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Think about what happens when you play a Five-Alarm Fire
over a Chandra's Phoenix
or a Boros Reckoner
. If you are already ahead on board, Five-Alarm Fire
helps you get even more ahead by creating eventual pressure. Chandra's Phoenix
and Boros Reckoner
provide a very useful function, which is the ability to block creatures when the necessity calls for it. This allows the aforementioned creatures to impact the game simply by existing on the battlefield, requiring no additional commitment of resources or actions. Resources and their efficient use are fundamental to the game of Magic.
is an inefficient resource. It will require a minimum of 2 turns (and usually 3) to be usable, creates a self-inflicted loss of tempo and board presence, and encourages further overextending of your resources (creatures in hand). Also, you will usually only be able to use it once in a single game because of the linear strategy it fits in. Compare this to another spell that does nearly the same amount of damage in its one-time use, Boros Charm
. Charm deals one less damage for one less mana (already efficient as all hell), but also does the exact OPPOSITE of Five-Alarm Fire
by actually protecting the overextending of your resources instead of exposing them.
The card that pairs best with Five-Alarm Fire
(and from the same set, no less; having these two cards in limited was an auto-win) is Assemble the Legion
to guarantee a steady stream of creatures to deal damage without committing too many resources. Assemble already wins the game on its own though, so Five-Alarm Fire
again is rendered useless.
tl;dr Five-Alarm Fire is a win-more card when winning and a do-nothing card when losing. Don't use it except in a budget EDH deck.
Here is a GR devotion deck that just made an excellent finish in the most recent Grand Prix.
As far as the best splash color for White devotion, R gives you access to Boros Charm
and Aurelia's Fury
while B gives you access to Blood Baron of Vizkopa
, Sin Collector
, and Doom Blade
or Orzhov Charm
. The black splash is the only version that has put up a solid result in a major tournament.
Red has an iconic tribe of flyers in dragons. Black has many flying vampires and specters, even dating back to Alpha's Sengir Vampire
. Green has the rare flyers like Hornet Queen
. It's very much a non-green ability. Just because there is a concentration disparity does not preclude the colors of red and black from that category.
Using your own example, black would, by your own metric, be the only color for tutoring. There is an extreme concentration of black tutors, while white, green, and blue have a non-insignificant but still drastically lower number of cards in that category.
I learned the game using the Duels of the Planeswalkers game, available on your gaming console or PC. It's a very newbie-friendly interface that allows you to gain an encompassing understanding of the rules and interactions in the game. I wouldn't be nearly the player I am today without that software.
After that, I just built decks relentlessly. Throw everything at the wall and something will stick, then work on that idea until it's fully refined. Deckbuilding is one of the most fundamental skills in Magic, and one that will help you in all aspects of the game, so I would focus on it primarily once you find other players to play with at a local store. Share your ideas and be open to people with greater knowledge than yourself.