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Venerable Warsinger Art by Jokubas Uogintas

Brewing in a Top Hat: Standard Boros Midrange

Welcome back to Brewing in a Top Hat! As promised, this time I have brewed up a more creature-based midrange list. The list is fueled by several value-based interactions, such as using Reinforced Ronin with Welcoming Vampire to draw a card every turn or Ogre-Head Helm with Venerable Warsinger to sacrifice your creatures to draw cards then reanimate them.

Against aggro decks, the list wants to control the board using Skyclave Apparition or Brutal Cathar and leverage that control to grind out more value than our opponent can keep up with. Against other midrange or control decks, we can lean into a more aggressive game plan with taxing cards like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Cemetery Gatekeeper, or aggro creatures like Usher of the Fallen and Rabbit Battery.

Boros Midrange
by MonkeyInATopHat
Buy on TCGplayer $135.26
Standard
Midrange
best of 3
2 mythic
41 rare
8 uncommon
9 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+

Card Selection

Welcoming Vampire Art by Lorenzo Mastroianni
Welcoming Vampire Art by Lorenzo Mastroianni

Venerable Warsinger Can bring back all the creatures in our deck. We want to try to keep these in hand until they are most impactful, like when there is a high priority card in our graveyard, or if we can give it haste.

Welcoming Vampire This is the major engine of our deck, especially against aggro. We want to get control of the board and start drawing cards to generate an overwhelming advantage.

Luminarch Aspirant An all-around incredible threat. It will get big on its own, but can also be used in conjunction with our equipment or our Warsingers to create multiple avenues of pressure. This is especially effective against spot removal. Do they kill the Aspirant and risk us getting it back with the Warsinger, or do they deal with the Warsinger first and let you keep pumping stuff with the Aspirant? Just an incredible card.

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben Our go-to card for handling the plethora of control decks out there.

Rabbit Battery This is a great card for all match ups. It’s a fantastic way of getting value immediately from Warsinger and it’s a great way to protect against board wipes, since it turns back into a creature afterwards.

Usher of the Fallen Works really well in the control match up. It hits early and lets you build up a board state without committing resources from hand, forcing your opponent to spend an early removal spell on it or get flooded by tokens. Especially great with Wedding Invitation. Also the tokens produced can serve as a way to trigger Welcoming Vampire card draw.

Reinforced Ronin Repeatable card draw is our game plan, and this guy can be repeatable card draw with both Welcoming Vampire and Venerable Warsinger. If you are going to get damage through with Warsinger, but have no creatures in your graveyard, you can channel Ronin from hand for the card draw then reanimate it, then end turn to return the Ronin to hand. Rinse and repeat for sneaky repeated card draw.

Cemetery Gatekeeper This is for match ups where our opponent is slower than us. Don’t pick creature because it will eat us alive, but its okay to pick land against control decks. Ideally, however, you want him on instants. Side out against aggro.

Goro-Goro, Disciple of Ryusei Turning on our Warsingers immediately so we don’t have to wait is why this guy is here, but the upside of making 5/5s later in the game is nothing to scoff at. Its easy to get modified creatures in this deck with all our equip-creatures, plus we have a relevant number of cards that add +1/+1 counters.

Lizard Blades This card is a massive lightning rod. Our opponents will use their removal on this on sight, because they have to. If they cannot deal with it immediately, you can easily beat them down with most of our threats and this. Once equipped, board wipes won’t kill it, so it can serve as insurance too. The synergy it has with Warsinger cannot be overstated. Reanimating two creatures every turn is too much for any deck to deal with in standard.

Ogre-Head Helm This little recon-figurine has some great synergy with our deck. If you equip it to one of our first strikers, it is possible to sacrifice a creature to draw 3 cards (or discard a better target from hand) then reanimate said creature with Warsinger. It also lets us dump our hand then get a new one in a pinch. In the right scenario, you can over-extend without getting punished by going hellbent early then using a trigger to get a new hand. That can be risky, but if done right it usually too much for an opponent to come back from.

Brutal Cathar / Skyclave Apparition These are how we control the board against creature focused decks. We go lighter on Brutal Cathar because they only hit enemy creatures, so they can be dead cards game one, whereas Apparitions can hit most threats we will see early so is rarely a dead draw. Remember that channeling cards does not count as playing them, so if you need to make it Night to flip Cathar, but don’t want to miss a play, you can channel one of our lands or Ronin. Playing two cards in one turn is a piece of cake, but getting to Night can be hard, so remember that trick.

Adeline, Resplendent Cathar Just a really good card. Against aggro, she stabilizes the board by adding a high toughness blocker for you that avoids 3-damage spot-removal (stub your toe on that, Abrade). Against Control she provides a tough to remove threat that can take control of the game without committing any other cards as resources. Want some gravy on that? Her tokens also trigger our Welcoming Vampire.

Wedding Announcement Card draw for attacking with 2 or more creatures you say?! We were gonna do that anyway! You make us creatures in a pinch? Sold!

