This weekend I decided to pop along to the Ravnica Weekend special Event. It was set up to coincide for the release of Guild Kits; a pre-constructed deck from each guild house that had some alternative art and reprints of some highly sought after cards (many not standard legal though). The format was rounds of three as normal with one booster as your sideboard and the other two being used as tokens for prizes. Each round you put one booster packs on the line and the winner would take a booster off the loser. I finished a with a modest one win but was happy to walk away with a fun deck and pack for my time. It was a great way to try out a new type of playstyle and offered a look into how the rest of the guilds play out.
I was teetering on playing The Izzet guild kit on my way to Mox in the Hole but changed my mind at that last minute to try something new. Boros is about building small creatures, pumping them up and then finishing with angels or unblockable attackers. The precon list looked awesome with Aurelia, The Warleader; Brightflame; and Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran to name a few. The Creatures and spell looked like a fantastic Combo, an extra combat step with a big board wipe and since most of the creatures are White/Red they’d be pumped from the +2/+2 seemed unstoppable.
The base of the deck was filled with small creatures and some big angels to help round out the curve. I’ve played quite a bit of Boros online and found that the lower to the ground you go, the more work you can get done. Although this deck was built a bit more towards the mid-game, I assumed the principle would play out in a similar fashion.
My first matchup was against a Golgari Deck. The Golgari are known for sacrificing creatures and resurrecting them. The core revolves around dumping creatures into the grave, whilst using spells or shamans to bring them back onto the battlefield. My opponent was also relatively new to Magic, so we played out the game fairly slowly and probably messed up on some of the mechanics. The game started out fairly positive, I had a few creatures being able to swing in for a lot of damage and my Skyknight Legionnaire was doing a lot of work in the air. The Golgari deck had a slow start but the constant removal that was coming down was threating to spiral out of control. Some of his creatures would cause me to sacrifice something and with my most powerful cards tending to be high cost, I couldn’t build a wide enough board to counteract the removal. We were both sitting on single digit life and I was starting to just draw lands. It was a shame as my little guys were really putting in the work but the hard removal like Abrupt Decay and Putrify was enough to finish me off and leave me wide open.
The Grave-Shell Scarab gave my opponent so much value, with it being able to come back every turn and my creatures were too small to push through and finish him off. I got very unlucky with the draws, Boros doesn’t really have any way to draw cards and since Golgari has so many ways to throw stuff in the grave and return it, I got outvalued pretty fast. His deck was made to grind the game out and cash in when your opponent is out of gas.
Game two went slightly more to plan. My creatures came down early and my hand was loaded with plenty of decent creatures that would be a nuisance. My opponent had the same big removals but I had played much more conservatively, managing to avoid playing into big board clears. The Boros kit had a pretty good trump card that was also a land (so much value) Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion. This land could tap for colourless mana but also give a target creature double strike, letting them attack twice. I managed to get down Hammer Dropper, a 5/2 creature that ended up doing ten damage to the face. Once again, my opponent was able to get some big creatures down and remove the Hammer Dropper. Luckily I was able to drop down a Skyknight Legionnaire and give it double strike with haste, swinging in for the final six points of damage needed to win the game.
Game three was pretty short-lived and played out similarly to the first game. My hand played out quick, but I was only drawing small creatures and then the only drawing lands for the next couple of turns. This meant I couldn’t really answer any of the threats. My next draw would have been the sideboarded Experimental Frenzy, which given one or two turns could have swung the game back in my favour. Golgari seemed really strong for a precon and the deck was filled with tons of removal and value. Although my little creatures did a lot of work, I maybe didn’t play the right ones in certain scenarios.
Match two was against A Dimir Deck. I was pretty scared as I’d seen the list and it looked like it had a lot of powerful creatures with effects. Some of those would cause me to discard and I presumed it would be able to once again outvalue my deck. My opponent was a fresh magic player and had mentioned he’d only really been playing online and came along with his friends. We were both at one loss so this one was for a knockout. The first game I got off to a fantastic start, my opponent mentioning his hand was a risky keep. I was able to capitalise by getting three creatures down fast and they had battalion on them. This was a new mechanic to the deck, meaning if two or more creatures attacked they would gain a bonus. Boros Elite was able to gain +2/+2 and this paired nicely with other synergetic cards that made this dork (a small creature that looks unthreatening on its own) unstoppable. I also managed to get down a Sunhome Guildmage, which could tap excess lands to give creatures a buff or creature a small solider. My opponent was able to start his mill plan onto me with a Glimpse of the Unthinkable but at that point, it was too late. Although discarding my top ten cards put some big creatures in the grave, the dorks got the work done.
Game two had a lot more back and forth to it. My small creatures were down and doing a bit of work but a wall of big health minions and a lifelink creature stopped me in my tracks. I had threats in the air had to try and get through. My opponent was able to gain at least ten life back and I was running out of gas pretty fast. I pulled Aurelia off the top and thought she could seal the game. Dimir is filled with countermagic, so she didn’t get to see the battlefield. I looked at my board and notice I had some real powerhouses on the field. Both Argus Kos and a Boros Reckoner had been buffed and they were sitting as 6/6s. with my opponent bouncing between six and thirteen life, things were coming to a stalemate. He had a pretty good combo with a cipher card which let him copy his lifelink but my next draw would almost certainly finish him off. Light of the Legion is a pseudo copy of Lyra Dawnbringer (an angel that is notoriously one of the strongest cards in standard rotation) without the lifelink attached to her. Once she entered the battlefield, my opponent looked slightly disheartened and frantically looked for an answer. His next land draw wasn’t enough and Light of the Legion was able to finish him off, as its flying was unblockable. The deck functioned a lot better this time around. Lightning Helix was able to gain my life back when I was in a spot of bother and it turned out I didn’t read the text on the Boros Reckoner properly. It turns out that whenever it is dealt damage, it deals that much damage to any target. After we did a quick count up we realised the three blocks it had taken would have been enough to clear the board or take him down over those turns.
Overall the deck felt like it did exactly what it was meant to. I curved out perfectly in the second game and even the extra lands I was drawing were being put to good use, being able to either add bonuses or create 1/1 tokens.
Another Golargi deck and my opponent was a seasoned veteran. He was pretty relaxed and open about being a good commander player (decks of a hundred cards with a single copy of a card only allowed) and his primary deck was Golgari. Both games played out fairly quickly and the path of play was almost identical, although very explosive. My first match he went down to five cards to start, this was great for me but in typical fashion, my smaller creatures couldn’t get the job done fast enough. By the time I had a chance to play a big creature the Golgari deck had cleaned up and stabilized enough to steal the win. The second game I got land flooded again, whilst my opponent hit all of his bomb cards. He was quick to play his removal on everything I played and then managed to get Izoni, Thousand-Eyed; Deadbridge Chant; and Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord down in a couple of turns.
This combo was pretty insane and the tokens he was able to sacrifice to buff Jarad and Izoni was crazy. I didn’t mind this loss as it was really impressive to watch someone that experienced know exactly when to burst his combo out fast. Jarad was able to swing in for seven damage and finish me off.
The event was a great change of pace from what I would normally play. Basically being handed a random deck and having to figure it out on the fly was a good learning experience in itself. Even though I only picked up the one win I felt I developed my skills in mid-range matchups. Being heavily unfavoured against the Golgari decks I still managed to find a win in a game at least. Some of the cards that didn’t get to see play could have maybe changed the game but that’s the luck of the draw.
From my Boosters I got: