Lurrus of the Dream Den | Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths
17, Jun, 24

Elite Energy Payoffs Give Rise to New Triumphant Timeless Strategy!

Article at a Glance

The impact Modern Horizons 3 is having even on formats beyond Modern cannot be overstated. In Pauper, Grixis Affinity abusing the power of Refburbished Familiar has been all the rage. Meanwhile, Eldrazi aggro featuring It that Heralds the End and Glaring Fleshraker just won a Magic Online Legacy Challenge.

Perhaps the biggest metagame shifts, though, have come on MTG Arena. Modern Horizons 3 is one of the most powerful sets to ever come to the client. As a cautionary measure, Wizards of the Coast preemptively banned 18 cards between the Historic and Brawl formats. However, new cards were given free rein to run rampant on the Timeless format.

Right away, multiple new competitive strategies have arisen. Today, we’re going to discuss one particular deck that has taken the format by storm: Boros Energy. This deck is quite aggressive, but thanks to the Energy package, is also fully capable of winning the long game. A recent Timeless tournament showcased a Boros Energy mirror in the finals, and there’s a lot to like about the archetype.

Elite Energy Package

Amped Raptor

At its core, this Boros deck is looking to play efficient threats to the board that can run away with the game if left unanswered. Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, for instance, threatens to provide a massive mana advantage and even provide card advantage if you’re lucky. Ajani, Nacatl Pariah is a solid new inclusion that puts a decent amount of pressure on the opponent and can singlehandedly swing a game in your favor if it flips.

What gives this archetype its own identity, though, is the presence of multiple strong Energy enablers and payoffs. MH3 gave us a ton of cards that not only generate Energy themselves, but also reward you for stockpiling Energy from other sources.

Guide of Souls is a premier one-drop that helps you accumulate Energy over time when you play more creatures to the board. If unchecked, you can start using your excess Energy to pump any of your attacking creatures and give them evasion. Galvanic Discharge acts as a three-damage removal spell at minimum but can take down bigger creatures when necessary if you have extra Energy in reserve. Static Prison cleanly interacts with any problematic nonland permanent your opponent plays at little cost. Sure, the solution is temporary, but you can keep Static Prison around longer by investing more Energy into it when applicable.

Meanwhile, in attrition wars, it can be wise to save up Energy to help fuel Unstable Amulet. Once again, Unstable Amulet gifts you some Energy up front, making it a relatively low-cost card with immense upside. Amped Raptor is also excellent in resource battles. With such a low curve, Amped Raptor is nearly a guaranteed two-for-one.

All these cards are strong individually, but they give you the luxury of deciding where to sink your extra Energy depending on the matchup. Want to be aggressive and break board stalls? Guide of Souls delivers. Need to play a long game? Store your Energy and generate card advantage with Unstable Amulet. This flexibility makes the Boros Energy deck much more powerful and synergistic than might appear at first glance.

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Plethora of Options

Ocelot Pride

Interestingly, while the Energy package is clearly quite powerful and popular in Timeless right now, there are a lot of different options to make up the supporting cast. In the Timeless tournament we mentioned where two Boros Energy decks met in the finals, each deck had some key differences.

The decklist that went undefeated had a rather aggressive slant, playing no cards with mana value greater than two. Ocelot Pride is extremely impactful in the mirror match. It enables you to go wide, which is quite nice in conjunction with Guide of Souls. Nurturing Pixie lets you return Ajani or Amped Raptor to your hand, then replay them to generate additional board presence. Most importantly, the deck’s low curve also lets you make use of Lurrus of the Dream-Den as a Companion, which is a huge boon in grindy games.

That being said, other players chose to eschew Lurrus in favor of Jegantha, the Wellspring. While Jegantha is certainly not the powerhouse Lurrus is, running it as the Companion of choice lets you utilize cards like Phlage, Titan of Fire’s Fury and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker that have higher mana values. Both these cards excel against Scam and midrange strategies. Blood Moon is another decent three-drop option out of the sideboard against Primeval Titan decks. Ultimately, there are a lot of directions players can take the Boros Energy shell depending on the metagame they expect.

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Ways to Fight Against Boros Energy

Toxic Deluge

Boros Energy decks naturally play to the board quickly but are fully capable of grinding through lots of removal. This is part of what makes the deck so scary to play against and so difficult to hate out. Still, that doesn’t mean Boros Energy decks don’t have their weaknesses.

Combo decks built around Goblin Charbelcher or Show and Tell are not easy to race, and most of the interactive elements that Boros Energy decks have access to don’t line up too well. Some archetypes can also exploit the fact that Boros Energy decks (especially Lurrus builds) play a lot of very small creatures. A single Toxic Deluge from Rakdos Death’s Shadow shells can be devastating.

In this sense, Boros Energy is far from broken, and there’s plenty of room for players to adapt. However, Boros Energy’s sudden rise to stardom showcases the huge influence MH3 is having on the Timeless format already. MH3 is chock full of powerful cards, so it’ll be interesting to see what other breakout strategies emerge over time.

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