Standard Boros Burn Deck Guide: Incinerate Your Opponents

Hello everyone! Today I’m covering a deck that at first I was unsure was any good (as you can tell from the video title): Boros Burn. Since AFR’s release, there’s been a card that’s stood out to me as an interesting build around, but I was unsure how to approach it. What card is that you may be wondering?

I don’t blame you if you have to read that one, it took me awhile to notice it existed too. What Rem functionally does is act as a Skyknight Legionnaire that also buffs all your Burn spells by one point of damage. Not earth shattering, but definitely rather strong. However, it didn’t seem expressly powerful enough to warrant a whole deck to be built around it, so I didn’t really attempt to do so; that is until it top 8d the Hooglandia Open anyway.

Boros Burn by Brandon Whitley
by Paul
Standard
Burn
best of 3
8 mythic
31 rare
15 uncommon
6 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (12)
4
Play with Fire
$1.16
4
Sacred Fire
$1.00
Sorceries (9)
4
Roil Eruption
$1.00
3
Magic Missile
$0.75
Enchantments (4)
Lands (20)
8
Mountain
$2.00
2
Plains
$0.50
4
Sundown Pass
$33.96
60 Cards
$211.78
15 Cards
$31.19

Brandon’s build was extremely interesting as it was really trying to stay true to an eternal Burn deck than anything I’ve seen in quite awhile. Few low to the ground threats, lots of Burn spells, card draw, and lands. It was simple, but it played its part well. Furthermore, Red and White give you pretty reasonable board options which was also an attractive feature of the deck. I tried the deck out and it definitely showed some promise, I decided to forage back onto Mythic ladder as you can watch above. After those matches, I changed the list again and played it again. With a few more adjustments, here’s where I landed.

boros aggro
47.4% global win rate
0.94% metagame share
Powered by
best against
vs sultai midrange
83.3% win rate
6 tracked matches
vs dimir control
72.7% win rate
11 tracked matches
vs jund midrange
63.6% win rate
11 tracked matches
worst against
vs izzet turns
28.9% win rate
38 tracked matches
vs izzet dragons ️
28.9% win rate
38 tracked matches
vs selesnya ramp
14.3% win rate
7 tracked matches
Boros Burn v2
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Burn
best of 3
4 mythic
33 rare
17 uncommon
6 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (1)
Instants (12)
4
Play with Fire
$1.16
4
Sacred Fire
$1.00
Sorceries (7)
4
Roil Eruption
$1.00
1
Magic Missile
$0.25
Enchantments (4)
Lands (22)
8
Mountain
$2.00
2
Plains
$0.50
4
Sundown Pass
$33.96
60 Cards
$179.3
15 Cards
$26.47

The base is still in tact, just needed to change some numbers around. To start us off in the list, I wish we could play more high impact one drops, but Falkenrath Pit Fighter will have to suffice for now. 2 power for 1 mana is pretty reasonably and it will generally guarantee a few hits before being stonewalled. Next we have our split 2/5 drop with Bloodthirsty Adversary. I decided to shave a copy from the main as I generally wanted to draw it later in the game rather than play with a 2/2 haste, but it’s still been reasonable on both ends, but never amazing. I could see shaving more, but 3 has seemed like the right number. Next is the card the probably surprised me the most, Flame Channeler. I added it to the deck after cutting Cemetery Gatekeeper as admittedly I really dislike the card, and I know Channeler is supposed to be at it’s best in a deck like this, I just didn’t anticipate how good it would be. It was functionally always a 3/3 as we have so much Burn, and drawing cards off the top of the library for one mana post Burn spell is exactly what we’d want out of a 2 drop. Finally, we have Rem Karolus who of course is our functional build around and buffs our Burn spells.

For Burn, we have plenty of options. Spikefield Hazard is a ping or doubles as a land, Play with Fire is strictly better Shock, Sacred Fire is Walmart Lightning Helix, Roil Eruption is our bread and butter Burn that’s been performing much better than anticipated, and Magic Missile is a nice hedge against small creatures while still able to go face. That was a quick run down, but they’re Burn spells, you know what they are used for.

Finally we have the card advantage pieces. Chandra, Dressed to Kill is just a 1 of, but between adding mana, pinging the opponent, or drawing cards, she more than pulls her weight in the shell. Admittedly I’ve been trying just 1 copy as that’s the amount I happened to have, however I can’t see putting anymore in the main deck, but maybe we’d want more in the sideboard. I haven’t felt a strong need to include more, but if you want to it seems reasonable. Next we have a 2 of Reckless Impulse which is our newest Light Up the Stage analog. It is definitely not as strong as LUTS was, but it really isn’t that far off either. I can expect that more decks may pick up on this card as well since it can be a Divination more often than not. Finally, we have the main draw engine of the deck with Showdown of the Skalds. Considering we’re packed to the brim with cheap spells, it’s very easy to use all 4 cards and to get a bunch of counters off of this making this the linchpin of the deck. This deck could definitely survive without Rem Karolus, but I don’t think it would without Showdown.

The sideboard is relatively the same, but it’s mostly a split between anti aggro and anti control cards. Elite Spellbinder always performs well in all my White decks, so having that as an option against slower decks seemed great, hence the full 4 copies. I also upped the numbers on Valorous Stance and Burning Hands to really help shore up my creature matchups so I can turn into a weird Control deck in those scenarios.

