Hello fans of Midnight Hunt's spoilers, Boros, the plane of Innistrad, and this game you might have heard of called Magic: the Gathering! It's a lot of fun! Today we're going to look at a rare Boros legendary creature that was spoiled from the latest set!
Here is my previous week where I did a deep dive into other cards from the same set!
I first built around this mono-Black leader that wants to kill foes with destruction effects like Damnation, -X/-X effects like Mutilate, sacrificing effects like Slum Reaper, and then triggers and reanimation and mono-Black ramping tools. It's a whole lot of fun! You can see the song I sung over here.
What Boros leader inspired today's build?
It's Rem Karolus, Stalwart Slayer! Look at it! As you can see, this Human Knight is rising a flying Gryff so it has flying, haste, and is a solid 2/3 for 3 mana. As spells would deal damage to you or a permanent you control like creatures or planeswalkers, prevent it! As spells deal damage to an opponent or their stuff, it deals that much damage plus 1! The result is a pretty cool build! So how do I expect to use it?
- Sorcery and Instant Damage Based Sweeping Removal - Ever since the first set, Red has had massive creature sweeping that was damage based on nature. With great cards like Blasphemous Act running around we'll dig deeply into this so that this damage will be prevented to our team!
- Sorcery and Instant Burn - We have better leaders in Boros that serve as a Burn Commander, so I don't want to lean that way too hard, but getting a Lightning Bolt effect that deals 4 to an opposing player, or their creatures or planeswalkers is really good for the ranches. I'll lean into the occasional Burn based removal for creatures more than usual.
- Backup Rem Karoluses - Normally a 3-drop Commander can be recast a few times quite ably with Commander tax. But, in case our leader is answered with something like Imprisoned in the Moon that will strip away their abilities, I want to have some backup ways to protect our stuff from damage-based removal in White.
- Protection for Rem Karolus - Since we need Rem to keep our team alive, we'll want to invest some cards to make it hard to interact with the rider and the steed. Think of cards like Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots here.
- Support - The rest is support like backup exile removal in case of an indestructible target, removal for non-creatures and planeswalkers in my colors like artifacts and enchantments, land removal, card flow, ramping, and enough creatures to try and keep alive that need to be a big enough threat that we want to swing around through our foes.
This deck is going to be a version of a deck archetype that I call "Sweep and Keep" which includes creature-based sweepers and creatures that are immune to said sweepage, such as a mono-White deck with 4 copies of Mass Calcify. This probably began way back in the old decks with Pestilence and protection from Black creatures like White Knight and Order of Leitbur.
Ready to do a deep dive into Rem Karolus? Let's do it to it!
We only have 4 decks registered over at EDHREC.com so we will be looking elsewhere for my card-age!
Earthquake and its junior partner Rolling Earthquake were the first cards I thought of when I saw Rem! They will only deal damage to your opponents and their stuff and nothing to you, so you can X away as much as you want because there is no such thing as overkill when you control your leader!
Have you seen this card from Midnight Hunt? I hope so! It's pretty kicking, as you can see, and it a nice rare. For 5 mana you can choose two options. I am running it for option 1 to sweep the board of planeswalkers and creatures for 5 damage each (6 if you control Rem). But if you need bodies on the field, feel encouraged to choose the second ability and make three Devils. Either way this thing works!
The Red Pestilence is a great card from the way back machine that plays well in this brew. You can spend a mana and then shoot all of the creatures and players for a damage. Note that this is not a "spell" source so Rem Karolus won't stop it or increase it, but the backup engines will do so! This can die at the end of a turn, so it'll only stick around if someone controls at least one creature, so keep it around!
Let's turn to the backup engines.
Here are my three Engines! The Light can prevent all damage that is dealt to your creatures by your stuff, which will prevent Earthquakes and Blasphemous Acts from dealing damage to your stuff. Note that it doesn't stop damage to you.
The Mark can prevent all noncombat damage to your creatures from any source, not just yours. It'll stop your opponents' damage-based sweepers from hitting your dorks as well as targeted burn like Lightning Bolt. It's great here!
And then check out Iroas! It's indestructible so if it's a creature the damage will melt off even if you are missing your engines like Rem Karolus. He also gives your team menace. Swing with the whole team. Then all damage, including combat damage, is prevented to your attackers. Once you swung, use an instant sweeper like Starstorm or activate Pyrohemia to sweep and now you are attacking full swing on a naked defense. Good trio!
Check out these two crazy Red enchantments. I love the first one here! It's a 3-drop, and whenever damage is dealt to a creature, it deals that damage to the player that controls the creature. Imagine this with a Burn Down the House that deals just 5 (or 6) damage to your opponent's creatures, but you control your Commander. If each opponent controls 2 creatures on average, they are eating 10 or 12 to the face on average. And you could easily do that by the fifth turn since Rem and this are 3-drops and Burn Down the House is a 5-drop.
Any damage-based sweeper will feel equally painful. This is a player killer. As is the second enchantment. It's a 6-drop that can triple your damage you are dealing to a player or their creatures (but not to planeswalkers). An Earthquake set to X = 5 is dealing 15 damage when you control this (18 with your leader). And remember, your stuff is safe. And these things work really well together. Remember that Blasphemous Act does 13 damage, so that is thirty-nine damage to players for each creature damaged with them both in play, without controlling Rem, and that'll likely win the game in one hit.
