Boros Kitty Primer Part 2: The Deck.
Sorry about the delay to the Article everyone. Writing a Primer is serious business. Putting the changes you make to a deck into words becomes a long process, breaking down the meta, the new cards, the leave outs, and the put ins.
In the last article we took a look over four different deck lists, to get an idea of what cards unify Boros Kitty into the strong deck that it is. Cards like Kor Skyfisher and Ichor Wellspring live at the core of the deck. The deck has also been a part of the Meta game for long enough that sideboards have evolved over time, and sometimes maybe not as fast as they could as cards have been banned or fallen out of favor, Stone Rain being a good answer for the one for one style of Post decks, but a poor answer for the many, many land style of Tron.
I have been a busy guy in the last week launching the League, working out the bugs, making things work as smoothly as possible, but all the while I have had Boros Kitty living in my brain. Is the deck as good in the Meta as it was when it won the Gauntlet Season 1? What decks are at the top of the format now, what decks are stronger, what decks are weaker. Are the main deck cards strong enough? Are the side board cards? What is the sideboard plan?
First thing I did was take a look around at the most successful decks currently in Pauper. I used http://www.mtggoldfish.com/metagame/pauper as a good base for decks as they move up and down in players and popularity. A rogue deck will often come into popularity and fade, while the main decks in the format are constantly good.
The top three decks in the format in my eyes, and backed by many days of results are:
- Mono Blue Delver
- Mono Black Control
The main decks in the format, heads and shoulders. Quite often a tier list can be created in any Meta game. Tier One being the best, Two being solid but not great, Three being a deck with a great pilot and good draws able to beat One and Two. Right now the three main decks are so strong there is a feeling of a huge gap between Tier One and Two, and Tier Three decks must have such a strong game to take out Tier One.
What that told me is I must really prepare the main deck, and Sideboard for such powerful decks. You can tune a sideboard as much as you want, but 15 cards will only get you so far, and swapping out 15 cards from game 1-2 match after match leads me, long term, to question why some of the cards that seem to leave the main for the side over and over again still live in the main deck at any time.
I also wanted to take a Grindy deck and focus down to a goal of creating more pressure at all point of the game. Boros Kitty is great, but like all decks it can run out of gas without a good draw, or in the face of a lot of removal. The deck actually runs a very small amount of creatures, and token generation overall, and a deck packing a ton of removal like MBC or one that can power out quick power and protect it with counters like Delver, or Affinity’s big dumb free creatures/card draw/burn. These are the biggest threats to the type of deck Boros Kitty is.
Some cards caught my eye as I looked the deck over, in a good way and bad way, and gave me something to think about. Keeping in mind that making too many changes to any deck can really dilute the core of the deck. Boros Kitty, like any deck, has a small amount of changeable cards.
First set of cards I looked at was Journey to Nowhere This is normally a rock solid card in almost every format it sees play. Right now in the meta it has two disadvantages. First sorcery speed removal isn’t as strong as it once was, even a card that is a Pauper all-star like Flame Slash sees far less play right now, and when you Slash a creature you don’t have Slash sitting on the board waiting to get removed at the worst time, like as you bash in, or at the end of your turn. Second Hexproof is a deck that has a crazy explosiveness and power, and is a deck that Journey just amounts to being totally dead against. In my mental sideboard plan I find that I am planning on side boarding 1-4 copies out against most decks. So I know an adjustment must be made there.
Other cards that caught my eye for consideration were Perilous Myr, Myr Sire and Flayer Husk. Both of the Myrs are 1/1s for two, but produce an extra effect when they die. Both Myr produce an added effect when they die Two points of damage with the Perilous, and a replacement 1/1 with the Sire. The problem with those two cards is simply the 2cc attached to both of them. The Husk is simply a 1/1 for 1, that leaves behind a piece of equipment when the Germ token dies. These cards all increase Metalcraft, and give utility to Rebirth. None of them really come close to the utility that the Wellspring gives.
Squadron Hawk to me is the one card that every white based Aggro deck should try its hardest to run. Pay 2, draw 3, flying 4/4 in power and toughness. What’s no to love. Nothing that’s what. It holds a piece of equipment as good as anything in the entire game of magic. A birdy with a Bonesplitter is a dangerous birdy.
Speaking of Bonesplitter it is my single most favorite piece of equipment to date. The design is perfect, and not really replicated at this point. 2 damage attached to a 1/1 goblin token makes that token a real threat, a “deal with me” not a let through. And the little axe just keeps on dealing damage. Pressure and damage in one balanced pretty little package.
I realize I can talk about card choice and meta game analysis all day. Without any limit.
Here is the deck
Boros Kitty Gauntlet 2
4 Glint Hawk
4 Kor Skyfisher
4 Squadron Hawk
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Galvanic Blast
1 Electrostatic Bolt
4 Ichor Wellspring
4 Prophetic Prism
3 Origin Spellbomb
3 Kuldotha Rebirth
3 Journey to Nowhere
4 Ancient Den
4 Great Furnace
4 Kabria Crossroads
3 Gorilla Shaman
2 Children of Korlis
2 Electrostatic Bolt
3 Circle of Protection: Green
2 Obsidian Acolyte
There is the deck, and for the most part the changes are subtle. Nothing insane, no dilution of the core of the deck. I didn’t cut Wellspring and Skyfishers from the deck or anything insane like that. I added Value and pressure cards.
