Gisela, Blade of Goldnight

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

Gisela, Blade of Goldnight

From Unwavering Focus Comes Victory
Gisela, Blade of Goldnight
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Introduction
Red/White has typically been the "joke" color pairing in the format. While this is far from the truth, especially with more recent releases, there is some merit to this pair being one of the weaker ones that can be built. It lacks ramp from Green, removal from Black, and stack interaction and (most importantly) card draw from Blue.

But, that doesn't mean the colors can't be fun to play nor does it mean that a deck can't be built to compete. White is known for having all the answers while having a tough time drawing into them. Red complements this by giving some card draw to make the colors a little more consistent. Red also offers removal in the form of damage based spells which Gisela interacts very nicely with.

Both colors give is efficient creatures and good utility creatures and the creature suite can be tweaked depending on one's meta. Gisela in particular offers us an end game with the rest of our cards. She obviously isn't going to be fast (though we can make her faster) since she is 7 mana, but there are quite a few things she can do once she lands in order to close out games.

This deck does border on the "casual" side of things by virtue of the color pair, and because Gisela is definitely not the most efficient general. But, the card selection shows that she is built with competitiveness in mind. There are also a few combos that can be employed to end games a bit easier.
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Deck History

This deck started off as a "Valentine's Day" theme deck for a store I used to frequent. They would have leagues where you could get points based on a number of different factors and, for a few weeks, playing with a Red & White deck would net a couple extra points.

At the time, I narrowed my choices down to Aurelia, the Warleader and Gisela. I went with Gisela based mostly on the fact that my cousin, who was playing in the same league, already had an Aurelia deck.

The deck started off by going pretty deep in the damage spell. Lightning Bolt, Incinerate, and other direct damage spells were in abundance to start with. And then I played a few games and realized that even with Gisela, these were not good enough. And without Gisela on the board, a one-shot for 3 damage is too little.

So, I scaled back the direct damage spells and started trying to make the deck more efficient. I included small, but powerful creatures, as much ramp as I felt I could fit, a few removal spells and other answers, and, finally, an equipment sub-package to close out games more quickly. There are also a few top end creatures to go big with towards the end of the game. This approach was like night and day compared to my initial idea of "just make burn spells better".

Since then, the overall theme of the deck hasn't changed by a lot even if the card selections have changed. In certain cases, the top end creatures have changed as Wizards has printed better and better cards, and the answers have moved into trying to be a bit more general than just going after specific card types.

I have built over 100 decks in my time playing EDH (not as much as some, I know) and I often take apart decks that just aren't fun or aren't doing well. The fact that Gisela has lasted 3 years is a testament to her staying power.
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Analysis

Why You Should Play this Deck
  • You enjoy aggressive decks
  • You want to prove RW decks can be successful without MLD
  • You want games to end quickly
Why You Shouldn't Play this Deck
  • You don't like focusing on a single player
  • You want to play your commander as early as possible
  • You want games to grind out for a while
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Strengths

The deck's core strength is its speed. That is, it has the ability to get a powerful board presence in the early games which allows for some very quick starts. In certain cases, this could mean a player is eliminated before they ever really get to do anything.

Another strength is that, with the white cards, there are a lot of answers to a lot of situations. White has traditionally been known as the color with all the answers and that shows here. Everyone's meta is different so the card choices can be tweaked to function better in one's own meta.

The deck is able to close out games even if they do go long. While we want our games to end quickly, before players can really establish their board or clear ours, we have the ability to stay relevant in the long game. Gisela and a couple swords can one-shot players on an otherwise empty board. With the red cards we have, as well as a few artifacts, we can also work to keep our hand full for the inevitable long game.

And, finally, Gisela offers us the ability to go aggressive against players even if they have an established board state while not having to fear as much from being attacked back. Since she inherently offers a "half-fog" effect we can effectively go shields down while still not necessarily dying to someone else's board.
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Weaknesses

Board wipes, that hit creatures and artifacts, can be devastating. White has a number of cards that can included if this is a common occurrence but they still generally only work "right that instant" which means that if we have committed a lot to the board and it goes away, we can be in trouble. We do have a number of answers for stopping our board from being destroyed, but it will still happen.

On that note, one of the biggest weaknesses in RW decks in general is the lack of card draw. We have a fair amount of card advantage with sweepers and tutors and the like, but lacking significant card draw means that if we have committed to the board and it all goes away, we won't often have the cards necessary to rebuild. Luckily, we have some red cards to get us out of these situations but there is a non-zero chance that once our board goes away, we will be out of the game for a while.

Counter magic is another big weakness. We don't have any real way to stop things from being countered in the same way we can stop our stuff from being destroyed. If we end up against a dedicated control deck with a plethora of counter spells, we will either need to slow down to try to find the right instance to cast things or just spam spells and hope something resolves. Neither is inherently right or wrong but counter magic can slow us way down.

Finally, the deck really can't "spread the love around". That is, most games often see us attacking one player over and over again. It is common in EDH to not want to kill a player too quickly in games because it "feels bad" but we don't really have the luxury of that. If we try to do that, we will run out of steam fairly quickly. So, we need to pick a player to go after and try to keep going after them until they are out of the game. And then do the same with the next player.

Note that the biggest threats will often change in a game so this can't be followed blindly. Either you need to change course or hold back, but a casual "attack you, you, and you" won't really cut it here. Our creatures often need to all go after the same player each combat.
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Alternate Generals
  • Aurelia, the Warleader - Probably one of the more obvious generals. She works exceedingly well with many creatures on the board and can work to close out games quickly due to the extra combat and coming down a turn earlier. She could probably be a straight swap as the general of this deck with very few cards needed to be changed.
  • Gerrard, Weatherlight Hero - Perhaps one of the better new Boros generals. Since we are relatively deep on equipment, a general that can save all our equipment and the creatures they were attached to if they all go to the graveyard at the same time can be enticing.
  • Tiana, Ship's Caretaker - Tiana plays in the same space but allows for cards to be returned when the card goes to the graveyard without Tiana also having to die. The choice between her and Gerrard likely come down to meta differences and playstyle preferences but both have their merits.
  • Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale - This still plays into the equipment package that Gisela has but limits it to Knights. It could be a fun deck and gives access to black as well.
  • Feather, the Redeemed - She plays in a far different space than any other options but allows for a far more aggressive build. I think there are a fair number of similarities between the playstyles of her and Gisela but swapping out most of the equipment here for instants and sorceries could be the right call.
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Current Decklist

Planeswalkers (2)


1 Chandra Ablaze
1 Chandra, Flamecaller

Enchantments (1)


1 Pyrohemia
Approximate Total Cost:

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Card Choices
Enchantments
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Enchantments

Planeswalkers
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Important Cards
  • Stoneforge Mystic - This deck runs a lot of equipment and runs them for different purposes. Being able to tutor for the right one at the right time can be instrumental in turning a game around. And then, being able to cheat it in next turn for cheaper can also be helpful
  • Iroas, God of Victory - We are, by and large, an aggressive deck. We may not be trying to go super fast with small creatures or try to swarm, but we still want to be able to attack as often, and with as much as possible. Iroas does double duty here. First, he gives all of our creatures Menace to make them harder to block and hopefully ensure at least some get through for damage. And second, he prevents all damage that would be done to attacking creatures which just makes sure they all stay alive even if they are blocked.

    Our opponents may be able to swing back at us without worrying about us blocking if we swing with everything, but Iroas allows us to go on the offensive turn after turn.
  • Serra Ascendant - Ascendant is, for the most part, just a super efficient beater. But being able to land him turn 1 and start swining out can easily start to cut down a player's life total and gain us some life. This is generally an "answer now or lose the game" card.
  • Swords - These are where a lot of our power comes from. From drawing cards, to gaining life, to ramping and untapping lands, the Swords will see an appearance every game and will work to progress the game in our favor.
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Notable Omissions
  • Repercussion - This card seems good on the surface but it just either tended to kill me if I didn't have Gisela on the board which is a somewhat common board state.
  • Smothering Tithe - This card tends to come up quite often in terms of decks like this but I find that the deck performs better if we just focus on slamming threats as often as we can so taking a turn off isn't necessarily where we want to be even if it makes subsequent turns more explosive.
  • Helm of the Host - This combos pretty well with a couple cards in the deck but it is 9 mana total and really isn't a playstyle I enjoy. It can make for some easier wins though.
  • Fireshrieker - There are so many equipment that could make it in a deck like this but I want to call out the exclusion of this one specifically just because it makes Gisela swing for 20 on its own. While this won't kill someone with Commander Damage (though it is really close) it is still half their starting life total. I feel that the other equipment I have work better for the way I want the deck to play but you could do much worse if you want to include this one. And it can be a good budget option.
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Budget Alternatives
  • Mana Crypt - There isn't a great alternative for this beyond Sol Ring which is already in the deck. Perhaps Worn Powerstone or Arcane Signet are decent options. We still need the ramp since our general is 7 mana and we want to be doing as much as we can, as fast as we can.
  • Plateau - Any land that produces both our colors is fine here as long as it doesn't enter the battlefield tapped (if your budget allows for it). If not, any tap land is fine too but just realize that we can't afford to be slowed down too much and the deck already runs a few "ETB tapped" lands as it is.
  • Wheel of Fortune - We want our red to allow for our card draw and, while this also allows our opponents to draw, sometimes it is necessary. Not everyone feels that way so cutting this for a one-sided draw effect could be reasonable or just put one of the higher CMC wheels in its place.
  • Stoneforge Mystic - Stoneforge is one of our more important cards due to being able to get us our equipment when we need it. Steelshaper's Gift is a reasonable budget option even if we do lose the ability to cheat in an equipment. It won't be as good, but can still be decent.
  • Imperial Recruiter - There really isn't a good substitute for this beyond Recruiter of the Guard and that is already in the deck. If this is outside the budget, I would just suggest not trying to replace the effect and find a cheap, efficient beater to slot in instead to help with the overall game plan.
  • Enlightened Tutor - Another card without a good replacement. You can try for Gamble but that really isn't where we want to be. Adding more card draw, if you can, might be the way to go here.
  • Swords - As mentioned, the Swords are some of our most important cards due to the effects they give us. You can go with some of the cheaper swords or try to find other equipment to replace them with, but you likely won't have the same degree of success without the Swords helping out.
  • Ancient Tomb - Nothing really comes close to this in land form, so just add in a normal basic (or whatever land you want) to replace this if it is outside of budget. It helps a lot but isn't so important that you need to find something to replicate the effect.
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Starting Hands
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Potential Combos

Note that I don't like playing infinite combos in my decks so these are not necessarily in the list above (with one exception). However, different people have different takes on combo and everyone's meta is different so here are a few combos that can be utilized to bring a game to an abrupt end.
  • Zealous Conscripts & Kiki-Jiki, Mirror-Breaker - This is an old standby. You tap Kiki to copy Conscripts and then Conscripts enters targeting Kiki. This untaps Kiki so you can do it again. As many times as you would like. When you feel you have enough tokens, you swing out at everyone.

