Building Blocks: Boros Is Back

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In testing for Worlds 2010, team Channel Fireball said that they wanted a deck that was good against the meta (as always), but was strong enough to win every matchup. Their main priority was to clear the “Valakut line” in building a deck for the tournament; that is, a deck that wasn’t pushed out by Valakut Ramp (i.e., midrange) and that also beat it a majority of the time. It was decided that a UB Control deck with 4 Spreading Seas and 4 Tectonic Edge was the answer. And indeed, the finals of Worlds 2010 saw two UB Decks clash, albeit piloted by the French Guillaumes Wafo-Topa and Matignon and not CFB members.

For Innistrad Block Constructed, the RW Humans deck known as Boros is the equivalent of Worlds 2010′s Valakut Ramp. The deck is so widespread and effective that any deck you play in the format that isn’t Boros has to have a legitimate game against it, usually devoting many slots in your deck to countering its most important threats.

I’ve been spending a bunch of my time displaying decks that have to exist in the same world as Boros, and are thus warped by having to include removal spells like Human Frailty and Pillar of Flame to counter their Champion of the Parish and Silverblade Paladins. But I figured today was a good day to display this format’s “Valakut line” instead of trying to shoot over it. Established decks are established for a reason, after all.

Here’s the list I played:





It’s been a very long time since I’ve played Boros, and I’m kind of wondering why. It seems to me right now to be the clear best deck in the format, competing with the Jund deck I will be playing next time. As mentioned, I have a natural distaste for aggressive decks like Boros, but I also like winning… and this deck has a lot of free wins packed into it. I’m not sure whether Jund or Boros is better yet, but if you’re looking for a deck to grind Block Dailies with all summer, look no farther than our friendly red and white neighbors.

Thanks for reading!

gardevior[at]gmail[dot]com
Gard on MTGO
@leemcleo on Twitter

-Lee McLeod

 
  1. Hi Lee,
    good videos as always.
    For the very last game: I suppose your opponent wanted to avoid Morbid for Brimstone Volley.

    Cheers,
    High_Gene

  2. @High_Gene: Ah, you’re right. I meant to make a comment of this below the video, but of course I forgot and didn’t mention it at all. It was a pretty lucky win overall, I feel.

  3. I really had to turn up the volume just to hear you, but then all I could hear was your breathe in the mic. Speak up a bit in the future, and as a rule of thumb keep around six inches or more between you and the mic at all times.

  4. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I’ve found Stromkirk Noble to be too slow in this deck. If your opponent has a really low start then you can get some counters on a turn 1 Noble, but if they have a really slow start then you’re likely to win anyway. The only other way to make him have an impact is to have a lot of removal to keep the path clear for a few turns, but if you’re doing that then you’re not playing creatures which is what you want to be doing with Hellriders on deck. To top it off, they don’t combo with the Champions.

    I’d much rather play Reckless Waif, Doomed Traveler (which can trade with an opponent’s T1 creature and then still leave you with a creature), or Stonewright – which can put your opponent in a tough spot when you attack before casting for the turn and which can be a good finisher when your opponent has to have blockers for both creatures who have firebreathing along with any other big creatures. All three also combo with the Champions.

  5. I’ll add one addendum – the Noble can be good in the mirror match with his evasion.

  6. bummer on Round 1…. you saw 6 total lands off of what…. 2 opening 7s and 15 draws? that’s incredibly loose odds for a 24 land deck. i dont have a good client up to run the numbers for me, but i would guess you’re well under the 10th percentile of crappiest draws.

  7. You might want to work on your tapping efficiency and combat math if you are going to spend 10% of your on air time griping about other people using or not using certain F keys. Its almost like some people don’t read the “complete MODO” handbook WOTC mails out after you download the program!

    Your final opponent was 100% correct to not block. You are much more likely to have ripped (since you didn’t block on his turn) the brimstone volley for a lethal 5 than to be holding double pillar.

  8. edit: PS I see the first comment and your reply address that R4 last block as well. You are usually pretty good about discussing these block specific considerations so I was surprised you didn’t mention it.

  9. @Torpesh: You’re right, in that a lot of the time (vs non-boros), Stromkirk Noble is a dead card. But, the free wins you get off it in the Boros Mirror are just insane, and since the format is mostly Boros, I think it’s silly not to play it. It feels real bad when it’s dead, but it feels really, really good when it’s not.

    @Robin: What do you mean by tapping efficiency? Tapping lands correctly and leaving open random not-tricks I should be representing (eg, leaving open Cavern when I could leave up a Plains to represent Faith’s Shield)? Yeah, I should do this a lot more. I just feel lazy because I know the card isn’t in my deck, so I don’t play like I have it.
    Same with the Pillar Pillar hand. I was so focused on not winning that game that I thought it would be silly for him to not block there, because I knew my hand was Pillar Pillar, not Brimstone Volley. I agree that it was super 100% correct not to block, but I couldn’t see that in the moment because I knew that if he didn’t block, he was dead.

    As for F-key griping, it’s a guilty pleasure. It makes me feel that I’m better than other people, which I’ll admit is pretty bad and shallow, but hey, honesty, right? I’ll try not to do it in the future, though slowness does really get to me – especially in these recordings where I can’t just alt-tab over to VLC or listen to music.

  10. Regarding the tapping: I don’t necessarily mean leaving things open (though its really a best practice to try and represent whatever you can when possible) I mostly meant that at the same time you were complaining about other people taking too much time you were durdling around with mistapping your lands… several times.

    I get that recording is tougher than just playing. Hell, I gripe to an empty room about slow opponents and appreciate that filling those gaps is creates an awful temptation blast your opponent for their failings, but grumping about your opponent taking the time to click on 5-7 Hellrider triggers is taking it to a bit of a new level.

    Re: the format as a whole. I think the whole “mostly Boros” thing is block players just being lazy. Boros itself is such a mediocre and lazy deck. It doesn’t do anything interesting or particularly reliably. I actually like the deck much less in its current iteration than I have at other points during block. Jund is much better (looking forward to you revisting that next week). Naya Human Reanimator is a lot more fun and has a good matchup with Boros.

    This format needed a Last Gasp effect so badly. The fact that Hellrider answers are slow limited continues to really warp it. Alas.

  11. Hi

    I wanted to ask all of you what do you think about Kessig Malcontents in Boros??

    And the second thing i like pilgrims a lot is it good idea to switch them with thalia?

    Thx for any and Lee keep going… great videos.

  12. People who play Boros aren’t lazy. Some of us can’t afford to drop 400 tix on a deck like Jund and have to pick something else that has any chance of winning at all. If your keeping up with the daily results, Jund is now dominating the format. There isn’t much a Boros player can do against Jund except hope they get mana screwed.

  13. Round 3, game 2, you were dead if he double blocked Thalia with Blood Artist and The other drainer : P

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