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BMoor's Magic The Gathering Deck Garage
The Battlefield Shall Run Red
August 18, 2010

I recently got back into Magic after a five year absence. I bought a
Deckbuilder's Toolkit, a 2011 Fat Pack, and some extra boosters and
singles, and came up with this deck to get me back into the game. I'm
not sure how it would perform (I'm hoping well).

Basically, the point is to were down the other player's life as
quickly as possibly while conserving (and improving) my own. One thing
I am concerned about though, is my lack of creatures, and it seems as
though the deck will be slow, and I will need to wait a few turns to
get it to kick into full gear. Any tips on how to alleviate these
concerns? Thanks.
(PS. This deck is for standard format)

24 Mountains

Spells: 18
4 Lava Axe
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Chandra's Outrage
4 Demolish
2 Act of Treason

Creatures: 6
2 Sparkmage Apprentice
4 Prodigal Pyromancer

Planeswalker: 4
4 Chandra Nalaar

Artifacts: 8
4 Dragon's Claw
4 Elixir of Immortality


Pure red with lots of direct damage just never goes out of style. Burn, burn, burn, kill everything in sight. What could be simpler?

That said, you do need your burn spells to be efficient, and some of these just aren't. Lava Axe is far too unwieldy to be playable, especially when you'd rather be dropping Chandra Nalaar when you hit five mana. Sparkmage Apprentice is one measly point of damage attached to a 1/1 for two mana-- we can do better.

I'm also intrigued by your desire to gain life while you burn. Red is terrible at gaining life, but some artifacts can do it, so if that's how you want to play, I'll work with that in mind.

First, we'll look at your creatures. Sparkmage Apprentice is, as I said, just plain terrible. It's alright in Limited if you need another creature and it might kill a Llanowar Elf or two, but in Standard or anywhere else where you get to choose what cards you have access to, it's not good enough. It's also rotating out in a few months. Replace it with Ember Hauler. A 1/1 can't do anything in combat, while a 2/2 has a chance to get in there and mix it up a little. And Ember Hauler can deal 2 damage on its way out, instead of 1 damage on its way in-- that allows you to sacrifice it at end of turn if necessary, while the Sparkmage's ping can only strike during your main phase. Prodigal Pyromancer isn't the most efficient either, but we'll leave it in... I have a plan for it.

Now for the centerpiece of the deck-- your burn spells. Lava Axe is too much mana. Demolish is just plain useless for you. Chandra's outrage also has a difficult mana cost, and only works if you have a creature in play. But what to play in their place?

First off, Searing Blaze. The Blaze may share the weakness of Chandra's Outrage in that it only works if your opponent has a creature to target, but it costs half as much mana for just as much total damage... if you played a land this turn. No big deal though. One of creature-centric burn's biggest strengths is killing a potential blocker before you attack. You can easily drop your land for the turn and then use Searing Blaze for that purpose, in addition to smacking them for 3 before the attack.

Next, Staggershock. Sure, a single one can't kill a 4-toughness creature all by itself. But it can kill a 2-toughness creature and do 2 damage to its controller (like a slightly smaller Searing Blaze that doesn't care about lands), or kill TWO 2-toughness creatures (card advantage! yay!) or just deal 4 damage to a player, like Lava Axe but 1 less damage for 2 less mana. That versatility is important.

And finally, try a playset of Surreal Memoir. Red burn decks have long been plagued with the issue of what to do when they run out of cards in hand. Surreal Memoir solves that issue by getting you back two burn spells.

Next, your artifacts. Elixir of Immortality can stay, but take out Dragon Claw and put in Basilisk Collar. Deathtouch applies to all damage, including the damage Prodigal Pyromancer deals with its ability, so equipping the Collar onto the Pyromancer lets you tap a creature to outright kill any creature and gain one life. At that point, you no longer need to aim any burn spells at creatures and can save them all for your opponent's precious life total.

Finally, your lands. You could gain a nigh-inexhaustible source of burn and insure yourself against manaflood with a copy or two of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle. If that's a little too rich for your blood (it shouldnt' be, they're going for around $3-4) at least add in a few Evolving Wilds/Terramorphic Expanse. They help thin lands out of your deck, and can put a land onto the field at instant speed to satisfy Searing Blaze.

Good luck!







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