Hey there, Budget Magic lovers, Phyrexia: All Will Be One is finally here, and today, we’re heading to our new Standard format to play a unique take on burn: Solphim, Mayhem Dominus Burn! The idea is to use cards that increase our damage like Solphim, Mayhem Dominus and Mechanized Warfare to supercharge damage from pingers like Thermo-Alchemist and Kessig Flamebreather or spells like Play with Fire and Lightning Strike! The best part is that even with the hot new #MTGONE mythic, the deck costs under $100 in paper and requires just 15 rares and mythics on Magic Arena! How much damage can we get from a single Thermo-Alchemist activation with the help of Solphim and friends? Let’s get to the video and find out; then, we’ll talk more about the deck!
Another quick reminder: if you enjoy Budget Magic and the other content on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish YouTube channel to keep up on all the latest and greatest.
Budget Magic: Solphim Burn
Solphim Burn is a burn deck. Our goal is to get in some early damage with creatures, stack up as many damage-increasing permanents as possible, and then finish the game by throwing burn spells at our opponent’s face!
The centerpieces of our deck are two cards that add damage to our other spells: Solphim, Mayhem Dominus and Mechanized Warfare. Solphim, Mayhem Dominus is an absurd card in a burn deck. Not only is it a solid 5/4 for four that can potentially become indestructible if we have extra cards in hand to discard, but it also doubles our non-combat damage. This means that Thermo-Alchemist and Kessig Flamebreather ping for two damage, Play with Fire upgrades to a better Lightning Bolt, and Lightning Strike deals four damage, making it better than a Standard-legal Boros Charm. Mechanized Warfare does something similar, adding a damage to our red and artifact sources. Basically, either of these cards by themselves turns our lowly Standard burn spells into Modern staples, and things get especially wild if we ever get both cards on the battlefield, with all of our burn cards so supercharged that we likely can kill our opponent right away!
Since Solphim only double non-combat damage, we’re mostly focused on cards that offer direct damage to our opponent rather than attacking with creatures. As such, our two most important creatures are Kessig Flamebreather and Thermo-Alchemist, both of which deal one damage whenever we cast an instant or sorcery spell. With the help of Solphim, Mayhem Dominus and Mechanized Warfare, we can easily get to the point where each ping is dealing two or three damage, which allows us to have one big combo turn where we burn our opponent all the way out of the game!
Of course, to trigger our Thermo-Alchemist and Kessig Flamebreather, we need a bunch of instants and sorceries in our deck. For this, we turn to burn spells, most of which can hit our opponent’s creatures if we need removal but can also go to our opponent’s face. Play with Fire and Lightning Strike are the most flexible and efficient burn spells in Standard and become overpowered once we get a Solphim or Mechanized Warfare on the battlefield. Call In a Professional is just a one-of to help fight lifegain, which is super good against our deck. Finally, Rebel Salvo can’t hit our opponent’s face, which is a bummer, but it’s a necessary evil in our deck since it can kill Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, which is super strong against our deck thanks to the repeatable lifegain it offers. We can’t let Sheoldred stick on the battlefield, and Rebel Salvo is the most efficient way to kill a five-toughness creature in red.
The second mythic in our deck is Chandra, Dressed to Kill, which does everything our deck could possibly want, offering direct non-combat damage that doubles with Solphim, Mayhem Dominus and Mechanized Warfare or card draw with its second +1. If we ever manage to ultimate Chandra, we are likely to win the game. While Chandra is expensive—coming in at $10 a copy in paper—it’s so good that it is more than worth spending nearly half of our budget on the planeswalker.
Even with all of our damage increasers, dealing a full 20 damage with burn spells is hard. As such, we have two one-drops to chip in for early damage and reduce the amount of burn damage we need to deal to our opponent to close out the game. Monastery Swiftspear is just the best aggro one-drop ever printed thanks to prowess, while Kumano Faces Kakkazan offers direct damage with its first lore counter (which is doubled with Solphim and Mechanized Warfare) and eventually turns into a hasty 2/2.
The mana of Solphim Burn is solid: all Mountains and three copies of Mishra’s Foundry, which gives us a bit of extra damage from our mana base. Every land comes into play untapped, which is exactly what we want in an aggro deck like Solphim Burn.
Record-wise, Mono-Red Solphim Burn was great! We finished 4-1 with the deck, with our one loss coming to a Big Red deck. Along the way, we managed to beat many of the top decks in Standard, including Esper, Grixis, and Jund midrange!
The one somewhat disappointing aspect of the deck was Solphim, Mayhem Dominus itself. While Solphim wasn’t bad, one thing we learned is that four mana is a lot for our deck. We had a couple of games where Solphim got stuck in our hand because we couldn’t find the mana (or the time) to get it on the battlefield. I could see cutting a copy or two in the future and potentially replacing it with another cheap creature or burn spell.
We also learned that Solphim, Mayhem Dominus and Mechanized Warfare don’t stack in the way we hoped. Ideally, if we have both on the battlefield, we’d apply Mechanized Warfare first to add a damage and then Solphim to double the damage, but it turns out that our opponent gets to choose the order in which the effects are applied, which means we’ll always get Solphim applied first, reducing the amount of damage we can potentially deal. Take, for example, a Thermo-Alchemist activation with both cards on the battlefield. If Mechanized Warfare is applied first, the one damage from Alchemist would get +1 from Warfare (making it two damage), which is then doubled by Solphim (making it four damage), but instead, what happens is Solphim is applied first (doubling the one damage from Alchemist to two) and then Warfare is added, giving us three total damage. This isn’t a problem, really, but I did want to explain it because it confused me during the video. I was thinking we were doing something wrong, which was how we kept ending up with less damage, but it turns out we were doing it right—there just isn’t any way to get Mechanized Warfare‘s effect to be applied first according to the rules.
So, should you play Solphim Burn in Standard? I think the answer is an easy yes! In a world where there are a lot of three-color midrange piles floating around, being super aggressive with reach to close out the game is a great place to be. If you want to win games on a tight budget, Solphim Burn seems like a really solid option for our new Standard format, both in paper and on Magic Arena.
Ultra-Budget Solphim Burn
Solphim Burn is a weird deck. In paper, the deck cost $96, but $74 of those dollars go toward the four copies of Chandra, Dressed to Kill and four copies of Solphim, Mayhem Dominus. While those are two of the most powerful cards in our deck, in theory, you can cut them for Thrill of Possibility and more copies of Rebel Salvo and Call In a Professional and end up with a super-cheap $25 deck! While it wouldn’t really be Solphim Burn anymore, because we’d be cutting Solphim itself, this is the direction to go if you want to burn fools out for as cheap as possible. Meanwhile, on Magic Arena, you can also cut Mishra’s Foundry from the mana base, which would get the total cost of the deck down to just four rares (the four copies of Mechanized Warfare).
Non-Budget Solphim Burn
Finally, for our non-budget list, we mostly get some upgrades to the sideboard, with cards like Jaya, Fiery Negotiator, Brotherhood’s End, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, and Unlicensed Hearse, with the main deck staying essentially the same.
Anyway, that’s all for today! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.