Burninating the Field: A PTQ Win

So yeah, I won a PTQ. I get to play on the Pro Tour again…in Hawaii! Sadly, I was a traitor, giving up Zoo for Burn after a couple dismal PTQ performances. The Zoo deck was performing amazingly at the TCGplayer and SCG IQ tournaments I had been playing in, but I was not able to translate that success to a PTQ.

The Deck

 

After PTQ Columbus last week, where I went 2-2-drop, I decided I needed to give Burn a try. Why would you want to give Burn a try you might say? Well, to be honest I felt like it had good matchups against most of the decks that are seeing a lot of play right now and could race the bad matchups well enough. All I had to do to stand a chance was avoid having [card]Leyline of Sanctity[/card] in my opponents’ opening hands. Also, most people don’t test against Burn and don’t expect to see it, so you can typically get in a few extra points of damage because they don’t know what to do.

This list saw a few changes from my testing with it, most notably adding black for [card]Bump in the Night[/card] so I didn’t have to run [card]Shard Volley[/card] anymore. I ran into a lot of issues where I simply couldn’t afford to cast [card]Shard Volley[/card] because I couldn’t afford to lose the land for my next turn, which in turn cost me a lot of games. The final list I decided on has a few funky sideboard cards that I will explain.

[deck title= Burn]
[Creatures]
*1 Grim Lavamancer
*4 Goblin Guide
*4 Eidolon of the Great Revel
*4 Hellspark Elemental
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
*4 Lightning Bolt
*4 Lava Spike
*4 Bump in the Night
*4 Searing Blaze
*4 Skullcrack
*4 Rift Bolt
*4 Flames of the Blood Hand
[/Spells]
[Land]
*4 Blood Crypt
*4 Arid Mesa
*11 Mountain
[/Land]
[Sideboard]
*2 Relic of Progenitus
*4 Smash to Smithereens
*3 Satyr Firedancer
*2 Shrine of Burning Rage
*2 Dismember
*2 Hammer of Purphoros
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

I decided to not splash white or green in an attempt to combat [card]Leyline of Sanctity[/card], but I also chose to not completely ignore it. I knew that if they landed it I would be in trouble regardless, and out of all the options that I could think of at the time, [card]Hammer of Purphoros[/card] seemed like my best option since it provided a stream of threats in a tough situation. If I could go back, I would likely replace it with [card]Koth of the Hammer[/card] since [card]Wear // Tear[/card] doesn’t kill him.

I also initially had [card]Molten Rain[/card] and [card]Searing Blood[/card] in my sideboard, but decided Tron didn’t actually need sideboard cards, and that [card]Satyr Firedancer[/card] and [card]Dismember[/card] would be enough for the aggro decks that weren’t Affinity. Cutting those cards allowed me to also add in [card]Relic of Progenitus[/card] to assist in matchups like Storm, Living End, and Junk.

From the beginning, I knew I wanted some number of [card]Satyr Firedancer[/card] in the sideboard to make my life easier against the aggro decks, and I felt like three was a good number since I only wanted to draw one per game.

satyrfiredancer

The PTQ

Round 1 – U/R Twin 2-0

Game 1: I started off on the play with a [card]Goblin Guide[/card] that immediately revealed a [card]Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker[/card], which told me he was some flavor of combo. His turn was [card]Island[/card] into [card]Sleight of Hand[/card], telling me that he was U/R/x Twin. Unfortunately for my opponent, the [card]Goblin Guide[/card] connected three times, and combined with the burn spells I was able to play, left him dead before he was really able to do anything.

Sideboarding
In
2 [card]Smash to Smithereens[/card]
2 [card]Dismember[/card]

Out
4 [card]Searing Blaze[/card]

Game 2: My opponent opted to be on the play, and while he mulliganed to five, I mulliganed to six. He did nothing for the first couple turns, while I cast a turn two [card]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/card] to put a ton of pressure on his slow hand. He eventually cast his [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card] for no value just to have a creature on the board, and followed it up with a [card]Vendilion Clique[/card]. I jumped the gun and revealed my hand to only to have him target himself—whoops. It didn’t matter, though, as I had plenty of burn to finish him off two turns later after he blocked my [card]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/card].

Round 2 – R/W/U Control 0-2

Game 1: My opponent started on the play, but I was first out of the gate with a [card]Goblin Guide[/card]. Unfortunately, he had a [card]Lightning Helix[/card] to kill it on his second turn. With no creatures left and my opponent not doing anything, I began throwing burn at his face. He was able to sequence his spells in a way to make my burn spells fail miserably, with three [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card]s to get him a second [card]Lightning Helix[/card] and a total of three [card]Sphinx’s Revelation[/card]s, totaling ten cards and seven life (since I was finally able to sneak in a [card]Skullcrack[/card] through his [card]Spellsnare[/card]). In the end, I died to two [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card]s and a [card]Celestial Colonnade[/card] beating me down.