    Resoration Angel can be slotted in instead of (or, in addition to) Conscripts, but if you just want one of them, I think I like Conscripts better here for the use outside the combo. We don't have a lot of ETB effects but depending on your feelings on the ones we do have, Angel might be fine. It also fits the curve better.
  • Helm of the Host - We have two cards in the deck that combo with Helm: Aurelia, the Warleader and Godo, Bandit Warlord. In both cases, we get infinite combat phases and we don't even need to swing with the original which means there isn't a risk of our combo piece just dying in combat.
  • Heartless Hidetsugu - This is the one combo piece that is actually in the deck and is here mostly because it just works really well with Gisela. Since it just wins the game on the spot (if everyone is at an even life total) it definitely goes against my normal decision not to include "instant win" cards like this. But, I think this is a deck where it really shines so it makes the cut.
Credit & Thanks
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Last edited by WizardMN 3 months ago, edited 14 times in total.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I played this deck the other night and I won with it. I was playing against Anje Falkenrath and Prossh, Skyraider of Kher.

The only thing that really came up of note in the game is Anje attempted to go infinite with Worldgorger Dragon and Prossh killed it causing all their permanents to be exiled. They scooped.

Otherwise, I ended up with all 4 of my Swords on the field but never really had more than one creature. I fought through a little disruption to get something to stick (and being able to get the relevant sword equipped was helpful) and I won the game off the back of Sword of Feast and Famine.

I haven't done much with Modern Horizons but I do think I want to add Sword of Sinew and Steel to the deck. I thought about Sword of Truth and Justice but I don't know that it is needed. Proliferate doesn't do a lot so it really just means I end up putting 2 counters on a creature. And I don't think that is all that good in this deck.

I am not sure what I would want to cut to make room for the Sword though. my thoughts are Angel of Jubilation, Avatar of Fury, or maybe either Chandra. Avatar of Fury seems the worst of the bunch since it is "just" a big flyer.

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Post by Rorseph » 1 year ago

WizardMN wrote:
1 year ago
I am not sure what I would want to cut to make room for the Sword though. my thoughts are Angel of Jubilation, Avatar of Fury, or maybe either Chandra. Avatar of Fury seems the worst of the bunch since it is "just" a big flyer.
I would definitely cut Avatar of Fury. It's more or less a French Vanilla critter.
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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I added in Sword of Sinew and Steel and cut Avatar of Fury. Based on the last comments, I feel this is the best option for making room for this Sword and I definitely wanted to make room for it.

I didn't really see anything in ELD that stood out to me as something I wanted to include so I won't be making any changes for that right now.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I got to play this deck last night and it worked out pretty well. I was playing against Gaddock Teeg. Chulane, Teller of Tales, and Xantcha, Sleeper Agent. Worth noting that this store uses a mulligan/draw rule of draw 10, shuffle 3 back in. I think it is dumb so I didn't participate but everyone else did.

Chulane was playing an infinite combo with Shrieking Drake and Overburden. Which will be important later.

I started off with Grand Abolisher, Knight of the White Orchid to ramp, and Leonin Warleader for some beats. I mostly went after Chulane to start with but spread it around a little. I got down an Iroas to help with attacking and a Sword of Feast and Famine that only hit once before Xantcha blew it up.

However, Chulane tried to combo off with the above mentioned combo. Luckily, Xantcha had a Bedevil to stop it. After this, I swung out everything I had at Chulane. They seemed pretty salty about it (and even mentioned that they waited a turn to go off) but anyone who is trying to end the game on turn 5 or 6 with an infinite combo doesn't really get to complain about being targeted so as to stop the next combo.

Anyway, once Chulane was gone, I went after Gaddock Teeg. Mostly since they were open so I could ensure I would hit and gained life with the Warleader tokens and Iroas who had a Basilisk Collar attached. Xantcha had cast Xantcha and gave her to me so I had attacked Teeg with that too. They had a False Prophet at the time but I had just enough to kill them even though they could block with it so they trigger never went onto the stack and nothing happened.

I drew 4 cards with Xantcha which was nice. It arguably didn't do anything since I had a good enough board state to just swing out at them and kill them in 2 turns. I never cast Gisela during this game and the game ended around turn 10 or 11 I think. Which is still pretty fast for this deck to take out 3 people.

I made the swap for Sword of Sinew and Steel and had it in hand at one point. I never cast it though since I didn't need to but I know I definitely preferred the Sword there over the Avatar so I think the one showing so far is enough to show the Avatar isn't needed.

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Post by WizardMN » 8 months ago

I finally got to play this deck again last night. I chose it because we only had an hour left before the store closed and I wanted to make sure the game would end in time. And, it definitely did :)

I played against Ramos, Dragon Engine, Anje Falkenrath, and Gargos, Vicious Watcher (I am not sure on the last one but I think that is what they played).

I started the game off quick. Mana Crypt and Land into Recruiter of the Guard. This got me Serra Ascendant. Next turn, I cast Ascendant and Sword of Light and Shadow. I hit with the Ascendant twice at Anje since the other two were still building. Anje wasn't doing much better but this deck can't really spread damage around so I focused on one player.

Ramos ended up blowing up all artifacts and enchantments so that slowed me down, and Serra Ascendant was destroyed as well. But I got down Gisela the next turn and was able to hit Anje with her for 10 the following turn. I also cast Purphoros, God of the Forge so each creature entering made each opponent take 4 damage.

Ramos again saved the table with Austere Command this time. I let Gisela go to the graveyard. A couple turns later I had Urabrask, the Hidden into Karmic Guide to get me Gisela back. I gave her double strike with Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion and suited her up with something to swing into Gargos for 28 commander damage in one swing.

From here, I was able to take out Anje and then I got really close to losing with Ramos trying to do stuff, but I was able to win in the end. All in all, it took about 20 minutes to play the game. It was super quick.

Nothing much to say about the deck here. Though, I really want to get rid of Kumano for something since I got him down at one point and, while he did a bit of work attacking, I never even thought to activate his ability. There is likely something better than can be in that slot.

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Post by WizardMN » 8 months ago

I played a game with this last night that went pretty fast and I got kind of blown out. I started off with a Relic Seeker to get me a Sword of the Animist to help me ramp. I then got down a Godo, Bandit Warlord to get me a Sunforger since the Rakdos player was really coming after me. I ended up attaching a Sword of Feast and Famine to Godo as well so I was able to float some mana and ramp with the two attacks.

The floating mana only really mattered when I had a Mind's Eye and Magus of the Wheel on board when I cracked Magus. I was able to draw 17 cards in that case. But, it still wasn't enough and I am pretty sure I drew Oketra into a bunch of gas and they kind of ran away from the game. The biggest thing that hurt was that a Merciless Eviction was cast exiling my Artifacts and, thus, my entire board (basically). I never really recovered and I lost the game soon after.

This might be an argument for cutting the wheels but I think I really need some other card draw in their place. If I find the time, I might try to find some way of still drawing cards without having to Wheel. Perhaps the Impulsive draw effects red has been getting more recently is something I should look more into. If I do that, I might lean into Smothering Tithe to ensure I get the mana needed to cast the spells that are exiled so I don't just lose access to them.

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Post by WizardMN » 7 months ago

I played two games with this last night and they both went pretty quick (though the second game could have gone quicker).

In the first game, I was playing against Morophon, the Boundless which was Crab tribal and Ramos, Dragon Engine. As a preface, both of these decks are relatively slow and, in the case of the Morophon anyway, somewhat underpowered. I chose Gisela since since is quick and we didn't have time for me to play something like Ephara.

I started of with Recruiter of the Guard on turn 3. I chose to go with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker because of the Hero of Bladehold in my hand. Next turn I cast Hero and then turn 5 I cast Kiki. I copied the hero, swung with the copy and the original. This game me 4 tokens and I swung for a total of 20 at Morophon.

Next turn I did the same except this time I had a Sword of Fire and Ice. I put it onto the copy since the Sword actually prevented me from targeting Hero with Kiki so I didn't want it on the original. I swung for 34 this time, all at Ramos.

And, next turn, I just swung 44 at Morophon (I didn't bother re-equipping the Sword) to end the game. So, turn 8 and I killed both opponents.

