Stop, Drop and Roll: A Guide to Beating Chain Burn

I am the hipster of burn decks. I have been playing them for many years, and now that they have the ability to top, I am no longer interested in them. Therefore, I have been attempting to move back to aggressive builds which has been difficult considering the last time I played a deck that involves attacking was when Tele-DAD was popular.

Since I have chosen to disgrace my fellow Burn deck players by swearing only to play aggressive decks, I figured I would take the betrayal to another level and tell you exactly what you need to know when your fate depends on beating your opponent down before they light you on fire, figuratively speaking.

Tip One:  Heavy Storm does not help.

A good Chain Burn deck needs to be able to clear their back row as quickly as possible. If a spell or trap is set, it's ready to be activated or it's a decoy. You can guarantee that your opponent won't care whether you MST or Storm it because that's all part of their master plan. In fact, they want you to activate whatever cards you can in an attempt to destroy their back row; it will add more links to a chain they are already planning on unleashing with the force of a thousand camels.

Rather than trying to destroy your opponent's back row, you're much better off going on the defensive. At some point, they're going to fill up their spell and trap zones. If you main Trap Stun or Royal Decree, letting them complete their chain and then activating one of these is a quick way to make a grown man cry. Since the cards in their chain are going to be spell speed two, using a counter trap card will also break up the damage since they will not be able to chain on top of it.

Heavy Storm and MST are helpful for cards like Messenger of Peace. However, while Messenger of Peace can be annoying, there are much better one-time cards which will prevent all attacks for one turn. One Day of Peace, for example, is probably the best stall card out there. Thunder of Ruler and Threatening Roar are also very good alternatives. Just these nine cards will prevent any battle damage from going through for nine turns which is definitely enough time to gain the resources necessary to burn away your life points. Continuous spells and traps will not offer as much defense as these other cards will nor will they allow for as easy chaining.

Tip Two:  Less is more.

Having resources is a good thing. Burning for two thousand life points is not.

Pace yourself when it comes to attacking your opponent. Get one or two big monsters and keep trying to poke away at their life points. Chances are that they're going to have something to stop your attack, so you'll make them use that resource either way, but you won't set yourself up for failure by allowing them to activate Just Desserts for a large amount of damage.

Secret Barrel is going to be your biggest enemy as far as burn damage for spell and trap cards are concerned. However, you will take the same amount of damage whether these cards are in your hand or on the field. As long as you are not worried about destruction cards like MST, go ahead and set as much as you want.

Tip Three:  Chain Burn players are secretly Transformers.

Transforming into another deck after game one is an extremely clever, daring move since there is no way for your opponent to know what you will be playing. They don't have the benefit of preparing themselves for your deck, and they may even side incorrectly against it. They will add the cards that would beat you game one, not knowing that your plan of attack will be entirely different game two.

If your opponent is running a Chain Burn deck, the fifteen cards in their side deck are probably going to make your head spin. There's not a lot you can do to prepare for this scenario since there are so many options on what they can side into. The only true advice that I can offer is to expect your Chain Burn opponent to have a transformational side deck. Don't make any assumptions regarding what cards they are running based on the first game. If you make the mistake of activating a Mind Crush since you saw they were running Chain Strike before, you may find yourself without a resource since that card may have been sided out. (Not that anyone is ever recommending a blind Mind Crush anyway.)

Tip Four: Chain Burn players should prepare for the dreaded mirror match.

I've spent this article attempting to help aggressive players learn some tips and tricks to beating Chain Burn decks. However, there are also Chain Burn players who will need to beat Chain Burn decks as well. After all, when you're running a popular deck, there is a very good chance that you will need to beat your own deck in order to top at a tournament. Sadly, there is no easy way to accomplish this.

Don't be afraid to go over your hand size limit and discard the cards which involve defending yourself against major attacks. Try to fill up your back row with whatever is going to cause the most damage, like Secret Barrel, Chain Strike, etc. Don't summon any monsters if you can help it because it's almost a guarantee that there will be three Just Desserts in their deck, and by not setting monsters, you're making sure those cards are useless.

Wait for them to start their big chain, and let the magic happen. Remember that if they activate Chain Strike, activate yours in response. While Chain Strike cannot have two cards of the same name in the chain, there is only one Chain Strike active when you decide to flip yours. If their plan was to activate a second Chain Strike, you just killed one of their cards. Huzzah!

Let's say you're not prepared for a big chain battle yet and want to buy yourself some more time. If they activate a card and you have the same one face down, activate it in response. By having the same card name twice in the chain, they will not be able to activation Chain Strike, Accumulated Fortune or any of the other cards that they would be making a big push for.

Well, interwebs, that's all for now. Stay tuned until next week when I teach you how to eat a live moose!

Michelle Pearson

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