Weatherlight: Fiery Fury Review (Part 2 of 2)
Fiery Fury has one of the most potent and unrestrained removal suites of any deck we’ve ever reviewed. Coupled with a lot of hasty creatures, it makes for a tremendously aggressive cocktail in a mono-Red framework. Of course, even the best-laid plans never survive first contact with the enemy, so to get a true idea of the deck’s capabilities we’d need to pit it against another. Jimi volunteered to be in the hot seat (ha!), and she chose the mono-Black graveyard deck Dead and Alive.
Jimi begins our match on the play, leading with a Swamp. She’s outpaced right away as I bring out an opening Roc Hatchling, though next turn she’s right in the hunt with a Fledgling Djinn. For my part, I drop a Mountain and pass.
Now turn 3, Jimi takes a nick of damage from her own Djinn, as she will each upkeep, but pulls ahead by turning it sideways on the attack. She then adds a Necratog and passes. Over to me, I summon a Viashino Sandstalker and surprise Jimi with 4 damage before returning it to hand and ending turn. Back to Jimi, she goes down to 14 life from her Djinn, then again attacks with it to put me down to 16. Looking to press the advantage, I summon the mighty Lava Hounds (taking 4 damage in the process), but it backfires when Jimi simply Dark Banishes it.
Jimi then uses a turn-5 Buried Alive to stock her pantry, filling it with a Crypt Rats and Sewer Rats. Anticipating an ambush, she holds her Djinn back and passes. Back to me, I remove the last shell counter from my Roc Hatchling, making it a 3/3 flier. I then play a Heart of Bogardan and end my turn. Jimi plays a second Fledgling Djinn and ends her turn. For my part, I drop a Crystal Vein after paying the cumulative upkeep on the Heart. I then resummon the Viashino Sandstalker, swinging in for 4. Jimi opts to block with the Necratog, devouring two creature cards from her graveyard to pump it to a 5/6.
Now turn 7, and Jimi begins by going down to 10 life thanks to her two Djinn. She sends one in on the attack, and I block with the Roc to kill it to Jimi’s apparent relief. She passes, and I attack in with the Roc for 3. Jimi takes the opportunity to chump with her remaining Roc, then attacks in with her Necratog next turn. Eating a trio of creature cards from her graveyard, the Necratog pounds in for 7 to leave me severely wounded at 5 life. That’s all she’s got, however, as I decline the cumulative upkeep on my Heart of Bogardan and blast Jimi’s side of the table for 4, killing the Necratog and leaving her at 6 life. I then attack with the Roc Hatchling, but Jimi’s ready with a Spinning Darkness (using its alternative casting cost). Ready to close the game out, I simply then Incinerate her once, then sac four Mountains to a pair of Fireblasts for the win.
As in the first game, I land a one-drop (Goblin Vandal) which Jimi then follows with a Fledgling Djinn. When turn 3 comes Jimi’s got the upper hand, attacking for 2 with the Djinn before playing a Hidden Horror (pitching a Crypt Rats). All I can do is play a Viashino Sandstalker, attacking in to put Jimi at 15 before returning it to hand.
Now turn 4, Jimi swings for 6 with both of her beaters, and I’m now at 12. She then adds a Zombie Scavengers and passes. My turn 4 is a lamentable blank, so Jimi keeps the pressure up with another 6-point attack. I Thunderbolt her Djinn, taking 4 off the Horror. Sadly, turn 5? Another blank.
On turn 6, Jimi attacks first with the Horror, forcing me to chump with my Goblin. She then summons a Fallen Askari and passes. Back to me, I’m in dire straits having hit only three of my land drops. I blast the Hidden Horror with a Spitting Earth, wounding but not quite killing it. I then tap out for a Firestorm, pitching two cards to my graveyard to fuel it (Roc Hatchling, Lava Hounds). This lets me both finish off the Horror as well as kill the Askari, buying me a bit of breathing room. It doesn’t last long- next turn Jimi recover both with a Shattered Crypt, going down to 11 life in the process. I simply deploy a Mind Stone.
