Is Fires of Invention The New Wilderness Reclamation?

Wilderness Reclamation alongside Nexus of Fate fueled one of the most powerful Standard combos in recent years, and if anyone knows these decks, it’s Todd Anderson. Could the new, red enchantment bring the same power to the table?

Over the last year or so, my “brand” has become one that involves trying to
break cards that generate a ton of extra mana for a combo/control deck.
Wilderness Reclamation ultimately ended up fueling one of the most hated
combo/control decks in recent memory, as Nexus of Fate led to some
incredibly boring (and long) games of Magic. At the very least, my combo of
Wilderness Reclamation plus Expansion//Explosion killed you quickly!

These days, I’m still willing to revisit Wilderness Reclamation, though the
luster has certainly worn off. Everyone has figured out how busted it is,
so now comes the difficult task of trying to evaluate cards that can be
used in similar conditions. Where Wilderness Reclamation allows you to
generate a ton of extra mana and kill your opponent with powerful instants,
this new card from Throne of Eldraine actually forces you to play
at sorcery speed. Luckily, sorceries are generally more powerful than

Fires of Invention feels like it might end up being pretty busted, but it
all comes down to what type of spells you pair with it. First off, it
limits your ability to cast more than two spells in a single turn. This
means pairing it with the likes of Opt or other card draw effects is a bit
worse than normal for this style of card, if only because early filtering
is a great way to make sure your combo/control doesn’t stumble and die. I
do like this caveat on the card though, as the effect is absurdly powerful
and would obviously lead to some disgusting combo decks otherwise.

The second caveat of casting the spells that cost less than the number of
lands you control is a bit tougher to evaluate. The card itself effectively
allows you to cast another four-mana spell upon casting Fires of Invention,
so long as you aren’t cheating on mana with the likes of Paradise Druid. In
some ways, that reminds me a lot of Wilderness Reclamation, as my main goal
with it was to cast stuff like Chemister’s Insight on the same turn I cast
the powerful enchantment. That way, you get to “take back” the mana you
just spent casting the combo piece, effectively negating the huge tempo
loss created by spending your entire turn casting the enchantment.

One last thing to note before we move into deckbuilding is that,
effectively, all your mana is freed up every single turn. You can only cast
two spells, and those spells can be cast for the number of lands you
control, so perhaps the trick is finding permanents that have activated
abilities. Like Wilderness Reclamation, the trick was finding lands like
Search for Azcanta to continuously untap. And while I focused more on
Primal Amulet, my take on how to push the card was ultimately correct.

So, to recap:

  • Two spells per turn
  • Use your mana on activated abilities
  • Make sure you have enough four-mana spells to get immediate value
  • Maybe ramp a bit so that you can cast bigger and better spells
  • Don’t go too hard on card draw

Deckbuilding with Fires of Invention

There are plenty of powerful cards to pair with Fires of Invention, but
there are a few cards that immediately come to mind. First off all, let me
be perfectly clear with how I’m going to approach building around Fires of
Invention, because I don’t want to sound contradictory. While traditional
card draw like Chemister’s Insight isn’t all that great, because drawing
cards to take up half your turn isn’t all that good, you do need spells to
replace themselves. I’m also under the impression that this little nugget
is going to be pretty absurd.

It didn’t get a lot of press when it was first released because the primary
blue decks all centered around planeswalkers. And while all those powerful
planeswalkers from War of the Spark are still around, Drawn from
Dreams is a great way to get around an opposing Narset, Parter of the
Veils. When you don’t have Fires of Invention, Drawn from Dreams is also a
great way to find your marquee card.

