FFfreaky Friday – Avoiding Traps and Playing Boros

No time for an opening paragraph, we have too much Magic to talk about this week!

Pick 1 Pack 1, Necropede or Oxidda Scrapmelter?

I had this pick twice at the Grand Prix and even asked my Facebook friends what they would do. I know there are 12 other cards in the pack to decide from, but for this exercise lets pretend this is in a vacuum.

This is the most interesting decision I have come across in Scars of Mirrodin limited so far. We all know how powerful an Oxida Scrapmelter can be. It has the ability to create a very powerful tempo swing in the early stages of a game as well as take out the most powerful piece of an opponent’s arsenal. This is not the key of this debate. It is how powerful an early pick Necropede can be.

I have not drafted enough Scars to fully understand this set yet, but one thing I have found is it is hard to take the leap into Infect. Forcing this strategy can end up costing you the entire draft/tourney by giving you an unplayable deck. It also can be a great decision if no one else is drafting the strategy.

On the other hand sometimes it is hard to jump into it early enough for it to be beneficial. Taking a Cystbearer pick three is not easy when there are playables in the pack or even something that goes well with your first couple picks. It is a complete change of strategy and abandoning an early pick will for sure happen when it is taken.

I also never really have enough great playables for the infect deck. I really need all 42 picks to get a decent deck. My sideboarding is always hard since I can’t take out many cards and don’t really have many that would help. I need most of my cards to be part of the strategy. Some of the infect cards are very bad as well so getting enough playables is very important.

With this knowledge I have found a few ways to try to draft Infect but still keep my options open. Any Black removal spell is a safe dip into the strategy, as well as Necropede or Grafted Exoskeleton. Grafted Exoskeleton is a very powerful equipment that is decent in a good Infect deck, but is broken in an unfocused deck. It gives every creature in the deck the chance at being a real threat.

I don’t like taking Grafted Exoskeleton first pick over a Scrapmelter though. It is much slower and not the powerful early drop that this format demands from most decks. Necropede does fit the bill. It is a two-drop infect creature which is the most important part about the strategy. It also goes in every deck. It doesn’t matter if you are playing control, aggro, metalcraft, or infect. This guy is a great spell. It is no bomb but will always be an above average playable.

There is the impression that Oxidda Scrapmelter is very splashable in this format. I don’t really agree with this unless I am playing Green. Decks are fast and focused and even though the card has a body, it is not a trick. I like my splashes to usually be bombs or tricks since they have the highest chance of breaking a game wide open.

Many times I’ve tried to stretch my manabase, and most of those times I was punished for it. I thought since half my deck was colorless I would have time to find my mana. This is not the case when people are overvaluing mana Myrs and Chrome Steeds. These cards are not as good as I thought when the format was fresh, but are very real when you are stumbling. I also like playing any available Spellbombs and those are more mana intense than one would think.

This means that by taking Oxidda Scrapmelter, I will be either wasting a pick if I try to go into infect or scaring myself out of trying to draft it. I have seen that one too many times in this format. People see two cards in a pack that are in their strategy and only 1 good infect card in the early picks of the draft. They almost never will even think about the infect creature. This is how this strategy was supposed to be looked at but I think it can be very foolish when drafting at high level events. If everyone around you is thinking the same way then you really want to capitalize on this.

Both times this pick came up in the tournament I went with Scrapmelter, but that doesn’t mean it is correct to do so.

The first time I made this decision was in swiss draft two. I needed to 2-0 and then get the draw with someone that could take a chance at knocking me out. Since I was a threat to anyone in the event I could see them trying to beat me out, so I thought I needed to 3-0 the draft. Knowing I couldn’t lose changed the way I approached the draft, as it should.

I was also on a very powerful draft table. With all of this information I knew I would have to draft a very good deck. It was not time to take a safe/open pick but a very aggressive and risky one. The power level of my deck would have to be high. One loss was just like three in my opinion. I had to go big or go home.

This is why I took Oxidda Scrapmelter in the second draft as well. I was in a single elimination Top 8. If I was needing only a 2-1 or less I would take the other card. It would keep me more open to any possibility but would also lower the power level of my deck so early in the draft.

Trap Picks

One of the hardest things I have come across with drafting is when there is a card that doesn’t belong in the pack. They usually show up between pick two and six, and are way more powerful than the rest of the pack.

Years ago I would just take the card and sometimes it would work out. The color/strategy was open and I was able to take advantage of the random pick. Most of the time it wouldn’t. I never really understood why a card could be so late yet not open. It wasn’t until Wizards printed a card called Vampire Nighthawk that I was able to learn what this phenomenon actually was.

What happened with this card is that it was more powerful than most of the Rares even though it was Uncommon. It was arguably the third best card in the set behind Malakir Bloodwitch and Sorin Markov. Everyone that drafted that format knew the power level of Vampire Nighthawk since it was winning so many games in that format.

