Spoiler Spotlight – Young Pyromancer

Young Pyromancer is one of the most powerful cards in Magic 2014. For the low price of two mana, you get a decent body along with an incredibly powerful effect. There are two obvious decks that might include Young Pyromancer: a red aggressive deck that takes advantage of the body and ability; and a blue deck that completely abuses the ability, but doesn’t care as much about the body. The blue version would prefer that the Pyromancer were an enchantment so that it’s less vulnerable. Young Pyromancer also may have applications in more combo-y decks like storm or Travis Woo’s [card]Nivix Cyclops[/card] deck, but I suspect his impact there will not be as large as his impact in mainstream decks. Today, I’ll try to present some brews for the two obvious kinds of Young Pyromancer decks in both Standard and Modern.

[deck]18 Mountain
4 Mutavault
4 Stromkirk Noble
4 Rakdos Cackler
4 Young Pyromancer
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
4 Hellrider
4 Pillar of Flame
4 Shock
4 Searing Spear
2 Mizzium Mortars
4 Brimstone Volley[/deck]

This deck is likely on the low end of a good spell count for a Young Pyromancer deck, but it makes up for that by both valuing the body of Young Pyromancer and having other synergies with Pyromancer like [card]Hellrider[/card]. Playing a Pyromancer off of a [card]Burning-Tree Emissary[/card] seems particularly disgusting. M14 also offers some other exciting cards for mono-red like the new Chandra, Burning Earth, and [card]Chandra’s Phoenix[/card].

[deck]4 Steam Vents
4 Sulfur Falls
9 Island
8 Mountain
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Augur of Bolas
4 Young Pyromancer
2 Thundermaw Hellkite
4 Pillar of Flame
4 Thought Scour
4 Think Twice
2 Searing Spear
2 Turn Burn
3 Syncopate
2 Counterflux[/deck]

With the addition of Young Pyromancer, blue and red might have enough power to drop the white in Flash. Every card except for [card]Thundermaw Hellkite[/card] is either an instant or sorcery or finds an instant or sorcery, so the Pyromancer will trigger a lot. One possible addition to this list is [card]Runechanter’s Pike[/card]. The spell count is high enough to support the Pike especially with [card]Thought Scour[/card], and a Pike makes each Pyromancer token much more intimidating. It’s also possible that leaving white in the deck is still the right move. Having just Top 8’d a PTQ with something similar to Jacob Van Lunen’s UWR Flash deck, I can certainly speak to the power of [card]Azorius Charm[/card], [card]Sphinx’s Revelation[/card], and [card]Warleader’s Helix[/card].

Young Pyromancer is certainly an exciting card in Standard. One concern is that if the Pyromancer proves too powerful it may restrict which cheap instants can be printed down the road. For example, [card]Flame Slash[/card] was supposed to be printed in a core set, but wasn’t due to concerns about synergy with [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card]. Now it’s possible Flame Slash and other good cheap instants won’t be printable even once Snapcaster rotates. Fortunately, there are a couple places where there is no shortage of good cheap instants to pair with Young Pyromancer. Since Caleb has already touched on a reasonable number of Pyromancer decks in Legacy here I figured I’d look at the card’s place in Modern:

[deck]4 Delver of Secrets
4 Steppe Lynx
4 Young Pyromancer
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Serum Visions
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Path to Exile
4 Lightning Helix
2 Electrolyze
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Arid Mesa
4 Marsh Flats
1 Island
1 Mountain
1 Plains
2 Steam Vents
2 Sacred Foundry
2 Hallowed Fountain
1 Blood Crypt[/deck]

This list is loosely based off of Shahar Shenhar’s Grand Prix Columbus Top 8 deck list. By using Pyromancer in the Geist slot, you gain a lower curve and potentially more power. Playing a Pyromancer and immediately following it up with a [card]Gitaxian Probe[/card] seems sweet. It’s possible adding other free spells like [card]Gut Shot[/card] or [card]Mutagenic Growth[/card] could be necessary, but those cards may be too weak without the Pyromancer in play. This deck has the perfect balance of high spell count and cantrips to keep the spells flowing with a lot of burn and damage output to make the tokens valuable. Pyromancer may not have a better home.

Modern burn spells also pack a bigger punch than Standard’s burn spells:

[deck]4 Goblin Guide
4 Young Pyromancer
2 Gitaxian Probe
4 Lava Spike
4 Bump in the Night
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Rift Bolt
4 Shard Volley
4 Skullcrack
4 Searing Blaze
4 Boros Charm
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Arid Mesa
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
2 Blood Crypt
2 Sacred Foundry
2 Mountain[/deck]

I’m not sure if cutting the creatures you normally see in Modern burn decks like [card]Hellspark Elemental[/card] and [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card] is a good plan, but this deck does seem to have enough playable spells to work. Regardless, Young Pyromancer fits into this deck pretty well. The tokens may not come quite as consistently, but the damage will be pretty huge. I’m not sure if playing [card]Gitaxian Probe[/card] in non-blue Modern Pyromancer decks is feasible, but I figure it’s worth a try at least.

One thing that’s crucial to keep in mind when building a Pyromancer deck is how much your deck choice decisions should be based on synergy with Pyromancer. Every time you are playing an instant or sorcery over some other card because the Pyromancer is in your deck there is a significant cost. If your deck can only operate when a Pyromancer is in play then it simply will not be a successful deck. That being said, Young Pyromancer is an awesome card and I’m excited to see where it goes. Good luck brewing!


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