And Boros Deck Wins?

Written by Pollo on December 20, 2006

And Boros Deck Wins?

by Pollo

Sometimes you wait for something so long that when it comes, you are surprised because it wasn’t what you were waiting for. Just like when you were a kid and received clothes during Christmas instead of videogames, or when the end of season of Prison Break comes and it ends worse than how it started. Well, that’s Extended.

A little over a year ago I played an Extended (T1.X) PTQ with Madness. I could swear that I had the best deck; I mean, IT HAD to be the best deck. It had Jitte, Needles, hot tech…what else could you ask? Of course, this was before PT: Los Angeles, when there wasn’t a defined metagame. I ended with an amazing 4-4 record, losing tons of points. I couldn’t play the second PTQ because I didn’t decide what to play early enough and didn’t get the cards.

Since then I have missed extended, my third or fourth favorite format. The place where we qualified winning a PTQ didn’t really matter to me, as I would rather meet any place in Europe than Yokohama, but the format is Block Constructed, my favorite one, so I wanted to qualify with all the persistence I could.

What a shame that this Extended format is lame, where the consistency of a deck is measured by the number of turns it takes to win, and if it doesn’t win or doesn’t take control before turn four, it’s probably a pile. Where luck is the most important factor, where sideboards have more 1-ofs than sealed decks, and where we have proxy cards of others that have already been restricted or banned (Black Lotus / Lotus Bloom, Dark Ritual, Rite of Flame). The best course of action is to buy some amulets of good luck and play Desire with fewer lands than my last draft or play something that combines power with consistency.

Its beginnings were with only the red part, better known as Red Deck Wins. It had Jackal Pup, Tangle Wire and Cursed Scroll, and without a doubt was one of the dominating decks until the extended rotation of October 2005, when half deck became illegal

“Adapt or Die” is the phrase, and that is what Tsuyoshi Fujita, the creator of Boros Deck Wins, did (and with a lot of success). He took the deck to the Top 8 of the Pro Tour: Los Angeles. In the new version Goblin Legionnaire replaced Mogg Fanatic, Savannah Lions replaced Jackal Pup, and Molten Rain came in for Wasteland.

Some time later, the format went developing and the versions evolving, now with Silver Knights to fight the mirror match and without Pillages.

With the arrival of the Worlds, newer lists of Boros were introduced. The first one is a creation from Frank Karsten, who took the Boros idea and made a Zoo variant that includes Kird Ape in the main deck and Ancient Grudge and Armadillo Cloak in the sideboard. He also used Sudden Shock and Soltari Priest, two cards from the most recent expansion. Most of the pros that played it obtained an amazing 5-1 record.

Karsten BDW
Main Deck Sideboard
4 Wooded Foothills
4 Windswept Heath
2 Flooded Strand
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Stomping Ground
1 Temple Garden
4 Sacred Foundry
1 Barbarian Ring
2 Battlefield Forge
1 Plains
1 Mountain
4 Kird Ape
4 Grim Lavamancer
4 Savannah Lions
2 Isamaru, Hound of Konda
4 Soltari Priest
4 Silver Knight
4 Firebolt
4 Sudden Shock
4 Lightning Helix
4 Molten Rain
4 Pyrostatic Pillar
4 Ancient Grudge
3 Umezawa's Jitte
1 Worship
3 Armadillo Cloak

The second version is more traditional, and even thought it’s not very innovative, it was the only Boros deck had a 5-1 record in addition to a 6-0 record.
Traditional BDW
Main Deck Sideboard
4 Sacred Foundry
3 Bloodstained Mire
2 Windswept Heath
3 Wooded Foothills
2 Flooded Strand
2 Barbarian Ring
1 Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep
1 Eiganjo Castle
2 Plains
2 Mountain
4 Savannah Lions
4 Grim Lavamancer
3 Isamaru, Hound of Konda
4 Goblin Legionnaire
4 Silver Knight
1 Kataki, War's Wage
4 Lava Dart
4 Firebolt
4 Lightning Helix
4 Molten Rain
3 Char
3 Pyrite Spellbomb
3 Jotun Grunt
3 Dwarven Blastminer
2 Disenchant
2 Kataki, War's Wage
2 Sulfuric Vortex