The first time I saw this card pick two I was just thinking about how dumb the person the my right must be. I take the Hawk and end up not able to properly fight for Black. After the draft I would come to find out the person was not an idiot but someone lucky enough to open one of the better black cards. I was in fact the one that hooked myself into a bad draft.

I did this a couple times since it’s very difficult to have the discipline to pass such a powerful card that early. Every time it never worked out since I was not supposed to be in Black in the draft. They always opened one of the more powerful spells. This became the most obvious way for me to understand what trap picks were.

Picture this. You are in the first draft of a Grand Prix. You sit down and start your draft off with these first three picks.


The only cards you passed were a few Infect creatures, some average colored Metalcraft creatures and one piece of removal. Both of the rares that your opponents opened are missing when you got your Myrsmith and Chrome Steed. Next pack you see a very weak pack but there is an Embersmith and a Origin Spellbomb in it. One common, uncommon, and rare is missing from the pack. These are also registered packs so there is no chance of a foil in the packs.

What is your pick? Both cards are very good in the type of metalcraft deck you are trying to get into but the more powerful one is another color. It also looks very out of place in this pack. I would have slammed the card without thinking before but that is not what you should do. There are a few questions you want to ask yourself before you make a choice.

Why is the Embersmith still in this pack?

This is the real question. We know that there have been some rares taken so given what information you do have you will know that there can be a higher percentage of bombs than usual. Red is one of the colors people will fall into first as well. It has a higher number of removal and some very good cards. Since the rares have been taken this means that there are only three chances that someone to your right took a card like Turn to Slag or Galvanic Blast. That is only half the picks taken. There is an uncommon missing as well. I would have to think that the uncommon missing must either be Oxidda Scrapmelter, Skinrender, an infect creature, or an artifact like Contagion Clasp.

This is when the next question comes up. Is someone drafting infect? Remembering if any good infect creatures came by in the passed packs is important. If you figure out if the person to your right is drafting infect the best place to be is in a metalcraft deck. Most of the cards don’t overlap and they will tend to pass a ton of good cards.

With all of this information I would say Embersmith is a good pick. It seems that the percentage of someone taking a red card over the Smith is low and that the rares already taken have not given you enough information into what is the best strategy. This is the best possibility of an Embersmith making it this far and being the correct pick.

Lets change the situation a bit. You still started with the same three picks but you did see a few more infect creatures and there were bad rares in all of the packs. The pack is now Embersmith, Origin Spellbomb, Ichorclaw Myr, and Semblance Anvil. There is still an uncommon and two commons missing.

This is the perfect conditions for a trap pick. It is still a possibility that Red is open but the percentage of that has gone down considerably. What could have happened now is the pack might have had Oxidda Scrapmelter, Galvanic Blast, Turn to Slag, or even Shatter. The person takes one of these cards since they are not starting the draft off with a bomb that puts them into a strategy and just passed the Embersmith since there was a better option in the color.

It seems that no one has gone all-in on infect yet so that limits the amount of cards someone would take over the Embersmith. Remember that three people have already seen this card and chose something else. Most drafters follow the rules set down from the elders which is: Bombs >Removal> Evasion> Dudes. Since this is usually true, the drafters probably took removal since there were no Bombs in the packs. Most of the removal is in black and red, with a splash in the other colors.

Taking the Embersmith in this situation will lead to a wasted pick or even a bad draft if you are not disciplined enough to step away from the sweet WR Metalcraft deck you are starting to draft.

Counter Argument

Since this is Scars of Mirrodin and not a different draft format it is very possible to draft the same deck right beside someone and still come out with a good deck. The pool of cards for metalcraft is so vast and people need to have a certain number of artifacts to make the deck work that you still might get a Turn to Slag to come through a red drafter. This is just another time that it is better to be thinking about what is going on before you take a pick.

Why is it so hard to draft infect?

Infect is a very interesting spin on drafting. Infect really reminds me of Ravnica, Ravnica, Ravnica draft. There was a Blue/Black mill strategy in this format that was very good when you were the only person on the table drafting it. It could also be the worst possible thing to do to yourself if it wasn’t open. The reason it was risky was because all of your picks were either removal or for the strategy of milling them out. There was no plan b really. You either milled them or died.

This is a ton like infect. You have to kill them in a completely different way than just damage. If your deck is not good enough to deal 10 poison counters, it will be very hard to do 20 damage. This means that when drafting the archetype a player has to aggressively take the infect cards.

One of the hardest parts of this is when to move into infect. The only time I drafted infect in a professional event was at Grand Prix Toronto. I had a slight advantage when I took a 2nd pick Plague Stinger in a pack full of Infect creatures. I had Ben Stark to my right. Ben is a very solid drafter and knew that if there was a chance that the person to his right would also go into infect he would not go into it. He also doesn’t want to end both of our drafts. With this information I was able to move into it pick 2 since it was the best card in the pack and I thought I had a good chance to getting into the archetype with little resistance.