Now turn 8, Jimi attacks in with her Zombie Scavengers for 3, leaving me at 5. She then adds a Shadow Rider, and in desperate straits I pop the Mind Stone for an extra card at the end of turn. Back to me, I tap out to play a Goblin Vandal and Talruum Minotaur. Next turn, Jimi swings for 6 with both creatures. Since she already has the mana up to Drain Life me out, I figure she’s probably not holding it and let the Rider through. I block the Scavengers with my Goblin, though, forcing her to exile a creature from the graveyard to regenerate them. Next turn Jimi uses Strands of Night to get back her Djinn, and the jig is up. I scoop after my draw.
On the play, I use my first two turns to lay down Mountains, while once again Jimi’s out with a Fledgling Djinn on turn 2. My turn 3 is a blank, and I even miss the land drop, though Jimi rolls on without interruption. She first swings in with the Djinn for 2, then plays Buried Alive to stock the graveyard with some Rats and Morinfen. Back to me, I topdeck a Mountain and gratefully play it, letting me summon a Bloodrock Cyclops. Jimi keeps the pressure up with the Djinn in the air, then plays the annoying Zombie Scavengers.
It’s now turn 5 and my Cyclops has to attack. Luckily, I’m holding an Incinerate and burn out Jimi’s Scavengers without fear of regeneration. That lets the Cyclops come through unmolested for 3, and I use the last open Mountain to play a Roc Hatchling. Back to Jimi, she simply swings in for 2 with the Djinn and passes, with the game now drawn even at 14-all. Next turn she blunts my attack with a Dark Banishing, but I simply replace my lost Bloodrock Cyclops with another one. She turns her Djinn sideways yet again, then uses Necromancy to return Morinfen from the graveyard to play.
Fortunately for me I’ve recovered from a slow start and crush Morinfen with a Spitting Earth. With the lanes kept open, the Cyclops hammers in for another 3, with Jimi put down to 10. Back to her, she plays a Hidden Horror (discarding Sewer Rats), then puts me down to 10 as well with her Djinn. Next turn I’m forced to attack into the Hidden Horror with the Cyclops, and Jimi opts to block and kill it. This actually does me a favour as I next cast Cone of Flame, doing 1 point to the wounded Horror to kill it, 2 points to snuff out her Djinn, and 3 on Jimi herself. Jimi simply plays a Necratog and passes.
I claim victory on turn 9 when my Roc Hatchling loses its last shell counter, and I follow up its attack with a lethal Kaervek’s Torch.
Thoughts & Analysis
Although not without its vulnerabilities, we enthusiastically declare Fiery Fury not only to be one of the best Theme Decks in all of Mirage block, but certainly a contender for any best-in-class list in the game as a whole. To be sure, it’s early game package is far from sexy with the Goblins and Rocs, but once it gets a head of steam behind it Fiery Fury can be almost impossible to stop. This is in large part down to two of its primary tactics: haste creatures and burn. With plenty of both, it has the ability to deal with nearly any creature an opponent sends against it, and keep them off-balance in the process. When you can drop a 4-power creature able to attack immediately, it tends to have a bit of a chilling effect on an opponent’s offensive coordination, compelling them to ‘leave something back just in case.’ Thanks to its abundant burn, this is often of little obstacle as we saw in game three, where my Bloodrock Cyclops was able to continually attack despite Jimi playing cards that would have stopped it (Zombie Scavengers, Morinfen). And when it finally ran into the Hidden Horror, I was all to glad to let Jimi kill it to set up my Cone of Flame. There’s something about “must attack each turn if able” creatures that lowers an opponent’s anxiety about blocking, making them less wary about doing so. This can certainly play to your advantage.
Like any archetype, Red burn and aggo has its adherents and detractors. The deck is very straightforward with little subtlety or intricacy, and the cards all but play themselves. This isn’t a deck where you have to assess a complicated board state and kick off plans within plans within plans to see out the day. Instead, it’s a big dumb hammer to beat your opponent with. If you don’t care for that sort of deck this isn’t for you, but for most of the rest of us Fiery Fun wins the award of truth-in-advertising for its name.
Hits: An unparalleled burn package sees you all the way through the game; haste creatures keep your opponent guessing, and give you extra attack power by not having to wait a turn for it to come on-line
Cons: Relatively simplistic gameplay; some early drops a bit underwhelming
OVERALL SCORE: 4.60/5.00