Last updated on April 29, 2022
Akiri, Fearless Voyager | Illustration by Ekaterina Burmak
Each color combination in Magic is different. Some work through your graveyard, some love big mana, and some even prefer tokens. But none of them do aggressive creature strategies like Boros (). The Boros Legion is one of the most aggressive and powerful creature-based color combos in Magic, matched only by its similarly colored cousin, Mardu ().
If you’ve been debating making an extra-combat, equipment, or even burn Commander deck but don’t know where to start, then you’re in luck. Today I’m going over Boros, including why you should play it, the best commanders to choose from, and I’ll also supply a sample decklist with Feather, the Redeemed to inspire you to get deckbuilding.
Let’s get started!
Wyleth, Soul of Steel | Illustration by Tyler Jacobson
The Boros Legion is a color combination of strength, fury, and determination. Red’s excellent aggressive creatures and card draw pair wonderfully with white’s protection and equipment to make for aggressive decks that no other color combo can match in creature combat.
Boros can make juggernaut fighters capable of killing entire boards by themselves just as easily as it can conjure an army of flying lifelink angels to save you at the last minute. If you enjoy equipment, auras, legendary angels, creatures with upwards of five keywords, and extra combat phases then you’ve found the right colors to play.
Starting off strong today with none other than Velomachus Lorehold. Despite being a strong commander and the namesake of the Lorehold college, Velomachus has found itself at the bottom of today’s top 18 rankings. This commander lets you cast an instant or sorcery off the top of your deck whenever it attacks.
Free spells off the top are always good and it becomes great when you build your deck with that mechanic in mind. Spells like World at War, Savage Beating, and even Mizzix’s Mastery can turn a simple combat phase into the end of the game if there isn’t a blue player nearby to counter it.
Following Lorehold in the #17 spot is Koll, the Forgemaster. This commander gives your equipped creatures +1/+1 on top of returning dead nontoken creatures to your hand if it was equipped. Koll makes for a great commander in a run-of-the-mill Boros equipment deck.
Everything about the Forgemaster incentivizes you to go wide on the board with a lot of smaller equipped creatures instead of one bigger one. It not only further reduces risk by having your threats spread across multiple targets, it also adds more damage through its second ability. Going wide typically means a lower mana curve so be preferential to cheaper cards like Skullclamp, Memnite, and Ornithopter instead of something larger like Batterskull.
Gisela, Blade of Goldnight is the first angel to appear on today’s rankings. Gisela is an angel tribal commander that doubles the damage against opponents and their permanents while preventing half of the damage dealt to you and your permanents.
Angels are already big creatures that can cause serious problems for your opponents. Dealing double damage while also being twice as tanky makes them far stronger than ever before. Pair Blade of Goldnight with some tribal cards like Vanquisher’s Banner and Door of Destinies and even a few angels can be game winning at times.
Next up is Zabaz, the Glimmerwasp, a 0/0 wasp with modular 1 that gives an extra +1/+1 to any modular triggers when it’s on the battlefield. Zabaz makes for a nice modular/artifact-themed creature deck that uses +1/+1 counters and its synergy with white to make unstoppable killing machines.
I’d like to clarify right off the bat that Organic Extinction should not only be an auto-include in any Zabaz deck, it’ll probably result in you winning the game whenever you cast it. Extinction helps pave the way for your modular monstrosities like Arcbound Overseer and Bronze Guardian to start chopping your opponents to pieces. What’s not to love?
In the #14 spot is the infamous Brion Stoutarm that loves to fling creatures at your opponents’ faces whenever possible. This strategy isn’t usually enough to take your three opponents on its own but it becomes really scary really quick when paired with a steal-your-stuff subtheme.
Boros has plenty of ways to steal creatures and you want them all on this list. That includes Mark of Mutiny, Act of Treason, Act of Aggression, Hijack, and any similar card that end up being printed in every other Standard set. Oh, and while you’re at it, include a Serra Avatar so you can fling and one-shot somebody.
Alibou, Ancient Witness is in the #13 spot today. This commander is another artifact commander in Boros. Alibou gives your other artifact creatures haste and deals X damage to on top of letting you scry X, where X is the number of tapped artifacts whenever one of your artifact creatures attacks.
This makes for a great general Boros artifacts deck, not necessarily specifically equipment. Utility artifacts that you can tap go a long way to winning considering they factor into your commander’s ability, even if equipment make up a significant portion of your non-artifact creatures. I’d recommend running at least Mystic Forge and Strionic Resonator.
