Standard Lorehold Aggro Deck Guide

In my opinion, synergy is power. Cards need to feed off each other to reach their potential. Rarely do we see cards so powerful that they end a game on their own as soon as they are cast (LOOKING AT YOU UGIN!!!!). All jokes aside, prior to Strixhaven, Naya Adventures was the closest we seen to this synergistic play approach. When Naya first showed up, the deck was spread far too thin attempting to gain value from Edgewall Innkeeper, Showdown of the Skalds, The Great Henge, and still slam a powerful Embercleave and ride it to victory.

This led me to write an article a long while ago which can be found here:

In this article I discussed the weaknesses of the Naya Adventures deck and why it fell from grace and how I would solve the issue by going Boros or I guess “Lorehold” now. Shortly after, we seen a new Naya deck. One that was far more focused and only looked to abuse the Adventure package and Showdown of the Skalds for advantage.

This list was better by miles, but I still felt as though the deck was trying too hard to force Naya to the point where it was only really playing two green cards in the main, Edgewall Innkeeper and Lovestruck Beast. The sideboard usually only had a few copies of Klothys, God of Destiny as the only green card. These are powerful, but I do not think the addition of three cards is worth a shaky mana base. You could go the more midrange style Naya with Jaspera Sentinel to smooth over the mana, but I feel “meh” at best on that version of the deck.

Thankfully Strixhaven has stepped in and gave us some new toys to help solidify “Boros” or “Lorehold” as the dominant Showdown of the Skalds deck, with a Spirit subtheme!

031 Strixhaven Spoiler Card
Stonebinder’s Familiar

The first new card I want to discuss is Stonebinder’s Familiar. This card does not look like much on the surface, but when you realize that it gets a +1/+1 counter whenever you exile a Bonecrusher Giant for its Adventure, or remove a threat with Skyclave Apparition, or when you resolve a Showdown of the Skalds, it gets much better. A one drop with potential to be a 4/4 or a 5/5 on its own is hard to pass up.

Hofri Ghostforge > Nightmare Shepherd
Hofri Ghostforge > Nightmare Shepherd

Next, we have Hofri Ghostforge. We have seen how powerful Nightmare Shepherd is in fringe decks for a while, but it has never broken through to be a real contender. This is a straight up better version in almost every way.

Not only does Hofri have 1 more toughness so it can block or attack into threats such as Torbran, Thane of Red Fell, the creatures that die while Hofri is in play comeback with their base power and toughness and become spirits, so they get the +1/+1 Trample and Haste that Hofri provides. This works wonderfully with Selfless Savior, allowing to save multiple cards, and powers up the spirits we are already playing. Notice that the creature gets exiled, so it also triggers Stonebinder’s Familiar. It is just perfect for what this deck wants to do. I cannot really think of a better card to play versus non-exile-based sweepers and removal.

266 Furycalm Snarl Strixhaven Spoiler Card
Furycalm Snarl

Finally, we have Furycalm Snarl, a passable dual land. This will make the mana much more consistent and powerful since it can come into play untapped and will not hinder our aggressive strategy.

The Deck

Putting it all together, this is the list I ended up with and was quite happy with.

 

Creatures (35)
4
Selfless Savior
4
Stonebinder's Familiar
4
Usher of the Fallen
4
Clarion Spirit
4
Luminarch Aspirant
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Elite Spellbinder
4
Skyclave Apparition
3
Hofri Ghostforge
Spells (1)
1
Shatterskull Smashing
Enchantments (4)
4
Showdown of the Skalds
Lands (20)
1
Castle Ardenvale
4
Furycalm Snarl
1
Mountain
4
Needleverge Pathway
10
Plains
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Reidane, God of the Worthy
3
Drannith Magistrate
3
Glass Casket
3
Rip Apart
2
Phoenix of Ash
2
Ox of Agonas

This is solid and I love it. I honestly have trouble editing it since I have already cut so much fat off the deck, that I feel like any changes take away too much from somewhere else.

Cards Not in the Deck

246 Venerable Warsinger Strixhaven Spoiler Card
Venerable Warsinger

Oh, how I wanted to play this card so badly. It was the last card I ended up cutting because it was just so agonizingly slow. If the meta shifted to make this card more playable I would in a heartbeat. As it stands, it is just too easily handled by better 3-drops like Lovestruck Beast that make it impossible for Warsinger to do work. But the potential is there, just not in this meta.

199 Lorehold Command Strixhaven Spoiler Card
Lorehold Command

I also love this card, but I think its home is in a midrange or control deck. The second mode is wonderful but being a 5-drop makes it far to slow, and all the best sweepers exile anyway.

Quintorius, Field Historia
Quintorius, Field Historia

I love this thing, but no… Its ability is too specific and it doesn’t help when you are behind and needs other cards to be effective. Plus being a 5-drop destroys it.

Lorehold Excavation
Lorehold Excavation

I love this card versus midrange or control decks, but the randomness of it makes it unreliable. Making a 3/2 is grand, but I would still play Roiling Vortex over it.

Playing the Deck

Early game you should use your best judgement on what to lead on if you have the option between Stonebinder’s Familiar and Usher of the Fallen. Leading on Usher is usually safe, but you can lead on Familiar when you see that you can curve out playing a Bonecrusher Giant’s Stomp on a creature, then follow it up with a Skyclave Apparition for maximum value while getting its counters.

When it comes to the two drops, you can usually play the Luminarch Aspirant if you fear mass removal as it builds up damage fast and makes threats without over-extending, then follow up with Clarion Spirit after the sweeper. But if you have no fear of said sweeper, then I love getting Clarion online so I can begin to build my board.

