Drafting Burn in Vintage Cube

by Yam Wing Chun on 26 December 2017, Tuesday

Yam Wing Chun


Drafting Burn in Vintage Cube

It's holiday season which means it's time for some casual formats like Vintage Cube Draft. 
In case you still haven't noticed, I am a huge fan of playing Red cards, and I play burn spells in every format possible. Today, I am going to talk about how to draft a good Burn deck in the Vintage Cube. 


Searing Blaze Brimstone Volley

The most notable change of the Vintage Cube is the removal of Searing Blaze and Brimstone VolleySearing Blaze is a busted card in my opinion, as dealing six damage with a single card for two mana is super efficient and powerful.

It sounds crazy to me when I see some Modern Burn lists not playing a full set of it. The removal of Brimstone Volley also makes me sad because five damage on a single card is still better than many other burn spells. 

On the other hand, my favorite card Hazoret the Fervent was added to the Cube. A lot of my success this year is attributed to this card. 

Hazoret the Fervent

The philosophy of a Burn deck in every format is more or less the same. You deal the initial damages with cheap and efficient threats (1-drops and 2-drops) to try to drop their life total, preferably to single digits.

Then, you aim a couple of burn spells to their face to win the game, sometimes alongside an all-in attack to sneak in a few extra damage, before they take over the game with better cards.

While it is possible to draft a Mono Red deck, most of the time I end up with a White-Red deck because White offered a lot of early drops that fit into the game plan of a Burn deck. 

An ideal Burn deck in Vintage Cube would look like this:

  • 16 Lands
  • 14-16 Creatures
    • 3-5 1-drops
    • 4-6 2-drops
    • 3-4 3-drops
    • 2-3 4-drops/5-drops
  • 6-8 Burn Spells
  • 0-2 Planeswalkers


It is critical to keep your curve as low as possible because you only have a few turns to attack their life total before they cast a large creature or assemble a combo. Therefore, 1-drops and 2-drops are the backbones of your deck. While having utility on them would be nice (e.g. Phyrexian Revoker and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben), Savannah Lions and Raptor Companion are often good enough to get the job done. 

For 3-drops and above, you want creatures that can get around blockers (e.g. Flickerwisp and Thundermaw Hellkite) or the ability to deal damage to their face directly (e.g. Hellrider).

Burn Spells

Here is a picture of the 17 burn spells in the Vintage Cube. I included Boros Charm and Lightning Helix because White pairs with Red very well.

The general "pick order" of burn spells is straightforward: More damage the better. 

Fiery Confluence is the best burn spell because it deals six damage. I was also impressed by Fireblast because it allowed me to fire multiple burn spells in one turn and I have had a few turn-four kills with it. 


A good deck usually contains 6-8 burn spells, and the burn spells are all interchangeable. A draft pod can easily support two, and sometimes three Burn drafters. I used to be a fan of Shrine of Burning Rage, but the card is only useful in Mono-Red. 

I prioritize burn spell that deals 4 or more damage over any creatures. After picking up the first few burn spells, I will pay more attention to fill the curve with sufficient 1-drops and 2-drops.


Planeswalkers in a Burn deck act as pseudo-burn spells. 


Chandra, Torch of Defiance Ajani Vengeant

Great: Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Good: Ajani Vengeant
Okay: Gideon of the Trials, Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Elspeth, Knight-Errant, Koth of the Hammer

The other planeswalkers are either too slow or don't have enough impact. Playing a real burn spell can guarantee more damage. 

Sample 3-0 Lists




I hope everyone enjoys your holidays and see you next year!

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