Light'em Up!

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The letter A!s I mentioned before, when I was in New York City preparing for Pro Tour Gatecrash, former R&D member Zac Hill, who's since relocated to New York City himself, came by a few times to try to help us out. One evening, he was interested in trying a dedicated burn deck in Standard.

While aggressive mono-red decks are always running around in Standard, dedicated "Lava Spike" decks are rare because Standard rarely has the concentration of burn spells required to support it. Standard Red decks play good aggressive red creatures and use burn spells to get those creatures through, and then they have the ability to draw burn spells to deal the last few points if the opponent locks up the board.

Lately, the idea of playing a deck full of cards that deal 3 damage to the opponent has seemed particularly absurd, given how much lifegain most decks play. Thragtusk is generally a solid two-for-one, but when just the 5 life gained is worth more than a card, the prospect of beating one can seem pretty ambitious.

Skullcrack can potentially go a long way to fighting that, and if the opponent is low enough on life that you can just ignore the 5/3, then Thragtusk isn't too scary. Also, as Boros Reckoner becomes the go-to defense against aggressive decks, largely replacing cards like Centaur Healer and Rhox Faithmender, the idea of pointing spells directly at your opponent so you don't have to figure out how to fight through the ubiquitous Minotaur becomes much more appealing.

Standard, as it turns out, has a lot of really good Lava Spikes. If that's what you're into:

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