Sideboarding
In
2 [card]Shrine of Burning Rage[/card]
2 [card]Hammer of Purphoros[/card]

Out
4 [card]Searing Blaze[/card]

Game 2: I finally got to be on the play, and my opponent didn’t hit a [card]Leyline of Sanctity[/card], so I felt like I was in a good spot. I opened on a [card]Goblin Guide[/card] and followed it up with a [card]Shrine of Burning Rage[/card]. He only had one mana available on my next turn, so I decided to try to put maximum pressure on with an [card]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/card], but he had a [card]Spellsnare[/card]. On his turn, he cast [card]Wear // Tear[/card] on my [card]Shrine of Burning Rage[/card]. If I hadn’t tapped out it would have won me the game. He went on to [card]Lightning Helix[/card] me three times and beat me down with a pair of [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card]s while I hit six lands to lose the game.

EN MTGHOP Cards V3.indd

Round 3 – Melira Pod 2-0

Game 1: We both mulliganed to six with my opponent on the play. My hand wasn’t really good other than a turn one [card]Goblin Guide[/card], but his wasn’t very good against me. I was able to get in three attacks with [card]Goblin Guide[/card] before he put up his defenses, and I was fortunately able to burn him out the turn before he was able to kill me.

Sideboarding
In
3 [card]Satyr Firedancer[/card]
1 [card]Dismember[/card]

Out
4 [card]Hellspark Elemental[/card]

Game 2: He opted for the play again, and we both got to keep seven cards. My hand was really bad, though, and a turn-two [card]Sin Collector[/card] showed him two [card]Flames of the Blood Hand[/card] and a [card]Skullcrack[/card]. He made the wrong decision of taking the [card]Flames of the Blood Hand[/card], allowing me to keep casting my burn spells on curve. He landed a [card]Gavony Township[/card] the next turn and ran a [card]Kitchen Finks[/card] into my [card]Skullcrack[/card], leaving me to have to race. I drew yet another [card]Flames of the Blood Hand[/card] and he played his [card]Spellskite[/card], leaving me in a tough spot. Fortunately, I was able to take advantage of him tapping out trying to life combo me instead of going for the on-board kill that he didn’t see, allowing me to steal the win.

Round 4 – Scapeshift 2-0

Game 1: My opponent chose to be on the play, and promptly mulliganed to five while I kept a pretty good six. He played a [card]Misty Rainforest[/card] on his turn and passed, giving me very little information. My turn one was [card]Lava Spike[/card], which he likely should have conceded to so he could have a better post-sideboard game. His follow up was a [card]Search for Tomorrow[/card], which gave me far more information than should be given in this matchup—Scapeshift is at such a disadvantage against Burn. A couple burn spells later, I had the game.

Sideboarding
In
2 [card]Shrine of Burning Rage[/card]

Out
2 [card]Searing Blaze[/card]

Game 2: We both kept seven card with him on the play. I knew going into this game that all I needed to worry about were a few [card]Obstinate Baloth[/card]s, which prompted me to keep a hand full of [card]Skullcrack[/card]s and [card]Flames of the Blood Hand[/card]. He ended up stumbling on mana on one of his turns, which made me decide to just start firing them off at the end of his turns. He did not withstand my assault and the game was mine fairly quickly.

Round 5 – Affinity 2-1

Game 1: I got to start on the play while my opponent mulliganed to six. I quickly got to work on his life total with [card]Lava Spike[/card], and he revealed that he was Affinity with a relatively slow hand. I followed up with a [card]Goblin Guide[/card] and another burn spell. He dropped half his hand on the table suddenly. Fortunately, I was able to win the race since he didn’t hit a [card]Cranial Plating[/card] to finish me off.

Sideboarding
In
4 [card]Smash to Smithereens[/card]
3 [card]Satyr Firedancer[/card]

Out
4 [card]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/card]
3 [card]Flames of the Blood Hand[/card]

Game 2: He had a pretty lackluster turn one, but followed it up with two [card]Ensoul Artifact[/card] on turn two. As hard as I tried, I just couldn’t race it even though I was able to kill one of his 5/5s.