I see this too often though. Sometimes there is a pack littered with infect creatures. Someone will take one and then pass it to the next person who thinks it is open as well. They both fight over infect and end up with very bad decks only to meet each other in the 0-2 bracket.

Like I already said before, drafting infect takes away from many other cards coming around. This means that it drastically narrows the cards you are able to pick from. Packs are only 3-4 cards deep instead of the usual 10-13. It makes matters worse when someone is right beside you taking the best card in the pack and leaving you with the second best infect creature.

The best solution I have found for this is to abandon ship if good infect creatures are not coming. If you don’t have a Plague Stinger or Cystbearer in the first couple picks why are you trying to force infect anyway? Do you think it is only going to get better?

I think it is just more important to value non-infect early unless given the opportunity. It will present itself if you are looking for it. Just don’t go and try to find it.


Since there has been so much talk about Limited this week I thought it would be good to talk a bit about Standard. I have been playing around with Boros for the last week. Even thought he deck does not have Ranger anymore does not mean it isn’t a real threat.

The new additions to the deck are mostly in the sideboard but the deck did get a great one-drop in the shape of Spikeshot Elder. This guy means business when he is equiped to an Adventuring Gear. He isn’t even that bad at getting the last damages in one point at a time. This is the list I have been running.


The main deck is pretty straightforward, with nothing too cute. Since most people are trying to beat ramp and control decks in game one they are not equipped to deal with this deck out of the gates. This means the main deck should be geared to do what it does best.

Once the game gets to the sideboard people will have cards to deal with an aggro rush. This is where Koth of the Hammer does some great work. Most control decks cannot deal with him if they are not expecting him. I always thought this card was not that good since it was only good in some matchups. I never really thought about how good he can be from the sideboard.

Eldrazi Ramp

This is probably the best matchup for the deck. They don’t have too many cards that win the game. Turn two Overgrown Battlement is the first way they get enough time to win. The other is Wurmcoil Engine. This is the only card in their maindeck that is hard to deal with when Boros is on a decent draw. If they can not power this guy out fast enough it should be easy to run them over.


There are a few ways to sideboard in this matchup. The first is to bring in Mark of Mutiny and Tunnel Ignus to beat up their plan A. I don’t actually even know if these cards are needed because I have found a really sweet way to crush them. Their only defense to creatures is to bring in bigger guys designed to stop a weenie rush. Bringing in the Sparkmage package makes a ton of sense if this is the only way they have to interact with the deck.

On the play





On the Draw





Valakut Ramp

This is a tougher matchup, since they have the ability to burn your guys out. Game one is very similar to that of Eldrazi Green; you are way ahead. Their clock is just so much slower than yours. Unfortunately, that is not that case for game two.

They will be bringing in Pyroclasms, Lightning Bolt, and even Obstinate Baloths. There are a few tricks to know when playing against Pyroclasm. Don’t give them the opportunity to two for one you when you have a Landfall creature in play. It’s all right for them to get a Goblin Guide and Stoneforge Mystic on turn two, but hitting a Steppe Lynx and Geopede is just a mistake. When you have a Landfall creature on the battlefield, the best play is to have a fetchland ready to protect it. You don’t need to throw everything you have at them right away. They have taken out cards to make room for interactive spells making them slower in comboing.






I like to board Koth in this matchup since they have less small guys ready to block. It can really put damage on the clock.

UB Control

This matchup is either good or bad, depending on what style of deck they have. They can either be Trinket Maging for Elixir with Abyssal Persecutor dropping early, or only having Planeswalkers and Frost Titans to play on their turn. All I know about this matchup is it is a good thing to not walk into a Consume the Meek.

Koth is about the only card to board in this matchup. It is a very good card against them though. Don’t just run him out there against open mana. They will have a tough time dealing with him no matter what stage of the game.

I have played tons of games with Jace, the Mind Sculptor against Boros. The one thing I know is the Jace player is trying to set up a situation where Boros has one creature left on the board and they can simply play Jace and bounce it. Most of the time the Boros player does not have something fast enough to hit it before the control player untaps. This is where Koth can change the game very quickly.

If you suspect your opponent has a counter spell and a removal spell in hand, it is sometimes correct just to attack your opponent and play Koth second mainphase when they are tapped out. Even though it is not the optimal play with the ‘Walker, they will probably not be able to get rid of it for a turn anyway.

UW Control

The only differences with the two types of control decks is that UW might have Baneslayer Angel. They also have Colonnades to one-hit kill Koth. Other than that the matchups play out similarly since Wall of Omens is not being played too often. This deck really isn’t in the queus so I don’t know how popular it is right now.

Mono Red

This is the type of deck that is either in your environment or not. If this deck is around I would strongly consider sideboarding Kor Firewalkers. This is a tough matchup since it comes down to attrition and they have cards like Kargan Dragonlord to win the late game. I usually take the aggressive approach in this matchup since your deck can hit harder and faster. It will come down to a ton of math and if you can break everything down you should be able to win the games.