Drawn from Dreams also suffered from being a sorcery, which meant it didn’t
go so well with Wilderness Reclamation, and card draw like Chemister’s
Insight was more desirable. But luckily for us, Fires of Invention is
designed to be friendly to sorceries, so all the deckbuilding metrics we
thought about with Wilderness Reclamation are getting thrown out the

While traditional card draw might not be all that spectacular with Fires of
Invention, digging through your deck to find specific spells is quite
strong. Drawn from Dreams helps you find specific cards regardless of what
portion of the game you’re in, and definitely hits that important four mana

Much like Drawn from Dreams, Narset, Parter of Veils is a cheap spell that
can help you dig for your engine early on or be used to find finishers once
your engine is set up. While I think it might be worse than Drawn from
Dreams in this particular deck, the static ability is extremely annoying
for a lot of other blue decks in the format.

Narset, Parter of Veils is also better on the curve, being cast on the
third turn and used to dig for your Fires of Invention, and certainly
serviceable as a follow up on the same turn you cast Fires of Invention. So
these two cards, Narset and Drawn from Dreams, will likely need to be
tested to see which one is better, or if we should be playing some
combination of both. Finding the right mix of dig spells to action spells
is always one of the more difficult parts of brewing a combo/control deck.

While you aren’t casting more than two spells per turn once Fires of
Invention hits the battlefield, you still need to bridge the gap to get
there as quickly as possible. Growth Spiral is the perfect card for that,
acting as a two-mana ramp spell that actually puts an extra land onto the
battlefield. You don’t have access to any other two-mana spell that does
the same thing, so this type of spell is incredibly valuable. I’m sure I
don’t have to sell you on Growth Spiral, as it’s already proven its worth
in several strategies.

The “number of lands you control” caveat is going to be tricky to work
around. My gut says that we need to be chock full of four-mana spells, if
only because we want a wide range of things to do once we cast Fires of
Invention, but we also need to make sure we actually get to the point in
the game where Fires of Invention gets the job done. And as the game goes
long, the fact that this just cycles helps you hit more land drops while
digging for action. Casting this as one of your two spells off Fires of
Invention is certainly a feelsbadman, but things don’t always work out how
we want them to.

Fitting right on the four-mana train, Ral, Storm Conduit is a fine play
after a Fires of Invention if your opponent isn’t putting much pressure on
you. Ral, Storm Conduit also lets you “cheat” a little on the two spells
cast per turn, as copying a spell doesn’t technically count against you. It
might not fit perfectly into a version of the deck featuring fewer instants
and sorceries and more permanents, but it’s certainly something to consider
if we go hard on big sorceries.

This is more of a stand-in than me saying I should be playing the card in
the deck. The Adventure creatures all feel like they could earn a spot, so
long as the original spell part is easy to cast off Fires of Invention.
Spells with double utility are often great in these engine decks and having
a big threat that doubles as removal early on helps bridge the gap when
you’re low on resources.

I’m looking for some more cards like this, but any cheap spell that kills
creatures on the first half followed by putting a great blocker down on the
second half is moving in the right direction. Bonecrusher Giant feels okay
on both sides, which is exactly the type of card you should be looking for
when building a deck around this style of engine.

Similar to Bonecrusher Giant, Murderous Rider fits right into this shell.
It certainly helps that a Hero’s Downfall effect is going to be useful
until the end of time, but the 2/3 body with lifelink also gives you some
game against an opposing aggro deck. Of course, playing Murderous Rider
pushes us very far away from the Growth Spiral camp, but I could certainly
see a Rakdos or Grixis version filling out nicely.

Black does offer some card draw combined with disruption and solid removal,
so I could certainly see this iteration doing some cool things. Honestly,
it probably just fits into something similar to the old Grixis Midrange
shell from last season. And while that deck wasn’t very good, it has a lot
of powerful spells all floating around the three- to five-mana spots.

Ral’s Outburst perfectly encapsulates exactly how I want to build this
style of deck. You get a bit of card economy while also affecting the
battlefield, and it fits right in at four mana. It was one of the cooler
spells I found to pair with Wilderness Reclamation, but there’s a chance
that I’m just being blinded by the fact that it was an instant. We have to
remember that we aren’t restricted to instants only. Instead, we can cast
just about any spell, just so long as we’re casting it on our own turn.

