UPDATE: It’s been pointed out that we should run graveyard hate in our sideboard, so I have put in two Relics of Progenitus.
There’s a saying that each color has a two drop creature that is the best out of all the two drops in their respective color because they see play wherever they’re legal in and can almost be put into any deck. White has Stoneforged Mystic. Blue has Snapcaster Mage. Black has Dark Confidant. And green has Tarmogoyf.
However, there’s a lot of debate about red’s two drop creature. Many debate Young Pyromancer to be that card, while others actively disagree because you can’t stick this in ANY deck running red since it has a very restrictive clause to instants and sorceries.
The argument for it being the best red two drop creature is that there are strategies that wrap themselves around this card triggering its ability to swarm the opponent with 1/1s. However, the problem with that statement is that it is only exclusive to eternal formats such as Legacy and Vintage. You don’t see that running around in Moder-
Oh. Nevermind then. I guess it’s seeing play in every format now.
Probably should talk about this Mardu deck then, yeah? Yeah.
- I am going to be tackling this deck tech in two parts (of course on the same post). I am going to go over the original strategy, and then I am going to go discuss the changes that I have made and why I have made said changes.
How to Play
As the name implies, this Mardu deck (red/white/black) revolves around Young Pyromancer. This is one of those cards that if you do not have an answer immediately, it will take over the game unless you have some sort of field wipe. Its ability by itself is outstanding against decks that don’t have a go wide strategy, which is defined as decks that flood the board with smaller creatures.
When Young Pyromancer hits the field, your opponent is going to try to kill it as soon as they can. Inquisition of Kozilek and Thoughtseize will help make it to where you can strip them of that removal and play around anything else that they have.
The beauty of this deck is that it runs a couple of cards with Flashback that can maximize the triggers we get out of Young Pyromancer. Faithless Looting excels at discarding away cards that we don’t need at the given time. This is especially useful if you manage to keep drawing into lands. Lingering Souls is overkill paired with Young Pyromancer, allowing you to create up to three tokens every time it resolves.
Mardu Pyromancer goes by another name: Mardu Pile, which refers to the fact that it has a bunch of playable cards in the deck that can either be increased or decreased in quantity, depending on the player’s meta. The cards below are just some examples of what you’ll find in these decks.
The only thing about this deck is that it doesn’t have real card draw outside of Faithless Looting and often goes into a top-deck mode (playing only off of the card that you draw each of your turns). When we get to that point, we have Bedlam Reveler to draw us into more cards.
Since we are on the instant and sorcery plan, Bedlam Reveler will be able to benefit from having a bunch of those in our graveyard. Plus, he immediately gives us more cards to work with for us to trigger his Prowess ability. It also dodges two common removal spells in Modern right now: Lightning Bolt and Fatal Push, so it won’t be the easiest thing for your opponent to remove.
BUUUUUUUT, I have a couple of issues…
Modern is at that point where there is a bunch of graveyard hate thanks to Gifts Storm. As a result, cards such as Bedlam Reveler feel way more clunky than they did before.
- Bedlam Reveler requires instant and sorcery cards to be in your graveyard to just pay two red mana for it. The deck that we run consists of many answers to cards that our opponent is running, meaning that we will need to keep those and bin land and creature cards in favor of said instants and sorceries. The result of this is a slower clock on when we would cast Bedlam Reveler, which is something we can’t really afford if we don’t have Young Pyromancer out, leading to the other issue.
- As stated before, on top of binning instants and sorceries to the graveyard, there is a very high chance that our entire graveyard will get exiled before we have the opportunity to cast Bedlam Reveler. So if that creature is the only card in our hand, we’re put into a position where our opponent gets to play Magic while we sit there losing, especially if we get land flooded.
How can we make it to where we are on a top deck strategy and won’t get screwed if our graveyard gets hated out of the game?
The solution, aka, MY version of this deck.
Say hello to the red goddess herself, Hazoret the Fervent! Holy nuts, this card is insane even outside of Standard.
The Standard all-star goes perfectly in our deck when we go into topdeck mode because it activates her attack and block ability. Plus, unlike Bedlam Reveler, she can attack our opponent IMMEDIATELY. Hazoret is also MUCH harder to remove than Bedlam Reveler. She doesn’t die to Fatal Push, Lightning Bolt, and all the “destroy” removal spells. The only way you are getting rid of this is through Path to Exile or any similar effects.
If for whatever reason we can’t attack, she can still get through damage via her activated ability. This is even better when you discard Flashback cards with her, allowing you to still get value.
