Hello, my friends. It’s been awhile now since Paupers & Kings wrapped up, and I’ve been trying to find a new series idea that thrills me. In the meantime, I’ve been playing lots and lots of Magic (check out the YouTube channel) but not writing quite as much. I thought an easy win and a good way to bring more Pauper content to the site would be to write-up the Daily Events I have been playing. I usually manage to get one in per week, generally on Mondays, so that syncs up well with a Tuesday article.
This week I played Mono Red Burn in the Daily Event. I’m not sure why I picked it, except that I thought it would do well against MBC and the various creature decks that try to work around MBC. It’s not a great match vs Delver, unfortunately, and the WW Tokens list that is super popular right now can also pack a lot of lifegain. But if I avoided those two pitfalls, I thought I could do okay.
As of this article, MTGGoldfish claims Burn is under 3% of the competitive metagame (just counting 3-1s and 4-0s). It’s practically a rogue deck at those numbers. I netdecked a list that mcguire8 used to win the May 9 Daily, since it had all the things I like in a Burn list.
Mono Red Burn by mcguire8 (Pauper)
2 Forgotten Cave
4 Keldon Marauders
4 Chain Lightning
4 Lava Spike
4 Rift Bolt
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Needle Drop
4 Searing Blaze
2 Shard Volley
4 Curse of the Pierced Heart
4 Flame Rift
2 Flaring Pain
2 Martyr of Ashes
2 Molten Rain
3 Smash to Smithereens
You can’t get a lot simpler than that. Play mountains, burn face. Let’s see how it went.
Round One vs BorosKitty
BorosKitty can pack a ton of lifegain, and they can race with a good hand. Anything they want to do (e.g. gain life) they can do over and over thanks to all the bounce effects. I’d put this match-up under 50% for Burn.
Game 1: I suspended Rift Bolt into Curse of the Pierced Heart and he proceeded to gain a lot of life from his Radiant Fountain which he took turns bouncing along with his card-draw artifacts. He didn’t get any real pressure going until T6, but by then it was too late, since I top-decked another Fireblast and, blowing up five of my lands (2x Blast, 1x Shard Volley) I got him down to 1 life and let my Curse finish him off during his upkeep.
Sideboard: IN 3x Smash to Smithereens, 2x Molten Rain, 2x Flaring Pain | OUT 4x Curse of the Pierced Heart, 3x Needle Drop. Blowing up artifacts AND getting 3 damage in seems like a no-brainer, here. I brought in Molten Rain mainly to deal with things like Radiant Fountain again, while Flaring Pain stops a lockout from COP: Red, which most decks with White run 1x or 2x in the SB.
Game 2: He gets an Azorius Chancery followed by a Lone Missionary. I blow the Missionary up with Searing Blaze only to have him cast another and start bouncing it. Annoying! On turn 5 he returns the Missionary to his hand and can’t recast it that turn, and I top a Molten Rain to blow up his Chancery, cutting him off from white mana and keeping the Missionary stuck in his hand. The burninator in me cackles. Unfortunately it’s turn 5 and he still has 16 life. I get him to 7 with a Fireblast and Smash to Smithereens still in my hand, but unfortunately (and oddly) he has no artifacts in play. Turn 8 he plays a Great Furnace before swinging in with his team, and in response to his attack I blow up the artifact land and fireblast him for exactees.
Match score: 1-0 | Game score: 2-0
Round Two vs MBC
Mono Black Control is probably the underdog, here. Their greatest threat is discard, but if we get Hellbent as quickly as possible, even that doesn’t matter. Once they hit 4 mana and up we do have to worry about Tendrils of Corruption and then Gray Merchant of Asphodel and then Corrupt gaining them life. Not all lists play Tendrils, so the main goal here is to kill them before Gary starts coming down.
Game 1: We’re on the play, and Chain Lightning into Curse gets us off to a great start. I love Curse on t2 since you’re maximizing the impact. Our opponent plays some Cuombajj Witches, and we Searing Blaze both of them with landfall, then risk a Keldon Marauders into a possible t4 Tendrils play from our opponent. He only has Geth’s Verdict, though, which is completely fine, and we close the game out with a Shard Volley on our t5 (before our opponent gets to 5 mana).
