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Hero's Blade. This card excites me. It’s no secret by now that I’m a big fan of Equipment. I also happen to be fond of legends, so when I saw this card, I knew I was going to play it. Now at first, I thought it was just going to take a spot in my legend tribal Commander deck, but upon further inspection, it seems that the card may be good enough for Standard, especially with all these new legends entering the format along with it. Since most of these cards are being overlooked at the moment, this seems to be a great start for a fun budget deck. Here’s what I came up with.

The Creatures

Alesha, Who Smiles at Death
The first step was to scrounge up some legendary creatures that work well with Hero's Blade. Alesha, Who Smiles at Death was my first thought. She costs 3 mana, which lines up with the Blade perfectly, and first strike helps you take full advantage of that extra power. Having a creature on turn three that can easily take down a Siege Rhino seems pretty good.

Once Alesha was in the deck, Daghatar the Adamant was a no-brainer. With Hero's Blade, he becomes a 7/6 with vigilance, and since his power is technically 0, he can be returned to the battlefield by Alesha. This deck can’t activate his ability, but it’s unlikely to come up anyway. Besides, do you really need more value at this point?

Anax and Cymede gain both first strike and vigilance, which means your opponent pretty much has no good options when it comes to combat. Of course, that heroic trigger isn’t happening ever, but that’s not important right now.

Rounding out the 3-drops is Daxos of Meletis, who just so happens to have a great ability for sword-wielding. He can’t be blocked by creatures with power greater than 2, so let’s just make him have 4 toughness, and your opponent is basically just screwed. Plus, whenever he gets in for damage, you gain free cards and life.

Now, you probably noticed this, but this deck has four Ashen Riders in it. What it does not have is any way to produce black mana. So, what’s the idea? Well, Ashen Rider is the only creature in the deck that is not legendary. The deck also happens to contain four copies of Jalira, Master Polymorphist. This means that, at any time, you can pay 3 mana, sacrifice a creature, and slam an Ashen Rider onto the battlefield. Sounds like a great trade to me.

I also threw in one copy of Medomai the Ageless, because why not? It’s legendary, it was one of the cards I got to preview for Theros, and if you actually manage to hit someone with it a time or two, I imagine it becomes very hard to lose at that point. Besides, you can’t go wrong with a 7/6 flyer, right?

The Spells

Hero's Blade
Hero's Blade. It’s cool.

Also making an appearance in this deck is Heroes' Podium, which is annoyingly plural compared to Hero's Blade, causing me to misspell it approximately all of the times over the course of this article. It costs a hefty amount of mana, but it’s pretty reasonable to see it give all your creatures +2/+2 or even +3/+3, which is a pretty solid effect for the price. If you don’t have enough creatures to generate a big boost, the Podium is happy to help you find more, digging into your library for only the most legendary of creatures.

Reality Shift is a pretty decent removal spell, and that free 2/2 won’t do anything but soak up some damage most of the time. It can be annoyingly relevant if Daxos doesn’t have a Blade or Podium to beef him up, but you can always bring him back later with Alesha if you need to.

Most of the spells in this deck only cost 2 or 3 mana, so it shouldn’t be hard to leave up mana for Disdainful Stroke in the later turns of the game. Being able to stop Planeswalkers like Elspeth, Sun's Champion—or the new kid Eugene (Ugin, the Spirit Dragon)—will probably come in handy.

Playtesting

Boros Aggro — Game 1

Goblin Rabblemaster
My opponent won the roll and led with a Temple of Triumph. I played a land and passed.

He cast Soulfire Grand Master, and I played a land and cast Hero's Blade.

My opponent attacked for 2 and passed the turn. I cast Daxos of Meletis, and my opponent killed it with Lightning Strike in response to the Hero's Blade trigger.

My opponent cast Goblin Rabblemaster and hit me for 3. He passed the turn. I cast Anax and Cymede, equipped the blade, and ended my turn.

