Burn (Pauper) - Sideboard Guide

Magic: the Gathering

Competitive

Burn (Pauper) - Sideboard Guide

Here I explain my Burn sideboard plan against 12 different matches.

By Arinaldo, 06/10/20, with help from our readers

Undoubtedly, the strategy of directly attacking the opponent's life in an explosive pattern has many fans. It is not for nothing that we find Burn in several constructed formats. In Pauper, the deck has been evolving through the good additions it received lately from Standard. Skewer the Critics was undoubtedly the strongest of them. Ghitu Lavarruner and Thermo Alchemist also fit the format very well, but the greatest strength of the deck is in its "legacy" part, with older cards like Chain Lightning, Lightning Bolt, Rift Bolt, Lava Spike and Fireblast.

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In general, Pauper's Burn lists are pretty similar, but the player will still have to make some important decisions regarding the mana base and side. I currently choose to play with 17 lands, including 15 mountains and 2 Forgotten Cave, according to the list below:
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I've always found very useful to have a sideboard guide nearby to help me with my choices, but I was worried to write such an article since Magic is not an exact science and the sideboard plan can vary a lot. The funny thing is that, talking to other Burn players, I realized that in several match-ups there was no consensus on side-in / side-out and that was exactly what motivated me to write this article. Today I will bring my vision of a sideboard against 12 different decks of the format. I will try to explain the reasons for my choices, but I emphasize that these options should not be treated as absolute truths. On the contrary, they are choices based on my experience with the deck, according to my personal taste and my view of the game. On the mirror, for example, I found more than one person who chooses to remove Curse of the Pierced Heart. But the plan I like the most is the following:

Mirror Match

Out: 4 Thermo-Alchemist
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In: 4 Keldon Marauders
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I choose to remove the Alchemist because the chances of him remaining on the field are minimal. The opponent's Searing Blaze forces us to be cautious at the start of the game, leaving Thermo even worse in this match, unlike the Keldon Marauders who remains efficient by entering on the late game. Curse may seem slow in this match, but it often ends up causing more damage than the creatures in the deck.

Affinity

Out: 4 Curse of the Pierced Heart, 4Ghitu Lavarunner
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In: 4 Smash to Smithereens, 4 Keldon Marauders
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The match against Affinity is very complicated. Often, the opponent's deck has Dispel on the main deck and has 3 Hydroblast on the post-side games. If the opponent is on the draw it is possible that a Carapace Forger in turn 2 will put a clock that is very difficult to deal with. Atog is the biggest threat because in addition to being difficult to remove, he is able to remove the target from our Smash to Smithereens, prevent the 3 damage in these circumstances (when the spell loses all targets, it is automatically countered). On the other hand, Affinity can wrap itself up at the beginning of the game, and a well-fitted Smash can save the time necessary for Burn to finish the game. Curse is slow and Ghitu is not effective against so many large creatures. Searing Blaze does not kill 4/4 alone, but does 3 damage to the opponent and there are still situations where it is very interesting combined with Needle Drop or with a Keldon that has been blocked. It can also be used in Atog to force the sacrifice of an artifact. The Firebrand Archer can be interesting in this match, but I don't side-in for 2 reasons: 1) I just don't think it's worth changing a 1-drop 1 for it. 2) Normally, it will be removed and will not actually cause the 2 damage Keldon does, not to mention that Keldon adds value while blocking, because it decreases the opponent's clock and can also be combined with Needle Drop.

Flicker Tron

Out

: 4 Searing Blaze, 4 Curse of the Pierced Heart

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In

: 2 Molten Rain, 2 Firebrand Archer, 3 Smash to Smithereens, 1 Keldon Marauders
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Another match which seems that Burn player have no consensus. Side-out of Searing Blaze is unanimous, but as you can see on this thread I created on twitter , there are several strategies that side-out cards like Ghitu, Fireblast, Rift Bolt or even Curse. My side-in decision is the result of the side-out of cards that I do not consider very effective in this match. So first I choose to take away 4 Searing Blaze because the opponent has few creatures that are not usually cast at the beginning of the game. Also, I find the Curses too slow in this match, where opponents usually use 4 Hydroblast to deal with it at the beginning of the game, or Weather the Storm if the game goes on too long. And as much as it is questionable to use resources to slow down Tron, I like to side-in 3 Smash in this match, not 4 to decrease the chance of being stuck with it in my hand (I even study the possibility of using only 3 on the side and opening one slot for the second Martyr of Ashes).

