The Boros Legion has always been the guild I've most loved to play. There's something about the harmonious balance between Red's aggression and White's control that appeals to me as a player. So I was thrilled to find out that the Boros Legion was going to be one of the five featured guilds in Guilds of Ravnica. Now that the set has released on Magic Online (MTGO), people have already begun to brew new decks and Boros decks are plentiful. This week we'll be taking a look at a few different versions of Boros decks that all feature different sub-themes.
The first deck we'll take a look at this week really highlights the power of the mentor mechanic. It's also a best-of-the-best deck that features all of the best cards that Boros has to offer. Let's take a look at it.
Boros Mentor | Guilds Standard | ANAST1997, (5-0) MTGO
- Creatures (25)
- 3 Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice
- 3 Rekindling Phoenix
- 3 Tajic, Legion's Edge
- 4 Boros Challenger
- 4 Goblin Banneret
- 4 Legion Warboss
- 4 Swiftblade Vindicator
- Enchantments (3)
- 3 Legion's Landing
Of the creatures in this deck, only Rekindling Phoenix and Swiftblade Vindicator don't have mentor. While you're likely to never mentor the phoenix, Swiftblade Vindicator is an excellent student to teach the ways of combat to. Since it has double strike, every time you mentor it you're basically getting twice the value. Plus Swiftblade Vindicator has trample and vigilance which makes it both a great attacker as well as a great blocker. If Swiftblade Vindicator wasn't included in the Boros Guild Kit that releases on November 2nd, it would likely have been one of the most expensive rare cards of the set (after Assassin's Trophy, of course).
This deck also includes a few copies of Tajic, Legion's Edge. Having haste allows you to play him as a surprise attacker to be able to get in for three additional points of damage that your opponent probably wasn't planning on. His ability to prevent all noncombat damage that would be dealt to other creatures you control is a nice bonus, but it immediately places a huge target on his head. There's really no way for you to protect him from being targeted so enjoy his ability for as long as it lasts and if he gets destroyed at least you'll know he went likely sacrificed himself for the rest of his squad.
Because this deck features a lot of creatures with mentor, you'll want to attack early and often. Try to transform Legion's Landing into Adanto, the First Fort as soon as possible, so you can begin producing 1/1 Vampire creature tokens with lifelink. Not only are they great targets to mentor, but they'll also provide you with additional incidental lifegain making it more difficult on your opponent. And don't be afraid to let those newly mentored vampires die in combat. After all, once mentored they're 2/2 creatures which will deal two points of damage to any blocking creature. That can allow you to finish off a 5/5 with a well-timed Lightning Strike.
The next deck I have for you this week features a tribe that I love to play — Goblins! Let's take a look at Boros Goblins.
Boros Goblins | Guilds Standard | NAKA_MURA, (5-0) MTGO
- Creatures (28)
- 3 Fanatical Firebrand
- 3 Goblin Instigator
- 3 Siege-Gang Commander
- 3 Volley Veteran
- 4 Goblin Chainwhirler
- 4 Goblin Cratermaker
- 4 Legion Warboss
- 4 Skirk Prospector
While this deck has the potential to hit hard and fast, it also has a lot of tools that allow it to still pull out a win if the game goes longer. Let's start with the most obvious of these tools - Siege-Gang Commander. This deck has a ton of ways to create 1/1 Goblin tokens and Siege-Gang Commander knows exactly what to do with them. If you're having trouble punching through on the battlefield, you can always sacrifice a few goblins in order to destroy an otherwise difficult to deal with blocker. More often though, you'll be better off just chucking those goblins directly at your opponent, bringing their life total down to 0 two points at a time.
Another tool that allows you to keep up in longer games is Radiant Destiny. With the amount of cheap creatures this deck has as well as the number of tokens it can create, you should be able to ascend into the City's Blessing within a few turns. Once you have that, you can never lose it so Radiant Destiny will give all of your goblins from that point onward a +1/+1 bonus and vigilance. That vigilance is the key for you to be able to press the attack while still being able to block. Plus, Radiant Destiny isn't legendary so if you get multiple copies onto the battlefield, you'll stack up multiple +1/+1 bonuses.
As the Boros Legion is led by Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice, it should come as no surprise that there are other angels within the guild. The next deck I have for you features them. Let's take a look at it.
Boros Angels | Guilds Standard | BERTRAM, (5-0) MTGO
- Creatures (22)
- 3 Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice
- 3 Shalai, Voice of Plenty
- 4 Adanto Vanguard
- 4 Knight of Grace
- 4 Lyra Dawnbringer
- 4 Resplendent Angel
- Instants (4)
- 4 Lightning Strike
- Sorceries (3)
- 3 Deafening Clarion
Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice won't be able to mentor much unless she targets herself with her beginning of combat ability. However, that ability is often better used on another attacking creature, especially if they are an angel, as it will grant vigilance to the creature which allows you to attack with them and still use them defensively. As a bonus, if you have Lyra Dawnbringer on the battlefield and you target any angel with the ability, you'll be able to gain a ton of life. That's likely to be important since you're relatively weak in the early stages of the game.
Deafening Clarion is another way for you to play catch-up if you happen to fall behind. You can either use it to sweep away your opponent's battlefield (likely leaving your field mostly unscathed) or grant lifelink to all of your creatures. Granting lifelink works best when you can also grant vigilance with Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice, so you won't be as vulnerable to an attack back next turn, negating the life you just gained.
The final deck I have this week features a tribe that's beloved to most players. Let's take a look at Boros Dragons.
Boros Dragons | Guilds Standard | BEESEEUU, (5-0) MTGO
- Creatures (18)
- 2 Verix Bladewing
- 4 Demanding Dragon
- 4 Goblin Chainwhirler
- 4 Rekindling Phoenix
- 4 Runaway Steam-Kin
- Sorceries (1)
- 1 Lava Coil
Even though this deck only has six dragon creatures in it, there are a few other ways to create Dragon tokens, which is why this is a dragon tribal deck. If kicked, Verix Bladewing will create a 4/4 Dragon token with flying. You can help kick Verix Bladewing by using the +1 loyalty ability on Sarkhan, Fireblood to add two mana to use on casting dragon spells. And, by adding this loyalty to Sarkhan, you get closer to being able to use his -7 loyalty ability which creates four 5/5 Dragon tokens with flying. Now that's a lot of dragons!
The rest of the deck is mostly Red, splashing just a little White for Justice Strike. This is the least Boros-y of the decks I've shown you today, but it's still a pretty neat deck that's in both Red and White.
If you're a fan of the Boros Legion, you probably have the same problem that I currently have — Which of these decks to play at your next Friday Night Magic. I'm leaning toward the Goblins deck, simply because it combines two things that I love, Boros and Goblins. Which of these decks do you like best? Let me know by leaving a comment below or you can reply to me directly on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg), or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. And be sure to join me here again next week as I continue my search for innovative decks in Standard. I'll see you then!
— Mike Likes