Archetype Spotlight: Boros Aggro and its Variants

 Welcome in to Archetype Spotlight. This series of post is focused on my approach to building archetypes. Each post will explore the game plan of the archetype, what type of cards will enable, special notes, and how it overlaps with other archetypes.

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Truefire Paladin


Game Plan: You're beating them to 0 life ASAP. You're using creatures and burn spells to do so.
Key Cards: Monastery Swiftspear, Seeker of the Way, Embercleave, Lightning Bolt, Temur Battle Rage
Sub-Archetype: Blitz, Burn, Prowess
Spicy Inclusions: Blazing Shoal
Overlaps: Any other Aggro deck, Spells Matter, Tokens, Tempo
EDH translation: Aggro decks built around Aurelia, the Warleader/ Adriana, Captain of the Guard


Boros Wolf in Action
Regardless what format of Magic you play, Red White, which will be referred to as Boros from this point, has historically been seen as an aggressive color pairing. Because of this perspective, it is often looked down upon in the Commander format for being to narrow and in Modern is seen only the premier Burn deck. Recently, Wizards of the Coast has been doing considerable work to expand the playstyle of the color combination. They have been success doing so and received general praise from the player base for doing so. Incidentally within the context of cubing, the option to not make Boros the typical aggro deck is becoming more viable as time passes. Regardless of all that, this post is here to focus on Boros Aggro and a sub-archetype found within. I will refer to this archetype as Boros Blitz, which uses combat tricks to deal a ridiculous amount of damage. Burn decks are available to design as well and really demand that the designer slot in more burn spells.

If you have played aggro in constructed before then you will understand how this deck operates. For everyone else, your main goal is to try and win as fast as possible using cheap, efficient creatures  pairing them with burn spells to reach the final few points of life. The deck is generally not hard to pilot combined with a basic game plan and this becomes a popular deck due to its simplicity. The general game plan is spending your early turns on dropping down good creatures and swinging in, while using removal spells to clear the way and hurting your opponent's tempo. Heading into turn 4 and 5, you want to be playing game ending cards like Armageddon, Hellrider, and Winter Orb. Should your opponent be on their last bits of life, you finish them off with Fireblast or Fiery Confluence. If you EVER find yourself blocking with this deck, you're probably starting to lose.

The idea behind the Blitz decks come from the standard environment involving Theros Block. During that environment, red decks were opting to use combat tricks like Titan's Strength and Temur Battle Rage to deal as much damage as possible. It wasn't uncommon to see an Akroan Crusader get targeted by 2 copies of Titan's Strength and swinging in for 9 damage on turn 2. The blitz decks are still Boros aggre decks that are looking to replicate this play style by including powerful combat tricks. Be warned that these decks run a high risk of getting blown out. Despite this, I include this deck in my cube because it gives Boros decks another combo deck and adds excitement. When the combo moment happens, it feels like doing a crazy combo in any fighting game. It helps that the cards included can be used effective for other decks as well.

Key Components

Aggressive Boros decks are looking to include small, fast, and strong creatures. The backbone of this deck is built off of its 1 and 2 drop creatures. The 4 drops are intended to start finishing the game. This build is looking for aggressive statted creatures with aggressive keywords like flying, prowess, first strike, and haste. For 1 drops, you are looking at creatures with either 2 power or the potential to do 2 damage per hit. Majority of these creatures will not have a keyword or interesting ability, but just being able to deal high damage is good enough. At 2MV, creatures with 2 or more power are still desired and many of these creatures will now have keywords or interesting abilities.  At 3 MV, you're looking at using creatures with powerful abilities or a strong body. At 4 or higher, these creatures are game ending. For the blitz strategy having 2 power creatures opens up the option to ending the game by turn 2. This section will explore some of the exemplar creatures that are needed for the foundation of this deck. 

