Let’s Master Boros Showdown!

Grzegorz Kowalski

Grzegorz Kowalski

Introduction

Hello! A few days ago I shared with you my Boros Showdown list on the Twitter. Deck got a lot of attention, I got many questions about card choices and match up, so I figured out it might be a good idea to write a full article about it.

Today I’ll share with you how you can change your decklist to adapt, when metagame changes, what are good and bad match ups, as well as teach you how to play them. Have a nice read!

Match Ups

Let’s start with the match ups. You have my sideboard plans already, so I’ll just focus on explaining how to play them.

Izzet Tempo: Good

Frost BiteSaw It ComingGoldspan Dragon

《Seasoned Hallowblade》 is our MVP. Indestructible is a really strong keyword versus Blue-Red deck. Usually, we can cast it before they can counter it, and then they don’t have any easy way to remove it. Sometimes they can bounce it with 《Brazen Borrower》 and then counter, but that’s a lot of effort for a simple two drop.

Try to be aggressive and keep pressuring them, so they have to interact instead of waiting with a counterspell. When they tap-out, resolve 《Showdown of the Skalds》, from that point they’re basically dead.

Rakdos Sacrifice: Even

Kroxa, Titan of Death's HungerWoe StriderImmersturm Predator

There are many different Rakdos Sacrifice/Midrange lists, and it’s hard to predict which one will be considered the best. In general, our best weapon are Enchantments (they don’t have a good way to interact with them, and they provide huge value). Unless you’re looking for an immediate answer, it’s usually better to cast 《Outlaws’ Merriment》 before 《Showdown of the Skalds》, if you have a choice.

All in aggro plan usually won’t work, as they have a lot of cheap interaction, so focus on being a better midrange deck (yes, Boros can easily do that).

Dimir Rogues: From Slightly Bad to Slightly Good

Thieves' Guild EnforcerSoaring Thought-ThiefDrown in the Loch

Dimir Rogues is an extremely hard deck to play. If you face a very good opponent, I believe the advantage will be on their side. On the other hand, it’s easy to punish every single mistake, so if they don’t play perfectly, we have high chances.

They play their game on instant speed, so always try to think about what they represent, and what they can have in hand. Usually 《Soaring Thought-Thief》 is the biggest threat, as it blocks most of our creatures effectively. Try to count cards in graveyard, and if possible, delay getting to 7 or 8 cards for as long as you can.

Gruul Adventures: Very Good

Brushfire ElementalLovestruck BeastThe Great Henge

《Giant Killer》 and 《Skyclave Apparition》 are very good at stopping our opponent’s aggro plan, and 《Showdown of the Skalds》 is a better midrange plan than 《The Great Henge》. I did grind out Gruul many times. Just don’t randomly die to 《Embercleave》, and focus on playing a long game.

Naya Adventures: Good

Edgewall InnkeeperShowdown of the SkaldsEmbercleave

Here things are a little worse, as they do have their own 《Showdown of the Skalds》. On a good side, we have a lower mana curve. That means we usually get better and faster value from the Saga. Since we don’t have as good late game advantage as versus Gruul, try to be more aggressive here (it’s also easier, as they will have mana issues more often, as a 3 color deck).

Mono Red: Good

Fervent ChampionAnax, Hardened in the ForgeTorbran, Thane of Red Fell

Boros Control. Sounds nice? Play as safe as you can, don’t try to race. Be aware of 《Embercleave》, as this is their best weapon. 《Baneslayer Angel》 is a killer, so all we have to do is survive to the late game, and eventually find the Angel (Sagas help ;)).

Yorions (with White, mostly Esper in mind): Very Bad

Skyclave ApparitionDoom ForetoldYorion, Sky Nomad

The worst match up. 《Glass Casket》, 《Skyclave Apparition》, mass removal, and Yorion on top of that are a perfect solution for beating Boros Showdown. Take as much risk as you can. We usually can’t beat their good draws, so it’s often good to go all in, forget about mass removals, and hope they miss a land drop, or get too many tap lands. That sometimes happens, but I wouldn’t count on beating Yorions consistently.

Yorions (non-White): Even to Good

Omen of the SeaExtinction EventShark Typhoon

There are a lot of different Yorion builds currently. In general, the more colors (splashes included) they have, the better for us, as their mana gets significantly worse. Without white, they lose access to the best cards against us, so we can pick up an even fight.

