ONESHOT: Go Big or Go Wide

(The deck name "Oneshot" refers to the idea of killing your opponent in one shot, not that you're only going to get one shot at your "combo.")

The magical christmasland goal here is that we want to attack for at least 20 on turn two. Or as fast and as explosively as we can. If we want to go off in the first few turns, then we will most likely have to stick a creature one turn, and then untap and attack for lethal the next. If a game goes long, then you can cast a creature and attack the same turn (we run at least 4 1-mana red spells that give haste and draw a card.)

  • The Pieces
    • Creatures: (8) Kiln Fiend, Nivix Cyclops
    • Double-Strike: (8) Assault Strobe, Temur Battle Rage
    • Pump: (7) Titan's Strength, Brute Force
    • Ramp: (8) Simian Spirit Guide, Pyretic Ritual
    • Value Spells: (12) Crimson Wisps (R + draw), Manamorphose (-2+2mana + draw), Artful Dodge (U + flashback = "draw another Artful Dodge")
    • Lands: (17) Steam Vents, Spirebluff Canal, Shivan Reef, Inkmoth Nexus, fetches, basics

That totals your 60 main deck cards.

I was playtesting, mulliganed the seven card hand I saw and then got this at six: Mountain, Mountain, Simian Spirit Guide, Assault Strobe , Brute Force , Kiln Fiend.

4 commons and 2 basics!?

Do you see the line? When I looked at this hand, I stared, unsure before realizing the semi-obvious line really does work:

  • Turn 1: Exile the SSG, play and tap the land, cast Kiln Fiend.
  • Turn 2: Play the second land, tap both and cast Brute Force and Assault Strobe, then you can attack with a 10/5 double striker... on turn 2.

Attacking for 20 on turn 2 with 4 commons and 2 basics. That's when I knew I had something I liked going on here.

If it helps, you can think of the maindeck as a sort of turbofied take on the Pauper deck Izzet Blitz, with a transitional sideboard towards a slower tokens Bushwhacker deck.

How to play ONESHOT

First, you have to mulligan hands that do not have a creature: Kiln Fiend (A+) or Nivix Cyclops (B+). Earlier builds had up to 4-of Inkmoth Nexus as well, but that's down to one. The Simian Spirit Guides are mana 99.9% of the time and do not count as a "creature."

Even a hand with no lands is likely worth keeping as long as it has a creature. I'll throw some land-less 7 card hands back, but I think I've kept every 6-card land-less hand that had either Kiln Fiend or Nivix Cyclops. With SSGs and Rituals, we can catch up mana much easier but without a creature this deck does nothing. Even the cantrips require a creature target.

If it has a creature AND a land, then I think you may always keep.

Maindeck has NO protection in current build. Depending on your metagame, you may want to maindeck something like Apostle's Blessing or maybe Dispel. I've got 4 Apostle's Blessing in my sideboard, but have no interaction main.

The majority of the time you will not want to commit more than one creature to the board at a time. If you have all lands and creatures, you're most likely better off with only one Kiln Fiend on the board and a second or third in hand, than if you were to have more copies on the board. Unless you're certain they're not running removal or wrath effects, I wouldn't cast a second creature unless it's necessary to get lethal next turn.

Sideboarding depends on matchups and expectations. Kiln Fiend dies to everything, and if you're playing against Jund or Burn, I'd side them out. 4-toughness on Nivix Cyclops surviving Bolt becomes important. Often you may want to leave in the Kiln Fiends and use them as "removal lightning rods" in order to draw out the Bolts, Fatal Pushes, etc. and maybe ride a token engine (Young Pyromancer or Akroan Crusader) instead of a single Fiend-like creature.

