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Ultra-Budget: Red is for Burn!!

Modern Aggro Budget Burn Casual Mono-Red Theme/Gimmick


Hello everyone! I'm back with yet another super simple entry to the Ultra-Budget family!

If you like this deck and want to check out the rest of the ever-expanding Ultra-Budget series, you can view them all in this folder here!

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This is a pretty straightforward deck, so I won't spend a lot of time describing it. It's just pure mono-red budget burn. It's fast and it's fun - mathematically capable of winning by turn 3, though 4 and 5 are far more common. It's slightly above my usual $25 Ultra-Budget threshold, coming it at $30 shipped with lands (minus the sideboard, which is super cheap also), but you can't have a good burn deck without Lightning Bolt and Rift Bolt so spending a few extra dollars on them is worth it. At the end of the day, the deck does what burn does - it uses mana efficient spells and creatures to reduce your opponent's life total to 0 as quickly as possible. It does have a little nuance to it that I'll describe below, but overall the deck is super simple to pick up and put to work (and win!) around the kitchen table. Like all the Ultra-Budget decks, don't expect to win any pro tours with it, but this one is quite a bit more competitive than some of the others while remaining just as fun!

Deck Breakdown

Playing the Deck

As mentioned before, pretty simple. Ideally you're casting at least one spell every turn, with the occasional burst of 2 or 3+ if you get some lucky draws of your 1 CMC spells. Since the basics of the deck are so straightforward (cast burn spells, throw hasted creatures at your opponent's head), I'll instead describe a couple plays you should plan to make when necessary.

  1. Skullcrack is your only way around lifegain. If you know your opponent has some, keep this spell ready to counter it. Nothing kills burn faster than lifegain. This spell also gives you the ability to play around something like a Kor Firewalker. If your opponent has a Firewalker, sideboard in Volcanic Fallout. When the walker is in play, cast this to stop damage from being prevented, then cast Volcanic Fallout to kill the Firewalker without having to target it. Granted, this means you have to have 5 mana open, which isn't always common with this deck. But, it's literally your only option against the Firewalker (aside from just trying to burn through it), otherwise you're hosed anyway, so why not try!

  2. Monastery Swiftspear + Rift Bolt is a fun combo. The Swiftspear's prowess triggers on the turn that Rift Bolt is cast, not the turn it is suspended. This means you can plan a huge Swiftspear swing by suspending at least one Rift Bolt on one turn, then casting them the next turn in addition to whatever other burn spells you have handy, potentially making the Swiftspear a really big beater. Bonus points if you manage to pop off Quest for Pure Flame that turn for double damage.

  3. Hellspark Elemental should be thought of as nothing more than a recurrable burn spell. If he's in your hand, throw him down early for a shot to the head or use him to force a block to take out a creature. He isn't the best creature in burn's library, but he does help you maintain some card advantage in a budget build by being castable twice. He is best used early in the game when your opponent's board isn't all filled up. Then you can save your burns for mid/late game.

  4. Searing Blood requires a creature target, never forget that! If your opponent is playing a deck that is light in or lacks creatures entirely, this card is a dead draw, consider sideboarding in Browbeat or Lightning Strike to keep the heat up! But if your opponent does run creatures, remember that this card doesn't need to kill the creature. It only states that when the creature dies this turn (for any reason) the player takes damage. You can use that to your advantage by triggering it with blocks or a Volcanic Fallout sweeper if the creature's toughness is higher than 2.

  5. Magma Jet has scry 2. That is all! Don't forget that! Use it to make sure you're drawing what you need to end the game quickly.

  6. Quest for Pure Flame can be popped off at any time once it has 4 counters on it, you don't have to use it immediately once it gets 4. So get this down early, fill it up, and then, when you've got spells on the stack and creatures attacking (and your opponent isn't preventing it all somehow) blow this bad boy for a potentially game-ending shot. Also worth noting, these stack. So if you somehow manage to get both down, fill them both up, and pop them both off at once, your spells will do quadruple damage. That means a 1 Lightning Bolt can potentially do 12 damage on its own!


Browbeat is here for when you know a game might run a little longer than you're comfortable with - be it control or lifegain. Swapping this in (usually for Magma Jet) gives you the chance to get some extra card advantage. If you cast it early game, your opponent will almost always choose to give you the cards instead of taking the damage. But, like any card where your opponent gets to pick the outcome, they will always pick the option least advantageous to you. However, mono-red pure burn is one of the few applications that this spell actually does well because both options are advantageous to you. 5 damage for 3 mana? Fine by you. 3 cards for 3 mana (which will likely result in more than 5 damage over the course of the game)? Yup, you'll take it!

Volcanic Fallout should be pretty obvious. This is here if your opponent is running a deck that can go wide quickly or that relies on lots of small creatures to function (looking at you, faeries!). It hurts you, but it hurts them too and can't be countered. Use it at the right time and it's a game changer.

Lightning Strike is here to replace Searing Blood in games against a creatureless deck. More efficient burn. Plain and simple!

Chandra's Phoenix is here for decks that aren't strong against creatures. This isn't the most efficient creature you can use, but if your opponent has limited answers for creatures or can't stop flying - and maybe has more answers for your spells - subbing this in can result in a lot of recurrable damage. I'll usually sub this in for the Quest.

And that's it. Everything else should be pretty self-explanatory. Use your creatures wisely. Cast on your opponent's turn if possible. Try to line up the kill as fast as possible, because burn doesn't do well in long games! And if you end up topdecking (and you will end up topdecking, that's half the fun of burn!) may lady luck smile upon you!

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Revision 2 See all

1 year ago)

+4 Incinerate main
-4 Lightning Strike main
+3 Chandra's Phoenix side
+4 Lightning Strike side