1 Drops

Monastery Swiftspear is a top 3 red creature for this deck. It has a small body at 1/2, but its potential to grow due to prowess makes for it. Combined with haste, this keeps the card a threat at the early stages of any game. You can play this card on turn 1 to start dealing damage right away. Any turn after that, you can sequence playing this card with any low cost noncreature spell like Lightning Bolt or Bonesplitter to turn it into a hasty 2/3 beater. This card becomes an ideal target for any combat trick you are running especially Temur Battle Rage and Blazing Shoal. If left alone, Monastery Swiftspear can easily deal an average of 4-5 damage by turn 3. In the blitz builds, this becomes one of your most important creatures as it enables you to be able to win by turn 2. The downside to this card is its lack of evasion. Once your opponent puts down effective blockers, this card starts struggling. It also starts losing its relevancy at turn 3. 

Goblin Guide has been considered a staple of Aggro strategies since it was first announced. Being a 2/2 with haste means you are shocking your opponent every turn starting from turn 1. Depending on the speed of your opponent's game plan, this can easily get in 2-6 damage minimum independently if played early. The drawback of giving your opponent potentially a card draw will normally be irrelevant as they should be dying or dead by the time the card draw is relevant. This card has the potential to end the game by turn 2 in the blitz strategies. When compared to Monastery Swiftspear, both cards suffer from similar problems due to their lack of evasion. What makes Goblin Guide worse is when you are not able to close out the game because now every extra card your opponent drew matters now.

Usher of the Fallen
 has been one of the best additions to the White Aggro section when it was added. Some claim it might be the best white aggro creature second only to Kytheon, Hero of Akros. The baseline for white aggro creatures is simply being a 2/1. Many cards meet this requirement, but what puts this card above the rest is its boast ability. On its own, the card is able to create a threatening board state while generating card advantage; a huge boost in tempo. At minimum, this card will replace itself as long as it swung once. Like the other cards mentioned at this level, it suffers from a lack of evasion and haste, and loses relevancy as the game progresses, though it can start rebuilding your board after any board wipe. 

Mother of Runes is an incredibly versatile card and decks that can run the card should run it. In any Boros Aggro deck, this card is not intended to be a beater due to its poor stats of being a 1/1. Its ability to give your creature's protection from any color is where its utility comes from. The ability can be activated at instant speed to protect any of your creatures including itself. This makes any creature a great blocker. Additionally, this can be used to make your creatures unblockable against certain colors, which is solid for pushing in more damage. During game play, your opponents are always put in an awkward position as they have to commit 2 single target spells minimum to get rid of Mother of Runes. Overall, a great card with little downside.

Figure of Destiny
 has been a cube staple for Boros Aggro since forever ago.  At a base level, there's nothing impressive about this card. It is a 1 drop 1/1 without any evasion. The hybrid mana and its abilities is one of the reasons it has been relevant for so long. The hybrid man gives it the flexibility to be played outside of Boros in either W/x or R/x decks without gimping its power. Its ability to get bigger keeps it relevant throughout any point in the game. In most games, it is happy sitting at being just a 2/2, but if you just happen to have extra mana, turning this into a 4/4 would be impressive enough. If you manage the last ability, you better be winning the game.

Firedrinker Satyr used to be one of the better 1 drops, but sometimes find itself struggling. This card is still solid based on the merits of being a 1 drop 2/1. What I like a lot about this card is the pump ability on it. Turning it into a 3+/1 will let you swing into bigger creatures or push in more damage. During its time in standard, Sylvan Caryatids were afraid to block this card because of the pump. The damage dealt to you through this ability is largely negligible as you should win before it matters. This card feels bad to top deck late into the game though. To make matters worse, it's not even a viable blocker. It becomes a liability versus other aggro decks running damage based removal. This is still a top 5 red aggro creature for me and I'll probably run it until I get a Ragavan to make me rethink about my cube.

Selfless Spirit is one of the most versatile cards for this deck. It functions as both a beater and as protection against board wipes. A flying 2/1 is great in this deck as it is an evasive 10 turn clock on its own. This makes it great at carrying equipment and counters. For Boros, this card offers protection against most board wipes and can make blocking a difficult decision for your opponents. This card is rarely a bad top deck.