Let's check out this duo...er...trio as well! Both play into the Fiery Emancipation, Rem Karolus and Repercussion side of the build. I love Toralf here on his front side. Once this 5/4 trample for 4 mana (very nice and on curve) arrives to punch folks down, as noncombat damage is dealt to your foe's stuff that is in excess of their toughness, that damage is deal to any other target. Like another creature to finish it off, or a planeswalker, or...a player!
And with Fiery Emancipation? Nasty! Remember to increase it if you control Rem twice, once on the creature and once on the new target.
The God's Hammer isn't what I am looking for in this brew as a 5/4 trampling God that can turn excess noncombat damage into player hitting damage is the better choice, but hey, your milage may vary. Now look at Torbran. This Dwarf Noble is another four-drop although harder to cast and just a 2/4. But his ability is nasty here! As your Red sources deal damage to a foe or permanent, you'll increase that damage by 2. All of my burn is Red, so that's a big increase to our damage. I'm not a judge so I am unsure if the Fiery Emancipation would triple after the damage is increased by 2, or before. But either way that's a nasty tag team here.
All right let's turn to some more protection-ish stuff as well as damage triggers like Repercussion.
What if you don't control Rem Karolus or a backup engine? Remember that I only have two engines that can work with sorcery-speed removal and it's not as if I can rely on having my game-changing stuff, so I included a creature base that wants to take that damage. This indestructible pair is great. They are 5-drop rares that will deal damage dealt to them from any source to an opponent. The Doll has to choose the opponent when it arrives to the battlefield, but the Taunter can shift and change. I've seen this pair keep opponents from swinging on the ground as they don't want to be blocked and eat that damage. I love them here! I also added in cards like Boros Reckoner and Spitemare that play into this same idea. Spitemare should have been given the Nightmare creature type, right?
Here's another creature that wants to eat damage. This is a 6-drop in Red and a 4/4, a bit small for a Commander creature in modern day gaming, but it's here for that damage ability. As damage is dealt to the Swine, that damage is dealt to every player. That means if your damage preventers aren't running around keeping you safe, this can also really deal a lot of damage to your foes while you eat the same.
Your deck has several ways to prevent the damage to yourself with Rem Karolus, so your foes might have taken damage from effects like Pyrohemia and such early, and then answered Rem and now you can finish them all off with a Blasphemous Act when you control the Swine. Also, controlling a creature like the Swine when control Rem too may really push your foes to consider truly answering Rem since they may not want to escape from the warm flame to the hotter fire. It's great here.
One of the key things I wanted to do with this deck was to include enough creatures that are big enough to win the game. If I am only running 12 creatures and they are all small trigger stuff, then we won't be winning with my creature base since our foes' removal will be aimed our way. We need size and numbers.
Enter Gisela, Senior. She is an admittedly expensive 7 mana for a 5/5 flying first strike machine of Angel love. But her abilities will close the game quickly and play into my triggers. Any source you have that deals damage to a foe or their stuff is doubled when she is out, like creature damage on a naked board or your damage-based sweepers and burn removal spells. Also, any damage dealt to you, or your stuff is halved, like your damage-based sweepers and combat damage. A Molten Disaster set to 4 is dealing 2 damage to your ground creatures, 2 to you, and 8 to your foes and their ground creatures, without controlling your leader. She is nasty here!
Much like Gisela, this duo is here to win games and play keep away from the damage you are dealing. Akroma, Take One has protection from Red to keep the damage-based sweepers away and the Colossus has indestrucible to do the same. I called this pair the "Power Duo" of casual tables since they were heavily played and your targeted removal needed to be able to answer both, but time has ebbed and each doesn't get the play it used to. Akroma is just at 6,015 decks over at EDHREC.com, whereas she used to be much more heavily played, and the Colossus is lower at just 3,286 decks despite it being an artifact creature that can be run in any deck, and you would think would hav better numbers. Time have passed the Power Duo by, but they are still great here.
All right, let's turn to some other ways to protect your stuff.
Check out these Swords! They are here for that protection from Red, as they'll give the equipped dork protection from the damage sweepers that we are running around with. As you can see, each costs 3 mana to drop, 2 to equip, and gives a +2/+2 boost to their size with protection from two colors as well as two combat damage triggers.
My favorite is Fire and Ice since that draws a card and Shock's a target. Damage! That can be tripled with Fiery Emancipation, if it goes to an opposing creature then Repercussion will trigger. Gisela will care. It's great here, and the card flow also helps. The Sinew and Steel will destroy both a planeswalker and an artifact upon smashing. Good stuff and way to keep the board going. And then the War and Peace will gain life and deal damage to the foe you smashed and thus works with our damage triggers as well. Good stuff!
Let's turn to some lands!
We need card drawing! Enter this duo. The former will tap, lose you two life, and then draw you a sweet card. Good stuff. The latter will tap along with 5 mana to draw a card. Good stuff. Given your inability to sweep your stuff, your enchantment and equipment count, this is more likely to hit Ascend at least once. We don't run any planeswalkers in this brew, by the by, since some of our sweepers deal damage to them and we cannot prevent that damage like Magmaquake.
Do you know why the Zone is here? Its here to make a sorcery speed sweeper into an instant speed answer. Have a Blasphemous Act in your hand when some1-drops an army with haste and swings your way? Sad, I know! But now you can sacrifice the Zone and cast the Act and sweep the board! Good stuff! I also am running every instant damage-based mass sweeper out there, but there aren't many.
Let's turn to some lands and Shadowspear. Why are these here? The equipment is here to remove indestructible from your foes so that they can die to sweeping removal. We do have some targeted removal as well like Swords to Plowshares and Generous Gift so removing hexproof made since as well, and the equipment is fine at gaining life to prevent the damage we may take from our removal as well as the trample and creature boost. The lands are also here to play into that removing of hexproof and/or shroud from foes so that we can target them for removal. There you are! Note that I am running Weathered Wayfarer which can tap to Tutor for a non-basic land over and over again so you can reliably run the good lands. I also tossed in Expedition Map for one non-basic.
Two more cards and we'll call it!
I really wanted some life gain to acknowledge the life loss to things like Pyrohemia and Earthquake. Enter this Dwarf Cleric that is standard legal. This 4-mana 2/4 will give all of your sorceries and instants lifelink. Imagine this with a Burn Down the House! You'll be gaining a ton of life. Then on your upkeep you can exile a spell and cast it and again, it has lifelink! It's good card advantage over time.
Our last card is a creature also from Midnight Hunt. Check it out! The Elementalist can return a key instant or sorcery on arrival to the battlefield which will let you recast a damage-based sweeper! I love them a lot here! This is the only graveyard recursion I have, so feel free to lean into cards like the Radiant Scrollwielder above that exile your stuff. I also tossed in Scavenger Grounds to answer graveyard manipulation.
All right, enough flirting, here's my deck!
Don't Ruin Crabs, Ruin Games | Commander | Jason Alt
- Commander (1)
- 1 Rem Karolus, Stalwart Slayer
- Creatures (25)
- 1 Akroma, Angel of Wrath
- 1 Archangel Avacyn
- 1 Ardent Elementalist
- 1 Avacyn, Angel of Hope
- 1 Blightsteel Colossus
- 1 Boros Reckoner
- 1 Brash Taunter
- 1 Burnished Hart
- 1 Chandra's Incinerator
- 1 Coalhauler Swine
- 1 Darksteel Colossus
- 1 Gisela, Blade of Goldnight
- 1 Giver of Runes
- 1 Iroas, God of Victory
- 1 Knight of the White Orchid
- 1 Mother of Runes
- 1 Pilgrim's Eye
- 1 Radiant Scrollwielder
- 1 Ryusei, the Falling Star
- 1 Solemn Simulacrum
- 1 Spitemare
- 1 Stuffy Doll
- 1 Toralf, God of Fury // Toralf's Hammer
- 1 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
- 1 Weathered Wayfarer
- Spells (17)
- 1 Abrade
- 1 Blasphemous Act
- 1 Burn Down the House
- 1 Earthquake
- 1 Fault Line
- 1 Generous Gift
- 1 Lighting Bolt
- 1 Lorehold Command
- 1 Mizzium Mortars
- 1 Molten Disaster
- 1 Reconstruct History
- 1 Rolling Earthquake
- 1 Sejiri Shelter
- 1 Starstorm
- 1 Swords to Plowshares
- 1 Teferi's Protection
- 1 Vandalblast
- Artifacts (15)
- 1 Arcane Signet
- 1 Armillary Sphere
- 1 Commander's Sphere
- 1 Champion's Helm
- 1 Darksteel Plate
- 1 Expedition Map
- 1 Lightning Greaves
- 1 Kaldra Compleat
- 1 Shadowspear
- 1 Sol Ring
- 1 Swiftfoot Boots
- 1 Sword of Fire and Ice
- 1 Sword of Sinew and Steel
- 1 Sword of War and Peace
- 1 Whispersilk Cloak
- Lands (37)
- 1 Alpine Meadow
- 1 Arcane Lighthouse
- 1 Arch of Orazca
- 1 Arid Mesa
- 1 Battlefield Forge
- 1 Boros Garrison
- 1 Command Tower
- 1 Detection Tower
- 1 Endless Sands
- 1 Emergence Zone
- 1 Evolving Wilds
- 1 Field of Ruin
- 1 Furycalm Snarl
- 1 Needleverge Pathway // Pillarverge Pathway
- 1 Sacred Foundry
- 1 Scavenger Grounds
- 1 Slayers' Stronghold
- 1 Spectator Seating
- 1 Strip Mine
- 1 Temple of Triumph
- 1 Terramorphic Expanse
- 1 War Room
- 1 Wasteland
- 1 Wind-Scarred Crag
- 7 Mountain
- 6 Plains
And there you go! There is my deck for your consideration! Anything in here that you liked or that I (or you) forgot about? Just let me know!