Ah yeah, the standard manabase with fastlands probably has a little more trouble squeezing it in. My weird budget version (as in the list a few posts up) has 15 mountains if you count the fetches, which is enough to safely swap 1 out at least. Agree that it's probably not worth it if you're running Blood Moon.
After-action report (see deck two posts up, with updated mana). Went 2-2 in a local tournament, deck performed well for the most part and felt a lot smoother than the Smallpox build I tried last week. Matchups were:
1-2 UR Control: straightforward win in game 1, lost to unanswerable Jace in both postboard matches.
2-1 Vizier Combo: very tight match, I closed out game 3 with a bolt with a Kitchen Finks trigger on the stack after clearing the rest of their defenders with EE on 2 into Push on Shalai. Would have gone south fast if I'd drawn poorly.
2-0 Mardu Pyromancer: older build with Reveler and Unearth. My starts were faster, and my top end was bigger--this was the only match where Nahiri was able to go off.
1-2 Amulet Titan: lost the die roll in game 1 and was a turn away from lethal when he went off with Titan+Field of the Dead. He never reached 6 mana in game 2 thanks to land destruction + Chandra AOF. Game 3 was rough, I destroyed the first Amulet of Vigor but he had another; I then started to build up a substantial Pyro+elemental board only to be completely overwhelmed by back-to-back Titans with no answers to be found.
Mostly wound up playing the classic elemental swarm strategy, Nahiri only came into play a handful of times and mostly served as removal magnet. 22 lands + draw spell felt great, I was usually pretty happy to cast Night's Whisper, rarely flooded, and only got stuck on 2 lands once for a turn or two. The canopy lands may not belong; the deck has other ways to mitigate flood (10 discard outlets) and while I did end up cashing them in several times, the pain may not be worth it. Chandra's minus felt great, I could definitely see running 2 copies if I could something to cut. I didn't find myself boarding in Ajani at all, though perhaps his +1 would have contributed to the land denial strategy vs Titan. I might prefer some hard removal e.g. Path in that spot, or possibly in the main replacing Push since I'm not running Blood Moon.
Going to give Nahiri a spin this weekend. The deck really wants to hit the 3rd land drop, so I was initially looking at a 23rd land, but broke down the numbers and saw that the real problem was not drawing into the 3rd land after keeping 2, so I decided to run a draw spell in that spot instead, which benefits from synergy with Young Pyro and Chandra. Still working on optimizing the manabase without Blackcleave, but it's functional. I could see swapping the 3rd Dreadbore for a 2nd Chandra, since she can buy them back. Looking to add Extirpate to the sideboard but don't own any...
25 instants/sorceries feels fine. In previous Mardu builds, the pyromancer was part of the win condition. Killing the opponent with a token swarm. I used to play 29 instants/sorceries those days.
But in my current build, Young Pyromancer serves as a defensive block against threats and protecting nahiri. If I'm able to get a least one token out of it, it already paid off. But many times, I fill the board anyways
This list is super sweet. What are the more obvious flaws of it? Anything you feel its lacking apart from T1 looting..?
* You preferibly hit your third land by turn 3 (for Spyro, or the sideboard threats like Blood moon, Kambal, Anger). With 22 lands it's 90.5% / 84.7% chance of that (on the draw/play). This is oke, but not fantastic.
* Sometimes I did drop my 4th land, but missing a W for Nahiri
* Sometimes I'm forced to discard Nahiri with Spyro. That's awkward. But mostly Spyro outperforms in this deck.
Overall: I'm really really happy with it. And it plays out pretty sweet.
I'd definitely tweak the mana if you're settled on the rest of the deck. You have several more black sources than necessary, but barely enough red for Spyro; I'd swap Dragonskull Summit for Clifftop Retreat, and look to add red/white if you decide to go to 23 lands.
I've seen some lists run 3 instead of 4 Nahiri--I think this is probably a mistake, given the number of ways we have to discard an extra copy?
How do you feel about Young Pyro with only 25 instants/sorceries? I've seen some lists running Dreadhorde Arcanist instead which also allows Chandra AoF, but it seems to be a case of higher risk/higher reward; if Arcanist gets removed before any triggers, it gets a lot harder to land and protect Nahiri. Also awkward that Chandra's flashback ability is less useful if you already have Arcanist...
Double black for pox is achievable (note that I went up to 23 lands for that build), but it can be difficult to maintain good mana after resolving a pox or two. An optimal manabase probably requires both Blackcleave Cliffs and some number of Dragonskull to help maintain RR and BB availability.
I ran a Smallpox/Octomancer build at an IQ yesterday, based off some discussion on the Mardu Pyromancer FB page. Made some mistakes in construction and in play (pox is not an easy card to play well) but still managed to go 2-3 so there might be something there, the self-discard off pox helps make helix and souls more consistent. The mana is a bit challenging, I wound up running 4 dragonskull summit because I don't have blackcleave. Will report back if I have better luck with the next iteration, though I'm also tempted to try Nahiri/Emrakul.
Fairly sure it's unplayable. Look at it this way:
[+1]: do nothing.
[+0]: deal 2-X damage to target opponent, where X is the number of creatures they control with toughness 2 or higher.
[-2]: flashback a card with CMC equal to your remaining mana after casting Chandra.
The only way you're guaranteed any kind of reasonable value is if you minus the turn you cast it, as any opposing creatures or even a simple bolt will leave her dead or unable to minus. But that requires having 4+ (preferably 5 or 6) lands in play which is absolutely not something you can count on with this deck. If you want to flashback 1-CMC spells, run Dreadhorde Arcanist instead.
Smiting Helix has three outcomes as I see it.
1: default mode. It's an early "free" discard which powers Reveler and Seasoned Pyromancer and turns into a (sorcery-speed) Lightning Helix once you have white mana available.
2: card advantage mode. As a late-game topdeck in grindier matchups, it's feasible to cast the front side, at which point you're basically spending two mana to buy yourself an extra Lightning Helix.
3: fail state. You don't make it to four lands/don't have discard available and now the card is dead in hand.
Whether it's playable depends on whether the value of case 2 is worth the risk/likelihood of case 3, and whether the deck wants the bolts/lifegain. The playability of Lingering Souls suggests that the risk analysis works out, if you consider requiring a splash color vs. a fourth land to be roughly equivalent. I'll probably try it a as a 1-of.
Recently built this deck to get into Modern, just a few games under my belt so far but I'm really enjoying it, and this guide has been super helpful.
I can't decide if Smiting Helix is just outstanding Limited value or if it might actually be playable here. It would seem to enable similar play patterns as Lingering Souls--expensive front side that can sometimes be played for value plus an efficient flashback cost which makes it relatively painless to discard. But it's possible that's not as valuable on Bolts #5-6 as it is on Souls?