Before I get into discussing this deck, I wanted to give a brief sidebar, an update from the Main Cave over here at Strictly Place. As some of you may have noticed, I haven’t been active on the content side; this isn’t only the case for content but pretty much everything gaming and fun related. Last year I was forced to take an unexpected break from buying/selling, interacting with patrons, and writing content due to a medical issue combined with other personal matters. In this time, the team has done an amazing job of keeping the ball rolling. As I return with my own brand of content I will do my best not to step on the toes of the amazing creators we have. I have missed you all, and look forward to sharing some insights to the mind of an Average old madman.
Heya friends, it’s me, Big Papa Strictly. I’m here to talk a bit about Standard and my current pet deck. A few weeks back, Scott and Joe (two of the big forces behind the success of this site) were looking for a Standard player to join them in Cincinnati for the SCG Team Open at the end of March. After some finagling and trip planning, I was able to make it work. Thus began my journey to learn the Standard format.
During my reading and research, I stumbled across an article by my MTG Spirit Animal, Craig Wescoe. He was covering, in his words, The Three Best White Aggressive Decks in Standard. When I first came back to playing MTG around Born of the Gods, Craig’s articles are what got me interested in playing at a higher level, and I love to play his aggro builds. Yes, I completely blame Craig for all of the hate I got from my locals for playing Azorius Heroic. Within his article, one deck that really jumped out at me was the Boros 2.0 list originally piloted by Zastoparikus.
Admittedly, at first glance, I thought this deck was a meme, but I couldn’t resist taking it for a test drive. After completing my first league at 4-1, with no previous practice with the deck or the format, I realized this deck wasn’t bad. Who would have thought that a Legion Warboss popping out 4/4 angels, or casting a Heroic Reinforcements with Divine Visitation on board was a thing that could happen consistently in this standard format?
This deck proved to be super fast; Legion’s Landing flips consistently on turn 3, with the help of a low curve and cards like Legion Warboss. The Lava Coil in the main board is super clutch (I’m looking at you Seraph of the Scales and Rekindling Phoenix). Tocatli Honor Guard does a great job hosing explore creatures, and other problem creatures your opponents control, namely Hostage Taker and Goblin Chainwhirler.
The sideboard seems solid, with what I feel is one exception. I dislike taking up a slot for The Immortal Sun. I’ve played this deck both hyper-aggressively and fairly conservatively with Lyra Dawnbringer and Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice out of the sideboard. I never really found a situation where I needed the 6 mana artifact to win the game.
During my league play, I learned that a lot of people were not prepared for Divine Visitation + anything else in this deck during game 1. The current meta is so skewed to beat other decks that I found myself stealing game 1 during a lot of my matches. This allowed me to win many matches that I am probably poorly favored in, as I would side out my visitations after mauling the opponent game 1, and just aggro them out game 2. They were letting my Legion’s Landing and History of Benalia run all over them because they were saving enchantment hate for a card that was now in my sideboard. Divine Visitation is the kind of gimmick that no one wants to lose two games in a row too.
Since first building this list on MTGO, I have logged a minimum of 18 leagues, with over half being this deck, and the other half being me testing other decks so I could understand how they work. I was confident enough to build this one in paper, and test it at a local event. With my closest LGS recently closing its doors, I headed over to The Mighty Meeple about an hour from me, for some Standard FNM. I like going here because some of the local grinders hang out alongside some random appearances from local Tour players. I can usually expect a fairly competitive turnout. This event did not disappoint, with a 22+ person standard FNM.
After a long break from paper magic, I was reminded that owning cards can be an issue; it is not as easy as opening a ManaTraders account and renting whatever deck I want. My Lyra Dawnbringer‘s and one of my Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants didn’t arrive in time for the event, and apparently Tocatli Honor Guards were sold out everywhere local. I was forced to make some last minute changes, and test out some other cards in the 75. This is the list I went to battle with.
The biggest change to the mainboard was playing Goblin Instigator over the Honor Guard, and I wasn’t terribly disappointed with its performance at the event. I ended the night with a 3-0-1 record, officially splitting the last round which we played out for fun after the fact. This was the only matchup where I missed having the full complement of Tocatli Honor Guards as my opponent was playing a RB aggro variant with Goblin Chainwhirler and Siege-Gang Commander. This matchup did go to three games, and game 3 was super close. But it would have been no contest if the spots where I drew Instigator, I had drawn Honor Guards. During Game 2, I drew into a shock land while holding a Heroic Reinforcements in hand. If I didn’t win here, I would have lost to a Rekindling Phoenix on his next attack. I chose to shock myself to 2 life, leaving me open to death to a burn spell (spoiler, he didn’t have one) and was able to activate Legion’s Landing’s token generation, and then cast Reinforcements, giving me a large enough hasty army to win.
The rest of the changes I made to this deck were merely to test out certain cards and see if they were worthy of sideboard slots; although good at times, there was nothing else exciting about the changes I made. I will be doing more refining of this list and changing slightly as I decide if I am going to go to battle with it at the team event, and will work on a full sideboard guide if this deck continues to perform the way I want it to.
In my next article, I will cover how I have adapted this deck for play on MTGArena, and the results I have found.
Until Then, Be Kind to each other,
Jeremy aka “Strictly Average” is an ‘average’ guy with ‘average’ plans. He is the creator and overboss of Strictly Average Gaming, which includes the Patreon group and StrictlyAverageMTG.com