Roughly a month and a half ago, Boros Convoke had a breakout performance in Pioneer, placing first and second in a Magic Online Pioneer Challenge. Since then, Boros Convoke has been a known quantity that continues to put up results. The deck is known for its brutally fast starts, capable of creating 14 power on turn two! While the shell is certainly strong, it does have some issues with consistency. A lot of the speed of the deck is reliant on Gleeful Demolition and both Convoke payoffs, Venerated Loxodon and Knight-Errant of Eos.
Unfortunately, while some hands are extremely powerful and often difficult for the opponent to beat, there isn’t a ton of redundancy in the types of cards listed above, which further adds to the consistency issues the deck has. Interestingly though, there are lots of cards that help with redundancy that are legal Modern. Well, some players took it upon themselves to port over Boros Convoke into Modern. Not only was the deck successful, but it made the finals of a recent Modern Showcase Challenge on Magic Online. The deck adds a lot of new tools that help its consistency, yet still remains fairly cheap outside of the manabase. If you are looking for a relatively cheap Modern deck with blazing starts, this deck might be for you.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of the top staples from the Pioneer version of Boros Convoke also appear in the Modern version. Both Venerated Loxodon and Knight-Errant of Eos remain top tier Convoke payoffs. Ornithopter and Gleeful Demolition are still the glue that hold the deck together. To help maximize Gleeful Demolition, the deck’s one-drops of choice still include Thraben Inspector and Voldaren Epicure. These cards are reasonable Creatures on their own, but providing both a Creature for Convoke and an Artifact to target with Demolition is super important.
Where the Modern deck deviates from the Pioneer version is that the Modern version gets to play additional functionally similar cards that add to the Demolition and Convoke gameplan. Pioneer Boros Convoke, for example, is forced to run cards like Resolute Reinforcements or Forbidden Friendship to help add extra Creatures to the board, even though these cards are not very impressive or explosive. The Pioneer version also often runs cards like Clarion Spirit, which helps give the deck a reasonable plan b but does not help much with explosive starts. Modern Convoke, on the other hand, is much more all in on speed, as we can see by looking at what the deck gains.
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In Pioneer, the best way to cast a Loxodon or Knight-Errant on turn two is to have Gleeful Demolition or multiple copies of Ornithopter. This is a lot to ask, but gives the deck an extremely good chance of winning when it comes to fruition. Modern Boros Convoke gets some big upgrades that help make these starts happen more consistently. While Ornithopter is Pioneer legal, Memnite is not. Being able to play eight zero-mana Artifact Creatures in Modern is a big deal.
Not only that, but the deck also gets to play eight ways to convert an Artifact into three Goblin Creature tokens, thanks to Kuldotha Rebirth. This added redundancy makes the Convoke Creatures much easier to cast.
Speaking of Convoke Creatures, because there are eight ways in Modern to create three Goblin Tokens for one mana, the deck gets to reliably make use of Halo Hopper. Halo Hopper isn’t as powerful as Loxodon or Knight-Errant, but being able to cast it immediately following a Rebirth or Demolition is still a strong play and adds to the deck’s average speed.
Speed and Interaction
In Modern, given how popular various combo decks like Living End and Hammer Time are, it’s important for decks like this to be as explosive as possible, especially in game one. All the elements of redundancy in the Modern version help make sure you can both go wide with Creatures and generate tons of power in short order. To help maximize the overall speed of the deck, Boros Convoke in Modern also gets to make use of four copies of Goblin Bushwhacker. Bushwhacker is a lot more reliable than Reckless Bushwhacker, since it can be cast for two mana regardless of whether you cast another spell beforehand or not.
In game one, this deck relies almost entirely on its speed to get the job done. For games two and three, however, this deck tends to utilize Creature-based interaction for specific strategies. Not only do these Creatures help cast your Convoke Creatures while simultaneously disrupting your opponent, but they can also be found off Knight-Errant of Eos. Cards like Drannith Magistrate as a tool for Living End and Containment Priest as a tool for Indomitable Creativity combo help interact with your opponent while further developing your board.
LOTR Updates and Weaknesses
While this strategy is strong, it may need some minor adjustments to perform at its best in a format dominated by the One Ring. The One Ring’s ability to grant your opponent Protection from everything when they resolve it is a big problem for a deck that relies on attacking to win. One way to get around this is by running cards like Bonecrusher Giant. Bonecrusher Giant, for example, can be found off Knight-Errant. Then, when you cast the “Stomp” portion of the card, you can make sure that damage can’t be prevented, allowing your Creatures to still deal damage through the One Ring’s Protection.
This does showcase some of the potential weaknesses of the deck though. While the Modern version is faster and more consistent, it does still require attacking on the ground with small Creatures. Cards like Fury can be frustrating to play against. Still, the ability for this deck to go wide, generate lots of power quickly, and use Goblin Bushwhacker to deal a ton of damage out of nowhere makes this deck harder to hate out than you might expect.
What’s nice about this deck too is that it is relatively cheap to build. Outside of the manabase and a few copies of Esper Sentinel that the deck often runs, the deck is extremely cheap. Even the optimal version of the deck is under $400 in total, making it one of the cheapest competitive options in Modern. If you want to get the cost down even more, the Fetchlands and Shocklands the deck runs are not entirely necessary. You can get away with replacing them with cards like Battlefield Forge and still have a functional manabase, even if this involves you taking a bit more damage on average.
It’s cool to see a cheap Pioneer deck get some upgrades and have success in Modern too. This means that a lot of the cards overlap. Therefore, if this strategy appeals to you, it’s easy to get both the Pioneer and Modern variants built with a lot of the same cards used. For anyone looking for a fast and cheap Modern deck, this could be right up your alley.