What's that? You want to see things burn? We all do, even if some people have not yet admitted it to themselves. You've come to the right place. Burning things is the noblest art of all, and those who disagree with this statement tend to end up demonstrating its truth. The Basics If you're here, you likely don't need an introduction to what burning does. Long story short, with burning cards you're trading immediate impact for a higher damage output over the span of several turns. You would be dealing a respectable amount of damage to your opponent as these cards run their course, assuming of course that you're still alive and not so far behind that the damage doesn't matter anymore. It goes without saying that dealing damage in smaller increments does make it much more vulnerable to armor. On the upside, however, unlike other cards available to wizards that deal considerable damage at range, burning cards are readily available on arcane items, meaning that a fire mage can be much more focused than any other wizard intending to specialize primarily in dealing damage. That's it on the surface. That can't be all of it, though. There has to be more. I have good news for you. Pyromancy is not about attaching a few burning cards and then trying to stay alive as the opponent's armor is preventing almost all the damage you'd deal over time. There's much more to it, and we can be thankful to two cards for that. One has been in the game since the very first set, and the second is a gift from the first expansion. I mean these two, of course. Firestarter by itself doesn't add a lot more complexity to pyromancy by its own, but it drastically increases the damage output. Instant Burn is another matter altogether. Admittedly, when I started playing, Attack of the Artifacts was already out, so I can't tell for sure, but I'm fairly certain that its arrival changed how fire wizards played, dramatically and irrevocably. It's an incredible card that expects you to build around it but rewards you spectacularly for doing so. More on that later. The Three-Legged Stool of Reducing Everything to Cinders With that out of the way, I'll start off with something theoretical. As it is the case with many other things, your power stands on three legs. Occasionally you can do without one if your opponent's position is weakened, but you should seek to maximize your chances of having access to all three of them at any given time — or at least when you're about to go off. These three legs are, in no particular order: 1. Firestarter 2. Instant Burn 3. Variety Let's go through them one by one. Firestarter There's not all that much to write about this one, honestly, but I still decided to do so because there's one interesting and important thing about Firestarter. I get the impression that a lot of people gravely underestimate this card. I see way too many people playing Fireblinker Initiate (for that extra Ember Burst, I presume), or trying to save a token by going for Molten Pyromancy or something similar. For the love of Akon and Wym and everyone and everything else that can set things on fire, please do not. If you're having doubts, read the card. If you're still having doubts, read the card again. Firestarter nearly doubles your damage output for three turns — essentially for free, too, since it draws you another card (which, if you build your deck right, will be very likely another burning card). Is a single Ember Burst really worth giving up two of them, especially considering that if you have more Ember Bursts from other items, you very well might end up drawing one of them through Firestarter? Is a minor token worth giving up even just one of these? Say it's a personal opinion if you want, but I'm fairly confident in this — if you're any serious about all this burning business, your best course of action is forgetting that any arcane skill other than Focused Pyromancy exists. You may not like spending a minor token on it. I think having three Firestarters would easily be worth a major token in a deck that's focusing on burning. Don't look to save tokens here. Don't get your attacks from here. The increase in your damage output is so dramatic, and without costing you cards to boot, that it'd be folly to go for anything else with this item slot. I've also decided to edit in a little remark that I actually meant to mention but completely forgot. A little but potentially important trick with Firestarter is that if your wizard has other traits, and you draw Firestarter and other traits, it's a good idea to play Firestarter last, or at least as late as possible. It's simply about minimizing the chance that it gets replaced by other traits or enemy cards. Instant Burn With that we arrive to our second leg. This is much more complex, and I believe that this card is what elevates pyromancy into an art, magnificent, beautiful, and terrible when done right. On the surface, it's not a very complicated card. You get to trigger all burning cards you control. The devil is, of course, in the details. There are so many little questions, so many fine nuances to pay attention to. Basically, the essence of Instant Burn is (and I've actually only had this epiphany while writing this) that it's fundamentally different from how other cards work in the game. Other archetypes scale, basically, in a linear manner with the number of cards drawn. It's simple addition, you draw more cards and those cards on average deal some more damage. Instant Burn is, subtly but definitely, a damage multiplier. It doesn't do much on its own but scales impressively with every other burning card you've drawn. First of all, a curious little thing is — quite contrary to the stereotypical portrayal of pyromancers in RPGs and in fantasy in general — that something that's very handy when dabbling in pyromancy is