Boros: Rally and Rout
|“||Lay down the law with a martial force led by the zealous Boros Legion. Attack with waves of battle-trained soldiers backed by aggressive support magic. Outwit the other guilds and you'll stand alone on the glorious field of battle.||”|
|“||The Boros Legion marches in lockstep across the battlefield. Individually, the troops are disciplined and capable. As a unit, the battalion is nearly unstoppable. The "Rally and Rout" deck hits the ground running with cheap, aggressive creatures. But your assault really kicks into overdrive once you assemble a squad of three or more creatures. At that point, every attack is an overwhelming military exercise. Once your ground troops have softened up your opponent, your battery of long-range burn spells is more than adequate to finish the job.
The battalion mechanic is the newest addition to the Boros arsenal. Whenever you attack with three or more creatures, many of them will get powerful bonuses. Boros Elite transforms from minor annoyance to game-ending threat, and Firefist Striker can force through loads of damage by making your opponent's best creature unable to block.
Your major goal is to attack with three or more creatures as early and as often as possible, and your deck features a number of cards that support that initiative. Token makers like Gather the Townsfolk and Sunhome Guildmage provide multiple creatures with one card, which makes it much easier to maintain critical mass. Hasty creatures are surprise attackers that can quickly change the math in your favor. With a combination of haste and flying, Skyknight Legionnaire excels at attacking turn after turn.
The non-creature spells in the deck are flexible tools for maximizing your assault. Low-cost burn spells like Pillar of Flame and Searing Spear take out key blockers early on. Later, when the battlefield is crowded with blockers, you're better off pointing your damage spells directly at your opponent's life total. Similarly, Boros Charm can protect your creatures from mass removal spells or it can finish off an opponent as his or her life total dwindles.
When sideboarding, pinpoint the biggest challenge your enemy is throwing at you, then attack it with the appropriate option. If he or she is playing a slower deck with a few tough-to-kill threats, Bonds of Faith can empower one of your many Humans to end the game before your opponent's creature makes an appearance or can neutralize it once it does. War Priest of Thune can liberate your army from enchantments like Oblivion Ring or Detention Sphere. Thunderous Wrath is a big cannon shot that will take huge chunks out of your opponent's life total.
Once you're familiar with the "Rally and Rout" deck, tailor your army for unrivaled battlefield superiority. If you prefer assembling a massive army and overwhelming your opponent on all fronts, check out cards like Geist-Honored Monk from Innistrad or Assemble the Legion from Gatecrash. If you'd prefer addressing opposing threats directly, try Firemane Avenger from Gatecrash. It's a 3/3 flier that can deal 3 damage to a target each time it attacks with a squad, proving that sometimes the best defense is a good offense..
Simic: Thrive and Thrash
|“||The Simic Combine has no qualms about pushing the limits of life. Take command of its unrestrained ambition to engineer monstrous minions fueled by abundant mana. Let your creations loose at your enemy's microscopic army. It's feeding time.||”|
|“||The Simic Combine has a new agenda for a new era: reclaim the recently uncovered seas and then restore the Ravnican wilderness. The "Thrive and Thrash" deck opens the game with a focused effort to quickly develop its available mana. Once you've assembled massive amounts of mana generation, follow through with gigantic monsters and game-winning spells. Your opponents will be helpless against the sheer power of your late-game plays.
While your opponent hopefully slogs along at one more mana a turn, your deck provides you some powerful tools to get ahead. Arbor Elf, Farseek, and Verdant Haven can each provide one additional mana. And if Verdant Haven is enchanting a Forest, your Arbor Elves get that much better. You'll be casting your more expensive creatures while your opponents are stuck in the mud.
Remember that your deck's strength lies in its late game, so don't panic if you take some damage early. In time, you'll have excellent measures for keeping the battlefield under control. Thragtusk and Acidic Slime provide spell-like effects when they enter the battlefield and then play defense, taking away your opponent's advantageous attack plans. Ground Assault is a cheap removal spell that gets more powerful the more lands you have. If you consistently develop your mana, you won't stay on the defensive for very long.
Your deck is primed to make sure your last few turns are overwhelming. The massive Gruul Ragebeast fights another creature as soon as it hits the battlefield. On top of that, this Beast lets all your creatures fight when they enter the battlefield. It's an onslaught of blows your opponent will be hard-pressed to withstand. Sphinx of Uthuun is a 5/6 flier that refills your hand, ensuring that the hits keep coming. Deadeye Navigator's strength isn't as obvious, but it can be dominant once you master its nuances. If it's paired, you can blink the Navigator itself or the creature it's paired with for only . This lets you dodge incoming removal spells, lets you reuse any "enter the battlefield" abilities, or lets the Navigator pair with a different creature any time you want. That's enormous flexibility for a low, low price.
Your sideboard is filled with specialized defensive options. If your opponent storms out of the gate with cheap, aggressive creatures, bring in Flames of the Firebrand to dismantle his or her early assault. Dissipate and Negate are key against slower decks that don't apply early pressure but instead rely on a few powerful spells to win the game. Naturalize is a great choice against powerful artifacts and enchantments.
You can improve the "Thrive and Thrash" in a few different ways. The splash of red cards is powerful but vulnerable if you can't reliably find red mana. Shore this up with the "dual lands" Steam Vents and Stomping Grounds. These powerful lands give you greater mana diversity and work very well with Farseek. Need some more defense? Bonfire of the Damned from Avacyn Restored is a sweeping removal spell that gets more powerful the more mana you have. Finally, check out new options for your late game, including Craterhoof Behemoth from Avacyn Restored, Sphinx's Revelation from Return to Ravnica, or Omniscience from the Magic 2013 core set.
2 Fog Bank