The Boros Legion's Last Hurrah?
Hello, and welcome back to Conditions Allow, the article series where I take a legendary creature with a drawback and turn it into a strength. With Strixhaven here, we're getting a new interpretation of half of the two color pairings. The red-white pair, Lorehold, is particularly exciting because it fulfills a request many players have had for some time: commanders that don't just care about the combat step. But is that a fair accusation for Boros commanders? And is it really a doomed strategy in EDH? In order to find out, let's build around the Boros Legion's leader herself: EDH!
her EDHREC page. Multicolored creatures like and are solid aggressive creatures that can help scale into the mid-game with mentor. The problem is that and aren't very good cards. Additionally, Aurelia can only buff them to four power with mentor, over the course of multiple turns. Instead of focusing on pure damage output, I want to find more creative ways to use the +1/+1 counters creates.is all about the combat step, which is reflected by the cards that appear on
Count On Me
Boros isn't usually thought of as a color that interacts with +1/+1 counters, but white certainly is. This year gave us bothand , which reward us when a creature with counters on it dies. This helps to blunt the impact of board wipes, and lets us circumvent one of the inherent drawbacks of the mentor mechanic. Once a creature becomes too big for Aurelia to mentor, you can sacrifice it, create a token, and keep attacking. Once you have a steady flow of +1/+1 counters, will save any fallen counters to place on Aurelia. She can then make your other creatures even bigger, or eventually win with commander damage.
You don't have to lose access to the creatures you sacrifice, either.and fit into any deck running white, but focusing on counters opens up additional reanimation effects. is a cheaper that you have to activate preemptively. For more explosive plays, is very, very good with +1/+1 counters. Not only does the Cauldron return your creatures directly to play, but and can immediately remove some of the -1/-1 counters that come with persist as they enter the battlefield. Add in and your creatures will never stay dead for long.
Assembling the Legion
Of course, your primary source of +1/+1 counters is going to beherself. Mentor can only target another attacking creature, so you're going to need to play creatures that are easy to attack with.
and are both perfect creatures to play in this deck. They're both cheap, naturally have evasion, and can sacrifice themselves for a powerful ability. If you can't find to protect your creatures, recurring can be even better. It even protects your creature tokens. , , and are also recur-able utility spells. Each of these four creatures can also sacrifice themselves. This is important in a deck with so many moving parts. Instead of having to find both a sacrifice outlet and a good creature, you get both on a single card.
Most importantly, all of those creatures have a base power and toughness less than two.needs you to play small creatures that she can target with mentor. Even better, and can search up just about any creature in your deck. Need to draw some cards? Grab with , or go straight for . Need to keep the pressure up? and are strong draw engines too, while provides extra mana every time she attacks. is a good late-game option, spreading one +1/+1 counter from Aurelia to every creature you control.
White is also very good at resurrecting small creatures.is a staple for good reason, but this deck can also make good use of . I'm not going to include , for the sake of keeping the creature curve low, but it's definitely worth considering. In a deck playing this many creatures with one toughness, it might be a better pick than .
Dying on Your Terms
Despite its aggressive bend, this is an aristocrats deck. And no aristocrats deck would be complete without sacrifice outlets.is perfect, as it allows us to sacrifice to re-trigger its enter-the-battlefield effect, and generate creature tokens. is a source of card advantage, helping you dig for vital cards. Finally, to help pay for all of the activated and triggered abilities in the deck, converts any extra tokens into mana.
Another method to kill your own creatures is to attack with them.puts a +1/+1 counter on a creature when she attacks alongside it, so and can safely pluck it out of the graveyard if it is blocked and killed. Most of the time, though, you'll prefer your creatures survive combat. plucks your creatures out of combat before they can be killed, or untaps them at the end of combat to simulate vigilance. actually grants vigilance, while preventing combat damage to attacking creatures. Finally, keeps your creatures alive and makes them harder to block. Not only does this let you attack with impunity, it helps with the goal of ultimately winning through combat damage.
Aurelia Mentor EDH
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For a commander that supposedly only cares about attacking,seems really cool. Forcing you to attack to create +1/+1 counters avoids some of the durdlier play patterns that Simic and Sultai decks can fall in to. In order to get the extra value from sacrificing creatures, you have to be attacking and moving the game forward. As someone who constantly forgets that the combat step even exists, the reminder that combat is good and needed is much appreciated.
Let me know what you think. If you've played with Aurelia, what cards have stood out for you? Is it really possible to win with? Let me know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!