Earthshaker Khenra excels in this archetype. Being a hasty 2/1 allows it to start doing damage right away whether it be the turn you played him or the turn you eternalize him. When played on tempo, this creature applies immediate pressure and forces your opponent to find a solution quickly. The ETB ability prevents your creatures from being chump blocked and gets better if you manage to eternalize him. This means it gets around small creatures like Elvish Mystic and larger creatures like Courser of Kruphix. The eternalize text is relevant late game as you will have a 4/4 with haste that is potentially unblockable. The card does struggle as a late game top deck since it doesn't beat larger creatures and it lacks the evasion to squeeze damage in.
Optimal lines of play will look like playing this card on turn 2 or 3 following a turn 1 Goblin Guide. This would invalidate your opponent's 1-2/x blocker and deal 4+ damage. 

Skyclave Apparition and similar cards play a vital role in winning the game for Boros Aggro. The ETB ability removes any obstacle in your way. This will clear the way for your other creatures to swing in for my damage. Unlike its predecessors, Skyclave Apparition is able to snag more than just creatures. In addition to creatures, it is able to hit artifacts, enchantments, and planeswalkers. The 4 MV restriction is not as relevant as it seems since most game play involves primarily 4MV or less.  The ability is also worded similar to Oblivion Ring  and Fiend Hunter, meaning you can flicker it before the first ability. This will have you exile 2 cards, but only give them 1 token if they can kill it. Though not as impressive, the 2/2 stat line still threatens to finish off your opponent in a timely manner. The downside of this card is that the ability does not hit tokens. It also does not have evasion, but the ability to just remove blockers is similar to Earthshaker Khenra.

Legion Warboss and cousins are a force to be reckoned with at the 3 MV spot. They generate tokens so efficiently your opponent has to prevent them from staying around for too long, otherwise they take the game all by themselves. Because of the token having haste, Legion Warboss can essentially swing for 1 damage the turn he is played. With the mentor on Legion Warboss , the 1/1 tokens are turning into 2/2s the moment it is able to swing.  You can also target other creatures with the mentor trigger. The mentor mechanic plays well with +1/+1 counters, equipment, and combat tricks. Bigger power means you can grow your tokens bigger. 

Tajic, Legion's Edge
 fits perfectly at home with what this deck is trying to achieve. With a respectable body and haste, this card should be a threat your opponents will remember. The mentor ability works even better than it does on Legion Warboss. Tajic can mentor larger targets right away due to his larger body and haste. His ability to prevent noncombat damage is relevant against fight type removal and burn spells. The activated first strike is more than flavor text by letting Tajic swing safely when needed. 

 is one the best top ends for this deck. When played, your opponent has to stop this card, otherwise the game is going to end real soon if not that turn. It has an ability that works right away and can trigger its own ability the turn it comes out thanks to haste. This creature guarantees that each creature that can swing will get at least 1 point of damage across. Generally, the turn this card comes down you are going to be dealing 4-7 damage average. The results are even crazier if Hellrider is played the turn after landing Legion Warboss and its cousins. The issue hurting Hellrider is that the card needs a strong board state to be good. In a vacuum, it can hastily do 4 damage, however it lacks evasion hurting its potency against blockers. Having 3 toughness makes it vulnerable to cards like Porcelain Legionnaire, Lightning Bolt, and Anger of the Gods.

Hero of Bladehold
can be considered the white equivalent to Hellrider for this deck. This card is a huge threat on it
s own. Between the battle cry ability and the 2 tokens, this card threatens 7 damage minimum every turn it swings and a growing board state. In addition, its ability to generate tokens each attack makes it solid to play post board wipes. As common Without haste, its impact will not be seen for a turn. In addition, the lack of evasion does stop it from attacking into bigger creatures, though you do get additional attacking bodies to squeeze damage in and the 3/4 body allows it to swing comfortably into more threats.

Remember this is just a general guideline of what creatures to include if you want to facilitate Boros Aggro. This is not intended to be a full comprehensive list as that's a lot of information, but this should be a good starting point for calibrating your understanding of the archetype. There are other guides that are more comprehensive. Use the information from the other members and combine it with this to better understand what you are looking for.

