These days everyone is casting Arclight Phoenix is Modern. Izzet Phoenix, Mono-Red Combo Phoenix, Hollow Phoenix, Grixis Phoenix… the list goes on. They say if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, and I've certainly lost most of my games to Phoenix decks in Modern.

But I had to make sure we had a different spin on the deck, and this is it. This deck also satisfies my desire to play with Light Up the Stage, and it didn't disappoint. Is it Burn? Is it Phoenix Combo? Is it Izzet?

It's a lot of fun.

Let's get this out of the way up front – Arclight Phoenix is not at its best in this deck compared to the blue-red builds. But it's still a powerful piece that leads to some broken starts. In a makes-sense-only-in-Magic turn of events, Gut Shot might be the next most powerful card here. Yes, a worse Shock is the card you often find yourself needing on turn two or three.

All of which is a testament to how explosive this deck can be. Faithless Looting is the biggest enablers of course, but in late-game situations Bedlam Reveler can help as well. Of course, this deck makes full use of the hidden mode of Arclight Phoenix – casting it for four mana and turning it sideways. It may not seem like much compared to how the card is typically used, but as the top-end of what is essentially a Prowess Burn deck, it's a perfect finisher.

And, of course, some games you do degenerate things and put multiple Birds into play on turn two alongside a huge Monastery Swiftspear.

In retrospect, it doesn't seem like a huge jump to decide that one-mana spells are what you want with Phoenix, and Lightning Bolts turn out to be pretty good one-mana spells. Add in a full complement of burn spells and you have a really quirky but powerful mono-red deck that plays out in almost a combo way, which is quite different than the typical Burn deck and something I enjoyed a lot.

I'm not sure which version of Phoenix will end up on top in Modern, but ultimately I suspect it will involve Thing in the Ice. But that deck is actually slowing down as the format adapts to it, and this build can get under the radar and under the defenses of opposing decks with its blistering starts. It's one of the best ways to play Arclight Phoenix in Modern, and I enjoyed my trip to the dark side.

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler