Putting together a winning burn deck relies on quick damage cards.

Magic the Gathering strategies can be diverse. Casual play takes on a completely different aspect than competitive play. The average player will decry a cheesy strategist in a friendly game, but the goal of a Magic player in a tournament should be to win, or at least to get as close to winning as is possible with the cards the player owns.

The Quick Burn Strategy

There is no one single Magic strategy that will beat any other deck type. Not only do Magic games take luck and skill, but Magic is also designed that every deck has a weakness. Like many other collectible card games, people who are able to spend or collect the more powerful cards will be at an advantage.

What separates Magic from many of its competitors in the collectible card game market is that the most powerful cards are not always rare. Two of the most powerful cards, sadly no longer in print were commons: red’s lightning bolt and black’s dark ritual. Putting together a red burn deck that can win many tournament games even if it does not win tournaments can be done mostly from common cards . New Magic players will be tempted to put cards like fireball and disintegrate in for that big X damage spell. While a 50 point fireball can be fun, that is not the strategy that works best for Red magic players.

Quick Burn Deck Composition

The person looking for a quick, good common deck should look through the direct damage cards, particularly instants and low casting cost sorceries such as shock, incinerate, lava spike, lightning bolt, and the Goblin Grenade from Fallen Empires. The largest may not do more than 5 damage, but the spells mentioned do not have a costing of more than two mana each.

The 3-point lightning bolt or 2-point shock may not do as much damage as spells like Lava Ax or Fireball, but quick burn decks should be loaded with low damage, low casting cost instants and be constructed in such a way that a player has a chance of drawing a direct damage spell every turn. Adding cards like Howling Mine or in cantrip spells that let a player draw an extra card will help the red magic player get to his burn cards faster.

Quick Creatures Should Not Be Overlooked

Constructing a quick burn deck will require a good number of direct damage spells and every Magic deck requires mana sources such as lands, but creatures should not be ignored entirely in the quick burn deck. Creature cards such as spark elemental and ball lightning serve the same over all purpose as the direct damage instants by quickly damaging an opponent. The 1/1 Raging Goblin may only do one damage, but odds are the Raging Goblin can be brought out on the first turn and the opposing player will not have anything creatures out to block the attack. If the quick burn deck includes Goblin grenade, the raging goblin can do five damage even if he never attacks at all. Permanent creatures also give the quick burn deck player a chance to damage the opponent each turn.

Winning with the Quick Burn Deck

It may be tempting for a red Magic player to take out the creatures of the opposing player, but this is the wrong tactic for the quick burn deck and a waste of a player’s resources. Since the majority of the deck is composed of direct damage spells that can be cast on creatures or opponents, the damage dealt should be dealt to an opponent rather than the opposing creatures on the board. The goal of the game is to bring the total of the opposing player down to zero. Most quick decks can be built without a single rare, although some players may invest in older out of print cards like lightning bolt or chain lightning.


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Winning Magic the Gathering Decks
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