Pro Boros
What do you think about Boros?
[editor’s note: for the sake of realism, the following quotes are as quoted (no fixes)]

<PV> I don't think the Boros I played is a good deck to play... I only played that because I had no clue what to play. I think the metagame wants to beat boros.
<tylertmk> I think boros is a definately a competitive deck, the reason I like it is that it can easily steal games that it shouldn't win.
<evol> boros is the most flexible deck in current extended. it's efficient burn, solid guys and broad spectrum of sideboard options make it easy to adapt to any metagame and win.
<SL|RedDemon> I think boros is the most consistent deck in 1.x right now. The numbers prove it.
<PureControl> honestly, i didnt look at extended yet, but it is the deck to beat, its insanely fast

What version is the best?

<PV> I think that the best boros version to play right now is the one with eight pro reds and three SB cloaks
<tylertmk> I think the best version of boros would be just r/w with lava dart and chars, the only ld being 4 molten rain at most.
<evol> I personally don't think there is 1 'best version' I think you build it around your metagame.
<SL|RedDemon> Of the various versions I like frank karsten's the best, because of the small green splash and more consistent creature drops.
<PureControl> dart, not all run lava dart..but it's very solid selection imo...lava dart essientially makes affinity scoop
What are you going to play (or would you play) on your PTQ’s?
<PV> I can't play PTQs... but I have no clue what I'd play :/ sorry
<tylertmk> Im planning on playing either my redzone deck or ideal at ptqs.
<evol> i'm gonna run bdw of course
<SL|RedDemon> I would play rdw, but since rdw is dead im working on a very promising suicide black deck as well as a few other decks. Whatever i play it will have black in it.
<PureControl> hmm either the earlier mentioned boros..or dirty kitty aka goob/fecund

But what makes the deck so good? Its great statistics, strategy as simple as dealing damage to your opponent until he loses, plus most of the excellent burn spells are great parts of the answer.

Color Distribution, Mana Curve, and Card Type breakdown.
Mana Base (22)
The 86.36% of the lands add (or can produce) red mana.
The 77.27% of the lands add (or can produce) white mana.
The 9.09% of the lands can make 2 damage to your opponent with threshold.
The 45.45% of the lands makes damage to you..
Creatures (20)
The 80% of the creatures require white mana.
The 40% of the creatures require red mana.
The 55% of the creatures can be played on your first turn.
The 45% of the creatures can be played on your second turn.
Other Spells (19)
The 100% of the spells require red mana.
The 21.05% of the spells require white mana.
The 21.05% of the spells deals 1 damage (with possibility of 2 in the same turn).
The 42.10% of the spells deals 2 damages.
The 21.05% of the spells deals 3 damages.
The 15.78% of the spells deals 4 damages.
The 42.10% of the spells cost 1 mana.
The 21.05% of the spells cost 2 mana.
The 36.84% of the spells cost 3 mana.
The 42.10% of the spells are reusable (with Flashback), from that 42.10%, the 21.05% with 5 manas, and the other 21.05% sacrificing a mountain.
Average Casting Cost: 1.69

The Sideboard (15)
>Pyrite Spellbomb: Versus aggro decks, mainly to kill the Sliver Knight’s in the mirror match; generally you remove Molten Rain to give it place.
>Jotun Grunt: These ones come in against decks that are graveyard dependant, like Aggro-Loam, Gifts-Rock, Ichorid, etc. What you remove depends on the match, but generally you remove Molten Rain or Lava Dart.
>Dwarven Blastminers: Against decks with Urzatron (doesn’t matter if it’s U/R, U/W or Tooth and Nail), remove the Lava Darts for this guy. Sometimes you will also side it in against four-color decks like Gifts Rock or Balancing tings depending if you are on the play or on the draw.
>Disenchant: These come in against all kind of decks, from aggro decks that have maindeck/sideboard Umezawa’s Jitte and/or Sword of Fire and Ice, to decks where artifacts are really important, like No Stick. If you sideboard it in against Aggro, remove the Molten Rains or Char, and against Control remove the Lava Darts or Firebolt.
>Kataki, War’s Wage: Side these in for Ravager Affinity and Sunny-Side-Up. Sometimes I also side them in against U/R and U/W tron if they run artifact lands, and I am on the play.
>Sulfuric Vortex: Against decks that have stuff to gain life like Exalted Angel, Helix, Jitte, Hierarch, Baloth and only if those decks are Aggro-Control or Control, like UWR Solution or Gifts Rock.

