Friday, March 1, 2013

What I'm Playing: Boros

Today I am going to post the first in what will be a continuing series for Standard Pauper entitled "What I Am Playing." As the name would suggest, this series will simply be a discussion of the decklist I am currently testing and playing in the format. Unlike a more formal "deck-tech," these will be a more informal look at my latest list and why I believe it shows potential or currently holds my interest.

So today will start with an archetype that I expected to see quite a bit of play early on in the new metagame: Boros. Surprisingly, it barely featured at all in either of the first two Standard Pauper PREs before finally taking the trophy for last night's Standard Pauper Deck Challenge. You can look at the winning list for that event here. As you will see, my version is similar, but is going in a slightly different direction.

I had three basic design ideas for this deck:
  1. I wanted to maximize the power of Riot Ringleader by limiting my creature selection to only Humans. This meant that War Falcon, although decent in this deck, was out.
  2. I wanted to keep my curve low by capping it at 3 converted mana cost and limiting the number of 3 drops in the decklist. Hence, Seraph of Dawn was a no-go.
  3. I wanted to maximize my number of creatures, supporting them with just enough removal and protection to enable them to attack turn after turn.
For the most part, this looks about like you would expect. I have 16 2-drop creatures and 9 3-drop creatures, complemented by 2 or 3 mana removal spells. Cloudshift might seem a bit out of place, but I found that it is an excellent way to not only dodge an opponent's removal but also to enable Batallion even when one of your attacks is less than advantageous. Bonds of Faith is also at its best in this deck, perfectly doubling as both removal and as a potent aura depending on the circumstances.

The Sideboard is definitely still a work in progress. Having answers for Hexproof and White Weenie is an obvious place to start. For the moment, I have additional burn spells in the deck, which give me options against Undying or large flyers or low Toughness creatures. As I get more experience in this new format, I expect this will see the most change.

So what do you think of this decklist? In what ways is it stronger or weaker than other Boros decks? How effectively do you think it will compete in the metagame? As always, I enjoy hearing your thoughts. Thanks for reading.


  1. Riot Ringleader fits like a glove. Sure, there will be no first turn War Falcon but with Loyal Cathar it adds a bit more utility with it's vigilance and, in turn, becomes one of the crowd when he transforms into Gravecrawler's little brother. Also Cloudshifting the Cathar whilst in evil form brings him back for a nice little defensive boost and boinks the Ringleaders bell in transit.
    Three One-Eyes seems a bit much especially with the amount of Annihilating Fire's and Thunderbolts. Pillar may be fixed on MtGO as well, and may be up for consideration, but I can see the concern due to the lack of air support that the Falcons would bring.

  2. Hiyo! I'm liking the idea of "Human Boros," although I personally have not tested how strong Riot Ringleader is. He does look spicy! I think, though, that eschewing the War Falcon simply because it wasn't human is not prudent. Weenie decks have, traditionally, been defined by 2-power-1-mana creatures (Carnophage, Champion of the Parish, Delver of Secrets, Diregraf Ghoul, Elite Vanguard, Experiment One, Figure of Destiny, Glistner Elf, Goblin Cohort, Goblin Guide, Gravecrawler, Isamaru Hound of Konda, Jackal Familiar, Jackal Pup, Kird Ape, Loam Lion, Mogg Conscripts, Nettle Sentinel, Phantasmal Bear, Savannah Lions, Steppe Lynx, Vampire Lacerator, Wild Dogs, and Wild Nacatl are cards that are or were in very powerful aggro decks of their time). These decks usually want to start swinging on turn 2 (or hell, turn 1 if you are packing Goblin Guide). Most of these creatures have a drawback built in only the goblins really have tribal synergies. Aggro decks need turn 1 plays, and right now your only t1 play is a tap-land.

    On your creature selection, I like that you brought in more 2-mana creatures since you aren't running any at the 1-drop slot. The Loyal Cathar definitely gives you some card advantage, but I wonder with only 20 lands, 2 of them only producing colorless, if you ever have him stuck in your hand because you can't hit {W}{W}. The {R}{W} creatures are actually easier on the mana base. I'll tell you from my experience running the deck that Splatter Thug is probably my favorite creature in the whole deck. I also think that if you aren't playing a creature every turn you are probably losing. With that in mind and being conscientious of your mana base, I think I would drop the two Brimstone Volleys and add in the 4th Splatter Thug and 1 more card of choice (creature? Thunderbolt?). In your sideboard, the slot I would be most likely to change is the Annihilating Fire. I think I would either rather have a Pillar of Flame (to make you faster/have more spot removal) or Pacifism (if the bad guys are packing large creatures). All of this is, of course, just my initial thoughts without actually playtesting the list you presented here.

  3. Abusing first strike with power boosts is a nice trick. Have you considered the red soulbond guy who grants first strike? And bringing in the fourth Splatter Thug (as poster above suggests)?

    Shame Foundry Street Denizen is not a human...

  4. I think the problem with the soulbond first striker is that he is only a 2/2 for {2}{R}. With as much removal as there is in the format I believe I would rather have the Attended Knight than the Hanweir Lancer (at least then a timely spot removal spell won't lead to a blow out), and I'm only so-so on the Knight to begin with (I think I would rather have something with a stronger impact than a 2/2 for cmc 3 - like Seraph Angel).

  5. Actually, now that I think about it, the Attended Knight is probably really strong with Riot Ringleader! I think it would be a great card to test in this style of deck. He is an excellent blink target too, netting an extra body.