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Spoiler Spotlight – Satyr Firedancer

During spoiler season, I keep my eyes peeled for spikey tournament cards to build around. Sure, I’m known for my taste in the stranger things, for [card]Phyrexian Obliterator[/card]s and [card]Puresteel Paladin[/card]s, but that’s a side effect of evaluating cards for myself. In the end, I want to build decks that win, and that means starting with good cards. And do I ever have a sweet one today. A card of fire and brimstone, of flame and death.

Come fellow red mages! It’s time to stoke the Furnace of Wrath and summon the Lava Hounds, to unleash the fires of a thousand suns until the flesh of our enemies bubbles from the heat.

[DRAFT]Satyr Firedancer[/draft]

Wait, that’s not a sweet mythic Phoenix. Two mana for a 1/1 is not impressive, especially in a format with firebreathing Jackal Pups. It doesn’t even have haste!

My first thought wasn’t that it attacked for a measly damage, but that it turns [card]Bump in the Night[/card] into one-mana [card]Searing Blaze[/card]. If you kill a single creature off of a Firedancer trigger, you’ve already gained your investment back, and at that point the 1/1 body is a bonus. If you kill two, you’ve created virtual card advantage. In that sense, untapping with Firedancer is kind of like untapping with a planeswalker. Remember when everyone freaked out when Tibalt was printed? Well, here’s one that actually does something.

calebpheonix

Firedancer combos with [card]Searing Blaze[/card], which was already something of a 2-for-1 in dedicated burn decks. Add a Firedancer trigger onto that, and you’re dealing a whopping 9 damage across three different targets, creating a sort of [card]Searing Blaze[/card]/[card]Arc Trail[/card] hybrid.

The main concern is that, when you need Firedancer to trigger, the opponent will kill it in response. Now, instead of pointing your [card]Lightning Bolt[/card] at the creature that’s killing you, you’ve pointed it at the dome to little effect. Most of the time, you’ll be playing a deck that always wants to go to the dome anyway, making it less of a blowout. In some situations, it’ll be correct to hold Firedancer until you have the mana to immediately combo it with a burn spell, playing around sorcery speed removal like [card]Mizzium Mortars[/card] or [card]Domri Rade[/card] activations. Other times, you’ll drop it turn two, not minding if your opponent spends a turn answering your card.

To take the most advantage of his ability, you want to pair him with as many [card]Lava Spike[/card]s as possible. That includes the ones that do other things like [card]Boros Charm[/card], [card]Skullcrack[/card], and so on. The deck with the absolute highest quantity of these effects is Modern Burn. That deck isn’t particularly concerned with killing creatures, though it still runs Searing Blaze in the sideboard, and sometimes a couple in the main. In that format, Firedancer is too situational to maindeck, though I like sideboarding some number.

Firedancer is maindeckable in Standard. While Modern pushes the limits of diversity and efficiency, punishing stumbles and dead maindeck cards, Standard is a slower format with a more defined metagame. While it doesn’t have as many efficient burn spells, it does have longer to draw into them. Aside from a few durdly UW decks, creatures are omnipresent.

Rw Burn

[ccDeck]4 Temple of Silence
10 Mountain
4 Temple of Triumph
4 Sacred Foundry
4 Chandra’s Phoenix
3 Satyr Firedancer
2 Flame-Wreathed Phoenix
4 Young Pyromancer
1 Chained to the Rocks
4 Shock
4 Warleader’s Helix
4 Boros Charm
4 Skullcrack
4 Magma Jet
4 Lightning Strike[/ccDeck]

In case you’ve been ignoring Standard lately, this is not a new deck but a format regular with strong finishes on Magic Online and in real life. With the addition of Born of the Gods, I’ve added a few new tools to test out.

The first, and most volatile, is the spotlighted card in question. Satyr Firedancer isn’t going to be good in every matchup. It is, however, going to absolutely crush some people. Every burn spell in the deck becomes a better Searing Blaze. This matters most for Boros Charm and Skullcrack since they couldn’t kill creatures when they needed to.

Granted, a two-mana 1/1 isn’t idea against control. While lackluster, the card it’s replacing is [card]Chained to the Rocks[/card], which was even more useless in those matchups. At least Firedancer can turn sideways, and its potential power level is much higher even if it is less efficient.

I kept one Chained to the Rocks in the list. Not because one is the correct number, but because Firedancer doesn’t do anything special in multiples. For cards that you want every game, but not in multiples, three is a great number. If your deck needs the card to function, say [card]Survival of the Fittest[/card] or [card]Birthing Pod[/card], you run the full four and don’t worry about the redundant copies, but Firedancer isn’t one of those cards. I could be missevaluating it in one direction or the other, but this number seems right to me now.

I left out [card]Searing Blood[/card]. While it combines well with Firedrinker, we don’t want too many situational cards that don’t go to the dome. The original list only had Chained to the Rocks as potential dead cards against control, and I’d like to keep the number as close to four as possible. Still, the potential power swing is great enough to board some number.

The last change I made was to add the [card]Flame-Wreathed Phoenix[/card] as a 2-of. It doesn’t draw cards like [card]Chandra, Pyromaster[/card], or even get [card]Chandra’s Phoenix[/card] back from the ‘yard, but the potential body against creature decks makes me think it’s worth testing out. In the end, giving your opponent a choice might too large of a downside. But the spotlight isn’t on Phoenix, it’s on Firedancer. While not a chase mythic, it has the more unique effect, and I expect it’ll have more of an impact than the Flame-Wreathed.

I’ve had a lot of fun with Searing Blaze over the years, and I can’t wait to play with an entire deck of the card. Good luck burning people out!

In Purphoros we trust,

Caleb Durward

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