Going Mythic in Standard without black: Boros Aggro Primer

Timothy Sikes
15/09/2022 · 11 min read

About me

My name is Timothy Sikes, Moth on MTG Arena, I have played MTG for over ten years. I have a bias towards aggressive strategies, so the new standard format made it hard to find something to fit my playstyle. Nonetheless, this week, I made it to Mythic with a non-black best-of-one standard deck , Boros Aggro .

Boros Aggro in the Current Metagame

After examining the early state of the format, I knew that playing small creatures was a tough task when the format has been dominated by black midrange spells such as Meathook Massacre , Liliana of the Veil , Cut Down  and others. However, I knew that if the majority of my creatures had haste it would make Liliana of the Veil and Meathook Massacre at least a little worse. After a quick Scryfall search, I realized that the majority of creatures from last standard’s Boros Aggro deck were still legal.

The core goal of the Boros Aggro remains the same: to build a board of modified creatures, and reduce the opponent’s life total before they have time to set up. With the absence of Luminarch Aspirant, +1/+1 counters are harder to come by, but we still have a few old enablers and some new ones.

Our early modified enablers are Kumano Faces Kakkazan and Hopeful Initiate, and our late game enablers are Shivan Devastator, Thundering Raiju, and Bloodthirsty Adversary.

Boros Aggro enablers
Boros Aggro enablers

These cards aren’t nearly as efficient as Luminarch Aspirant, but you usually have at least one creature with a counter by the time Thundering Raiju hits the board.

After Thundering Raiju hits the board, the deck should be able to close the game by turn five or six. If the game goes much longer than that, it is very difficult to beat black’s late game.

The following list is what I played to make it to Mythic.

Boros Aggro. Builder: Moth033.MTGA - Magic Arena
Other in 12-Sep-2022
Maindeck (60)
Creature [32]
2  Brutal Cathar   // $3.99
3  Thalia, Guardian of Thraben   $1.49
3  Baird, Argivian Recruiter   $0.25
4  Shivan Devastator   $12.99
4  Hopeful Initiate   $6.49
4  Bloodthirsty Adversary   $8.49
4  Sunrise Cavalier   $0.25
4  Thundering Raiju   $0.99
4  Kumano Faces Kakkazan   // $0.39
Instant [4]
4  Play with Fire   $2.49
Land [24]
1  Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire   $8.49
1  Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance   $3.99
4  Sundown Pass   $9.49
4  Thran Portal   $0.69
7  Mountain   $0.01
7  Plains   $0.01
Buy this deck:

$76.72 Tix @cardhoarder   $1.92 / Week @cardhoarder   $135.38 @tcgplayer   $194.90 @cardkingdom  


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Card Overview

Baird, Argivian Recruiter

0.01 Tix
$0.25
$0.2

A new payoff for the modified archetype is Baird, Argivian Recruiter. Normally, this card wouldn’t excite me in this particular style of deck, but its ability to be an early obstacle for Liliana of the Veil decks has been incredible. The most powerful start for this deck to have is turn one Kumano Faces Kakkazan into turn two Baird, Argivian Recruiter. Four power for two mana is fantastic in Boros, and it creates a small token that you don’t mind sacrificing to Liliana.

Shivan Devastator

Shivan Devastator is a card that I didn’t think was very good at first sight. The more I played it I noticed it filled an important role in this particular deck. There are two main things this deck is starving for: finishers and curve fillers. Shivan Devastator is adept enough to fill both of these issues. There is one important suggestion I can make for Shivan Devastator; do not hold it to make a huge dragon. If you don’t have a turn three play, it is almost always the right decision to make a small dragon and keep pushing.

Hopeful Initiate & Kumano Faces Kakkazan

Hopeful Initiate and Kumano Faces Kakkazan are the most important cards in the deck. Both of these cards are great enablers for the modified mechanic, and they help to ensure your early game aggression. You hope to have one of these two cards to start every game, and I would go as far as mulliganing to six when you don’t have one of them. Kumano Faces Kakkazan is the better of two, so if you have both lead with it.

Brutal Cathar

$3.99
$2.25

One of the cards this deck has the hardest time dealing with is Sheoldred, the Apocalypse. Brutal Cathar is our easiest way to remove Sheoldred, making it a key card in the deck. One tip I would like to add is Brutal Cathar is susceptible to Cut down; the best way to play around it dying is by placing a +1/+1 counter as soon as possible. I have played more Brutal Cathars in the past, but I started seeing less Sheoldreds, but if there is an increased number of them in the meta add more to the deck. Possible cuts to make that addition is -1 Shivan Devastator and/or -1 Baird, Argivan Recruiter.

