Building_on_a_Budget

Burning Vengeance

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The letter H!ello and welcome to Flashback Week! Today, I'm going to show you my latest Burning Vengeance deck.

Last week, a lot of readers were upset about the difficulty of acquiring some of the cards in my Modern Heartless Summoning deck. This week, I'm going to make sure the deck I write about is especially easy to acquire.

Standard has changed into an extremely aggressive format. Decks like Illusions and Tempered Steel seem to be the industry standard these days. Slower, more powerful strategies like Wolf Run variants are falling out of favor because of their questionable matchups against decks like Illusions.

Aggressive decks might seem like the best choice in Standard. This brings us to the next question: What deck beats the aggressive decks in Standard?

Burning Vengeance | Art by Raymond Swanland

Burning Vengeance is about as good as it gets against aggressive decks. The deck has the ability to play board-sweeping effects alongside tons of spot removal while playing the most effective card-advantage engines in the format (except for Primeval Titan and Garruk, Primal Hunter).


Burning Vengeance does a lot here. It becomes very hard to lose to aggressive creature strategies when you untap with a Burning Vengeance on the battlefield. The ability to kill creatures and draw cards on a whim will make your Illusions opponents have little to no chance.

Mana Leak has become the industry-standard counterspell. We definitely want four Mana Leaks in our list. Mana Leak helps us beat the decks that want to go bigger. The deck has enough cheap card draw and spot removal to minimize the potential tempo loss associated with leaving mana for countermagic open instead of casting a sorcery.


Geistflame is awesome these days. It's going to be a two-for-one more often than not against the most aggressive decks in the format. If you play a Burning Vengeance before flashing it back then it could be worth a full three cards. Violent Ultimatum, anyone?


Dissipate is another excellent counterspell for the format. It's important that we're able to go up to ten counterspells after sideboarding against Primeval Titan decks.


Chandra's Phoenix gives the deck a whole new angle of attacking. The Phoenix makes it difficult for opposing players to put pressure on you with Geist of Saint Traft and Delver of Secrets, but it also functions as an excellent win condition here. The synergy of having Chandra's Phoenix and Desperate Ravings in the same deck is also quite nice.


Chandra, the Firebrand is all kinds of awesome. I like having one copy of her because the singleton increases the value of our Phoenixes by so much. Chandra, the Firebrand is a mythic rare, though, and I understand that it might be difficult to acquire for some. I'd replace her with a copy of Devil's Play if you're unable to find a copy of the Magic 2012 mythic rare.


Desperate Ravings is proving itself to be one of the strongest cards in Innistrad and is a pure upgrade from Think Twice for decks that can cast it. The power of Desperate Ravings increases significantly when you consider the amount of flashback present in the deck. Again, Desperate Ravings not only works well with you flashback spells, but it makes your Phoenixes better than they already are. I like to hold my Desperate Ravings a bit against non-aggro decks, whereascards like Slagstorm, Rolling Temblor, and Geistflame are all suspect against the slower decks of the format. If you wait until you have a few of these cards in hand, you can turn Desperate Ravings into a card with Fact or Fiction levels of card quality and advantage.


Think Twice might not be as good as Desperate Ravings, but it's still pretty awesome. Think Twice and Desperate Ravings help this deck play draw-go successfully, even against the most dedicated control opponents.


Slagstorm is the best board sweeper available to us. Unfortunately, it's pretty difficult to cast if we're not playing rare lands. As a result, I've chosen to play one Slagstorm and two Rolling Temblor to give us a greater chance of being able to wipe the board on the third turn. If you're able to get your hands on a playset of Sulfur Falls then I would replace the one-of Rolling Temblor with a third copy of Slagstorm.


The sideboard helps the deck compete with some of the slower decks of the format. Flashfreeze is a necessary piece of any blue sideboard in today's metagame. Post-sideboard we go up to eleven counterspells against Primeval Titan decks.

Phantasmal Image is difficult to acquire. Unfortunately, it's necessary as long as Thrun, the Last Troll is legal in Standard. The Burning Vengeance deck has no way to beat a Thrun besides Phantasmal Image.


Shrine of Burning Rage makes the Solar Flare and Blue-Black Control matchups A LOT better. In fact, a turn-two Shrine is just about good game against Blue-Black. The Burning Vengeance deck has enough countermagic, card draw, and burn to end the game with a Shrine before the blue-black deck can get its footing.


Ancient Grudge is necessary against red decks and their Shrines, but it also shines against Tempered Steel.


I also included a singleton of Rolling Temblor in the board to side in against Illusions and Humans.


Once we put it all together the deck looks like this:

Blue-Red Burning Vengeance
Standard


I played a few matches with the deck that I'd like to share with you.