Killing creatures and finding more stuff to cast should certainly be a
priority, but it’s also possible I’m just thinking too small.

I don’t have the chops to put this deck together, and I doubt the mana
really supports it unless you’re only casting it off Fires of Invention,
but Niv-Mizzet Reborn is a perfect follow-up play for Fires of Invention,
as it applies a large amount of pressure to the battlefield while also
digging for some really powerful multi-colored spells. And again, while
traditional card draw isn’t exactly desirable, spells that dig or replace
themselves can certainly be useful.

This is more of a pipe dream than anything, but I have to imagine this
interaction is ridiculous, and the fact that you can cast Niv-Mizzet Reborn
without needing to find all five of your colors is just really cool. In
fact, this type of thing perfectly describes some of the more ambitious
combo/control decks.

Putting it All Together

So we know how to build around Fires of Invention now, and I’ve given you
some cards I think could be potentially sweet, so now we’ll build a few
iterations and see how they look! I won’t be able to actually test them out
until the

Throne of Eldraine MTG Arena Streamer

event next week, but this could be a solid starting point.

The idea here is that Fires of Invention allows you to continuously cast
spell after spell, with most of your cards just replacing themselves. It’s
just a huge battery, and our job is to find a way to spend the most energy
from it. The removal could change. The supporting cast of characters could
change. Even now, while writing this, I’m thinking of adding in a few
one-of cards just to get your creative juices flowing.

This time of year is always pretty cool, if only because I get to present
y’all with some ideas running around in my head, even if they aren’t fully
fleshed out yet. None of us have been able to play with these cards yet,
and it’s important to keep an open mind above everything else.

This might end up being the card I like most in this iteration, if only
because it gives you something to do with all your mana and excess lands
drawn. Our deck tops out at four mana, so every land we draw after the
fourth is effectively dead. And that’s by design, because we’re trying to
get max value out of our engine without being too top heavy. Every time we
add a spell that costs more than four mana, it requires us to hit more land
drops and can’t be cast on the same turn as Fires of Invention.

This might be one of the weirder choices, if only because we’re not playing
stuff like Opt, but it costs four, works well with Saheeli, Sublime
Artificer, and can close games quickly. It won’t be nearly as good as it
was in the Arclight Phoenix decks, but it fits the bill pretty well for
what we’re trying to do. And while I do want Saheeli, Sublime Artificer to
bridge the gap, I don’t know if it’s actually good enough if we’re only
making two tokens a turn.

Crackling Drake doesn’t necessarily have to be at its best to be great,
either. It plays defense well and doesn’t require you to play a ton of
spells to make it good, unlike a lot of other Izzet finishers.

While Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God doesn’t pair perfectly with Fires of
Invention, it’s certainly a better finisher than Crackling Drake! This
iteration revolves around removal and disruption as a means to slow the
game down, where Growth Spiral was a plan that featured acceleration. You
don’t always have to ramp if you want the games to go a bit longer.

This is probably not the best home for Fires of Invention, but it does
something that virtually no other card in Throne of Eldraine
Standard can do: make Drawn from Dreams absolutely bonkers. Casting two
spells per turn might not seem like a lot, but it starts to get disgusting
when you realize you’re playing roughly eight or nine mana worth of spells
each go around.

This version isn’t built to utilize all your useless lands, unlike Living
Twister in the other version, but that’s mostly because I haven’t found
“the card” that does it yet. I’m thinking of looking toward some sort of
Food token engine, or perhaps just some card like Firemind’s Research to
give me something to do with all those extra lands. Regardless, I’m sure
something is there, I just need more time to actually find it.

Throne of Eldraine
is starting to look pretty sweet, and we’re just a day or two away from
getting the complete set. I’m excited to see if there’s anything hiding in
the cracks, because that’s usually where I shine. The utility spells are my
bread and butter, because figuring out how best

to build around the engine is the toughest part. I mean, what if Lightning
Strike is in the set? That one seems to be a pretty important one for red
decks, right?