Boros Aggro Kaldheim Standard Deck Guide

Showdown-of-the-Skalds-Kaldheim-MtG-Art

Showdown of the Skalds was a front runner going into the new meta. So much so that Naya Adventures was just expected to be the top deck. Note this sarcastic Tweet from Nick Miller, the SCG analyst. The deck wasn’t innovation. It was just expected.

But now roughly a week and a half into the new format…

Well this was unexpected… What happened? How did the most played deck opening week and the 2nd most anticipated card (behind Tibalt's Trickery but I am not getting into that) fall from grace to 5th place if that?

The Downfall of Naya Adventures

Well, Naya Adventures was the premier shell for Showdown of the Skalds, and at its core is an aggressive deck. Being something of an aficionado on aggressive strategies I think I can weigh in on what happened. In my opinion, the single greatest article ever written about Magic: The Gathering is “The Art of Beatdown” by David Price. This is heralded by many to be the quintessential MTG article and is basically by bible as far as Magic goes. Even though it was written in 2005, Price offers theories to gameplay and deck building that we just know as fact now, truly a piece well ahead of its time.

However, the statement that pertains to the current disappearance of Naya I think can be summarized from this excerpt:

First, build for speed. The focus on killing an opponent means that the firs tthree or four turns are the most important. Therefore, it’s extremely important that the opening draw be as consistent as possible. You can maximize offensive consistency by including as many of the most efficient creatures and spells as possible. That way you’ll have a good idea of what to expect when you see your first nine or ten cards. In addition, you want to keep the deck mono-colored if at all possible. While rainbow lands like City of BrassGemstone Mine, and Undiscovered Paradise can give you access to a wide array of options, they generally slow down the deck. Either you draw an off-color spell without drawing a rainbow land, or you draw too many rainbow lands and their drawbacks being to hurt your mana development. Special lands also make you vulnerable to Wasteland, thereby giving other aggressive decks a clear advantage. For these reasons, if your primary color offers cheap, efficient creatures and decent creature removal, keep the deck mono-colored. If staying mono-color isn’t possible—for example, if you want to build a white weenie deck, since white has little efficient creature removal—then splash another color, keeping to spells that require only one off-colored mana. In other words, splashing red for Fireball is okay, but not for Rolling Thunder.

Three color decks are not ideal because our mana is not as good as we like to think it is in this meta. Our untapped dual lands only tap for a single color and the only fetch land we have access to only finds basics that come in untapped if it is our 4th land or more. This is too slow when you are an aggressive deck. Especially when the control decks have such amazing removal like Bloodchief’s Thirst' and Heartless Act which is what keeps the 3+ colored Yorion decks afloat.

Naya Adventures looks fantastic on paper. It does everything you want a good deck to do. But breaking it down it is just Gruul Adventures with white splashed to play Showdown and more adventure creatures to get more Edgewall Innkeeper activations. That’s cool. On paper I am on board. But again, where the deck really breaks down is in the mana. Three colors are intensive for even most midrange and control decks. Then in its fundamental application, when you don’t have Innkeeper in play to net you more cards, you are left with a deck full of mediocre creatures. That is where the deck falls apart. Sure, you can do the turn 3 Lovestruck Beast into turn 4 The Great Henge, but that’s old news. You can do that playing Gruul and not mess with your mana. I mean, the deck was already playing Showdown and [Shepard of the Flock to draw 5 cards a turn. How many draws do you need to win?

The Answer

So Naya is just bad Gruul and Showdown of the Skalds isn’t as good as we thought. Right? Well no. The card is definitely great. We just got to find a better shell for it.

After doing a ton of research no one really seems to have a solid list for Boros. The decks were just all over the place and didn’t look clean or consistent at all. So, I hit the drawing board and began testing on my own and came to the following list:

The Deck

Export to:
Creature (26)
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Luminarch Aspirant
4
Robber of the Rich
4
Seasoned Hallowblade
3
Selfless Savior
3
Shepherd of the Flock
4
Usher of the Fallen
Sorcery (2)
2
Shatterskull Smashing/Shatterskull, the Hammer Pass
Instant (4)
4
Frost Bite
Artifact (4)
1
Embercleave
3
Maul of the Skyclaves
Enchantment (4)
4
Showdown of the Skalds
Land (20)
4
Fabled Passage
4
Needleverge Pathway/Pillarverge Pathway
5
Snow-Covered Mountain
7
Snow-Covered Plains
Cards 60
Sideboard (15)
2
Giant Killer
1
Heliod's Intervention
2
Ox of Agonas
2
Phoenix of Ash
2
Reidane, God of the Worthy/Valkmira, Protector's Shield
2
Scorching Dragonfire
2
Shredded Sails
2
Soul-Guide Lantern

Deck Construction

Looking at the list you might notice something weird. It is a creature deck that is playing red, but only 1 Embercleave? What? Well this is because we aren’t playing creatures like Anax, Hardened in the Forge or Kazandu Mammoth that can achieve crazy amounts of attack power and bash in to end the game. Double red can be awkward, but I don’t think a 1-of breaks the bank.

Also notice that I am not playing Skyclave Apparition. This is for a few reasons. Not only is the double white to cast it just backbreaking, it gives our opponent a creature when it dies. That isn’t exactly what you want to be doing when playing a deck that relies on creatures bashing to win.

“But it can get enchantments or anything!” I hear you cry.

Yes, it does. But I can’t count how many times I exiled something with Apparition, my board gets swept, and then I am stuck with whatever I can draw trying to bash through a 3/3 or 4/4. Cutting it was the best thing I ever done for this deck.