All in all, as I said in the video, this deck is definitely not a Tier 1 option, but it’s pretty solid and a nice change of pace from the normal aggro/Izzet paradigm.


NOTABLE EXCLUSIONS/POTENTIAL INCLUSIONS

Magmatic Channeler Art by Bryan Sola
Magmatic Channeler Art by Bryan Sola

Clever Lumimancer

If our Burn spells were cheaper I could see trying to go for a Blitz strategy, but I thikn this is a little too fragile to try it out (plus it would be tough on the mana.)

Fateful Absence

This is quite versatile, but having a versatile answer isn’t something the deck really needed with Valorous Stance now available.

Brutal Cathar

I like Brutal Cathar, but to pay 3 mana for a removal spell that can be killed didn’t make much sense to me in a deck that can just play removal.

Abrade

A fine answer if Artifacts are ruining your day, but beyond Esika's Chariot I really haven’t seen any.

Cemetery Gatekeeper

As I said previously, I just really don’t like this card. It can be good against decks where they have a lot of the same card type, but I feel like it’s really only good when you’re head and pretty bad against decks with varying card types.

Magmatic Channeler

Channeler is a great card, but I think you need a super high density of spells to make this good and we don’t quite clear that bar.

Thermo-Alchemist

If Fading Hope wasn’t so popular, this would likely be a great inclusion and it probably still is, but I think the other options are just a bit more threatening.

Voltaic Visionary

This would be a super interesting option in a slower meta, but I think the aggro decks are a bit too fast and the slower decks are a bit too interactive to have this be a great option.

Igneous Inspiration

I was torn on whether or not I wanted to play this card, and ultimately I decided not to as I didn’t want to give up the sideboard slots. If this is more your speed, I think it’s a very reasonable option.


MATCHUPS AND SIDEBOARDING

Sacred [card name=
Sacred Fire Art by Svetlin Velinov

MONOWHITE AGGRO

INOUT
+1 Radiant Scrollwielder-1 Chandra, Dressed to Kill
+4 Burning Hands-4 Falkenrath Pit Fighter

The plan here is very simple, play as the psuedo control deck. Since we have some means of card advantage, you can just pick apart their threats and then slowly grind them out of the game. Prioritize playing defensively as you will generally win the long game given enough time. If you see an excess of Adeline, Resplendent Cathar, you can board in some Valorous Stance as well over some of the Burning Hands.

MONOGREEN AGGRO/GRUUL AGGRO

INOUT
+1 Radiant Scrollwielder-1 Chandra, Dressed to Kill
+3 Valorous Stance-4 Falkenrath Pit Fighter
+4 Burning Hands-2 Sacred Fire
-1 Magic Missile

You’re going to play this out like you do Monowhite, but this is tougher as their creatures can accrue more value like Old-Growth Troll and Esika's Chariot. With that, you don’t want to play completely defensively as they can outgrind you with enough time, so I’d recommend trying to get in chip damage whenever possible while also keeping their board very clear.

IZZET TURNS/CONTROL/DRAGONS

INOUT
+4 Elite Spellbinder-4 Play with Fire
+3 Reidane, God of the Worthy-4 Sacred Fire
+2 Valorous Stance-1 Magic Missile

Despite the decks being relatively different, we generally want the same board strategy. The Burn is less effective against them as they can easily kill you from nowhere with a low life total, so focusing on permanents and finishing them off with Burn is going to be a much better strategy. Try to mulligan to a good curve and don’t keep spell heavy hands as you won’t be able to kill them fast enough when you do.


TIPS AND TRICKS

Roil Eruption Art by Campbell White
  • Don’t forget about Falkenrath Pit Fighter‘s activated ability! You only need to make the opponent lose life so throwing a Burn spell at them and then sacrificing it for cards is a strong play you’ll want to make more often than you may think.
  • Prioritize flipping Flame Channeler very highly as stocking up on flame counters is going to help you grind out opponent’s in the mid to late game.
  • You should be burning opponents with Play with Fire more often than not as the Scry can really help smooth out your draws. Don’t prioritize doing that over killing a good creature, but don’t save it for the “perfect” moment either.
  • It’s niche, but if you cast Magic Missile with Rem Karolus, Stalwart Slayer out and choose different targets, you can get more damage out that way. So if you chose 3 different targets, they would each be dealt 2.
  • Generally with Showdown of the Skalds you try to play it turn 5 to get a land off of it, but I’ve found playing it on turn 4 (if the coast is clear) is generally just better as this deck doesn’t need that much mana to operate.
  • Always think about controlling the board when playing this deck. Standard Burn spells are never going to race a half decent threat so you’re going to be throwing your Burn at creatures more often than not, don’t get too cute by trying to go for a several turn sequence of throwing it to face unless you think that’s your only route to victory.

Thank you for reading!

DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on Twitch and Discord.

2 Responses

  1. Laurainthesky says:

    Love this!!! I’ve been brewing multiple burn decks. What do you think about kessig flamebreather? Or adding manaform hellkite? The most fun I had was adding blue for Lier with manaform. Probably a little janky. Radiant scroll wielder is so much fun as well. Now that I am diamond 4, I can exit the play queue and test everything ranked. I completely agree about the cemetery gatekeeper. That guy is suicide if you are behind. Seems a bit like roiling vortex which exited the deck for similar reasons.