Boros Monarch

Out

: 4 Ghitu Lavarunner, 4 Thermo-Alchemist, 2 Rift Bolt
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In

: 2 Molten Rain, 4 Smash to Smithereens, 4 Keldon Marauders
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Rift Bolt is a great card to enable Needle Drop and Skewer the Critics. However, as Boros has no counters, it becomes easier to achieve the conditions to cast these cards. Siding-out Rift Bolt is an option to make it a little less slow, since we are siding-in Molten Rain.

Boros Bully

Out

: 4 Ghitu Lavarruner, 4 Thermo-Alchemist
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In

: 2 Electrickery, 2 Firebrand Archer, 4 Keldon Marauders
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Izzet Skred / Mono U

Out: 2 Needle Drop, 4 Thermo-Alchemist
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In: 2 Electrickery, 4 Keldon Marauders
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In Gilmour's sideboard guide, he sides-out 2 Forgotten Cave for Electrickery, but he played with 19 lands at a time that there was no [card] (Skewer the Critics). Since my list plays with 17 lands, I do not consider removing Forgotten. Usually in this match, I try to do the maximum damage in the first rounds and then, when everything gets complicated, I try to gather as much damage as possible so that I can finish the game even if the opponent counters some of my spells. In this strategy, I side-out Thermo because I don't want to give my opponent the option to let it resolve and keep open mana to counter other threats, and then bounce or remove Thermo on his turn. I want to force the opponent to spend resources countering Keldon or taking at least 2 damage for not doing so. As this match is not very easy to pin some damage, I choose to side- out Needle Drop and keep Skewer who has more synergy with the posture I adopt in this match, and it not a Dispel target.

Bogles

Out

: 4 Searing Blaze, 4 Curse of the Pierced Heart, 1 Ghitu Lavarunner

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In

: 2 Electrickery, 2 Firebrand Archer, 1 Martyr of Ashes, 4 Keldon Marauders
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Searing Blaze and Curse are easier side-out decisions. I am choosing to take out Ghitu because I am entering with more creatures, but I could side-out the Rift Bolt, or side-in only 3 Keldons.

MBC

Out

: 4 Thermo-Alchemist
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In

: 4 Keldon Marauders
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Yeah, Thermo won't survive...

Stompy

Out: 4 Ghitu Lavarunner, 4 Curse of the Pierced Heart
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In: 2 Electrickery, 1 Firebrand Archer, 1 Martyr of Ashes, 4 Keldon Marauders
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The side is very similar to Bogles, but the Archer is not as efficient here. I only side it in because I'm not using the second Martyr.

Mono W Heroic

Out: 4 Curse of the Pierced Heart, 1 Lava Spike.
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In: 2 Electrickery, 1 Martyr of Ashes, 2 Firebrand Archer.
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It is a very complicated match, and your posture can vary according to the game, it is always difficult to decide between removing the creatures or starting the race. I like to go up Martyr and Electrickery to have more than one plan.

Elves

Out: 4 Curse of the Pierced Heart, 1 Lava Spike
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In: 2 Electrickery, 1 Martyr of Ashes, 2 Firebrand Archer
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In his guide, Martin Juza clearly doesn't like Ghitu in this match. I choose to remove the Lava Spike, as it does not interact with the creatures. I choose to keep the Ghitus and not side-in the Keldons. -- I believe I managed to cover the main decks of the format. The best two references that I know about the sideboard of this deck are: 1) Martin Juza's guide to Monored Burn in Pauper; 2) Gilmour's video guide (in portuguese).
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Although these references are out of date, I hope that with these materials in hand you will be able to have a basis for developing your own sideboard plan. Did you like the article? Be sure to comment on your choices or questions regarding the Deck. Thank you very much for reading and see you next time.

This article belongs to the series Sideboard Guide for decks in the Pauper Format:

1. Burn (Pauper) - Sideboard Guide

2. Pauper Slivers - Deck Sideboard Guide

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Arinaldo

Systems Analyst. MTG Player and content creator. Creator and presenter of the Youtube and Podcast Mana Delver. Despite being in love with Pauper, he also plays and enjoys all other formats.

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