My opponent made a token and then tapped it to cast Stoke the Flames on my creature. He attacked for 6 and passed the turn. I cast Daghatar the Adamant, attaching the Blade.

My opponent cast a second Rabblemaster and attacked with everything to win the game.

Game 2

Reality Shift
My opponent and I both started out with lands, and I cast Hero's Blade on turn two.

My opponent cast Seeker of the Way, and I cast Daxos of Meletis. He cast Monastery Mentor and passed the turn.

I attacked with Daxos. My opponent took 5, and Daxos hit a land. I cast Reality Shift on Monastery Mentor and passed the turn. My opponent cast Goblin Rabblemaster and attacked for 3.

I cast another Hero's Blade and exiled Goblin Rabblemaster with Reality Shift. My opponent cast a second Rabblemaster and attacked with everything. Daxos killed Seeker of the Way, and I took 6.

I cast Daghatar the Adamant and attached the second Blade. My opponent attacked with the two manifest creatures and three Goblins. I killed the 2/2s and took 3. He cast Monastery Mentor and passed the turn.

Daghatar got in for 7 damage, and I cast Alesha, Who Smiles at Death. My opponent cast a second Monastery Mentor, and four Goblins attacked. I killed three, and he passed the turn.

I attacked with Daxos and Daghatar. My opponent blocked Daghatar with Goblin Rabblemaster and took 5. Daxos revealed Stoke the Flames. I gained 4 life and then cast it on a Monastery Mentor. My opponent cast Seeker of the Way and passed the turn.

Ashen Rider
I attacked with Daxos and Daghatar. My opponent blocked Daghatar with the Goblin token and took 5. Daxos hit a land, and I passed the turn. My opponent passed the turn with no play, and I cast Heroes' Podium.

I attacked with everything. My opponent cast Raise the Alarm, making a total of three tokens thanks to the Mentor. One token blocked each attacking creature. I cast another Daxos, replacing the tapped one and attaching the Blade. My opponent cast Hordeling Outburst, making four tokens.

I attacked with Daghatar, taking out a token, and passed the turn. My opponent cast another Outburst for four more tokens. He passed the turn, and I activated the Podium during his end step, finding Jalira, Master Polymorphist.

I cast Jalira, attacked with Daghatar to kill a token, and passed the turn. My opponent played a Temple and passed. I activated the Podium for 1 during his end step, missing.

I sacrificed Daxos to Jalira, putting Ashen Rider on the battlefield and exiling Monastery Mentor. I attacked with Daghatar and Alesha, using Alesha’s ability to bring back Daxos, attaching the Blade. My opponent blocked Daghatar with a Monk token, a Goblin token, and Seeker of the Way, and he blocked Alesha and Daxos with Goblins. He cast Lightning Strike on Daghatar, triggering prowess on the Seeker and Monk to finish the job. My opponent drew his card and conceded.

Game 3

Collateral Damage
As usual, I cast Hero's Blade on turn two. My opponent cast Raise the Alarm during my end step.

He attacked for 2 and then cast Hordeling Outburst. I cast Alesha, Who Smiles at Death.

My opponent killed her with Stoke the Flames and attacked for 5. I cast another Alesha and passed the turn.

My opponent cast Outpost Siege on Dragons and attacked. I killed a Goblin with Alesha. I cast Daghatar the Adamant and passed the turn.

My opponent cast a second Outpost Siege on Dragons and attacked. I killed the two remaining Goblins, dropping to 3 life. A land took me up to 4, and I cast Hero's Blade and passed the turn.

My opponent sacrificed a token to cast Collateral Damage, ending the game.

Wrap-Up

Goblin Rabblemaster decks are probably the hardest matchup by far for this list, and I still managed to at least take a game. I imagine decks that can’t go wide enough to go around a 6/4 first strike would have a much tougher time. Regardless, this deck is a blast to play, and making 5 mana Ashen Riders with Jalira and Alesha is pretty awesome. If you’re looking for something a bit different to try out at your next Friday Night Magic, give this deck a shot.


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