Welcome to the first day of this week’s Running the Gauntlet. For the first time in the series, the deck I chose doesn’t involve Jace, and even more surprising, it DOES involve Goblin Guide! Yes, that deck is Boros, which I have always faced from the opposite side of the table.
Part of the reason that I chose Boros is that I think the deck is pretty awesome right now. Throughout my testing, I’ve felt that it can easily adapt to beat both other Hawk decks and aggro decks in general, with the biggest problem matchup being Valakut. First off, here is the list I’m starting with:
A few things to note about the list:
I started with Paul Rieztl’s list post-Paris, and then spiced it up a bit. I found that I didn’t like Sword of Feast and Famine, since Boros usually doesn’t have a ton of spells to play, so untapping lands doesn’t do much. Instead, I’m running just Sword of Body and Mind, Bonehoard, and an Adventuring Gear. The rest of the maindeck is pretty standard, with all the guys you’d expect, Bolts + Arc Trails as removal, and 2 Koth and 2 Hero of Oxid Ridge as finishers.
The sideboard has some action, as my plan against pretty much all the aggro decks AND the Hawk decks is to add Gideons, Inferno Titan, and Sparkmages, which is pretty sweet. By taking out Goblin Guide and Geopede you reduce the effectiveness of many of their sideboard cards (Oust, Condemn, Arc Trail, etc), while bringing in big threats that trump most of their plans. Additionally, Hawk decks usually board out Mana Leaks against Boros (I know we always did in Paris), so Gideon/Titan can catch them unprepared.
On to the first matchup, Black-Red Vampires, once again played by Josh Silvestri!
If there was any matchup where taking out Sword of Feast and Famine would hurt, it was definitely this one. I figured if I could still have a reasonable game here without Sword, I wouldn’t miss it. Let’s take a look at how the games went:
To see the rest of this deck’s matchups, as well as the current Running the Gauntlet series, click here!
I went 1-2 in preboard games, and that seemed like an accurate result. Vamps has access to better removal (the same as Boros plus Gatekeepers), and Bloodghast and Highborn make any long game tough to win. Hero of Oxid Ridge and Koth both don’t do much, and all the rest of Boros’ guys die too easily. It isn’t horrible, but I would definitely rather be on the Vampire side of the table.
This is a pretty sweet sideboard plan. By taking out Guides and Geopedes, their Arc Trails get worse (since you no longer curve 1-2 into two guys that die), and by taking out terrible 4-drops for awesome 5+ drops, your lategame gets way better. Sparkmage Collar isn’t insane against them (since they can kill it fairly easily), but it still is solid, and even a lone Sparkmage can hold off Bloodghast. Kor Firewalker is also pretty good, since it doesn’t die to most of their removal, making it a good equip target.
These went way better, and I ended up 4-1. I did get really lucky with Sword of Body and Mind a few times, since milling them out when they have Bloodghast usually doesn’t work so well. Of course, if 3 of the 4 Ghasts are in the bottom 10…mise. Still, Sword shenanigans aside, the combination of Sparkmages, removal, and good finishers (Gideon and Titan) let Boros successfully take the control role. You can still get beatdown draws, since Steppe Lynx and Stoneforge are still in the deck, but now at least you don’t have to go that route. Playing around Arc Trail is pretty key, and Firewalker helps a ton in that regard.
Thoughts on the Matchup
I wouldn’t mind playing against Vampires with this list of Boros. It isn’t a hugely positive matchup, but it is in your favor, and that is especially true if they don’t expect the sweet sideboard plan. It is just attrition-based, and while that doesn’t favor you game one, it does postboard, when you upgrade all your threats.
Cards I wanted
Sword of Feast and Famine. While this would have been nice, I think I’m still ok with not playing it at all. If your metagame is particularly infested with Vampires, this is the first place I would look for help.
Devout Lightcaster. If you really need help, this might be something worth trying. The mana cost is pretty tough, but it gets them better than any other card.
Really, I wouldn’t change anything based on this matchup. Like I said before, not only is it fine, there really isn’t a huge contingent of Vampires decks you have to worry about.
So, Boros emerged unscathed after the first day of testing, but come back tomorrow to see if that trend continues!