Pauper Mono-Red Burn

A Guide to Mono-Red Burn in Pauper

I played a little bit of Pauper last month and to the shock of absolutely no one, I found a Mono-Red deck that I liked. I think it’s currently decently positioned after the bannings of Gush, Daze and Gitaxian Probe, which made the previously dominating blue decks quite a bit weaker.

Modern Horizons introduced some new cards to the format, mainly Arcum’s Astrolabe and some variation of snow decks that have been doing very well. In my opinion, red has a good matchup against both blue and snow decks.

Your problematic matchups are mono-green, mainly because of Weather the Storm, currently one of the most annoying cards to play against. On the other hand, due to your large number of removal spells, you also make their life harder when they’re trying to play creature enhancement cards like Rancor, Elephant Guide and Savage Swipe. Thermo-Alchemist is your most important card here because they have almost no way to remove it once it hits play.

Another matchup I don’t want to see is Mono-White Heroic, mostly thanks to Lagonna-Band Trailblazer and Seeker of the Way and all kinds of protection spells, but I’m not sure how popular this deck currently is.

Mono-Red is a very aggressive deck that looks easy to play, but it requires careful sequencing and sometimes a lot of patience. You will also have a lot of tough decisions whether to use your removal on creatures or go face.

Pauper Mono-Red Burn

2 Forgotten Cave
15 Mountain (343)
4 Ghitu Lavarunner
4 Thermo-Alchemist
4 Chain Lightning
4 Lava Spike
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Needle Drop
4 Searing Blaze
4 Rift Bolt
4 Skewer the Critics
4 Fireblast
3 Curse of the Pierced Heart

Sideboard
2 Electrickery
2 Martyr of Ashes
2 Firebrand Archer
4 Keldon Marauders
3 Smash to Smithereens
2 Molten Rain

The manabase is fairly simple. Forgotten Cave can slow you down and doesn’t work well with Fireblast, but can give you an extra card in the late game when you already have a lot of lands.

Ghitu Lavarunner is your best turn 1 play that effectively acts as a better Goblin Guide most of the time. Thermo-Alchemist is a key card in a lot of matchups and can easily deal 8-10 damage per game while also getting to block some of their creatures. As far as spells go, you get to play some of the best red burn spells printed over the years: Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning and Fireblast are all excellent. Needle Drop works well with Alchemist and Firebrand Archer and allows you to cut on lands a little bit.

The last 3 cards in the deck are Curse of the Pierced Heart, which is very good against all non-aggressive decks that usually can’t remove it in game one.

Sideboard Guide

Jeskai Snow

Out

Searing BlazeSearing BlazeFireblastFireblast

In

Keldon MaraudersKeldon MaraudersKeldon MaraudersKeldon Marauders

If they have Seeker of the Way, keep Searing Blaze and take out 2 Curses instead.

They don’t have a fast clock, so deal some damage with creatures and Curse and then play patiently and save up some burn spells in hand and wait for one big turn when the right time comes to unleash it all on your opponent. The best way to do it is usually at the end of your opponent’s turn, which forces them to tap out for counters and then play the rest in your own turn when they can’t interact anymore.

If you have Curse out and your opponent taps out and has something like 7-8 life, don’t be afraid to sac your lands and Fireblast them because they don’t have an answer for Curse in game one.

After sideboard, Fireblast gets much worse against cheap counters like Hydroblast, but you can still usually find an opening to resolve it. Keldon Marauders almost acts as card advantage here because it either deals 5 damage–which is above par with the other burn spells–or draws out a removal spell while still dealing 2. It can’t be dispelled and it’s a fair trade for Hydroblast or Counterspell.

Tron

Out

FireblastFireblastCurse of the Pierced HeartSearing BlazeSearing BlazeSearing BlazeSearing Blaze

(switch one Fireblast for one Curse on the draw)

In

Molten RainMolten RainSmash to SmithereensSmash to SmithereensSmash to SmithereensFirebrand ArcherFirebrand Archer

Tron is a good matchup because they usually don’t have removal or counterspells. Your only problem is Pulse of Murasa in combination with Mnemonic Wall, but that’s usually too slow.

Molten Rain is excellent here and Smash can cut them off of green mana for life gain spells or blue for counters.

