GP Lillie 1st Place by Etienne Busson 10/28/2018Magic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
Creatures4 Fanatical Firebrand4 Ghitu Lavarunner4 Runaway Steam-Kin4 Viashino Pyromancer4 Goblin Chainwhirler2 Rekindling PhoenixSpells4 Shock4 Lightning Strike4 Wizard's LightningEnchantments4 Experimental FrenzyLands22 MountainSideboard2 Banefire3 Lava Coil4 Treasure Map3 Fiery Cannonade3 Fight with Fire
The haste combined with the ping often means that a turn one Fanatical Firebrand can easily get in for 3 or more damage. Early game the ping is useful for getting rid of key x/1 creatures such as Llanowar Elves, Viashino Pyromancer, Merfolk Branchwalker, and Healer's Hawk. Later on in the game the ping serves as a supplement to other removal, or as reach. It's great to see this off of Experimental Frenzy later in the game as well because of its combination of cheapness and versatility.
The 1/2 body allows Ghitu Lavarunner to freely attack through other early game 1/1's. It provides wizard synergy which turns our Wizard's Lightning into Lightning Bolt, and once there are 2 spells in the graveyard this turns into an improved Goblin Guide. Later in the game the ability to play a 2/2 haste creature for one mana off of Experimental Frenzy is very useful in closing out the game.
Immensely powerful creature that demands an immediate answer. Given that we are mono-red every spell we cast will buff this guy. The simple evaluation here is that this quickly becomes a 2 mana 4/4, but there is much more going on than that. You can bait bad blocks by holding onto instants until and then pumping him last minute. You can also set up good blocks through the same methodology. The mana ability is also highly useful because it allows your deck to function smoothly even on land-light draws, it allows you to quickly play out your hand in preparation for Frenzy, and once the Frenzy is on the table, this enables you to play potentially huge amounts of cards off the top of your deck with ease. When using the mana ability to cast other spells, consider attacking with the 4/4 beforehand and using the ability to continue casting in main phase 2.
The 2/1 body is not the best but simply having the 2 damage burn stapled to a body is enough to justify his inclusion. Provides wizard synergy for Wizard's Lightning. Later in the game this serves as reach and to widen the board to help push lethal through blockers.
The 1 damage aoe can be absolutely devastating against the creatures your opponent will have played in the early turns of the game, and also serves as a great way to supplement other removal later on when you have mana to support it. The 3/3 body combined with First Strike allows this to plow through many creatures your opponent will be playing, and also enables some combat tricks in which, if the opponent makes what appears to be a favorable block (with a 6/6, for example) but you then burn their creature before the damage step, the First Strike will be able to kill it before it is able to damage you and you will come out of the exchange ahead.
While once a situational pick, Rekindling Phoenix has begun to settle itself in as a 2-of in most current lists. It offers a difficult-to-remove 4 damage in the air which can not only put pressure on the opponent but can also, in many cases, clog up the board with its ability to make favorable trades to buy you time to drop a Frenzy.
Very effective removal against key early game creatures such as the x/1's mentioned on the listing for Fanatical Firebrand, as well as key x/2's. Later in the game this serves as a cheap and easy 2 damage to the face.
3 damage is very useful for both removal and pushing damage. When to use these as removal and when to use them for damage is a complicated decision and will be a large part of the difficulty of playing a deck of this sort, but some rules of thumb are 1) remove a creature if you will do more damage in the long run by killing it than by bolting face 2) if a creature is must-kill, like Wildgrowth Walker, then you must kill it and 3) if your opponent is outracing you, then you are forced to remove their creatures to avoid dying
The best card in the deck. The basic idea is to use the first 3 or so turns of the game to empty your hand out and then play this and generate insurmountable advantage. Excepting games where your opponent cannot stabilize and you are able to go under them, you will spend most of your games pushing as much early damage as you can with your creatures, and then trying to keep the board under control to stall until you can land this, and then use the extreme advantage to push for lethal. Don't fall into the trap of completely emptying your hand before playing this card; it is a low tempo play and you may not have opportunities to drop it once your opponent starts getting their lategame threats on the board, and the earlier you play it the more advantage you stand to get. Not to mention, you can always kill it should the need arise to play from your hand in an emergency or for lethal.
