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Budget Magic: Seven-Rare Urabrask Battle Burn (March of the Machine Standard)


Hey there, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! March of the Machine is almost here, and today, we kick off our budget exploration of our new Standard format with a deck I'm super hyped for: Urabrask Battle Burn! Burn is a classic budget archetype. Since most of the best burn spells are commons and uncommons, it's usually possible to build a fairly competitive deck on the cheap. But Standard burn is looking better than ever thanks to some huge new March of the Machine additions! Can an Urabrask-fueled burn deck with just seven total rares and mythics compete in March of the Machine Standard? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck! Oh yeah, today's video was recorded during the Magic Arena early-access day on Thursday. Thanks to Wizards for letting us use a stocked account for the day!

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Budget Magic: Urabrask Battle Burn

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The Deck

We've played burn decks a bunch of times in the past, and, in many ways, they are pretty much all the same: play cheap creatures, get in early damage, and try to finish the game with burn spells. As such, rather than going card by card through the deck, we're going to focus specifically on some of the new March of the Machine cards and discuss how they felt and how they played.

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Let's start with the big one: Urabrask. Urabrask is the reason why I initially built the deck. The idea of playing Urabrask, slinging some spells to get some free damage, flipping it into a powerful Saga, and then eventually recasting all of our burn spells from the graveyard for lethal was just too sweet to pass up. If you look at today's decklist, you'll see that it's $107 in paper and has seven total rares and mythics. Four copies of Urabrask account for 87 of those dollars and more than half of our rares and mythics. That's how badly I wanted Urabrask in the deck—we were willing to spend something like 80% of our budget on a playset of the new mythic.

Well, it wasn't worth it. Honestly, Urabrask was a total flop. While the deck performed well (we went 7-3 overall, although I don't put much weight in early-access-day records), we didn't flip an Urabrask a single time. Every single time we cast it, our opponent killed it before it did anything at all, and in many of those cases, even if Urabrask lived, we were unlikely to flip it since we didn't have many instants or sorceries in hand. While I don't want to say that Urabrask is bad—maybe another deck can take advantage of it—I am pretty sure it is bad in Burn, to the point where the next time I play the deck, I'm planning to cut it for literally anything else (probably Bloodthirsty Adversary or Chandra, Dressed to Kill). 

The good news is that the deck becomes absurdly cheap once we cut Urabrask. Depending on the replacement, it could be as low as $20 in paper and three rares on Magic Arena. Not bad for a deck that managed to post a solid record even with its namesake card flopping.

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On the other hand, our battle—Invasion of Regatha—was absurd and way, way better than I expected it to be. In a burn deck, four damage to the opponent's face is solid, and the one damage it deals to a creature was more relevant than I expected it to be. The front side alone would be more than good enough for our deck, but Invasion of Regatha is much more than just the front side. The backside—Disciples of the Inferno—is equally ridiculous. Giving all of our burn spells +2 damage combined with a big prowess body allowed us to steal games that we had no business winning

I also really liked how the battle played. Figuring out when to try to flip it and when to just play it like a sorcery adds a really interesting element to a game. It's an additional decision point that can actually matter a lot in some instances. In my experience with the deck, we play Invasion of Regatha like a sorcery about 75% of the time, using the front side to deal damage and never even attempting to flip it. The other 25% of the time, flipping it is super important. Figuring out when you're in a 75% game and when you're in a 25% game is a really cool new challenge that didn't really exist before battles. Either way, Invasion of Regatha felt like a staple to me for decks like Burn and red aggro. It was a lot better than I thought it would be.

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While not technically new—Stoke the Flames was a Standard standout nearly a decade ago during Khans of Tarkir Standard—Stoke the Flames was just as good as I remembered it to be. Four damage for four mana doesn't sound great, but we can often convoke a creature or two to reduce the cost, which more than makes up for its inefficiency when you hard-cast it. I'm pretty sure every burn deck for the rest of March of the Machine Standard will start with four Play with Fire, four Lightning Strike, and four Stoke the Flames, which is a very solid burn package.

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Nahiri's Warcrafting is interesting. Its main purpose in our deck is to give us a way to kill Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, which wrecks us if it sits out on the battlefield, thanks to all of the life it gives our opponent. Of course, a couple of other three-mana red burn spells can do the same thing, like Rending Flame or Rebel Salvo, both of which have the upside of being instants. But I think that Nahiri's Warcrafting is the best option, even though it's a sorcery. The ability to potentially draw us a card thanks to its excess-damage ability is nice. It didn't come up super often, but if we can wait and play it on Turn 4, we can often use it to snag a free land drop, making it play a little like the removal version of Expressive Iteration. Also important is that it can hit battles. If our opponent doesn't have a good target for Nahiri's Warcrafting, worst case, we can use it to flip Invasion of Regatha into a big prowess threat, which is decent. For budget purposes, there might be an argument for sticking to cards like Rebel Salvo, especially on Magic Arena, since they are uncommon rather than rare. But as far as power is concerned, I think Warcrafting is the best of the bunch.

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Our last important new card is Khenra Spellspear, which was also better than I thought it would be. I wasn't sure how often it would be worth paying four mana to flip it, but it turns out that it didn't really matter. A 2/2 prowess trampler is decent, so Khenra Spellspear is good in our deck even if we never flip it, and then we had some games where we didn't have anything better to do, which made transforming it a good mana sink. The backside, should we get to it, is a really fast clock, especially in conjunction with all of our card draw and burn spells. When I play the deck again, I'll likely add a fourth copy to replace one of the Urabrasks.

All in all, Urabrask Battle Burn felt really solid. Sadly, Urabrask itself flopped, but the other new cards, especially Invasion of Regatha, were so good that it didn't really matter. As much as I wanted to see Urabrask do something cool, in some ways, I'm glad that it is unnecessary in the deck because it means that we should have a pretty competitive burn deck in Standard that is incredibly cheap, both in paper and on Magic Arena! If you like throwing damage at your opponent's face and winning games quickly and are looking for something super cheap to grind with, I would definitely recommend Battle Burn. (Urabrask doesn't get to be in the name anymore after its performance.) Just drop the Urabrask—it's not worth it, regardless of the budget concerns.

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.



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