Showdown of the Skalds Sometimes you just need to draw an obscene number of cards to get back into a game. Really good in match ups where we seem to get close but run out of steam, like when playing against any deck using The Meathook Massacre.


Other Cards and Budget Options

Lion Sash Art by Yongjae Choi
Lion Sash Art by Yongjae Choi

Here are some other cards that I tried and evaluated for you. Some were playable and some, not so much. Adjust for your collection to craft the version that works best for you, without blowing all your wild cards.

Intrepid Adversary Really neat card, but the three power means it doesn’t draw you cards off Vampire.

Lion Sash If graveyard strategies get popular, this will be a must have in the side.

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben What I like to do is make one art the main board copies and the other art the sideboard, that way I know which one I drew.

Elite Spelbinder Very powerful, and getting it back with Warsinger feels very good. It was the last cut from the list as the 3-drops are really tight.

Guardian of Faith Excellent sideboard card for dealing with any board wipes.

Priest of Ancient Lore Budget option. If the 3-drop slot wasn’t so crowded we would consider this.

Halvar, God of Battle The sword is nice, but too slow and expensive to keep equipping over and over.

Hofri Ghostforge Neat card for avoiding boardwipes and can buff our Warsinger, but is just too expensive for the list

Goldspan Dragon The Wandering Emperor This card is so powerful that I can’t fault you for wanting to fit it. I wanted to keep my curve a little lo- wait a second we’ve been down this street already…

Eiganjo Uprising I love this card, but it was too slow in testing. Good for other decks, but not this one.


Sideboard Guide

March of Otherworldly Light Art by Nils Hamm
March of Otherworldly Light Art by Nils Hamm

There are two Loyal Warhounds in the side. They always and only come in when you go second. They can replace any of your two-drops, but usually Goro-goro and Lizard Blades.

There is a Reidane, God of the Worthy in the side. It comes in against decks using Snow basics, and against decks with lots of spot removal.

There are two Cathar Commandos in the side. They come in when we see high priority artifacts and enchantments that we can’t win without removing. They are especially good when used along side Warsingers for their repeatability.

Against Aggro

INOUT
+2 Brutal Cathar-2 Cemetery Gatekeeper
+1 March of Otherworldly Light-1 Showdown of the Skalds

Against Control

INOUT
+2 Cemetery Gatekeeper-2 Brutal Cathar
+2 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben-2 Ogre-Head Helm
+2 Showdown of the Skalds-2 Welcoming Vampire
+1 Risona, Asari Commander-1 Reinforced Ronin

Tips and Tricks

Why does it seem like your deck is lacking identity? Does it want to go fast or slow? What even is midrange?

The midrange question of deck identity. Are we an aggro deck? I mean, we have lots of creatures and we want to get in under control decks (meaning we want to win before their strategy can stabilize the board and then start forcing us to play their game plan). However, we also have a lot of control elements like card draw engines and removal pieces, and want to go over the top of aggro decks (meaning we want to gain control of the board and use our bigger creatures to defeat their all out blitz). This is how midrange decks operate. They can be control or they can be aggro, depending on our opponents’ strategies. Keep this in mind because it is going to dictate everything we do from sideboarding, to tempo, to risk taking.

I’m struggling with the sideboard guide! There’s too much to think about.

I know it can be easier to just have a list of “I face x so I bring in y and take out z”, but not every deck can operate with that kind of concrete certainty. A huge part of this particular deck’s success is knowing the metagame and being able to adjust to it, and there are just too many decks out there right now. Some decks play with set rules like that, but others play more like jazz, where you have to improvise and adjust to what is going on around you.

Because of our variable strategy, we are one of the latter types of decks. We can’t have a concrete plan like that because our main strategy is to adjust and adapt to what beats our opponents deck. As such we need the ability to analyze what we are facing and come up with a game plan of how to best beat that with the tools we have.

To help you with this, think of the cards in this deck as packages. We have an anti-creature package in Skyclave Apparition and Brutal Cathar to use against strategies that want to win with creatures. We have a tax package with Thalia and Gatekeeper to let us slow our opponents down and shorten their clock. We have value packages built around Venerable Warsinger and Welcoming Vampire. So when adjust for the side, don’t adjust individual cards, adjust the packages you have to deal with you opponent’s strategy. Try not to leave half-packages in the deck as that will hurt our intended synergy.

For example, don’t pull out Welcoming Vampire without also removing Reinforced Ronin. They are meant to work together, so taking one out and leaving the other in means your using weaker cards without their upsides.

I keep losing to [insert deck here], how do I beat it?

The dreaded bad-matchup question. There are several philosophies for dealing with bad matchups, but before you decide on one, ask yourself how often you are facing it. If you see it a lot, you definitely need to dedicate some slots in your sideboard for it, and, depending on frequency, maybe even a mainboard slot. However, if its a bad match up that you don’t see very often, you might consider just taking the probable loss if you face it while leaving your sideboard more geared towards dealing with the decks you see most frequently.

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MonkeyInATopHat
MonkeyInATopHat
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