Burn is back.

Madness cards, which already saw some play, have gotten a lot better with the addition of Amonkhet. A card like Drake Haven triggers off both cycling and discarding cards from your hand, as does Faith of the Devoted. Draining your opponent repeatedly is pretty powerful, and there are a few ways to make sure that this deck is able to discard a card every turn. This is where the list is right now:

The deck is clearly built around discarding cards and essentially burning the opponent out. Most of the spells deal direct damage, and if they don't they are discard outlets. The idea is for the creatures to get in some early damage, but they won't be able to close out the game themselves. Hazoret the Fervent is the exception to this, as if it comes down early it can be nearly impossible for the opponent to deal with.

The mono-black deck we faced off against in the first round was pretty aggressive, but we didn't get to see all of the cards our opponent was running. Matchups like this where the opponent has more creatures than we do means we want to be even less reliant on the creatures to deal damage to the opponent. The transformational sideboard plan of boarding in more removal clearly paid off. Key to the City is good at filtering through your deck even if you don't have creatures in play to help force through damage.

The other black deck we played against also had red, and was definitely unique. Playing lots of cycling creatures alongside Ever After and discard enablers is a sweet idea. Game one, I should have won if I had gone ahead and Lightning Axe'd the opponent's Insolent Neonate, but the other games we didn't give our opponent the time they needed to set up. This Red-Black Burn deck can come out of the gates very quickly when it needs to; even Sweltering Suns wasn't enough for the opposition.

Then comes what was clearly the worst matchup of the decks we played against. Red-White Humans has been gaining momentum, and for good reason. The creatures are very powerful for their mana cost, and Always Watching and Thalia's Lieutenant make them all that much more annoying! Since their creatures come out faster than ours we are forced to try to overload on removal and deal with them. That plan almost worked in game two, but the matchup doesn't feel good.

There are a few different directions you can take black-red decks, but I like going in the direction of more burn. Alms of the Vein is a powerful card which should be seeing more play, so be on the lookout for it to creep up. The card that has impressed me the most is Hazoret the Fervent, so I might add another copy to the main deck for my next run with the deck.

Thanks for reading,

Seth Manfield