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A Burn deck is a deck strategy that uses direct damage spells as its primary win-condition. The deck receives its name from the usage of burn spells and effects. It is also one of the strategies that have been in Legacy since the early stages.


Burn is a peculiar deck that is a purely aggressive. It is an aggro deck that does not need creatures on the battlefield to win.

Still Burn decks do use creatures. They tend to have haste, high power relative to cost (often expendable), or the capacity for direct damage.

This is one of the decks that have a controversy on wether it is considered Aggro or Combo. These are the arguments for both sides:

  • It is combo, except the combination of cards is spread out through the course of a few turns and it doesn't like to interact with the opponent
  • It is aggro because it doesn't try to make a big play and win in one turn, and the burn damage can be analog to a series of small successive attacks over the course of the game

The latter (Aggro) is a more accepted view of the deck - and is also the official section it is generally put in sites like MTGTop8, although many players do consider it either Combo or Aggro-Combo.

The deck uses its own form of card advantage by rendering its opponents' creature removal, mana denial, and other control cards completely or nearly useless. It is also an extremely consistent archetype, chiefly killing the opponent by turns 3~5.

Burn is widely known to be a solid deck that is both cost-friendly to players and strong enough to perform competitively.

Early Decklists[]

There used to be a couple of intersecting variations:

The following is an example of Sligh-burn:

6th Place: Burn - Austin Yost - SCG Legacy Las Vegas - 2011

Contemporary Decklists[]

Since then, the strategy remained the same. Except that ever since, there have been better, more efficient cards printed over the years.

Notice the differences and similarities from the previous list:

5th Place: Burn - Alexander Schreiber - Series Bottrop (Germany) - 23/01/2022

This is another example with minor differences from the previous list.

Both share the same creatures. The printing of Monastery Swiftspear and Eidolon of the Great Revel gave Burn a new strength and better tools to face the meta. And Light Up the Stage, as well, is a card that impacted the world of Burn since it helps Burn find the last spells to finish off the opponent.

Exquisite Firecraft often makes appearances in metas where counterspells are abundant.

2nd Place: Burn - Hugueville Mathieu - Trollune (Lyon, France) - 17/02/2022

Burn and budget play[]

Burn is commonly described as one of best decks for budget-limited players. And it is also an easy deck to learn in case a player is new to the format or to the game in general.

As you saw in the examples given above, the inclusion of fetch-lands in the deck isn't even mandatory for competitive play, and that cuts down the overall price of the deck by a lot.

The deck needs zero cards from the Reserved List and that is also something that helps keep the price down.

See also[]