All guides meta spoilers theory limited news profiles tutorials

Pioneer Boros Heroic In-depth & Sideboard Guide

Lucas Giggs
04/11/2022 · 11 min read

Quick intro


Continuing the series on decks that continue to stand out in Pioneer  with the presence of few, or even, without the presence of cards from Dominaria United , today I will talk about a deck that, from time to time, appears in some top8 and that I believe to be a great option for grinding in the Magic Online leagues: Boros Prowess/Heroic.

Boros Feather. Builder: JoseCabezas.MTGO - Magic Online
Top16 in MTGO Pioneer Challenge #12476826 [32 Players] 25-Sep-2022
MTG Decks Maindeck (60)
Creature [18]
3  Dreadhorde Arcanist   $1.29
4  Favored Hoplite   $0.49
4  Illuminator Virtuoso   $0.35
4  Monastery Swiftspear   $0.69
3  Tenth District Legionnaire   $0.35
Instant [15]
4  Defiant Strike   $0.35
4  Gods Willing   $0.35
2  Invigorated Rampage   $0.39
4  Reckless Rage   $1.49
1  Sejiri Shelter   $1.79
Sorcery [8]
4  Ancestral Anger   $0.49
4  Homestead Courage   $0.35
Land [19]
4  Battlefield Forge   $2.49
1  Den of the Bugbear   $6.49
1  Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire   $10.99
4  Inspiring Vantage   $2.49
4  Needleverge Pathway   // $4.99
4  Sacred Foundry   $21.99
1  Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance   $5.99
Sideboard [15]
1  Den of the Bugbear   $6.49
2  Jaya, Fiery Negotiator   $0.99
1  Jegantha, the Wellspring   $0.99
3  Portable Hole   $1.29
2  Rending Volley   $2.29
4  Showdown of the Skalds   $1.79
2  Unlicensed Hearse   $2.49
Buy this deck:

$26.50 Tix @cardhoarder   $0.99 / Week @cardhoarder   $152.14 @tcgplayer   $207.09 @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 ;)

Card breakdown

Monastery Swiftspear

The weakest creature on the list because it doesn't get permanently pumped from spells, but it's still important to have it as a way to pressure our opponents from the beginning of the game. The fact that it has haste is also useful for coming back from sweepers or even attacking unsuspecting planeswalkers.

Favored Hoplite

It has the ability to become the largest creature on the battlefield thanks to its permanent counter bonus. The fact that it has the ability to prevent the damage caused to it is also very strong against damage-based removal such as Stomp and Lightning Strike and also ends up becoming a huge threat in combat, as it gets bigger with each spell and is immune to combat damage. Starting with it on turn one creates a real nightmare against many decks, leaving room for other cards to shine.

Dreadhorde Arcanist

There was a time when it was essential to include four copies in the list, but as other cards emerged, it ended up losing some space. Even so, it is a powerful turn 2 drop against certain decks, mainly those that are based on creatures, as the deck becomes almost midrange, reusing removal and card draw..

Tenth District Legionnaire

This card is a powerhouse that can easily take over the game if left unchecked. Its scry ability lets you optimize what's coming up in the next few turns, and its +1/+1 counter mechanic lets it grow larger with each spell cast. This card competes for space in the deck with other turn 2 drops, but is still powerful enough to warrant including three copies. It's not as exciting to draw multiple copies, but it's a strong card nonetheless.

Illuminator Virtuoso

It is the most powerful creature in the list and has the ability to end the game in a few turns. This card has really changed the deck's level since its release, making other cards that were previously indispensable, like Feather, the Redeemed, lose space in the list. Illuminator Virtuoso is extremely effective against decks like Mono Green Devotion, which do not interact much and do not have a very effective way to deal with it.

Defiant Strike

While Defiant Strike may be the weakest spell in our arsenal, it is still key to maintaining pressure on our opponents. The ability to draw a card is crucial in many situations, but there may be times when we need more removal options or other key cards. In those cases, Defiant Strike is the card we will most likely side out.

Ancestral Anger

Previously, we were using cards like Crash Through to give evasion in combat and still draw a card, but Ancestral Anger is even better, as it can make creatures even bigger when used multiple times. It is also key when facing decks that can easily chump block our creatures.