The second game went a little different. It was still against Morophon, but Ramos changed to Golos, Tireless Pilgrim. I had Heartless Hidetsugu in hand but chose not to cast it since, if I had and my opponents didn't remove it, I would have won 2 turns later with Gisela on the field (or, really close to winning depending on life totals). Instead, I just cast Duergar Hedge-Mage, Leonin Warleader, Urabrask the Hidden and a couple small creatures.

Golos came down once and I Swords it. I then cast Wheel of Fortune and in their next 10 cards they had 0 lands, so they couldn't recast Golos. This is when I started building the board state above as the only card I discarded was Hidetsugu.

And, I just kept swinging. I got out Gisela and was able to split up the attacks again to get them both down pretty quickly and eventually win from there. At one point, Golos tried to wrath the board but I just cast Boros Charm to save my stuff.

So, these were very quick games though the second game was likely the more competitive of the two (or, would have been if Golos hadn't missed those couple land drops). It still shows the power and speed of the deck which is nice to see.

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Post by WizardMN » 4 months ago

With the full spoiler of Core 2021 and Jumpstart, I have decided to finally post some of my thoughts on new cards. I will separate then by color but Jumpstart and Core 2021 cards will be lumped together.

There are a few cards in these sets worth talking about but not too much stands out as being an autoinclude.

Here is what I can see as being potentials:

White Cards

Angelic Ascension - Another Instant timing removal spell that can be tutored off Sunforger and can be used offensively or defensively. The 4/4 token isn't as big a deal when given to an opponent if Gisela is on the field. Or, it becomes 8 damage if attacking someone else. I think it can be decent and might take the spot of Orim's Thunder if I really want it but I still think Generous Gift is a better card even with the Exile clause so I would lean towards that first.

Basri Ket - I lilke Basri and he plays into the same space as Leonin Warleader and Hero of Bladehold. But, while Gisela is aggressive, the deck isn't really built with "swarm" in mind so every 3 turns to get tokens doesn't seem that great. I want to try him, but he looks underwhelming.

Mangara, the Diplomat - This seems like a decent card for the deck, but I am concerned over it not really triggering often enough to be worth it. On some level, this could mean our opponents are simply playing around it which slows them down but then we still don't get the card we presumably need. I think I am willing to try it just due to the colors of the deck, but I don't really hold out too much hope for him.

Red Cards

Immolating Gyre - This deck has a total of 15 Instants and Sorceries. Which means that, realistically, I am probably looking at 4-8 in the graveyard at any given point in time where I would also want to cast Gyre. The range is a little higher thanks to Sunforger. But, even at 8, it still isn't good enough even if it does only hit my opponent's stuff. Gisela already protects my stuff from a few damage based wraths and I don't think I want to be casting something at 6 mana that might not destroy everything.

Zurzoth, Chaos Rider - This is interesting. It is symmetrical draw which is bad and is random discard which can be good or bad depending. Making the opponents discard their powerful spell is great; discarding our own isn't. But, it also gives us up to 3 extra tokens per turn which is a higher rate than Leonin Warleader or Hero of Bladehold and we get to deal damage when they die which is nice. I think I am willing to give this a try. 3 mana is a good cost and the deck wants to win as quick as possible anyway so letting our opponents (sort of) loot isn't the worst thing in the world.

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Post by WizardMN » 3 months ago

I have decided to try out the following change:
07/02/20
Approximate Total Cost:

I haven't been super impressed with Kumano as it is. There have been good plays with him but for the most part, if not paired with Basilisk Collar, he has been sort of underwhelming. So, I am going to try out Zurzoth in the interest of being a little more aggressive. I am curious on how this will work out with the random discard, on both sides, but it seems like a worthwhile card for the deck. Especially if Gisela is out.

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Post by RowanKeltizar » 3 months ago

Hello fellow Boros player! :waves:

My biggest concern with your list is that your average non-land cmc is 3.48 and you are only running six sources of mana acceleration. Addressing this should make the deck more consistent. Based on experience, I feel this is super important for an aggro deck, especially for Boros aggro, especially in multiplayer. Gisela costs 7 to play which I think is another reason to go a lot more heavy on ramp. If Gisela gets sent back to your command zone even once, you are then paying 9 mana for her.

Second biggest concern for you is card advantage. I'm only really seeing 3 sources of reliable card draw in the deck and I am worried that that isn't enough. 2 of those sources also give your opponents the same advantage. I hate to say it but Skullclamp is the best draw engine in these colors. Clamping your 1/1 tokens and */1 utility creatures is going to be the most explosive draw available to you. Recently we did get Subira, Tulzidi Caravanner and Winota, Joiner of Forces which if properly built around can be card advantage engines of a similar caliber. I am still experimenting with these two cards however.

All of those engines tend to push the deck toward more of swarm strategy and less high cost heavy hitters. Ultimately, this is pretty efficient if you are also using cards like Purphoros, God of the Forge, and Throne of the God-Pharaoh which both help to scale up your damage in a multiplayer environment. Gisela, Blade of Goldnight actually supports these types of non-creature based damage quite well.

All of these things can be easily tutored for in Boros colors.

Anyhow, I have more specific card suggestions and cuts if you are interested, but If none of this interests you I won't bother. Just thought I'd say my 2 cents. I've been running Boros aggro a pretty long time - nearly as long as izzet.
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Post by WizardMN » 3 months ago

I appreciate the response and breakdown. I would be interested in any other suggestions you may have. I am curious on what else you might think should be here. As for your suggestions above:

As for ramp, I count 7. This isn't much of a difference I realize, but it is still something. As for more ramp, I could see adding in the new(-ish) Talisman for Boros but I haven't gotten around to it because I haven't felt it to be too necessary. I have 5 cards that get me Sword of the Animist and that is my main ramp effect anyway so I can usually get the lands I need with that (or with reanimating Burnished Hart).

Card draw has been a bit of a concern in the deck. Mind's Eye was added because of this and I am using both Chandras as options as well. Beyond these three, I have Reforge the Soul, Magus of the Wheel, and Wheel of Fortune for mass card draw along with Sword of Fire and Ice and (sort of) Combustible Gearhulk. With Gisela out, I usually get cards though it isn't guaranteed.

I am certainly open to adding in my draw options. Subira is one I looked at but my deck only realistically has about 6 creatures that would consistently have 2 or less power and that assumes I put no equipment on them. She works well with tokens of course, so the addition of Zurzoth, Chaos Rider could put me over the edge on her.

Winota has 19 non-human creatures that she works with only 9 Humans in the deck that she can actually get me off of a trigger. I don't think those numbers really support having her in the deck.

Skullclamp is a very good option and is another card that becomes better with the addition of Zurzoth, Chaos Rider as it gives me more tokens. My main concern has been that I don't do mass token creation and very few creatures naturally have a toughness of 1 so it isn't as reliable as I would like. But, as mentioned, Zurzoth, and other token producers, probably makes this a worthwhile include.

As an aside, I have no desire to make this into a swarm strategy. I am willing to have a few creatures that generate tokens but I won't go much further than I have already. I like the big hitters "theme". And Purphoros is already getting enough triggers as it is. There is no such thing as too much of course, but I am satisfied with his performance in the deck currently.

Throne makes more sense in a swarm deck for sure, It sucks it doesn't work with Gisela but my board isn't often that developed where I feel I need the effect either way. I think it isn't something I want to add now.

I am always open to hearing other suggestions or ideas so feel free to share any others you might have. There are cards I don't like in the deck currently (both Chandras stick out to me) and I am all for trying to lower the curve as it is something I have become more cognizant of with most of my decks.

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Post by RowanKeltizar » 3 months ago

Since you don't want to go the swarm route, that means you're going tall with Gisela. That boros deck looks pretty different from the swarm deck, and will be more difficult to build. Any way you slice it, Boros is going to have a hard time keeping up with the other color combinations out there. Without a control or stax suite, you are also a bit handicapped, but I don't blame you. I also subscribe to not including those types of cards.

With that in mind, here are a few things to consider:

Getting Gisela into play and keeping her there should be a number one priority since her abilities are so potent. Not only does she keep you safer, but she's a one sided damage doubler. To that end, here are few cards I would definitely add:

Gilded Lotus - one of the best ramp pieces for a deck like this that wants to jump into huge threats. Lotus essentially refunds 3 mana when it enters the battlefield. I run it in nearly all my decks.

Coalition Relic - an a ramp piece costing 3 that can sort of tap for 2 colored is pretty good.

Thran Dynamo - Gisela having a large colorless component means this will always be useful in getting her into play, also refunds some of the mana used to cast it.

Talisman of Conviction, Arcane Signet - both cards that I feel are auto-includes.

Smothering Tithe - I think you should reconsider this card, especially since you are choosing to be higher on your mana curve. Notably, it is under Gisela in your curve. Casting this on turn 4 means you will be able to play Gisela on turn 5. My experience with it has been very positive.

Treasonous Ogre - this card often gets overlooked but I think it should be considered, especially since its not too difficult to give Gisela lifelink

Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion, Neheb, the Eternal - I would consider running both Nehebs in the deck as both a source of mana but also some card advantage.

To protect Gisela: She will always be the target of a lot of hate.

Flawless Maneuver , Teferi's Protection - these are now the most premium cards in this category. There are several other good options though. You are already running Boros Charm, but you might consider Unbreakable Formation, Rootborn Defenses, or Deflecting Swat.

You could also try cards like Eerie Interlude to evade removal.

Enhancing damage with Gisela and other creatures. Double Strike is going to be very nice for any of your creatures, especially with all the swords that you have. Consider the following:

Duelist's Heritage, Blood Mist, True Conviction, Embercleave - to my mind these are all the best ways to grant double strike.

