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Top 5 Best Young Pyromancers in MTG – Riley Ranks

Crimson Vow has brought with it Whispering Wizard and Manaform Hellkite, the latest in a long line of “Young Pyromancers” – cards that reward you with a token for casting a spell, usually instant or sorcery or even just noncreature. We tend to call this type of card a Young Pyromancer because that was the first card to really push this mechanic to the forefront of constructed playability.

Interestingly, Young Pyromancer wasn’t the first card to actually do it! Talrand, Sky Summoner beat out Young Peezy by about a year, but costing four rather than two meant Talrand wasn’t the best fit for decks in Modern and Legacy, where Young Pyromancer (and others) did its best work. In any case, as we’ve had another couple of Young Pyromancers added to the pile, what better time to look back across the various Young Pyromancer-type cards we’ve had over the years? Let’s get underway!

 

 

Header - 5. Docent of Perfection

Docent of Perfection // Final Iteration

 

The “sequels” to Delver of Secrets that we got in Shadows over Innistrad and Eldritch Moon paid homage to an iconic card that defined a Standard format and completely upended Legacy, and they did a good job of it. Aberrant Researcher was a four-mana flipped Delver that turned into a 5/4 flyer, while Docent of Perfection was a 5/4 flyer that ended up… making more little token copies of Delver of Secrets. 

With a Young Pyromancer triggered ability, Docent of Perfection makes 1/1 Human Wizards. When the Docent flips it turns those 1/1 Human Wizards into 3/2 flyers. Just like the original Delver of Secrets! This card is such a sweet design, such a sublime combination of gameplay, flavor and Magic history, it’s still enormously impressive to think about. 

If you follow the path Delver and his sequels have taken, he went from a 1/1 to a 3/2, then from a 3/2 to a 5/4 that… makes 1/1s that then turn into 3/2s. It’s absolutely masterful. And, all the while, the cards all maintained their “spells matter” theme – supported perfectly by the Young Pyromancer mechanic on Docent of Perfection and Final Iteration. 

 

Header - 4. Sedgemoor Witch

Sedgemoor Witch

 

Sedgemoor Witch is a special addition to the Young Pyromancer family as it was the first card that required black mana. Most Young Pyromancers are red and/or blue, with the occasional dash of white mana thrown in (as we’ll discuss). Sedgemoor Witch dipped the mechanic into a new color altogether. 

Sedgemoor Witch also has one of the more impressive stat lines for cards like this. As a consequence of how powerful a Young Pyromancer ability can be, most cards with the ability tend to be under-statted (two-mana 2/1, four-mana 3/2, etc.). Sedgemoor Witch isn’t just a three-mana 3/2, it’s also evasive and has a defensive ability in ward. 

Three mana might be too much for older formats (even Young Pyromancer himself doesn’t always get there these days), but Sedgemoor Witch definitely pushes the power level of cards like these. 

 

Header - 3. Shark Typhoon

Shark Typhoon

 

You might be scratching your head at this one, but Shark Typhoon does count as a Young Pyromancer in every way except for… not being a creature. It’s a permanent that generates token creatures when you cast noncreature spells – sounds like a Young Pyromancer to me! 

I think most people see Shark Typhoon primarily as being an X1U X/X flyer that draws a card when it ETBs, and this probably stands in the way of accepting it as a Young Pyromancer, but I’ll dig my heels in and insist on this point – it’s every much as bit of a Young Peezy as the other cards on this list, except… it’s not a creature. Yeah. You’ve got me there. 

However, it is one of the most powerful Young Pyromancers when it comes to token generation, which befits its six-mana casting cost: most others make 1/1s or 2/2s, while there’s no limit to how big the Sharks Shark Typhoon makes can be – or Manaform Hellkite’s Dragons, for that matter, although they’re a lot less permanent than the Sharks!

 

Header - 2. Monastery Mentor

Monastery Mentor

 

We touched upon the impact that Young Pyromancer-type cards had on older formats, and we’ve touched upon the fact that some Young Pyromancers cost white mana. Well, here is the denouement: Monastery Mentor is such a strong Young Pyromancer that it was restricted in Vintage, Magic’s most powerful format!

Given that noncreature spells are what triggers the Mentor into making 1/1s, it’s not too bad to have that army of 1/1s be buffed by further noncreature spells and become a respectable and quickly lethal clock. The reason the card is so disgusting in Vintage in particular is that – unlike Young Pyromancer itself – you’re not restricted to instants and sorceries. In Legacy, you might trigger a Monastery Mentor with Brainstorms and Swords to Plowshares, but in Vintage, you’re doing it with Moxen

Free 1/1s, free prowess triggers – it gets out of control very quickly, particularly combined with cards like Paradoxical Outcome, bouncing all your zero-mana artifacts so you can do it all again. We already know Black Lotus is a fundamentally broken card, but when it’s being used and recurred to cast and trigger Monastery Mentor, well… it’s a whole new level of nasty. 

 

Header - 1. Young Pyromancer

Young Pyromancer (Timeshifted)

 

I want to say the original and the best, but in truth Young Pyromancer is neither – Talrand is the original, and as for the best, well, that’s probably up for debate. Monastery Mentor, say the eternal mages. Kykar, Wind’s Fury, say the EDH nerds. Primeval Bounty, say the pedants who will be quick to point out that it is a permanent that has a trigger bound to instant and sorceries that can also produce tokens, even if those two attributes aren’t linked. 

Whatever camp you fall into, you can’t argue that Young Pyromancer is the most iconic of all these cards. Since it was first printed in M14, it has been a big part of various formats at various times – remember Treasure Cruise in Modern? – and was recently reprinted with the old border in Time Spiral Remastered, a sure-fire sign that you’ve made it as an iconic Magic card. 

While its best days might be behind it, Young Pyromancer is still doing some work in formats like Historic and Pioneer, where it’s combined with cards like Dreadhorde Arcanist to make the most of cheap spells like Thoughtseize and – very cheekily – Village Rites, with which Young Peezy synergizes most excellently. Young Pyromancer has remained relevant in constructed Magic for a long time, and that’s not an easy feat!

 

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