Magical Christmasland is getting that Kiln Fiend out turn one. Your spells often draw others or make more mana, so if you get to untap with a Kiln Fiend or Nivix Cyclops and they don't have an answer, you're probably winning. Chaining 3 spells including a double-strike effect (+9/+0 to a 1-power creature with double-strike = 20 damage) is surprisingly easy. Manamorphose into a Crimson Wisps and an Assault Strobe, or maybe Pyretic Ritual into a Temur Battle Rage and a Expedite. If you have a pump effect (Titan's Strength, Brute Force) then you only need that one pump spell and a double strike spell (Assault Strobe, Temur Battle Rage) in order to get to 20. (2 spells add +3/+0 and the pump adds the other +3 to get to 10 power and double strike).

Interestingly, there are several perfectly acceptable substitutes for some of these cards.

  • Desperate Ritual and Pyretic Ritual are interchangeable, but I think we may only want 4.
  • Crimson Wisps and Expedite are also interchangable. I started with 8 but am down to just 4.
  • Artful Dodge is very similar to Slip Through Space. Both give unblockable for 1 blue mana. Slip Through Space draws you a card, Artful Dodge has flashback for 1 blue mana, or is the same as saying it "draws you another copy of Artful Dodge." The main reason Artful Dodge is significantly better is the flashback. Often times we have to keep land-light or land-less hands. Artful Dodge should always be the first thing you discard to hand size as it is very nearly always just as good in the graveyard as in your hand. Having a card that you can discard at no real loss is very useful.
  • Distortion Strike I'd rank below Artful Dodge and Slip Through Space but is almost as good.
  • Built to Smash is another +3 power red pump spell that I was running when I had 4 Inkmoth Nexus. Note that it can only target the creature when attacking, and often times we will need to use our floating red mana in the main phase, so that was a significant downside

I don't think there are any substitutes or similar options for more creatures (like Kiln Fiend and Nivix Cyclops). Boros Charm is another option that gives double-strike but I wouldn't even consider it unless you really needed more double-strike spells and were already in both red AND white.

I have found success using Vessel of Volatility as another way to ensure we have enough mana. If you're aiming to cast the creature AND attack the same turn, I recommend using the Vessel.

NOTE: The spells and sideboard are rareless, almost all commons. I currently have several not-cheap rare lands here, but you can substitute basics and not lose much. I would not run any lands that come into play tapped though. In this deck, that is too big a drawback.

Some Ways to get to 20 on Turn 2

  1. Turn One: Simian Spirit Guide(R), Land(1), Kiln Fiend
  2. Turn Two: Land or Simian Spirit Guide (1/R) + tap land from T1 (1/R) = 2 mana:
    • RR: Assault Strobe + (Titan's Strength or Brute Force) = attack for 20
    • 1R: Manamorphose into RR or UR: Assault Strobe + (any other spell) = attack for 20
    • 1R: Pyretic Ritual into RRR: (Temur Battle Rage or Assault Strobe) + (any other 1 mana red spell) = attack for 20

Additional SSGs or Rituals provide additional red mana and allow more spells. Manamorphose itself costs two and gives two, so you can chain all 4 of those as well. Each one costs two mana, and gives two mana, costs a card, and draws a card.


This part is far less defined and varies on your own meta. If I'm facing quality expected removal, I may switch gears away from going "big" and move to going "wide." In this case, that's to use Young Pyromancer and Akroan Crusader as token engines. All our spells trigger those two creatures to churn out 1/1 tokens. A playset of Goblin Bushwhacker helps push the "wide" strategy. All the while, you can leave the Kiln Fiends in, knowing those will have to be the target of their removal.

Apostle's Blessing is my best guess the default protection spell, but there may be better options. Dispel is the only counter I've tried much but there may be better options than that.

When I bring in the 12 "go wide" creatures, I will usually side out the 8 double-strike spells and sometimes the Simian Spirit Guides, sometimes Brute Force. But the spells that don't draw you cards are less valuable in the "go wide" strategy.

Suggestions on how you might want to modify this list

The current decklist as I write this is pretty streamlined to be as fast and consistent as possible, without an ounce of protection. Essentially, if we can kill on turn 2, then I don't think there's anything a deck like Tron can do. Decks like Affinity or Dredge have little if any interaction either, and again a turn 2 or 3 '26 to the face' will outrace them.

