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This week in Magic: Naya Burn for Modern

GPT Vegas 4252015


Welcome back for another edition of “This week in Magic.” With Grand Prix Las Vegas quickly approaching, GPTs have sprung up in the area to help those going get their byes for what will be one of the most massively attended card tournaments ever (even more than World Series of Poker). I’ve even heard numbers as crazy as 10,000 people attending. This weekend, the Abington location will be hosting a Modern format GPT.


As you may all know by now I’ve been playing Mono Red for almost a year now in Modern and have had moderate success with it. However, since the introduction of Khans to the format, it has evolved from Mono Red, to what is now Naya Burn. I’m sure you can still play Mono Red, however, for this week’s discussion, we’re going to go over some of the reasons to play Naya Burn over Mono Red Burn.


In case you’ve been wondering, here is what I’ve been playing lately:


Main Board
4x Goblin Guide
4x Monastery Swiftspear
4x Eidolon of the Great Revel
2x Grim Lavamancer
4x Lightning Bolt
4x Lava Spike
3x Rift Bolt
2x Skullcrack
4x Boros Charm
4x Atarka’s Command
2x Lightning Helix
2x Shard Volley
2x Searing Blaze


3x Mountain
4x Scalding Tarn
4x Wooded Foothill
4x Bloodstained Mire
1x Stomping Ground
3x Sacred Foundry


Side Board:
3x Destructive Revelry
1x Lightning Helix
2x Path to Exile
2x Deflecting Palm
2x Skull Crack
3x Molten Rain
2x Kor Firewalker


Why play Naya over Mono Red?

One of the best additions to the deck has been Atarka’s Command. With the current creature package Burn plays with, this is one of the most back breaking spells in the deck. Imagine this, on turn one you play a fetch land, sac the land getting a Stomping Ground, play a Goblin Guide and swing for two damage. On your second turn you play another land, cast a Monastery Swiftspear, cast a Lava Spike triggering the Swiftspear’s prowess ability and attack with both creatures. By now you’ve done nine damage. One your third turn, with Atarka’s Command, the potential to kill your opponent is extremely high as opposed to not having the command.


Green also allows you to play Destructive Revelry. This card has really changed the way the deck plays and how other play against the deck post-board. While Leyline of Sanctity is still very painful to watch hit the battlefield against you, thanks to Destructive Revelry, it doesn’t mean an auto loss. The fact that Destructive Revelry has the ability to hit both artifacts and enchantments makes it more versatile than something like Smash to Smithereens.


White is provides even more reach thanks to spells like Path to Exile and Kor Firewalker for the mirror. The other week, I played against someone who was able to land a turn two Kor Firewalker against me. Needless to say, they weren’t happy when I play a Path on my following turn and then proceeded to win the match because of it. Path answers so many problems that conventional burn spells can’t. For example, Siege Rhino, a 4/5 which has been running rampant in the Modern format, is something that a Lightning Bolt can’t handle. However, a Path can answer it without any problem. Add to the fact that Path only costs one white to cast, and now Burn players can breath a sigh of relief.


Playing white in the main board means that Burn players can have access to better burn spells such a Boros Charm and Lightning Helix. Charm has easily replaces Flames of the Blood Hand as the better four damage burn spell thank to the fact that it only costs two mana to play. Lightning Helix’s ability to gain you life is such a big life swing it makes it worth playing. However, that’s all it has going for it. That’s why people tend to only play a couple copies of the spell as opposed to a full set of four. Gaining life is almost not worth the inconsistency the card adds to the deck thanks to the two colors needed.


For what it’s worth, I’d suggest playing the Naya Burn list over Mono Red because of the amount of options the colors open up for the player.


Who made the cut?

Of course with the introduction of a full playset of Atarka’s Command, we had to find room in the deck somewhere. It’s hard to tell, but some of the major cuts I’ve made have been to Rift Bolt, Searing Blaze, and Skull Crack. First of all, let’s start with why I made a cut to one of the best “one mana” spells in the deck.


First of all, it doesn’t cost one mana. It never has cost one mana. It will never cost one mana to cast. Unless it’s in your hand within the first couple of turns, Rift Bolt costs three mana to play. However, there are certain situations where the spell will costs you one mana late in the game, but at this point you’re so far in control is doesn’t matter. I felt that because it really doesn’t cost you one mana to cast that I could afford to cut one, but only one.


The next spell on my list was Skull Crack. I felt like having a full set of both seemed redundant, but thanks to the pumping effects of the the Command, it garnered enough attention to play a set. For now, I’ve split up the Skull Cracks with two in the main and two in the side. As for the side board. I’m uncertain about how much longer they will stay there. For now, I don’t mind them taking up slots. They help against the Spellskite plans people love to play against burn. Remember, Skull Crack can only hit another player. So activating a Spellskite doesn’t help. Well, it helps, but here it only helps the Burn player.


I needed to cut one more card to make room for the full set of Commands. Could I run three Commands? I could have, but it’s probably best that I run four. At this point, Shard Volley may have looked like an okay option, but I think some of you forget that it’s one of the best burn spells in the deck. However, because of it’s major setback of sacrificing a land, we can only sustain two copies of the spell. In the long run, I decided to cut a Searing Blaze. We all know my personal feelings for this card by now. Without Landfall, it is by far the worst burn spells in the deck. In fact, it’s the main reason we’re running an absurd amount of Fetchlands in the deck. Don’t get me wrong. I understand how great the card can be. It’s amazing against Collected Company, Infect, and other weenie aggro decks, but it’s one of the worst cards against some of the top tier decks in the game right now. Even worse, it has less of an impact on it’s own.


Well with that we’re going to leave things here and pick up next week. Tune in when we’ll touch upon the side board and our options for different matchups in the meta. Thanks for reading!


About the author

Simeon is now the Community Manager for Battleground Games & Hobbies. If you have any questions or inquiries, then you can reach him at He is also an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!



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