A good adventuring party is only as good as the hits it can weather, and let’s be frank, the Clerics, Rogues, and especially the Wizards just can’t roll with the punches. That’s where the Warriors come in. Rogues are a sneaky lot, and the casters bring all sorts of spells and magic to the party, but Warriors? They make sure they have the right tool for the job, and frequently, the right tool is a bigger sword. Akiri, Fearless Voyager is a Red-White Warrior that adds even more utility to the Warrior’s tool belt.
While Akiri doesn’t particularly lend herself to a Warrior tribal strategy, she does play into an Equipment-themed deck, and Zendikar Rising has given Warriors a good few Equipment-Matters cards to tie everything together. Akiri is an interesting take on card advantage in Red-White, a facet the combination notoriously struggles with in Commander. She keeps cards flowing to your hand, and protects key creatures with her second ability.
The first stop for most any Boros commander deck that cares about equipment is Sunforger. Keeping some mana up for the activated ability isn’t as big of an ask in this deck, since you’re looking to leave mana up for Akiri’s protection ability anyway, and it opens you up to a toolbox of instants. Abrade, Swords to Plowshares, Generous Gift, Chaos Warp, and Crush Contraband (Sorry Eric) give you outs to just about any problem permanent you can run across, and redundancy at that. Settle the Wreckage is a blowout when timed well, and being able to hunt up a Teferi’s Protection at the drop of a… well, a hammer, can make for a huge swing in a game.
Now, for an equipment deck, you need more equipment, and the deck has a nice arsenal that covers a wide range of situations. The Hammer of Nazahn is a massive buff to utility for your other equipment, and anything this deck can do to discount the equip costs, it’s going to do. Obsidian Battle-axe has a free equip for almost every creature in your deck, giving a nice boost and haste as well. Bloodforged Battle-axe propagates itself, helping ensure every creature that wants a weapon gets one. Lightning Greaves are an old staple that works especially well with a few of the creatures in the deck beyond their typical utility, and Sword of Feast and Famine is the sword of choice, mostly for the chance to untap all your lands after suiting up. Blackblade Reforged, Inquisitor’s Flail, Loxodon Warhammer, and Embercleave are all different flavors of beatstick, but they are quite effective at what they do.
The Mystic and the Giant come to hang out, even though Stoneforge is not, in fact, a Warrior. Still, her utility in hunting up the different gear your Warriors want to pick up means that she makes the cut.
Again, a little shy on the Warrior theme, but well… one’s a squire, one’s a Wizard (see, it’s a party), and one’s a cat soldier… okay, sure, but the ability to equip at instant speed, and even skip the cost for two of them, is just too powerful. Shikari and Lightning Greaves are still as friendly as ever, more so now that Akiri also can add indestructibility to the protection the Greaves add, as well as Shroud. Sigarda’s Aid is yet one more way to cheat on equip costs, and can set up for some surprise blowouts as well.
Now, with all that talk of Warriors taking up their weapons, we should probably get to them! Kor Blademaster offers a potent ability to his compatriots when equipped, while the Gaveleer and the Champion of the Flame just get even more potent with every piece of gear they strap on. Kazuul’s Toll Collector can pick up anything he wants at a hefty discount (there’s a bit of theme here). Fireblade Charger hits the ground early, and while its equip bonus isn’t the biggest, the death trigger can be potent with some of the buffs it can carry.
Speaking of buffs, there are a good few flavors of Warrior lord to sprinkle in to the deck. Kargan Warleader is simple and straightforward, while Lovisa Coldeyes offers a bigger set of stats and haste as well. The rest of the lords only offer power boosts of varying size, from the Honored Crop-Captain’s +1/+0, up to Jor Kadeen’s conditional but powerful +3/+0. The Battledriver helps the crew get in and get hard, and the new minotaur Moraug helps them get in more than once.
