How to Get Card Advantage in Boros? Voltron Upgrades for Wyleth, Soul of Steel By Shawn Wasserman
How to Get Card Advantage in Boros? Voltron Upgrades for Wyleth, Soul of Steel
Try not to mill yourself when you upgrade this Boros commander’s precon deck!
Author: Shawn Wasserman
Boros will always have a special place in my heart. But given the ubiquity of EDH, and the color pair's limitations within that format—due to the format's card draw and ramp focus—I didn't see myself playing Boros any time soon.
However, with this human warrior at the helm of a Voltron deck, I'm sure to become the archenemy of plenty of commander play groups!
But, before that is possible, this precon deck needed to get a little more spicy. Let me explain.
Come the Legend of Boros Voltron
The first step to optimizing this commander is to boost its consistency. To that end, I prefer to use equipment rather than auras. Most auras open you up to a two-for-one, or worse, if you have multiple auras on a creature—aka the whole point of Voltron. Everytime someone flickers, bounces, exiles or kills my commander, the auras go to the graveyard and I’m at square one.
Equipment is much harder for opponents to deal with. To balance this, they have a cost to equip which reduces player tempo. To eliminate this tempo loss, I suggest adding the following creatures:
- Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist, Auriok Windwalker, Halvar, God of Battle to attach equipment to Wyleth or any other creature
- Armory Automaton, Kazuul’s Toll Collector as backup creatures to attach equipment to
Sigarda’s Aid, which is already in the precon, can also help to reduce the cost to equip.
Another way to add consistency is to ensure you can get access to the equipment you want when you need it. To tutor your equipment, add these creatures to the deck:
- Stoneforge Mystic
- Steelshaper Apprentice
- Taj-Nar Swordsmith
- Stonehewer Giant
- Godo, Bandit Warlord
- Quest for the Holy Relic
- Hoarding Dragon
For an artifact that can tutor artifacts and creature cards, also consider Skyship Weatherlight.
Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients, is an auto-include planeswalker in this build. Not only will she help you dig for equipment, she can also create tokens you can attach equipment to for free.
An added benefit to focusing on creatures to perform these tutor and equip tasks is that you have plenty of equip targets for when Wyleth is MIA in the command zone.
To that end, Brass Squire and Relic Seeker are already included in your precon deck. Be sure to keep the first creature to equip, and the second to tutor. Also, consider keeping Tiana, Ship’s Caretaker from your precon deck, as she brings equipment back to your hand from the graveyard.
More and more Boros Card Draw
To completely break Wyleth’s card draw ability, do your best to get Toggo, Goblin Weaponsmith and Bloodforged Battle-Axe into play. These cards will add free equipment tokens to the board on most turns. The more equipment on Wyleth, the deeper you can draw into your deck.
In fact, card draw could get so out of hand, that you might want to add some ‘no maximum hand size’ cards to your deck. As an added plus, adding these to a Boros deck will be a nice brag. Some suggestions include:
- Venser’s Journal to gain life at each upkeep
- Thought Vessel to add some ramp
- Spellbook for a free to cast card
- Reliquary Tower to have this ability on a land
- Library of Leng to protect yourself from discard effects
- Anvil of Bogardan if you want to add a very pricy hug to your deck
Speaking about equipment, Mask of Memory and Rogue’s Gloves are also cards to consider. Each time the creature using these equipment does combat damage to a player, you’re rewarded with card advantage. Sword of Fire and Ice gives you even more advantage, and can hit any target for 2, but it’s a very expensive include.
Don’t forget, Sram, Senior Edificer. He is already in your precon deck, so be sure to keep him around for the added card draw. Puresteel Paladin is a similar card, it lets you draw a card whenever equipment enters the battlefield and its metalcraft ability grants equipment Equip 0.
Humble Defector is an interesting option to consider. By tapping it on your turn you can draw two cards. However, this ability transfers control of the creature to a target opponent—which isn’t ideal. Here’s the catch, if you have a sacrifice ability in play (more on that later) you can hold priority and kill the Defector while keeping your draw on the stack.
