Brewing in any format can seem like unraveling a complicated web or scouring for the perfect solution to a complicated formula. In reality, brewing usually boils down to:
- Step 1: Find a card or combination of cards that’s powerful but underplayed in the metagame.
- Step 2: Find the best home for that card or combination of cards.
- Step 3: Playtest and tune until you think you’ve hammered out the best version of your idea and then evaluate your brew versus the other decks in the format.
Recently, the card that I’ve been trying to find the best home for is the banned in Standard and nerfed-in-Historic powerhouse, Fires of Invention.
Fires is one of the most powerful mana engines ever printed. In these formats that often revolve around slamming three and five-mana spells into each other, Fires is often an overwhelming source of advantage, allowing you to have turn after turn that’s simply twice as powerful as your opponent’s. When I returned to Pioneer last month, one of the first things I noticed was that there was no popular Fires deck. There were some fringe lists that were either built around planeswalkers, Fae of Wishes or Transmogrify. I tried some of these lists, and watched some other talented players pilot them, but it seems that these lists were all lacking in either acceleration or cheap interaction. Then I started to look across my old Pioneer brews from a couple of years ago and unearthed an old favorite of mine: a mono-red list that used Cleansing Wildfire on your own indestructible lands to ramp and be able to cast a Fires of Invention on turn three.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the last three weeks reforging the old brew and tuning it for the new Pioneer metagame. I’ve really liked the deck, and I’ve found it to be both competitive and fun. It has favorable matchups versus Control, Sacrifice, Greasefang, Lotus Field, Niv-Mizzet, Mono-Red and Greasefang decks. On the other hand, it has a harder time versus Winota and Mono-Green Devotion. Here’s where I’m at with the list: