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Budget Magic Update: Black Burn Returns with Rakdos Charm!

Hey there, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! You might remember a that a few months back we played Black Burn in Modern for Budget Magic. The deck was hilarious and a lot better than expected. As such, today we're revisiting Black Burn with a super spicy new twist: we're trying to give our opponents creatures with Forbidden Orchard to turn Rakdos Charm into the most powerful burn spell in the format! Is Rakdos Charm good, actually? What other upsides are in the deck? Let's find out on this week's Budget Magic update!

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Budget Magic: Black Burn with Rakdos Charm

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The Deck

Since this is an updated version of a deck we played a few months ago I'm going to keep the article short. Rather than going over ever card choice we'll focus on the updates and changes to the deck. If you want a full breakdown of Black Burn make sure to check out the original article on the deck.

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You probably remember the core idea of the Black Burn deck. We have Soul Spike and Chancellor of the Dross as free burn spells and we back them up with essentially every black Lightning Bolt we can find with cards like Bump in the Night, Sovereign's Bite, Gonti's Machinations and Okiba Reckoner Raid (which isn't technically a Bolt since it only deals two damage, but it does have the upside of flipping into a creature eventually). We're still playing all of those cards, but we also have some really spicy new updates.

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One of the strangest and, surprisingly, most effective cards in the original black burn deck was Sleeper Agent, a one mana 3/3 that we have to give to our opponent when we play it and then deals two damage to its controller on their upkeep. In theory Sleeper Agent is a bad deal, we're taking three damage a turn from it attacking us, but only dealing two a turn to its trigger. However, since our deck is overloaded with drain spells that gain us life we can afford to take more damage from Sleeper Agent and still (hopefully) win the game.

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The new, updated take on Black Burn fully embraces the fact that when we play Sleeper Agent we are giving our opponent a creature. In fact, one of the primary goals of our deck today is to give our opponent as many creatures as possible with the help of Forbidden Orchard, a land that taps to add a mana of any color but when we tap it we have to give our opponent a 1/1 Spirit token. The idea is we can use Sleeper Agent and Forbidden Orchard to give our opponent a massive board of small creatures and turn Rakdos Charm into the greatest burn spell in the history of Modern. While Rakdos Charm has a bunch of relevant modes - exiling the graveyard against Dredge and Reanimator, blowing up artifacts against Affinity or Scales - the most important is "each creature deals one damage to its controller." With the help of Sleeper Agent and Forbidden Orchard (combined with whatever creatures our opponent happens to be playing) it's pretty easy for our deck to give our opponent four, six or even more creatures, which turns Rakdos Charm into two mana burn our opponent for four, six or more damage, all at instant speed, which is an absurd deal!

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The other big new addition to the deck is Orcish Bowmasters, which is technically another black turn spell, dealing damage when it enters the battlefield or when our opponent draws extra cards. It also happens to be one of the strongest overall cards in the Modern format, which makes it a super easy inclusion in a Black Burn deck. This said, there is one big issue: Orcish Bowmasters is ungodly expensive at the moment, with a playset costing nearly $200.

The Budget

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Above is the original version of Black Burn, which was about $100 when we played it but has crept up to $160. As you can see, the build we are playing today is way more expensive, coming in at $475 which is still cheap for a Modern deck, but way higher than our normal $100 budget. It's essentially a fully upgraded, non-budget version of the deck we played a few months back.

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The good news is that almost all of this price increase comes from a handful of super expensive cards. In fact just the four copies of Orcish Bowmasters and four Bloodstained Mires cost $325, which means without those two cards our deck today would be $150, which is actually slightly cheaper than the original Black Burn deck is currently. In all honesty, I think both cards can be cut. While Orcish Bowmasters is a super strong card I played two full league with today deck, hardly drew it at all and still had success. While I think it is optimal to run it, Black Burn it just fine without it. Something like Collective Brutality or even just Sign in Blood can take its place and the deck will do just fine. Meanwhile, Bloodstained Mire does increase the consistency of our manabase, but considering we're not playing any basic Mountains in our deck any black-based fetchland will do the same thing, like for example Marsh Flats which is $48 a playset rather than $150 like Bloodstained Mire. If that's still too much you can just cut the fetches all together and play budget-friendly dual lands and the deck should still work pretty well. 

All this to say, while the price tag of our deck is technically pretty high, it's actually super easy to get the price down close to $100 without losing much power or consistency. Consider this to be the super optimal non-budget build, but as we've seen multiple times, the $100-ish version of Black Burn is surprisingly competitive. 


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

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