60 to 100 - Boros: Where the Weenies Roast You
For the Legion!
Welcome spellslingers, one and all! Thanks for making your way back to another edition of 60 to 100!
This week, as always, we have another spicy fun deck. This one is actually terribly uncharacteristic of me, but that just shows you how sharp and exciting the deck is! As you may know, I've said on Twitter and in my recent articles that, now that Guilds of Ravnica has released, the current Standard format is insanely fun. There are almost as many viable decks as there are players playing the format, which is great for everyone. Pro players love the format, FNM players love it, and the kitchen table folks do as well.
One of the decks that has made its rounds on many levels is the White Weenie archetype. Sometimes it splashes red for some sideboard cards, but sometimes it does not.
"But Matt, white plus red in Commander!? You know what that means don't you?!?"
Yes, inner monologue, I do know what that means:
Boros has long been the butt of jokes among Commander players. It doesn't do anything well, it can't deal with stuff, it can't draw cards, blah blah blah. We get it. We talked about the inherent differences between Boros cards and other color pairings in an early episode of the EDHRECast, trying to dispel some of the misconceptions about the guild. Since we know that Boros is successful in Standard right now, why not try it out in Commander too?
Let's take a quick glance at a reader-submitted deck, from our friend Joey D (@deathnstuff) via the Twitter world.
This deck is pretty close to the deck that won the first Pro Tour of the season. It's fast, clean, and efficient, and short of that miser basic Mountain (come on, Joey D, we can do better than that!) it's got a nearly perfect mana base to get a fast start without slowing down.
So how are we going to translate a deck that relies on so many 1-drop creatures into Commander, where a 1 mana creature drawn on turn 7 is all sorts of awful? Let's try and figure out this little honey pot, shall we?
We know we want to be fast. That much is clear. We also know that we want to pack a little removal just in case someone next to us clogs up everything. Cards like Conclave Tribunal makes sure any fatties stay away, so that the Adanto Vanguard types can sneak in as much as possible. That Vampire, by the way, is still something I think could see more play in more aggressive Commander decks. 4 life is a decent amount in 20-life formats, but in Commander it's easier to swallow the pain so you can keep a dude around after a Wrath of God. Thankfully, we don't have to rely too much on that one effect when we can count on Boros Charm and more widespread effects in a non-Standard deck.
Another calling card of the Boros Weenies deck is its ability to go wide. Legion's Landing has already made a respectable appearance in Commander in 1,200 decks, which is a good start. Heroic Reinforcements does its best to pump the team too, but Benalish Marshal and History of Benalia are the cards that really punish folks for not addressing the board state before it gets out of hand. Once you happen to flip Legion's Landing (which is going to be terribly easy to do) you're sure to have a steady stream of beef that ends up bigger than it began.
Now, this deck plays completely opposite in 60-card formats compared to how it functions in Commander. In Standard, powerful cards like Truefire Captain or Leonin Warleader cost too much mana to be reliable, whether because of their speed or the difficulty of casting them on curve. On the flipside, some Commander decks don't even start casting non-ramp spells until they reach four mana. When you combine this with the fact that most Boros "staples" in Commander are high-cost cards likeAvacyn, Angel of Hope or Etali, Primal Storm, it means we're looking at some very conflicting strategies and leads us to a crossroads on how we want to build the deck. I think it'd be fun to turn creatures sideways and keep folks honest, rather than letting them durdle around all game. Plus, it's my article, so I get to make the executive decision. Therefore, we're going fast!
Truefire Captain, you're in buddy! Same to our kitty cat, Leonin Warleader! We really can customize this deck to play however we want it to. This also means that our commander doesn't have to be low to the ground, but I know a perfect idea for this ragtag gang of Boros beaters.
Yep, my good buddy Tajic, Legion's Edge! You may recall from my previous series about the Singleton Guild Wheel that I had a Boros deck with Tajic, Blade of the Legion at the helm. It's only fair I call my pal Tajic to ride once again. In addition to his Mentor ability, that secondary ability of preventing all noncombat damage to our creatures really intrigues me. Surely it's something we can abuse, right? Being a three-mana commander means recasting him won't be as painful for a Boros deck as some other expensive commanders would be.
Going Over the Top
My esteemed colleague Dana Roach was a big fan of the card Experimental Frenzy when we first saw it and broke it down on the EDHRECast. I wasn't near as keen on it as Mr. Roach, but I figured it would have some potential. Needless to say, he was more correct than I was on that nugget. Its role in the White Weenie deck is to give it a steady stream of fuel late game after we've dumped our hand, rather than sitting there twiddling our thumbs while the blue players get to keep casting spells. In the Standard decks, being able to play 3+ spells a turn on an empty hand is HUGE game, so of course we want it here.
Since we're in Commander, we get some extra effects that might be a little less experimental, but can still get us worked up. Outpost Siege is always a welcome addition to red decks, and the numbers back that claim up, since it's almost hitting 6,000 decks as a red Phyrexian Arena-type card. The reverse Impact Tremors mode isn't used near as much, I'd assume, but it's still great. Add in the rummaging effects that give you velocity through your deck, like Cathartic Reunion and Tormenting Voice, and you have a decent shot actually at keeping gas flowing and the deck speeding through. Obviously, Skullclamp, one of the best draw engines in creature decks, gets a spot here as well. The card is just... wild.
Finally, I really want to double down on this secondary ability of Tajic again:
Yea, that's good stuff there. One of my favorite calling cards of my OG Tajic deck was the 'boardwipe tribal' aspect of it. Tajic, Legion's Edge may not be indestructible himself, but that ability really intrigues me. How fun do you think a one-sided Blasphemous Act for a single mana would be? Pretty good? Yeah, me too. Some heavy hitters that can really push the action over the edge, like Chain Reaction and Rolling Thunder, just make the deck even more spicy. At worst, they can help keep you alive to rebuild later. Best case scenario? Deafening Clarion to wipe out the token players board and then gain so much life you get out of reach to live even longer. I'll take it!
Solid, if I may say so myself! Your straightforward aggro deck with some neat little tricks to put yourself in a position to win some dragged-out games too. Always something I don't mind seeing.
What do you all think? Is Boros still helplessly bad in Commander, or are we onto something here? Let me know in the comments!