Noncreature Spells

The noncreature spells in the archetype support your game plan in 2 ways: deal more damage or stop them from preventing damage, so that you can do more damage. Dealing more damage will manifest as either direct damage burn spells or cards that buff your creatures. On the flipside, blockers and life gain are an issue for this deck and you will be looking for cards that can deal with the problem or invalidate it. Both types of cards might not be useful every game, but are needed to deal with any deck you might face. Boros Aggro wants to be playing on tempo, so many of the same principles apply here, which is an emphasis on cheap efficient spells. The blitz decks are looking to include a number of combat tricks. This section will providing an idea of what you're looking to include.

Burn Spells

Burn spells serve two functions in this deck: removal and direct damage. Burn decks are aptly named after these spells. As a cube designer, you may want to include a larger number of these spells to open up the option to build a burn deck. Spell speed does play a role in its utility and as a cube player, you will have to consider what you are intending to do with each spell.

 At 1 mana, cards like Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning are a premium in this deck due to dealing 3 damage for 1 mana. You should be running both due to their efficiency at dealing with a majority of threats in cube. In most cubes, this will hit about 60-80% of your creature base. In my main cube, this hits about 75% of my creatures. Reminder that the oracle text on these cards have been updated to "Deal 3 damage to any target." meaning you are able to target planeswalkers as well.  These will be the starting point for how you will be evaluating the burn spells you run. The competition for these spells will be high because of it and anyone in red will take these. So remember, RUN THEM ALWAYS.

 Past those 2, the options start getting more difficult. If you want to stick to 1 mana spells, then your options are looking like Shock, Burst Lightning, and Firebolt. Each of these deal 2 damage, however Burst Lightning and Firebolt make up for their inherent inferiority with options. Burst Lightning is able to deal 4 damage should the kick be paid, which makes it more versatile late game. Firebolt on the other functions at sorcery speed, which makes it significantly than Shock. The flashback on it makes up for it by giving its player 2 uses meaning the card represents 4 total damage split at different points of the game. It also becomes much better fodder for any discard be it you or your opponents.

Your option at 2 mana aren't too exciting but they fill the role you want them to fill. The more interesting cards at this mana cost are the multitarget spells. Burn spells are able to target multiple targets are this Your options at 2 mana look like Lightning Strike, Incinerate, and Arc Trail. Lightning Strike and Incinerate function exactly like Lightning Bolt but are strictly worse because they cost 1 more mana. This change still keeps them included in even the tightest cubes, a testament to the power of Lightning Bolt. The Boros Deck has the option of including Lightning Helix, which is the most powerful of the three cards. In a similar vein, Abrade is also an option, but you trade the option to aim at your opponent and planeswalkers to destroy artifacts. You might also Multi-targetting cards are an option at 2 mana and beyond. The versatility on cards like Arc Trail and Fire//Ice let you either destroy a creature and deal damage to face or 2 for 1 your opponents giving you incredible tempo. 

Your options past these are more limited if quality is your main concern. Most players have opted including Sulfuric Vortex as it creates a situation where both players have to win soon since neither of you can gain life and there's 2 guaranteed damage every turn. Be aware that Sulfuric Vortex will deal damage to your opponents first, so make sure to get a good life lead. This card becomes more impactful as the life totals get smaller. Unfortunately, it can only deal damage to your opponents, no creatures, no planeswalkers. This card is not helping you get out of the situation and adds nothing to your board state, but it starts ending the game and sometimes that's all that matters.

The other popular option at this point is Fireblast. This is probably one of your best burn spells behind Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning. If you never played with this card before, you are missing out. Both casting cost of this card seem awful. You are either paying 6 mana for 4 damage, which is trash, or you are paying 0 mana and 2 mountains for 4 damage. 95% of the time you are choosing the 0 mana mode. Being able to deal 4 damage to any target for 0 mana is peak power. Being able to cast it for free will allow you the option to chain together other burn spells like Fiery Confluence to provide any extra reach needed .It does feel bad to lose those 2 lands, but realistically it won't matter at that point. This will be often used to finish off your opponents and it doesn't matter how much mana you lose if your opponent is dead. The 6 mana cost does matter if you are opting to include Blazing Shoal.

