In my own life, the context of my personal play, I have been focusing on Matt Sperling's R/W Burn deck from the Top 8 of Pro Tour Magic 2015.

I have been getting ready for this week's Star City Games Invitational and decided a few weeks ago that I was probably going to play the RW deck.


As you might know from my review of green Magic 2015 cards I don't want to play a deck that is vulnerable to Lifebane Zombie, so that pretty much cuts out two of Magic's five colors for Standard.

RW has been great for me against battlefield-oriented decks like Jund Planeswalkers, where the opponent is punished by a complicated and often slow mana base. And in a position of trading cards (e.g. point removal) for half-cards like Chandra's Phoenix. Both decks like Jund Planeswalkers and Monoblack Devotion and its variants play Thoughtseize (which is widely considered one of the best cards in Standard). Many of the cards RW Burn plays are just a little damage to the face for a little mana; while Thoughtseize can sometimes be disruptive to our strategy, it will often feel helpful, not harmful.

The cards in RW Devotion are pretty much always live. While Burn seems to some mages like a simplistic strategy, it can actually be a wonderful barometer of ability, transforming limited packets of damage and limited total resources into non-interactive victories in the face of seemingly more powerful cards like Sphinx's Revelation; Lifebane Zombie; or Jace, Architect of Thought.

I've been playing Matt's same seventy-five for the most part, though that has brought on some interesting questions. One of them is that Matt ended up losing to UW Control in the Top 8 (though he beat Ivan Floch 2-1 in the Swiss)... And UW Control won the Pro Tour! Think that might cause a ripple in ye olde metagame?

The other thing that might be of concern is that success breeds imitators (you know, like me in this situation)!

What about other Red Decks?

It's probably important, if you are going to play RW Burn that you can play yourself out of a situation like this one:

In this game we are on the draw.

Both we and the opponent have shipped to six cards; in games where both players mulligan once, expectation tends to shift to shift to the player on the draw rather than the one on the play; this is probably more the case than usual given that it looks like we are playing a mirror.

The opponent opened on Sacred Foundry and moved into Mutavault.

We have a Mountain and just drew a Temple of Triumph.

So this is our hand:
Battlefield Forge
Temple of Triumph
Lightning Strike
Young Pyromancer
Warleader's Helix

He has five cards in hand and is all untapped.

Neither of us has a single card in the graveyard.

What's the play main phase? What land, and what other play(s) if any?

As with most Make the Play Monday scenarios, you can go a couple of different ways here. But only one of them gives us our best likelihood of winning.

Which do you think that is?

Share your answers in the comments below!

As with every Make the Play Monday, we will spend the week sifting through the answers, and post a follow-up article on Friday.

Both I and an as-yet-unrevealed Celebrity Guest will share our answers on Friday, and one reader who agreed with my answer -- and one who agreed with the Celebrity Guest's -- will each receive $25 gift certificates!

What are you waiting for? Comments below!

If the promise of prizes isn't enough, remember this: Magic is ultimately a series of decisions strung one after the other. Success at tournament Magic, consequently, can be achieved by making better and better choices when posed with one or more of these decisions. We all want to get better, right?