Hey there everyone, and welcome to another round of points of synergy!
A different take this time around; in my quest to analyse all of the commanders, I hit Adriana, Captain of the Guard. There and then, I realised if I did each commander individually, I’d repeat myself a lot. A LOT (it is indeed a lot) of commanders in the Boros colour identity have a main battle plan: Play aggressive creatures, and proceed to smash face. Being the typical colours of White weenie mixed with Red deck wins, you can imagine where this stems from. So today, I’m going to take a look at the ten (ten!) Boros aggro commanders, give a little insight on how they differ themselves and carve out (tenuous) niches within their archetype, and then give some information on staples to get the most out of them. Covered today will be: Adriana, Captain of the Guard, Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran, Anax and Cymede, Anya, Merciless Angel, Aurelia the Warleader, Basandra, Battle Seraph, Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder, Iroas, God of Victory, Razia, Boros Archangel, and Tajic, Blade of the Legion. The others I feel step into enough of a unique space that I feel that they can be dealt with differently (Yes Kalemne, you get a stay of execution).
Adriana leads decks which go wide, like most of the generals here. Her melee ability (and ability to grant melee) can make her into a Pathbreaker Ibex effect to run over your enemies, but only if you still have multiple of them. Great coming out of the gates, Adriana has a tendency to fall behind in the late game, once enemies get few and far between.
Another go wide commander, Agrus doesn’t care about your opponents; he simply cares about going wide. He primarily wants red tokens for more punching power, but white ones are great. Goes hand in hand with Adriana very well, as well as token producing enchantments such as Goblin Trenches.
This Therosian power couple don’t necessarily need to go wide, as their heroic trigger affects themselves, but the anthem effect does definitely benefit from having lots and lots of attackers. Being a heroic trigger, you also want combat tricks. Ways to repeatedly abuse this could include Isochron Scepter.
By far the plainest of the commanders, Anya simply asks if your opponents are below half health. Then, she becomes indestructible and a minimum of 7/7. She opens up an interesting minigame of juggling low-health opponents, something that could come in handy with pain effects like Sulfuric Vortex or Manabarbs. This can easily backfire though, as low health opponents are still opponents, and probably don’t enjoy being toyed with.
To follow plain with flashy, Aurelia is a hasty beater that allows you to double up on combat. She can be suited up in equipment to one shot people, or go wide to abuse that double combat. Interestingly new copies of Aurelia can trigger the ability, so flickering her post-combat with a Cloudshift effect can allow you to swing as much as you desire.
The opposite of Anax and Cymede, Basandra prefers her combat tricks sorcery speed. She offers the ability to force creatures into attacks, excellent for taking out small noncombat creatures like Grand Arbiter Augustin IV. She turns off enemy combat tricks, blanks common defensive removal tricks such as Condemn or Immolating Glare, and forces your opponents to consider removal more carefully. Though notably as a lot of those tricks are white, she turns them off for you, as well.
Being a partner, Bruse can have other colours in his decks, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t using him to be aggressive. Double Strike allows each creature to pack a powerful punch, no matter what the creature. Lifelink allows you to bolster your health with the hits, giving you more room with which to tap out for the alpha strike. Good partners include Akiri, Line-Slinger, or a different aggressive choice such as Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa.
Perhaps my favourite of the commanders here, Iroas provides an Indestructible bonus to your aggressive creatures. He won’t wade into battle himself until later, but if he does, a 7/4 Menace Indestructible commander is going to make short work of an opponent. With a field-wide menace buff, he can make good use of things that grant other combat keywords such as Deathtouch, First Strike or Double Strike such as Basilisk Collar or Archetype of Courage
Razia is a funny one. She doesn’t really lend herself to a strategy, though winning through commander damage seems the best way for her to do it. She’s often used as a R/W Angel commander, and her vigilance helps her swing while still utilising her ability. As with a lot of redirect abilities, a damage doubler such as Furnace of Rath can make her redirect a lot more useful as removal.
Tajic is a commander of two parts, like Aurelia. One, he’s an indestructible commander, which makes a perfect voltron commander. The battalion effect, however, incentivises going wide. Sound Familiar? How Tajic stands out however, is the indestructible. This makes him good with Creature wipes, or win conditions such as Worldslayer.
Now that we’ve determined roughly what each of these guys do, let’s see about maxing their effectiveness:
Sunforger – Probably my favourite card that I haven’t gotten round to using yet. This card is a toolbox, that cannot truly be played around. At any time this card represents removal (Path to Exile, Swords to Plowshares, Celestial Flare, Lightning Helix), boardwipe protection (Boros Charm, Ghostway, Make a Stand), combat tricks (Titan’s Strength, Temur Battle Rage, Apostle’s Blessing), or haymakers (Brave the Elements, Inspired Charge). For a little bit of janky flavour/an unexpected trick, Sunforger can also pull something like Overblaze from the deck for a surprise damage doubler from the deck to push through something double strike wouldn’t, like an opposing Gisela, Blade of Goldnight effect (or to redirect a huge amount of damage with a Boros Reckoner).
Boros Charm – I mentioned this card above, but I feel it deserves special mention. It will almost never be used for the damage option (though no matter how much pillowforts have been built, 8-16 damage to the dome is nice), purely because the other modes are too good. A surprise double strike can be the difference between a win and a loss, and goes really well with the other buffs in their decks (Agrus Kos, Glory of Warfare, etc). Alternatively, the ability to make everything you control Indestructible for 2 mana is hilarious in the colours of Jokulhaups/Armageddon, and has applications outside of those to protect your creatures during an alpha strike/opposing board wipe.
Assemble the Legion – We’ve sorted the voltron, now how do these decks do their Wide strategies? This. This is how. Assemble the Legion, hands held high, is a terrifying magic card. If it sticks, and isn’t removed, the game is over very soon for somebody. An Exponential boost of power every turn is a powerful engine to have control of; and Red/White is the perfect combination to take control of that. With Glorious Anthem (or the newly released Call to Unity), or other wide effects and extra combat steps (Aurelia, Breath of Fury, and the like), Assemble the Legion is the premier win condition of choice for any Boros Aggro build looking to translate weenie aggro from 60-card to the big game of EDH.
There we are, guys! Thank you if you made it this far. What do you think of the current situation of the Boros commanders? Probably fine? Great? I’d like to know! Be sure to like our Facebook feed for more like this from me or my other contributors. For now though, Unmistakable out.