Burn is one of the hardest decks to interact with. It presents a fast and consistent clock that doesn’t care about blockers, removal spells, or Fog effects. Luckily for Pauper players who want to play Burn, most of the best Burn spells are common and legal.
The biggest loss to the Burn deck from the Modern and Legacy variants is in its creatures. Monastery Swiftspear and Goblin Guide are part of the nut draws as consistent damage sources that can deal more than any burn spell. The fact that they’re 1-drops with haste means that they usually get in a hit before an opponent would even have the opportunity to interact. Eidolon of the Great Revel is one of the best cards in these decks as a permanent source of repeatable damage that gets them even when they have a removal spell, and Grim Lavamancer can control the board or burn an opponent out. You lose all of that.
In their place, you have Firebrand Archer and Thermo-Alchemist. Both of these are cheap enough to be relevant and also make each of your future burn spells better. Archer can continually attack for 2 unopposed, and the Alchemist acts as 1 unblockable damage every turn if they don’t immediately remove it. With 32 spells in the deck that trigger Firebrand Archer, you have a nice way to generate some repeatable damage.
Rift Bolt is almost always going to be suspended and cashed in for 3 damage at just 1 mana. Lava Spike means that you’re playing a true Burn deck—you’re still trading 3 damage for 1 mana, but only going upstairs.
Searing Blaze is unbelievably powerful in matchups where the opponent is playing creatures. Luckily, this happens to be many decks in the format. Burn decks run into trouble when they fall behind and have to use burn spells to kill the opposing creatures. When that starts happening, it can become really hard to get enough burn to kill the opponent. Searing Blaze bridges that gap by killing a creature and still dealing 3 to the opponent.
Needle Drop is not the most powerful card, but it goes well with your Archers and Alchemists. Getting to deal 1 damage, draw a card, and get these triggers all of a sudden becomes really powerful.
Curse of the Pierced Heart is effectively a 1-power unblockable creature that can’t be hit by traditional removal. Not the most powerful, but consistent damage is consistent damage.
Your big gun is Fireblast. Fireblast is one of the main differences between a Modern and Legacy burn deck as a spell that’s free to cast and deals 4 damage—it’s well above the curve. It does force you to have lots of Mountains in your deck, but you’re playing a Mono-Red Burn deck, so that isn’t a big ask. Sacrificing two Mountains is part of the cost, so try not to walk this into a counter.
This Pauper Burn deck is crazy fast and consistent while attacking from an angle most decks aren’t. As players pack more removal for Tireless Tribes and Delvers, the Burn deck has a chance to run the tables.