Have I written about a Boros deck before? That was the question I had to honestly ask myself as I reflected back on my two and a half years of writing for Hipsters while preparing today’s article. As I dove into my catalog of articles, I had to go all the way back to June of 2017, where I built Adriana, Captain of the Guard around Samurai tribal.

For all the lunch-table Magic I’ve played equipped with Boros, my affection for the color pair has never made the leap over to Commander. I think that partially came down to the fact that the color pair has historically lacked a lot of power in singleton. White and Red are great support colors, but often go limp without Green, Black, or Blue. Sorry Kristen, your guild hasn’t always gotten the toys it deserved.

But today I wanted to officially defend Boros, as they have a brand new legendary creature that offers something pretty fantastic in a year where Boros was finally getting some of the dust off of it with the printing of Feather, the Redeemed. This week, we’re of course talking about the Commander 2019 gem, Gerrard, Weatherlight Hero. What started off as a quest to find the most recursive and greedy deck I have developed in some time, revealed itself to be something much more. I hope the deck skeleton I present today can be further tuned into some awesome. Let’s redeem Boros.

Gerrard Capashen

Gerrard was the final product of Urza’s bloodline project, meaning his family line had been manipulated by the planeswalker Urza in order to create a perfect human who could stand against the Phyrexians. His story is long and winding through the lore of the early parts of Magic, from the time of Weatherlight through Apocalypse, ultimately leading to his death after the formation of the Legacy Weapon as a last-ditch effort to defeat the Phyrexians and kill Yawgmoth.

In his original incarnation as Gerrard Capashen, he is laughable. His abilities don’t really work together in any obvious way and his second ability is overcosted while activating at a cumbersome time. Admittedly, at the time it might have been viewed as too controlling by Wizards R&D; but since Crowd Favorites never took off, I’d be inclined to doubt it.

Gerrard, Weatherlight Hero on the other hand is a wonderful general with mounds of potential. We should have frankly known simply be the incredible art. Opening up space with a general with reasonable protection against board wipes is a great move, and gives Boros a distinct leg up, allowing for something other than combat to build around. Within this deck, planning on making use of as many creatures or artifacts that can be easily recurred with some of the best mass removal in our color identity. While not a by the books combo deck, I will also be sharing an interaction that could very well combo off to deliver a surprise victory through a method not expected of us.

Recursive Creatures

White and red as separate color identities have dug into recursion before—I really loved my experience with Feldon of the Third Path for example. But in terms of a general that fits both into its color identity, Gerrard, Weatherlight Hero is the first of its kind. The ability to mass recur two highly desired permanent types is very useful and I think the prospect of blending red and white creatures together is exciting.

Two of my original considerations were using Siege-Gang Commander and Cloudgoat Ranger to constantly cycle them in and out of the battlefield with Gerrard, fueled by something like Ashnod’s Altar. But as time went on, while fun, this too quickly transitioned into a Purphoros, God of the Forge deck with access to White. Instead, I would like to play a more midrange game, gaining advantages through creatures like Solemn Simulacrum and Burnished Hart to sculpt wins without coming off as an undeniable threat.

By extension, classic recursion creatures like Reveillark and Karmic Guide should gain extra utility, as they can be sacrificed to the aforementioned Ashnod’s Altar or Brion Stoutarm in response to a wrath effect. But possibly the most synergistic card for this deck is going to be Kuldotha Forgemaster. Not only will it find whatever artifacts we’re looking for as we grind out our game, but we can get our sacrificed artifacts back immediately. The fun of this deck then becomes that our opponents have to exhaust their resources just to keep the number of creatures available to us at a minimum.

Recursive Artifacts

The other half of Gerrard’s ability is his interaction with recursive artifacts that gain us the card advantage Boros has sorely needed. Artifacts that accrue value either as they enter/leave the battlefield such as Ichor Wellspring or Pilgrim’s Eye are going to be especially valuable here. What I had not considered before doing a deep dive into this list was the power of card of mana rocks like Mind Stone or Boros Locket, which draw us a card when their mana loses value or as a signal that we plan to wipe the board this turn. By focusing on mana rocks, it also means that we’re dipping into mana acceleration, something already Boros wanted due to it’s disappointing card advantage historically. All of this sent me down the rabbit hole to Wayfarer’s Bauble and even Guild Globe of all things.

All these creatures and artifacts entering the battlefield en masse got me thinking about a strategy I would not have tried to enable in White/Red: mill. You see, with the power of Altar of the Brood we can, if nothing else, rip apart our opponent’s library in rapid chunks. I’m not sure if I would hinge everything on getting Altar into play alongside Genesis Chamber before a big recursion, but it’s frankly the kind of thing I would like to say I did at least once. And with that, we had the germ of an idea that could act as our secondary win condition.

Adding Redundancy

If we’re going to be stringing together a possible combo, we need to outline a few alternatives for simulating Gerrard’s effect in case he ends up enchanted by Lignify or expertly Mind Controlled. The list of cards as I see it is pretty limited, though I think the printing of Gerrard, Weatherlight Hero is a sign that this design space is on Wizards’ mind. With a more inclusive list of things to recur, Second Sunrise is a nice alternative, especially if Hushbringer gains any popularity. In a similar fashion, Faith’s Reward can help us rebuild from just about any wrath effect. And since we’re desperate for redundancy, Brought Back is a great card if we produce the additional two-card combos for it to target.

Simulating Gerrard’s effects are not going to be enough though, especially if we are in fact going to bend our strategy around combo pieces. This is where White and Red’s interactions with artifacts can be very fruitful. Valuable tutors like Enlightened Tutor, Goblin Engineer, and Kuldotha Forgemaster come to mind first, but recursion like Argivian Archaeologist or Trash for Treasure are going to be able to act as redundancy for Gerrard as well.

Burning It All to the Bedrock

So we have the creatures, artifacts, spells to keep our board immune to our opponents’ board wipes. But we obviously want to be packing our own world ending spells, as what was once balanced is now disproportionately weighted in our favor. Cleaning up the board is something Boros has covered on the regular, but the thought of stacking a deck list with Cataclysmic Gearhulk, Cataclysm, and Tragic Arrogance, only to keep have bigger guns like Obliterate and Bearer of the Heavens in our back pocket has me really excited.

Most Commander decks should already be packing Nevinyrral’s Disk, but here we can double up on our value if we have our general out or Second Sunrise waiting in our hand. Austere Command can be played with zero concern for losing our own board presence most of the time. At the end of the day, we just want to have a high saturation of board wipes and I think the last one we want to keep in mind is Hour of Revelation. This board wipe is underrated and often forgotten when it plays so well into multiplayer formats, here is no different.

I have not always been a big fan of Boros; but as I look at all the buzz Commander 2019 has been getting, I think one of the overlooked generals that will hopefully be remembered fondly is Gerrard. In a set where the theme was all about keywords, he came not playing into any themes. With some incredible Zack Stella art and a brand new direction for an overlooked guild, my hope is that we will all be reminiscing in a year about how we should have been building around him sooner. Until next time, thanks for reading.

Ryan Sainio is a Graphic Designer who writes about EDH and the EDH community. He has been playing Magic: The Gathering since 7th Edition in 2002 and values flavorful and fun gameplay over competitively optimized decks.

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