If you want to run more burn spells, it's up to you on what you want to include. I choose to run Stoke the Flames, Collective Defiance, and Grape Shot. I have fond memories of Stoke the Flames being cast for 0. The way it supports token generator, especially Young Pyromancer, made it an must include for me. Collective Defiance's ability to destroy a creature and deal damage to a player for 4 mana just seemed to good for me, especially when there's not a lot of cards that can do that. Grape Shot is included because I am a bad person and is obsessed with storm. It has managed to see play outside of the storm decks and can be impressive, but I would rather run something else had I chosen to not support storm. Risk Factor is considered a burn card on my end and I run it because the jump-start on the card provide a variety of outcomes ranging from draw 6 cards for 6 mana to deal 8 damage for 6 mana.

There are other cards that qualify as "spells" when you broaden your horizon a little. Most of us are familiar with Flametongue Kavu and Bonecrusher Giant, but I noticed that many players dismissed Twinshot Sniper.  I see the card as the more versatile child of the two aforementioned cards. The ability to channel it means that you can use it like a traditional burn spell similar to Stomp on Bonecrusher Giant. The option to play it as a creature is viable, but not too amazing, which might have been the factor that turned off players from including it in their list. The versatility in its ETB is why I included it. You can choose to hit a creature, player, or planeswalker unlike Flametongue Kavu which has to hit a creature. There are other factors as well but that is for a different topic.

One final card that should be included should be Chandra, Torch of Defiance. This card isn't commonly seen as a burn card, but it is functionally a burn spell that ramps and draws you cards. The versatility of this card makes it highly desirable in many decks. You can use the first ability to either draw you a card or opt to not play it and deal 2 damage to your opponents. This is important as the game is trying to wrap up. When you are on par with your opponent, this card will be the one to start breaking the parity. The second ability should not be relevant in the Boros deck unfortunately since the curve is lower. When dealing with creatures, you can use the -3 to clear the way, similar to Flametongue Kavu and Flame Slash. If you managed to reach the -7, you better be winning the game. This card will be sought after by other draft, but this isn't the most important card to have in your Boros deck 

To conclude, this section your burn section is your most important section to supporting Boros Aggro as it gives the reach and removal you need to end the game. As mentioned, there are a core set of cards that are a must have at this point if you want burn spells to feel good to play. You have a bit of variety in which spells to include so make sure to create an environment you enjoy.

In addition to your burn spells, you might have room to run non burn removal. As mentioned with burn, the intent of these spells is to deal with any cards that might seem like a threat to your game plan. The Boros deck does employ non burn removal, however their effects can potentially hurt the game plan. If you have to pick up these cards, be aware of their consequences.

Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile are commonly played in almost all cubes and should be in yours if they qualify. They are powerful removal spells that exile any creatures for just 1 white mana. In general, any deck that can run them should be picking them up in the draft except the red aggro decks, which includes the Boros deck. The problem with this card in these particular decks is their drawbacks. Fast Boros aggro wants to deal with your opponent before they have time to catch their breath. Swords to Plowshare will give your opponent life. Every point gained is an extra swing or spell you have to use should be how you have to look at it. This potentially might be the extra bit they need to stabilize and stop your game plan. Path to Exile is similar in this regard, the difference being the land drop instead of life. At the early stages of the game, you don't want your opponents to be dropping down their Thragtusk on turn 3 or 4 because you gave them the extra land. If your deck is built to handle the impact of these two cards, run them in your deck, otherwise hate-draft them away from people.

That's pretty much it for this section. You do have other options like Council's Judgment, but they are clunky for the most part and you wouldn't run them. Instead, you can opt to just avoid the creatures completely.

There are times where you ignore the creatures completely and keep swinging. The cards in this section can vary based on personal preference. These cards can be instants, sorceries, auras, equipment, and etc. Cards found will provide your deck with the tools to keep pushing more damage and saving your burn spells from pointing at their creatures and using them to point at your opponent's face.