Chandra's Ignition - can be absolutely devastating with Gisela! especially if you aren't trying to go wide with her

Incidentally, I would run Shadowspear over Basilisk Collar for the addition of trample.

Focus your strategy even more. Even though cards like Hero of Bladehold, Leonin Warleader are fantastic cards, as you've stated you aren't trying to go the swarm route with Gisela. These cards don't really synergize that well with the rest of your chosen strategy IMO. Pretty much, I would suggest going wide or going tall and not too much hybrid stuff.

Academy Rector - she can be a pretty effective way to cheat some hard hitting enchantments into play such as True Convictionor Sunbird's Invocation.

Increase card advantage.

Browbeat, Risk Factor - oddly enough, this is the only deck where these cards might actually be worth it. Worth trying out in your meta.

Cathartic Reunion, Thrill of Possibility - I would actually run these over Wheel of Fortune and Reforge the Soul in this deck simply because I don't think giving your opponents new hands is ever a good idea in an aggro deck, especially when they are likely to get use out of those new cards before you do.

Mangara, the Diplomat - I haven't had too much experience with this card yet, but whenever I see card draw on a white or red card, I'm interested.

Sunbird's Invocation - This card is better in a green deck that can really ramp up to it, but we do have the possibility of cheating it out with Academy Rector. Failing that, good ole artifact ramp can do it. This works well in a deck with high cost spells.

Knollspine Dragon - I think this is worth running simply because you are have the potential to deal so much damage.

Land Tax + Tectonic Reformation can be a decent draw engine in these colors.

Etali, Primal Storm - is a great beatstick that provides pretty incredible card advantage to our color combination. He obviously works well with multiple attack phases.

Magmaquake, Tragic Arrogance and Divine Reckoning all allow you to wrath the board while keeping Gisela in play.

You are missing Arid Mesa, Sunbaked Canyon, Cavern of Souls, Prismatic Vista, and Fabled Passage - I figure since you are sporting a Plateau, these other cards should be listed.

Here's a quick list I put together.
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Post by WizardMN » 3 months ago

RowanKeltizar wrote:
3 months ago
Getting Gisela into play and keeping her there should be a number one priority since her abilities are so potent. Not only does she keep you safer, but she's a one sided damage doubler. To that end, here are few cards I would definitely add:
To be fair, I disagree with the thesis of your post. She is important for sure, but the rest of the deck is built with the idea that she won't always be available. I obviously want her out, but I am not too concerned about spending resources to save her or making her cheaper to cast. I want to call this out since it represents a fundamental difference in ideas and influences my responses.
Gilded Lotus - one of the best ramp pieces for a deck like this that wants to jump into huge threats. Lotus essentially refunds 3 mana when it enters the battlefield. I run it in nearly all my decks.
5 mana is a lot. I am still expecting to be fairly aggressive with this deck with getting equipment on board and equipping them (which takes 5 mana). It is tough to lean into taking a turn off to cast this, even if it does refund 3 mana right away. If I have 5 mana, I want to be doing 5 mana things, not 3 mana things. I realize it gives me 8-9 mana the next turn but I am already running a ton of artifacts. Rolling mana production into an expensive artifact seems risky for when the board eventually is wrathed.
Coalition Relic - an a ramp piece costing 3 that can sort of tap for 2 colored is pretty good.
I can sort of get behind this one but 3 mana would be the top of what I would want to entertain.
Thran Dynamo - Gisela having a large colorless component means this will always be useful in getting her into play, also refunds some of the mana used to cast it.
This one doesn't even give me mana back the turn I cast it (well, it does, but not colored which makes it far less useful). Still has the same issue as Lotus and isn't something I feel is worth it or needed.
Talisman of Conviction, Arcane Signet - both cards that I feel are auto-includes.
I mentioned above that adding the Talisman should probably be something I should do. I would be more on board with Signet if it came in foil :)
Smothering Tithe - I think you should reconsider this card, especially since you are choosing to be higher on your mana curve. Notably, it is under Gisela in your curve. Casting this on turn 4 means you will be able to play Gisela on turn 5. My experience with it has been very positive.
This goes back to my mindset of Gisela not really being the goal. She is a top end, something that happens when things come together, but I plan on doing a lot more to commit to the board before her. If I have used my turn 4 for this and my turn 5 for Gisela, I have less to use to work with Gisela's ability.
Treasonous Ogre - this card often gets overlooked but I think it should be considered, especially since its not too difficult to give Gisela lifelink

Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion, Neheb, the Eternal - I would consider running both Nehebs in the deck as both a source of mana but also some card advantage.
Of these, I like Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion as a real option. Card "draw" and mana production is pretty good. I should really pick one up and see if I can find a spot for it. The rest aren't ones I am too interested in trying to slot in.

With all of that being said, I generally view Gisela as something that makes other things better which means I am not really looking to ramp *her* out. I don't care as much about getting her out early as I would rather focus on developing my board and then making everything scarier by casting her later. Trying to ramp into her just makes her vulnerable to hate and then I don't really have much of a board beyond her.
To protect Gisela: She will always be the target of a lot of hate.

Flawless Maneuver , Teferi's Protection - these are now the most premium cards in this category. There are several other good options though. You are already running Boros Charm, but you might consider Unbreakable Formation, Rootborn Defenses, or Deflecting Swat.
I keep telling myself I should add Teferi's Protection to this list because it does a lot. I could get on board with Unbreakable Formation as well. But, probably not much else.
Enhancing damage with Gisela and other creatures. Double Strike is going to be very nice for any of your creatures, especially with all the swords that you have. Consider the following:

Duelist's Heritage, Blood Mist, True Conviction, Embercleave - to my mind these are all the best ways to grant double strike.
The main issue with 3 of those cards is that they target or attach. Which means any protection Gisela (or any creature) has stops them from working right. Since my second favorite Sword is generally Sword of Fire and Ice, Blood Mist and Embercleave are less useful. It is the main reason I haven't added Embercleave yet.

This isn't to say that is the end of the conversation. Embercleave providing Trample and being able to be cast at Instant Timing is still really good and I should likely try to slot it in.

True Conviction being 6 mana means it is a no go for me.
Incidentally, I would run Shadowspear over Basilisk Collar for the addition of trample.
This is a fair point. Collar was here because of Lifelink mostly but the Deathtouch was nice with Kumano. Since Kumano is gone, Deathtouch becomes a little less relevant (though, it is really nice with Trample). This is probably an easy swap.
Focus your strategy even more. Even though cards like Hero of Bladehold, Leonin Warleader are fantastic cards, as you've stated you aren't trying to go the swarm route with Gisela. These cards don't really synergize that well with the rest of your chosen strategy IMO. Pretty much, I would suggest going wide or going tall and not too much hybrid stuff.
I am not sure I want to change these out. I like their ability to get in early damage while waiting for the big hitters to drop. I am not opposed to amassing an army, but I like these because they offer ways to build an army for fairly cheap. Though, I am curious what you think my chosen strategy is? And I don't mean this to be flippant; I am genuinely curious since I have never really thought about this deck as having much of a strategy in the conventional sense. I just want creatures to hit hard, preferably with equipment attached, and just keep attacking and attacking while trying to gain any advantage I can while doing so. That is likely why the list seems a little disjointed.
Academy Rector - she can be a pretty effective way to cheat some hard hitting enchantments into play such as True Convictionor Sunbird's Invocation.
I don't really have a plan to include either of those. 6 mana enchantments are not something I like trying to work into a deck, especially one that really wants to be doing a lot more earlier on.
Browbeat, Risk Factor - oddly enough, this is the only deck where these cards might actually be worth it. Worth trying out in your meta.
I disagree. These are almost never right to be using in Commander. The only way they become a tough decision is if Gisela is out and I would want my card draw to work early or work without her. Deal 4/5 damage to an opponent isn't going to cut it.
Cathartic Reunion, Thrill of Possibility - I would actually run these over Wheel of Fortune and Reforge the Soul in this deck simply because I don't think giving your opponents new hands is ever a good idea in an aggro deck, especially when they are likely to get use out of those new cards before you do.
My main issue with these is that they aren't card advantage. They cost me 2 cards to get two cards. Hopefully those two cards are better than the ones I just threw away, but as a one-shot, I don't think they are worth the slots.

The Wheels are always going to be a risk reward type of thing. They can't just be fired off with no concern about the opponents. I would like to get rid of them but, as this section is going to highlight, card draw is pretty rough for these colors.
Mangara, the Diplomat - I haven't had too much experience with this card yet, but whenever I see card draw on a white or red card, I'm interested.
He is on the edge but ultimately acts more as a Eidolon of Rhetoric than anything else.

I might try it out over one of the Chandras but this goes back to the issue with the Punisher cards above: giving my opponents control over my draws means I am not going to get them when I want.
Sunbird's Invocation - This card is better in a green deck that can really ramp up to it, but we do have the possibility of cheating it out with Academy Rector. Failing that, good ole artifact ramp can do it. This works well in a deck with high cost spells.

Knollspine Dragon - I think this is worth running simply because you are have the potential to deal so much damage.

Land Tax + Tectonic Reformation can be a decent draw engine in these colors.

Etali, Primal Storm - is a great beatstick that provides pretty incredible card advantage to our color combination. He obviously works well with multiple attack phases.

Magmaquake, Tragic Arrogance and Divine Reckoning all allow you to wrath the board while keeping Gisela in play.
I got tired of breaking out everything so I will just cover these all at once:

I mentioned Sunbird's above and isn't something I like for this type of deck.

Dragon is expensive but it can be good. It unfortunately puts me at a higher reliance on ramp though. As you said, my curve is sort of high as it is (3.5 isn't astronomical of course) and I would not make it higher if I can help it.

