Deck Tech: U/R Pyromancer with Pascal and Peter Vieren

Posted in Event Coverage on February 3, 2018

By Frank Karsten

On Thursday evening, right after registration, I checked in with Pascal and Peter—the Vieren brothers who carried the Belgian team to the finals of the 2016 World Magic Cup. Peter is the best-known of the two, as he is a Gold level pro with a reputation for brewing powerful new decks.


Pascal and Peter Vieren opted for the unexpected but powerful Blue-Red Pyromancer deck at Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan this weekend.

"So, what are you playing?" I asked the brothers on Thursday. "Surely the same deck, but anything sweet?"

"Well, it runs a two-mana 0/4," Peter said.

"Ooh. Is it Spellskite? Wall of Omens?"

"Nope."

"Hmm. Overgrown Battlement?"

"Nope," Peter replied. "Here's a hint. I ran it in most of my Standard decks at last season's Pro Tours."

"Aaaah. Thing in the Ice. Of course! I love that card."

Peter Vieren's Blue-Red Pyromancer – Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan

Like Mardu Pyromancer, the deck contains Young Pyromancer and Lightning Bolt. And like Jeskai Control, it runs Serum Visions, Cryptic Command, and Snapcaster Mage. But the similarities stop there. Blue-Red Pyromancer is a distinct archetype that has more card draw spells than either of these decks, and it contains no white or black cards whatsoever.

Sticking to two colors enables Field of Ruin in the mana base. "Field of Ruin is huge," Peter told me during the Pro Tour. "It's the plan against the Big Mana decks, and it's better than Blood Moon. People are super prepared for Blood Moon. That's the problem with the card. I just played against Tron, and at the end of the match he revealed that he'd been holding two Nature's Claim in hand."

"And when you play against three-color decks like Grixis Shadow, they immediately fetch for Islands in the expectation that you're a Blood Moon deck. But this actually makes Field of Ruin so much better, as they often fetch all of their basics, which turns Field of Ruin into a Stone Rain."

Ultimately, the best way to describe the deck is by analogy to Blue Moon or U/R Breach. "You're a draw-go control deck with two-mana threats," Peter said. "It's is basically a Blue Moon deck, except without Blood Moon or a combo. Apart from that, you have the standard blue and red interactive spells of burn and counters."

One of his main reasons for choosing the deck was the recent addition of Opt. "Opt is excellent. A deck with four Serum Visions, four Opt, and four Snapcaster Mage gives so much control over your draws, so many ways to find the right interactive cards," Peter explained. But he felt that all the combos (including Through the Breach plus Emrakul, the Aeons Torn or Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker plus Deceiver Exarch) were bad and that all the two-drops were better. "Thing in the Ice is super underrated. Why would you play a five-mana combo? My deck works fine with two lands!"

While Peter was the mastermind behind the deck, Pascal trusted his brother and played the same 75. Although he helped testing, confirmed the deck's strength on Magic Online leagues, and acted as a valuable discussion partner, Pascal didn't have a big influence on the makeup of the deck. "Well, apart from changing the second Sulfur Falls into a Spirebluff Canal. That was my big contribution," he laughed.

As a final question, I asked the brothers if they had any tips for players who might be interesting in picking up the deck. "It's useful to know which Horrors are seeing play in Modern," Peter offered as a recommendation. "The first time I transformed Thing in the Ice and my opponent's Bedlam Reveler stuck around, I was really surprised." Two other Horrors that occasionally appear in Modern are Spellskite and Horror of the Broken Lands. Be aware.

Both brothers made Day Two witha combined Modern record of, embarrassingly, six wins and four draws. While Peter didn't fare well on Day Two, Pascal couldn't stop losing and was the first person in the entire tournament to secure a spot in the Top 8. The deck is the real deal!

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