I lost the roll and kept Mountain, Island, Island, Geistflame, Chandra's Phoenix, Desperate Ravings, and Rolling Temblor. My opponent played an Island and cast Phantasmal Bear. I drew Burning Vengeance, played my Mountain, Geistflamed the Phantasmal Bear, and passed the turn. My opponent cast a Ponder, played a Seachrome Coast, and cast another Phantasmal Bear. I drew a Mana Leak, played an Island, and passed the turn. My opponent attacked me for 2, played a Moorland Haunt, and cast Geist of Saint Traft before passing the turn. I drew a Mountain, played it, cast Rolling Temblor to wipe the board, and passed the turn. My opponent cast a Snapcaster Mage, targeted Ponder, cast Ponder again, and passed the turn.

I drew Think Twice, cast Burning Vengeance, and passed the turn. My opponent cast a Gitaxian Probe and saw my hand, then cast another Snapcaster Mage and targeted Gitaxian Probe, recast the Gitaxian Probe, and passed the turn after attacking me for 2. I drew an Island, played my fifth land, and used the flashback on Geistflame to kill both Snapcasters. My opponent played a fourth land and passed the turn. I drew an Incinerate, cast Chandra's Phoenix, attacked for 2, and passed the turn. My opponent made a Moorland Haunt token on my end step, untapped, played a fifth land, cast Phantasmal Image copying my Chandra's Phoenix, then attacked for 3. I cast Think Twice during my opponent's end step and drew another Think Twice. I drew a Mountain for my turn, played it, attacked for 2, and passed the turn. My opponent made another Moorland Haunt token on my end step. I responded by flashing back the Think Twice to kill the Phantasmal Image. My opponent attacked me for 2 and passed the turn. I cast Desperate Ravings on on the end step, drew Incinerate and Chandra's Phoenix, and discarded Think Twice. I drew an Island, played it, cast Chandra's Phoenix, attacked for 4, and passed the turn. My opponent made another Moorland Haunt token, and I used the flashback on Desperate Ravings to kill a token. I drew a Geistflame and another Incinerate and discarded one of the Incinerates, then Geistflamed the remaining token.

My opponent drew, cast Ponder, cast Geist of Saint Traft, and passed the turn. I drew a Rolling Temblor and attempted to cast it, but my opponent tried a Mana Leak; I paid for it, attacked for 4, and passed the turn. My opponent conceded after drawing.

Sideboarding: –4 Dissipate, +1 Rolling Temblor, +3 Phantasmal Image


I mulliganed a hand with no blue mana and kept Mountain, Mountain, Island, Think Twice, Incinerate, and Rolling Temblor. My opponent cast a Delver of Secrets and passed the turn. I drew Desperate Ravings, played my land, and passed the turn. My opponent cast a Ponder, played another Island, attacked for 1, cast a Phantasmal Bear, and passed the turn. I drew Geistflame, used it on the Delver of Secrets, and passed the turn. My opponent played a third Island, cast a Snapcaster Mage and used the trigger on Ponder, cast Ponder, and passed the turn after attacking for 2. I drew a Chandra's Phoenix, played my land, cast Rolling Temblor, and passed the turn. My opponent played a Moorland Haunt, cast Gitaxian Probe targeting me, cast Lord of the Unreal, and passed the turn. I drew a third Mountain, played it, cast Incinerate on the Lord of the Unreal, and passed the turn. My opponent cast a Phantasmal Bear and passed the turn. I cast Desperate Ravings on my opponent's endstep and drew Geistflame and an Island, I discarded Chandra's Phoenix. I drew Burning Vengeance, played my land, cast Burning Vengeance, Geistflamed the Bear, and passed the turn.

My opponent cast a Delver of Secrets and passed the turn. I cast Think Twice and drew an Island. I drew a Mountain, played it, and used the flashback on Geistflame to deal 1 to my opponent (returning Chandra's Phoenix to my hand) and 2 to the Delver of Secrets. My opponent drew, cast Ponder, found a Glacial Fortress, cast Geist of Saint Traft, and passed the turn. I drew Rolling Temblor, cast it, cast Chandra's Phoenix, and attacked for 2 before passing back. My opponent cast another Geist of Saint Traft and passed the turn. I drew a Mountain and attempted to flashback Rolling Temblor but lost it to the Mana Leak; I left my Phoenix back to block. My opponent untapped, cast Vapor Snag on my Phoenix, and attacked for six, then cast a Delver of Secrets and passed the turn. I drew Slagstorm and cast it. I recast my Phoenix and passed with no attack. My opponent made a Spirit on my end step. My opponent passed back. I drew Burning Vengeance and cast it, then attacked for 2. My opponent made another Spirit on my endstep, and I used the flashback on Think Twice to kill both Spirits. My opponent passed the turn again. I drew Geistflame, attacked for 2, and passed the turn. My opponent cast a Snapcaster Mage and targeted Ponder, cast Ponder, cast Geist of Saint Traft, and passed the turn. I used the flashback on Desperate Ravings to deal 4 to my opponent. I drew an Incinerate and a Desperate Ravings and discarded Desperate Ravings, then used the flashback on Desperate Ravings to deal another 4 to my opponent. I cast Geistflame, targeting my opponent. On my turn I attacked and finished off my opponent with flashback spells and burn.