Mono-Green Stompy

On the Play

Out

Curse of the Pierced HeartCurse of the Pierced HeartCurse of the Pierced HeartGhitu LavarunnerGhitu LavarunnerGhitu LavarunnerGhitu LavarunnerLava SpikeLava SpikeLava Spike

In

ElectrickeryElectrickeryMartyr of AshesMartyr of AshesFirebrand ArcherFirebrand ArcherKeldon Marauders

On the Draw

Out

Curse of the Pierced HeartCurse of the Pierced HeartCurse of the Pierced HeartGhitu LavarunnerGhitu LavarunnerGhitu LavarunnerGhitu Lavarunner

In

ElectrickeryElectrickeryMartyr of AshesMartyr of AshesFirebrand ArcherFirebrand ArcherKeldon Marauders

This is a very tough matchup because you need to kill a lot of their creatures but also try to deal as much damage as possible to them. Play/Draw usually matters the most, but they definitely have the upper hand here.

It can be hard to choose when to play your removal spells because when they are tapped out, they can’t use cards like Vines of Vastwood, but if you tap out yourself, you are allowing them to resolve Rancor or Elephant Guide. I usually kill Vault Skirge right away, and otherwise it depends on my clock.

Affinity

Out

Curse of the Pierced HeartCurse of the Pierced HeartCurse of the Pierced HeartGhitu LavarunnerGhitu LavarunnerGhitu LavarunnerGhitu Lavarunner

In

Martyr of AshesMartyr of AshesFirebrand ArcherFirebrand ArcherSmash to SmithereensSmash to SmithereensSmash to Smithereens

This matchup is pretty even. Atog and Myr Enforcer are their best cards, while your Searing Blaze and Smash to Smithereens do most of the work for you. Firebrand Archer isn’t spectacular here, but it’s the best option we have after sideboard.

Elves

Out

Curse of the Pierced HeartCurse of the Pierced HeartCurse of the Pierced HeartGhitu LavarunnerGhitu LavarunnerGhitu LavarunnerGhitu Lavarunner

In

Martyr of AshesMartyr of AshesFirebrand ArcherFirebrand ArcherElectrickeryElectrickeryKeldon Marauders

Another very close matchup where play/draw is usually crucial. Your most important cards are Searing Blaze and Alchemist. Some of their creatures like Wellwisher, Priest of Titania and Essence Warden need to be dealt with immediately before they can untap and sometimes it even applies for Lys Alana Huntmaster and Timeberwatch Elf. You rarely use removal on the rest of their team.

Mono-White

Out

Curse of the Pierced HeartCurse of the Pierced HeartCurse of the Pierced Heart

In

Firebrand ArcherFirebrand ArcherElectrickery

 

Not a great matchup, but playable. It’s usually better to try to race Lagonna-Band Trailblazer rather than use two removal spells on it. Seeker of the Way needs to die at first sight, otherwise your chances of winning will be slim.

Izzet Skred Delver

Out

FireblastFireblastFireblastSearing Blaze

In

Keldon MaraudersKeldon MaraudersKeldon MaraudersKeldon Marauders

This matchup is good but very hard to play. In game one, their only answers to Curse are usually Counterspell and Spellstutter Sprite so try to sneak it into play when they tap out, but don’t wait too long with it so it still deals some relevant damage. On the play you definitely just slam it on turn 2 and usually just ride it to victory.

Try to not play into their Spellstutter Sprites and keep in mind that if you play a one-drop, they tap out for Spellstutter without any other Faeries in play, you still have the option to kill the Spellstutter with the counter trigger on the stack so that when it resolves they will have 0 Faeries in play and your spell won’t get countered.

Also keep in mind that they have Ninja of Deep Hours, so if you are going to kill a creature on their turn, don’t do it after they attack. In the mid to late game, I usually try to stockpile burn spells in hand to not give them the option to counter them one by one and wait for one big turn when they are unable to play everything.

Burn

Out

Lava SpikeLava SpikeLava SpikeCurse of the Pierced HeartCurse of the Pierced HeartCurse of the Pierced Heart

In

Keldon MaraudersKeldon MaraudersKeldon MaraudersKeldon MaraudersFirebrand ArcherFirebrand Archer

This matchup is about speed and early on it’s important to kill their creatures first because they will always deal more damage than the burn spells itself. Later in the game you can reevaluate depending on the situation.

Curse is too slow here because most games end by turn 4 or 5 so it either deals a maximum of 2-3 damage or it’s a horrible topdeck in the late game.

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