Next up is Hofri Ghostforge, a 4/5 dwarf cleric that gives your spirits +1/+1, trample, and haste. This may strike you as odd considering Boros isn’t exactly the spirit faction and neither are dwarfs, but Hofri’s second ability actually creates a Spirit token copy of creatures that die which is super flavorful.
Spirit tribal isn’t even the way to go. Stealing your opponent’s creatures and then killing them is far more profitable because now you get a copy of whatever you stole and killed. You want to run a sacrifice outlet like Goblin Bombardment plus a bunch of creature theft spells like Act of Treason to get going. Not only are you clearing threats but you’re making equal ones of your own!
In the #11 spot is the companion commander Zirda, the Dawnwaker. Zirda gives your mana-dependent activated abilities a discount of , which opens up for a lot of infinite combos (Grim Monolith) and highly-efficient threats.
Since Zirda, the Dawnwaker is your commander and you don’t have to build around everything having an activated ability you can use the discount to make equipping super cheap. Equipment that have equip costs of or more take the most advantage of Zirda, but don’t neglect the more powerful ones that have equip costs of like Sword of Hearth and Home or Sword of Feast and Famine.
General Ferrous Rokiric is a 3/1 human soldier that creatures 4/4 golems whenever you cast a multicolor spell. 4/4s are great creatures and they’re the perfect body to wage war in a Boros Commander deck.
Since you’re so dedicated to triggering General Ferrous’s ability during your games, you want to partly build your deck around Sunforger. This artifact lets you tutor out Boros instant spells for , which means you’ll have plenty of gas to keep your 4/4 generating engine alive.
#9. Aurelia, the Warleader
Aurelia, the Warleader is in the #9 spot, which means we’re halfway through the rankings on today’s list. Aurelia is an extra-combat commander that lets you have a second combat phase with all your creatures untapped whenever it attacks for the first time each turn.
Extra combats are as potent as extra turns in aggressive creature decks which means any creature-based strategy is good. Angel tribal is one of my favorites and an underrated theme in my mind. Tribal decks are very well supported in Commander through utility artifacts like Herald’s Horn and Vanquisher’s Banner. One extra combat can spell disaster for an unlucky opponent with the right supporting cards and a few big angels.
Next is Akiri, Fearless Voyager, an equipment commander that draws you a card for each equipped attacking creature. Akiri also lets you pay to detach an equipment to give a creature indestructible which is a great way to keep your best creatures from folding to something as simple as Doom Blade.
Since you’re going wide with this commander you want a lot of great creatures to add equipment to. These range from anything with a lot of keywords like Danitha Capashen, Paragon, but also something small and useful like Esper Sentinel.
In the #7 spot is Firesong and Sunspeaker, a minotaur duo that gives your instants and sorceries lifelink on top of dealing 3 damage to anything whenever you gain life from an instant or sorcery. Firesong is a burn commander through and through that loves to play table-wide burn spells like Star of Extinction and Price of Progress.
Single-target burn spells are not the way to go here since you have three opponents you need to take down. Wasting a single spell on a single opponent just puts the other two players ahead, which isn’t what you want. Since you’re given the task of dealing at most 120 damage in a game, damage doublers like Fire Servant are staple cards. Just don’t forget your Aetherflux Reservoir to help close out matches.
Depala, Pilot Exemplar is a 3/3 dwarf pilot that gives +1/+1 to every dwarf and vehicle creature you control. Depala also lets you pay X whenever it becomes tapped to grab all dwarf and vehicle cards from the top X cards of your library. As long as you have a vehicle you can crew with you’ll be able to activate Depala’s ability every turn.
Vehicle strategies have gotten much stronger with the release of Neon Dynasty which makes Pilot Exemplar an increasingly popular choice. Vehicles are incredible cards. They often bring amazing stats and abilities for low costs. You’ll be good to go as long as you have a Pilot or three. New Pilots and vehicles from Neon Dynasty fit perfectly into the list, specifically Surgehacker Mech and Hotshot Mechanic.
Starting off the top five is Wyleth, Soul of Steel, another aura and equipment commander that draws a card for each one attached to it when it attacks. This is a great ability to have in this kind of aggro deck. The way these strategies flop or fail is from lack of card draw, becoming hellbent, and then losing your only threat to removal.
