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Goldfish Gladiators: Mardu Firesong and Sunspeaker (Standard, Magic Arena)

Welcome to Goldfish Gladiators! This week, we're heading to Standard to see if our Dominaria buy-a-box promo Firesong and Sunspeaker has a chance of being competitive in the format. A couple of weeks ago, we had an Instant Deck Tech featuring the card, and while it looked a bit rough around the edges, the power of our namesake card with Boros burn spells like Integrity // Intervention, Deafening Clarion, and—of course—the big lifegain combo finish of Star of Extinction seemed to at least have some potential. As such, today, we're going to see if a deck overflowing with sweepers along with Firesong and Sunspeaker and Josu Vess, Lich Knight to close out the game actually has what it takes to compete in the format. Can Firesong and Sunspeaker join Nexus of Fate on the list of playable buy-a-box promos? Let's get to the video so you can see how it works; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Goldfish Gladiators: Mardu Firesong and Sunspeaker


  • As for our record, it wasn't exciting. We went 2-2 in a traditional constructed event, jumped onto the ladder for an additional match, and promptly found a way to lose to Gruul Midrange—a deck that it seems like we should be heavily favored against, thanks to our 12 main-deck sweepers. As such, it seems that, while unique and fun, Mardu Firesong and Sunspeaker isn't all that competitive.
  • The deck itself might be one of the highest-variance decks in the Standard format. Thanks to the way the deck is built, it feels like we should almost never lose to random creature decks but almost never beat control. Of course, "almost" isn't every time—we did take a pretty spectacular game from Esper Control and managed to get mana screwed and lose to Gruul Midrange. 
  • Maybe the biggest thing we could do to improve the deck is to try to improve our bad matchups. While having 12 sweepers is great in the right matchup, they give us so many dead cards that we'll almost never beat Nexus of Fate decks or random control builds. Trading in some of our Cleansing Novas (our worst sweeper, since it doesn't work with Firesong and Sunspeaker) for cards like Karn, Scion of Urza (which seems like a natural fit and also happens to be good against control while also giving us another way to close out the game) and maybe an Azor's Gateway or two would go a long way toward making the deck competitive in a wider range of matchups.
  • Speaking of Karn, Scion of Urza, it also felt like Mardu Firesong and Sunspeaker]] could use another finisher. With just three Firesong and Sunspeaker and two Josu Vess, Lich Knight as dedicated finishers, we occasionally run into games where, after we gain control of the board and boost our life total, we struggle to kill our opponent. Karn, Scion of Urza and the massive tokens it could make would help speed up this clock.
  • While this might sound like all bad news, the deck actually has some really sweet synergies. Maybe the most exciting is Integrity // Intervention with Firesong and Sunspeaker. For four mana, we end up with three different "deal three damage" spells while also gaining a bunch of life along the way. This can either keep the board clean or, as we saw in our win against Esper Control, allow for a weird combo-like finisher where we burn our opponent out of the game in one big turn.
  • The other drawback of the deck is that it takes a lot of wildcards, with a massive 38 rares along with four mythics. Thanks to the three-color mana base along with the rare sweepers, finishers, and card draw like Treasure Map, it would be hard to really decrease this number in a meaningful way. Because of this, combined with the deck's sort of middling record, it's hard to really recommend anyone spending their wildcards to build Mardu Firesong and Sunspeaker. If you have most of the cards already, the deck can be really fun to play (and probably much more fun with the changes we've been talking about to improve the bad matchups), and Firesong and Sunspeaker is a super-spicy way to pick up some wins, but it's just not good enough to make up for the high wildcard investment if you don't already have most of the cards.


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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