Game 3: I kept a pretty insane turn-four kill hand, consisting of two land and five burn spells. He kept a very slow hand that did absolutely nothing. I executed the turn-four win perfectly while he floundered around and did one damage to me with a [card]Memnite[/card]

ensoulartifact

Round 6 – Affinity 2-0

Game 1: I started on the play with neither of us mulliganing. I opened on [card]Goblin Guide[/card], which got in for eight damage this game, while he had a fairly slow draw. I was easily able to race his mechanical men from there with the burn spells that were waiting in my hand, leaving me needing to win only one more game to be able to draw into top eight.

Sideboarding
In
4 [card]Smash to Smithereens[/card]
3 [card]Satyr Firedancer[/card]

Out
4 [card]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/card]
3 [card]Flames of the Blood Hand[/card]

Game 2: I mulliganed to five this game on the draw while my opponent mulliganed to six. I kept an opener of [card]Mountain[/card], [card]Arid Mesa[/card], [card]Satyr Firedancer[/card], [card]Lava Spike[/card], and [card]Skullcrack[/card], and knew that to win this game I was going to need to ride that [card]Satyr Firedancer[/card] as hard as I possibly could. Fortunately, my opponent was unable to kill it, and I was able to sit back and nuke every creature he played. With his threats neutralized, I was able to cruise to victory with just a few more burn spells.

Round 7 – Scapeshift Intentional Draw

After looking at the standings, it was obvious that my opponent and I were going to be able to intentionally draw into top eight, so we did just that.

The Top 8

Top 8 – Junk 2-1

Game 1: My opponent started off on the play because he was the higher seed, and I started off with a mulligan to six. We both knew what the other was playing card for card, which led him to opening on [card]Inquisition of Kozilek[/card]. I top decked a [card]Goblin Guide[/card] and got in once with it the entire game. He followed up with a [card]Dark Confidant[/card], which I decided not to kill. Instead, I followed up with an [card]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/card] to punish him for anything he might play. He played another [card]Dark Confidant[/card] after reveleaing land from the first one. I decided this would just be a waiting game with two [card]Dark Confidant[/card]s on his side of the field. Fortunately for him, he only took three damage total off of the multitude of triggers for his [card]Dark Confidants[/card], but he did take a ton off of my two copies of [card]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/card], allowing me to quickly close the game with a couple burn spells.

Sideboarding
In
2 [card]Relic of Progenitus[/card]
2 [card]Dismember[/card]

Out
4 [card]Hellspark Elemental[/card]

Game 2: My opponent started off on the play against my fairly lackluster hand. He played nothing on his turn one, and I suspended a [card]Rift Bolt[/card] on mine. He also decided to not do anything on his turn two, so I cast a [card]Lava Spike[/card] and [card]Relic of Progenitus[/card], which he immediately destroyed with [card]Abrupt Decay[/card]. His turn three was a [card]Tarmogoyf[/card], which I was unable to deal with. He swung a couple times leaving me to draw a bunch of lands and no way to win.

Game 3: I started on the play while my opponent mulliganed to six. I started on a turn-two [card]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/card] which dealt about ten damage just from its triggers, leaving him dead to just a couple of burn spells.

eidolonofthegreatrevel

Top 4 – R/G Tron 2-0

Game 1: We both mulliganed to six with my opponent on the play. This game wasn’t even a little close, as I had turn-one [card]Goblin Guide[/card], which met a [card]Pyroclasm[/card], into turn-two [card]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/card]. He was unable to do anything in time and just died to a fist full of burn.

Sideboarding
In
4 [card]Smash to Smithereens[/card]

Out
4 [card]Searing Blaze[/card]

Game 2: He played a [card]Chromatic Sphere[/card] on his turn one, and I retaliated with a [card]Goblin Guide[/card]. The next turn I hit him with two burn spells, leaving him at 11 already. On turn three, I cast [card]Hellspark Elemental[/card] and took him to five. He hit tron and cast a [card]Wurmcoil Engine[/card] and an [card]Expedition Map[/card]. I untapped, slammed a land, and got him with two more burn spells.

Finals – Affinity 2-0

Game 1: We both kept our opening hands with him on the play. He opened on a [card]Vault Skirge[/card] and I raced out with a [card]Goblin Guide[/card]. He followed with a [card]Steel Overseer[/card] that I had to dispose of with a [card]Searing Blaze[/card]. Next turn he played a second [card]Steel Overseer[/card]. I removed it and dealt him another three. After that, I was finally able to deal with the [card]Vault Skirge[/card], and he ran out of gas. I quickly finished the game from there.