With Wyleth you can justify running “worse” equipment thanks to the fact that they’ll pay for themselves many times over. Rabbit Battery and Explorer’s Scope are both good examples. They’re cheap equipment that bring some small advantages while also working as card draw engines in the long game.
Osgir, the Reconstructor is a 4/4 giant artificer that lets you sacrifice artifacts for power increases while also making two copies of whatever you sacrificed. If “the Reconstructor” and “Giant Artificer” weren’t big enough hints the abilities on Osgir might clue you in that this is an artifact commander all the way.
Artifacts with ETB abilities are the strongest in this deck since you’ll get one trigger when you play them and then two later on when they’re copied by the Reconstructor. Anointed Procession also factors in here since it puts you up to four copies of artifacts in your graveyard.
Next up in the #3 spot is Winota, Joiner of Forces, a human tribal commander that gives you card advantage whenever a… non-human creature you control attacks.
Since you need non-human creatures to trigger Winota’s ability you want to get a good balance of non-human to human creatures in the deck. If you don’t get enough non-humans then you’re just playing Boros humans with basically no commander.
The non-human creatures you want need either to be very good in an aggressive creature deck, or cheap fliers that can consistently get triggers off Winota. Ornithopter is a great example of one of these creatures and so is Goblin Rabblemaster. I’d recommend going with a 5:1 ratio of human to non-human creatures. That’ll let you consistently get one non-human to trigger Winota while not diluting your deck.
Feather, the Redeemed is a 3/4 flying angel that returns instants and sorceries that target your creatures to your hand at the beginning of your end step.
Since you’re limited to instants or sorceries that target your creatures, you’ll be running a lot more cantrips. The cantrips in red and white don’t let you scry or pick from multiple cards, instead they give you some kind of minor creature buff on top of drawing you a card.
Expedite gives something haste while Defiant Strike gives +1/+0. The list goes on with cards like Angelfire Ignition, Fists of Flame, and Psychotic Fury. And you get to cast these cards every turn thanks to Feather, the Redeemed.
#1. Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist & Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh
In the #1 spot is the partner combo of Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist and Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh. Arden and Rograkh make for an excellent equipment aggro deck thanks to Arden’s ability to attach auras and equipment to anything for free and Rograkh’s ability to be a creature with first strike, menace, and trample for .
The general idea is that Rograkh becomes an excellent cheap early body for equipment that you can run your opponents over with. This is your classic equipment deck. Of course you want to include great equipment like Colossus Hammer, Blackblade Reforged, and the infamous swords, but don’t forget some creatures that synergize with artifact and equipment strategies too. You don’t want to run out of cards only to be left with some easy-to-kill creature. Throw in things like Sram, Senior Edificer, Puresteel Paladin, and Armored Skyhunter to keep things rolling.
Feather, the Redeemed | Illustration by Wayne Reynolds
Anax and Cymede
Birgi, God of Storytelling
Mavinda, Students’ Advocate
Tenth District Legionnaire
Vanguard of Brimaz
Zada, Hedron Grinder
Fight as One
Fists of Flame
Path to Exile
Swords to Plowshares
Temur Battle Rage
Wear // Tear
Temple of Triumph
I’ve chosen to feature Feather, the Redeemed for today’s decklist because I felt that it presented a unique and fun playstyle in contrast to the typical equipment decks that just about every Boros commander fits into. Where those decks go big, this deck goes wide with over 30 instants waiting to be cast with Feather to generate card advantage and overrun everyone as the game goes on.
Since each instant and sorcery you’re casting comes back to your hand you want to make sure you can adequately dump your hand each turn to make use of all the spells you accumulate. This means you want to stick to a fairly low curve which means you get more for your mana overall.
Spells like Unleash Fury and Fists of Flame are the real haymakers here. Most of your spells are one or two mana, do some minor effect, and draw you a card. You want to stack both of these effects so you can end it with a single Unleash Fury to make a gigantic commander that can swing for lethal commander damage in just one turn.
Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist | Illustration by Jason Rainville
That concludes everything I’ve got for you today! I loved putting these rankings and deck together, almost as much as I actually enjoy playing Boros. I think the Feather, the Redeemed deck is one of the more interactive ones in Boros and is a great step away from the typical equipment beatdown lists you see everywhere.
What did you think of my rankings? Were there any you were kind of upset with, or any you thought were spot on? Please let me know in the comments or over in the official Draftsim Discord.
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