MTG's Phlage, Wrath of the Fire Titan, reignites TCG's best burn deck

After a series of Modern Horizons 3 (MH3) flooded by leaks Magic: The Gathering In the community, Wizards of the Coast delved into the unscheduled reveals to confirm which cards are indeed real. Luckily, despite the size of the leak, it still has plenty of surprises in store for us. magic Players are eager to upgrade their modern format decks to adapt to the new competitive landscape MH3 The release is definitely coming.

Among the upcoming new cards MH3 is another addition to the small cycle of ancient giant titans from the plane of Theros. Today, Polygon can officially launch Phlage, Wrath of the Fire Titan, a new version of the classic burning spell. This card could be the key upgrade needed to revive one of the Modern format's oldest strategies – especially with the help of two other cards revealed in the story below!

That's right: After years away from competitive and semi-competitive gaming, burn decks may be making a comeback.

Flagg, the Firefury Titan is a legendary creature, an ancient giant that enters the battlefield dealing 3 damage and granting 3 life, plus additional strength.

A full-art, borderless version of Phlage, Titan of Firefury…
Image: Wizards of the Coast

Flagg, the Firefury Titan is a legendary creature, an ancient giant that enters the battlefield dealing 3 damage and granting 3 life, plus additional strength.

….and an etched foil display version of the card.
Image: Wizards of the Coast

The template is similar to the two-color Elder Giant first introduced in the 2020s Theros Beyond Death, Phlage is paired with a powerful effect that triggers on first cast, but requires some extra legwork to stay on the battlefield as a permanent through its escape mechanic.

Uro, the Titan of Nature's Wrath, is a legendary creature, an ancient giant with the ability to escape and other abilities.

Image: Wizards of the Coast

Croxa, the Death-Hungry Titan is a legendary creature, an ancient giant with escape and other powers.

Image: Wizards of the Coast

When it first enters the battlefield, it immediately deals three points of damage to another creature or player and gives its controller three points of life – an effect that already exists in a popular card called “Lightning Helix” Card-wise, this card has been a cornerstone of modern red/white for many years. But like its Titan predecessors, Phlage will then sacrifice itself and travel to the graveyard until they pay the extra escape cost.

Lightning spiral, instantly causing 3 points of damage to creatures or players, and giving the caster 3 points of life.

Image: Wizards of the Coast

In order to return Phlage from the graveyard to the battlefield, its controller must spend an additional 4 mana and exile an additional five cards from the graveyard – only then will it remain on the battlefield, triggering its Lightning Spiral again upon entry. The effect repeats every time it attacks thereafter.

The legacy and decline of the modern burning deck

Historically, red/white burn decks have been a mainstay of the modern game, known for their efficiency, speed, and ability to crush opponents with a mix of aggressive creatures and cheap “burn” spells that take a toll on a player's life total. direct harm. Due to its abundance of Lightning and similar spells, Burn is considered one of the fastest winning decks in Modern due to its realistic ability to end the game on turn three.

Lightning instantly causes 3 points of damage to any target.

Image: Wizards of the Coast

Lava Spike is a Magic-Arcane type that deals 3 damage to any player or planeswalker.

Image: Wizards of the Coast

However, since its release Modern Horizons 2 In 2021, traditional burn decks failed to remain competitive, while other modern decks received significant upgrades and powerful new strategies emerged. While many Burn players continue to register their decks in tournaments, the strategy itself remains stagnant, struggling to keep up as the modern format's power levels gradually evolve and squeeze decks out of the winner's circle.

Synergy and metagame impact

Phlage not only re-applies the Lightning Spiral effect to a new card type, but it also fits perfectly into Burn's current game model. Burn decks rely heavily on one-shot instants and enchantments that quickly fill up the graveyard while executing Burn's primary strategy, making Titan's escape a realistic ending after the Burn player has exhausted other resources.

Since casting and escaping Phlage itself deals 6 points of damage, it's easy to imagine that the remaining 14 points of damage needed to kill your opponent might have been accomplished by the card used to escape them from the graveyard. If casting this card twice isn't enough to win the game on its own, each additional attack will deal nine more damage, making it a huge threat to players who manage to regain life after being burned.

A new pipeline for energy tokens

Another exciting news comes from MH3 is the return of energy tokens, a mechanism first introduced in 2016 Karadeshbut wasn't used again until earlier this year in Universe Beyond Fallout Commander deck.

Unlike most other counters magic, placed on a creature or permanent, a power counter is provided directly to the player, often as an added bonus to a card's effect. Once a certain number of energy counters are collected, they can be used as additional resources to enhance cards that care about energy return.

Case in point: Amped Raptor and Voltstorm Angel.

The Enhanced Raptor is a creature, a dinosaur, with the ability to strike first and also uses energy tokens.

Image: Wizards of the Coast

Volt Storm Angel is an Angel-type creature that uses energy counters.

Image: Wizards of the Coast

Long-term playability of energy cards MH3 That remains to be seen, however, as they've been largely non-existent in the competitive metagame since they were first introduced. Although there have been powerful energy-based decks Karadesh is legal magicstandard format, they never crossed over to more powerful environments such as Modern or Pioneer.

Although Voltstorm Angel was probably designed for the following games MH3 In the draft, Amped Raptor might be worth keeping an eye on if red energy decks exist.

The Raptor's effect when it enters the battlefield allows players to cast additional cards from the top of their library for free by spending energy counters instead of mana. Combining this with deck-manipulating effects that can put specific cards on top of your deck, as well as other spells that provide enough counters to cast whatever is shown in the Raptor's initial trigger, can allow you to “cheat” powerful ones before you And expensive cards come into the game with enough land to cast it with traditional mana.

Modern Horizons 3 The pre-release event will kick off in local game stores on June 7th, followed by the official global desktop release on June 14th.

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