pie chart

Mono-Red Burn Primer (Budget/Non-Budget)

Modern Budget Burn Competitive Mono-Red Primer Red Deck Wins





Hello! This is my list for competitive mono-red burn in Modern, the mainboard and sideboard listed for the deck are non-budget and are intended to get the most power mono-red is capable of. The maybe-board section contains cards you can use for budget or play style alternatives as well as alternate sideboard cards to suite your meta/play style. This primer is cut into sections and every card has a breakdown talking about it somewhere on the primer. The deck is very straight forward for the most part as you just point damage spells at your opponent and kill creatures if you really need to. The deck is mostly instant speed so you can play during your opponents turn and always hold the threat of Skullcrack to make sure your opponent doesn't gain life on you. You usually want to look for an opening hand with 2 land and a decent mix of 1 and 2 cost spells, you'll want to get your creatures down and attacking early to maximize the damage they deal and after that cast burn spells at your opponent to finish them off saving Shard Volley for the absolute finisher. Now lets take a look at the cards in the deck.


- Mountain is such a good card it comes in untapped and makes red mana which is perfect for our deck!

- Bloodstained Mire + Wooded Foothills are very important for our deck even though we're mono-red and the reason for that is because we can fill our graveyard for Grim Lavamancer and so we can use Searing Blaze during our opponents turn with it's landfall trigger.

-Harsh Mentor Is a card I have 2 of in the sideboard and 2 in the main but ill just talk about it here, depending on your meta-game or play style you might want to play with some numbers.

-Goblin Guide is the best aggressive 1 drop ever printed and is perfect for our deck. The "drawback" isn't really relevant as our opponent won't be benefiting too much from any extra lands they get and when they reveal a non-land card we get information about what cards they have. Budget options can be found in the budget section below.

-Monastery Swiftspear is the 2nd best aggressive 1 drop ever printed and is perfect for our deck. The prowess basically makes all of our burn spells deal 1 additional damage which can add up very quickly. Also worth noting is that artifacts such as Tormod's Crypt trigger prowess and suspending Rift Bolt doesn't trigger it but actually casting Rift Bolt from suspension does.

-Vexing Devil is a very controversial card because some people believe that it is very bad to give your opponent options. In my opinion this card is fantastic because both of the choices are very good for you either your opponent takes 4 for 1 mana or you get a 4/3 for 1 mana, what insane value! Obviously the downside is that after your opponent gives you a 4/3 it gets killed by Lightning Bolt before you get to use it. In defense of this card 1 mana for 4 damage is great and 1 mana to make your opponent spend some mana and a removal spell isn't horrible either also as uncommon as it may be this card is fantastic against Living End decks.

-Grim Lavamancer isn't the most aggressive creature but it makes great use of our graveyard, grants us long term damage per turn and can kill annoying creatures our opponents play.

-Eidolon of the Great Revel has an amazing ability that causes our opponents to take 2 damage almost anytime they cast a spell and even though this also damages us our opponent will probably kill it for us (taking 2 in the process) and even if they don't we'll kill them faster.

-Lightning Bolt is a card that deals 3 damage for 1 mana and is the best red card ever printed. Put 4 in your deck always.

- Lava Spike is Lightning Bolt at sorcery speed that can only target players. It's 1 mana for 3 damage so we play it anyway and sometimes not being able to hit creatures is better such as against Spellskite.

- Rift Bolt is Lightning Bolt but a turn late. This card can hit creatures or players which is nice and the suspend isn't too horrible of a drawback you'll want to use this first as to minimize the slowness of the spell and don't forget that this card can be cast immediately for 3 mana which matters sometimes!

-Skullcrack is a very good card for our deck as it deals damage and prevents lifegain which is like dealing extra damage in a weird way. This card is instant speed so always be sure to hold 2 mana to cast this in response to your opponent's life gain or just hold mana to bluff this card. In addition this card only hits players meaning it gets around Spellskite.

- Searing Blaze is such a strong card because it allows you to kill your opponent's annoying creature as well as deal 3 to them. It's also an instant meaning our fetch lands allow us to do this on our opponents turn. In less creature based metas this card isn't as good but I've had a lot of success with playing 4 in all of my burn decks.

