This week in Magic: Side boarding with Naya Burn

GPT Vegas Plainville

Welcome back to another edition of “This week in Magic.” Last week we talked about the basics of Naya Burn and some expectations as I took it to a local GPT for Las Vegas. Sadly, I finished the day with a 3-2 record and just missed Top 8 by .5% point. I can’t be too upset considering how badly I felt I played all day. I felt that I played a little too loose and know I could have done better.


A prime example comes from my first match where I kept a hand of four lands and three spells. I was on the play, so I was already short action spells. My opponent was playing Esper and a turn one Kozilek and I was pretty much out of spells to cast by turn two. My best hands are anything with two lands and five spells or three lands and four spells. When I get the loose hands of four lands and three spells, I tend to mulligan them because there is not enough going on there. However, that first match had me keeping that exact hand. I knew I needed to play tighter if I wanted to have a chance.


My plays throughout the day is something we can save for another time. This week, I promised to tackle the options we have for side boarding. Once again, here is a quick rundown of my Naya Burn list.


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


Versus Twin

-2 Searing Blaze, -2 Lightning Helix, -1 Shard Volley; +2 Path to Exile, +3 Destructive Revelry.


I’ve played against many twin matchups and I think this is a bit of a coin toss. Obviously during our first game, there is very little we can really do if our opponent has a Twin turn four. We either have enough burn in our hand to remove their Exarch or Mite, or we don’t. It’s as simple as that. Once we’ve boarded, the match stays a coin flip still. They tend to bring in a Spellskite or Batterskull, but the popular choice is to bring in more cheap counterspells such as Dispell or Spell Pierce.


In these situations, I like to bring in Destructive Revelry and Path to Exile. Destructive Revelry is our best defense against Batterskill and can conveniently destroy Spellskites. The one important thing they can destroy, though, are Splintertwins! There is almost no reason for a Twin player not to play Twin on turn four if they have the combo. It’s on us, the burn player to do something or lose.


Path to Exile is another great one-mana removal spell for us. More specifically, it’s there to remove the Exarch from play. One may think I’m over boarding a bit here because Destructive Revelry is good enough, but I like to have more options here. Path can also remove the insect token that Batterskull makes.


Versus Affinity

-2 Lightning Helix, -1 Shard Volley; +3 Destructive Revelry


Before I converted to Naya, this matchup was always in favor of Affinity. Some would argue it was more of a coin flip, but I tend to disagree. Since converting to Naya, we’ve gained more options and a bit more of a reach when it comes to fighting against the robot army.


One thing I’ve learned is that our creature package plays a big part in our match. Previous Mono Red builds relied more on their burn spells than anything else to do the damage. With no creatures in play, we allowed Affinity to run rampant all over us. However with almost a third of the deck being creatures, we have more defend ourselves with.


For our side board options we have the same choices we had with Twin. I like to bring in all of our copies of Destructive Revelry. If you read what the card does, then there is little explanation needed here, and we can get in two points of damage.


I also think Molten Rain is good option to run here as well. Their man-lands can do some serious damage to us if left unattended. Don’t forget, though, that Molten Rain can only hit their lands. As burn players we really need to be careful not to over board in these situations. If you feel Molten Rain is important, then go ahead and run them. Otherwise, you are still fine just running the Destructive Revelry.


Versus Naya Burn

-2 Shard Volley, -2 Lightning Helix; +2 Kor Firewalker, +2 Path to Exile


Kor Firewalker has become one of the most solid answers to anything Burn. So I like to assume that my opponent is going to be smart and bring in their copies of Kor Firewalkers. It’s because of this thinking process I like to bring in Path to Exile. The most important reason for this is because it’s our only way of dealing with the Pro Red creature.


So why did we take out the cards we took out? Out of the entire deck, I feel that Shard Volley is the weakest link. You can also see this because I’ve taken it out of every match, post-side board. As for the Lightning Helix. It’s actually one of the more “clunkier” spells in the deck. First of all, it’s one of only spells in the deck that requires us to pay two different colors in mana. Second of all, a lot of people get distracted by it’s life gaining abilities. I feel that this can cause people to be less aggressive with the spell. Playing a burn deck, you want to burn out your opponent before they can do it to you. Kor Firewalker on your side more than makes up for the fact you’re losing some life gaining abilities, but, in the end, are gaining stronger ones.


Well that’s it for now. Yes, your eyes are correct. We only covered three major opponents in this week’s article. However, if you have any questions regarding any other matchups, then feel free to leave a comment in the section below. Until next week…


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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