The Illusions match is very easy for this type of deck. They're very good at applying constant pressure, but they can't stand up to the inevitability presented by the Burning Vengeance deck.

I won the roll and kept Mountain, Island, Chandra's Phoenix, Think Twice, Mana Leak, Incinerate, and Geistflame. I played my Mountain and passed the turn. My opponent played a land and passed the turn back. I drew a Dissipate, played my Mountain and cast Think Twice; I drew a Mountain. My opponent played a second land and passed the turn. I drew a Desperate Ravings, played my Mountain, cast Chandra's Phoenix (which got Mana Leaked), and passed the turn. My opponent played a third land and passed the turn. I drew a Dissipate, cast Desperate Ravings, drew an Island and a Mountain, and discarded Geistflame. I played my land and passed the turn. My opponent cast a Forbidden Alchemy during my end step, and I responded by casting Incinerate to return my Phoenix back to my hand. My opponent played a land and passed the turn. I drew Think Twice, played my land, cast Chandra's Phoenix, and attacked for 2; my opponent went for a Doom Blade, which I let resolve, and I passed the turn. My opponent played a fifth land and passed back. I cast Think Twice on the end step and drew Chandra's Phoenix. I drew a Shimmering Grotto, played my sixth land, cast Chandra's Phoenix, and attacked; my opponent Dismembered the Phoenix and I passed the turn.

My opponent cast Consecrated Sphinx after tanking for a while, but I countered it with my Mana Leak. I drew a Think Twice and passed the turn. My opponent played a Nephalia Drownyard and passed the turn. I tried to flashback Geistflame on my opponent's end step, it resolved, and I returned both Phoenixes back to my hand. I cast Think Twice on my opponent's end step and drew Incinerate. I drew a land and played it, cast a Chandra's Phoenix, attacked for 2, and passed. My opponent used the flashback on Forbidden Alchemy and tried for another Consecrated Sphinx, but I had the Dissipate. I drew a Mana Leak for my turn, cast another Phoenix, and attacked for four. My opponent cast Black Sun's Zenith for 2 and passed back. I Incinerated my opponent and used the flashback on both Think Twices on the end step. I drew a Mountain cast both Phoenixes, and attacked for 4, then passed the turn. My opponent drew and conceded.

Sideboarding: –2 Rolling Temblor, –1 Slagstorm, –1 Geistflame, +4 Shrine of Burning Rage


I mulliganed and kept Mountain, Island, Shimmering Grotto, Shrine of Burning Rage, Desperate Ravings, and Incinerate. My opponent played a Drowned Catacomb and passed the turn. I drew a Chandra's Phoenix, played my Mountain, and passed back. My opponent played a Darkslick Shores and cast Ponder before passing back. I drew a Mountain, cast Shrine of Burning Rage, and passed back. My opponent played a third land and passed. I drew Chandra, the Firebrand and played my Mountain, then cast Chandra's Phoenix, ticked my Shrine up to two, attacked for 2, and passed the turn. My opponent cast Forbidden Alchemy on my end step. My opponent cast Doom Blade on my Phoenix and passed the turn with two mana open. I drew Mana Leak, played my land, and passed the turn with my Shrine at three. My opponent played a fifth land and passed. I cast Incinerate, putting my Shrine at four, but my opponent Mana Leaked it. I cast Desperate Ravings, putting the Shrine at five and drew Geistflame and Chandra's Phoenix; I discarded the Geistflame. I put the Shrine to six, drew an Island, played it, and cast Chandra's Phoenix, putting the Shrine at seven. Then I attacked, my opponent cast a Doom Blade on the Phoenix, and I passed the turn. My opponent played a sixth land and tried a Wurmcoil Engine, which I Mana Leaked. I ticked my Shrine up to eight, drew Silent Departure, cast Chandra, putting the Shrine at nine, and ticked up the Chandra, then returned both Chandra's Phoenixes to my hand and passed the turn. My opponent went for another Wurmcoil Engine and passed the turn. I cast Desperate Ravings from the graveyard, ticked the Shrine to ten, drew Incinerate and Burning Vengeance, and discarded Burning Vengeance. Then I drew a Mountain, cast Chandra's Phoenix putting the Shrine at twelve, and attacked with both Phoenixes. Finally, I used Chandra's –2 ability, cast a copied Incinerate targeting my opponent, and popped the Shrine for the win.


Shrine of Burning Rage is basically a turn-two win against Blue-Black Control.

I hope you all enjoyed my budget friendly version of Burning Vengeance. Be sure to shoot me an email or hit the forums with any questions or comments. Enjoy the rest of the Flashback Week content here on MagicTheGathering.com!

Happy Brewing!



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