Match-up Guide
Good Matchups:
>Any deck with Urzatron: Doesn’t matter if its U/R. U/W or even Tooth and Nail, Boros is just too fast. Their answers against this deck are poor; the MVP against these decks is Molten Rain.
>Affinity: Kataki just crushes them (along with removal). There isn’t much they can do.
>Aggro Flow: The effect of the Destructive Flows is minimum against aggressive decks; besides, they run a lot of suicide cards (ten Fetchlands, four Dark Confidant and even Shadow Guildmage). If you sum the damage up with the fact that Boros has nineteen burn spells, you get quite an easy match.
>Aggro Loam: To start, their engine (Life from the Loam + Cycling Lands) takes a while to set up and results from a lot of damage from Fetchlands. Most of their cards are weak in early game (Terravore, Werebear), and their life-gain cards are not enough to survive.
>Ichorid: First game is usually a nightmare; the only hope is to draw the god hand, but in second and hopefully third game the Jotun Grunts shines. If you don’t get the Grunt in your opening hand, mulligan for them. Don’t forget to add the Disenchant against Pithing Needle and Zombie Infestation.

Bad Matchups:
>UWR Solution: In theory it looks favorable, but in practice we lose. They have Jitte in the main deck, Sliver Knight advantage because they have Pyrite Spellbomb to remove ours, and when they resolve a Counterbalance, every spell in the deck can be countered. Don’t forget that they also run the four Lightning Helix and four Exalted Angel package.
>Desire Combo: It might sound crazy, but it’s true: Boros is slow against these deck! On average, Boros wins turn five, but they usually combo on turn four and sometimes even three.
>Gifts Rock: I think this is the worst matchup. Half of Rock is made up of lands and accelerators (Sakura Tribe Elder, Wall of Roots, Birds of Paradise), and the other half is composed of removal spells (Vindicate, Putrefy, Smother), strong creatures to gain life (Ravenous Baloth, Loxodon Hierarch), and cards to get what they need (Gifts Ungiven, Living Wish, Eternal Witness). Remember to always kill a turn one Birds of Paradise because their main weakness is the manabase.
>Scepter/Chant: The match in theory is like Solution; the huge difference is that they run Wrath of God and Isochron Scepter with Orim’s Chant, and Boros can only remove that with the two Disenchants in the sideboard. They probably are going to have a counter for it anyway.
>Goblins Warrens: I am still undecided about this one; sometimes they can go nuts with Warrens for 32 tokens and a 64/2 Piledriver, and sometimes they just scoop to a Sliver Knight after you remove their key cards (Goblin Warchief and Piledriver).


I think that the fact that the deck made 6-0 at Worlds doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. After some testing, these were the changes I made:

*Remove the 61st card from the deck: In this case, Kataki, War’s Wage, with only one in the deck the odds of drawing it are low, and it makes the deck more consistent.

*Switch Char for Sudden Shock: Since the moment I saw it, I knew it was going to be in Boros. After a lot of games of testing with Boros, I realized that Char was good against…Ideal? Well, Sudden Shock has been working very well since I added it.

*Switch Pyrite Spellbomb for Umezawa’s Jitte in the Sideboard: The match against aggro is decided when a player gets an active Jitte. I think it’s a must in the sideboard; or, in the words of PV: “It is not a decent card; it's the only card that matters in the mirror...”

*Switch Dwarven Blastminers for Pyrostatic Pillar: The match against decks with Urzatron is good when you play in an aggressive way, not when you pay three mana each turn to “wannabe” control their lands. Instead we get the Pillars, which come in versus the new combo decks that popped up during Worlds (Sunny-Side-Up, 15 lands Desire) and against Scepter-Chant.

