Forged-In-Battle-Intro-Pack

Next up in Win Target Game’s reviews of the Born of the Gods intro decks, we take a look at the Boros deck (red/white). Rather than a blow-by-blow description of the cards in the deck like with the Golgari deck (which took forever, by the way) we’ll take a look at the deck’s strong points, weaknesses, and devise a strategy to “fix” it on the cheap.

CREATURES

1 Akroan Conscriptor
2 Akroan Crusader
1 Akroan Hoplite
1 Akroan Phalanx
2 Akroan Skyguard
2 Arena Athlete
2 Cyclops of One-Eyed Pass
2 Elite Skirmisher
1 Forgestoker Dragon
1 Labyrinth Champion
1 Loyal Pegasus
1 Phalanx Leader
1 Priest of Iroas
1 Reckless Reveler
1 Two-Headed Cerberus
1 Wingsteed Rider

NON-CREATURES

1 Coordinated Assault
1 Dauntless Onslaught
2 Fall of the Hammer
2 Hold at Bay
2 Mortal’s Ardor
2 Ordeal of Purphoros
1 Pinnacle of Rage
2 Rise to the Challenge
1 Searing Blood

LAND

14 Mountain
11 Plains

Creature Analysis

Forgestoker-Dragon-Born-of-The-Gods

The “big” rare in the deck is [mtg cardname=”Forgestoker Dragon” setname=”Born of the Gods” linktext=”Forgestoker Dragon“]. He’s a 5/4 flying Dragon for 4RR. If he’s attacking, you can use an ability for 1R that deals one damage to target creature, and that creature can’t block during that combat. He’s a great Limited card, but in Constructed, he’s not an incredible creature.

The other rare in the deck is [mtg cardname=”Labyrinth Champion” setname=”Theros” linktext=”Labyrinth Champion“], an interesting Heroic card from Theros. He’s a 2/2 for 3R, which doesn’t sound too impressive. However, his Heroic ability states that any time you target him with a spell you cast, the Champion deals two damage to a target creature or player. In a deck focused around the Heroic mechanic, he’s decent.

There are lots of other good creatures in the deck. Akroan Hoplite gets +x/+0 until end of turn for each attacking creature you control, which is good. Akroan Skyguard is a 1/1 flyer that gets bigger every time you target it with +1/+1 counters. Arena Athlete has a Heroic ability which can prevent a target creature from blocking when it’s targeted. Loyal Pegasus is a one-drop 2/1 flyer that can’t attack or block alone (basically a better version of an older card called War Falcon). Phalanx Leader pumps all of your guys with counters whenever he’s targeted. Wingsteed Rider is another flyer, this one a 2/2 for 1WW that gets bigger whenever you target it.

What’s bad? Akroan Conscriptor has a cute effect, but a 3/2 for 4R is just going to die very easily, even if it can potentially steal a creature. The 2 Cyclops of One-Eyed Pass are vanilla 5/2’s for 2RR, which doesn’t sound bad for the power, but doesn’t fit the flavor of the deck. Elite Skirmisher is a 3/1 for 2W that has a Heroic ability that taps target creature, which is OK, but a bit mediocre. Two-Headed Cerebrus, while a nice flavorful card, and a 1/2 with double strike isn’t terrible, but can be replaced with more copies of the better creatures. Akroan Phalanx is a 3W for a 3/3 with Vigilance, with the ability to pump your creatures by +1/+0 until end of turn for 2R. It’s meh.

Priest of Iroas is nice, if a bit pricey, enchnatment removal and Reckless Reveler is decent artifact removal, but are more sideboard type cards that mainboard type cards.

Non-Creature Spell Analysis

Coordinated Assault is excellent, and in a deck focused on Heroic, there should be at least two or three copies, not just one. Dauntless Onslaught is a great Limited card, and it’s good in this deck if you’re maxing out the Heroic. A second copy is better than the one already included. Fall of the Hammer is a nice little Born of the Gods common that causes target creature to deal damage equal to its power to another target creatuer with no repurcussions. Solid little card that can act as removal and also activate Heroic. I may max these out. Ordeal of Purphoros is excellent, as it pumps creatures and can deal damage. The one Searing Blood is great, but a second or third copy would be better, as it’s just some of the best removal around right now.

