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A World on Fire – Interview with Victor Harris on his Burning Tree Deck

With the possibility of sealed being removed as a format for upcoming Grand Prix Richardson, and other GP’s going forward, it may be a good idea to look at other ways of dealing with the competition of Faerur, Ayu, and Lumia. Today we take a look at the Burning Tree deck played at GP Atlanta, (1/20/18) as well as getting the opinion of the pilot of this deck, Victor Harris. Here we will see how his matches went, changes he would make (if any), and advice going forward with this deck. While Victor has said it is not his best play through of the deck, you can find it in action during GP Atlanta, thanks to the live stream Jeremy (aka DM073) provided at the following link. Jump forward to 5hrs 48Minutes for the start of the game.

Ruler: Yggdrasil, Malefic Verdant Tree Main Deck: 2 Melgis, King of Black Flame 2 Mikage Seijuro, Patriarch of the Vampires 4 Explorer on Mt. Hoelle 4 Sylvia, Blade of the Supreme King 4 Red Riding Hood, Rainbow to the Heavens 1 Valentina, the Twilight Passion 2 Conjure Time Bomb 3 Magic Impact 2 Invitation of Disaster 4 Otherworld Dreams 4 Lightning Strike 4 Memory to Memoria 4 Crimson Sanction 4 Refarth’s Wall of Flames 4 The Final Battle 4 Blood Boil 2 Majin Madness 2 Severing Winds 4 Callous Blaze Stone Deck: 4 Magic Stone of Scorched Bales 4 Magic Stone of Blasting Waves 1 Magic Stone of Summer’s Breeze 1 Magic Stone of Purgatory Sideboard: 2 Mikage Seijuro, Patriarch of the Vampires 1 Valentina, the Twilight Passion 4 Abdul Alhazred, Poet of Madness 1 Sorceress of Heavenly Wind, Melfee 2 Conjure Time Bomb 1 Invitation of Disaster 2 Burn to Cinders 1 Heteroclite Excalibur 1 Alhama’at’s Black Lightning

How long have you been playing Force of Will, and what got you into the game?

“I have been playing Force of Will since GP Houston 3 years ago. I think I made top 64 that first GP, probably 60th place. And I thought that was a huge accomplishment. I got into the game because honestly my family was going through some personal issues and I needed a stress-free hobby to get my mind off things, my family life is better now but the game (I also play Magic) is the most fun card game I have ever played.”

Was this your first GP? Have you been to this level of event in other card games?

“I have been to multiple Force of Will GP’s and one Magic the Gathering GP. I have actually top 8’d at two Force of Will GPs.”

Approaching the GP was this a deck you made in anticipation of the meta? Or was this a deck you have been running already and then decided to take it to the GP?

“The deck was actually a combination effort months ago by me and Dane Patey. Dane had won at least 2 GPs last year and we wanted to work on a fun deck together. We made a Water/Light/Darkness/Fire burning tree deck for Master’s but I was the only one that played it. That deck which was way worse, took 22nd place at Masters cutting it down from 4 colors to 3, Fire/Darkness/Wind made a huge difference, and the main reason for the Wind was just to run 4 Otherworld Dreams. I knew Ayu and Faerur were major rulers and expected a lot of them at this GP, the deck has a VERY good Ayu match-up and I felt very good about it against faerur. What I felt like would be a bad match-up Lumia, turned out to be way more in attendance than I expected. I played Lumia in one match against David Hartley and won that match, but feel it was partly luck of the draw.”

What was your final standing when the GP was over (including win/loss/tie record) ?

“I was 5-2 final standing 18th place, my record 5-2 was the same record as 11th place.”

How did your match-ups go? And what would you say you faced the most of in your pairings?

“The deck performed well all day, the deck I played against the most was Ayu, Both of those matches I felt were very favorable to me. I played two Faerur and the match I lost on stream I felt was very winnable. I got too greedy after playing Wind/Water/Light Faerur and Wind/Fire Faerur. I was used to Faerur not having any life loss effects and I paid too much life for Melgis, forgetting that darkness had access to life loss to hit me directly.” “I feel like overall my matchups throughout the day were favorable and the deck performed well. My only matchup I considered bad was Lumia. I think Fox has a slight advantage as well, but overall the deck was great.”

Looking at your original list, what, if anything, would you recommend as changes going forward?

“I underestimated how wide most boards go in the current meta. I knew Faerur would get a lot of tokens, but I didn’t realize Lumia would be so popular and they develop a lot of resonators as well. This makes certain resonators way worse. Especially Sylvia, since they can pick a different small blocker even if you make it so their bigger resonators cant block. Also true blade makes some resonators worse like red riding hood. Crimson Sanction is a 1 cost Fire spell that deals 300 damage to a player but if you have 5 magic stones due to seal, it does 700. 700 damage for 1 Fire will is a great rate in burn but the card under-performed all day, it was just a little slow in the meta and playing it earlier for only 300 damage did not feel good. So I would at least take out all 4 Sylvias, and the crimson sanctions, I might also take out some of the red riding hood. I would put in 2 more Severing Winds, 1-2 more Conjure Time Bomb main. That card either does serious damage or does very little, in the match-ups that conjure time bomb is good, it almost wins you the game a lot of time. I would also possibly consider playing Tama in the deck, as card draw and to slow down Lumia and Faerur’s tokens.”

In the hands of another play, do you feel they would make top 8 given the recommended changes?

“It really depends on how the meta evolves. I feel like if lumia gets way more popular the deck will get worse. They have so much card draw and play sometimes up to 12 counter spells in their deck. If the meta was going to be Faerur, Ayu, and pretty much any other deck, I think it would have a very good shot of doing well.”

What advice would you have for someone playing this deck at the next GP/ARG ?

“The deck is really fun to play, but you really want to be making one big move a turn and the games are very much a race. I would just say each turn ask yourself what would make the most impact? Sometimes using your burn spells to slow them down makes a lot of sense, but for the most part if your spell or ability wont make a major impact on their game-plan, its better to play something that will just damage them directly. It is always funny to just play a burn spell to their face and pass turn, you feel like you are not doing much but the burn spells add up very quickly. In this game if you play 8 Lightning Strikes, you win the game. when you view it that way, every bit of damage counts.” “As cards to add, I think Al’H’s Black Lightning might be a good addition to the deck as well. It would help deal with resonators like Lumia, without them being able to counter it.”
A Special Thanks to Victor Harris for allowing me ask more in depth questions on how his deck ran. If you would like to see more articles like this going forward please let us know in the comments section below or send us a message on social media.