I have been asked lately why I don’t run Solitari Priest. I always answer: “Because it doesn’t block.” Obviously they respond with, “But it can be blocked also.” Of course it’s good on the play, but it’s horrid on the draw. Goblin Legionnaire is always awesome, especially if the opponent is within burn range; besides, Boros has enough problems against Darkblast.

No matter which version, the power of Boros cannot be denied, and its hegemony over the other decks is clear. A lot of the card selections depend on your local metagame. If you are expecting decks like Madness or Psychatog, Sudden Shock is a great selection. If you think there is going to be a lot of aggro, the Karsten version is probably the best one. This concept also applies in the sideboard.

My hypothesis is that the deck you play doesn’t matter that much. You can win anything you want to as long as you feel comfortable with the deck, are well-prepared and have a great sideboard.

Ten Great Things That 2006 Left Us:
Movie: Borat.
Book: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
Song: Shakira - Hips don’t lie
Series: My name is Earl
Event: FIFA World Championship.
Tourney(s): Both masters I won with different accounts (which I discourage because I got banned for half a year for that)
Expansion: Time Spiral.
Deck: Structure and Force.
Card: Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
Reprint: Lightning Angel


Do you want your MWS to look like this? Now that league switched (almost) to MWS, we are going to play with it more often. If we are going to play on something a lot, it should be good-looking. Just follow these simple steps:
1.    Download the pictures from either or (they have high quality pictures).
2.    Unzip the files and put them on the folder “Files” in Program Files MWS.
3.    Download a theme; you can do it the forum or here (put it into the Themes folder).
4.    Open Magic Workstation and click Tool - > Preferences (or F10), Interface, and change the Graphic Theme to the one you downloaded.
5.    If something went wrong you can always download the MWS Assistant and do it step by step.
Thanks to the people who helped me in the article: super designer RiQuS|P, Canadians Bigshow, kikimikejiki  and st4x, the people in #b-p, and the interviewed people: evol, PureControl, PV, SL|RedDemon, and tylertmk.

Back to Magic: the Gathering Articles

by tato- on 2006-12-20 02:38 CET


I love it!! <3 Pollo! I will play this at invitational...xD
Pollo Rocks

Ten Great Things That 2006 Left Us:
Movie: SAW III
Book: none
Song: Reggaeton FTW
Series: My name is Earl (yes yes!)
Event: FIFA World Championship.
Tourney(s): 0
Expansion: Time Spiral!!!
Deck: Solar Flare (Kami one)
Card: Giant Solifuge (love it)
Reprint: Orcish librarian xD...kding...Tribal Flames (rogue), Soltari Priest (netdeck)

by Rodry on 2006-12-20 02:40 CET


No mames wey, el articulo estuvo rebueno! xDDDDD

by WiCkEdWiZaRd on 2006-12-20 02:45 CET

Pollo is sxc

by SpareSocks on 2006-12-20 02:53 CET

Pollo is a super sexican

by Erebus- on 2006-12-20 03:02 CET


by KeySam on 2006-12-20 03:05 CET

very nice article :) i also asked myself all the time why they played pryte spellbomb over jitte.

by yavin1 on 2006-12-20 03:06 CET

doesn't pysric pillars (spelling) take care of most control decks. Also i find that boros has a good MU vs WUR solution if the player is decent of below average. An exceptional player will own you though. Thats at least what ive seen in my MU;s playing BDW

by Laplie on 2006-12-20 03:14 CET

I highly recommend themes to get the real mana symbols, the post 8ed cardface, and real card backs

by yavin1 on 2006-12-20 03:16 CET

ten things:
Movie: Clerks II
Book: Not made this year, but read The Cathcer in the Rye
Song: too many
series: The office (followed by earl)
Event: EUAfA cup with arsenal and barcilona (next World cup)
tournies: none
Card: Remand
Reprint: Call of the Herd

Deck: Izzetron (kami one)

by affinity104 on 2006-12-20 03:24 CET

Top Ten

Movie: Clerk 2

The rest don't matter.