patience. You need to carefully consider many things if you want to get the maximum mileage out of your cards. Keep tabs on the duration of your attachments, both your own Firestarter and all the burning cards attached to your enemies. If most or all burning cards you control are still going to be around next round, and your Firestarter won't expire, either — or, on the contrary, you don't have one attached currently — then there's very little reason not to let that Instant Burn sit in your hand until next turn. Who knows, maybe you'll draw into that Firestarter if you don't have one, or into more burning cards you can generously distribute. If not, there's a good chance you won't lose much. On the other hand, if your opponent is going heavy on purges, or armor in general, or there's an enemy character who will die to two rounds of burning triggers but not one, then that might be reason enough to go for it. I firmly believe that there's no formula for this that would be set in stone. Assess the situation in every individual case, and decide whether the risk of having your opponent draw armor or something that helps them survive is worth the additional damage output you gain by waiting to draw a few more burning cards you can trigger. There are so many more things about this that can be mentioned. Did you know, for example, that Instant Burn has a hidden line of text stating that it is unblockable? It doesn't say so on the card, you say? But it is very real, if you read between the lines. Part of the charm of Instant Burn is exactly the fact that as an individual card it's laughably weak, it's the additional triggered effect that makes it so devastating. It can, in theory, be blocked. But when you have a decisive Instant Burn set up, and all available opposing targets have revealed blocks or unrevealed cards that could be blocks, you can — and you absolutely should — shoot Instant Burn at one of your allies. Even if this move doesn't end the game on spot, two points of immediate damage with three more at end of turn (assuming you have Firestarter) is a very little price to pay for the certainty of the colossal damage the card otherwise causes to your opponents not getting cancelled. Especially so if the allied target has armor to mitigate it, but I wouldn't consider it a necesssity. There are many more nuances to it, too. For instance — there are situations when this can be very relevant — Instant Burn attaches itself to the target first, and then it triggers all the other burning cards. This is a very old discovery of mine, going far back. I was playing on Central Processing Unit, and my opponent had a priest on the victory square at fairly low health with two others in line of sight and range but not within reach of the victory square. I had an ample supply of burning cards in hand, but they kept putting Impenetrable Nimbus on the priest on the victory square and they had five points already. I kept trying to replace it with burn but they always seemed to have more. Eventually I ran dry, having only an Instant Burn in my wizard's hand, while the priest had a Nimbus and two burning cards attached, in that order. Since I could imagine it going both ways but had no other possible outs in that situation, I went for it, and realized with no little glee that, as mentioned above, Instant Burn replaced Impenetrable Nimbus and then triggered the other two attachments, killing the priest. This can be very relevant in situations involving attachments that prevent damage, such as the worryingly abundant Lycanthropic Form or the much less frequently encountered Ethereal Form, or ones that trigger off of damage like Martyr Blessing. Variety I believe that this is important, especially so in multiplayer where there are three available targets at most. I also see a lot of people botch this as well and go too deep on a single burning card (this tends to be Ember Burst, which is actually doubly a bad choice). As we all very well know, in Card Hunter there can be no additional copies of the same card attached to one character. This means that it's worth trying to diversify your burning cards, as doing so means that you have a better chance of being able to deal more damage with a single end-of-turn step or Instant Burn. Using the aforementioned Ember Burst as an example, if you forgo other fire cards for it, you'll find that your Instant Burns deal a maximum of four damage to each affected enemy at most. All your other Ember Bursts only serve for the three points of initial damage. All of this, while not bad by a long shot, is pocket change compared to what you could do with other cards. Ember Burst is especially egregious, since it has a duration of one round, which means it doesn't stick around in case you get your perfect draw a turn later, and it potentially hits several enemies by itself, meaning that it becomes redundant even faster. Diversifying also comes with the subtle but occasionally quite impactful upside that you can remove problematic attachments from enemies with relative ease. Dishing out attachments like nobody's business can easily rid a target of something like a Martyr Blessing that would otherwise make your life a lot more difficult. Bonus points if the target in question has an armor card that prevents the low initial damage from these cards, preventing the card draw as well, which you can remove after the Blessing has been removed. But the main draw of it is, of course, damage. Three different attachments with Burning 3 (which is surprisingly easy to achieve, see later) with Firestarter deal a whopping fifteen damage at end of turn (or for each Instant Burn), which is more than half the hit points of your average character. It is something of an idealized scenario, of course, but it goes to show the potential you have with this setup.