On paper this card is great. 4 damage to the face or draw 3, and you can do it again? It is undeniably powerful, but the reasons it is not played as commonly in current builds are twofold. Firstly, there is a bit of a nonbo between this and Frenzy: an opponent who is aware can freely choose the draw 3 mode since you cannot cast these cards from your hand. It is true that you are able to ditch the Frenzy to use them but this brings us to the second point: getting full value out of this card costs a lot of mana. At the end of the day, you are going to be paying 6 mana and 2 cards for 8 damage most of the time, or in the case of Frenzy, 3 mana for Risk Factor plus 4 mana to ditch Frenzy plus whatever the mana costs for the actual cards you drew are. These reasons combined with the fact that you cannot control the board with the card are major reasons why it is not a staple card at this time.
This card represents a large threat which, if able to attack even just once uncontested, can snowball the game out of control super fast. The trick here is that it can be difficult to stick a turn 3 or later 2/2 onto the board, and it is not the greatest flip to get off of Frenzy, which are major reasons why this is not a staple card at this time.
A way to convert your excess mana into damage that gets better as the game goes on. Very useful against durdly control decks because they can give you lots of time to make land drops and at a certain point there's nothing they can do to avoid getting blasted in the dome.
Useful against go-wide strategies like Tokens and White/Boros Weenie to blow out their board, and the instant speed is icing on the cake. Don't forget that Firebrand is a pirate, and is unaffected by the wipe.
5 is an important number because it kills the angels, namely a certain Lyra Gameoverbringer. The secondary function is very expensive but worth mentioning because if you have that kind of mana it's more than likely going to spell victory for you.
Very useful in almost every matchup. 2 mana for 4 damage to a creature is good value and kills most things we care about killing. The exile is relevant because it prevents Golgari from recurring Wildgrowth Walker and prevents opposing Phoenixes from rezzing. Most post-board games we prioritize away from the go-under aggressive plan in favor of the control the board and stall until Frenzy plan, and this card is so efficient and useful it is just perfect for such a strategy.
This card has great synergy with Frenzy because it allows us to find Frenzy and/or the lands needed to cast it, and then it allows us to filter the cards on top of our deck in order to remove dead cards [ie Mountains] that would stop our Frenzy turns short. Outside of that it gives us extra mana for use in a pinch as well as card draw when digging for an answer that you need immediately. All in all a great card that fits right in to our usual grindier post-board plan.
Overview Their topend is stronger than ours, with Carnage Tyrant being a card we cannot typically deal with and loads of removal and recursion making a grind game difficult. They have answers to everything our deck can do, with lifegain to combat aggression, exiles for our Phoenix, enchantment destruction for Frenzy, and inevitability. Our goal is to start very aggressive, push as much early damage as we can, land Frenzy or Phoenix, and hope that they cannot deal with it in time.
Key Interactions Wildgrowth Walker: This card is remove on sight. We cannot afford to let this proc even a single time, and it is much better to eat a 2-for-1 to kill it than to let it live, get huge and difficult to remove, and gain unholy amounts of life.
Carnage Tyrant: Our goal is to have pushed enough damage so that by the time this drops it is already too late for our opponent, because otherwise this is a card we cannot reasonably deal with and will only allow us 2-3 more turns to find lethal.
Vivien Reid, Assassin's Trophy, Vraska, Relic Seeker: These are all outs to Experimental Frenzy. We are dependent on Frenzy to gather enough resources to win many games, but luckily these are low tempo plays for our opponent. If we have enough damage represented on board, our opponent will be forced to choose between removing our Frenzy or controlling the board. That all being said it is not very worthwhile to play around these, as our best chance of winning is to slam the Frenzy ASAP and hope for the best.