Because of how aggressive I am for Sword of the Animist I don't expect Land Tax to really do a lot. Combined with Reformation though it does offer a cool synergy.

I don't remember why I avoided Etali but I had a reason when it was released. I think the issue is the fact that it has no evasion, but the effect is really nice. I might want to find a place for it (ignoring the 6 CMC :) ).

Rolling Thunder and Fault Line already do what Magmaquake does and they hit players as well. I would rather go with that over hitting Walkers. Comet Storm works out well too.

Tragic Arrogance is fine if my only thought is saving Gisela but I still lose a lot of Equipment in the process. Divine Reckoning is alright in that I keep my best creature but so does everyone else. While it is mana intensive, I like Pyrohemia a lot here since it can never wrath my board with Gisela out. Spending 7 mana into that deals 14 damage to all creatures and players and none to me or my creatures. And it is repeatable.
You are missing Arid Mesa, Sunbaked Canyon, Cavern of Souls, Prismatic Vista, and Fabled Passage - I figure since you are sporting a Plateau, these other cards should be listed.
None of those are missing. Well, except Sunbaked Canyon I suppose. I definitely should have that here. The fetches though are purposely excluded. I like playing my two color decks without them. And Cavern isn't going to tap for colored mana the majority of the time if I name Angels. I would probably just name Humans with it more often than not so I can cast stuff.

So, with the suggestions above, (at least, the ones I am willing to try out), I am looking at these additions:
And these are what I can think to cut off the top of my head:
As mentioned, I already really don't like the Chandras. They are 6 mana and not very reliable for card draw. Flamecaller is good as a wrath though which means I would probably get rid of Ablaze first. But, this is still a difference of 5 cards (though, I likely wouldn't go too far with the Signet anyway. So, 4 cards). And even that might be tough to get things slotted in.

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Post by RowanKeltizar » 3 months ago

I'm still trying to figure out what Boros aggro looks like in commander. It's an ongoing challenge. Largely, I am engaging in this discussion to try and refine my own Aurelia list, or think about this color combo in different ways. I have no plans to build Gisela, but the decklists do overlap a bit.
To be fair, I disagree with the thesis of your post. She is important for sure, but the rest of the deck is built with the idea that she won't always be available. I obviously want her out, but I am not too concerned about spending resources to save her or making her cheaper to cast. I want to call this out since it represents a fundamental difference in ideas and influences my responses.
I agree that you can't always count on her being available, but I do think it makes sense to try and get the most use out of the card that is always in your command zone. If your commander tends to spend more time in the command zone than the battlefield, I think that is a bit of an issue.

so, therefore, yes... a dedicated voltron strategy with Gisela doesn't make that much sense - mostly because of her mana cost and lack of any kind of built evasion or protection. At least Aurelia has haste. Ironically, this is exactly the conclusion that I came to when first piloting Aurelia. Which is why I decided to go wide with her, i.e token swarm.
With all of that being said, I generally view Gisela as something that makes other things better which means I am not really looking to ramp *her* out. I don't care as much about getting her out early as I would rather focus on developing my board and then making everything scarier by casting her later. Trying to ramp into her just makes her vulnerable to hate and then I don't really have much of a board beyond her.
I agree with you here. I think it's best to view her as a high cost finisher, rather than something to prioritize getting on the field. However, I still don't think that is a good argument for omitting Gilded Lotus or Thran Dynamo, since your mana curve is still high with high cost creatures that you probably do want to see on the field earlier such as Inferno Titan.
This goes back to my mindset of Gisela not really being the goal. She is a top end, something that happens when things come together, but I plan on doing a lot more to commit to the board before her. If I have used my turn 4 for this and my turn 5 for Gisela, I have less to use to work with Gisela's ability.
Lets forget about getting Gisela out early, and instead building your own board position. How does casting Smothering Tithe on turn 4 still not help with that?

I regularly play against competitive green decks that will have like 10 mana available on turn 3. Anything that allows me to compete just a little bit with that is welcome. This is also an effect that punishes opponents for drawing cards, which is again something that white struggles with. "Sure, you can draw 10 cards, but just know that I am going to have 10 mana available to me on my next turn because of it." Your opponents very well might be dead by the time they get to play their ten cards.

Anyhow, this is a card I think you are missing out on, and I highly suggest at least giving it a solid play through before throwing it out as a possibility. More than any other card I've suggested, I think this is a winner for Boros.
The main issue with 3 of those cards is that they target or attach. Which means any protection Gisela (or any creature) has stops them from working right. Since my second favorite Sword is generally Sword of Fire and Ice, Blood Mist and Embercleave are less useful. It is the main reason I haven't added Embercleave yet.

This isn't to say that is the end of the conversation. Embercleave providing Trample and being able to be cast at Instant Timing is still really good and I should likely try to slot it in.

True Conviction being 6 mana means it is a no go for me.
Fair point on the targeting rule! Yes, that is an issue. Sword of Fire and Ice is just so good. I don't actually own one yet, so this isn't an issue for me. How about Berserkers' Onslaught? Only works on attack but might be a little more on curve? Also, have you tried something like Concerted Effort?

I generally agree about True Conviction but maybe 6 mana is good enough for something that can end the game? When I look at the other things in your list that have 6cmc, Combustible Gearhulk sticks out to me as something that has the potential to not be a great investment unless you can seriously abuse it, which I am not seeing that you can. The optional draw seems dubious to me for the same reason that Browbeat does.

Speaking of Browbeat, I was just playing against a mono red goblin deck that was running it. We were in a 5 player game, and NOBODY paid the 5 life. I think the reason being that we didn't perceive his board state as much of a threat and we weren't willing to lose any life we didn't need to lose (lots of aggro decks at the table). He got his 3 cards, and the next turn he somehow swung in for 24 damage! Not saying this a good card by any stretch, but I thought it was an interesting draw spell with a damage doubler on the field. Might make slightly more sense if you had more damage doublers slotted into the maindeck as well.
I am not sure I want to change these out. I like their ability to get in early damage while waiting for the big hitters to drop. I am not opposed to amassing an army, but I like these because they offer ways to build an army for fairly cheap. Though, I am curious what you think my chosen strategy is? And I don't mean this to be flippant; I am genuinely curious since I have never really thought about this deck as having much of a strategy in the conventional sense. I just want creatures to hit hard, preferably with equipment attached, and just keep attacking and attacking while trying to gain any advantage I can while doing so. That is likely why the list seems a little disjointed.
I guess I want to express that I personally feel the more dedicated swarm approach is the more competitive route for Boros aggro for just the reasons you stated. It's fairly efficient and allows you to build fairly impressive damage from just a few cards. Token producers are almost like pseudo card advantage at least in terms of damage. Cards like Hero of Bladehold that generate tokens are really strong IMO and I have largely built my own Boros deck around them. Aurelia gives these token producers 2 triggers per turn.

One of the main reasons I see this as being competitive is that it allows you to utilize some of the better card draw effects possible in these colors. Skullclamp being the main one. With Puresteel Paladin on board and active, that is FREE CARD DRAW or at least at the low cost saccing a 1/1 token for 2 cards. I think Subira, Tulzidi Caravanner and Winota, Joiner of Forces are currently some of the best card advantage engines in Boros colors right now. Winota as a commander of a well tuned deck is something to be reckoned with. IMO, she is probably better than Gisela or Aurelia for the plain reason that she is able to generate so much card advantage right out of the gate. It is a very fast deck and largely focused on the aforementioned token producing cards.
My main issue with these is that they aren't card advantage. They cost me 2 cards to get two cards. Hopefully those two cards are better than the ones I just threw away, but as a one-shot, I don't think they are worth the slots.
I generally agree with you, I personally wouldn't run them either. Faithless Looting is the only card in this category that I run. That and Tectonic Reformation. It's usually better to be drawing cards en-masse if possible.
He is on the edge but ultimately acts more as a Eidolon of Rhetoric than anything else.

I might try it out over one of the Chandras but this goes back to the issue with the Punisher cards above: giving my opponents control over my draws means I am not going to get them when I want.
Mangara could be compared to Rhystic Study and in my experience, a lot of times people will just ignore the effect and let you draw, and if they don't, then be assured that you are slowing them down immensely. Either result is desirable. Anyhow, I have yet to test him out myself, so I won't say more until I do.
Because of how aggressive I am for Sword of the Animist I don't expect Land Tax to really do a lot.
I see your point, however... Land Tax can be a godsend early in the game if you don't find yourself drawing into the lands that you need and without the draw power that other colors have this can indeed be a problem. Sword of the Animist gives you a land drop, but it isn't ramp unless you are also playing a land from your hand. Late game, if you have had enough Land Tax triggers it actually does make a difference in you NOT topdecking lands when you need other things. Ironically, the worst thing about Land Tax is that it is a horribly late game topdeck - unless someone has cast Armageddon, lol That's why I mention Tectonic Reformation as being a possible inclusion. It is a decent late game draw engine.
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Post by WizardMN » 3 months ago

RowanKeltizar wrote:
3 months ago
I agree that you can't always count on her being available, but I do think it makes sense to try and get the most use out of the card that is always in your command zone. If your commander tends to spend more time in the command zone than the battlefield, I think that is a bit of an issue.

so, therefore, yes... a dedicated voltron strategy with Gisela doesn't make that much sense - mostly because of her mana cost and lack of any kind of built evasion or protection. At least Aurelia has haste. Ironically, this is exactly the conclusion that I came to when first piloting Aurelia. Which is why I decided to go wide with her, i.e token swarm.
Why not neither though? I mean, yeah, Voltron with her (as a dedicated strategy) is tough. I have some equipment because I like the playstyle but I haven't gone all in on it. But I don't generally like token swarm decks. Again, I have a few, but haven't gone all in on it. I like elements of both strategies but I don't want the deck to be about either one. I like the balance the deck has between the two.
With all of that being said, I generally view Gisela as something that makes other things better which means I am not really looking to ramp *her* out. I don't care as much about getting her out early as I would rather focus on developing my board and then making everything scarier by casting her later. Trying to ramp into her just makes her vulnerable to hate and then I don't really have much of a board beyond her.
I agree with you here. I think it's best to view her as a high cost finisher, rather than something to prioritize getting on the field. However, I still don't think that is a good argument for omitting Gilded Lotus or Thran Dynamo, since your mana curve is still high with high cost creatures that you probably do want to see on the field earlier such as Inferno Titan.
Sure. I am not opposed to that necessarily. But neither of those really get me my big stuff all that much earlier. I mean, let's say I ramp into Lotus on turn 3 with some other rocks. Turn 4 I cast Titan. Since Lotus already cost me 5 mana, and assuming I hit my land drop for turn 4, I still get the Titan down turn 4 without the Lotus.