Reckless Rage

Reckless Rage is an excellent removal option for this deck, as most of our creatures can withstand taking two points of damage. Just be careful not to target a Virtuoso that's 1/1, as it will die in the process, as well as when it's 2/2 and you discard a card that's land.

Gods Willing

The card responsible for finishing most games, being able to save your creatures from pinpoint removal or even getting through blockers of a certain color.

Homestead Courage

One of the other recent additions to the list, it plays an important role when we want to both attack and defend, by giving vigilance to the creature and increasing its power with counters. This ability also allows us to play around cards like The Wandering Emperor, which punishes creatures that are tapped.

Invigorated Rampage

Just like Ancestral Anger, it's another card that gives evasion to big creatures, and is also a nightmare in combat, being able to increase the power of one or two creatures. It's important to carefully choose the right way to play it, because sometimes it's more worth it to distribute the power between two creatures, dealing extra damage that can make a difference in a match.

Portable Hole

Important in matches where making big creatures sometimes isn't enough and we need more interaction on the board, removing other key creatures/permanents like Llanowar Elves, Eidolon of the Great Revel and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben.

Rending Volley

It is one of the most commonly used cards in red, and it is useful against a variety of decks, such as Monowhite Humans, Spirits, Abzan Greasefang, and UR Phoenix.

Unlicensed Hearse

As has been said in previous articles, the graveyard is quite used by certain decks in Pioneer, so playing with this card in the sideboard has become almost mandatory in the format. It is great especially against Greasefang and UR Phoenix.

Showdown of the Skalds / Jaya, Fiery Negotiator

Some matches, like Rakdos Mid and control, can be a little difficult for the deck, so these turn 4 drops help in the plan to take the game. I confess that in the tests these cards have not pleased me much, because even after adding a 20th land (Den of the Bugbear) they get stuck in my hand. I saw some lists using Wedding Announcement and confess that I liked the idea, because it costs one less mana and is a card that ends up being better in multiple matches, filling the table with creatures or even giving one or more draws per turn.

Below I will list the 10 most common decks in the format and how I have sided against them.

Sideboard Guide


- 3 Defiant Strike

+ 3 Portable Hole

This is one of the best matchups for the deck. They don't have many ways to interact with your creatures, so the aggressive plan is really good. Some lists are starting to use Skysovereign in the maindeck or Voracious Hydra, so if possible try to play around those creatures. Gods Willing is brutal here, often being responsible for finishing games, since all the creatures are green and you can easily get around blockers. Once again, Strike is the weakest card in the deck, so we sideboard in to have a bit more interaction, especially when we're on the draw, removing key cards like Llanowar Elves and Wolfwillow Haven.


- 4 Defiant Strike

- 3 Reckless Rage

+ 4 Showdown of the Skalds

+ 2 Jaya, Fiery Negotiator

+ 1 Den of the Bugbear

One of the worst matchups in the deck. The combination of discard and removal makes it very difficult to protect your creatures from the huge amount of removal that the deck has. Even so, usually they are one for one in the maindeck, so a well-aimed Gods Willing can be the key to winning the game. After sideboarding we try to play a more midrange game, and this is where Showdown and Jaya shine. Reckless Rage has already played a more important role, but the fact that it does not kill Sheoldred makes a lot of difference, so we take some copies out. As we raise the curve of the deck with more turn 4 drops, the 20th land is very welcome.


- 4 Defiant Strike

- 2 Invigorated Rampage

- 1 Dreadhorde Arcanist

+ 2 Unlicensed Hearse

+ 3 Portable Hole

+ 2 Rending Volley

Hoplite is one of the best creatures around, since most removal is based on burn spells, so it just takes one well-timed spell to give the opponent a time walk. Thing in the Ice and Ledger Shredder are creatures that interfere with our plan of being aggressive, so we run more removal that deals with them. Overall, the match is in our favor, just be careful not to get blown out by sweepers like Anger of the Gods, and always keep one mana open to bluff Gods Willing.


- 2 Reckless Rage

+ 2 Jaya, Fiery Negotiator

This is another match-up that I consider favorable, as we are able to play well around Supreme Verdict, not having to fill up the board as much and not caring as much about three-mana counters like Absorb. One of the best cards we have in this match-up is Homestead Courage, so if possible, hold onto it to play on turn four when your opponent passes with open mana to resolve a The Wandering Emperor. Gods Willing also helps here and against Portable Hole. After sideboarding, Jaya is a card that, if played after Supreme Verdict, can easily win the game by herself. Reckless Rage is a situational card, being able to take out a Soldier or Shark Typhoon, but we don't want multiples.


