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Budget Magic: Zero-Rare Blast Burn (Historic)


Hey there, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! A little while ago, I said on stream that I didn't think you could consistently win on Magic Arena without playing at least some rares and mythics—even budget decks need at least a few to keep up. Well, now, viewers are sending me their best zero-rare decks in an effort to prove me wrong! So today, we're going to give one of them a try in Historic and find out of it is really possible to win in Magic Arena's most powerful format with a zero-rare budget!

So, what deck are we using for this challenge? A zero-rare / -mythic Shrapnel Blast Burn deck sent in by RookerKdag! The deck is oddly nostalgic for me because it reminds me of a Modern Budget Magic deck we played way back in 2018 in Blast Affinity. The idea of the deck is to use Shrapnel Blast and Improvised Club to take huge chunks out of our opponent's life total, back up the burn with some aggressive creatures like Goblin Blast-Runner and Monastery Swiftspear, and hope we can get our opponent's life total to zero before they take over their game with bomby rares and mythics. Can the plan work? Is a zero-rare budget actually possible in Historic? Let's find out on this week's Budget Magic!

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Budget Magic: Zero-Rare Blast Burn

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The Deck

As its name suggests, Blast Burn is a burn deck. The goal is to get in some early damage with one-drop creatures and then finish our opponent with direct damage from powerful burn spells like Shrapnel Blast and Improvised Club

The Blasts

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The foundation of our deck is our eight blasts: Shrapnel Blast and Improvised Club. Both are super far above the curve for burn spells, offering four or five damage for just two mana. But they each have a drawback: we need to sacrifice an artifact (or, for Improvised Club, an artifact or creature) to even cast them.

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Thankfully, this isn't a problem for our deck since it's overloaded with cheap artifacts that generate card advantage. These cards do double duty in our deck. Their most important role is giving us sacrifice fodder for Shrapnel Blast and Improvised Club. But each of them also draws us a card, which is huge in a burn deck. One of the ways a burn deck can lose is by dumping its hand of damage and finding out it's a few points of burn short of actually killing the opponent. Drawing some extra cards with Experimental Synthesizer, Mishra's Research Desk, and Implement of Combustion means this isn't typically a problem for our deck. This combination—turning on our best burn spells also keeping us churning through our deck to find more damage—makes these cards incredibly important and strong in our deck.

The Creatures

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Creature-wise, our deck has three one-drops, with the idea being that these cards can chip in for some damage early in the game before our opponent gets their defenses in order; then, we can use our burn to close out the game once our opponent's life total is low enough. Voldaren Epicure is our worst attacker, but it makes up for this by dealing one damage when it enters the battlefield and also making a Blood token, which we can sacrifice to Shrapnel Blast or Improvised Club. Monastery Swiftspear you likely already know. It's a burn staple in basically every format thanks to the combination of haste and prowess, which often allows it to attack for two, three, or even four damage as we cast our spells. The most interesting of our creatures is Goblin Blast-Runner. A 1/2 for one isn't exciting, but it becomes a 3/2 menace if we sacrifice a permanent, which is actually a great deal in an aggressive burn deck. Thanks to our blast effects and sac-able artifacts, it's pretty easy for our deck to turn on Goblin Blast-Runner every turn it's on the battlefield, which makes it a surprisingly strong threat in our deck!

Other Stuff

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Rounding out the nonlands in our deck are more burn in Skewer the Critics and Static Discharge, which isn't quite as scary as our blast effects but still fairly efficient. Skewer the Critics is often a Lightning Bolt, assuming we manage to deal some damage, which is what our deck is designed to do. Meanwhile, Static Discharge is weird. The first one isn't great, offering three damage for two mana, but the second and third copies, should we draw them, are super strong since they gain a damage for each Static Discharge we cast before it. Four damage for two mana is above the curve, and if we happen to assemble Static Discharge Tron, the third one offers a massive five damage, which is just absurd. 

Last but not least, we have Light Up the Stage, which is basically just a one-mana draw two in our deck, making it another great way to make sure that our hand stays full of action and we have enough burn to close out the game.

Wrap-Up

Record-wise, we played 11 games with the deck and went 7-4, good for a 64% win percentage, which is really solid—not just for a zero-rare budget deck but for any deck. While the sample size isn't huge, if the deck can actually keep up a win rate above 60%, it really is a zero-rare deck that can rank you up on Arena and even get you all the way to Mythic, which is awesome! While I still think there aren't very many zero-rare decks that can be truly competitive on Arena, this deck shows that there are at least some. If you are looking to be competitive as a free-to-play player, this seems like a great option!

The other thing I really like about this deck is that it didn't really feel like it was on a tight budget. Sometimes, you play a budget deck and there are obvious cards you wish you could run but they just don't fit under the budget. But Blast Burn felt pretty optimal. Even if the budget were unlimited, I'm not sure how much I'd add to the deck. Eidolon of the Great Revel could be worthwhile, and if you want to splash into a second color, cards like Lurrus of the Dream-Den (as a companion), Orcish Bowmasters, and Lightning Helix (which is sadly a rare on Arena) are decent options. But the deck felt really solid as-is in zero-rare-budget form!

So, should you play Zero-Rare Blast Burn in Historic? If you are looking to win on a zero-rare budget, I think the answer is an easy yes! The deck is competitive and surprisingly fun. For some reason, every time we play a burn-style aggro deck I end up having a...well...blast with it, and this deck is no exception. While durdling around and pulling off wild combos is super sweet, sometimes it's nice to just throw a bunch of burn spells at your opponent's face until they die, and Zero-Rare Blast Burn is great at getting that job done.

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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