Still, there's a number of tweaks you can make to best fit your meta.

First, if you hate and fear the idea of a glass cannon losing everything to a bolt or fatal push, then this may not be the deck for you. That said, we can certainly add some protection spells in. Swan Song is a possibility, but gives them a creature, so Dispel may be better. Targeted removal is usually instant speed which Dispel counters, but board wipes and wraths are usually sorceries. Swan Song can stop those, but Dispel does nothing to them. Apostle's Blessing is my current protection spell of choice and I have 4 copies in the side. Mizzium Skin is another one-mana instant hexproof option as well.

You may prefer to aim for a slower overall deck that makes the creature, gives it haste and kills that turn. In those cases, I recommend Vessel of Volatility . I've not tried it, but Grinning Ignus may be useful too. You'll possibly also want to up the ritual count, and can play both Desperate Ritual and Pyretic Ritual to double the number of my current decklist.

If your meta has lots of blocking, then Slip Through Space should be added first, though Distortion Strike works in a pinch. Do factor in that Temur Battle Rage adds trample, which is why I only have 4 unblockable spells in my list.

For the lands, I'd say 4x Shivan Reef, 8x Mountain, 5x Island for the mid budget. And either 10 Mountains, 7 Islands if all basics. Or maybe 11 Mountains, 6 Islands. But you really do not want any lands that come into play tapped when you want to simply go off ASAP.


I built this deck in MTGO, though I am lacking some lands. My lands on MTGO are just two Steam Vents, 4 fetches, and 11 basics. I recorded a couple of solitaire games so you can see how to play and maximize the deck.



nonjon says... #1

I like the last of the description being the video so I'm adding this in the comments.

First I built the deck in MTGO and was just keeping a log of what hands I kept, and what damage they dealt. After about 14 games, I pasted in the chat log to see how I got up to 50 damage on turn 3. That's when I had the brainwave that I should just be recording the MTGO solitaire games.

So I tried to record those for the first time. I think I did 32 damage on turn 4 the first game, and 26 on turn 3 in the second before bungling up the next two. That's when I checked the video being recorded. Quickly realized my MTGO sound effects were BLARINGLY loud in the recording. And using both screens was excessive and unhelpful.

So I tried to record it with sound effects off. That one just felt weird playing and I quit in the middle of the second game.

Next I tried turning the sound effects to a "5". They'd defaulted at halfway or "50." So I first went to "0" and then just barely on at "5."

Here's the thing when I recorded for the third time? First game, I got pretty lucky and played well. But second game? Got the nuts. Guaranteed 20 damage on turn 2 in the opener and that went up to 26 on the first draw.

Thing is, when the games "end" the sound effects are still disturbingly loud. Not as bad as they were, but louder than I'd like. But I know I won't get two games that good for the video again. That's how we got video of magical christmasland. It wasn't because I went out of my way to make sure to get there.

But to give you a better representation, I'll paste the results from my first 14 MTGO solitaire games playing ONESHOT:

MTGO - Solitaire


  • (7) KEEP - Island, SSG, Pyretic, Kiln, Pyretic, Artful, Titan's

    • Turn 1 - Kiln Fiend...
    • Never found a second land by Turn 7. I'm regretting not having any Shivan Reefs in my online account.



  • (7) MULLIGAN (no creature) - Island, Mountain, SSG, Pyretic, Titan's, Brute, Artful
  • (6) KEEP - Island, Misty, Misty, SSG, SSG, Kiln Fiend
    • Turn 1 - Kiln Fiend...
    • Turn 4 - Attack for 26. (4 or 14 is all we could have attacked for on T2 and T3)


  • (7) KEEP - Mountain, Mountain, Nivix, Manamorphose, Pyretic, Brute, Artful
    • Turn 3 - Kiln Fiend (drawn Turn 2) for 22.


