Mardu Fires

Hi everyone,

With the recent banning, it has been easier nowadays to think about decks that didn’t restrict the archetypes you can explore and the diversity in sideboard options. Although I’m not saying that the banning hasn’t turned Standard into the greenest pasture since Steel Leef Champion was spoiled.

Once Upon a TimeOko, Thief of CrownsNissa, Who Shakes the World

Every deck that’s performing really well post banning plays the complete set of Once Upon a Time, Oko, Thief of Crowns and some quantities of Nissa, Who Shakes the World.

Not to mention the other supporting players that make Green the color of choice:

  1. Hydroid Krasis
  2. Wicked Wolf
  3. Gilded Goose
  4. Questing Beast
  5. Gruul Spellbreaker
  6. Veil of Summer

Nonetheless, this is slightly (or marginally) better than a win condition that you can’t kill in Field of the Dead. I’m not saying that standard is in a better state, but I will say that its better for brewing and with the Philippines’ upcoming year-end tournament, Gold Rush, I’m going to try and bring a brew into the top 8. This year’s card to build around is Fires of Invention.

Fires of Invention

This card has shown its oppressive power in two very successful shells: Jeskai and Temur.

Jeskai Cavalry

You can build Jeskai 2 way, one with Planeswalkers and the other was using Cavalier of Flames. I like the latter better because its more explosive and can win the game very quickly. As shown above, the goal is to play CoF the turn after you play Fires of Invention and use your available mana to give it haste. You can also draw into another CoF or Cavalier of Gales to get 10 power or more into the red zone.  Backed up with removal and card selection, it can stay alive against aggressive decks quite well.

Jeskai SF

The Superfriends version is more flashy and wins games through sheer power per card. Using Fires to pump 2 planeswalkers per turn is massively oppressive. Sarkhan and Teferi hold the fort down with bounce effects and 4/4 dragons while Fae of Wishes fetches even more walkers from the sideboard like Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God, Garuk, Cursed Huntsman or Chandra, Awakened Inferno. The same way the Cavalier build tries to stay alive, Jeskai Superfriends uses Clarions and Timewipes to keep the board clean and keep its walkers safe while Drawn from Dreams and Narset helps the player’s hand full of cards.

I saw some Temur Fires list floating around subreddits that composed of The Royal Scions, Nissa, Sarkhan and Oko, and wins with attacking Planeswalkers-turned-Dragons. I wouldn’t say that its the better version but it does offer some ramp which makes Fires online faster. Some builds also use the 3 Cavaliers to work in unison where Cavalier of Thorns dumps a bunch of lands in the yard thanks to Cavalier of Gales allowing the player to draw nonland cards and put back land cards on top of its library, ready for Cavalier of Flames to convert them into damage.

So with many tried and tested builds of Fires, how am I going to twist this into a janky brew that can face-off against standard’s best decks? Well, most jank decks are born from marrying two or three different ideas and sprinkling it with hopes and dreams. Let me show you the deck first then I’ll discuss my card selection afterward.

Screen Shot 2019-10-28 at 6.55.00 am


Screen Shot 2019-10-28 at 6.55.20 am

I didn’t go crazy… well I sort of did. The first card you’ll see in the creature section is Sanitarium Skeleton. Then you’ll see I also play the full four copies of Doom Foretold. You see what I did there?

Sanitarium SkeletonDoom Foretold

Sanitarium Skeleton allows us to keep Doom Foretold alive as long as we want since we can always get it back and feed him to the enchantment. It forces the opponent not to keep playing permanents because they’ll never win the attrition war. We wouldn’t lose anything to Doom Foretold which means we can progress our board state normally and hope to pull away. And since we’re not spending any mana to play our spells, we can always pay Sanitarium Skeleton’s activated ability at our opponent’s end step and replay it on our turn.

Ethereal Absolution

Fires deck must have ways to dump all their unused mana. Ethereal Absolution plays perfectly into this plan. The majority of today’s decks are still creature-based so making them smaller, and turning them into 2/2 fliers when they die is a great way to use our mana during combat when we need blockers, or at the end of our opponent’s turn if we want to swing in. In multiples, two Ethereal Absolutions can keep Flash Decks, Knight Decks and Adventure decks dead in their tracks. A single copy can keep Calvacade decks out of the game. Together with our built-in sweepers, we can deal with the big stuff too.

Captive Audience

How do we win? In style, that’s how. Once the opponent is done playing, we let our Doom Foretold die and then we play Captive Audience for free and wait for the show to end. Captive Audience is a surefire way to reduce our opponent’s life down to manageable levels after they cashed in huge life gains from Krasis. We can also strip their hands clean and leave the opponent topdecking for answers, or let them be eaten alive by five 2/2 zombies. With Ethereal Absolution, these zombies can take huge bites out of our opponent’s life totals and trade better in combat too. Trading with real creatures also helps fuel our Absolution for even more tokens.

Liliana, Dreadhorde General

Lastly, we end our win conditions with two copies of Liliana, Dreadhorde General. I’ve had several games where I was able to ultimate Liliana and she provided us with the inevitability we needed. She’s also a great source of card draw and can clutter the board really fast if she isn’t answered immediately.

The sideboard plan is mostly geared towards more Planeswalker removal and hand disruption.

DuressThought Distortion

Duress comes in against opposing Fires deck, Esper Control, Reclamation decks, and Dimir. Thought Distortion is great against any noncreature decks and is a convenient answer to graveyard based decks as well. It does pose a none-bo with our Ethereal Absolution which is why they trade places since noncreature decks won’t give Absolution any target anyway.

BedevilAngrath's RampageNoxious Grasp

Bedevil and Angrath’s Rampage allows us to destroy Witch’s Oven which is popular nowadays thanks to the Cat-Oven combo. Bedevil allows us to kill Oko on the play, while Angrath’s Rampage can kill Oko on the draw (with the right colored mana). Noxious Grasp is another answer to Oko, as well as Teferi, Questing Beast, Nissa, and Teferi. Our two copies of Despark and three copies of Prison Realm in the mainboard ensure we got answers for walkers too in game 1.

Ritual of Soot

I have a single copy of Ritual of Soot in the sideboard because apparently, it’s quite good against a lot of creatures. The only notable ones this can’t kill is Questing Beast and Wicked Wolf. Everything else is costed right within Soot’s range – everything in Gruul (except Skarrgan Hellkite), everything in UG Food except Troll King, everything in Mono-Red, and everything in Adventure decks. Why not a third copy of Kaya’s Wrath, its because I’d like an easier way to cast a sweeper against these aggressive decks behind a Clarion the turn before.

Theater of Horrors

The last janky card in the deck is Theater of Horrors. Against midrange or control decks, once I get this in and they don’t pack any enchantment hate, can allow us to win with sheer card advantage and a steady source of damage to dump all our available mana into. It can kill walkers too which is nifty. This is one of the cards I haven’t drawn as often but whenever I do, it’s a blast to play.

That’s it for me. I hope you enjoyed today’s deck tech! I know it’s been a while since I last wrote on the site but I hope to be able to write more often.

Till next time!

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