- 4 Defiant Strike

+ 2 Unlicensed Hearse

+ 2 Rending Volley

We have a favorable G1 thanks to the presence of Reckless Rage, which allows us to have a safety against the Parhelion II combo. In fact, it is our only main concern, because chump blocking is not going to be enough to hold a gigantic creature. After sideboarding, we have more cards to help with this plan, but our opponent also has more removal. So having additional tools against the Greasefang plan is a must.



The most troublesome card in this matchup is Arboreal Grazer; it can ramp and give the opponent the time they need to combo off. I don't like to mulligan away cards that might appear worse against a deck that doesn't have many creatures, like Reckless Rage. The key to winning as quickly as possible is getting an early drop1 or Illuminator Virtuoso, and you can usually do that if you mulligan aggressively.


- 4 Defiant Strike

- 3 Reckless Rage

+ 4 Showdown of the Skalds

+ 2 Jaya, Fiery Negotiator

+ 1 Den of the Bugbear

We're up against another tough match-up due to Claim the Firstborn. As with Rakdos Mid, our best bet is to play a midrange game, using our turn 4 creatures to try to get control of the board.

Even though it doesn't have as many removal spells, the Witch's Oven/Cauldron Familiar engine is just as bad for us. We will try to make a similar plan to the Rakdos Mid, playing midrange with the turn 4 drops, until we have a huge creature with trample or have the necessary backup to win the game.


- 4 Defiant Strike

- 1 Invigorated Rampage

+ 3 Portable Hole

+ 2 Rending Volley

Another deck that doesn't have many ways to interact with its creatures, but some cards like Shacklegeist can be quite troublesome in combat, so if possible save removal for him, especially in G1. Post-side we have more ways to interact, which makes the match a little more relaxed. Dreadhorde Arcanist is one of the best cards, as you can remove multiple creatures and change the game plan to play more midrange.


- 3 Defiant Strike

+ 3 Portable Hole

Hoplite is a true terror for this deck, as all it takes is one backup spell to protect him and the situation snowballs out of control. A card that's quite troublesome is Eidolon of the Great Revel, which punishes you quite a bit for playing spells and we can't really gain life in this version of the deck. Therefore, after sideboarding, Portable Hole helps to have more answers for what is their main weapon against our deck. In general, leaving a giant creature is a very good plan, and Gods Willing shines again here.


- 4 Defiant Strike

- 1 Monastery Swiftspear

+ 3 Portable Hole

+ 2 Rending Volley

Thalia is the card that most interferes with our plan of casting as many spells as possible to have the largest creature on the board, but in general I also believe it to be a favorable match. Gods Willing always shines against one-color decks, so save it for the right moment, whether it's to deal lethal damage or save your creatures from Brutal Cathar. After the side, the game becomes more balanced, as they also increase their removal spells. Dreadhorde Arcanist is one of the key cards, as previously mentioned, he has a very important role in controlling the board, with removal spells and giving us card advantage.

Final words

Being a deck with creatures that can get gigantic, that are resilient and finish the game very quickly and unexpectedly, Boros Prowess can be a great deck to win tournaments, depending on what to expect along the way.

See you next time!

If you liked this article maybe you will also find interesting on of the following ones Taking the Modern Challenge with Calibrated Blast: primer and sideboard guide, Getting ready for the Vintage Qualifier: Doomsday Cheatsheet & Sideboad Guide, Modern Goblin In-depth guide: sideboarding & tips vs the meta

Sign Up for MTGDecks newsletter

You'll receive a weekly email with more articles like this.
I give my consent to MTGDecks to be in touch with me via email for the purpose of news, updates and marketing.

Lucas Giggs
MTG Streamer
Hi, my name is Lucas de Almeida Hervás. I'm 31 years old, married, and I live in Indaiatuba/SP, Brazil. I've been playing Magic the Gathering since 2009, but I've been making a living off of it since 2019 through leagues and tournaments on Magic Online. For those who don't know me, I'm 2.17 meters tall, hence the nickname "the tallest Magic player in Brazil."


Published: 2022-11-04 00:00:00