- Magma Jet is a personal favorite of mine and I like to run a couple to round out the deck because I think the scry 2 is worth it. 2 mana for 2 damage isn't very good but in addition to the card filtering you get from the scry I think it's worth considering as the deck can be very reliant on variance and using the scry to avoid unwanted land in the late game and get a burn spell instead is almost like dealing extra damage.


-Harsh Mentor was discussed in the main board section since it's in both.

-Blood Moon is a power house card in modern causing immense disruption and in some cases can lock some decks out of the game entirely; its great against Tron, Infect, Suicide Zoo, Eldrazi, Valakut decks and honestly any deck with too many non-basics.

-Leyline of Punishment is our catch all answer to lifegain alongside Skullcrack you should bring this in pretty much anytime you expect your opponent to be bringing in a decent amount of lifegain or if they're playing soul-sisters (Muahahahaha). Also worth noting is that cards like Kor Firewalker that have protection from red can be dealt damage by red sources with this on the field as the protection effect can't prevent the damage. The creature still can't be targeted but if they block with Kor Firewalker or a card like Anger of the Gods gets cast their creature will be dealt damage as normal.

- Smash to Smithereens is great against artifact based strategies such as lantern control or affinity but can also be good to counter opposing sideboard tech such as Spellskite or artifact based lifegain such as Dragon's Claw.

-Sudden Shock is absolutely hilarious against infect and can be good in other scenarios such as against counter spells or perhaps a Kiln Fiend.

-Tormod's Crypt is my personal favorite graveyard hate card as it costs 0 mana and allows us to continue our game plan without using any mana yet can cause huge disruption for our opponent, although this card is only a 1 shot effect and doesn't permanently deal with out opponent's yard it can usually slow them down enough for us to burn them out before they can recover other options for graveyard hate will be discussed in the maybeboard section.

-Dragon's Claw can be great to help our match up versus other burn and aggro decks but due to the fact that we're mono red our land base deals very little damage to us compared to Naya burn so this is just in case.

Other Sideboard Options:

- Flames of the Blood Hand can be a good card to hate on lifegain also and if you don't like using Leyline of Punishment I suggest using this in combonation with Skullcrack as your anti lifegain package. At 3 mana this card does enter the realm of almost being too costly but it definitely gives you good value at 3 mana since it does 4 damage and prevents lifegain for the turn.

-Anger of the Gods is a very risky card in my opinion as it kills our own creatures but can be devastating and unexpected by our opponents so they may be more likely to go all in against us expecting no anger since we have our own creatures. In any case its 3 mana which is also steep but can be great against dredge and other creature based decks.

-Ratchet Bomb is basically the only answer our deck can hope to have against Leyline of Sanctity or any other troublesome enchantments. We'll talk about beating Leyline of Sanctity more later but this is one of our only ways to actually remove that card from play. In addition to that it also devastates merfolk when on 2 counters!

-Searing Blood is very similar to Searing Blaze and if you find yourself wanting for more than the 4 in the mainboard you can add some of these to your sideboard or even swap out Searing Blaze for Searing Blood if you find this card more fitting for you.

-Ravenous Trap is very similar to Tormod's Crypt as it 1 shot exiles your opponent's graveyard for 0 mana but this card comes with the catch of only being usable when they fill their graveyard where as Tormod's Crypt can be used whenever. The reason this card has the potential to be better is because it takes your opponent off guard where as your opponent will be very aware of Tormod's Crypt and play around it or force you to use it with artifact destruction or in the worse case Krosan Grip your Tormod's Crypt .

-Relic of Progenitus is another option for graveyard hate but is a bit more mana expensive than Tormod's Crypt in exchange for a card and some added utility. This card can be better in the long run as the tap ability can keep your opponent's graveyard clear in the early game sometimes then 1 shot their graveyard later and draw a card. Just like with Tormod's Crypt this card needs to be on the field to work so your opponent can play around it or force your hand with artifact hate, it also requires you to hold up mana to threaten your opponent's graveyard which is why I think it's worse than our other options.