Hold at Bay is a cute card, which can prevent the next 7 damage that would be dealt to target creature or player this turn, but I don’t think two copies are worth it. Mortal’s Ardor is a nice one-drop instant, but there are just better spells out there. Pinnacle of Rage is good in Limited but 4RR is stupidly expensive in Constructed. Rise to the Challenge is OK, but there are better cards that can take those two slots.

14 Mountains and 11 Plains is an okay split, but 4 temple of triumph can swap out 2 plains and 2 mountains fairly on the cheap. Boros Guildgate might suffice as well, and Sacred Foundry, if you have them, are definitely good here.

Adjusting the Deck

After cutting the weaker cards and substuting them for more copies of ones already in the deck, here’s what I’ve come up with. I’ve also cut Forgestoker Dragon, as it doesn’t fit with the spirit of the deck.

CREATURES (20)

2 Akroan Hoplite
4 Akroan Skyguard
4 Akroan Crusader
2 Labyrinth Champion
2 Loyal Pegasus
2 Phalanx Leader
4 Wingsteed Rider

NON-CREATURES (15)

3 Coordinated Assault
2 Dauntless Onslaught
4 Fall of the Hammer
4 Ordeal of Purphoros
2 Searing Blood

LANDS (25)
12 Mountain
9 Plains
4 [mtg cardname=”Temple of Triumph” setname=”Theros” linktext=”Temple of Triumph“]

Now the deck focuses on more small Heroic creatures, with an extra copy of Labyrinth Champion and Phalanx Leader. The Crusaders were maxed out for best effect, the Skyguards maxed and Wingsteed Riders maxed out for being flyers, and the Akroan Hoplites and Loyal Pegasus bumped up a copy each for their ability to do some extra damage in an alpha strike. All of the other creatures were cut for not being quite aggressive enough, even a decent card like the Arena Athlete wasn’t as good as the extra copies of the Hoplite and Pegasus. This also drops the mana curve a bit.

The Ordeal of Purphoros and the Fall of the Hammer are maxed out here for the damage that they can dish out while also triggering lots of Heroic abilities. Coordinated Assault got a couple extra copies, while Dauntless Onslaught and Searing Blood each gained a copy, as well. All of the cute stuff was cut.

If you were to build a sideboard for this deck, keeping Reckless Reveler around isn’t a terrible plan, but Revoke Existence is far stronger than Priest of Iroas.

Also, if you want to go out and get some new cards for this deck, you can replace the 2 Hoplite with two Vanguard of Brimaz to get even more Heroic token creation online. Soldier of the Pantheon might also be a stronger option than the Loyal Pegasus, although they don’t have flying. It’s also not a terrible plan to take out the 2 Dauntless Onslaught for 2 copies of Ordeal of Heliod, which can gain you a ton of life and help you outrace more aggressive decks. The Labyrinth Champions also, while useful, could easily be replaced with more aggressive creatures. Two copies of Eidolon of Countless Battles would be my personal choice if you can get them, giving you another way to activate Heroic while pumping up your aerial assault with the Skyguards and Wingsteed Riders. Also, if the Enchanted creature dies, you get a free creature out of it.

The other option is to dismantle the deck entirely and go with a Hero of Iroas/Ordeal/Bestow build. Win Target Game will be working on a build of that sort of deck in the near future!

Overall, this deck is better than Death’s Beginning out of the box, and with the tweaks made above, it can be a fun little aggressive deck for beginners or budget players that want to play a quick and easy Boros deck that can steal some wins away if your opponent starts out slow. As is, I give it a B-minus for providing a decent shell for what can be a Tier 2 deck!

~ Elspeth for the Win

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