Season To Taste: Analyzing Seasoned Pyromancer In Modern

Seasoned Pyromancer has Todd Anderson’s brain sizzling! Check out the wild and wonderful brews he’s concocted for a three-drop full of potential!

It’s been a crazy couple of days! Previews from Modern Horizons have been rolling in, and they seem to be hitting quite a few buttons. So far we have a couple of cool reprints like Fact or Fiction and Goblin Matron, as well as some brand-new cards that seem like throwbacks to some I used to play with when I was a lot younger. I’m pumped for the set because it’s the first set designed with specifically the Modern format in mind.

But instead of going over a list of the cards I really like that have been previewed so far, I’m picking one card I’m excited about and will go over a few archetypes it might be good in.

Let’s talk about Seasoned Pyromancer!

Three Mana for Four Power

While it hasn’t seen play in Modern, Hordeling Outburst is a card I’ve always wanted to try. It functions similarly to Lingering Souls in the grindy matchups, giving you some protection against Liliana of the Veil, while also invalidating traditional spot removal like Fatal Push and Lightning Bolt. Right off the bat, Seasoned Pyromancer seems quite a bit better than that.

Aggressive decks can put this card to good use, though that will be a bit harder to do at the moment. Not a lot of heavy-red aggressive decks are making waves, especially those that want to discard a bunch of spells for a tempo boost.

And that’s the thing: you’re discarding spells to make Seasoned Pyromancer good, but you’re getting fresh cards in return. That means, unless you’re building your deck with certain specifications, Seasoned Pyromancer is fairly likely to lead to flooding. Thus, you want to play fewer lands with Seasoned Pyromancer as your top-end.

Rummaging for Card Advantage

Decks like Jund are built to go long, but they don’t always have gas left over after trading a bunch of resources. If you’re empty-handed, Seasoned Pyromancer just draws you to cards. Then, if it ever dies, you can exile it from your graveyard to create a few more creatures. Luckily, Liliana of the Veil gets you down to zero cards in hand quite often.

Seasoned Pyromancer’s graveyard ability is also pretty great in an attrition battle. Discard it to Liliana of the Veil early, utilizing the activation when you have some free mana. Get it back with Kolaghan’s Command over and over. Draw a few extra lands or discard spells while your opponent is empty-handed? Turn those into something fresh!

Rummaging for Graveyard Interaction

At this point, virtually everyone who plays Modern is familiar with Cathartic Reunion. It goes well in Dredge, so why couldn’t Seasoned Pyromancer also go into Dredge? Sure, it might be a little slower than what Dredge is used to doing, but there’s definitely some value in slowing things down in order to be a little more resilient to graveyard hate.

Casting spells like Fiery Temper or Vengevine to get full value out of the discard half of Seasoned Pyromancer doesn’t take much effort, but finding the right surrounding cast is important to making this card the best it can be. It’s a bit slower than Cathartic Reunion and Faithless Looting but could potentially fit into a slower Dredge shell featuring all three. There’s a lot to like about a creature that works well in a Dredge shell that doesn’t actually care about the graveyard itself.

Blood for the Jund Gods

I’ve grown quite fond of Jund over the years. I used to hate it because it absolutely gave me headaches when I was into Splinter Twin. With cheap disruption like Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek, as well as cheap removal like Abrupt Decay, it was very hard to assemble a combo that involved a creature. Heck, it’s pretty hard to assemble any combo against Jund, which is why it has been a staple of Modern for so long.

But it’s fallen out of favor recently, and I’m hoping it comes back in a big way. Is Seasoned Pyromancer the card to do it?

It seems like we’re getting more and more reasons to cut green from the deck altogether, but I don’t know what my closing speed would look like without Tarmogoyf. It’s the tried-and-true best closer for a deck like Jund because, for the mana, there’s nothing more efficient. And when you’re stripping both players down to the bare bones as far as resources are concerned, Tarmogoyf is a great threat off the top of the deck.

One version I want to try features more two-drop creatures that aren’t necessarily vulnerable to Lightning Bolt. There’s some inherent synergy between Mishra’s Bauble and Seasoned Pyromancer, which makes me want to play Grim Flayer (and a lower curve). We’ve already eliminated all the four-drop creatures from the deck, as lowering your curve makes both Liliana of the Veil and Seasoned Pyromancer significantly better.

Aside from Seasoned Pyromancer, we also got a few new tools from War of the Spark. I’m in love with Liliana’s Triumph, even though I have yet to physically cast it. There’s a pretty high chance I end up cutting all the other two-mana removal spells and just play four copies. Either that, or I load up on Angrath’s Rampage as a way to interact with all these new planeswalkers flooding into Modern.

I think this deck will use all the pieces of Seasoned Pyromancer, discarding lands when you’re flooded all the way down to making some Elemental tokens from the graveyard. And in a deck that desperately wants to empty its hand, gaining the full extra two cards from it seems absolutely ridiculous.


As far as degenerate decks go, DredgeVine is one of the more interesting. The games are usually pretty one-sided, but that could all change with the addition of Seasoned Pyromancer. Of course, you’re probably making your deck a bit slower by adding a three-mana creature, but you’re also making it a bit more consistent.