Mono White Quest

Still not a deck……….


This is a tough game one, but once you get the Basilisk Collar into the main deck it shouldn’t be that bad. Keep in mind that they do have the ability to Eldrazi Monument up. Sparkmage is the best card here, and by using it you can just try to control them from the beginning of the game. They have no way to disrupt your game plan so the best way to win is disrupting theirs.






That’s the article. Good luck at Friday Night Magic, a PTQ, or even an online draft. If anyone is in Minneapolis for the PTQ stop by the Paradox Comics and Cards booth. I will be Gunslinging there all day. Just don’t make me play Legacy..(they like Legacy there).

Brad Nelson
[email protected] ( I’m official now!)

61 thoughts on “FFfreaky Friday – Avoiding Traps and Playing Boros”

  1. Hey Brad, I really enjoyed the section on trap picks, very interesting to read. I had a question about the SB for Boros, what matchup is the one-off Sword of Body and Mind for? And do you find 2 Tunnel Ignus to be the right amount?

  2. WW Quest has been putting up pretty impressive (or at the least, consistent) #s in the DE’s on MODO. Do you think it’s a saturation//volume thing, or maybe it has *some* game … ?

    I have no particular like or dislike the deck, just observed it a lot.

  3. Having played against it more than a few times, I think the only reason the deck sees any play is the potential for blowout wins. Yes, there are a few games where you get turn 2 or 3 Armor and run them over. Without that, you’re playing White Weenie, and unless the format is Extended and there are still Flagstones in the format, White Weenie is not a good deck. It has no means of actively shutting down what the opponent is doing, and it’s not fast enough to run someone over unless it’s playing Lynx, which the Quest builds don’t do.

    I have literally dropped ONE GAME to WW Quest. Out of 6 matches in tournament play against the deck, I’ve only lost one game, which involved the Turn 3 setup. Without a quick draw, you’re bad against the control decks because you don’t have enough pressure, and you’re bad against other aggro decks because their removal kills all your guys, and their guys are probably bigger.

    That’s why WW Quest isn’t a deck.

  4. Dunno if you saw it, but over in the SCG forums for his last Drafting With Anton Jonsson was arguing against the “drafting a deck more likely to 3-0”.

    I happen to agree with you and not him.

  5. WW Quest is putting up the second best numbers behind Valakut Ramp in Dailies and you say it is not a deck, right…

  6. @Roeher I have played the WW deck in a few daily events when I don’t feel like playing long games and have made the prizes every time. Basically the only thing the deck has a bad matchup against is sideboarded instant speed artifact removal (naturalize, nature’s claim). Most of the green decks that can run it normally don’t.
    The deck has three different plans. First, it can combo off on turn 3 and just win with quest and armor. Second, it can combo off with a stoneforge mystic and a kor outfitters (this plan is risky against any deck that is likely to kill the mystic before you can tap it). And finally, it can find a sword of body and mind and just beat people to death for 4 a turn in the air off of squadron hawks and ornithopters and skyfishers.

    At least half of the game wins with the deck come from the third option. Decks have to kill every single threat, which is very hard to do because of squadron hawk and sword made wolves. And even when this plan is being undertaken there is always the threat of landing an armor in the late game. The only deck this plan doesn’t really work against is valakut, but against UB/UW/Mono green/Boros/Mono red it works very well.

  7. Have you considered Molten-Tail Masticore in this deck? I’ve been trying it out and it really helps against removal-heavy decks.

  8. WW quest is a deck, it’s just people don’t realize it’s more combo than anything. It’s just easily disrupted by some decks, others, just fold to it.

  9. I’ve found RDW to be a laughably easy matchup, assuming you sideboard 3-4 firewalkers, which i really think you should do.

    As for hard matchups, U/B control is probably the worst one i’ve faced so far. It just has so many cards you can’t play around properly. Jace, Abyssal Persecutor and Consume the Meek are all gamebreakers, and combined with removal and counterspells, it’s hard to outrace him before he drops one of them. I’ve sideboarded Luminarch Acension against them with some success.

    I’ve also been a bit disappointed by Mark of Mutiny. While it can win games, it feels like more of a niche card, and it’s a rather situational card even against ramp.

    Anyway, very nice article. I really like Boros, and it has potential to consistently beat pretty much every deck in the field right now. And anything able to deal with the terrible goldfishing rampdecks is good in my book.

  10. Have a PTQ this Saturday, I’ll definitely be keeping the Limited comments in mind. I’ve found about the same rules for going into Infect from trial and error, and seeing someone else say it just helps cement it in my mind. Hopefully I get to apply it in the T8 draft.

  11. Thanks for the article. The boros deck intrigues me. Very tempted to sleeve that up and have a go.

    Could you write the decklist in a more organised way please? It’s difficult to see what lands are in there and stuff.