The deck still retains the Shepard + Showdown combo to exile 5 castable cards on any given turn while still getting the 2nd chapter of the saga. This is all the card draw I need. We also have Frost Bite which is the best non-black removal spell in the format and opens the board for our creatures.

Playing the Deck

This is a meat and potatoes, barebones aggro deck. Solid, low to the ground and fast. You want to get on the board as fast as possible and begin applying pressure. I will almost always prioritize Usher of the Fallen as a 1-drop when possible since it does the most damage on turn 2. Also, its Boast ability is fantastic if you don’t have any other plays to begin going wide. A 1/1 isn’t the most pressure, but it is a free body.

The only exception is when I can play Luminarch Aspirant on 2. If I can, then I will lead on Selfless Savior as it can be used to save the Aspirant. I will also, put the counter on the Aspirant. This way after I untap I can put the 3rd counter on it safely and avoid Stomp unless I know I need to be pressuring. The only time that I will not just slam a creature on turn 1 is if I can Frost Bite an Innkeeper or Gilded Goose. Always remove those ASAP.

If you can gain value off casting Robber of the Rich on turn 2 then do it. I would rather cast it and get the value than set up anything else. If not, then prioritize Seasoned Hallowblade or Aspirant. I never cast Shepard of the Flock as a 2-drop unless I must because it is great for saving creatures, allowing you to reuse Bonecrusher Giant adventures and most importantly, bouncing Showdown to be reused. You can also use Shepard to bounce Showdown at sorcery speed to get a free counter on something for 1-mana which is great.

The best creatures to equip is easily Hallowblade and Bonecrusher as they have the most power. There are boards where you want to divide up your threats as much as possible so they are not always the auto equip of choice, but you will put them on those creatures most often since they are the most durable of our threats.

Cards Not in the Deck

This card is great, no question. But another 4-mana spell is steep. I would play two copies of Goldspan Dragon over The Akroan War if I had the Room.

We are not a Winota deck. Our ratios are off and there isn’t any big boss cards we can slam off of her so I just won’t even try.

This card is among the strongest in standard currently. But it is just too expensive and there is no way I could reasonably consider it. We are already playing four 4-drops.

I already said this, but in case you overlooked it – double white early is hard to pull off consistently sometimes. This card also provides our opponent with a blocker when it is removed. That just doesn’t cut it when you are a creature aggro deck that needs to attack to win.

This is a cool card and one that I would love to play. But it is just not as good as the other cards we are already playing. Also, if you do decide you want to play the “master of the good bois,” then sadly, I cannot recommend playing the dogs. Sure, you can get card advantage by searching them out. But they are just bad cards.

This is a fantastic manland. Even though we are playing snow basics I don’t recommend this card because it cannot tap for colored mana. I want consistency and while this card provides some power and late game reach, it doesn’t give me what I need.

Video

Sideboard Guide

Rogues

InOut
+2 Ox of Agonas-4 Usher of the Fallen
+2 Phoenix of Ash-4 Showdown of the Skalds
+2 Scorching Dragonfire
+2 Shredded Sails

Rakdos Midrange

InOut
+2 Soul-Guide Lantern-4 Usher of the Fallen
+2 Scorching Dragonfire

Izzet Tempo

InOut
+2 Giant Killer-4 Bonecrusher Giant
+2 Shredded Sails

Gruul Adventures / Mono Red

InOut
+2 Giant Killer-4 Usher of the Fallen
+2 Scorching Dragonfire-3 Shepard of the Flock
+2 Shredded Sails-1 Maul of the Skyclaves
+2 Reidane, God of the Worthy

Sultai Control

InOut
+2 Ox of Agonas-4 Frost Bite
+2 Phoenix of Ash

Doom Foretold

InOut
+2 Giant Killer-4 Frost Bite
+2 Reidane, God of the Worthy-1 Maul of the Skyclaves
+1 Heliod’s Intervention

Temur Ramp

InOut
+2 Giant Killer-4 Frost Bite
+2 Reidane, God of the Worthy

Mono Green Food

InOut
+2 Giant Killer-4 Frost Bite
+2 Reidane, God of the Worthy-1 Maul of the Skyclaves
+1 Heliod’s Intervention

Tips

I listed most of these already. But for a TL;DR:

  • Use Shepard of the Flock to bounce Showdown to be reused later. Don’t be also I find it beneficial to use the Shepard at sorcery speed to get the chapter 2 of the saga before you start casting the exiled cards.
  • The only time I will lead on Selfless Savior if I have an Usher of the Fallen in hand is if I am playing Aspirant on turn 2.
  • Always use removal on Gilded Goose and Edgewall Innkeeper if you have the option turn 1.
  • You can use Shepard of the Flocks adventure to bounce Maul of the Skyclaves or Embercleave at instant speed to be recast and at a lower cost than if you just equipped the creature naturally.
  • Bouncing Embercleave after a creature has been blocked only to place it on an unblocked creature or on another creature that you want to win in combat is a very real play.

Wrapping Up

Showdown is a heck of a card and I think it has all the power to be a pillar of the format. I also think that if the card is going to take off in the current meta it will be in the Boros list. I don’t think my list is “perfect” but it is definitely as close as you can get. I am playing a little risky playing some high CMC cards for our land count, but it is negligible in most cases. This deck has a ton of play to it and I think it is in prime position to take on the meta at large.

If you like smashing face and sick of Gruul then I can’t recommend this deck enough. Be sure to check out my YouTube and my Twitch which will be linked below. I will also link my social media so you can follow me for updates. Until next time Planeswalkers! Hero Out!

The MTG Hero

My name is The MTG Hero. I have played Magic for over 15 years. I am a consistent high Mythic ranked player. Follow me on Twitch and subscribe on YouTube!