I’ve never come across a burn deck while playing EDH, and when I found out that they actually exist I was incredulous. How can you play a burn-based strategy when players start at 40 life, and you have three times as many opponents as usual? Never mind dealing a swift 20 damage, in EDH you have to deal six times that! Surely, it’s not feasible.
After looking through some lists, however, I was surprised to see that it is, indeed, feasible, as long as you don’t follow the traditional 60-card approach to burn decks. Gone are the Lava Spikes and Goblin Guides – no, in EDH you want cards that deal damage to all your opponents at the same time. And with that in mind, here’s where you end up – with a list like this one, made by ktao16:
Torbran Burn by ktao16
Having Torbran out in this deck is an absolute game-changer, as he combines with some other cards to deal out extraordinary amount of damage. Cards like Electrostatic Field, Firebrand Archer and Kessig Flamebreather aren’t hugely impressive on their own, but when they’re dealing a total of nine damage every time you cast a spell, well, that’s a different matter. Having these cards hit for three, alongside other rinky-dink damage dealers like End the Festivities, absolutely shreds through opposing life totals.
There are a lot of cards that deal damage across the entire table. Guttersnipe, Manabarbs, Roiling Vortex, even overlooked cards like Dagger Caster get a chance to unload damage thanks to Torbran. It gets worse, too, with some cards that pack a punch even without Torbran – things like Flame Rift and Acidic Soil will deal a lot of damage – but to you, as well, so make sure to keep your life total a little higher than everyone else!
Torbran isn’t the only way to pump up the damage dealt by these cards. Dictate of the Twin Gods is here to double your damage output, while Chandra’s Incinerator helps to manage the battlefield as you go face with burn spells. I’m interested to see that Fiery Emancipation is missing from this deck, however, as it would be absolutely perfect here.
Finally, this deck doesn’t skimp on interaction. Flexible removal spells like Cathartic Pyre and Abrade are joined by sweepers such as Blasphemous Act and Nevinyrral’s Disk to keep the board under control, and most of these spells all trigger your Guttersnipe effects to boot. There’s even some card selection, with Cathartic Reunion, Thrill of Possibility and Electric Revelation helping to mitigate mana flood.
If you’re an EDH player on the go, in need of a way to play games swiftly, or just a diehard adherent to the idea that a “quick game’s a good game”, have a look at burn as a Commander archetype – like me, you might be surprised to find out just how viable this strategy can be in a 100-card format!