This week in Magic: Playing with fire pt. 2

searing blood

This person should probably get their paper-cut checked out. It looks pretty bad!


Last week we talked about the burn package for Mono Red Burn. This week I’ll be talking about the creature package and side board options. Here’s a quick reminder of what I was running as a creature package:


2 Goblin Guide

2 Eidolon of the Great Revel

4 Hellspark Elemental

4 Spark Elemental


This past weekend, there was a Grand Prix Trial held at the Abington store. At that tournament I actually ran a slightly different creature package after having practiced with the deck some more. The changes I made were replacing the Hellspark Elemental completely and I put in two more Goblin Guides and two more Eidolons. So now I was playing with this:


4 Goblin Guide

4 Eidolon of the Great Revel

4 Spark Elemental


I have been really enjoying the Eidolons a lot. If my opponent can’t deal with it right away it can be really annoying as it hits a lot of spells. This includes, but isn’t limited to, Serum Visions, Remand, Tarmogoyf, Delver of Secrets, Dark Confidant, and so much more. Even if they can deal with it, they’re going to take two damage as the popular removal spells are Disfigure, Smother, Lightning Bolt, Electrolyze, etc. There are definitely a lot of pros to playing this card.


One slight downside is that I am not immune to its effects as I can also take two damage for any spell I play that costs less than three mana. However, I’m not worried about my life count as much as my opponent is when he knows I’m threatening him or her with numerous burn spells at the ready.


I guess the question is how do I feel about the new creature line-up? When I played at the GPT, part of me did miss the Hellspark Elemental. With the Eidolon I get a 2/2 for two mana, and it doesn’t usually stick around. With the Hellspark, I got a 3/1 hasty creature that usually got in for three damage. The reason being is that it dies at the end of the turn. Therefore, wasting a kill spell on it is almost meaningless.


You really want to get in there and drop your opponent’s life total down to zero as fast as you can. If you remember, last week, I preached about how we were going for maximum damage output. Well, Eidolon doesn’t fit that game plan. It’s something you’d want if you were shooting for a long-game scenario – something that we’re not aiming for. We want to go for the short-game, and so it’s time to go back to four Hellspark Elementals and take out the Eidolons completely. Everything else can stay the same. In fact, going up to four Goblin Guides is where we should have been from the beginning.


Side board options


Now let’s take a look at the side board. As a quick reminder, here is what I was running:


3 Combust

2 Molten Rain

2 Relic of Progenitus

3 Shattering Spree

3 Searing Blood

2 Anger of the Gods


This did not change at all for the GPT last weekend. Still, let’s break things down and talk about why I’m running them.


First of all, Combust is a card that I have to run. Granted it doesn’t hit our opponent directly, but it does solve a lot of problems for Red mages. One of the biggest targets is Deceiver Exarch. Sitting at 1/4, this creature has a big butt, and is out of reach for all of our burn spells. Instead of having to use two burn spells, we can cast Combust, and that’s not even the best part: it can’t be countered. Other targets for Combust include Archangel of Thune, Restoration Angel, and anything else that’s blue or white and really annoying.




I originally thought that Molten Rain was one of those cards just for Tron decks. However, Modern has plenty of three colored decks where mana is a sensitive issue – RUG Twin, some versions of Pod, and Jund to name a few. In some of my play test sessions, destroying a land only set my opponent back a turn, but sometimes that’s all you need. Did I also mention that it also deals two damage as long as that land is a non-basic land.


Relic of Progenitus is in there for Snapcaster decks, decks that centralize themselves around Tarmogoyf, and can be a cute trick against Pod decks. It’s a pretty situational card, that’s why you only need two.


There have been plenty of discussions for the next card and the slot it represents. Affinity is one of the most popular decks in the Modern format right now. However, you need to remember not everyone is playing Affinity and that Modern is a very diverse format. So, you need a card that can match up well against Affinity, but can also help you out against single, problem artifacts – the biggest problem child, of course, being Spellskite.


In the very first list I was running, I had Smash to Smithereens in my side. This was a solid card. It was an instant speed, artifact removal spell, and it did three damage to my opponent. What a great 2-for-1. Unfortunately, in the match-up against Affinity, I couldn’t handle the amount of pressure they put on you in the first few turns. I watched as some of my friends emptied their hands on their first turn at the GPT.


With Shattering Spree, I feel like I have a better handle on things. It may not solve all of my problems, but it will definitely solve some of them. It’s ability to Replicate itself is a big deal. Now I can feel comfortable bringing in this card against decks with only a few artifacts or Affinity. I lose ability to deal three damage and I lose the speed, but being able to hit multiple artifacts is huge for me.


Searing Blood has been doing a lot for me these past few weeks. It’s been doing so much, I’ve had considerations bringing it into the main roster and, even, replacing Searing Blaze with it. Now, before you jump on my case, hear me out.


First of all, it’s in the sideboard as added creature removal. I bring it in against Affinity, Zoo, Pod, and even Delver. It played a pretty clutch role for me in my first round of the GPT. In game three, my opponent played a turn one Birds of Paradise. I didn’t even hesitate and cast a Searing Blood on it. I ended up winning that game and the match. Afterwards, he told me that if I hadn’t destroyed the Birds, he would have been able to play an earlier Birthing Pod against me, and probably would have won the game.


Now, I know what you’re saying, “You could have done that with Searing Blaze as well.” I know that, but here’s why I want to play it in the main board. I don’t play any fetch lands. This is important because triggering the landfall ability on Searing Blaze becomes much harder to do. In a deck that only runs 20 lands, it’s a little tough. Not to mention, I can only Blaze on my turn.


Last, but not least, is Anger of the Gods. I’m actually still debating with myself if I want to keep this or run Volcanic Fallout. Fallout is really tempting because it can’t be countered. So it would stack up well against decks like Faeries and Merfolk – both of which I have encountered. Either way, both spells would do well against Affinity as well. Maybe the extra point of damage matters, but that’s if they manage to drop their Master of Etherium. Another reason to run Anger over Fallout is that it exiles creatures if they were to die. So, against Pod decks, where Kitchen Finks is a thing, it could be very useful to remove the creature instead of letting it hit the graveyard and come back.


Well, that’s it for this week as I destroy my word count once again. I hope you’ll come back next week as I look to conclude my discussion on Mono Red Burn for Modern. The GP is coming up at the end of the month and this is really helping me clear my mind about things.


I would appreciate any feedback you may have or criticism about the deck. So sound off below in the comment section.


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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