This week in Magic: Back to Burn

searing blaze

It’s time for another installment of “This Week in Magic.” With the recent bannings in Modern, I’ve been having a tough time coming up with a deck I want to play. For a while, I was playing UR Delver like many other people, and like many, I had a very successful run with it. However, that is no longer the case and it’s almost like times have reverted back to pre-Khans of Tarkir periods with a a few exceptions.


First thing on the agenda is to figure out what I’m going to play. I don’t think it’s a terrible choice to go back to playing what I was playing before – Mono Red Burn. In fact, thanks to the recent bannings, it may have gotten better in a way. Before Treasure Cruise was removed from the picture, I had seen many Mono Red Burn lists forcing the card into the decklists. I tried it out myself. At that point, you might as well be playing UR Delver. However, without the Delver package, it had become a whole new beast. I felt it was trying to do too much.


Now that we know what we’re playing let’s take a look at a sample decklist.


Mono Red Burn
4 Goblin Guide
4 Eidolon of the Great Revel
4 Monastery Swiftspear
3 Grim Lavamancer


4 Lightning Bolt
4 Shard Volley
4 Lava Spike
4 Rift Bolt
4 Searing Blaze
4 Skull Crack
3 Flames of the Blood Hand


4 Wooded Foothills
4 Bloodstained Mire
9 Mountain
1 Stomping Ground


When it comes to Mono Red Burn, I want to burn you as fast as possible. With such a low mana curve, I don’t want to risk any chance of flooding. In this case, I will gladly go with an 18 land package. I feel that the eight fetchlands are self-explanatory. Not triggering the landfall on Searing Blaze is the worse thing that can happen to a Burn player. More importantly it helps fuel the fire for Grim Lavamancer.


Helping make sure that there is plenty of wood to burn for your Grim Lavamancer is very important because Affinity is sure to make a surge thanks to the recent bannings. Grim Lavamancer will be one of your keys to being successful on a consistent basis.


The biggest change from the list I ran at GP Boston last summer has to be the Monastery Swiftspear. Some would consider her to be better than the Goblin Guide. However, I say we take the best of both worlds and run them together. There is a catch though. When it comes to running the Swiftspear, I feel that it’s important to remember that it’s okay to swing with her as a 1/2. When you start pouring your instant spells into her just to make her bigger, you begin to put yourself at a disadvantage. If you have patience with her, she’ll take you a long way.


For the most part, the deck hasn’t really changed. We’ve added a creature to the list and cut down on one burn spell. Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged didn’t help us out either way. One thing you may have all been wondering about is why is there a long Stomping Ground? This is for the multiple copies of Destructive Revelry that will most likely go in the side board. Speaking of side board, let’s take a look at the rest of our possible side.


2 Blood Moon
2 Relic of Progenitus
2 Combust
2 Torpor Orb
4 Searing Blood
3 Destructive Revelry


Thanks to the bannings Junk is set to take the number one spot in Modern. A big reason is due to Siege Rhino. It was one of the biggest reasons why Birthing Pod began to get out of hand. There was a reason Birthing Pod changed it’s name to Rhino Pod.


I’m not going to get into too much detail here, but this side board is pretty versatile against different versions of Junk. Blood Moons are pretty good here, but are not completely necessary for the matchup. Keep in mind, though, we are dealing with a deck that is greedy when it comes to it’s mana. While it doesn’t need to, it wants to hit that third color. Combust will be one of our best removal spells against Siege Rhino. As for Torpor Orb, this is another card that is not necessary, but can still help the cause by stopping those Siege Rhino activations.


Surprisingly enough, Relic of Progenitus is a solid choice to bring in here. While Burn decks can typically outburn a Tarmogoyf, having a backup plan is still nice. Not to mention Scavenging Ooze could potentially be a problem. Relic can help make sure the graveyards are clear of any creatures. Once an Ooze gets going it can be a little hard to stop.


I feel Mono Red is poised to be one of the top decks, again, in Modern. Any deck that has a high chance to play a turn one fetchland, into an untapped shock land, followed by casting Thoughtseize is our best friend. Sadly, not everyone will be playing Junk. If Affinity makes a move for the top, that’s when Mono Red Burn players will have to be concerned. This has always been a coin flip in my experience. Nonetheless, have confidence in your play and you’ll be just fine.


Well that’s it for now. I hope you all enjoyed this week’s topic and if there is a specific topic you’d like me to cover, then let me know.


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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