Author's Note: The format of this deck guide is a bit different from the others due to how under-explored burn is at this time. This deck guide may be updated later.
What is Burn?
In Yu-Gi-Oh!'s Goat Format, Burn is simply any deck that wins via effect damage rather than attacking. It does this by using cards like Des Koala, Stealth Bird, Tremendous Fire, Secret Barrel, Ojama Trio, Just Desserts, Nightmare Wheel, Ring of Destruction, Magic Cylinder, and Ceasefire. The specific burn cards that are used depend on that deck's specific strategy.
At a high level, all Burn decks have the same strategy: to stop their opponent in their tracks and kill them with a flurry of burn (effect damage) cards. However, Burn as a whole has a variety of different sub-strategies that take the deck in different directions.
Drain Lockdown Burn shuts the opponent out with Skill Drain and Wall of Revealing Light protected by Solemn Judgment and Fake Trap. It eventually kills the opponent with some combination of Nightmare Wheel, Secret Barrel, and Just Desserts.
Thousand-Eyes Burn is a Burn deck that hedges its bets by being very similar to Goat Control. It uses the classic Scapegoat+Metamorphosis combo to lock up the field and then can kill the opponent with Wave-Motion Cannon and Des Koala.
Speed Burn plays cards like Tremendous Fire, Meteor of Destruction, and Dark Room of Nightmare along with some of the other standard Burn choices in order to kill the opponent very quickly, sometimes as early as turn 3.
Burn Core Interactions
Although not included in all burn decks, one of the most common interactions in a Burn deck is synergy involving Ojama Trio with Secret Barrel or Just Desserts. Ojama Trio makes each Secret Barrel do an extra 600 damage and each Just Desserts do an extra 1500 damage. Burn's fastest kills usually involve Ojama Trio with multiple Just Desserts.
Another common interaction is many spell/trap cards backed up by Solemn Judgment or Fake Trap. This provides you with the stabilization needed to survive Heavy Storm.
Stall cards are also typically paired with Burn. Using Level Limit Area - B or Gravity Bind, you can prevent the opponent from really doing anything. Then you can just sit there, let them draw and summon more cards, making your Just Desserts, Secret Barrels, and Des Koalas deal more damage.
Burn Example Decklists
Drain Lockdown Burn: https://www.duelingbook.com/deck?id=2846301
Thousand-Eyes Burn: https://www.duelingbook.com/deck?id=2846381
Speed Burn: https://www.duelingbook.com/deck?id=2846507
Strengths and Weaknesses of Burn
Regardless of the variant that you use, all Burn decks have the same strength and weaknesses: Their viability is largely dependent on the metagame. If players are focusing on beating decks like Goat Control and chaos variants, it might be a good day to bring Burn. However, if everyone is packing their sidedeck with cards like Jinzo, Royal Decree, Giant Trunade, Wave-Motion Cannon, Mobius the Frost Monarch, and Chiron the Mage, Burn is going to struggle. Burn can be the definition of a high risk, high reward deck.
In particular, Burn has a hard time dealing with Reasoning Gate Combo. It plays Jinzo, which can be found quickly with Reasoning and Monster Gate, and it also usually plays multiple copies of Giant Trunade. In addition, the deck can setup a game shot out of nowhere. However, Burn usually has a good time against Thunder Dragon Chaos and Chaos Control, which are slow and do not play Jinzo or Dust Tornado in the maindeck.
Common Misconceptions About Burn
In the 2005 Goat Format, people had the tendency to pack their sidedeck with effect damage and lifegain cards like Des Koala, Cannon Soldier, Wave-Motion Cannon, Poison of the Old Man, Ceasefire, and Magic Cylinder. When some people look back at 2005 top decklists and see these cards, the assumption is that they were sidedecked to beat Burn decks. In reality, they were sidedecked because rounds were limited to 40 minutes, and matches would often end in time. These cards all happened to be a guaranteed source of damage in time while also as being good against Burn.
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Are you interested in winning in Goat Format with combo or alt-win decks? Check out these other deck guides:
Do you have any questions about Burn or want to share your own Burn decklist? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.