by Alpha_n1 on 2006-12-20 03:25 CET

nice article..., but i'm force to disagree in the song of the year,rofl " Song: Shakira - Hips don’t lie" just sucks...a lot!

by Acid_Christ on 2006-12-20 03:32 CET

I think the Karsten deck should run Krosan Grip in sb instead of Grudge. It can't be countered (unless with a c.balance out and they get lucky), and it destroys pesky enchantments too.

by on 2006-12-20 03:56 CET

Your MWS is pimped?! HA
Mine is pimped...

by kikimikejiki on 2006-12-20 03:56 CET

pollos article was rly good and i pre read a nd proofread it too soo yay:)

by nopenopenope on 2006-12-20 04:05 CET

>Aggro Loam: To start, their engine (Life from the Loam + Cycling Lands) takes a while to set up and results from a lot of damage from Fetchlands. Most of their cards are weak in early game (Terravore, Werebear), and their life-gain cards are not enough to survive.

You forgot sismic assault and devastating dream... I like to play vs boro with aggro-loam heh.

You article is awesome! Normaly I don't read it, but it was so good! I wasn't able to stop reading! Pollo > Stephan King

by Ninja87 on 2006-12-20 04:10 CET

glad great articles like these are written in magic-league..
i'm not sure if it existed long ago, but the "slogan" (not even sure if it's one)
"Magic League, Home of Tomorrow's MTG-stars"
is pretty cool.. i'm certainly glad I found this website..
and yea.. Shakira - Hips don't lie sucks... although the video of it rocks.. lol
but i prefer Christina Aguilera - Dirrty's Video.. XD

by Meldethar on 2006-12-20 04:22 CET

by kikimikejiki on 2006-12-19 21:56 CST

pollos article was rly good and i pre read a nd proofread it too soo yay:)

but apparantly you didn't do so with that post XD

Nice Article Pollo ;)

by GilardiNo on 2006-12-20 05:57 CET

Movie: SAW III
Song: DJ Shadow feat. Mos Def - Six Days
Series: Sobrenatural
Event: FIFA World Championship.
Expansion: Time Spiral.
Deck: UWR Solution
Card: Bogardan Hellkite
Reprint: Mystic Snake

by Kandoll on 2006-12-20 07:16 CET

<3 PRISON BREAK!!!!!!!!!

by RiQuSP on 2006-12-20 10:04 CET

I'm sorry pollo that I didnt make a banner, if you can ask GFO if it is still possible to add one, ill fix you up with one...

by Eldariel on 2006-12-20 10:55 CET

Boros is good 'cause it's always in the game. Of course, UWr solution does just about everything Boros does better, but that's besides the point, Boros is still just plain solid.

by Spyx on 2006-12-20 13:13 CET

Yeah boros is always good.
To really pimp mws you should buy it though, and get a cool background like mine.

(On a side note he had cranial maindeck and named traumatize against my heartbeat lol!)

Ten Great Things That 2006 Left Us:
Movie: James Bond
Book: none
Song: Reggaeton FTW
Series: none
Event: FIFA World Championship.
Tourney(s): T2 Trial I won with MGA
Expansion: Time Spiral
Deck: UG Aggro
Card: Tendrils of Corruption
Reprint: Call of the Herd

by _SeBaS_ on 2006-12-20 13:58 CET

tylertmk jjajajajajajjajajajaajajjajaj (pollo nice you)

by Wintersun on 2006-12-20 14:12 CET

People with uber-pimped backgrounds on mws are just annoying, just on a sidenote :P

nice article, though it seems to me that you sometimes loosely connect different parts.. there's no real consistency in the article, which doesn't make it bad, it's just not as easy to read.
No comments on your analysis, because everytime I think I could play some extended I lose some games and then give it up for some weeks until I start again ;) (edit: which proves that I am just not made for playing extended and that I am not to comment on anything other people know better than me)

by sui_slush on 2006-12-20 14:15 CET

Great article Pollo (I would expect nothing less from the Mexican Prodigy :P)

