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Fires of Invention Art by Stanton Feng

Explorer Izzet Golos Fires Deck Guide: Mono Red Control

Want to play something completely different while still racking up wins? Find out how Skura has been killing it with this weird Izzet Control deck and why it's well positioned right now!

If you like red decks, but want to get a bit more controlling, this is going to be a treat. This is an interactive deck at heart which goes over the top of all the classic midrange decks. It also utilises Yorion, Sky Nomad as a companion for additional value. The companion mechanic itself works great with the namesake Fires of Invention as you cast spells for free so you’ve got plenty of leftover mana to take it to hand.

Izzet Golos Fires
by Skura
Buy on TCGplayer $622.63
Explorer
best of 3
7 mythic
49 rare
7 uncommon
17 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Companion
Planeswalkers (5)
Creatures (8)
Instants (9)
4
Abrade
$1.00
Sorceries (12)
3
Farewell
$35.97
Enchantments (16)
4
Omen of the Sea
$1.00
3
Shark Typhoon
$38.97
1
The Kami War
$1.99
80 Cards
$528.18
Sideboard
1
Redcap Melee
$0.25
1
Negate
$0.25
4
Aether Gust
$3.16
3
Fry
$0.87
4
Mystical Dispute
$13.96
15 Cards
$21.73

Deck Tech

I do this type of division often and I will do the same here. Let’s divide the deck into interaction and threats.

Interaction

There is plenty of removal in this shell. To start off, Abrade deals 3 damage and has some other utility in destroying random artifacts, including artifact creatures. It will be our main way to get rid of two and three drops. Dealing three damage specifically and not two is relevant against creatures like Graveyard Trespasser and Bonecrusher Giant.

Speaking of, Bonecrusher Giant‘s spell half Stomp is our another piece of instant speed removal. It curves out nicely with Giant as you can cast turn two Stomp into turn three Giant from Adventure.

On top of that, the shell plays seven copies of main deck mass removal. Anger of the Gods is heavily underplayed in my opinion. As I’ve already mentioned, dealing 3 damage specifically is very strong. In addition, it’ll often be ahead of schedule compared to turn four when most mass removal spells are played. The exile clause is also not irrelevant, exiling instead of destroying cards like Stitchers' Supplier or Greasefang so they can’t later return it.

Farewell can’t seemingly be cast with this mana base, but this is where the namesake Fires of Invention comes in. You will easily be able to cast it once Fires is on the battlefield. Farewell is a huge reset button that will make the opponent have to play from scratch.

There are also other pieces of interaction baked into other cards like Spikefield Hazard or Shatterskull Smashing and they assume a more dual role. All in all, the deck is packed with interaction pieces.

Threats

Our main planeswalker of choice is Chandra, Torch of Defiance. She’s the Swiss knife of threats. Her first +1 provides us with card advantage so with her on the battlefield we’re highly likely not to run out of gas. She’s also ticking up to the ultimate while generating the advantage. The other +1 gives us a mana boost. This will often mean playing her on turn four, making two mana and immediately playing an interaction piece. Should you miss a land drop, she can also help you ramp you into 5- and 6-drops. The -3 is a powerful removal spell and dealing 4 is not irrelevant – especially against GW Angels. The ultimate, as most are, is game-winning. Frequently, three-ish spells should do the job.

In addition to Chandra there is also Golos, Tireless Pilgrim which is both a powerful payoff and enabler. It tutors out a land on the battlefield which in most cases will be either The World Tree to make all our lands into rainbow lands, Field of Ruin for utility, or Den of the Bugbear as a threat. Once that happens, you’ll have any mana available with Tree or Cascading Cataracts. Golos itself has an activated ability that wins games. While it’s possible that you unhappily hit three lands, the consolation prize is that you won’t be drawing them. Unchecked, it will make you keep casting spells every turn. Bear in mind though that Fires of Invention restrictions still apply.

Shark Typhoon is a special kind of threat as it works favourably with Fires. You can cast your limited two spells a turn for 0 mana, but you will all be untapped. It directly translates into you being able to put as much mana as you have into making a Shark token, essentially doing a third thing despite Fires. This deck also hardcasts it well as you will immediately be able to follow it up with something else.

There are also some other threats. Chandra, Awakened Inferno is a one-card win against control decks and acts as another sweeper if need be. Fable of the Mirror-Breaker makes a Shaman but also Reflection of Kiki-Jiki. Last, the one-of The Kami War that’s both interaction and a threat on the back-side.

Other Tools

This deck, despite being non-green, is fully able to play Fires of Invention as soon as turn three. You can target your own land with Cleansing Wildfire which allows you to tutor up a basic and draw a card. Normally, that wouldn’t be ramp but if you target Cascading Cataracts which are indestructible, you’ll keep your land and get a basic. Such a sequence is especially good as, in addition to the land, you’re up a card as well. In special scenarios, you can use it as removal for opposing lands.

Omen of the Sea is very much castable as we play plenty blue lands. It’s a piece of card selection so we can find what we need, be it removal, threats, or Fires. As it stays on the battlefield, it can be flickered with Yorion, Sky Nomad at later stages of the game. If you don’t have time to play Yorion or maybe you’ve already played it, you can cash Omen of the Sea in for a Scry 2. All in all, the whole card provides you with a Preordain and then Scry 2 later. Very strong effect for this shell.

