How to Beat a Mono-Red Burn Deck in Magic The Gathering

Burn decks are extremely effective at what they do: fast damage and lots of it. Dueling against a mono-red Magic deck full of direct damage spells can be a nightmare, especially if you’re playing a much slower deck. Like any other deck, though, burn decks have their weakness. If you’re frustrated because you keep getting cheesed by burn spells, read on!

Life Gaining

One way to counteract all the direct damage spells you’re taking is by gaining the life back! Nature’s Grasp and Gerrard’s Wisdom are two spells that will give you a chunk of your life back. Creatures like Staunch Defenders that gain you life when they come into play are also great because you both gain a creature and gain life. Artifacts that let you gain life when you play spells – such as Kraken’s Eye – can also help restore life points over time. Warmth is a white enchantment that will give you 2 life whenever a red spell is cast, which will also help.

Damage Prevention

Ever since the beginning of Magic, Circle of Protection: Red has been the poster child for anti-red decks! Throw down a CoP: Red and your opponent won’t be able to damage you unless you’re tapped out of mana. Reverse Damage is also a great way to turn your frown upside down – if you’ve got an incoming 20 point Fireball, why not gain 20 life instead?

Don’t Get Mad – Get Even!

You can redirect their spells with Deflection, or redirect damage with Honorable Passage. Turn all their mountains into plains with Conversion, and use Chill to make their spells more expensive. The two biggest weaknesses of a mono-red burn deck are that it’s mono-colored, and that it’s a burn deck. (No, really?) Mono-colored decks are incredibly easy to hose, and burn decks can fizzle out if they don’t win right away. By launching a counterattack you can easily turn the tide in your favor.

You Still Need To Win

As important as it is to dodge your opponent’s incoming barrage of damage spells, you still need to keep victory in mind. If life gaining is your deck’s forte, Test of Endurance will give you the win if you’re at 50 life. If you can stay alive long enough to summon a large flying creature like Exalted Angel or Serra Avatar, that can work equally well. Include lots of anti-burn cards in your Magic deck, but don’t forget to include enough cards that will let you win!