Finally, the precon deck includes Sunforger which is a powerful equipment that can gain you card advantage by tutoring for instants. Though it works well in a Wyleth deck, it works even better in the build mentioned in the blog: Is Boros Powerful Again? The Force of Velomachus Lorehold, the Sunforger.
Boros Ramp and Mana Combos Aren’t that Hard to Pull Off
Boros is well known for being weak on mana, and if you want to attach your equipment quickly you will need access to a lot of it. Equipment that can help you ramp include:
- Explorer’s Scope which is already in the precon deck
- Dowsing Dagger which transforms into a land
- Prying Blade and Goldvein Pick which add treasure to the board
Sword of Feast and Famine is an expensive include option. Each time its creature does damage to a player, that player discards a card and you untap all your lands.
But what about an infinite mana combo for those Johnny, Jenny, and Jacky players? The first piece of your combo will be the equipment Nim Deathmantle. The important bit on this card reads that whenever a nontoken creature is put into your graveyard from the battlefield, you may pay 4 to bring it back and attach Nim to it.
I’m sure the gears are already turning. But, if you can’t see it yet, check out Composite Golem. Though Wyleth EDH players can’t play this golem, due to the identity rule, it perfectly illustrates how the combo works. By sacrificing the golem, you get one mana of every color. You then use 4 of that mana to attach Nim Deathmantle to it and bring it back from the graveyard. And there we go, this blog just showed you a bonus two card infinite mana combo for WUBRG players.
For this Wyleth build, however, this combo gets a bit trickier. First you will need a sacrifice outlet like Ashnod’s Altar, that gains you 2 mana, and Phyrexian Altar, that nets you one mana of any color. That’s a little shy of the 5 you need to go infinite, but for now, it’s a good outlet for Humble Defector.
To net you that extra mana, you will need to sacrifice creatures that add mana when they enter or leave the battlefield. Examples that can go infinite in this setup include:
- Dockside Extortionist which enters with X treasures equal to the number of artifacts and enchantments opponents control
- Cathodion adds 3 when it dies
- Su-Chi adds 4 when it dies, but it costs a pretty penny
If you can find other combo pieces, comment below.
Game Ending Equipment
There is no shortage of game ending equipment in magic. However, my favourites for this build are Empyrial Plate and Diviner’s Wand. The plate gives its wearer +1/+1 for every card in your hand while the wand gives a creature +1/+1 for each card you draw in a turn. I don’t know about you, but I think there is nothing funnier than winning a game of commander, while playing Boros, with 20 cards in hand.
Sword of War and Peace is another expensive option with a similar effect. When it’s creature does damage to a player, it damages that player equal to the number of cards in their hand. Meanwhile, you gain life equal to the number of cards in your hand. This isn’t necessarily game ending, but it is hilarious.
As for equipment that you’ll see in a lot of Voltron builds, here are some more game ending suggestions:
- Sigil of Distinction is an X mana cost equipment that give your commander +X/+X
- Bonehoard gives +X/+X where X is the number of creatures in all graveyards
- Colossus Hammer gives +10/+10
- Argentum Armor gives +6/+6 and destroys any target each attack cycle
- Surestrike Trident sneaks in 21 commander damage, at instant speed, on many turns
- Golem-Skin Gauntlets or Bearded Axe pumps your commander with equipment payoffs
- Armory of Iroas and Banshee’s Blade continuously pumps your commander
- Grafted Exoskeleton wins with poison counters
- Embercleave gives your commander double strike at instant speed
- Elbrus, the Binding Blade summons a 13/13 demon with flying, intimidate and trample that gets thirteen +1/+1 counters whenever any player dies
- Quietus Spike halves the life of your opponents
Nothing is sweeter than being a Boros archenemy in commander. If you’re interested in another Boros build that gets card and mana advantage, read the blog Is Boros Powerful Again? The Force of Velomachus Lorehold, the Sunforger.