Matchups and Sideboard Guide

Golos, Tireless Golem Art by Joseph Meehan
Golos, Tireless Golem Art by Joseph Meehan

Rakdos Midrange

INOUT
+1 Redcap Melee-2 Anger of the Gods
+4 Aether Gust-3 Cleansing Wildfire

We will always win the long game here. However, in order to ensure that I do not trim top end. Aether Gust tags their Chandra, Torch of Defiance, early threats, and most importantly, Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger. Game one most of their removal is heavily blanked and discard only theoretically pokes holes in our plan. Most of our top decks are going to be very powerful. I trim on the mass removal but keep some copies still. I don’t cut any of early removal as we do not want to get run over by their aggro plan, especially on the play.

Azorius Control

INOUT
+1 Negate-4 Anger of the Gods
+4 Mystical Dispute-3 Farewell
+3 Fry-1 Abrade

We cut as many removal spells as possible, but still have a healthy portion of it in Stomp, Abrade, and Fry as not to get caught off guard by an aggressive The Wandering Emperor. Quad Dispute is essential to stop their countermagic and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. Forcing through Fires might not be the best idea sometimes as at that point we would have cast 2 spells, hence unable to play any more. Usually, just slamming stuff might get the job done.

Surprise end step Shark can also cause trouble for the opponent. Eventually we’re trying to draw Chandra, Awakened Inferno. However, if they immediately get rid of it, one emblem won’t get the job done as they have incidental life gain in Absorb and The Wandering Emperor.

Mono Red Aggro

INOUT
+1 Redcap Melee-1 The Kami War
+4 Aether Gust-1 Chandra, Awakened Inferno
-3 Farewell

We want to play as controlling as possible. Catching them with an early Anger of the Gods will be lights out. However, we do not have any lifegain so they could prolong the game in such a way that eventually we get burnt out. That’s why at some point we need to turn the corner and close.

If you see a lot of burn decks, you can consider adding Radiant Fountain to your deck to be able to tutor it out with Golos, Tireless Pilgrim. I cut Farewell as it’s way too slow. It’s much better against slower decks against which we need a reset button.

Greasefang

INOUT
+3 Fry-4 Bonecrusher Giant
+1 Lantern of the Lost

The first tip immediately is to be careful with casting Fires of Invention as it does not allow you to hold up instant speed interaction. Abrade is key here as it can both get rid of Greasefang and Parhelion II post-Crew. Farewell might come in handy if you can contain the early onslaught and exile their graveyard. Sometimes you’ll be able to survive one Parhelion II attack by chumping a bit with Shark tokens. Post-board Fry is another way to get rid of Greasefang instant speed. If you don’t get cheesed out early, you should be okay. Don’t keep super clunky hands that fold to turn three combo.

Mono Blue Spirits

INOUT
+3 Fry-4 Fable of the Mirror-Breaker
+4 Mystical Dispute-3 Chandra, Torch of Defiance

I cut seven expensive spells to help play around cheap permission. I side in a ton of interaction on top of the interaction already in the deck. Our priority number 1 is killing everything on sight. Early Anger of the Gods is very good, but an experienced opponent won’t overextend and will probably always have mana up. You might have to kill the creatures one by one and tread carefully.

Tips and Tricks

bonecrusher-giant-art
Bonecrusher Giant Art by Victor Adame Minguez
  • If your Stomp fizzles, your Bonecrusher Giant will go to the graveyard and not on an Adventure.
  • Pay attention to the modes you choose with Farewell, e.g. choosing artifact will get rid of Golos, Tireless Pilgrim and enchantments will get rid of Fires of Invention.
  • In a dire situation, if you want to go as deep as possible, you can play Omen of the Sea, hold priority, and respond to the trigger by sacrificing it and Scry 2. This way you can go as far as five cards deep.
  • When Fires of Invention is in play, you won’t be able to cast countermagic on your opponent’s turn. However, you can still cast counters on your own turn.
  • You can blink Fires of Invention with Yorion, Sky Nomad which exiles it until the end of turn. It means that you can exile Fires, cast more spells circumventing the restriction and later they come back.
  • With Fires of Invention on the battlefield you cast spells for free so take advantage of your leftover mana on non-spells such as activated abilities e.g. Omen of the Sea or Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, or Den of the Bugbear.
  • With Fires of Invention, ramping with Chandra, Torch of Defiance won’t do anything. What it does is provide mana for activated abilities.
  • Multiple Fires of Invention don’t allow you to play 4 spells a turn.
  • If you played a spell and then Fires, you won’t be able to play more spells as two total have been cast.
  • As the deck is built, there are no God cards to tutor out with The World Tree.

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Skura
Skura

Also known as Skura or IslandsInFront on Twitter and YouTube, Filip started his career upon the release of Gatecrash and has been passing the turn in all formats ever since. He coaches and creates written and video content, mainly centered around the control archetype. He is passionate about Magic game theory and countering spells. Outside of Magic, he is a fan of snooker/pool, chess and Project Management.

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