-Grafdigger's Cage is the most permanent answer we have to graveyard based strategies as well as hating on Collected Company and Chord of Calling. With all that upside at the small cost of 1 mana you may be wondering why I even bother with the other graveyard hate options and that's a good question. The reason I am personally not a fan of this card is because Dredge can still fill its graveyard and dump every Prized Amalgam and Bloodghast into play when it finally removes this card from play and because i'm a Living End player and this card does nothing against that deck because their creatures enter from exile and they can still fill their graveyard.

-Shard Volley is just like Lightning Bolt except we have to sacrifice a land. This card is arguably the worst lightning bolt copy but it's still 3 damage for 1 mana and the drawback doesn't matter when you use it to kill your opponent right?

Budget Options:

Magic can be a very expensive game and for that reason I would like to discuss budget options for the cards in this deck that cost more than 5$ a card except for Grim Lavamancer because I could find several for less than 5$ on tcgplayer.com even though the market price was more.

- Bloodstained Mire + Wooded Foothills are very good and important for the deck for the reasons I mentioned in the mainboard section of the primer but are probably the least important expensive cards and can be replaced with basic Mountains. If you do so you may want to consider swapping out Searing Blaze for Searing Blood so you can continue to use it at instant speed.

-Goblin Guide is easier to buy after modern masters but can be replaced by Spark Elemental which is not nearly as good but still leaves you with a competitive deck.

-Eidolon of the Great Revel is a very strong card and isn't horribly expensive but if you can't get a hold of them Hellspark Elemental or Keldon Marauders are both good creatures at 2 mana you can run instead. Personally I like Keldon Marauders just a bit more but you can run whichever you prefer or both!

-Vexing Devil is sweet in my opinion but if for whatever reason you don't want to run it I suggest adding any combination or number of the following 4 cards: Shard Volley, Magma Jet , Hellspark Elemental or Keldon Marauders

-Harsh Mentor can be replaced with the same cards as vexing devil in whichever way you see fit.

-Blood Moon is an amazing card and one of the only reasons to play mono-red over the multi-color burn decks but if you're unable to buy this insanely costly card Molten Rain is a very solid option to replace it or you can just run your choice of any other sideboard hate you feel the need for.

Leyline of Sanctity:

Alright so I've dedicated an entire section of this deck's primer to 1 card that isn't even in our deck so whats the deal? Well... this card hoses our deck pretty bad an we have no good answer to it at all but, we can beat it. As mentioned earlier Ratchet Bomb can remove this card and allow us to dump all the burn spell's we've been holding but that isn't a very great plan because it's slow and requires little disruption from our opponent. So whats the secret to beating this card? Creature based damage! That's right, our best chance against this card is to have a more creature based deck which means you may want to consider not running Shard Volley or other spells that you may find weak so you can add more creatures to your deck or you can even include additional creatures in your sideboard to go on a beat-down plan against this card or against decks that have a hard time beating creatures. Also worth mentioning is that Eidolon of the Great Revel and Searing Blood can damage your opponent through this card and you can even cast burn spells on yourself to trigger prowess on Monastery Swiftspear. In conclusion I find it better to just play a deck that's stronger against everything else and kinda hope this card doesn't show its face or maybe get a creature heavy hand out of luck in games 2 and 3 but you can try to pack your deck with some answers to better your chances if you feel the need.


I think that looking at mono-red burn as more than a starting deck that you upgrade to Naya-burn is very important because Blood Moon and a near painless mana base arguably make this deck better than Naya-burn especially in an aggro heavy meta. Obviously the downfall of this deck is it's weakness to Leyline of Sanctity but that card is rather uncommon and as mentioned in the section all about that card we can beat it! I think the deck is very competitive and fantastic for beginners, but don't be fooled the deck still requires a lot of skill to be played perfectly and offers a lot of complex situations for you to solve as sequencing and a good understanding of the game are very important. The decklist I have listed here is simply the example list I put together based on my experiance with the deck and I encourage you to read about the alternative options and make your own decklist that suites your playstyle and your meta. In any case thank you very much for reading my primer and feel free to post any questions or suggestions in the comments below.


Updates Add


Compare to inventory
Date added 1 year
Last updated 7 months
Exclude colors WUBG

This deck is Modern legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 1.57
Folders Denny's brews, Saved cool decks, Modern, Burn, Prowess is a Thing Now, opponents, Beautiful Decks O.O, Decks, Modern, Burn, See all 17
Ignored suggestions
Shared with