13, Jun, 24

Incredible Boros Obosh Shell Emerges as Perfect Home for Phlage!

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Article at a Glance

Yesterday, MH3 cards went live for all Magic Online users. Only a few hours later, players were able to compete in a Modern Challenge with all the new toys at their disposal. Unsurprisingly, MH3 cards had a huge impact throughout the event.

Decks built around the all-powerful Nadu, Winged Wisdom and Ugin’s Labyrinth performed quite well, as both cards made their way into top eight. Decks like Nadu combo, Eldrazi Tron/aggro, and red Storm all received a bunch of hype this week, so seeing them make all make an appearance in the event isn’t too shocking.

However, one of the most interesting decks from the whole event, Boros midrange, managed to make it all the way to second place. This shell clearly fell under the radar, but there’s a lot to like about how it’s currently constructed. Obosh, the Preypiercer fans rejoice, as it’s finally this Companion’s time to shine.

Tons of Interaction

Solitude

Despite the fact that Boros is typically a very aggressive color pair, this archetype is fully prepared to play a long and grindy game. This deck utilizes playsets of three different removal spells that are all capable of getting rid of problematic threats as early as turn one. Lightning Bolt is the premier one-mana red removal spell, and four copies are in the deck as expected. The appearance of Galvanic Discharge, on the other hand, may seem a bit unorthodox.

As far as interaction is concerned, though, Galvanic Discharge is actually very efficient, and this is the perfect style of deck for it. Because this deck is designed to drag the game out and most of its draws aren’t super assertive, Galvanic Discharge’s inability to deal damage to the opponent isn’t a big deal. This strategy also isn’t designed to reliably obtain Delerium, so Unholy Heat isn’t much of a consideration.

Galvanic Discharge can always kill three-toughness creatures just like Lightning Bolt, but it also works exceptionally well in multiples. For instance, if you kill a mana dork or some other small creature, you get to store energy for later. Then, any future Galvanic Discharges can hit more burly threats, which can be quite important in matchups like Golgari Yawgmoth.

Solitude is excellent here. It can serve as a free answer to opposing threats of any size but has the added bonus of being a great five-drop to hard cast. Beyond just creature removal, this deck makes use of a full four copies of Blood Moon in the maindeck. Blood Moon works overtime against Amulet Titan and Tron strategies, while simultaneously blanking Urza’s Saga. Playing Blood Moon on turn two after connecting with Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer can singlehandedly win games.

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Closing Games Quickly

Phlage, Titan of Fire's Fury

Before the banning of Fury, mono-red Obosh decks would put up solid performances here and there. Even with Fury, though, the deck never broke out into the top echelon of Modern archetypes. A huge issue the deck had was actually closing games in a reasonable time frame. With so much disruption present, sticking a win condition wasn’t always easy. This gave Boros Burn and various combo decks tons of time to assemble a kill.

While this is still a natural weakness to red midrange decks in general, the addition of Phlage, Titan of Fire’s Fury helps shore things up to a certain extent. Phlage simply does everything you want. Playing it for three mana is completely reasonable, and the life cushion it provides is essential against Burn and Prowess. You can also discard it to Fable of the Mirror-Breaker or Seasoned Pyromancer to bypass this transaction.

Enabling Phlage is simple with Fetchlands and Surveil Lands at the ready. Once you manage to Escape Phlage, the Giant threatens to close things out in short order. Its triggered ability works exceptionally well with Obosh, potentially giving you the opportunity to burn the opponent out without even entering combat. If you draw multiple copies of the legend, you can always pitch one to Solitude. Phlage may not be quite the menace that Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath was, but it’s an elite versatile finisher that provides a big incentive for adding white to the traditional red Obosh shell.

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Strengths and Weaknesses

Grief

It’s clearly still early on in MH3 Modern, so the metagame is bound to keep shifting. As things currently stand, though, this deck has a lot going for it. The deck’s vast number of efficient removal spells gives you a big edge against aggressive decks like Prowess and helps prevent an early Grief from taking over.

Between Seasoned Pyromancer, Fable, and Phlage, you can easily out-grind Izzet Murktide or Rakdos Scam. Solitude can then make sure you don’t get punked by the big haymakers like Murktide Regent and Sheoldred, the Apocalypse.

The Blood Moon package, combined with Magus of the Moon out of the sideboard, gives you a fighting chance against big mana decks that would otherwise be rather problematic. Where this deck can start to run into issues, however, is against fast combo decks that don’t play to the board. Living End, for instance, attacks on a unique axis that this deck is not prepared to defend.

Similarly, the surging mono-red Storm deck seems like a nightmare matchup. The deck is essentially immune to Blood Moon and wins at blazing speed. Sure, you play removal for Ral, Monsoon Mage, but you have almost no ways to get Ruby Medallion off the table. Without a fast Ragavan start, it’s incredibly difficult to race Dimir Mill, too. Not to mention, Phlage is not a reliable win condition at all in the face of Surgical Extraction and the like.

In this sense, Boros midrange is far from unbeatable. Still, against decks where you’re interaction lines up in a favorable manner, you’re in for a good time. Phlage made a variety of matchups like Burn and Rakdos Scam much stronger, which is a big deal. This deck’s strong performance cannot be denied, so expect to see more players revealing Obosh at the start of games in the near future.

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