[Contest] Young Pyromancer

The Submission

Young Pyromancer
I would include four copies of Young Pyromancer. As a stand-alone inclusion, it is interesting because it naturally appeals to a variety of different decks. Not only is it decent in classic red aggro decks, as well as classic Xr control decks – it also supports red tokens, which have been getting more and more tempting with the introduction of new cards such as Tempt with Vengeance and Purphoros, God of the Forge (neither of which are bad in conventional decks). It also makes things like Goblin Bombardment a more salient inclusion, since before it was primarily aimed at recursion or token decks, which are commonly found in a non-red base.

Of course, a red token subtheme synergizes with the usual token crew; anthems, pox/stax, etc. Likewise, it synergizes positively with storm subthemes, which are commonly found lacking, and grants support to a potential “spells matter” archetype (e.g., Guttersnipe, Gelectrode & Talrand, or even Kiln Fiend, Nivix Cyclops & Spellheart Chimera, depending on your preferences. Likewise, this might be a time to reconsider Delver – perhaps even as a 4-of!).

Jason’s Critique

Recently when discussing black two drops, I bemoaned that I couldn’t find a splashable creature that both aggressive and controlling decks are both interested, and, while not black, Young Pyromancer certainly fits the bill. What’s most interesting about this proposal is how well Young Pyromancer intersects various supportable themes: spells matter, tokens, anthems, sacrifice effects.

The proposal here to supplement Young Pyromancer with various spells matters is perhaps a bit shakier. Many of the archetype’s reward cards are rather underpowered on their own, and I’m not terribly enthused with the idea of including a card like Kiln Fiend that at most one of the table’s drafters will be interested in. Ditto for the idea of storm cards.

Another problem with “spells matters” cards like Spellheart Chimera and Nivix Cyclops is that including them naturally cuts into our spell density. Izzet sections, prior to the printing of Ral Zarek, were usually completely filled with instants and sorceries. I think a quartet of Young Pyromancers (plus possible Delvers) is likely sufficient creature support for the archetype, so attention should likely be turned to finding ways to allow various deck types to play higher spell counts. Are we interested in more free spells like Gitaxian Probe and Manamorphose? Gut Shot? Flashback cards like Reckless Charge? Spell-based token creators?

Further, how do we handle red control, whose traditional route to victory relies on the use of efficient board wipes. Young Pyromancer sits on the board and is anti-synergistic with cards like Pyroclasm and Slagstorm. Perhaps we can emphasize other sweepers?

Mizzium MortarsSudden Demise

On the whole, Young Pyromancer is a card that captures my imagination, that I could legitimately see including in multiples in a tight cube environment, but I wish this submission had done a bit more of the legwork in fleshing out how to incorporate it into an environment.

Eric’s Critique

Young Pyromancer is like that basketball team’s first round draft pick. There’s clearly so much potential there, and you’re expecting a breakout performance somewhere down the line, when all its potential comes to fruition, and you can say “I told you so”. But as of yet, you’ve seen only mild results, nothing that would blow you away, and nobody’s quite sure what to expect.

I like most of the author’s suggestions, and teaming up Pyromancer with Purphoros seems like a spicy number. Fitting into multiple archetypes is another strong point raised that makes Pyromancer seem like a good build-around in multiples.

Like Jason, though, I’m a little more skeptical of going down the ‘spells matter’ path. Other than in cubes built entirely around the concept, people’s experiences with trying to get the Izzet spells theme to work in their own cubes has been rocky at best. Delver of Secrets is a notoriously fickle card to try and accommodate in cube, while most of the other suggestions require too much setup for too little payoff. I think Jason’s onto something with combining the free spells mechanic with Pyromancer, though, because if we’ve learned anything from Constructed, it’s that we want to be paid off immediately.

My overall impression of Young Pyromancer is that in cubes with enough dedicated support for some sort of spells-matter theme, it’s viable and justifiable to include multiple copies of her. Without stronger suggestions as to her supporting cast, though, I’m not convinced that a set of Pyromancers is the right fit for most cubes.

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