Turn three is just whatever you have available. If you have a troublesome blocker, slam the Apparition. Don’t be afraid to cast Bonecrusher without casting its Adventure first. It is fine. But there are some situations where I will sandbag a Elite Spellbinder to maximize my chances of taking something good and ruining my opponent’s game plan, such as waiting for them to hit six mana before slamming it to snipe an Ultimatum versus those decks or the turn before a deck can slam Ugin.

Tips and Tricks

  • If you control Hofri, you can sacrifice Selfless Savior pre-combat. Hofri will bring back Selfless Savior as a 2/2 with trample and haste, this can be a neat combat trick.
  • Also, if you have Hofri, you can Stomp a creature to bring it back as a bigger creature. I have done this with a Clarion Spirit to make it a 3/3 and make a 2/2 flier to end the game, dealing 1 more point of damage than if I just cast the Stomp.

Matchups and Sideboard Guide

Rip Apart Art by Anna Podedworna
Rip Apart Art by Anna Podedworna

Sultai

InOut
+3 Drannith Magistrate-4 Skyclave Apparition
+2 Reidane, God of the Worthy-1 Bonecrusher Giant

This match up is a grind. Showdown is our best weapon to refuel. I cut Skyclave Apparition because it just does not have that many good targets early on. At best it snipes a Wolfwillow Haven, there are just better things to do. I trim one Bonecrusher Giant because he is just a big beater in this matchup. I bring in Magistrate since it stops Emergent Ultimatum, a foretold Alrund's Epiphany and an Escaped Polukranos, Unchained. Reidane slows down their big mana value spells and can usually buy you a turn in a pinch.

Dimir Rogues

InOut
+2 Pheonix of Ash-3 Hofri Ghostforge
+2 Ox of Agonas-4 Usher of the Fallen
+3 Rip Apart-1 Showdown of the Skalds
+3 Glass Casket-2 Bonecrusher Giant

Oh Rogues, how I despise thee. This in my opinion is the designated fun police of the format. Good news is, this matchup is no worse for us than any other deck except Mono Red. When boarding we cut Hofri as he is just too slow against this deck. Usher lines up poorly against every creature in their deck so there is 0 reason to keep it in. I then trim 1 Showdown and 2 Bonecrusher to help smooth our curve so we can be a bit more consent. Bonecrusher is “fine” and can be decent removal. But I do not want to lose too much of the refueling ability of Showdown.

Mono Red Aggro

InOut
+3 Rip Apart-3 Hofri Ghostforge
+2 Reidane, God of the Worthy-4 Usher of the Fallen
+3 Glass Casket-1 Showdown of the Skalds

Mono Red does Mono Red things. Sometimes they curve out like crazy, slam an Embercleave and it is over and there is nothing any deck can do. But this isn’t always the case, and we look to bring in cards to slow them down and make them play a fair game. Hofri is just way to slow. Usher lines up poorly vs their threats and then I trim 1 Showdown as drawing multiple when you are not ahead is a death sentence.

We bring in Rip Apart as more removal and a way to get rid of Embercleave. Even at sorcery speed I think this is passable. Reidane shows down their lands and can potentially show down an Embercleave. Also, the artifact side of Reidane can make combat or removing our threats horrible for them, so keep that in mind. Glass Casket is just great removal for Anax, Hardened in the Forge since it exiles.

Wrapping Up

This has been a fun update on one of my favorite decks I have done. If you love Showdown or just the advantage aggro playstyle then I think you should check this deck out. It checks a lot of my boxes for being a contender.

As always, you can subscribe to my YouTube and follow me on Twitch for more content and decks. If you wish to help support my content directly, consider looking at my Patreon. All those links as well as my social media will be listed below. 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!

14 Responses

  1. Kevin says:

    This is great! I love Hofri as my commander and this looks like a great deck for him in standard!

    • Austin Peters says:

      I affectionately call him “THE HOFF” cause you don’t hassle The Hoff!!! Thanks for reading and I hope it works well for you!

  2. Top deck jesus says:

    You are my favorite author on mtgazone keep up the good work

  3. Noxie says:

    Some good ideas and for the most part the deck looks solid, but 21 lands in a deck that really want to hit 4 and 5 lands on turn is way to few. This kind of deck should run 24 lands or even more with some MDFCs.

    • Austin Peters says:

      Hm, I never had a problem making the land drops. If you calculate the average CMC of the deck it comes to 2.3 counting Bonecrusher Giant as a 2-drop and 2.435 if you count it as a 3-drop. So I think it could be 23 if you wanted to be safe. But the difference in 21 and 24 lands in guaranteeing three lands on turn 3 is only about 3% and 5% for four lands by turn 4. Personally I don’t feel the need to cut anything for such a small percentage, especially considering that by turn four I am rarely desperate to cast my Showdowns. But if you wanted to play safer you could add lands and I wouldn’t blame someone for it. Thanks for reading!

  4. fatninjuh@yahoo.co says:

    Just a friendly fyi, Drannith Magistrate only affects your opponents.

    • Austin Peters says:

      You are correct! Good eye. I always forget it is not a static ability. Good thing there is rarely ever a need to play them with the escape card. I will alert the editors and have it fixed! Thanks for reading!

  5. gpr says:

    any results to back this up?

    • Austin says:

      Yep! There is a video at the beginning of the article where I run it through a standard event. I also play the deck sometimes on Twitch so you can see it in action live. Check it out! Thanks for reading!

  6. Drik says:

    just played this 4 games and got manascrewed in all of them. 21 lands isn’t enough

  7. Bob Paulson says:

    This is a cool and creative deck but feels worse than Winota in every way. After rotation in the fall it’s going to be a lot stronger archetype.

  8. Jeremy says:

    Would Maul of the Skyclaves have a place in the deck? It could help a Warsinger hit more often

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