I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving and is looking forward to the Christmas season. Next weekend is Mythic Championship VII, the first major tournament since the Oko ban. So far, two decks have risen in the race to replace Oko as the top deck in standard. The first is Caldron Familiar Sacrifice and the second is based around Fires of Invention.

Today, I want to look at the Jeskai Fires deck. This deck has quickly moved to Tier 1 status. There are several variants of the deck, but the most successful version uses Cavalier of Flame, Cavalier of Gales, and Sphinx of Foresight. Early versions centered around planeswalkers but could not match the power of Oko. This version has powerful finishers along with filtering affects to move efficiently through the deck.

Here is Andrew Gubin’s 2nd place deck from WPNQ@ Volgo Games. I think it represents the strongest version of the main deck, but I think that the sideboard will continue to evolve.

Jeskai Fires, Andrew Gubin

CREATURES (17)
Bonecrusher Giant
Sphinx of Foresight
Cavalier of Flame
Cavalier of Gales
Kenrith, the Returned King

SORCERIES (8)
Deafening Clarion
Shimmer of Possibility
Drawn from Dreams

ENCHANTMENTS (4)
Fires of Invention

PLANESWALKERS (4)
Teferi, Time Raveler

LANDS (27)
Castle Vantress
Fabled Passage
Hallowed Fountain
Island
Mountain
Plains
Sacred Foundry
Steam Vents
Temple of Epiphany
Temple of Triumph

SIDEBOARD (15)
Grafdigger’s Cage
Aether Gust
Devout Decree
Sorcerous Spyglass
Legion Warboss
Mystical Dispute
Solar Blaze

The deck’s early game is centered around getting four lands into play and dealing with early threats while finding Fires of Invention.

Ideally, your opening hand includes Sphinx of Foresight. This creature allows you to scry three when it is in your opening hand. This lets you set the order of your first three draws and bottom away unnecessary cards. When you don’t have Sphinx, a turn one scry land has a similar effect. Then on turn two play Shimmer of Possibilities to further filter your draw to dig for Fires, a turn four creature, or a board wipe.

The turn three play is usually a Deafening Clarion or Teferi, Time Raveler depending on the board state and whether you are still looking for a copy of Fires of Invention. When the board is relatively clear, Teferi is ideal because he locks when your opponent can play spells and it can give you the ability to play a Deafening Clarion on your opponent’s turn, if you plus Teferi.

Turn Four is Fire time. Hopefully by your turn four draw, you have found a copy of Fires of Invention. The power of Fires of Invention is that you get to play two spells without paying their mana cost if the spell’s converted mana cost is equal to or less than the number of lands you have in play. After the turn Fires enters the battlefield, you can use all your mana on activated abilities.

From turn five on the game plan becomes playing your finishers: Cavalier of Flame, Cavalier of Gales, and Kenrith, the Returned King. Each one provides added value beyond having a large creature on the field. Gales draws three cards when it enters the battlefield. Then you put two cards from your hand on top of your library. This allows you to continue to filter your draws and get more of the cards you want to end the game. When it dies, it gets shuffled into your deck and then you scry two and possibility place it back on the top of your deck.

Cavalier of Flame is one of the most powerful creatures in standard. When it enters the battlefield, you get to discard any number of cards from your hand and draw that many cards. This allows you to continue to filter through your deck looking for more threats. In addition, Cavalier has an activated ability. This ability gives each of your creatures +1/+0 and haste. This can lead to a lethal attack on the turn it enters play. When Cavalier of Flame dies, it does damage to each opponent and each of their planeswalkers equal to the number of lands in your graveyard. When you discard cards when Cavalier of Flame enters the battlefield sending any extra land to your graveyard will help you do additional damage.

The final finisher is Kenrith, The Returned King. This 5/5 legendary creature has five different activated abilities. One for each mana color.
{R}: All creatures gain trample and haste until end of turn.
{1}{G}: Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature.
{2}{W}: Target player gains 5 life.
{3}{U}: Target player draws a card.
{4}{B}: Put target creature card from a graveyard onto the battlefield under its owner’s control.

The most relevant abilities in the Fires of Invention deck are the red and white. For one red mana each creature on the battlefield gets trample and haste. This can lead to turns where you can deal fifteen to twenty damage in a turn. The white ability gives you five life which makes it difficult for less powerful decks to keep-up with the power of the deck. I suggest having a swamp in your deck, so that you can fetch it with Fabled Passage when you have a Kenrith. The black mana ability lets you return a creature from your graveyard to the battlefield. While it is not the most powerful of Kenrith’s abilities it can turn a game around.

Overall, Jeskai Fires is a very powerful deck that is difficult to beat when it has Fires of Invention on the field. There are several other variants of the deck that you can expect to see as players work to counter the overall power of this deck and the Caldron Familiar Sacrifice decks. Try it out and let me know in the comments what you think.

Until next time, good luck finding your win condition!