R/W Burn In Standard

Watch two-time Pro Tour Top 8 competitor Sam Black try out R/W Burn on Magic Online to see if you should consider playing it at SCG Standard Open: Los Angeles this weekend!

I mentioned in my article this week that I wanted to see how R/W Burn played out, so today I’m going to show some videos with the deck. My list isn’t exactly the same as any of the others, but it should be a reasonable sample.

That first game almost felt like it was going well, but Xenagos meant that my Chained to the Rocks wasn’t as good as I expected it to be. And I was a little too slow. Game 2 was remarkably lopsided, particularly since I didn’t feel like I did very much. The burn spells in this deck just hit really hard. The third game was extremely close—as my opponent said, I was dead if he had a Ghor-Clan Rampager or Stormbreath Dragon.

I didn’t really participate in that first game. Sideboarding here is interesting. On one hand, if Ash Zealot hits once, it’s pretty good, although you’re slightly behind if they Searing Blood it after that. On the other hand, it’s easy to answer and opens you up to Searing Blood. Ultimately, I think I was probably wrong to cut it, especially on the play. Chandra, Pyromaster makes sense if both players are pointing burn spells at creatures, but I think that in this matchup too many burn spells can only hit players and there aren’t enough creatures, so it’s bad and I should have taken it out.

Cutting Shock is probably bad since it’s the best answer to Spark Trooper, which is (as I learned the hard way) the swingiest card in the matchup. Chained to the Rocks is really bad, but it’s the only way to answer Chandra’s Phoenix. Still, I think it’s probably better to cut them and just try to race Phoenix, especially on the play. So basically I think I sideboarded pretty badly here.

I lost in two, but the deck actually impressed me while losing here. My opponent had a great start in the first game, and even though I thought I couldn’t win for most of the game, I had a very good chance to win the game going into my last draw step. In the second game, I kept a pretty weak six, and his threats lined up particularly well against me.

That matchup seems pretty straight forward. Without Skullcrack, you can’t really beat Unflinching Courage. Without lifelink, it seems very hard for them to win the race.

Overall, the deck has some game—I like its matchups, but it feels like a deck that loses to itself a fair portion of the time. More often than not whether you win or lose will be determined much more by how good your draw is than how good your opponent’s draw is. Draws without a creature are much worse than draws with exactly one or two creatures, and draws without white mana can happen and can be really weak or lead to more mulligans. When everything is going right, the spells are pretty great.