The rest of the lords don’t offer numerical buffs, but help in other ways, either by handing out Vigilance or Double Strike, or by using the best four words in Magic (Cowards can’t block Warriors) or trample to help your team break through even the most stalled board states.
With all these lords, more bodies to pick up equipment or buffs, or both, can’t hurt. God-Eternal Oketra makes downright massive tokens and is resilient. Secure the Wastes can unleash an entire army on your foes right at the end of their turn, whereas Oketra’s Monument offers a slow and steady drip of Warriors along with a bit of cost reduction.
The rest of the Warriors offer varying amounts of utility, whether it’s attacking opposing graveyards with the Mardu Woe-Reaper or their permanents with the Goblin Cratermaker. Brion Stoutarm is a solid body that can be used in tandem with some of the massive equipment buffs to get the last few points of damage in on an opponent that has managed to hold off your ground assault.
The last utility Warrior is Djeru, With Eyes Open. The various flavors of Nahiri and Ugin’s War of the Spark version all make an appearance in the deck, helping shore up some of the color pairing’s weaknesses with recurring advantage. The Nahiris in particular serve up tokens repeatedly or help you dig for key cards, all the deck can really ask for.
Chandra’s Ignition keys of high power to finish opponents and boards alike, and even something as innocuous as a Loxodon Warhammer can make for an insane swing to the game when paired with the Ignition. Day of Judgment is just a simple, clean tool that can even be mitigated with enough mana late in the game, making it one-sided, or one-sided enough.
Sevinne’s Reclamation pairs nicely with the cycling lands and various fetches to serve as mana ramp, while also pulling almost all the equipment back from the graveyard should they run into an unfortunate mishap. A mishap such as a Vandalblast, which you’re also packing, because sometimes just having a one-sided wrath for artifacts is all you can really ask for.
The Vanquisher’s Banner and Herald’s Horn offer some solid tribal support and card advantage in colors that will eat up any and all of it they can get, and the Horn’s discounts aren’t anything to sneeze at. Each mana saved is a mana that can towards an equip cost or a dose of indestructibility, and when you’re the Boros deck at the table, every advantage counts.
Rounding out the non-lands are the usual artifact ramp suspects. I rarely leave home without a Sol Ring, and the others are a good hit of ramp and color-fixing in a deck that will happily use both.
A bit of longevity and reach in the manabase goes a long way, either buffing a wide board with Castle Embereth or enabling a single big swing with the Slayers’ Stronghold or Sunhome. Castle Ardenvale makes Soldiers rather than Warriors, but beggars can’t be choosers, and we’ll take what we can.
The cycling lands are a welcome include in most decks, and go up in my estimation in any non-green deck packing Sevinne’s Reclamation.
Speaking of Reclamation, these crackable lands all help with fixing, while also pairing nicely with the White Flashback wondercard.
A few duals and basics (10 Mountains and 10 Plains) round out the deck, coming in at a solid 38 lands, lean enough to not feel like you’re flooding but enough to hit your early stride and start the cards coming in with the advantage engines built into the deck. Bring it all together and you’ve got the muscle to show the rest of the party who the real backbone of the group is, whether you’re delving dungeons or cracking skulls. Now, if you’re looking to pull it together yourself and flex on your foes, the full decklist is below. Let me know @TheLeoRiser on Twitter what you think about this Warrior-themed take on Akiri, or let myself or Eric know which member of the party you like the best!
Decklist: Akiri, Fearless Voyager
Settle the Wreckage
Swords to Plowshares
Hammer of Nazahn
Masterwork of Ingenuity
Champion of the Flame
Kazuul’s Toll Collector
Moraug, Fury of Akoum
Herald of Dromoka
Secure the Wastes
Archetype of Aggression
Djeru With Eyes Open
Nahiri, Heir of Ancients
Nahiri, the Harbinger
Nahiri, the Lithomancer
Ugin, the Ineffable
Talisman of Conviction
Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion