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Little Boros Aggro Primer


Last week, Twitch held the first, of what will hopefully be many, competitive events on Magic Arena. They invited 45 people who regularly stream Magic on Twitch and had us compete in a Standard best of 3 swiss event with a $10,000 prize pool. I ended up going 4-2, missing out on Top 8 based on tie breakers. This was still good enough for Top 16 though which took me home $250.

After considering lots of different deck lists for the event I ended up landing on wr Aggro. I chose this deck because it is proactive, while also having the ability to generate card advantage when it needs to. It was not by accident that this archetype won the Pro Tour and has been putting up results at various other events throughout the season

Like every major archetype in this format, picking which deck I wanted to play did not narrow down my exact deck list immediately. There is a great deal of variation in the configurations seeing success. Ranging from builds that are very low to the ground, to more midrange setups that are playing cards like Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice and Lyra Dawnbringer to go over the top of the board.

After jamming games with a few different successful configurations I ended up liking a list very close to the second place list from the World Magic Cup the most:

I liked this list for a few reasons - first was the fact that it was extremely low to the ground. A full sixteen one cost creatures means that your openings are extremely consistent and it easy to both flip Legion's Landing or convoke out a fast Venerated Loxodon. The second thing that really drew me to this archetype was just how resistant it often was in the face of sweeper effects. Cards like Deafening Clarion are often the bane of small aggressive decks like this one, but we have a variety of tools that all give us game against board clears:

Dauntless Bodyguard
Hunted Witness
Adanto Vanguard
Heroic Reinforcements

Dauntless Bodyguard ensures that a creature of our choice will live through most sweepers. Hunted Witness leaves behind a body better than itself. Adanto Vanguard gets to ignore any damage or destroy based sweepers at the cost of some life. Heroic Reinforcements gets to come down post sweeper to power up our leftovers and hopefully help close the game out.

The next thing I liked about this list was common in most the builds - but still worth mentioning. These two cards are powerful draws to White in Standard right now:

History of Benalia
Conclave Tribunal

History of Benalia can often be back breaking on its own and when we combine it with other Knights like Dauntless Bodyguard or Benalish Marshal it goes into overdrive. Conclave Tribunal is subtly one of the most powerful cards in this format. Being able to advance our board - especially with all our 1 mana creatures - while also removing their best threat is a big tempo swing.

Finally the thing that really made me settle on this deck list for the 10k was this very busted card out of our sideboard:

Experimental Frenzy

This card allows us to make up what we lack in card quality, with card quantity, at times when we would otherwise struggle. With so many cheap cards in our deck there are often turns where Frenzy allows us to draw through five or even six cards in one go to overwhelm our opponent. This lets us beat through boards were our opponent has large creatures or recover from multiple sweeper effects.

Sideboarding and Playing the Deck

VS gb Midrange:

In my experience this matchup tends to favor the wr deck Game 1, while being a bit tough for wr post board. bg will often keep clunky hands in Game 1, which can leave us plenty of opening to run them over. Post board we often win games were either Tocatli Honor Guard or Experimental Frenzy can stick around. Honor Guard turns off most of their creatures, while Experimental Frenzy lets us simply bury them in card advantage. Games post board were we fail to find our trump card will often be difficult though because their card quality is so much higher than ours.

VS Jeskai Control:

This matchup tends to be reasonable because of all the sweeper resistant cards I listed in the section above. Occasionally if they draw multiple sweepers early they can overpower us, but post board we get to bring in our four copies of Experimental Frenzy to bury our poor control opponents.

VS ur Drakes:

  • No Changes

This matchup is pretty good for us. We have far more threats than they have removal and Conclave Tribunal often generates a big tempo swing when we curve threats into it. Post board we need to keep in mind that they have access to Firey Cannonade, but the fact that this sweeper does not kill our Benalish Marshal makes it far less scary than something like Deafening Clarion.

VS Mono-Blue:

This matchup is pretty decent for us as well. We can race them efficiently most games and often do not care if they are drawing extra cards because we can often pressure them out of the game before they have a chance to play all of them. Tempest Djinn is their best card against us because it can stone wall our attacker on occasion, while also offering a fast clock for them to try and race us.

VS Red Aggro:

This matchup seems close, with the person on the play often feeling favored. That being said - Goblin Chainwhirler can sometimes be an absolute beating against wr - which is one of the reasons we board in Tocatli Honor Guard. Sometimes our Red opponents will "board up" against us into something more Controlling, which can occasionally make it correct to bring in our 22nd land and Experimental Frenzies to try and match them over our Heroic Reinforcements.

VS Tokens:

This matchup is hard no matter how we slice it. They tend to have plenty of creatures to stonewall our threats in the early game, and then go way over the top of us with cards like March of the Multitudes. Our best chance to win in this matchup is often a fast draw on the play before they get setup. Post board we can occasionally power through them with Ajani or Experimental Frenzy, but this is still difficult.

Wrapping Up

If you are someone who is looking for a deck with an aggressive slant that can play through sweepers, while occasionally drawing cards - then wr Aggro might just be the deck for you! If you are interested in watching my run through the Twitch 10k event with this wr Aggro deck, you can watch all six of my matches on my YouTube channel here.

If you have a question about the deck or a specific matchup that I did not cover above, be sure to let me know in a comment below!