Vraska's Contempt: This is their out to Phoenix. Ideally we can mount enough pressure that they are forced to use it on another creature instead just to survive. One line worth mentioning is that we can bolt our own Phoenix in response. This is still a 1-for-1, and we also only lose out on 1 damage (considering the 2 lifegain we deny). In other words, we trade 1 damage for the ability to keep our Phoenix.
One additional interaction of note is that we can hold back Firebrands to kill the exploring merfolk in response to their trigger. I do not recommend this at the expense of damage if we are ahead, but if the opponent is at advantage it can be useful to control the board and stall until Frenzy/Phoenix
Sideboard We have two goals to accomplish with our sideboarding: we need to be able to remove Walkers immediately and grind until Frenzy. With all of the removal, burn, and filtering we are siding in, we become much more capable of grinding against Golgari, and thus we are happy playing the one-for-one game until Frenzy allows us to pull ahead, at the expense of some of our early aggressive creatures. As for cuts, Lavarunner and Viashino cannot contest their board and are blocked favorably by almost everything they play, so we are removing all 8. We are also removing the 4 copies of Wizard's Lightning because with no Wizards, it becomes a subpar 3 mana bolt.
-4 Ghitu Lavarunner
-4 Viashino Pyromancer
-4 Wizard's Lightning
+4 Treasure Map
+3 Fight with Fire
+3 Lava Coil
Overview They can quickly play out their hand, which means that if we don't interact they can overwhelm us very quickly. Fortunately, our deck is stuffed with removal that is so effective at taking their threats off the table that they will have difficulty mounting any sort of pressure unless we stumble. Chainwhirler is a constant threat against their early game swarm, and they do not have the ability to play into the mid-late game like we do with Frenzy. Our basic strategy is to keep their board clean until we turn the corner with either a large board or Frenzy.
Key Interactions Conclave Tribunal: This is their only removal option, and their out to Frenzy. In a vacuum it is a low tempo play which doesn't do much to take the advantage away from us, but they are able to have huge swing turns where they swarm the board and then remove a key permanent on our side, so that is something to be aware of.
Venerated Loxodon: This is one of the ways they can punish us for failing to keep their board under control and run away with the game, by building a large board and then buffing everything with Loxodon before we've had the opportunity to Chainwhirler everything away.
Sideboard Our goal with sideboarding is to push the grindy nature of matchup to the extreme. We bring in our sweepers and additional removal to keep their important creatures off the table, and the maps further enable us to grind them out.
-4 Ghitu Lavarunner
-4 Viashino Pyromancer
-4 Wizard's Lightning
+4 Treasure Map
+3 Fiery Cannonade
+3 Fight with Fire
+2 Lava Coil
Quote from cfusionpm »Quote from Ym1r »I also hoped for a different winner, but that doesn't make the GP a bad tournament.
Didn't say it was a bad tournament. I implied that two linear decks smashing into each other, one playing cards you cant interact with, and the other sitting behind a Bridge, is less than a thrilling conclusion to the day. The topdecked Seal of Primordium for the win is not skill, it's the very definition of variance: draw the right card and win, don't draw the right card and lose.
I'm sure the rest of the tournament was fine; I was unable to see most of it other than the last round and Top 8. I also just personally hate Ben Seck as a commentator. He's terrible on Magic TV and he was terrible from what I saw yesterday.
Quote from Ym1r »I also hoped for a different winner, but that doesn't make the GP a bad tournament.
Quote from KTROJAN »You realize that the point is the only reason for the blue cards is to get to/protect the black ones. This doesn't mean blue is strong it means black is strong and people will use whatever gets them to the strong cards.
Quote from cfusionpm »So sure, I guess diversity and health now is just barely reaching what it was when Twin was still in the format. It only took a year and a half, multiple extraneous bannings, and there's still no competitively viable control or reactive tempo decks playable. But I guess Modern is doing great because there's so many ways you can kill your opponents quickly and through high variance.
no one actually knows how these cards will perform in modern so no one has a valid opinion regarding which one is more or less safe than another
the semblance of "blue reactive decks" being competitive is basically gone.