Sideboarding
In
4 [card]Smash to Smithereens[/card]
3 [card]Satyr Firedancer[/card]

Out
4 [card]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/card]
3 [card]Flames of the Blood Hand[/card]

Game 2: I kept my opener, which included [card]Satyr Firedancer[/card], four lands, and two burn spells, while he mulliganed to five. He exploded out of the gates anyway, playing almost his whole hand on turn one/ I was unable to accomplish anything but a land drop. The next turn, I was able to resolve [card]Satyr Firedancer[/card], but he then cast an [card]Arcbound Ravager[/card] that I would have to deal with. He swung in with a handful of damage, and left mana up to turn an [card]Inkmoth Nexus[/card] into a creature. I had two burn spells up and had no choice but to fire off at the [card]Arcbound Ravager[/card] which he started sacrificing to. Once it got to three counters, I tried to kill it again in response to the fourth activation, which forced him to put three counters on his [card]Inkmoth Nexus[/card]. My opponent then got in two turns in a row with [card]Inkmoth Nexus[/card], leaving me at eight infect. This leads us to the best topdeck of the day:[card]Smash to Smithereens[/card] to kill the [card]Inkmoth Nexus[/card], and thanks to the Firedancer, also the other [card]Inkmoth Nexus[/card] that he was attacking with. Next turn, I drew a [card]Hellspark Elemental[/card], unearthed another, and won the PTQ.

inkmothnexus

Victory

I couldn’t believe it, and everyone in the room was excited for me. Thanks for all the support from the guys working at the PTQ that I talked to most of the night—they were almost as excited as I was.

That’s all I’ve got at the moment, but I’ll see you all very soon with a Brewing with Khans of Tarkir article and hopefully some amazing stories from Hawaii. The brews article will be slightly delayed this time, because the decks will be what I’m working on for Pro Tour Hawii.

Thanks for reading,

Josh Milliken

Edit – Since people are asking, the event was in Morgantown, WV.

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14 comments on Burninating the Field: A PTQ Win

  1. Nick Montaquila says:

    Congrats!

    1. Josh says:

      Thanks, I would definitely recommend it if you’re hitting a PTQ this weekend.

  2. Perry Stewart says:

    How often do you find yourself casting two 2 drops with your fourth land? I’m thinking about adding more black sources for consistency and debating between more fetches and blackcleave cliffs.

    1. Josh says:

      Frequently you cast a 1 and 2 drop on turn 3. The 2 drop scenario can happen a lot with hellspark elementals getting unearthed. I never had an issue with getting my black sources, if you were going to add land to get Blood Crypts I would suggest a couple more fetchlands, preferably Scalding Tarns.

  3. Hyak says:

    What do you think of the slightly slower “disrupty” versions of this deck that use Molten Rain&Forked Bolt over Flames of the Blood Hand&Bump? Just not as good? or is it a meta call? I justify it by saying you get more value off of Eidolon, Shrine, and Lavamancer, but maybe it’s better just to go for the throat.

    I’m PTQ’ing tomorrow and this is my list now! (im not as brave as you on the land ;)) Any help or advice would be appreciated!: http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/22-08-14-redwhite-burn/

    1. Josh says:

      If you’re going to run 21 lands I would suggest 8 or more fetchlands. Also not a fan of Molten Rain, the matchups it’s effective in are already good matchups. Also if you go slow and disrupty, you’re going to lose to all the Affinity and combo decks because you’re just not fast enough anymore.

      1. Hyak says:

        Thanks man, I’ve changed my list quite a bit based on your advice.

  4. Werekill says:

    If I don’t have fetches yet, which would you recommend between Dragonskull Summit and the Scars duals? I should be getting them soon, but it’ll be a while; I’m just now getting into Modern and am converting my Legacy Burn to Modern.

    1. Josh says:

      Either one has a drawback, the scars duals drawback is likely to matter less though so I would go with that.

      1. Werekill says:

        Thanks for the reply! I’m really digging your build; coming from Legacy burn, having a black Chain Lightning is awesome.

        1. Josh says:

          It looks like Bloodstained mire and Wooded Foothills will be readily available in just about a month or so, so you won’t have to wait long.

          1. Werekill says:

            Haha, yeah! I was just hopping on here to say that. I’m super excited.

            On another note, how do you feel this may change Burn’s viability? Giving decks more ways to avoid self inflicted damage (more basics choices) seems like it would hurt a few matches. I can’t wait to start playtesting and figure it out!

            1. Werekill says:

              Meant matchups, not matches. I don’t think I can edit comments here.

            2. Josh says:

              It doesn’t affect it by much, deck choices may change and affect the meta making Burn worse though.

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