Temur Ramp: Very Good

Beanstalk GiantGenesis UltimatumUgin, the Spirit Dragon

Fast aggro with Indestructible creatures was always a nightmare for Temur Ramp. In the sideboard guide I said no changes, but it might be good to bring 2x 《Reidane, God of the Worthy》, to slow down their mass removal/《Genesis Ultimatum》. That’s not tested yet, so it’s only a suggestion I would recommend trying. To be honest, 2/3 for 3 mana is not the most aggressive creature, so in the end it might be better to the original 60. Hard to say. Of course, if they have snow lands for 《Frost Bite》, bring the God in!

What Next, and How to Adapt

Obviously, we are still in the very early stage of Kaldheim Standard, and metagame can quickly change. I want you to teach how to react to possible changes.

In Case Metagame Gets More Aggressive

Robber of the RichLuminarch AspirantSelfless Savior

If you start facing more Gruul/Boros/Mono Red/Mono White/Mono Green, I would recommend cutting 《Robber of the Rich》 completely. It’s a good card vs Control and Ramp, but close to useless vs aggro. Add 2x 《Luminarch Aspirant》, and 2x 《Selfless Savior》. It might be also good, to replace one 《Embercleave》 with 《Maul of the Skyclaves》.

In Case Metagame Gets More Control

Skyclave ApparitionLuminarch Aspirant

Our deck is pretty good at beating non-Yorion control decks, so there’s not much to add. If you really want to improve control match ups, cut 3x 《Skyclave Apparition》, and add 3x 《Luminarch Aspirant》. I wouldn’t do that unless you play 66+% of your matches vs control though.

If you didn’t read it already, here are some short tips and tricks about playing Boros Showdown. One clarification in terms of setting a stop. With 《Showdown of the Skalds》 in play you should set a stop on your first main phase, not a draw step. For some reason I always set a stop on my upkeep/draw step when I have an action to perform (seems like a habit), and then if I draw 《Shepherd of the Flock》, I set another for the main phase, but that’s just a waste of time. One proper stop is enough.

Showdown of the SkaldsShepherd of the Flock

For those who don’t understand the interaction, you want to put saga’s 3rd chapter trigger on the stack, and respond to it by playing adventure part of 《Shepherd of the Flock》. That way you still get the saga’s effect until and of turn, AND return 《Showdown of the Skalds》 to your hand, so you can use it again. Beautiful synergy.

Boros Aggro Tips & Tricks

Tips & Tricks 1

Showdown of the SkaldsShepherd of the Flock

Don’t always try to be aggro, with 《Showdown of the Skalds》 + 《Shepherd of the Flock》 you can easily win grindy games.

Tips & Tricks 2

Bonecrusher GiantSkyclave ApparitionShowdown of the Skalds

With the above in mind, don’t mulligan too aggressively, keeping midrange-ish hands is fine (4x land, 《Bonecrusher Giant》, 《Skyclave Apparition》, 《Showdown of the Skalds》 is a perfect hand).

Tips & Tricks 3

Giant Killer

Use 《Giant Killer》 as a one drop vs non-green deck, try to keep it for removal vs green decks. If you’re on the play, don’t know what plays your opponent, play it and curve out.

Tips & Tricks 4

Showdown of the Skalds

《Showdown of the Skalds》 is your best card in the deck. It’s a good Card Advantage engine, but also a perfect way to play around mass removal. Usually vs decks with mass removal, you don’t want to overflood your board with creatures do turn 4 《Showdown of the Skalds》 does a great job.

Tips & Tricks 5

Seasoned HallowbladeRobber of the Rich

On turn two almost always is better to play 《Seasoned Hallowblade》 over 《Robber of the Rich》 if you have a choice.

Tips & Tricks 6

Shepherd of the Flock

SET A STOP!! for your draw step if you have Saga on 2 counters. You can draw 《Shepherd of the Flock》 and get an opportunity to save your saga, but if you don’t set a stop, arena won’t let you.

Tips & Tricks 7

Shepherd of the FlockSkyclave Apparition

Remember about 《Shepherd of the Flock》 combos: With 《Showdown of the Skalds》, you can play saga again and draw 4 more cards. With 《Skyclave Apparition》, you can respond for the trigger and exile the target forever, without giving a token in return. With opponent’s 《Brazen Borrower》/《Bonecrusher Giant》 you can counter the spell and get rig of its creature part forever.

Conclusion

As always, thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy this deck. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me on Twitter. I’m always happy to answer comments!

Grzegorz Kowalski (Twitter/ Twitch)

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Grzegorz Kowalski

Grzegorz Kowalski He made top 8 in GP Lille 2012 and GP Brussels 2015, and GP Santiago 2017 has achieved second place. His extraordinary skill is also demonstrated on Pro Tour, experiencing countless top prize and money finish. He is one of the top players who travels the world and continues to fight. Read more articles by Grzegorz Kowalski