Sideboard: IN 4x Flame Rift | OUT 4x Keldon Marauders. If he has Tendrils he will keep them in no matter what, but this way he will have to target his own creatures instead of ours. Flame Rift simply helps us close out the game as early as possible. We’re the aggressive deck here, so the symmetry of the card is fine, it’s still to our advantage.
Game 2: We keep a one-lander on the draw, which is rough considering our hand contains Fireblast, Shard Volley, and Searing Blaze. We keep it anyway and draw another Fireblast. Damn. Our opponent hits us with a t2 Duress and takes the Searing Blaze, even though we don’t have the mana for it and he has no creatures out. We draw a third Fireblast (double-damn!) and throw a Lava Spike at our opponent’s head. On our third draw we finally hit our second land, but at this point we have 3x Fireblast, 1x Shard Volley, and 1x Needle Drop in hand. Rough. Our opponent simplifies our life somewhat by casting Wrench Mind, and we happily throw away 2x Fireblast. At the end of his turn we throw a Volley into his face so that we can Needle Drop. This puts us back down to one land, our opponent at 10 life, and we draw a Flame Rift off the Needle Drop and then a Rift Bolt on our turn, which we suspend. So our opponent makes it to t5, but he’s stuck on 3 land and has almost no pressure with double witches on board. We draw another Flame Rift, he casts a Phyrexian Rager putting him to 6, and we pick up another land on our next draw for the game, hitting with Rift for 4 and then our remaining Fireblast to close it out.
Match score: 2-0 | Game score: 4-0
Round Three vs UB Angler Delver
The closest I get to playing against Delver in this event, and he has plenty of counters (it looks like 8x main) and unkillable threats (Gurmag Angler). This promises to be a tough one unless we can win before he stabilizes.
Game 1: He plays a t1 Delver. We had to mulligan a no-lander and end up with 3x Mountain, Rift Bolt, Searing Blaze, and Fireblast. We drop a mountain and suspend the bolt. His Delver doesn’t flip, so we only take 1 and he spends his turn and mana on a Preordain and a Ponder. We hit him with the bolt and then Searing Blaze him and his Delver for 3. By t5 we’ve only seen one Counterspell which hit a Curse, and we have him at 9 life with a Fireblast in hand. He gets an Angler to put some pressure on us and we keep drawing lands. He gets another Angler with counter mana up, and we finally rip a Lightning Bolt. He’s at 7, so if we stick both pieces of burn we win, but he counters the Fireblast and since we’re at 2 life with 10 damage coming in next turn, we concede.
Sideboard: IN 4x Flame Rift, 2x Molten Rain | OUT 4x Curse of the Pierced Heart, 2x Needle Drop. Curse is too fragile and slow at this point, and Needle Drop works best when you have the curses. Flame Rift can’t be Dispelled and hits hard, while I have a theory that Molten Rain may help keep him off mana and stop the Anglers.
Game 2: He starts off with two Dismal Backwater, which means he has black mana but is slow versus us in terms of developing the board and keeping up countermana. We hit him with Lightning Bolt, Rift Bolt, Needle Drop, and Flame Rift by t3, so he is at 11 and we’re at 16. He does land a Delver, which he flips on t3 with a Brainstorm during his upkeep, and then he plays another Delver, leaving just one mana open. We cast Incinerate and Lava Spike on our turn since he only has the one mana up and they get through to take him down to 5 life. We have Lava Spike and another Incinerate still in hand. He flips the other Delver and brings us to 7, and we rip a Shard Volley. We have lethal in hand, but he has countermana up, now, and we can’t cast all three of our spells to push lethal. We pass with mana up and he brings us down to 1 with the Delvers, passing the turn with 4 mana up. EOT we cast Incinerate which he lets through, but he counters the follow-up Shard Volley. We untap and draw a Chain Lightning, pretty much assuring our victory even if he has another counter since we have 2 castable burn spells. He seems to be out of counters, though, as the first spell goes through for lethal.