The Swords of X and Y are popular due to their power as they provide both protection and 2 powerful effects. My problem with them is that they need 5 mana, or 4 with Stoneforge Mystic. Fortunately, equipments become less clunky and more like auras within the past couple of years. My favorite equipment to put into cubes have been Maul of the Skyclaves. Maul of the Skyclaves is a lot of power for just 3 mana. It does an impression of Grafted Wargear, another piece I recommend, but trades the power for flying and first strike. The first equip is free as well meaning it immediately impacts the board as soon as it resolves. As mentioned earlier, some of the best creatures struggled because they lacked evasion. This is your solution to that problem.  Should your creautre be destroyed, the equip cost seems fairly reasonable. It fits in a lot of other decks due to power and simplicity. I would include this card if you colored equipments that are strong. This card will fit into multiple decks thanks to its powerlevel.

Another piece of equipment that has made a huge impact is Embercleave. When it is played, it feels like a combat trick. The moment it is played, it is more than likely going to decimate your opponent's life total. The combination of flash, double strike, trample, and +1/+1 makes it a strong game ender. The trample lets you push through the damage even if the blocking creature died to the first strike of double strike. Majority of your opponent will not respect the existence of this card until they have been hit by it. The 6MV is almost a non issue. By the time you actually play this card, more than likely you are paying 2-4 mana for it. Even should your creature die, equipping this card only cost 3 mana, which is on par with with casting Uncaged Fury/ Kaya's Onslaught every turn. This was also the rate at which you would have normally casted Embercleave. As a side note, there is a card within the blitz deck that wants the high mv, making this card more desirable. Outside of Boros, other decks will want to utilize this card because it represents a ton of damage with almost any creature.

Elspeth, Knight-Errant is one of my favorite cards to play in general. Even with my bias, the sheer quality of this card merits its inclusion into almost all list for years to come. The two plus abilities on the card are what keeps the card always relevant and effective. For the Boros deck, you will mostly be opting for the 2nd ability because it grants your creature such a massive power booster and evasion to make sure you land the damage. It will pretty much give you the reach you need in a similar fashion to the red burn spells. That first ability is still relevant in the deck as well. In situations where you get board wiped, more than likely, Elspeth, Knight-Errant will still be around to keep pumping out a token every turn to rebuild your threats. The ultimate will likely never come out, but that is never a factor I consider with her because its hard to reach. Outside Boros, she is a strong card in any deck for the very same reasons.

Lastly, another favorite planeswalker that I cut from my main cube is Ajani, Caller of the Pride. This card feels like the best parts of the cards mentioned before in this section. If you have never managed to steal games with this card you're missing out. The main reason to play this card is for the second ability. It's on the same levels of devastation as Elspeth, Knight-Errant. The first ability is useful as it permanently increases the stats of the creature. Similar to Elspeth, the third ability is irrelevant for the most part. What makes this card worse is that it is dependent on whether or not you have a creature in play to use these abilities. I like running this card in my commander decks for the reason of the pump and game steals, but it more than likely will not get its spot back in my main cube. I keep it in my EDH cube because he does play well with the voltron and +1/+1 counters deck.

These are cards that could be included in your deck but did not fit any of the categories. 

Mana Tithe is a funny inclusion to run. Every time, I play this card it tilts my friends because they forget this card exists and it stifles their plans. For those who aren't familiar with it. It functions exactly like a white Force Spike. This doesn't seem significant, but the option to counter spells using white mana is underrated. White isn't known for their counter spells, which means your opponents are more likely to commit more mana. In game play, you are typically stopping their big plays as you are either getting them to spend an extra cost they didn't account for or you just stopped it. After the first time you play this card, your opponents will begin to respect its presence and they'll start delaying their turns to try and play around it. Or they can keep playing ignorantly and get blown out again. Combine this with some stax/ tax pieces and you have a powerful and frustrating card.