  • (7) KEEP - Mountain, Island, Bloodstained Mire, Kiln Fiend, Brute, Pyretic, Temur Battle Rage
    • Turn 3 - Kiln Fiend for 38.


  • (7) KEEP - Mountain, Island, Island, Kiln Fiend, Kiln Fiend, Manamorphose, Brute
    • Turn 3 - Kiln Fiend for 26.


  • (7) MULLIGAN (no creature) - Mountain, Mountain, Manamorphose, Assault Strobe, Pyretic, Artful, Artful
  • (6) MULLIGAN (no creature) - Misty, SSG, Manamorphose, Manamorphose, Crimson, Pyretic
  • (5) KEEP - Mountain, Kiln Fiend, Kiln Fiend, Titan's, Brute
    • Scry showed a SSG that I kept on top.
    • Turn 1 - Kiln Fiend.
    • Turn 2 - Attack for 7, but mainly I want Titan's Strength for the Scry. Non-land to bottom.
    • Turn 3 - Found a second mana source. Kiln Fiend for 20.


  • (7) KEEP - Mountain, Misty, Nivix, Titan's, Titan's, Pyretic, Artful
    • Turn 4 - Nivix for 44.


  • (7) MULLIGAN (bad mana) - Island, Kiln Fiend, Nivix, Assault Strobe, Crimson, Temur Battle Rage, Artful
  • (6) MULLIGAN (no creature) - Mountain, Mountain, Mountain, SSG, Artful, Crimson
  • (5) MULLIGAN (no creature) - Mountain, Crimson, Brute, Titan's, Temur Battle Rage
  • (4) KEEP - Misty, SSG, Manamorphose, Temur Battle Rage
    • no creature but this has a lot of good pieces for a 4 card hand.
    • Turn 3 we drew a Nivix, had 2 land on board and the SSG in hand so we could cast it. Manamorphose, Battle Rage in hand still, we hit Assault Strobe, Crimson Wisps, another SSG, and a third land to get to ...
    • Turn 4 - Nivix for 26.


  • (7) KEEP - Misty, Kiln Fiend, Pyretic, Pyretic, Crimson, Artful, Artful
    • Turn 3 - Kiln Fiend for 38.


  • (7) KEEP - Island, Kiln Fiend, Pyretic, Brute, Titan's, Assault Strobe, Manamorphose
    • This is a sketchy keep. Like in HAND 8 and HAND 1, except I'm going to try keeping this 7.)
    • Had to discard to hand size on Turn 2.
    • Attacked for 26 with a Kiln Fiend on Turn 4. (And it should've been 44 if I ordered my spells right.)
    • FYI: Turn 3 provided a SSG, so we cast the Kiln Fiend and crossed our fingers. Turn 4 gave us a second land and we could go off properly. I wanted to save the Manamorphose for when we were attacking and would need the fixing most. Kinda greedy, but if you need spells to get up to lethal, then you need to be greedy.
    • If I'd remembered to cast Pyretic before the Manamorphose we would have attacked for 44 instead of 26. (The Pyretic would've added itself as a spell, and one more red mana, and we had a Brute Force in hand, so we could've added 2 more spells and +3/+3 or an additional +9/+3 to our double-striking Fiend.)


  • (7) MULLIGAN (not enough spells) - Misty, Mountain, Island, Mountain, Nivix, Nivix, Crimson
  • (6) KEEP - Misty, SSG, Kiln Fiend, Brute, Pyretic, Crimson
    • Turn 1 - Kiln Fiend.
    • Turn 2 - Attacked for only 16... couldn't find a double strike spell (Pyretic into Crimson drew another Pyretic, and then just the Brute with a bunch of wasted red mana = 4 spells including Brute = mere 16/5).
    • Manamorphose off the top ensured it could attack for the last 4 on turn 3.


  • (7) KEEP - Mountain, Misty, Kiln Fiend, Nivix, Nivix, Temur Battle Rage, Artful
    • Turn 3 - Kiln Fiend for an unblockable 20.


