January 11 2016 Monday at 04:37 PM

Deck of the Day - Boros Tokens/Thopters/Enchantments thingy

As the XB1 invitational rages on, I understand that not everyone is as enthralled in the matches and results as I am.  Maybe you aspire to battle in a tourney someday but don't feel like you are ready for that.  Or maybe you want to kick it casual and just want some new deck ideas.

In what may become a regular feature, today's Deck of the Day will focus on one deck.  We will go over how the list came about, perhaps discuss some cards, play ten games and look at the results, and see if there are any changes to make or see if there are any conclusions we can draw.

Today's deck is commonly known as Boros Tokens.  I believe I first saw it on a Nevius Twitch stream, and I think he credited the design to randomname.

Creatures

1 x Kytheon, Hero of Akros
2 x Knight of the White Orchid
2 x Abbot of Keral Keep
3 x Akoum Stonewaker
3 x Chief of the Foundry
3 x Thopter Engineer
4 x Ghirapor Gearcrafter
1 x Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh
1 x Akoum Firebird
2 x Pia and Kiran Nalaar
1 x Oblivion Sower

Enchantments

3 x Valor in Akros
3 x Retreat to Emeria

Spells

4 x Dragon Fodder

Planeswalkers

1 x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

Lands

7 x Plains
7 x Mountain
2 x Clifftop Retreat
4 x Evolving Wilds
3 x Boros Guildgate
3 x Foundry of the Consuls

The idea of abusing Valor in Akros and Retreat to Emeria with red creatures that bring along a thopter drone friend is a good one.  The deck is capable of turn five kills and some pretty impressive turns.  There is also some resilience to removal and sweepers because most creatures can become an army of two.  The more I played Boros Tokens, and the more I saw it played, the more it felt like Thopters with some upside.  That said, I saw a few major issues -

#1 - Mana inconsistency.  Boros doesn't have many duel lands to choose from, and cards like Knight of the White Orchid and Consuls Lt. need white mana when they need it.  In order for the deck to have it's big turn five, which is a huge deal with the deck, we want to cast some kind of creature on at least turns 2, 3 and perhaps 4 (if our 5th turn play is Emeria + Wilds instead of Valor).  Stumbling on mana can leave the deck too far behind.  In addition, the impacts of Lt and Knight both get worse every turn after turn two for Lt. and turn three for Knight.  The deck needed spells that it would play with to great effect, on time.

#2 - Interaction.  The deck has basically no interaction with the opponent.  You don't want much in a deck like this, but having none is an invitation to disaster.

#3 - Cute stuff.  Some pieces, like Firebird and Stonewaker, make sense in the deck but feel to cute.  It is like they are doing the things the deck is already doing, just a little worse and a little less reliably.

With these factors in mind, I looked to make some changes.  The more I thought about it, the more I wanted the deck to play just like Thopters and curve out every game in almost the same way.   So, I decided to make it more like Thopters -

1 x Kytheon, Hero of Akros
4 x Twin Bolt
4 x Perilous Myr
2 x Abbot of Keral Keep
4 x Dragon Fodder
2 x Pilgrim's Eye
3 x Chief of the Foundry
3 x Thopter Engineer
4 x Ghirapur Gearcrafter
2 x Pia and Kiran Nalaar
3 x Valor in Akros
3 x Retreat to Emeria
1 x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
6 x Plains
9 x Mountain
2 x Clifftop Retreat
3 x Foundry of the Consuls
4 x Evolving Wilds

Perilous Myr is a reliable two drop that can be played off any mana, it also keeps an opposing aggro strategy from just crashing in every turn because Myr can trade with two threats, giving you time to reclaim initiative.  Pilgrim's Eye helps us get to four and five mana without running 26 lands.  Chief has a bigger effect with more artifacts.  In general, I think I added the consistency I wanted and cut the cuteness.  Interaction is limited to 4 Twin Bolt, which is very limited indeed and is possibly wrong.

Let's play some games.

https://youtu.be/6LGYACB-iTg

OK, we don't pick our opponents, and we had some real guppies out there.  Goldfish games should be treated as such, all you have to show for it is that your deck can go from zero to sixty in a reasonably amount of time.  If your opponent has a bad draw or bad deck, crush it and move on.

Game One - Naya Ramp that was probably being greedy and thought he/she could win by awakening Planar Outburst (which happened), but we had plenty of burn to finish the game.  Turn six kill.

Game Two - Golgari Elves that get stuck on mana, but he puts some dorks on the field.  We live the Kytheon into Dragon Fodder dream, and the opponent can't really beat turn three flipped Kytheon.

Game Three - Converge Control - Woodland Wanderer + Radiant Flames is the real killer here.  We could have recovered from just a Flames, but having a monster clock out there at the same time really wrecked us.  Even beating a big piece of meat like Sire was clearly an issue.  After this game I added two Reprisal, replacing two Twin Bolt, so we didn't have zero outs to such a draw.  In the past season of Origins I would have been very concerned about Chandra's Ignition.

Game Four - Some Mono-Blue goldfish, we ran it over easily and this was the type of consistent draw you like to see in a goldfish game.

Game Five - Izzet Thopters - We get way out in front of our opponent without the white cards, and Retreat shows up just in time to finish the game off.

Game Six - White Enchantments Goldfish - Our opponent plays a bad, slow deck.  The best takeaway here is that we got color screwed on white mana, but still curved out and won.  If you are going to get color screwed, hope you lack white and not red.

Game Seven - Red Aggro - Love how I got to trade Gideon and his Knight for Abbot, two Inferno Fists and a full turn.  After that it was just about staying way ahead on the board and closing out.  Red Aggro didn't have a great draw, and this game shows what a house Gideon is against red.

Game Eight is against some kind of Naya aura aggro strategy that was probably short on lands.  Valor really flexes for us.  So you have a 5/7 flying vigilance?  My swarm of 4/4s doesn't care.  I think this is a feature that makes Boros a bit more appealing against creature strategies than Izzet Thopters, the ability to mega-buff it's tokens.

Game Nine - some janky Jeskai thing.  An early Solemn Offering on a thopter token appears short sited by our opponent, but it does reveal that a foes Offerings or Reclamation Sages will be overworked in this matchup, which will give Valor and Retreat a better chance of sticking.  Felidar Cub, on the other hand, is a different story and a genuine pain.

Game Ten - in a fitting end to the evening, we goldfish a mana-screwed red aggro deck on turn five.  GG!

Overall I loved the consistency tonight.  I think I only mulliganed to six once, I don't believe I ever missed a 4th land drop, and most decks just couldn't handle the curve out.  Yes, we ran into one Radiant Flames and we died, but as mentioned it was the backup of Woodland Wanderer that really did us in and drawing a Reprisal could have cleaned that up.  The deck remains untested in a number of situations, but maybe some of you awesome readers can try it out and let me know what the weaknesses are.  Is this better than Thopters?  As long as people aren't playing a lot of Reclamation Sages to blow out our turn four enchantment, I think it may be better in many matchups including Ramp and Thopters itself.

I hope you enjoyed this style of entry, if you like it please let me know and I will do more in the future.  

If you want to know as soon as I post a new blog entry, follow me on Twitter @danno029.

Thanks,

<3 CGB