  12. Hey,

    have you tried maindecking assault strobes?

    Can lead to quite a few turn 3 concessions, on their part.


  13. If you get passed a vampire knighthawk in a zendikar draft, as in your example, IMO you should always pick it. It´s the sensible pick, because even if the other player drafted a more powerfull card, you dont know for sure if that´s the case, and if the bomb was black. And if there´s no more black coming, you have all pack 2. I just don´t get the point of the concept that you tried to explain here, or is the example that is just bad. How can picking a vampire knighthawk be a trap, if it´s powerfull enough to win games? Your suggestion is that, because it´s a “trap pick”, you should avoid it and pass it to the other player????

    In SOM, the only trap i see is trying to commit early to poison (unless you open the dragon, the hand… or -maybe- the haste green monster).

    There is not such a thing like a “trap pick”: there are sensible picks, and bad picks. And maybe risky picks, but taking a powerfull card is never a trap, IMO.

  14. Just built WW Quest yesterday to playtest some after seeing its consistent run on MODO. I think it could get hated out easily, but it isn’t right now.

    My main point is this. The combo is more consistent than I thought, and the deck is better than I expected all around. Proxy it up and play it for a bit. Even if you don’t decide to play it yourself, it’s still a deck worth thinking about for SB.

  15. I’ve taken the “trap” and drafted poison 4 times already out of 6 drafts and ran poison in at least 3 sealed decks. Really, the key isnt poison guys. I had more than enough every time. The key was the proliferate cards. The two draft decks where I won the draft I had profilterate cards like Throne of Geth. The two decks where I lost round one I had zero profilerate cards.

    The gambit isnt really going infect…the gambit is figuring out which cards will get back to you. Equipment, infect guy, minor removal, profilerate card, support creature, pump spell…so many options early. Very important to remember what you passed and whether someone is inclined to take the mediocre card you choose to pass.

  16. Oh, and also…if you pass Crystbearers and Plague Stingers in the first couple of picks and then go into infect then, yes, your deck will most likely suck and you will be on here saying “infect sucks”.

  17. Insane draft tips|

    Btw what is the sword of body and mind in the sb for? You never side it in in your plans.

  18. WW Quest is a deck, as it is doing very well for itself in MODO dailies. It’s a combo deck that’s can blow you away in game 1 with a good starting hand. Turn 3 Armor can’t be stopped. I threw together a cheap version and it blows everything away in casual, and does quite well for itself in tourney practice.

    Sure, if you’re ready to disrupt it, it’s an easy win. It doesn’t overlap with existing deck archtypes so the standard standard decks aren’t prepared for it.

  19. I would easily go necropede there. The card is just very powerful. You can even play it in a non-poision deck, as it functions similar to perilous myr much of the time.

    Necropede and contagious nim are the best two reasons to jump to infect early (well, that and hand of the praetors of course).

  20. The sword is insane in the RUG matchups, for those asking. They almost certainly have no answers for it.

  21. Nature’s Claim in the board is pretty much amazing against WW quest. It’s also relevent against a few other matchups such as Pyro Ascension and decks that run Ratchets and Mimic Vats.

  22. WW relic is not a deck. Sure you see it a lot but that’s because it’s very cheap! Monored having Kargan and Koth (as well as fetchs and goblin guide) makes it much more expensive than it used to be so people are turning to WW. This WW doesn’t need fetchs and the only expensive card, which many people already had is stoneforge mystic (I took the chance to sell mine as I won’t be playing with them anytime soon).

  23. Jean-Philippe Theriault

    Well I see I’m not the only person on the Interwebs who likes Boros.

    I have a few questions. First, what’s the motivation for keeping the SoBaM in the sideboard? I like 2 Gears and a Sword maindeck because with Stoneforge Mystic you will have something to do if you happen to get one of those games where the lands dry up (though you’re playing 25 to my 24 so that probably happens less often for you).

    Second, what would you cut for SB KFW if your meta had a bunch of RDW? I’d be inclined to cut the Sword (bringing it MD), the SB Journey to Nowhere and one Sparkmage, but I’d like a second opinion.

    Also, can you tell me how not to hate Kor Skyfisher as much as I hate him? It seems he’s always just being awkward and putting me back a turn in mana development instead of being useful by bouncing a Peak or a Mystic.

  24. Just played in three 2-men queues: WW Quest, Mono Red, WW Quest. 0-3. Yeah, those decks aren’t real. Too bad your Boros loses to imaginary decks then.

  25. @speljester: Sorry, do you know me? Are you the article author? If ‘no’ to either or borh, stfu please.

  26. You’re coming to the PTQ tomorrow? Guess I’ll see you there then. And yes, we do seem to really love legacy here, but it is incredibly fun, so you can’t really blame us…

    Oh, I would also take scrapmelter every single time, due to color and archetype preferences.