Granted, the Lotus now allows my turn 4 to be more explosive (to an extent) by giving me access to 3 mana I wouldn't have otherwise. Same with Dynamo, though it does potentially allow the Titan to come down a turn earlier.

But my concern remains the same. Why not just cast Urabrask instead of Lotus? Or Leonin Warleader or Hero of Bladehold instead of Dynamo? Or, even worse, what if I took that turn off and either gets blown up? I know I can't use the excuse of "but what if it dies" for everything but for a deck like this to take a turn off because I need to spend my resources trying to ramp only to see that ramp go away means I am a turn behind where I want to be and, from what I can tell, have not really gotten too much out of the deal even if those things stick around.

I do have a pretty significant prejudice against rocks that cost more than 2 mana (I can stretch 3 in certain cases as I do for Chromatic Lantern in this deck) so spending 4 and 5 mana "just" for ramp does not appeal to me.
This goes back to my mindset of Gisela not really being the goal. She is a top end, something that happens when things come together, but I plan on doing a lot more to commit to the board before her. If I have used my turn 4 for this and my turn 5 for Gisela, I have less to use to work with Gisela's ability.
Lets forget about getting Gisela out early, and instead building your own board position. How does casting Smothering Tithe on turn 4 still not help with that?

I regularly play against competitive green decks that will have like 10 mana available on turn 3. Anything that allows me to compete just a little bit with that is welcome. This is also an effect that punishes opponents for drawing cards, which is again something that white struggles with. "Sure, you can draw 10 cards, but just know that I am going to have 10 mana available to me on my next turn because of it." Your opponents very well might be dead by the time they get to play their ten cards.

Anyhow, this is a card I think you are missing out on, and I highly suggest at least giving it a solid play through before throwing it out as a possibility. More than any other card I've suggested, I think this is a winner for Boros.
I think Tithe is a good card. I am not going to dispute that. It generally allows going from 4 mana to 8 (3 treasures and next turn's land drop) the turn after it enters. The argument against the two rocks above sort of applies here but there are a couple differences:

The mana is not permanent. Once I use it, it is gone.
The mana isn't guaranteed as players can pay 2 mana so I don't get it.
However, it does accumulate over turns so it isn't like I just stay at 8 mana available (assuming no more land drops for simplicity) like I would with Lotus. I can go from 8 to 11 to 14 and so on. Until I spend some of course. Which then cuts it back down. But I could let it build over a couple turns for a super explosive single turn.
And, in all likelihood, no one is really going to pay the 2 mana anyway. Not often enough to make a real difference.
And, unlike the 4 drop Dynamo, this mana is colored.

I like point 3 above as the most compelling reason to run the card. I still don't like spending turn 4 without committing more damage to the board but the possibility of a larger turn later on is enticing. If it is a card I am willing to try, it is based on this bullet point. I agree it is the best of the ones discussed so far. And I added Mind's Eye because of insistence of another poster; I can certainly add this too.
The main issue with 3 of those cards is that they target or attach. Which means any protection Gisela (or any creature) has stops them from working right. Since my second favorite Sword is generally Sword of Fire and Ice, Blood Mist and Embercleave are less useful. It is the main reason I haven't added Embercleave yet.

This isn't to say that is the end of the conversation. Embercleave providing Trample and being able to be cast at Instant Timing is still really good and I should likely try to slot it in.

True Conviction being 6 mana means it is a no go for me.
Fair point on the targeting rule! Yes, that is an issue. Sword of Fire and Ice is just so good. I don't actually own one yet, so this isn't an issue for me. How about Berserkers' Onslaught? Only works on attack but might be a little more on curve? Also, have you tried something like Concerted Effort?

I generally agree about True Conviction but maybe 6 mana is good enough for something that can end the game?
Again, it is tough to hear that my curve is high and then look at higher CMC cards :) 5 and 6 mana is a lot. I honestly just like utilizing Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion to get more damage in with Gisela (or whoever). I guess that, from my experience, I haven't found the need for giving anything Double Strike since Gisela already sort of does this on her own anyway. I get the idea of wanting to go more aggro but I don't think it is worth it.

True Conviction is the same. 6 mana to end the game is fine. But I don't think I have ever gotten to a point where Double Strike would have been the make or break effect for me winning the game.
When I look at the other things in your list that have 6cmc, Combustible Gearhulk sticks out to me as something that has the potential to not be a great investment unless you can seriously abuse it, which I am not seeing that you can. The optional draw seems dubious to me for the same reason that Browbeat does.

Speaking of Browbeat, I was just playing against a mono red goblin deck that was running it. We were in a 5 player game, and NOBODY paid the 5 life. I think the reason being that we didn't perceive his board state as much of a threat and we weren't willing to lose any life we didn't need to lose (lots of aggro decks at the table). He got his 3 cards, and the next turn he somehow swung in for 24 damage! Not saying this a good card by any stretch, but I thought it was an interesting draw spell with a damage doubler on the field. Might make slightly more sense if you had more damage doublers slotted into the maindeck as well.
First, that just seems like a mistake to me. Unless everyone was at less than 10 life, I think someone should have taken the damage. 5 damage isn't often that much when compared to giving the aggro player more cards.

That is a fair point about Gearhulk though. Gearhulk gets a pass because the damage is unknown and, with Gisela, almost always means no one will risk the damage. And since it targets, I can make sure the person with the lowest life is the only one choosing. Where Browbeat is always 5 (or 10) damage, Gearhulk can be much more. I did win a seemingly unwinnable game because of Gearhulk causing the player to take 20+ damage so I could just fly in for the rest.

So, while it does fit into the "Punisher" style of cards, the ceiling, and risk, is much higher so it is easier to get someone to just give me the cards.

However, being 6 mana and the fact that it isn't guaranteed does suggest that it might not be where I want to be with that slot. It still gives opponents the choice and, honestly, I would have lost the game above if they had let me draw cards (which they should have known to do) so even the "best" play with it was a misplay on the opponent's part. I think there is reason enough to cut it.
I am not sure I want to change these out. I like their ability to get in early damage while waiting for the big hitters to drop. I am not opposed to amassing an army, but I like these because they offer ways to build an army for fairly cheap. Though, I am curious what you think my chosen strategy is? And I don't mean this to be flippant; I am genuinely curious since I have never really thought about this deck as having much of a strategy in the conventional sense. I just want creatures to hit hard, preferably with equipment attached, and just keep attacking and attacking while trying to gain any advantage I can while doing so. That is likely why the list seems a little disjointed.
I guess I want to express that I personally feel the more dedicated swarm approach is the more competitive route for Boros aggro for just the reasons you stated. It's fairly efficient and allows you to build fairly impressive damage from just a few cards. Token producers are almost like pseudo card advantage at least in terms of damage. Cards like Hero of Bladehold that generate tokens are really strong IMO and I have largely built my own Boros deck around them. Aurelia gives these token producers 2 triggers per turn.

One of the main reasons I see this as being competitive is that it allows you to utilize some of the better card draw effects possible in these colors. Skullclamp being the main one. With Puresteel Paladin on board and active, that is FREE CARD DRAW or at least at the low cost saccing a 1/1 token for 2 cards. I think Subira, Tulzidi Caravanner and Winota, Joiner of Forces are currently some of the best card advantage engines in Boros colors right now. Winota as a commander of a well tuned deck is something to be reckoned with. IMO, she is probably better than Gisela or Aurelia for the plain reason that she is able to generate so much card advantage right out of the gate. It is a very fast deck and largely focused on the aforementioned token producing cards.
That might be true but I am not exactly looking for the most competitive Boros deck out there. If I was, I wouldn't be playing Gisela. I still think Gisela is powerful and I have won a lot of games with the list I have now, but trying to tune the deck as "a Boros deck" just takes a lot away from how fun the deck is now. I don't really like swarm so I just choose not to play it. And if I lose games I could have won when trying to swarm, I am fine with that.

And I played against a Winota deck online the other day. It is exceptionally powerful. But slotting her into this deck doesn't make sense as I mentioned before since I would need to considerably change the deck to make her work. And it isn't something I want to do.
He is on the edge but ultimately acts more as a Eidolon of Rhetoric than anything else.

