Today I share with you my thoughts on Ghitu Lavarunner, why I think it is a fantastic way to shave $100 dollars off any Burn deck calling for Goblin Guide and why it totally brings Pauper burn up a notch.
Please note: Goblin Guide is always going to be better than Ghitu Lavarunner. Goblin Guide is a turn one 2/2 with haste that may give your opponent land, but forces them to cough up information regardless, which is always useful to a burn player. That said let’s talk about the pro’s and con’s of Ghitu Lavarunner in the Burn archetype.
Plainly and simply Burn lives to get Ghitu Lavarunner switched on as early as turn 1 but reliably on turn 2 when you are likely going to cast it. The typical line of play for this card will be Turn 1: Mountain, bolt spell. Turn 2: Mountain, bolt spell, Lavarunner, move to combat. That stands to bring the opponents life total to 12 by turn 2 which can easily put burn within striking distance for lethal in some cases. While this can also be a common play with Goblin Guide as well, Ghitu Lavarunner needs you to play in this order to switch it on. This is unfortunately the Lavarunner’s biggest weakness as it forces you to use 5 resources out of your hand by the second turn to be effective. This can make your strategy much more of a glass cannon strategy leaving you less room to throttle back to stabilize the board if you need too. Even with this drawback I feel Ghitu Lavarunner still has enough power to be a viable budget component of a burn brew.
Now when we switch over to Pauper things change dramatically. Ghitu Lavarunner is going to take Mono Red Pauper Burn to the next level as an aggressive body that is harder to kill in a format where a toughness of 2 matters. This is where I think we will start to see Firebrand Archer fall by the wayside. Unfortunately for the archer a toughness of 1 makes it very fragile and a cmc of 2 means it shows up late to the damage party when weighed against the lavarunner. I just feel the Ghitu Lavarunner is going to be a way more efficient tool for delivering damage in the Pauper Burn brews.
All that said I think the Ghitu Lavarunner is going to do some great work in the world of Burn. I look forward to seeing how things shake out for it.