Speaking of taxes, cards like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Thalia, Heretic Cathar play an important role in any aggro decks. In Commander, these cards are generally frowned upon because they stop your opponent from playing however they want. This is exactly why you want to be playing these cards. These cards force players to play more fair games and it will hinder the less fair decks. In Boros, these cards will put your opponents deck behind a turn. This delays your opponent from playing cards that stabilize the board while giving you more time to push in your game plan. Their turn 5 Wrath of God can't protect them if they're dead by turn 4. One other thing these cards do is make their creature enter tapped. This means their creatures can't block right away which again will let you keep pushing more damage. Other cards that suffice in this function are Rampaging Ferocidon, Zozu the Punisher, Imposing Soverign, and Eidolon of the Great Revel.

Taking it one step further, just blow up their mana base. Don't give them turn 5, make them play at turn 1 again. Attacking their mana base is one of the ways to just end the game. Landing an on curve Armageddon or Winter Orb should just break your opponent if played correctly. As long as you have a board advantage, these cards consolidate the game in your favor. You are resetting the game back to turn 0 when these cards are played. There shouldn't be a way for your opponent to outpace you at this point.

Aside from hindering your opponent's mana, anthems do play a role in these decks as a way to get more damage. They do make your creatures bigger, better blockers, but why are you blocking. If your aggro deck aims to go wide anthems could benefit your deck. Anthems can manifest themselves in many ways. If you want them as combat tricks, they can look like Rally the Peasants or Heroic Reinforcements, which is powerful and normally game ending or near game ending. Anthems can also be giving all your a +1/+1 counter, which can be found on Ajani, Stead or Collective Effort. Both of these tend to be 1 time use, so I prefer my anthems on statically like Spear of Heliod and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. Most decks will be fine without anthems, but they are a viable option to include.

Don't forget you may also opt to run equipment that give a powerful boost to your creatures like Bonesplitter or Grafted Wargear. Both of these cards significantly increase the damage output (+2/+3 power respectively) of your creature while costing very little to play and equip. The small equip cost allow you to move the equipment around when needed. Be warned though that Grafted Wargear will sacrifice your creature, which makes is a sorcery speed sacrifice outlet. On your evasive creatures, your opponents will feel the pressure with a spirit token slapping them for 3-4 damage every turn.

Looking back on this section, attack their mana base to cripple them and beat them down before they can get back up.

Blitz Specific

Now to finally go over blitz. This deck is a subvariant of Boros Aggro. This deck will opt to prioritize high burst damage over a more stable game plan. You will potentially be able to end the game by turn 2 but turn 4 will be more common. As a sub variant your core cards are pretty much the same as a normal deck but, you will be incorporating combat tricks to achieve the higher damage. I enjoy watching this deck play out because of how crazy high the damage is when it works. If you enjoyed Kiln Fiend decks, Infect, Bogles, or Voltron, this might be the deck for you.

One of the ways to look at all combat tricks is to see them as burn spells that are creature dependent. That inherently makes them all bad and they are. Why play them? The potency. When you are playing these cards, you are setting yourself up to get 2 for 1'd. In exchange for that, you are giving yourself a chance to deal a lot of damage, which really applies to a lot of bad cards. Combining these cards with prowess creatures like Monastery Swiftspear makes these cards more effective. If you choose to include combat tricks, you are looking for cards that give at least 3 power, doubles your creature's damage, or combat tricks that cantrip. For my main cube, I'm running Defiant Strike, Reckless Charge, Mutagenic Growth (not 3 damage, but it's free), Blazing Shoal, and Temur Battle Rage. As a reminder, remember that equipment and planeswalkers can function like combat tricks, but safer. One last note, you can also run protection spells like Apostles' Blessing to keep yourself getting blown out and to give your creatures' some evasion.

Blazing Shoal
is one of the most important cards for this deck. For those of us who play Modern, this card got banned because of the high damage it enables in infect. You will almost never pay its regular casting cost because it is not mana efficient and you want to chain it with other spells. The card is powerful enough to blindside your opponent with a ton of damage and end games. When thinking about cards you want to exile, any cards with 4 or more MV seems pretty good, though I think we all much prefer something crazy like 8 or 10. A common card to exile is Progenitus  because it is 10 mana. For myself, my top exile targets are  Fireblast and Explosive Singularity because they are cards you would already play in the deck. There are problems with this card aside from being a combat trick. For the most part, this card can set you back if it doesn't work since it needs another card. Furthermore, you will opt to include cards like Progenitus simply because they are a 10 mana red card, which means you never intend to play it.  The potency on this card is the reason why I run it similar to why I run storm. It's exciting to see someone go off.