Game 3: We keep a beautiful 2-lander with lots of gas, and play a Lava Spike to get things started. Our opponent gets stuck on one land for awhile and uses it to cast a lot of cantrips and filters to dig for more. We land some Keldon Marauders which we even get to hit him with (5 damage for 2 mana is great) and going into t4 our opponent has 9 life and a couple marauders staring at him, and we have 3 mana and 3 cards still in hand: Flame Rift, 2x Incinerate. He plays a Delver to block our Marauder and gets a third land into play. We cast 2x Incinerate on his EOT, which he lets through, going to 3 off the burn and down to 2 from my Marauders during my upkeep. We rip a Rift Bolt and get our Flame Rift countered, so we suspend the bolt. He counters the Rift Bolt, too, so we have to top-deck something. Chain Lightning off the top finishes him off, just as he was starting to stabilize with an Angler on board.
Match score: 3-0 | Game score: 6-1
Round Four vs Affinity
His explosive starts can outrace us and his 4/4s are out of burn range. He has Hydroblast post-board to shut down some burn, too, so we have to work around that. Otherwise we just try and count to 20 before he does.
Game 1: We’re on the play and keep a nice 2-lander. We start with a Lava Spike, and he just plays a land and passes. We curse him and pass, and he plays another land, a Frogmite, and then passes back. We rip a Searing Blaze and play land 3 to deal 3 to him and remove the Frogmite, since it is one of the only creatures he has that we can blaze and it keeps his affinity count down. He plays a land on his turn and passes again, and we Needle Drop EOT into mountain #4. We play a second Curse and leave up bolt mana, keeping the mountain in our hand in case we draw another Searing Blaze. He casts two Galvanic Blast on our EOT and a Myr Enforcer on his turn, but goes to 9 off the curses and then 6 off our bolt. We rip a Needle Drop which we don’t need, but cast it anyway after the Fireblast gets him to 2, drawing into another Fireblast, so we finish him off on our turn rather than letting the Curses do it during his upkeep.
Sideboard: IN 3x Smash to Smithereens | OUT 3x Needle Drop. Affinity is why we have Smash, though it does work against Spire Golems and Kitty decks, too. Needle Drop is easy to take out since its impact is so small. I debate bringing in Martyr, but it’s such a horrible top-deck that we keep things simple instead.
Game 2: Our opponent mulls to 4 while we keep another one-lander on the draw. We rip a land straight off and bolt him to get things going. We have Fireblast, Smash, Incinerate, Searing Blaze, and Curse in our hand. After a mull to 4 I wait to see if he is stuck on mana, since then I could smash his lands, but he appears to have plenty of mana and no gas. We go with the Curse on t2 instead and he starts playing lots of artifacts that don’t impact the board and a Thoughtcast to draw some cards. He puts a Frogmite down t4 and I consider Smashing it, but drop my land next turn instead and hit it with Searing Blaze. He Hydroblasts the Blaze, though, so we Chain Lightning him and bring him down to 8 after the next Curse ping. He gets to hit us for 2 with the Frogmite but doesn’t do much else, so on our turn we Smash the frog and bolt him, and he goes to 1 off curse during his upkeep. He knows he either needs to draw a way to win or destroy the curse and he doesn’t do either, so our opponent concedes. We still had Fireblast and Keldon Marauders in hand, so it was going to go badly for him no matter what.
Match score: 4-0 | Game score: 8-1
Wrap-up and videos
We got some good matchups for the list, avoiding U Delver and WW Tokens entirely, but we still faced off against some strong lists. Burn shines because it is so consistent. Both UB Angler and BorosKitty can do very well against Burn, but they are also more likely to stumble. Affinity just beats itself from time to time, something we’re happy to take advantage of. And MBC does far worse, generally, when it doesn’t have any creatures to blow up. Yeah, he brought in discard spells, but they didn’t make too big a difference in the end.
Thanks for reading and let me know what you think of this kind of event report. Here are the videos!