How to Beat a Mono Red Burn Deck
Are you feeling a little “burned” out with playing those pesky red decks? If you are like many Magic players, dying before you even get the chance to cast your own big spells is an infuriating experience. However, after you read this, you will know what it takes to make it past the first few turns of the game and leave your opponent empty handed.
Play a faster deck
One of the reasons that many players choose burn is the very quick pace that burn plays at. In many formats, such as Legacy and Modern, burn can win by turn four, with help from fetchlands, shocklands, and the occasional thoughtseize. In Modern, finding a consistently faster deck is not an easy task, and Infect or Affinity might be your best bet. However, in formats where there is a larger card pool, such as Legacy or even just casual games, there are many options to play a deck that “goes off” faster. Reanimator is one of my personal favorite examples, as playing a turn one or two Iona, Shield of Emeria and naming red will make it so your opponents can’t cast any of their spells. There are many other decks that can win or essentially win by turn 2 or 3, so a search for “turn x win” on a website like tappedout.net will bring up many creative ideas.
Play red-hate spells
The first option to play spells that make burn worse would be to play something with many lifegain spells like Soul Sisters, where each turn is spent gaining life back. However, if you don’t want to play a new deck then there are options for cards to add to a sideboard or your deck if you already know you will be playing against burn. White is by far the best color to beat red burn, with cards such as Leyline of Sanctity and Timely Reinforcements being the most common in both Modern and Legacy and both are viable no matter what format you are playing. Of course the best card to beat burn is Kor Firewalker as it can block each creature they play, makes each spell 1 damage worse, and best of all, is extremely difficult to kill using red spells. If you don’t run white, there are options for each other color as well. Black might have the worst options, and the best options are running cards that can kill multiple creatures (think Drown in Sorrow) and creature with lifelink, which black has plenty of options to choose from depending on your strategy. Blue has any counterspell like Dispel that efficiently prevent damage, although 1 for 1 trades are not always enough to beat burn. The best cards in green are going to be Feed the Clan, or the much older Marshaling the Troops which can for 2 mana reverse the effects of 2 or 3 or even 4 burn spells. Finally, Dragon’s Claw can provide the few extra turns you need to recover, and can be run in any deck.
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em
The last option is of course to play a red burn deck as well, because no matter what you are playing, mirror matchups are always an interesting thing to play. However, no matter how new or old you are to magic there is always some feeling of defeat playing what everyone else is playing just because it works. If you do decide to take this route, just a quick google search for “mtg burn” will bring up a near infinite number of decks, strategy, and gameplay.
I hope you found some help reading this, and the next time you play a burn player you can catch them “red” handed.
By Gage Dewsbury