There are creatures that further support this play style by being able to pump themselves. These creatures are great because they allow you to commit less resources to achieve the same end goal. As an example, you are looking for cards like Kiln Fiend and Clever Luminancer which can easily deal 5+ damage off one pump spell. The problem with these creatures is that they fit awkwardly in other decks, which is why they are not in my cubes. As an alternative, all of the prowess creatures qualify as these creatures. They are not as powerful, but they are better in more decks. If you want a really polarized game the former options are good.

The dream scenario for this deck would be to play turn 1 Monastery Swiftspear and swing for 1 damage. For turn 2 follow this up with Blazing Shoal, exiling Explosive Singularity, and Temur Battle Rage, dealing 26 damage as shown below.

Cross Pollination

This section will cover what decks overlap with this deck. I will avoid mentioning universal staples such as Lightning Bolt or Swords to Plowshares as those cards are just good everywhere. Overlap is good since it means that players won't end up with unplayable, narrow cards.  

Boros Aggro has synergies with decks that want early drops. Its creatures are efficient so other tempo and aggro decks want them. Tempo decks operate almost on the same principle as aggro. The main different between the two is that tempo won't mind the white removal as they can play the longer game. Boros Aggro's cards can be used with other aggro cards in that color be they W/x or R/x. The abundance of 1&2 drops in both colors will fill out the early game. The spells and prowess creatures being used are also desired by the spells matter deck who operate somewhat similar to the blitz decks. Token decks are interested in the anthems alongside the token generators. So if you support or want to support any of these archetype in R/x or W/x, Boros Aggro is one of the decks that can intermingle with each of these decks. 

Translated to EDHcube

In my EDH cube, this deck can be translated into that environment, but the foundations to the deck are changed. Because the environment of that cube is multiplayer focused, 1 drop aggro creature are not present and never will be. This is because these creature are not able to efficient enough to impact the board with the other 3 players. I instead structured the foundations of the Boros deck around tokens, hate bears, and keywords. Your creature base starts at 2MV with typically a hate bear to slow down your opponent's since you struggle with card advantage and mana ramp. You proceed to build a strong board presence and swing as safely as you can. Giving your creatures keywords like haste and first strike increases the safety of your creatures and the amount of damage you can put out. You combine this with anthems such as Jazal Goldmane or Dragon Throne of Tarkir to devastate people's life and eliminate them to win the games. The commanders that best represent Boros Aggro are  Adriana, Captain of the Guard and Aurelia, the Warleader as they both encourage to keep on swinging.

Sample Decks

Sample #1

Sample #2

Boros Blitz

Final Thoughts
This write up took a lot more time than I anticipated. I had to take a break from it to write something else for you guys to read. I'm hoping to continue doing archetype spotlights and releasing one every month, but we'll see with the next one. I admit it was a lot of fun to write one, but taxing at the same time. It helped that Boros Aggro is one of my favorite decks to pilot in my cube. It also helped me make a bit of money from the MTGO vintage cube, since their version was able to stop people from playing their crazy decks and give me free 3-0s. 

Thanks again those of you who read all of it, you guys motivate me to write more.  If you appreciate my work, just leave a comment to let me know you appreciate my work or think I'm utter trash. If you have questions or corrections you can use the contact form or leave a comment on Reddit. If you want to stay up to date with my stuff, feel free to join my email list at the bottom of the post or click here for the link to join.

Remember if you are interested in buying any of the cards mentioned in this post, you can support me by shopping at TCGplayer (Click Here). Your support will be going toward upgrading Magick Cube.


  1. Thanks for your work, I'm currently building a cube and this helped me fill my white & red section, make sure I understood aggro enough to give it decent room to exist.

    1. Also looking forward to your futur posts

  2. No problem. This is what I'm here for


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