I'm not gonna bury the lede – this is, without a doubt, one of the top three craziest decks I've ever played in Modern. I don't even know where it falls on that list, but it has to be up there.
I mean, just look at this.
That's 156 damage. In a mono-red deck. On turn three.
I don't blame you for not knowing what you're looking at. Is it a Storm deck? Is it a token deck? Is it a combo deck or an aggro deck? I don't know. Frankly, I don't care. It's just fun.
In a nutshell, here's the plan:
- Make a bunch of tokens
- Use Infernal Plunge and Battle Hymn to make a lot of mana
- Either cast Burn at the Stake to kill your opponent, or cast Haze of Rage enough to swarm them with tokens.
To accomplish those three steps, the deck has a lot of moving pieces. Obviously we have token makers in Dragon Fodder and Hordeling Outburst, while Faithless Looting helps us to sculpt our hand. Street Wraith and Manamorphose are essentially "free" cards in your deck that also work with Young Pyromancer, the lynchpin of the deck.
That covers the tokens, but what about the mana? Well, Battle Hymn is the most busted ritual left in Modern, and in this deck it's the best ritual in the world. I'm not exaggerating when I say the deck routinely has access to hundreds of mana on turn four – or even turn three on a great draw – and once you start "storming off," you're not going to run out of mana. Infernal Plunge and Simian Spirit Guide help jumpstart you, and Battle Hymn will give you enough mana to cast Faithless Lootings or Reforge the Soul to refill your hand. That means more access to rituals and card draw, all the while making tokens with Young Pyromancer. Eventually you find a win condition – which are varied to account for different avenues your opponents might take against you – and seal the deal. Burn at the Stake is the most straightforward but can't beat Leyline of Sanctity (but it can beat Ensnaring Bridge). Goblin Bushwhacker turns all of your fresh tokens into attackers and swarms for the win, while Haze of Rage can be cast and bought back so many times that even a single unblocked attacker will end the game.
Past in Flames is in here, but it's not necessary the way it is in a traditional Storm deck. It certainly makes things easier, but the fundamental pieces of the deck – rituals, card draw and win conditions – don't need the graveyard. That means opponents who die to Past in Flames in game one often overvalue graveyard hate in the sideboarded games, and sometimes you just kill them because they kept a slow hand that had Rest in Peace. And heck, sometimes you just make six tokens and cast Burn at the Stake for 18 after they've shocked themselves once.
But I've saved my favorite win condition for last: attacking with tokens. People who load up on Negates and Rest in Peace often can't beat the most obvious win condition of all – creating a handful of tokens and turning them sideways repeatedly.
Now, I'm not going to lie about the power level of the deck – it's a brilliantly fun FNM deck, but it probably isn't winning FNM, much less a larger tournament. But I promise if you play this you'll be having the most fun in the room.
Thanks for reading,