It’s been a while since we saw a good Boros deck in Standard these days. The last time it showed itself in standard was when Boros Charm was still legal.
I could remember back in Return to Ravnica, Boros was so strong it was called Boros Deck Wins. It actually feels like Ramunap Red’s ancestor, inheriting its super low curve, multiple 2-power one drops, creatures that prevents other creatures from blocking, and enough reach to close the game quick.
Pro Tour Dragon’s Maze San Diego featured Josh Utter-Leyton’s top 4 Boros Deck:
4 Burning Tree Emissary
4 Firefist Striker
4 Foundry Street Denizen
4 Frontline Medic
4 Gore-house Firewalker
4 Legion Loyalist
4 Rakdos Cackler
4 Boros Charm
4 Mizzium Mortars
3 Legion’s Initiative
4 Sacred Foundry
4 Temple Garden
Let’s look at how the cards mimic each other across two formats separated by 4 years.
We have our efficient one drops that gives us high value for 1 red mana. Return to Ravnica gave us 2/2s instead of 1/2 (or 2/1 like Falkenrath Gorger).
Battalion was replaced by Exert in disabling potential blockers.
Before we used to have modal but target-restricting removal compared to the ones we now use which are simpler and hits both creatures and players/planeswalkers.
But truly we can see they both are the same decks from different eras. They hit fast, hit hard, removes blockers, and uses burn to get those final damage in. The main difference is the land count of old decks. In Josh’s case he ran 21 while most Ramunap Red decks today run 23 or 24.
Ramunap Red increased its land count not because it was throwing them away to Ramunap Ruins, but it was playing bigger spells like Chandra and Hazoret, and having Glorybringer in the sideboard. But regardless to the way Ramunap Red is built and played, if the opponent can survive the onslaught and get passed turn 4 or 5 with at least 10 life, the opponent will have the chance to bounce back and establish some board presence. If it’s against a control deck with lots of removal, it should be fairly easy.
In the recent SCG Open Dallas Forth Worth, only 1 out of the 16 Ramunap Reds made it to the top 8. Players are expecting a lot of these decks that’s why there’s an increased number of Gifted Aetherborns in the mainboard for black players, complete sets of Fatal Push and Fumigates for control players, and with the latest addition of Settle the Wreckage, it’s not easy to play Red these days.
My deck today will be a different take on Boros and instead of playing aggro I chose to play a midrange shell. Red has the best early removal while White has the best late game removal. It’s a good balance for any creature based match-up which is the majority of the meta. These colors also have great planeswalkers like Gideon, Chandra and now Huatli.
Gideon was bad when BFZ and SOI were still standard legal. It died to Grasp of Darkness, Blessed Alliance and gets banished quickly by Stasis Snare. Now that all these have rotated, Gideon will only fear Cast Out in combat or Never.
Chandra is Chandra, period. All of her abilities are great for a midrange shell: Card advantage, ramp, removal and a win condition.
Huatli is now my pet planeswalker. She never found a true home in the dinosaur decks because she shared the curve with better alternatives like Regisaur Alpha, Carnage Tyrant (if we have a dork) and Glorybringer. All these cards give better board presence than her. But in our deck, she will be our Gideon, Ally of Zendikar replacement.
Her first skill will mostly be irrelevant but occasionally you can gain 4 life if you have an activated Gideon, or Glorybringer on the field. Worst case is you get a Healing Salve once she generates her 3/3 dinos.
So here’s my Red White Midrange Deck:
2 Djeru, With Eyes Open
3 Veteran Mororist
4 Lightning Strike
2 Sweltering Suns
2 Settle the Wreckage
1 Approach of the Second Sun
1 Sunbird’s Invocation
2 Cultivator’s Caravan
3 Cast Out
2 Gideon’s Intervention
2 Gideon of the Trials
3 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
2 Huatli, Warrior Poet
4 Inspiring Vantage
3 Stone Quarry
4 Ramunap Ruins
4 Glory-Bound Initiate
4 Honored Crop-Captain
4 Ahn-Crop Crasher
Before you criticize my creature choices let me explain. Djeru is our walker tutor, he can fetch anyone we need, help prevent damage to them and comes in a 4/3 body with vigilance. Yes it will die to a lot of removal but you would already draw a card from him anyway and that card will be a planeswalker. If he sticks till your next turn then you have a great attacker that can still block.
Veteran Motorist is for additional card advantage. His scry 2 is very relevant on turn 2 to help smoothen our draws. His 3 power allows us to block Earthshaker Khenra on the play as well which is huge!
The spells are very self-explanatory but let me just touch on Gideon’s Intervention. Basically this card is our insurance against cards we can’t interact with like Approach of the Second Sun, or Scarab God, or Carnage Tyrant or an opponent planeswalker. It’s 1 card that can turn 3-4 cards into dead draws for our opponent which is really good if we can cast this timely.
We will mainboard 1 Approach in case our games go long and the board state stalls and neither can win. One copy of Sunbird’s Invocation for more value and late-game card advantage since most of our spells are high-costed, we will most likely get to play a second spell.
Again, the sideboard is transformative. We side out our sweepers, exile cards and Djeru for a 15-card package that turns our deck into a pseudo-Ramunap. Glory-Bound Initiate is great for racing, Ahn-crop Crasher for the ‘evasion’, Honored Crop-Captain to improve our damage output and Glorybringers to top off the aggro curve. We will mostly keep our planeswalkers in the deck even after boarding in our aggressive cards because they provide inevitability in case our threats get answered or traded in combat.
Against midrange and aggro decks, we should do very well. We pack so much spot and mass removals that creatures won’t be a problem while our planeswalkers can help take over the game.
I hope you like today’s take on Boros Midrange, let me know what you think on the comments below!