Sunrise Cavalier

0.03 Tix
$0.25
$0.25

The last card I would like to highlight is Sunrise Cavalier. Sunrise Cavalier is overall a fairly normal haste threat with small upside, but the reason I play it over Reckless Stormseeker is it doesn’t die to Cut Down. These cards are close in power level overall, but the added protection is worth not having the potential to transform Reckless Stormseeker.

Alternative Card Choices

Valorous Stance/Destroy Evil

Sheoldred, the Apocalypse is the card in the black decks that gives Boros Aggro the most problems. My current build relies on two copies of Brutal Cathar to deal with this issue, which is risky. However, it worked for me. If it isn’t working for you I would suggest adding some copies of Valorous Stance or Destroy Evil.

Between these two cards, I have had better experiences with Destroy Evil because of its ability to remove enchantments. Valorous Stance seems good in theory, but holding up a protection spell against a Liliana/Meathook deck is dangerous.  

Guardian of New Benalia

$0.49

Guardian of New Benalia is a great way to protect yourself from spot removal, and its enlist ability gives you the opportunity to attack through large creatures. I would replace Thalia, Guardian of Thraben if you want to play this card. At times I feel like Thalia doesn’t do enough, and I think this card could fill a similar role with a little upside. Guardian of New Benalia doesn’t match up well against Liliana and Meathook, unfortunately.

Squee, Dubious Monarch

$3.49
$3.8

Squee, Dubious Monarch is in theory a good counter to Liliana, but in my experience it doesn’t play out that way. For example, discarding Squee to Liliana’s plus ability is a value play because you can cast it from the graveyard. What tends to happen after this sequencing in my experience is Squee gets exiled from the graveyard by a Graveyard Trespasser. Overall, Squee is a fine card that is a hasty attacker that creates additional bodies, but I don’t find it to be particularly great against Liliana decks.

Conclusion 

As mentioned before, standard is dominated by the black cards in the format, so the big question is does Boros Aggro beat Black? The short answer is no, but it is possible to shape your card choices to have a fighting chance.

You don’t always have to play the best deck in a format to have a winning record. On ladder, there are a variety of players that are just playing whatever Twitter and other websites say are the best decks. In order to win in this sort of environment, you need to have a plan to beat the best cards/decks in the format. Boros Aggro has these tools, and it can thrive if you make changes to adapt to the meta.

BONUS Decklist

I have played very few BO3 games with this particular deck, but the following list is where I would start if I were to play BO3.

Boros Aggro. Builder: Moth033.MTGA - Magic Arena
Other in 15-Sep-2022
Maindeck (60)
Creature [32]
2  Baird, Argivian Recruiter   $0.25
3  Thalia, Guardian of Thraben   $1.49
3  Brutal Cathar   // $3.99
4  Kumano Faces Kakkazan   // $0.39
4  Bloodthirsty Adversary   $8.49
4  Sunrise Cavalier   $0.25
4  Thundering Raiju   $0.99
4  Hopeful Initiate   $6.49
4  Shivan Devastator   $12.99
Instant [4]
4  Play with Fire   $2.49
Land [24]
1  Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance   $3.99
1  Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire   $8.49
4  Sundown Pass   $9.49
4  Thran Portal   $0.69
7  Mountain   $0.01
7  Plains   $0.01

Sideboard [11]
1  Torch Breath   $0.25
1  Reckoner Bankbuster   $3.99
1  Elspeth Resplendent   $5.49
1  Brutal Cathar   // $3.99
1  Squee, Dubious Monarch   $0.49
2  Cathar Commando   $0.25
2  Valorous Stance   $0.25
2  Unlicensed Hearse   $20.99
Buy this deck:

$185.35 Tix @cardhoarder   $4.63 / Week @cardhoarder   $176.52 @tcgplayer   $255.83 @cardkingdom  


Deck Tools: Visual View Similar Decks Proxies Archetype Analysis
Export & Save: Magic online format Apprentice and MWS .dec


I'm testing this feature, if you find any error please report it ;)

If you liked this article maybe you will also find interesting on of the following ones Temur Creativity Primer & Sideboard Guide [Modern], Taking the Modern Challenge with Calibrated Blast: primer and sideboard guide, Hardened Scales In-depth & sideboard guide, Legacy Delver decks: In-depth and Sideboard Guide, Pioneer Bant Humans In-depth & sideboard guide

Timothy Sikes
Arena Mythic
My name is Timothy Sikes, Moth on MTG Arena, I have played MTG for over ten years. I have a bias towards aggressive strategies.

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Published: 2022-09-15 00:00:00
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