not removal, it's a card that will likely just straight up draw you three cards for three mana. That's exceptional. Oh and did I mention it has Jump Start? This means the four copies are effectively eight instead.
For the boardwipes to keep creatures under control, we have two Settle the Wreckage and a single Cleansing Nova. I'm not really sure how Cleansing Nova is going to pan out in new standard, but as the rotation has forced out Fumigate, I'm willing to try it. You may even catch some Artifacts and Enchantments.
We are also running two Search for Azcanta because we are playing blue, and we are playing spells. Azcanta is obviously still REALLY good.
Our last four slots are more of a flex spot than anything, so we're going to try out both two copies of Ral, Izzet Viceroy and two copies of good old Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. You could easily replace these with Lightning Strike and that's something you will have to play around with.
That's it from me, how are your spicy janky wonderful Guilds of Ravnica brews going? Let me know in the comments below and don't forget to like, comment, subscribe and share!