  • (7) KEEP - Mountain, Island, SSG, Nivix, Brute, Temur Battle Rage, Artful
    • Turn 1 - Kiln Fiend (off the top).
    • Turn 2 - Kiln Fiend for an unblockable 10.
    • Turn 3 - Kiln Fiend for 20 more.


  • (7) MULLIGAN - Steam Vents, Bloodstained Mire, Mountain, Mountain, Assault Strobe, Assault Strobe, Titan's
  • (6) KEEP - Mountain, MOuntain, Bloodstained Mire, Kiln Fiend, Pyretic, Titan's
    • Turn 3 - Kiln Fiend for 50. I had to check the math via the log.
Log for this game:
8:03 AM: nonjon joined the game.
8:04 AM: nonjon mulligans to 6 cards.
8:05 AM: nonjon keeps this hand.
8:05 AM: nonjon put a card on the bottom of the library.
8:05 AM: nonjon plays Bloodstained Mire.
8:05 AM: nonjon activates an ability of Bloodstained Mire ( Search your library for a Swamp or Mountain card and put it onto the battlefield. Then shuffle yo...).
8:05 AM: Turn 2: nonjon.
8:05 AM: nonjon plays Mountain.
8:05 AM: nonjon casts Kiln Fiend.
8:05 AM: Turn 3: nonjon.
8:05 AM: nonjon plays Mountain.
8:05 AM: nonjon casts Pyretic Ritual.
8:05 AM: nonjon puts triggered ability from Kiln Fiend onto the stack (Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell, Kiln Fiend gets +3/+0 until end of turn.).
8:05 AM: nonjon casts Pyretic Ritual.
8:05 AM: nonjon puts triggered ability from Kiln Fiend onto the stack (Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell, Kiln Fiend gets +3/+0 until end of turn.).
8:06 AM: nonjon casts Manamorphose.
8:06 AM: nonjon puts triggered ability from Kiln Fiend onto the stack (Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell, Kiln Fiend gets +3/+0 until end of turn.).
8:06 AM: nonjon draws a card with Manamorphose.
8:06 AM: nonjon casts Artful Dodge targeting Kiln Fiend.
8:06 AM: nonjon puts triggered ability from Kiln Fiend onto the stack (Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell, Kiln Fiend gets +3/+0 until end of turn.).
8:06 AM: nonjon casts Temur Battle Rage targeting Kiln Fiend.
8:06 AM: nonjon puts triggered ability from Kiln Fiend onto the stack (Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell, Kiln Fiend gets +3/+0 until end of turn.).
8:06 AM: nonjon casts Titan's Strength targeting Kiln Fiend.
8:06 AM: nonjon puts triggered ability from Kiln Fiend onto the stack (Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell, Kiln Fiend gets +3/+0 until end of turn.).
8:06 AM: nonjon put a card on the bottom of the library.
8:06 AM: nonjon casts Artful Dodge from the graveyard targeting Kiln Fiend.
8:06 AM: nonjon puts triggered ability from Kiln Fiend onto the stack (Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell, Kiln Fiend gets +3/+0 until end of turn.).
8:06 AM: nonjon is being attacked by Kiln Fiend.
  • 7 spell triggers (2 Pyretic, 1 Manamorphose, 2 Artful, 1 Temur Battle Rage and 1 Titan's Strength) adds +21/+0 to our 1/2 creature = 22/2
  • and +3/+1 for the Titan's Strength =
  • = 25/3 Double Strike, Trample, Can't be blocked. That's a beautiful turn 3.

...and this is when I realized I should just record the MTGO games.

May 20, 2017 3:31 p.m.

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This deck is Modern legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 1.74
Folders I. Modern (Homebrews)
Views 423

Revision 2 (1 week ago)

-1 Brute Force main
-3 Expedite main
+4 Titan's Strength main
-1 Akroan Crusader side
+1 Apostle's Blessing side

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