Wilds of Eldraine cards have now been out for a little while, and it’s clear that a lot of them are quite powerful. Questing Druid is revolutionizing archetypes across multiple formats, while Beseech the Mirror is opening the door for innovative combo decks to arise in Legacy. While cards like these are certainly at the forefront of discussion about the best cards in the set, we are continuing to see innovation in various formats with cards that have flown under players’ radars.
One particular archetype in Standard had a breakout performance in Saturday’s Magic Online Standard Challenge. The deck takes a theme from a successful Pioneer deck and added a few new cards to help make the deck more consistent and explosive. The Pioneer deck is none other than Boros Convoke, one of the fastest decks around in the whole format.
So, what’s been holding this deck back in Standard? To understand why this archetype is finally getting some recognition in Standard, it’s important to break down the similarities and differences between the Standard and Pioneer versions.
Overall, the goal of both the Standard and Pioneer versions of Boros Convoke is to create a wide board as fast as possible. This helps enable two things. First, it enables you to attack for a bunch of damage very quickly, especially in conjunction with ways to buff your squad. Second, going wide helps you cast Knight-Errant of Eos on the cheap. Knight-Errant of Eos is a very strong Convoke payoff. As a 4/4 body itself, it rumbles well in combat. Additionally, you get to look at the top six cards of your library and put up to two Creatures from among them into your hand, so long as their mana value is less than or equal to the number of Creatures that helped with Convoke.
The absolute best way to help generate a wide board of Creatures on the cheap in both Standard and Pioneer is by casting Gleeful Demolition. For one mana, you get three 1/1 Creature tokens, which is a great deal. The key is having an expendable Artifact lying around. Thanks to cards like Voldaren Epicure, creating an Artifact while not deviating from the deck’s main gameplan is not as tough as you might think.
Beyond Gleeful Demolition, cards like Resolute Reinforcements that make tokens on the cheap go a long way in helping this style of deck achieve success. The biggest downside of going from the Pioneer version to the Standard version of the archetype is simply lack of redundancy. In addition to Knight-Errant of Eos, Pioneer Boros Convoke gets to play Venerated Loxodon, which is not Standard legal. Getting to play a total of eight Convoke Creatures instead of four makes the Pioneer version more consistent. Luckily, though, some Wilds of Eldraine cards have come in to help give the Standard deck an extra boost.
Filling in the Gaps
The biggest reason why Boros Convoke wasn’t very successful before the introduction of Wilds of Eldraine is that there were simply too many gaps to fill. Gleeful Demolition wasn’t reliable enough. Without Loxodon, neither was the Convoke gameplan, and without Reckless Bushwhacker, the deck lacked overall explosiveness. All of these traits helped make Boros Convoke in Pioneer relatively successful. While Loxodon and Bushwhacker are still out of the equation since they are not Standard legal, there are some reasonable replacements.
Besides Voldaren Epicure, this deck plays two other Creatures that help enable Gleeful Demolition. The first is Yotian Frontliner, which, much like Ornithopter in Pioneer, is both an Artifact and a Creature to help with Convoke. It can also pump other Creatures to get more damage in, which is a nice bonus. The second card, though, is a new Wilds of Eldraine addition: Charming Scoundrel. Charming Scoundrel is a nice versatile card that helps in multiple situations. When it enters the battlefield, you can make a Treasure token. This clearly helps with Gleeful Demolition, but it also helps with casting Virtue of Loyalty, which can provide a continuous buff to your whole team.
In addition, you can simply choose to create a Wicked Role attached to a Creature you control and start getting damage in. Without Loxodon, this deck is reliant on being somewhat fast. That’s where the next big addition to the deck comes in. Filling in for Reckless Bushwhacker, we have Imodane’s Recruiter. Imodane’s Recruiter may not have Surge, but it still helps create a ton of extra damage out of nowhere, something the Standard version was lacking. In conjunction with Raging Battle Mouse, another new addition that can pump your Creatures and make your second spell each turn cost less mana, it’s easy to cast a Creature, follow it up with the Recruiter, and bash for a ton of damage.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The quick bursts of damage this deck can create is definitely the deck’s biggest strength. Having cards like Gleeful Demolition that create multiple bodies in one card also help a lot against single-target removal like Go for the Throat. Both Knight-Errant of Eos and Virtue of Loyalty give this deck a solid chance against Midrange decks and in games where the board stalls out. Combine this with the deck’s ability to easily race slower decks like five-color “Cascade” and it’s easy to see why this deck had a strong showing.
That being said, there are some notable weaknesses this deck has as well. While single-target removal isn’t ideal against this deck, board wipes can be quite strong. Cards like Temporary Lockdown are difficult to race and can clean up a lot of your board at once. This deck is also so Creature-focused that it doesn’t have much room for removal, so cards like Sheoldred, the Apocalypse can be quite effective at halting your attacks.
What’s nice about this deck, though, is that racing Sheoldred by simply going wide and attacking is not out of the question. Imodane’s Recruiter also gives the deck some game against board wipes. Casting Gleeful Demolition and Recruiter on the same turn can certainly come up, and this adds a ton of damage out of nowhere. Being able to punish the slower decks of the format is a big plus, so if you’re sick of losing to Bramble Familiar decks, consider giving this deck a whirl.