I have just one thing I disagree with, and that is your match-up analysis vs aggro loam. The GRw version has an outstanding match vs boros.

by SkaTista on 2006-12-20 15:45 CET

Nice article! =P

by gekon on 2006-12-20 16:06 CET

i dont like this article. many irrelevant information,i.e."Ten Great Things That 2006 Left Us" (this one is pathetic), pimping mws(lol), many percents and they mean generally nothing, who are these "PRO's"??

by Cosmo on 2006-12-20 17:35 CET

nice article pollo...

by Teknolink on 2006-12-20 18:11 CET

Yawn. It was a bore to read.

by Hugo_8 on 2006-12-20 21:13 CET


Denle mas gasolina =D

by TylerTMK on 2006-12-20 21:16 CET

me encanta la gasolina

da me mas gasolina

by on 2006-12-20 21:18 CET

If BDW was so good, PV would've won Worlds with it.

It's not very reliable or consistant...not to mention the fact it's a netdeck.

I'd rather play something good.

by Tuto- on 2006-12-20 21:26 CET


<3 Pollo

by Bejeezus on 2006-12-20 21:35 CET

Ten Great Things That 2006 Left Us:
Movie: Rocky Balboa (I haven't even seen it. But damn.)
Book: Some random pr0n :)
Song: Metallica - "The New Song"
Series: I dunno.
Event: FIFA World Championship.
Tourney(s): I dunno. I haven't played in forEVER here.
Expansion: Time Spiral obviously.
Deck: I still like Glare w/Black :)
Card: Char or Remand
Reprint: Lightning Angel and/or Nicol Bolas


by PsyK on 2006-12-20 22:22 CET

loved the article, very well written and interesting :D

by ant900 on 2006-12-20 23:03 CET

You guys do realize that ravnica came out in 2005 right? meaning that remand and char don't exactly qualify for best of 2006

by yavin1 on 2006-12-21 02:04 CET

yea my fault, remand is then replaced by demonfire or teferi

by rDMKZVrX on 2006-12-21 04:12 CET

solid article

by Acid_Christ on 2006-12-21 06:25 CET

<3 Teferi

and <3 Pollo for still running Appr Minis!

by tato- on 2006-12-21 16:11 CET

gekon is gay....

by gekon on 2006-12-21 18:12 CET

said tato and then squeezed his boyfriend fallus.. what's wrong with stating opinion that's is different ?? and i dunno maybe sth wrong with me but this sounds kinda geyish:

"by tato- on 2006-12-19 21:38 EST


I love it!! <3 Pollo! I will play this at invitational...xD
Pollo Rocks"

by Yatre on 2006-12-22 08:19 CET

by Shagrath on 2006-12-22 13:29 CET

just one thing, in the explanation of in which decks jotun grunt must be sb in u said that gifts rock was one of those decks were gifts rock and then u said that molten rain x4 should be sb out , but when u were explaining the good and bad matchups, u said that gifts rock main weakness is the mana base, so i think that sb-ing out molten rains is not a good idea.

by ChristPunchr on 2006-12-23 02:01 CET

Gogo, Pollo and KikiMike's reply is grosly ironic.

by on 2006-12-23 03:35 CET

A good read about my favorite deck archetype... My extended version runs four of both Silver Knight and Soltari Priest and three Umezawa's Jitte to equip them main deck. I do not play land destruction; that choice weakens my match against tron decks but it makes me more consistent against most other matchups. I don't play Sudden Schock; I don't like the fact that its usefulness totally depends on the metagame. If Tog and Ravager decks come to rule the format, I will play it, but I don't think it's the case right now. Just my personal opinion.

By the way, good suggestions for sideboard changes. Mine contains no cards for the mirror because my main deck is already made for it, so I have more room for other hosers. I need to add Pyrostatic Pillar for the return of Mind's Desire combo decks and swap Tormod's Crypt for Jotun Grunt, who has the advantage to be a good threat in addition to a graveyard hoser.

by _Machine_ on 2006-12-25 23:25 CET

rly good
congrats and keep doing the best u can

by Pit42 on 2006-12-27 05:48 CET

Good article

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