I found that the DredgeVine deck would often get more than one or two cards stuck in your hand that you desperately needed to discard, all while a bunch of zero-mana creatures rot in your hand. But what if you slowed down just a little bit in order to get a powerful three-mana enabler, threat, and half of the necessary requirements to bring your Vengevine back from the graveyard?

Seasoned Pyromancer seems like it fits nicely into the archetype. Here’s where I want to start, but the deck will probably require a lot of work.

I never much liked Stitcher’s Supplier, so I’m happy to find a suitable replacement. While it’s a bit more expensive, Seasoned Pyromancer gives you a bit more stability. Plus, if your deck isn’t “working” properly, you can discard a few extra random creatures to apply pressure like a normal deck. Or, ideally, you can discard a few copies of Bridge from Below to really get the engine revving.

It feels like we’re trying to fit a bit too much into one shell, but that’s always how adding a new card to an existing deck will feel. In Modern, we have many cards that do similar things with slight differences in ability or mana cost. So when you get a new card as complex as Seasoned Pyromancer, it’ll be difficult to fit it into an existing shell successfully because we’ve all been trained to go lower to the ground. Being more efficient is almost always the right way to do things, but what if adding one more mana to your spell gave you four power?

Seasoned Pyromancer is a mythic rare for a reason. It’s a powerful effect with a lot to like, while also being a potential candidate for many existing archetypes.

The eternal struggle in Modern deckbuilding is efficiency versus power. For so long, efficiency has overwhelmed power because the spells are just so damn good that adding a little bit of a kick for one more mana usually isn’t worth it. But on occasion, we get something like Cathartic Reunion, and we realize that the one extra mana is an easy cost to pay for a spell so absurd in Dredge.

One thing I’ve noticed is that Dredge mulligans quite a bit, but it almost always mulligans because it doesn’t play normal Magic. Seasoned Pyromancer seems like a great enabler that also allows you to provide yourself with some defense. And, like Cathartic Reunion, it combines a discard effect with a draw effect to allow for some big Dredge turns.

So if it seems like it works well in Dredge and does the same type of thing the Dredge deck does, why wouldn’t we try it out? I’m not the biggest fan of Creeping Chill or Shriekhorn, so why don’t we try something a little different?

As I said, I’ve never been a big fan of Shriekhorn, though it seems like it’s a necessary evil. Plus, it only costs one mana. It’s possible that you should be cutting something like Creeping Chill, or potentially just using Seasoned Pyromancer as a sideboard option, but I’m thinking it’ll be significantly better than a lot of people think. Having a huge swingy third turn featuring making four power and Dredging a bunch of cards seems legit and might actually be better than Creeping Chill in the majority of matchups.

Enablers that cost three mana aren’t usually good enough for Modern because the format is so fast. However, Seasoned Pyromancer helps make up for that tempo loss at three mana by generating a bunch of bodies to buy you time. Most of the time you’re hitting the mulligan button with Dredge is because you don’t have an enabler, so adding another enabler is probably a good thing.

Mardu Pyrom8s

You’ve seen 8-Rack. You’ve seen 8-Whack. Now, for your brewing pleasure, I proudly present Mardu Pyrom8s!

While Seasoned Pyromancer fits somewhere between Young Pyromancer and Bedlam Reveler as far as functionality is concerned, it feels like it fits well into this archetype. Discarding a few random removal spells against combo or control gives you some tokens, while discarding with an empty hand allows you to draw back up to two fresh cards. In a way, you’re getting a slightly more consistent Bedlam Reveler that functions well even if your graveyard isn’t full and has no drawback against an opposing Rest in Peace or Leyline of the Void.

It does generate tokens, which makes you a bit more vulnerable to stuff like Izzet Staticaster, but you’re already on the ropes against a card like that until you kill it. The thing is, you’re generating a bunch of bodies without really investing much. Three mana and discarding a few dead or weaker cards seem like something you’d really want to do anyway. You just get a few tokens for your trouble. And as the game goes long, since you’re an attrition deck, you get another way to use your mana.

Collective Brutality is particularly good here, as it lets you discard extra creatures you don’t really need, and you get pure card advantage from both Seasoned Pyromancer and Bedlam Reveler if you cast them with no cards in your hand. Plus, it’s not really a dead card against any Modern deck, as the discard and kill effects are both useful across a wide variety of matchups.

The Best Is Yet to Come

Seasoned Pyromancer is a mythic rare for a reason. It’s a powerful effect with a lot to like, while also being a potential candidate for many existing archetypes. It’s an enabler, a threat, and something to do if you flood out later in the game. I love everything about it.

At the very least, I like that it gives decks without white mana something pretty similar to Lingering Souls. Generating a few threats in the early turns as well as having use from the graveyard isn’t something we see every day. It works with stuff like Hollow One and Vengevine, while also providing decks like Dredge with another discard outlet. It can put pressure on control decks or provide solid defense against people trying to attack you. To me, it feels a lot like it should replace a lot of the big four-drops in the Jund-style decks because it does a lot of the same stuff for one full less mana.

Modern Horizons looks like it’s shaping up to be a spectacular set that could very well end up transforming Modern into something new and beautiful. I very much like this push toward better “fair” cards, as I enjoy playing those types of games. Hopefully it ends up having something for everyone, but I’m already happy with the new toy I’ve been given.