Mono Red Burn Spells: An Overview of Commons
For those that I've had the pleasure to share games with, they could all probably agree that I've never been a technical player. I don't like long turns, and I don't need to pretend that I'm MacGyver to jimmy rig an absurd win. I like savage fights. I like big creatures, and bare knuckle combat. I love red.
A few weeks ago, Derek talked a lot about the philosophy behind a burn strategy, and what kinds of spells should be considered. I wanted to take some time here and extend on his words, and lay out physical examples of what we have at our disposal for the 99.
Now, standard EDH hasn't always had the best red support, but PDH is a different story. Smaller creatures, more tokens, more sensitivity to juicy burn spells. In the right circumstance, some of these can even work as a board wipe. This article will go over the best burn spells to consider when building your most vicious red decks. I'm going to break this down by CMC, to get an idea of what power to expect from a burn at that cost. Let's get started!
We've got some real bare-knuckle beauties here. First, our classic zingers, weapons like Blazing Salvo, Lightning Bolt (I love Lightning Bolt so much), and Flame Slash. I am particularly fond of the first mentioned. In the right situation, you can receive a lot of utility from Mugging.
I'm not an expert in the realm of discussing the meta of any format, but in this case, I'll have to take a leap out of my comfort zone. Electrickery and Blazing Volley may not appear as much from first glance, but have a lot to say about how the game is played. I have talked before about the power of getting the board full with tokens, and the power of such a strategy. However, here is a case where these two spells act as a board wipe. Do not forget about these two.
It didn't take long for players to see the power of Lightning Bolt, and the danger of its low CMC. Although most burn spells of that power have only been repeated as a 2-drop, at least you can expect choice. You can either burn a creature, or a player. Choice is a nice thing.
An exception to what I just said, Harvest Pyre, is still worth discussing, despite lack of choice for a target. Time and time again, many of us overlook sources for utility, and miss out on extra chances to optimize our game play. The graveyard is indeed an extra source of power. Don't overlook it.
As you can see, as the CMC of burn spells goes up, we don't necessarily see an increase in utility. These exist more so for redundancy. However, redundancy isn't always a bad thing, especially with a piece such as Desert Sandstorm. Arc Lightning is also nice, with its option to spread damage among several targets.
Large and X Drops
It's important for us to not forget, this is Commander. We can afford the big stuff. All those toys from limited that couldn't find a home elsewhere have a place here. Use them. Depending on the opponent's strategy, a card such as Chandra's Fury could actually do an incredible amount of damage to their board state, especially in the case of it being at Instant speed.
These may be the most important cards I have to talk about in this article. Here is a place to do some vicious damage. With the combined utility of choosing the level of damage (and in some cases, the number of targets to spread), and the option of aiming directly at a player, these weapons will be a fantastic resource to have at your side. This is the format for such weapons.
I love burning stuff. Simple as that. It's fun, so I hope this will help narrow your search in finding the best burn spells for you too. Have fun burning stuff.