Hi guys and gals, welcome back to the Lab!
I seriously need help. I can’t seem to let go of my fixation of building the funniest but competitive deck with Hero of Precinct One. I wrote about him (I think it’s a her) in my Dirty Bant deck and Nick Price is also toying around with the idea after getting sick of playing Esper Hero.
This time I’m playing him in a straight up Boros shell that’s aggressive, low to the ground for the most part, and full of multicolored spells of course. Here’s the list that got me from Silver Tier 3 (2 wins) to Gold, beating notable meta decks like Esper control, Mono Blue, Mono Red and Izzet Drakes in B01.
The deck is very simple. Play Hero. Play Gold Cards. Swing sideways. Leave the math to the opponent.
I decided to keep the curve low and luckily we have 2 of the neatest 2-drops in Boros. Sky Terror and Boros Challenger. Sky Terror has been awesome in the deck especially against Mono Blue. On the play, this dinosaur stops them from connecting with Curious Obsession on their 1/1 fliers like Pteramander and Siren Stormtamer. Stopping them from accumulating card advantage early in the game helps us advance our board faster with another copy of Sky Terror or Hero of Precinct One into Boros Challenger.
Aurelia is also quite formidable in the Mono U match-up, able to keep most of their attackers at bay, as well as trading up against huge Tempest Djinns.
The first reason for splashing black is Judith. She turns the 1/1 tokens H.O.P.O produces into 2/1 that trade really well against Jadelights, Midright Reapers, Merfolk Branchwalkers, Ghitu Lavarunners, Merfolk Trickters and more. Though we don’t get to deal that 1 point of damage whenever a token dies, Judith is still a great 3-drop that turns lopsided attacks into profitable trades.
We don’t have a shortage of great splitcards as well that give us the flexibility to be reactive or proactive as needed. Revival helps us retrieve everyone in the deck except Aurelia. Revenge can sometimes be relevant against decks that play Absorb, Archway Angel, Wildgrowth Walker and the likes. Integrity helps keep H.O.P.O shake off Shocks, Moment of Craving and Cry of the Carnarium, while Intervention has closed out the games for me in some matches going to Gold tier. All these flexibility generates 1/1 tokens thanks to Hero so technically these cards have “create a 1/1 soldier token” clause tucked inside its rules text as well.
For removal, I chose Justice Strike over Mortify in the mainboard because its cheaper and can kill almost all relevant creatures anyway like Doom Whisperer, Goblin Chainwhirler, Gatebreaker Ram, Lyra Dawnbringer, Thief of Sanity, Benalish Marshall, you name it. The most notable creatures it can’t kill would be Hostage Taker these days but that’s fine.
Heroic Reinforcement also functions as a form of reach which is my favorite card to top deck right after the opponent casts a sweeper or is relying on a spot removal to get an extra turn. I won my game against Esper with back to back Heroic despite the opponent have Carnarium into Kaya’s Wrath back to back. This card is super crazy with Hero out because it also gives the 1/1 token which it creatures +1/+1 and haste (since the Hero’s token already hits the battlefield when Heroic’s ability goes to the stack).
The Honorary gold card in the deck is Adanto Vanguard and he is by far the only creature that can single-handedly keep a Mono U opponent busy and blocking, or a control player churning through their deck for a Carnarium (which we can overcome with a timely Integrity”).
The sideboard is where most of the black spells are, and they are primarily sided in against Control.
I preferred Duress over Kitesail Freebooter because I wanted a clean way to take out a sweeper and not be bothered by a removal spell which allows our opponent to get it back. On the play after losing game 1, Duress can give us perfect information on how to sequence our next 3 turns, see what the opponent sided in against us, and maybe hit a removal spell, a sweeper, or a Search for Azcanta.
Carnival // Carnage can come in against mono U, allowing us to ping their 1/1 creatures early, or cast Carnage mid game to remove counter magic from their hands which deal 3. Its a slower Blightning but it has its uses.
Bedeck is another removal spell that kills opposing Adanto Vanguard and whilst we don’t really plan to casting Bedazzle often (or at all), it might still be useful if we want to get rid of an Adanto, First Fort or Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin.
Mortify finishes off our removal suite which comes in against Reclamation decks, also comes in against Mono Red and Mono Blue, to deal with Curious Obsession or Tempest Djinn in MUT, or Experimental Frenzy in Red. It can also hit The Eldest Reborn and Conclave Tribunal-like cards if you’re expecting the opponent to side some in.
Borrowing some tech from Wet Weenies and Mono White, Unbreakable Formation shores up our offensive against big blockers allowing us to hit hard and still have our creatures standing to block in the back swing. The +1/+1 counters are very relevant especially if you amassed a bunch of 1/1 tokens from Hero or Heroic Reinforcements while turtling up during a stall.
The last card in the sideboard is Ajani and he comes in if we’re up against attrition based decks that pack a ton of removal and sweepers but don’t have good answers to Planeswalkers. Retrieving a Hero or Adanto Vanguard, then planting +1/+1 counters on them can be problematic to an opponent who’s burning through his hard quickly without ways to draw more cards. The -7 ability is not something we’ll be prioritizing but if we do get there, then you should have no reason for losing.
The deck is pretty simple like I said in the beginning and it’s a joy to play in Arena. On paper, I really like seeing a lot of gold cards lying around and a bunch of 1/1 tokens cluttering the board. Will this shell be the next iteration of Hero decks? Maybe. Will Hero spike because of this article? Probably not. But will this deck be competitive and fun? Definitely yes.
See you guys back here very soon as Nick finalizes his next article on playing Hero for his last RPTQ or not.