With Strixhaven spoilers starting to pour out into the multiverse, I think it’s safe to say that Boros has gotten some really neat toys so far – and by Boros, I of course mean Lorehold. I’m pretty sure that if you say the name of the Ravnica guild instead of the College, the dragon they named the College after comes to eat you. No big deal, very low stakes. Anyway, one of the Lorehold legends caught my eye, and I thought, why not build a deck real quick?
Let’s be clear. I’m not here for the type line – I’ve done a Dwarf deck before. The phenomenal stats aren’t drawing me in either – Tobias Andrion isn’t an aspirational figure. I’m not even really here for the anthem effect, though the trample and haste are nice and we’ll discuss those later. It’s all about what happens when your nontoken creatures die.
Lorehold loves to bring back figures from the past as spirits, so that’s exactly what Hofri’s up to with your creatures! He’s even nice enough to put them back where they belong after they’re done with their spiritual journeys, and thanks to that earlier clause I mentioned, the Spirit versions have trample, haste and +1/+1.
So how do we abuse this mechanic? Let’s take a look.
Echo is an obvious fit for Hofri decks, especially when the creatures have enters-the-battlefield effects. You won’t be able to loop Karmic Guide, since it’ll be exiled by the time the token enters the battlefield, but with another reanimation effect, you can get a long trail of value out of it.
The token versions will get haste from Hofri, so you’ll even be able to attack the turn they come into play and worry about paying the echo next turn (if ever.) That’s especially good with Firemaw Kavu, which loves to die. Ghitu Slinger does a great impression of Flametongue Kavu on the cheap here as well.
Evoke creatures are a great fit too – evoke them, get the ETB or leaves the battlefield benefit and then get another token version that sticks around! Some of them have remarkable stats, especially for the evoke cost – Spitebellows has never looked this good. Move over Ball Lightning, we’ve got a 7/2 with haste and trample that blows stuff up!
Anything that wants to sacrifice itself is generally going to work well with Hofri. You get multiple uses out of whatever the effect is, and since these utility creatures are generally small, the size bonus helps them be more relevant in combat.
Selfless Savior and Spirit are useful for keeping your other Spirits around after their corporeal forms have made their exit, while Remorseful Cleric clears out opposing graveyards. Burnished Hart gives you that helpful bit of ramp not just once, but twice!
Creatures with strong enters-the-battlefield abilities are going to be an important part of this puzzle. They might not always need help to die, but don’t worry, we’ll help them journey to and from the other side.
Forbidding Spirit and Angel of Finality put up some defenses, while Molten Primordial can go on some serious offense. If a creature the Primordial borrowed dies under your control, that’s good news for you.
Like I said, we’re here to provide some assistance to creatures that just don’t want to die on their own. Sacrifice the original, then keep the token around to do battle since it’s the stronger version!
I didn’t put in Ashnod’s and Phyrexian Altars because I’m tired of them, but depending on your group’s power level, they may be appropriate. Fanatical Devotion and Martyr’s Cause may just look like subpar ways to sacrifice things, but the effects themselves are surprisingly useful.
Your creatures are going to spend a lot of time dying, so why not get some extra benefits? Requiem Angel making Spirit tokens is a pretty big deal, but I’ll accept what Anax, Hardened in the Forge leaves as well, especially since you can sacrifice all of this to the above engine cards.
Of course, a few creature that actually have the Spirit type can’t hurt – we had a few earlier, but here are some more.
Whenever one of your creatures dies with Hofri around, it gets exiled – from the graveyard, that is! These three cards do a great job of leveraging that to your benefit, and Quintorious even buffs your Spirits a little more.
Sometimes, two lives just aren’t enough. When that’s the case, these cards can be a big help.
Speaking of a huge burst, this is exactly the kind of card Hofri loves. Bring your creatures back, sacrifice them and get Spirit versions with haste. It’s pure profit!
Since so many of your creatures have enters-the-battlefield abilities, this stuck out as an easy conclusion – you get to copy the trigger when they show up the first time and when they come back as Spirits!
A couple of Wraths never hurt anybody, and Slaughter the Strong is particularly hilarious in your deck – keep Hofri, sacrifice the rest, get tokens aplenty!
I’m not overloading on point removal, but I’d like to have some. Reduce to Memory is here in Generous Gift’s usual spot – even though it’s a sorcery, it does exile the target, so it may have some merit.
When you’re as dependent on your commander as this deck is, it’s good to have some insurance, and these are some of the premier options. Lorehold Command is a new, interesting addition – while it’s very costly, it does do quite a variety of things, so it’s worth a slot just to see how it performs.
A few mana rocks round things out on the nonland side.
This deck does have 42 lands in it, and I want to address my reasoning for that. First, it’s very dependent on casting a five-mana commander, which means you need to hit your land drops early and continue to play more lands later – you’ll need to recast Hofri a few times. Second, your average mana value is 3.51, which means you’ll need lots of mana to actually cast your spells.
Cycling lands are a great way to deal with a high land count, though I find that most players are too unwilling to put these on the battlefield.
Like I said, you’ll need to replay Hofri, so you might as well throw in the best way to reduce his cost.
Add in some duals and other fixing lands along with a healthy 22 basics and we’ve got yourself a deck! Here’s the full list – see you next time with more Strixhaven goodness!
Commander – Hofri Ghostforge 1 Altar of Dementia 1 Anax, Hardened in the Forge 1 Angel of Finality 1 Arcane Signet 1 Arid Mesa 1 Battlefield Forge 1 Boros Charm 1 Boros Garrison 1 Boros Signet 1 Burnished Hart 1 Cavalier of Flame 1 Cleansing Nova 1 Clifftop Retreat 1 Command Beacon 1 Command Tower 1 Crush Contraband 1 Custodi Soulbinders 1 Dark-Dweller Oracle 1 Deflecting Swat 1 Desecrated Tomb 1 Dockside Extortionist 1 Drifting Meadow 1 Elspeth Conquers Death 1 Emeria Shepherd 1 Emrakul's Hatcher 1 Fanatical Devotion 1 Field of Ruin 1 Firemaw Kavu 1 Flawless Maneuver 1 Forbidding Spirit 1 Forgotten Cave 1 Geist-Honored Monk 1 Ghitu Slinger 1 Ghost Quarter 1 Goblin Bombardment 1 High Market 1 Ingot Chewer 1 Inspiring Vantage 1 Karmic Guide 1 Lightning Greaves 1 Lorehold Command 1 Marshal's Anthem 1 Martyr's Cause 1 Meadowboon 1 Miraculous Recovery 1 Miren, the Moaning Well 1 Molten Primordial 9 Mountain 1 Panharmonicon 1 Path to Exile 13 Plains 1 Preyseizer Dragon 1 Prismatic Vista 1 Quintorius, Field Historian 1 Rally the Ancestors 1 Reduce to Memory 1 Remorseful Cleric 1 Requiem Angel 1 Resurrection 1 Reveillark 1 Rugged Prairie 1 Sacred Foundry 1 Secluded Steppe 1 Selfless Savior 1 Selfless Spirit 1 Slaughter the Strong 1 Smoldering Crater 1 Sol Ring 1 Solemn Simulacrum 1 Spawning Pit 1 Spectator Seating 1 Spitebellows 1 Stonebound Mentor 1 Sunbaked Canyon 1 Swords to Plowshares 1 Talisman of Conviction 1 Teferi's Protection 1 Venerable Warsinger 1 Wispmare