I might try it out over one of the Chandras but this goes back to the issue with the Punisher cards above: giving my opponents control over my draws means I am not going to get them when I want.
Mangara could be compared to Rhystic Study and in my experience, a lot of times people will just ignore the effect and let you draw, and if they don't, then be assured that you are slowing them down immensely. Either result is desirable. Anyhow, I have yet to test him out myself, so I won't say more until I do.
I was basing this assessment on someone else who mentioned it in another thread and they had said it wasn't very good. Perhaps it is still worth trying out since it seems like it should work alright. I think the card has potential, but it also has the potential to just be a dud. I can try to find room (I am running out of room in general though) to give him a fair shake anyway. It is possible to be meta dependent though.
Because of how aggressive I am for Sword of the Animist I don't expect Land Tax to really do a lot.
I see your point, however... Land Tax can be a godsend early in the game if you don't find yourself drawing into the lands that you need and without the draw power that other colors have this can indeed be a problem. Sword of the Animist gives you a land drop, but it isn't ramp unless you are also playing a land from your hand. Late game, if you have had enough Land Tax triggers it actually does make a difference in you NOT topdecking lands when you need other things. Ironically, the worst thing about Land Tax is that it is a horribly late game topdeck - unless someone has cast Armageddon, lol That's why I mention Tectonic Reformation as being a possible inclusion. It is a decent late game draw engine.
Well, I mean Land Tax isn't ramp either. At least Sword has the potential to be whereas Land tax will *always* just be "land for turn". At worst, they are equal (more or less) in terms of getting lands.

I mean, I can get behind the idea of the two cards together. I do have Reformation in Windgrace and I don't like it. But that may be due to being overkill in the deck vs something like this deck where it becomes a draw engine when none really exist.

Perhaps for this reason alone I am more inclined to give it a try. I just have this bad feeling that trying to add in things to make the deck work smoother means I have fewer threats that make the deck work at all. In order to fit all this stuff in the deck, I need to remove something. Either getting rid of the token producers, or the equipment, or the big creatures, or the answers. From what I can tell, I might be able to make even swaps for most of this stuff though so that isn't too bad.

If I take a quick inventory of all the things I would be on board with trying, based on your summaries, I come up with this (total summary including the ones from the previous post so I can keep things straight):
And the cards I would be willing to cut, going a little more aggressive on some than I would want:
Solemn and Hart are considerations just to make room and because Land Tax, Smothering Tithe, and the mana rocks makes them less useful. The Wheel effects would be considered because of the (hopefully decent) draw effects being added. Forsake is just the only removal I would be willing to cut. And that still leaves me two slots to cover.

Even looking through the list of includes now, for the most part, I like them. The Land Tax/Reformation package is probably the most dubious to me, but I think they all have merit. Since I have 13 in the ADD column and 11 in the CUT I would likely ignore those two cards to begin with if I decided to move further into these changes.

Subira and Mangara are the two more questionable adds but are things I am willing to try out in place of existing card draw. Subira works reasonably well with my token producers so I would hope that would be enough to make her shine.

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Post by WizardMN » 3 months ago

So, I tried this online with the changes above. I played 2 games. The first I won but it was only because one person scooped early after a mull to 5 and drawing 3 cards without drawing lands, another scooped after accidentally activating their Mirror Entity for 0, and the third scooped because I attacked them and the other player destroyed their creature. It was reasonable up until that point and I don't think I would have won against the onslaught of Vampires that Edgar Markov was creating but I guess I will never know.

The only thing of substance in this game was I had a turn 2 Tectonic Reformation which let me cycle away 1 land (and even that was questionable since it was land #7 but I didn't have much else going on anyway.

The second game I joined was listed as "not cEDH but strong". I wanted to try it out to see what it would do and I didn't fare too bad but the deck *really* didn't want me to play. I got down a turn 1 Land Tax and this is how the next 5 turns went with it:

Tutored up 3 lands; drew a land for turn.
Tutored up 1 land; drew a land for turn
Tutored up 2 lands; drew Oblation
Tutored up 3 lands; drew Sword of Feast and Famine
Tutored up 3 lands; drew a Command Tower

At this point I had 12 cards in hand and only had Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker as a real card.

I had gotten down a Smothering Tithe before this and was up to 7 Treasures as well but having nothing in hand meant the treasures were useless. And the only reason I had Kiki in hand was because I used my Oblation on a Treasure token to draw 2 which got me a land and Kiki.

I cast Gisela and she had haste from Hall of the Bandit Lord. I attacked Animar and then they comboed off next turn. I am not too upset about it since it was a "strong" room but I was just frustrated that I had 11 lands in hand at one point. Not much to say about this other than it was just bad luck.

I did like Smothering Tithe here and I am wondering if the inclusion of Tithe justifies keeping some of the Wheel effects in. Wheeling and immediately having 21 mana for use sounds exceptionally appealing.

I might try to jam a couple more games with this deck online but I have a feeling that the fact that this deck can't sit back and "wait" means attacking players who might not be the biggest threat just to get damage in and people not liking it. I do it often in paper but it seems there is potential for people to scoop early because of this. I will see if it becomes a trend.

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Post by RowanKeltizar » 3 months ago

Interesting. It's too bad you didn't have Tectonic Reformation in play with Land Tax during the second game. That would have made a difference.

Yes, Smothering Tithe is good with Wheels if they don't blow it up in response. Something to consider, however pretty unlikely to actually happen that you get these two cards at the same time.

If you do end up sticking with a few more enchantments, Idyllic Tutor might be something to consider as well. Notably it can also grab Iroas, God of Victory

Also, what are your thoughts on dropping down to 36 lands? Could make room for another ramp piece, tutor, or draw spell.
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Post by WizardMN » 3 months ago

RowanKeltizar wrote:
3 months ago
Interesting. It's too bad you didn't have Tectonic Reformation in play with Land Tax during the second game. That would have made a difference.

Yes, Smothering Tithe is good with Wheels if they don't blow it up in response. Something to consider, however pretty unlikely to actually happen that you get these two cards at the same time.
The latter comment ties into the former in my opinion. The likelihood of getting Land Tax and Reformation down at the same time is about equal to that of Tithe and a Wheel. The issue is that I don't think Reformation is all that great here without Land Tax while Tithe or Wheels can be fine on their own.

I don't really like that Reformation only seems good with Land Tax (or, I suppose, any other draw effect) but it isn't all that good on its own. I am still willing to give it a shot, but my initial impressions of it are that it is mediocre.
If you do end up sticking with a few more enchantments, Idyllic Tutor might be something to consider as well. Notably it can also grab Iroas, God of Victory

Also, what are your thoughts on dropping down to 36 lands? Could make room for another ramp piece, tutor, or draw spell.
Maybe on Idyllic Tutor. I can certainly entertain the idea, but I need to make sure the current enchantments are things I even want to keep around in the deck. I don't know that I do yet. It is something worth considering.

As for the lands, I find it tough to go too low. 37 is already kind of low considering my higher curve. Land Tax helps out with that but I won't have Land Tax every game. If I did cut one, I would be more inclined to add a Wheel back in.

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Post by WizardMN » 3 months ago

I got another game in with this deck today. It was against Storrev, Devkarin Lich, Grismold, the Dreadsower, and Geist of Saint Traft. It is probably one of the weirdest games I have played with it since I did almost nothing.

So, I got down a turn 3 Hanweir Garrison followed by a Urabrask the Hidden. Grismold got down a Night of Souls' Betrayal though which cut down on my tokens.

Geist wasn't doing a lot but was doing what they could to protect Geist. Shielded by Faith and Vanishing. Grismold was growing bigger with all of our tokens dying. But Storrev was going off with Walkers. They started with Nissa, Who Shakes the World. I got her down to 3 but the other two players were holding some grudges against each other and didn't attack her. So, of course, they got some mileage out of her and ended up with 4 Walkers.

They were animating some lands and ended up animating their Cabal Coffers with Nissa, Vital Force. Which worked out great since I had Rolling Earthquake to clear the board. Now, there was just Geist, 3 Nissas (the other was Nissa, Voice of Zendikar) and Ob Nixilis Reignited. Luckily, they finally saw the threat they presented and started attacking the walkers.

After casting Rolling Earthquake is when I stopped doing much. Storrev tutored with Liliana Vess so I cast Chaos Warp on their Nissa (which was still alive for some reason). Geist went after Grismold because Grismold had them at 20 commander damage after next turn's attack so they were trying to race them. It didn't work.

Next turn, I cast Recruiter of the Guard and had nothing to really get. I was at 15 life so Serra Ascendant wasn't worth it. I would have liked Knight of the White Orchid here. I might have to rethink cutting that. I ended up grabbing Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker just because I didn't want to grab something I could cast (I wanted to leave up Oblation in hand without telegraphing that I had something). And Kiki still let me get something with Recruiter later anyway.

Grismold killed Geist the next turn. Once Geist was gone, Grismold turned their attention to Storrev. They got them down to 1 life. Storrev started their turn and got down God-Pharaoh's Gift which reanimated Storrev and attacked Grismold down to 5.

Once they were done, I cast Boros Charm to kill Storrev and then I attacked Grismold with Recruiter of the Guard and Needle Spires for the last 5 damage. I had Aurelia, the Warleader in hand that I would have cast if I had more lands to keep up the Oblation in hand, just in case. This was enough though.

I got stuck on 7 lands for a long time. I had wanted to be able to get to 8 and 9 so I could cast Sun Titan and/or Gisela, Blade of Goldnight and give them haste with Flamekin Village but I never really got there. So, I ended up just sitting back as "not the threat" and let everyone beat up on everyone else. And then just swooped in for the kill. Not the most honorable of victories, but a victory nonetheless :)

I think I am back to the same thing I have been wrestling with for a while: card draw. Cutting the cards I cut in favor of the other card draw options hasn't really done enough. I don't want to go too far into the realm of tutors to just make things work, so I might need to look at trying to revisit the card draw package and maybe add in a Wheel or two again. I am still not sure, but getting to the end of games in basically top deck mode (and missing land drops in the middle) feels really bad.