  27. @martin: it’s a trap because the only cards that someone would take over it are better black bombs. So you KNOW the person feeding you is in black.

  28. Why did you have to go and call WW not a deck? It’s not, but as you can see, people are just going to cry about it.

  29. Brad, in your Ember Smith scenario, does a card’s potency against a deck you’re looking to draft alter your decision in taking it?

    I mean, if your first three picks are Darksteel Axe, Myrsmith and Chromesteed, then you’re heading into W/x Metalcraft, a strategy plays a higher-than-normal amount of creatures with 1 toughness(myr, smiths, sunchasers): does the fact that Ember Smith is a card that is difficult for your deck(or the direction you’re heading in, at least) to beat influence your decision when you still have a free colour to go into?

    I guess the reasoning would be at worst it’s a hate-draft rather than being a wasted pick.

  30. WW is rarely ever a deck in any format or season. I think the only exceptions were kithkin with Cloudgoat Ranger and the hiding land, the extended monowhite from last season…yep, that’s as far as I can remember, I’m sure I’m missing some but yeah, saying that WW is not a deck is pretty safe even for time-traveling magic players.

  31. I think Brad should clarify how WW Quest is not a deck from his perspective. Most likely he’s found a way to attack it easily which is why he considers that it’s not a good enough deck.

  32. “There is an uncommon missing as well. I would have to think that the uncommon missing must either be Oxidda Scrapmelter, Skinrender, an infect creature, or an artifact like Contagion Clasp.”

    Why not consider that the uncommon missing is arc trail?

  33. Regardless of whether WW quest ‘is a deck’ (by whatever definition), the incontrovertible facts are that it is extremely popular on line, and that it has a good win percentage if you take a random sample of matches (see power rankings on tcgplayer). I think I, and others, would like some ideas on how to sideboard against and handle this deck, instead of it being dismissed en masse as not worth thinking about.

    Regardless of whether a deck is tier 1 or not as far as you are concerned, if its the second most popular deck in your field, you have to have a strategy for it, and you are hindering yourself needlessly if you don’t. Nothing more to say really.

  34. One question about your boros deck: Why did you chose to not have a collar maindecked and just run 24 lands? The collar could be searched by a mystic. I know you will want to usually grab adventuring gear early with mystics but it seems like it could be an option since you do have spikeshot elder in there and it would be flexible in the first game. Or do you feel that the single copy of teetering peaks is more worth it?

  35. Good article, I have a friend who play boros. What about runnign collar/sparkers mainboard?

    The only thing i object to is the disparaging comment towards WW Quest as a deck, I beat my friend in a tournament finals with it, albeit by one life.

    Eventually you’ll see that its good.

    Nice article.

  36. Why do you take out the journeys in the valakut match? They seem important for deeling with wurmcoils and alike, I get that’s what mark of mutiny is for but more answers to a turn 4-5 Titan is always nice. Couldn’t you just take out more burn? Or is the reach that important?

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  38. Would be better to just say the ww quest deck is bad or something rather than pretend it doesn’t exist… I mean you’re likely going to play against it in a daily so it’s pretty good to have a plan against it. It doesn’t make you cool to say something isn’t a deck when it is.

  39. Nice article. As a Eldrazi Ramp player I was considering to play Boros deck two weeks ago in the case I’ve to switch decks depending on the metagame, so now I can do it. Good to see I wasn’t in the wrong way

  40. @Tarmo: As respectable of a player as someone like Brad Nelson clearly is, even he is human and makes mistakes. I am tempted to agree with with you that denying the reality that WW Quest is an extremely popular deck, both online and at events, that posts an essentially coin-flip win percentage, is irresponsible at best for one of the most talented professional Magic players around to say things like “WW QUest is not a deck” to players who read CFB articles for strategy and professional tips. Sure, it’s one thing to slam a deck you think is terrible (*cough* anyone playing Vampires right now *cough*) but at least acknowledge that it’s out there and offer some people tips on how your decks match up against it.

    I played in the SCG Open in Boxborough, MA yesterday running my own variant of UB Control and dropped at 2-3 after being crushed to two WW Quest decks in my fourth and fifth rounds. The deck clearly has 3 plans of attack: a) Turn 2 or 3 Quest activation, b) Stoneforge Mystic + Kor Outfitter package and c) Sword of Body & Mind on a flier ftw. I had the misfortune of staring down a White Knight with a Sword of Body & Mind on it with literally no outs. I have my own copy of the deck sleeved up and although I thought I understood how to beat it, sometimes you just have to deal with a pro-blue/black/green 2/2 first striker that mills you for 10 and makes 2/2 Wolves. Talk about a nightmare.

  41. Brad i’ve been testing boros builds and yours runs very smoothly with so many 1 drops, also you dropped altogether the Emeria Angels and Basilisk Collar from the maindeck to privilege more explosive early turns but i’ve got a couple of questions regarding your card choices.

