Burn Decks are designed to inflict damage (or burn) to the opponent's Life Points to 0 with cards that effect damage, instead of relying on battle damage and in many cases, Burn Decks do not rely on the Battle Phase at all.
True to its name, many "burn" cards feature FIRE Attribute or Pyro-Type monsters, or otherwise feature fire in general (such as "Hinotama", "Tremendous Fire", and "Meteor of Destruction"). The "Trickstar" archetype focuses on effect damage, while many other archetypes have some burn cards, usually to give the archetype on last push in damage, examples include; "Updraft", "Venom Burn" and "Shadow Toon" for "Cloudian", "Venom", and "Toon" Decks respectively.
There are many different methods for building a Burn Deck. The most effective play style often changes depending on the format. Burn Decks can generally be divided into two types:
- Fast, FTK/OTK Burn Decks. These tend to focus on a few extremely powerful burn cards together, or using almost all of the user's deck in a single turn.
- Slower (perhaps 1000-2400 damage per turn) Burn Decks. These are usually combined with Stall cards to protect the user's Life Points (as Burn Decks do not usually run many powerful monsters to defend directly) while chipping away at the opponent.
Chain Strike OTK
Chain Strike or Chain Burn is a Deck usually designed to win by the first to third turn. This is accomplished by starting a chain with and continuing until a well-timed "Chain Strike" can generate enough burn damage to win. These Decks are generally built with very few monsters.
Chain Strike (non-OTK)
While "Chain Strike" is certainly part of the Deck's strategy it doesn't rely on it completely. Chainable stall cards such as "Threatening Roar" and "Swift Scarecrow" can be used in supplement to more reliable stall cards such as "Marshmallon".
The main priorities of this Deck is to stall using cards such as and "Swords of Revealing Light" to prevent taking battle damage, while slowly inflict damage with cards such as "Solar Flare Dragon", "Stealth Bird", "Lava Golem" and "Wave-Motion Cannon". One must also include defense against Spell and Trap destruction, due to the Deck's reliance on Continuous Cards.
In past formats, cards such as "Burden of the Mighty", "Gravity Bind" and "Level Limit - Area B" were popular choices for stalling, however with the advent of Xyz Monsters and Link Monsters they are largely redundant now.
The Bubbleman Burn Deck is a very fast version of the Burn Deck, which uses cards like "Elemental HERO Bubbleman" and "Card of Sanctity" to draw Normal or Quick-Play Spell Cards which inflict damage. These Decks are made up mostly of one-time burn cards and self-milling cards that go to the Graveyard after they are used, making "Bubbleman" and "Card of Sanctity" easier to use.
Stall cards are not recommended, since the drawing effect of "Bubbleman" won't trigger if there are cards on the field. Some people do run Normal Traps like "Threatening Roar" or "Magic Cylinder" that can be set last, and can be used as back-ups when you are forced to discard. The only Trap card specifically recommended is "Magical Explosion", which is often used as a finisher in this Deck.
Not to be confused with: Anti-Cure
This deck uses the effect of "Fire Princess" along with Life Point gaining cards to deal constant effect damage. The Deck is sometimes called a Big Bang Deck, after the Japanese name of "Fire Princess" - "Big Bang Girl". Despite being a burn deck itself, Cure-Burn tends to be quite strong against most other burn decks due to the constant LP gain.
Dark Stall Burn
For defense, use tokens (can also be used as Synchro fodder) along with cards, such as "Magic Cylinder", "Black-Winged Dragon" and "Stardust Dragon" to disrupt the opponent's attacks, effect damage and destruction respectively.
The main point of the Exxod Burn Deck is to quickly Summon "Exxod, Master of The Guard" and continually use its burn effect.
As the name implies FIRE Burn, sometimes called Molten Burn, is a Deck that focuses on dealing damage with FIRE-Attribute, mostly Pyro-Type monsters. This Deck can be played either passively or aggressively.
The more passive variants of the Deck play similar to Stall Burn, using many protective cards and slowly, but consistently, dealing effect damage each turn. See Stall Burn's recommended Spells/Traps. If using only Pyro-Type monsters, "Soul of Fire" & "Firewall" could be considered as methods of effect damage and protection respectively.
The more aggressive variants tend to focus on a higher monster count and dealing damage through monster effects, often including the destruction of their own monsters, then dealing damage with the monster's on destruction effects in combination with the Continuous Trap Cards "Backfire" and "Kickfire".
Herald Cannon Burn
Reactive Burn Deck
This deck works around making your opponent pay life points for every action. As your opponents life points start reaching zero, they stop making plays, which forces a few high damage cards to be used like "Ceasefire"and "Just Desserts", or continuously damaging cards like "Minor Goblin Official", "Nightmare Wheel", or "Lava Golem". This deck works best adding stalls cards, forcing your opponent to waste most of their efforts destroying either your stall cards or burn cards, hopefully not both. Cards that can stall without completely negating attacks like "Ordeal of a Traveler", "Mirror Force", or "Waboku" over those that completely stop attacks likes "Gravity Bind" or "Swords of Revealing Light" to add in the damage from "Toll".
This variant of a "Toon" Deck focuses on weakening the opponent with burn cards before attacking directly to finish the Duel. One of its powerful plays involves giving the opponent "Lava Golem" or a "Kaiju" monster, then using "Shadow Toon" to deal large amounts of damage, before taking control of it with "Comic Hand" and using it to attack the opponent directly. Instead of attacking directly to finish the Duel the deck can use "Toon Cannon Soldier", which can tribute Tokens and itself to deal 500 damage multiple times a turn.
The strategy of this burn deck is to attack and burn your opponent with Pyro-Type monsters.
Burn Decks are infamous and generally disliked by many players as most Burn Decks play solitaire and can be rather difficult to play against and defeat when a player is not prepared for it. Despite this, in general, it is considered one of the easiest Decks to Side against. This results in Burn Decks having more success in single Duels, opposed to Matches and, by extension, tournaments.
- One of the most effective methods for beating a Burn Deck is good access to Spell/Trap removal, such as "Twin Twisters" or "Galaxy Cyclone". Many Burn Decks rely on a large number of Continuous Effects, either to prevent taking battle damage and/or deal effect damage constantly. A Burn Deck must therefore contain plenty of Counter Traps, such as; "Solemn Judgment", "Dark Bribe", "Judgment of Anubis" (stops destruction-based removed), and "Seven Tools of the Bandit".
- Dragon Decks can use "Prime Material Dragon" (ineffective against anti-cure Burn Decks) to change LP damage caused to increase their LP instead. To counter this card tribute it for a "Kaiju" monster, "Lava Golem" or "Volcanic Queen", destroy it with "Divine Wrath".
- Since many burn cards are minus 1s, Burn Decks can quickly deplete the player of cards. If the player can defeat the opponent quickly this won't matter, but should the opponent manage to stall (either by regaining LP, negating effects or reducing effect damage) it can quickly leave the Burn player out of resources.
- There are some cards that punish a player for using effect damage, such as; "Barrel Behind the Door", "Crimson Fire", and "Shining Silver Force.
- The hand trap "Hanewata" prevents all effect damage for a single turn.
- In a "D/D" deck, "D/D/D Rebel King Leonidas" can Special Summon itself from the hand whenever the player takes effect damage and reverts the damage taken. It also prevents further effect damage while on the field. "D/D/D Oracle King d'Arc" turns any effect damage into LP gain while it is on the field.