Thanks to Hazoret being in our deck, we are more concerned about triggers from Young Pyromancer than we are with the graveyard. Sure, it’s still annoying if we lose everything in that zone, but we will still be able to function without it and have an equal chance at winning.
Oh, I also added this card as another backup win con. This card can outright end the game if we manage to get our token army out onto the field. Even if it doesn’t, and our opponent is able to block the attacking creatures, there is a good chance that they are either losing creatures or not surviving the next attack with this card since it has Flashback.
The infamous three mana enchantment itself. You will want to board this in against decks that aren’t running red, have a lot of utility lands, and strategies that don’t have a lot of basics in them.
This card is primarily sided in against Storm, but I found that it can be excellent against other noncreature based decks. This won me a game against UW Control because the only way that they had to remove him the entire game was Blessed Alliance, and he sat there draining their life while they cast their cantrip spells.
I LOVE this card! Because it has two functionalities, it allows you to put in more cards into your sideboard that can handle other types of cards. Plus, if you have the three mana, you can cast BOTH modes. This is especially good against Affinity post-sideboard.
We are also running the following:
- Celestial Purge
- Dragon’s Claw
- 2x Molten Rain
- Pithing Needle
- Shattering Spree
- 2x Collective Brutality
Affinity (even): This is the classic Affinity case where you have a high chance of losing the game pre-sideboard, but once you go into the second game, you just have every conceivable hate card against them that they have a hard time with.
Just like you, they can go wide as well, but they tend to do it faster. However, you have fast removal spells that can counteract what they are doing, especially with the sideboard plan that you have. If they don’t get most of their hand out as soon as possible, you’re going to run them over with elementals and spirits.
Collective Brutality misses most of their cards in hand, and Thoughtseize helps them beat you down faster. Bring in Pithing Needle, Shattering Spree, and Wear/Tear.
- If you wanted to, since Affinity is aggro, you can board in the Dragon’s Claw since it triggers off of your red spells as well. I personally wouldn’t since they’re mostly colorless, but do what you think is right.
Jeskai Tempo (slightly good): Yes, they are running Path to Exile and Cryptic Command so they can get rid of Hazoret a lot more easily than other decks can. However, we are going on the “go wide” plan with Young Pyromancer, so we’ll be able to block their more significant threats for days and overwhelm them, especially if we take out their removal spells with Thoughtseize and Inquisition.
Since they are running Geist of Saint Traft, a lot of our removal spells are going to be worse, so strip them of the ability to cast him if you hand disrupt the opponent. Whatever removal spell you want to side out against your opponent is entirely up to you. I take out Path to Exile so that way I don’t give them basic lands. Run Blood Moon against them: it may not take them entirely out of the game, but it does shut off their Celestial Colonnades. Blood Moon is even better against them if they are new to piloting the deck or aren’t familiar with the meta. Bring in Collective Brutality and Dragon’s Claw as well.
GB Tron/Eldrazi Tron (VERY bad): *sighs*. If you’ve read my Tron article, you’ll remember me mentioning that it stomps all over fair decks, and Mardu Pyromancer is no exception.
However, we do still have cards that can give us a chance against Tron. Fatal Push, Lightning Helix, and Collective Brutality are bad here. Bring in Molten Rain, Dreadbore, Wear/Tear.
- Notice how I didn’t mention Blood Moon. Both Tron decks can actually power through that card believe it or not. Either they’ll get rid of it eventually if their GB Tron or they’ll play Mind Stone or go get a Waste if they’re Eldrazi Tron.
Storm (even): If you want to win against Storm, win the die roll to go first. Your hand disruption is going to mean the difference between victory and defeat. Whenever I cast Inquisition of Kozilek or Thoughseize, I usually take out the cards that either allow them to tutor or draw them cards or if the card itself is their win con. However, there are times where they will be able to sweep the rug beneath your feet and steal the game because they drew into the card that they needed to combo off.
Dragon’s Claw is stellar here because a good portion of their deck is red. Kambal stops them from playing as many spells as they want in a given turn. Relic of Progenitus takes away their graveyard and makes Past in Flames much worse. Take out as many removal spells as you want against them.
- Burn (good)
- Humans (50/50)
- UW Control (50/50)
- Grixis Death’s Shadow (50/50)
- Titanshift (very bad)
Mardu Pyromancer w/ Hazoret is a deck that you want to be playing if you are a fan of either Young Pyromancer or Hazoret, or both. With the changes I made, it went from a deck that felt really clunky to a deck that I found myself playing all week. If decks like Tron somehow see the ban hammer down the line, I think this deck is going to perform even better than it is now. I cannot recommend the changes that I made enough.
As always, I will catch you next time!