    Why did you cut the 2nd Teetering Peaks? I understand that without the Emeria Angels putting one on your flyers isn’t as good as it was but still bouncing them with Skyfisher threatens 4 damage next turn that are hard to avoid as the format has very few flyers and our opponents have probably wasted their removal in the mid game to stop landfall creatures. I have always felt 2 Peaks were necessary against Primeval Titan decks as they let us swing with an 11/7 trampling guy right away and those 2 points of damage can be crucial in the matchup.

    The other card i feel that should be considered in the 75 or at least be given some justification for being cut is Kemba, Kha Regent. This legendary cat is one of the very few ways we have around Pyroclasm and it even dodges Lightning Bolt against red while providing continuous chump blockers that overwhelm the board. Also against UW it lets us immediately recover from a sweeper. Also sticking the SoB&M on it against Vengevine decks means it’s game over as you get 2 bodies every turn and protection from everything the deck runs.

  42. I build the Deck at MTGO and I really like it. But I think on MTGO u will need 3 Kor Firewalker in the SB there is just so much Goblins and RDW Stuff hanging around just because the Decks are cheap. But I have no idea what to cut. At the moment I tried to cut the Sword and a Mark of Mutiny because I just never play against Ramp ir RUG Decks, dont know why. So at the moment I play only 2 Firewalkers.

  43. I think the Vampire Nighthawk example was used less because it stresses ” you should not take the Nighthawk”, as I agree, there is a pretty good justification in taking it anyways. ( The joke for me and my friends in Zen x3 draft was opening Sorin p3 and slamming it and playing it and 8 swamps in your Mono White deck, a Nighthawk + a pack 2 with black being extra cut off from pack 1 isn’t unreasonable ) I think the major point is that the passing of the Nighthawk was a good eye opening point in terms of both ” why is this card still here ” followed by a fairly easily explained rationale. It seemed to be used more as explaining the catalyst for him opening his eyes to such “traps” more than being used as a cry to ” stay away from the nighthawk”. In a situation where a card is so strong like the Nighthawk, or in a format like SoM x3 where you can get away with having less copies of playables in a certain color while still supporting bombs, “traps” seem less significant, but it is still a very important aspect of drafting to understand.

    I’m really liking the Boros deck still. I’m still calling it Koros, after the Gerry Thompson build from last format, but the deck has been testing really strong. The decks best hands are so hard to beat. I’ve seen a pretty big difference amongst lists for the deck though. I’ve seen a huge gap in the number of removal spells being played MD, and haven’t found a significant difference in how both approaches seem to work out. I’ve also tried Emeria Angel, Khemba, Koth, and even Molten Tail Masticore in my builds for the “higher end” slots to try and give the deck a bit more power midgame off of its topdecks if the board stalemates, and all of them have tested well but not spectacularly.

  44. Good article Brad! I’ve been watching your drafts and reading your articles a lot lately. You give pretty good advice. I’ve dominated in limited in my area just by remembering the things you say and recalling them at the right moments. One thing though, Salvage Scout can be playable in the right deck. I ran them in a W/R deck. It wasn’t necessarily metalcraft but it had a lot of artifacts. Some of the top performers were: 2 Vulshoks, 2 Necro Censors, Barrage Ogre, 2 Glint Hawk, 2 Salvage Scouts, Galvanic Blast, Turn to Slag, and Revoke Existence. I would play turn 1 Scout, turn 2 Iron Myr, turn 3 Necro Censor use it, turn 4 use last counter on Necro and play either Barrage Ogre or Glint Hawk to reset the Censor. Usually I’d be dropping both Censors and bouncing them and sacrificing them. At one point I wiped out all the flyers against this G/W deck with Barrage Ogre clearing the way for my pack 1 pick 1 Sunblast Angel. Pick 2 was Galvanic Blast btw. Unfortunately the guy to my right drafted red so I never got that 2nd Barrage Ogre I really wanted. All in all it was good I too first no one stood a chance. In my last match me and my opponent drew since we were both undefeated and played for fun. It was my easiest match of the night no joke. He ran slow U/R and I had hate drafted 2 Stoic Rebuttal and 1 Turn Aside. Anyways Salvage Scout can be good.

    I’m running Boros right now and just tweaked it to your list except for a few things in the board. You had removed the same cards I wanted to remove, I just hadn’t figured out what to replace them with yet. I only have 1 foiled Koth right now so I’m trying out 2 Gideons in Koth’s stead. I’m also trying a 1 of Admonition Angel instead of Sword of Body/Mind. Eventually I’ll probably put the mythic sword back in but for now the angel stays.

  45. Correction, in the example of Barrage Ogre clearing the skies I actually was attacking with twin Glint Hawks. 1 was equipped with Darksteel Axe and the other Sylvok Lifestaff. I got that scenario confused with another in a match I played against the Infect deck at the table. I was forced to play Sunblast Angel with my opponent having 0 tapped creatures. It was the correct play though and she got me there two swings later.

  46. amen to you sir, ww quest is not a deck.
    side in some removal and you render the deck particularly useless. also from what i read, this particular deck really have some stability issues (it really hit the jackpot or miss entirely). that is what happened if you try to make a combo deck without blue :P.

    well i am not a pro player but i wouldnt have draft an infect deck unless my first 5 card justifies me to (if you opened the first pack containing hand of praetors or skitlles and doesnt try to draft an infect deck i think you are making a mistake) anyway i have been drafting the off archetype (non infect non metalcraft) and making a fairly good deck. when the metalcraft triggered it is good but without metalcraft it is a fine solid deck. it hass been rewarding since in my table 4 people ended up making terrible infect deck and the rest too focused on making metalcraft decks they missed the good card (sky-eel school + barbed battlegear run them to the ground, i ended up sleeving 3 darkslick drakes and 2 necrogen scudders)
    anyway boros is still flying low on the metagame. a solid deck i must say. looking forward for your next article.

  47. A fine article for limited, great points to think about.
    Please use a better format for decklists, your Boros list is just about unreadable: Lands, creatures and spells all jumbled. Why not sort the cards by mana costs?

  48. Hi brad, love your articles, especially this one.
    Like Jean-Philippe Theriault I have rdw in my field a lot so I am curious as to what you would change to put in the 3 kor firewalkers. Currently, I have mine set up like JPT with 1 less sparkmage, 1 less journey, and took out the peaks mainboard to put basilisk mainboard.
    Having said all that, I’m not sure how I should be sideboarding against RUG. The first game I am way ahead, but the second game they have brought in more burn for my guys as well as flash freeze and sometimes it feels like if they don’t try to rush out a jace, which will allow me to drop a koth that I have no chance to win the game :/
    Do you have any suggestions?

  49. @Jean-Philippe Theriault
    “I have a few questions. First, what’s the motivation for keeping the SoBaM in the sideboard?” Jean-Philippe Theriault

    “..the main deck should be geared to do what it does best.” Brad Nelson

    Basically, the Sword is clunky and relies on Stoneforge Mystic a lot of the time to be cost effective. With just Adventuring Gears you can double or sometimes triple equip a Kor Skyfisher, play a fetch land, attack, burn the blocker, sac the land, and then deal insane evasive damage. Most people are just like wtf, shake their head, then scoop shortly after rage style. Game two you can bring in the Sword once they expect the Adventuring Gear. Then you can use Mystic to bring Sword into play counterspell-proof and give a creature Jace assassination mode. Its immune to Frost Titan and also Into the Roil. You’d want to bring it in against Pyro decks or certain U/X control builds. I didn’t find it useful in many matchups and was usually happier to have a Collar or Gear. Then again I played against two Brad Nelson clone Boros builds with my Brad Nelson clone Boros build. I beat both of them that night. Actually took second losing only to Valakut Ramp. He burned me out game one and I got stuck mulliganing to six and keeping a one land hand game two on the play. I never drew that second land. Sucks too because I had three Mark of Mutiny and two Journey to Nowhere in my hand. I learned you have to mulligan pretty aggressively with this deck.

    “Second, what would you cut for SB KFW if your meta had a bunch of RDW? I’d be inclined to cut the Sword (bringing it MD), the SB Journey to Nowhere and one Sparkmage, but I’d like a second opinion.” Jean-Philippe Theriault

    “I usually take the aggressive approach in this matchup since your deck can hit harder and faster. It will come down to a ton of math and if you can break everything down you should be able to win the games.” Brad Nelson

    That means you probably want to keep in as many copies of all your haste creatures and any life gaining cards, i.e. – Goblin Guide, Cunning Sparkmage, and Basilisk Collar. I didn’t run any Kor Firewalkers and beat the other Boros decks that did. That’s part of the edge. This deck is truly maximized. Like Brad says this match will come down to math so be prepared to do a lot of addition/subtraction and with enough Adventuring Gears you may need multiplication lol.

    “Also, can you tell me how not to hate Kor Skyfisher as much as I hate him? It seems he’s always just being awkward and putting me back a turn in mana development instead of being useful by bouncing a Peak or a Mystic.” Jean-Philippe Theriault

    Run more land. I don’t run any Peaks and it’s not really an issue. I run Evolving Wilds instead. It helps mana fix so I always have the triple-mountain double-plains land configuration. It also increases the chances to setup a ridiculous landfall which is usually much better then having an option to pump a non-landfall creature +2/+0 that you can’t fetch for and doesn’t tap and sac to get another land. You answered yourself already on this one:

    “…if you happen to get one of those games where the lands dry up (though you’re playing 25 to my 24 so that probably happens less often for you).” Jean-Philippe Theriault

    Hope this helped!

  50. FFFreak (Or other readers) quick question could you name a few cards in each color maybe even 1, that you would really not like to play against with your Boros build.

    Thanks for your time.

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