Fixing Boros in EDH

city of shakar

While elaborating on why I thought Kalemne was the worst of the C15 Commanders, reader crazyaboutmtg asked if I had any ideas on how to fix Boros in EDH, since I attributed parts of Kalemne’s failings to her colour identity. Maybe I’m being harsh, I don’t actually think Kalemne is bad, she’s just the least effective of the C15 box commanders, from what I’ve seen. However, she can get scary quickly enough, and with trample or some other form of evasion, it gets downright terrifying. crazyaboutmtg has a WP-blog too, by the way, you should check it out here.

boroscluestone.hqBoros in EDH has two main issues, the way I see it, and I’m not alone in this. Two of the most important parts of making a successful EDH deck is card-draw and ramp. Neither white nor red do any of these things very well, unfortunately. EDH is a wide format, and there are ways to fix the ramp without rampy colours through things like mana rocks, but it takes only one overloaded Vandalblast in order to be set back to the stone age. Card-draw too can be fixed either via artifacts, or via red’s infamous “Wheel” effects – but the latter are symmetrical which might not be beneficial for you, and the former are less reliable and way less effective than the stuff that blue and black gets, and it’s even a step behind green’s, even though green tends to center it’s card-draw around it’s creatures.

hallowedburial.hqSo what does either colour bring to the table in EDH? Well, one is arguably the single best support colour available, the other is arguably the worst colour in EDH. White has all the mass removal in the world, it has answers to most every problematic permanent in the game, and it has a few really solid threats.

Red, on the other hand, tends to not adapt very well to multiplayer Magic. In regular two-player matches, red has historically been about aggression – getting your opponent from 20 to 0 in as few turns as possible. This doesn’t translate well into multiplayer, and especially not in a multiplayer format where the players have 40 life over 20. With that in mind, we need to focus on red’s other strengths – hate.

Blood Moon, Stranglehold, Price of Glory, Ruination, Vandalblast,priceofglory.full and Citadel of Pain are all pretty neat, sometimes underplayed, red hate cards. It’s a shame Blood Moon has spiked becuase of Modern, because it is sorely needed in the format.

In white, I think both the matter of mana and card draw can be fixed through a higher number of cards with effects like Arbiter of Knollridge. It’s still not as powerful as the counterparts in green, blue or black respectively, but it gives white decks a fighting chance.

Red decks needs to have more symmetrical hate-effects, like the ones listed above. If these are more widely available and applicable, the colour could itself be more recognized as a symmetrical control colour, still diverse enough from blue, but with more things to do in the format.

What do you think of these fixes? Would it help boros in the format? Leave a comment below!

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1 Comment

  1. I already Tweeted, but perhaps a response would make more sense here where I can use more than 140 characters.
    A friend and I were discussing the idea of chaging the starting life total in EDH/Commander from 40 to 30.
    Straight away, aggro strategies (as favoured by most Boros cards) would become increasingly viable. Many more Aggro decks would open up too – Goblins, Gruul.. basically anything red-centered. As it is, and has always been, the format inherently punishes the Red section of the colour pie. I use Red as a support colour in many of my own decks, but I’m constantly aware that these cards/decks *could* be improved simply by cutting out the colour altogether.
    Since your article has got me thinking about it, I’m going to try and come up with a Boros EDH list. I have an old, casual multiplayer Boros deck that was really successful, before the advent of EDH at which point normal multiplayer became virtually abandoned. It worked on the back of a highly political (read: good tactical play and reading the game) strategy. I still have the deck, so perhaps it could be adapted into EDH without too much hassle. Lets see…

    Liked by 1 person

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