I am not sure what the right answer is, but I need to figure something out. I am thinking of the Wheels as a way to lean further into Smothering Tithe for mana. As this game showed, having 2 six drops in hand, and Gisela stranded in the command zone, means I am basically playing a control role as I did here since I couldn't cast enough and still leave up interaction.

Which leads me to the other piece: ramp. So, Knight of the White Orchid, Kor Cartographer, Solemn Simulacrum, and Burnished Hart might need to make their ways back into the deck. They are sort of slow, but being slow early on while allowing for explosive turns later might be worth it. Smothering Tithe does the same and I am coming around on that. Yet another thing to rethink I suppose.

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Post by pokken » 3 months ago

So I can say that in my Golos mono-red (which had a lot of thematic similarities with this deck) I ran this pile of cards and really liked them (in that deck, where my card quality was quite high).
I'd also give some thought to dumb little glue dudes like Wall of Omens who just really help smooth things out.

With all the equipment you might also get some mileage out of mid-priced saboteur guys like Robber of the Rich and Dreadhorde Arcanist and Prophetic Flamespeaker but I dunno bout that. I really like flamespeaker in this deck potentially as with just a sword of X&Y on it, it's hitting for 12 with Gisela out.
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Post by WizardMN » 3 months ago

pokken wrote:
3 months ago
So I can say that in my Golos mono-red (which had a lot of thematic similarities with this deck) I ran this pile of cards and really liked them (in that deck, where my card quality was quite high).
I'd also give some thought to dumb little glue dudes like Wall of Omens who just really help smooth things out.

With all the equipment you might also get some mileage out of mid-priced saboteur guys like Robber of the Rich and Dreadhorde Arcanist and Prophetic Flamespeaker but I dunno bout that. I really like flamespeaker in this deck potentially as with just a sword of X&Y on it, it's hitting for 12 with Gisela out.
I am still not sure on the Looting effects. Though, I had considered Light up the Stage as I was playing. I don't like that they are "one and done" and I am not usually trying to set something up. Practically, I suppose this really means I am looking for quantity over quality as it were (though, enough quantity gives me quality). It is a reason I acquiesced on Tectonic Reformation though it hasn't played out how I wanted.

Perhaps my playstyle just doesn't mesh with an "optimal" build here, but I don't like the exile effects (the main reason I didn't mention Stage above) because they force me to be proactive. Which is, frankly, sort of a dumb thing to to say in some respects when talking about a deck like this. But it is a mindset that is really hard to get over. Exiling cards, especially early, to something like Flamespeaker but then not being able to cast them always strikes as a bad thing. And now I lose that card for the rest of the game.

I know, statistics and all that, that says it shouldn't be a worry. But what if it is the *one card* I need 10 turns from now :P

Having said that, I do like the idea of Flamespeaker though. 2 cards "drawn" per turn isn't too bad, Robber might not be as bad if I could play lands with him.

I really like the idea of Wall of Omens actually. I wonder if The Birth of Meletis could be decent too. A mash up of Tithe and Wall of Omens? I like it in my Historic deck anyway.

With the idea of Neheb, Flamespeaker, Looting effects (if I cave on those), Subira, Etali, etc. I am wondering how far I might want to go towards "aggro over interaction". That is, this last game was mostly centered around me holding up Oblation and Chaos Warp but never getting to the point of committing to the board. Maybe I go a little lower on some of that stuff? I don't really like the idea of not having an answer, but maybe I am trying to do too much with this deck?

Or maybe I need to go back to one of @RowanKeltizar earlier comments about my "swarm" cards. As was mentioned, I am not really a swarm deck. I like the incremental damage they can provide but I might just need to focus on some of the heavier hitters and ways to protect them. This is getting really close to a "tear down" of the deck :)

I will try to think more on some of your, and Rowan's suggestions and see if what I am reluctant to do is because of a real desire to do something specific or if it is more of "this has been working so far; why should I change it".

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Post by pokken » 3 months ago

Of those lootingy cards, Thrill of Possibility was by far the best. Always a great turn 2 play that let me keep reactive mana up if I wanted and did a great job of ensuring land drops.

I think Tithe would be better than birth most of the time. I am a huge fan of that card though.
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Post by WizardMN » 3 months ago

pokken wrote:
3 months ago
Of those lootingy cards, Thrill of Possibility was by far the best. Always a great turn 2 play that let me keep reactive mana up if I wanted and did a great job of ensuring land drops.

I think Tithe would be better than birth most of the time. I am a huge fan of that card though.
Rowan mentioned it as well. Maybe I should at least try it out. I can always cut it again if I don't like it.

And, for some reason, I thought I already had Tithe in the deck. So, I will try the Wall and Tithe. I still think adding back in some creature ramp is reasonable. Maybe I will add Solemn back in too?

Here is what I am looking at for changes:

As a quick note, Zurzoth, Chaos Rider never actually got added due to the cost online so I just listed it as a cut in the last round of changes in the main post.

We talked about the other adds, but I wanted to bring Knollspine back into the conversation. Rowan talked about it before and I dismissed it due to the 7 CMC. I still think this is a really hard sell because of that, but Boros is hurting for asymmetrical card draw as it is and if I add back in a little more ramp and effects to ensure land drops, it might be really good. It is also a massive beater than can do some damage.

With this in mind, I think I am going to eschew the token producers. I am starting to think that Gisela doesn't do as well as a traditional aggro deck unless I go all in on it. And I don't want to go all in on it, so cutting these and making the game smoother for the rest of the strategy is like the way to go.

I am also cutting Subira again because without them, she becomes mostly useless. Angel of Jubilation is an Anthem effect which also becomes less relevant (though the ability to stop sacrifices and paying life has been useful). And Reformation hasn't struck me as the best. I am keeping Land Tax for now so I will see how much I might want Reformation again, but I needed a cut somewhere.

To be honest, Purphoros is likely a good cut now without the token producers so I might need to think on him some more. But, I still like him so I am going to hang on to him for the time being.

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Post by WizardMN » 3 months ago

Well, I played a game with the changes above and it actually went pretty well. I didn't win, but there were chances. It was against Glissa, the Traitor, God-Eternal Oketra, and Oona, Queen of the Fae.

Glissa started off pretty aggressive with a bunch of deathtouch creatures and Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons. I started off with Wall of Omens and Prophetic Flamespeaker. Oona didn't do much of anything beyond trying to set up some mill strategies that I shut down a few times.

Oketra on the other hand was doing very well. They got Oketra down and no one had removal for her. So they just kept building their army, one Zombie at a time. They were spreading out the damage but Glissa and Oona missed quite a few land drops so I ended up getting the brunt of the attacks after a while.

During this time, Flamespeaker did a lot. He made sure I hit land drops and gave me a few spells to cast and overall performed exceptionally well. Eventually, I got down Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite which wiped the board for Glissa and Oona (Oona only had Dreamborn Muse so it wasn't a huge loss, but Glissa lost 5 creatures.

The main reason though was being able to slow down Oketra. I could then attack into them with my creatures and I was going to cast Gisela the next turn to try to get them out the game entirely. I don't think they could have raced that.

But, Glissa ended up removing it with Heartless Act. Which I wouldn't have minded so much if they actually did anything after that (and they should have at least waited until my turn). But they fired it off and committed nothing to the board. Even Glissa would have survived when they cast her next turn.

So, with Elesh Norn gone and no other defenses, I was pretty much wide open to Oketra's attacks (as was everyone else; though, to be fair. part of that was my fault with casting Elesh Norn). The next turn they got me down to 10 life. Luckily I had Rampaging Ferocidon to keep their Aetherflux Reservoir in check. But, I was still in a bad spot.

So, my turn came around and I made a copy of Flamespeaker with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and swung at Oona. They had a copy of Oketra from Rite of Replication but they were smart enough to let me connect with both creatures. The first two triggers exiled a Mountain and an Imperial Recruiter. The second triggers exiled....two more lands (seriously; what is with the lands in this deck :) )

Recruiter didn't do anything thanks to Oona's Ashiok, Dream Render but I cast it anyway. And I cast Sun Titan which Ashiok also nerfed. But, since I didn't draw any of my wrath effects, we were dead in the water. Glissa scooped it up having only played 3 lands all game. Oona never got past 4 lands. Oketra killed me and then killed Oona the next turn.

So, I don't think I really missed the token producers. They would have helped generate blockers in this game but because I need to attack first to get tokens it probably wouldn't have been that great.

Prophetic Flamespeaker was phenomenal. I got around 7-9 cards off it and never had a situation where I "lost" a card except the one time I only hit with someone once (they blocked the First Strike damage). And even then it was just a land. But it kept my hand full pretty well, helped hit land drops, and overall just did a lot. Now, because two opponents weren't doing a lot since they were behind on lands, it is tough to say this will be a normal function of the card, but it worked well here.

Otherwise, the deck did seem to run a little smoother. Losing out on Elesh Norn right away changed things up quite a bit. There might have been an argument for slamming Gisela there instead as it would have done the same against Oketra (more or less) but could have potentially pitted people against each other instead of definitely making me the target. Especially since Glissa would have still had their board which wouldn't have done a lot to me.

I am going to try to get another couple games in with it online and see what else happens. I do think I might cut a land for an actual wrath to see if that can help with these huge board states. I would like Hour of Revelation but that gets rid of a lot of my Equipment. I am thinking a straight Wrath of God might be fine. Or Shatter the Sky to draw a card too? I know opponents get to draw as well but getting an extra card could be helpful.

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