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June 13, 2013

Magic 2010: Firebomber Review (Part 2 of 2)

by Dredd77

It’s our final match before we leave Magic 2010. Will Firebomber take the win, or is it Sam’s day for glory as she pilots We Are Legion?

Game One

I’m on the play for our opener, and we swap land drops for the first turn before Sam’s Stormfront Pegasus becomes the game’s first summons. My turn-3 Goblin Artillery answers the threat, but after responding with an Honor of the Pure and a 3-point attack, Sam simply Lightning Bolts away my Artillery.

Now turn 4, I use a Pyroclasm to kill the Pegasus. Although I’d been waiting hoping to catch her overextended, the Honor of the Pure made that a very unlikely occurrence. Back to Sam, she replaces her loss with a Silvercoat Lion. Next turn, I drop a Lightning Elemental and swing in for 4. Sam opts to take it, falling to 16, and responds by attacking in with the Lion for another 3. With me at 14, she adds a Prodigal Pyromancer and passes.

Now turn 6, I swing in again with the Elemental for a further 4, taking Sam to 12. I then Bolt her Pyromancer before summoning a Fiery Hellhound. Over to Sam, she keeps her Lion at home and passes. Next turn, I kill it with a Seismic Strike, letting me hammer in for 6 (and pumping the Hound twice). Sam uses a Harm’s Way to redirect some of the incoming damage to the Hellhound. Its damage dealt, it then dies. She then shuts down my Elemental with a Pacifism.

A turn-8 Lava Axe sees Sam fall to 1 life. Though she makes a game of it, adding a Silvercoat Lion and Griffin Sentinel, it’s a waiting game to see if I draw some direct damage. A turn-11 Prodigal Pyromancer sticks, and she scoops after her next draw.

Game Two

Again Sam’s turn-2 Stormfront Pegasus is the first play of the game, after which I summon a Goblin Piker. Sam attacks for 2, then passes. I counterattack, then add the Prodigal Pyromancer.

Goblin Piker

Goblin Piker

Now turn 4, Sam again finds her Honor of the Pure. This buffs the Pegasus, and she turns it sideways for 3. Again I counterattack with the Piker for 2 and pass. Next turn, Sam takes me to 12 in the air, then lowers the boom with a Lightwielder Paladin. That forces my hand, compelling me to play a 4-point Earthquake to kill it after a ping from the Pyromancer. This solves the Paladin, but takes my creatures with it while leaving the Pegasus safely untouched.

Sam uses it on turn 6 to carve me up for another 3, and I fall to 5. One Elite Vanguard later, she ends her turn. Back to me, I Lightning Bolt the Pegasus and pass. The Vanguard drops me to 2, and I play a Canyon Minotaur as a last-stand defense. Sam simply Pacifies it, and the game is won.

Game Three

My first two turns are taken up with Mountains and nothing more, while Sam gets a Mountain and Plains for a second-turn Silvercoat Lion.

Now turn 3, I miss my land drop and pass, while Sam swings for 2 before adding a Prodigal Pyromancer. I draw a Mountain and gratefully play it, while Sam then tries to lay an Armored Ascension over her Lion. I promptly thwart that with a Lightning Bolt.

Now turn 5, I draw another Mountain and play a Canyon Minotaur. Sam pings me with the Pyromancer at the end of the turn, but has no other play on her turn proper. Next turn I use a Terramorphic Expanse to find an Island, then Seismic Strike Sam’s Pyromancer to kill it. Sadly for her, Sam’s next turn is another blank.

A turn-7 Lightning Elemental lets me swing for 7, though Sam uses Harm’s Way to kill the Elemental and only falls to 12. She next plays an Honor of the Pure. Back to me, I bring out a replacement Lightning Elemental, and swing for another 7. Down to 5, Sam tries to stabilise behind a Lightwielder Paladin. I simply kill it next turn with a Seismic Strike, attacking for the win.

Thoughts & Analysis

If we were rating purely on the noncreature spells, Firebomber would be one of the highest-rated decks we’ve ever looked at. The burn suite is extraordinary, and even more impressive when you realise that this is in a 41-card deck. That gives you tremendous ability to impose your will on the game.

Sweeper spells in particular are particularly potent in the preconstructed arena, rare as they are, and they can deliver tremendous vlue by blowing out your opponent’s forces with a single card. Firebomber not only gives you a Pyroclasm, but you also get an Earthquake which can also double as a win condition by burning out your opponent (provided you’re ahead on life). Add to that tremendous removal with the Lightning Bolts and Seismic Strikes, and there’s little this deck has cause to fear on the battlefield.

If you’re sensing a but in here, you’re right to do so, as the deck’s creature complement falls well short of that high standard. To be fair, it’s a pretty high bar, but this is certainly an example of a deck loaded up with ballast to ensure it doesn’t do too well against its opposition. Were it loaded up with early drops and with all that removal to keep the attack lanes clear, it would make quick work of the other Magic 2010 decks. For balance, it was positioned for a later development, and while some of that works (Shivan Dragon), other parts are simply not as good.

Still, it’s not a terrible suite of creatures, just a slower one. Although we didn’t deliberately save the best for last, this is the pick of the Magic 2010 litter.

Hits: Superlative burn suite; direct-damage complement backed up by Prodigal Pyromancer and Goblin Artillery

Misses: Somewhat bloated and rambling creature complement

OVERALL SCORE: 4.70/5.00

Read more from Core Sets, Magic 2010

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