The new cards I added were:
Squadron Hawk As I have stated if you are running white, and you have creatures in your deck, you should probably be running the Squad. An air force in your hand for 2 mana. 4/4 flying on board. So much power.
Bonesplitter This is truly a Swiss Army Knife style cards in this deck. It does one thing, +2/+0, but it does it so well. Makes Better Blockers, makes attacks count more. Makes 1/1 tokens or Hawks into “Must Deal With” instead of “Let Through”. And it even adds to Metalcraft, this on board equipped to a token with a Galvanic Blast in hand to wrap things up makes you feel like a king amongst insects.
Last card is Electrostatic Bolt One Main Deck, two sideboard. I love instant speed removal in the format, and this Shock with an upside against Affinity is a great card. Main deck it replaces one Journey. Running one off main deck gives a 9th Shock effect, at instant, which is great against Delver and Affinity.
Instead of walking through of the sideboard cards I want to go right into the sideboard plan.
Mono Black Control
I feel that this is the deck has the smallest amount of answers available in the format. I also think between being a great control deck with cards like Chittering Rats, Unearth and swingy cards like Gray Merchant of Asphodel and untargeted removal like Geth’s Verdict makes the deck very resilient to early game damage, and hard to reach critical mass of creatures against. I think this will proably be the most troublesome match up for Boros Kitty in the field. Just getting to 5, dropping a Gary, and erasing all the hard work Boros Kitty has put in is a little soul crushing.
The Spellbomb is a little to weak in the match up. Bonesplitter will often end up with nothing to carry it, and the Journey being a sorcery speed effect it just ends up being put on top of your library to a will timed rat.
The Acolyte and Children are the anti-black package in the deck. With both you never play them on an empty board. You always play the Acolyte with mana up to give other creatures protection. Playing both after Rebirthing with at least one White mana up is probably the best way to go. The Children are a good answer to Grey Merchant, and the Acolyte gets you around spot removal. The Bolt is instant speed way to keep devotion counts low, it burns Rats, Bats, and all the odd ball x/1 and x/2 creatures that Black gets at common.
Delver/Mono Blue control.
Fast and control this deck is every bit as strong as you think it is. The good part is Boros Kitty is strong against Delver due to it having a much longer Grindy nature.
Your creatures are actually good enough to get around Delvers creatures so you don’t need to pump them with the Splitter. Journey is a step to slow at sorcery speed, and having a Journey bounced going into attacks is a kick in the butt.
Pyroblast is no surprise I would think. It’s the best answer you have to Counterspell. Remember of course that the Delver player from Turn Two on to the end of game wants to counter counter counter. The two E Shocks come in to give more instant speed creature kill as you can kill everything from Delver to Spire Golem with it. Cast everything you can on your opponents turn, you want to tax their mana as much as you can.
All in Aggro. Free spells. Combo with Atog and Disciple. This is always a Tough Matchup.
Splitter is not going to help you race. Spellbomb is to slow. Wellspring is to durdley in the face of pure aggression.
You must Pyroblast every Thoughtcast and or Perilous Research you can. If you can get Affinity out of Gas you are halfway to winning. E shock can burn all the artifact creatures, it can help keep your opponent off Disciple, and make them Sac artifacts to Atog at bad times for them. The Mox Monkeys are in to remove anything and everything that has 0 cost. Artifact lands are its main target. Keeping them from Metalcraft is great. The Monkey is an allstar for sure.
Big mana, big beats. The most Common are the RUG builds. Mono red is a Rouge Vs, which you should have an easier time to race.
Again to slow for the Spellbomb, the Bolt has less attractive targets, and the Wellspring is to do nothing in the matchup.
The Pyroblast should be held to blast Mulldrifters, and Sea Gate Oracle, keeping Tron off extra cards is a great way to win. COP Green to shut down Marauder/Aurochs beats. Straight forward sideboard plan. Control the draw, shut down half of the other decks offence and beat down with effective creatures.
Green Based Aggro. Not top tier by any means. Hexproof is strong against targeted removal, but weak against COPs, and flying beats.
Again straight forward. Stick a COP and you have shut down so much of what they can do, that they auto scoop a bunch. Flying Creatures with Bonesplitters really help in this match up. Not much you have to do.
Flames to the face.
Out 2 Ichor Wellspring
In 2 Children of Korlis
You already have the main deck Crossroads to eek out small amount of life gain, and that’s really the Burn decks worst fear. The Children can give you a little swing if you need it.
Little Dudes coming at you with high velocity.
Out 2 Ichor Wellspring
In 2 Electrostatic Bolt
A larger removal suite. The Bolts can take out everything in the deck, and give you just a little more reach. Again the grindy nature of Boros Kitty should be a great help in the matchup.
Esper using Familiars to reduce cost and combo out. Not as good as when Cloudpost was in the format. One of the few combo light decks in the format.
Epic Battle awaits you.
Shamans help slow Metalcraft, and the Bolts add extra removal. In a deck with fairly low threat density just removing 2-3 creatures it can really help. Expect either a short game you are in control of, or long grindy game.
Slow Black Blue control with discard and counters. No a common deck in the format. Grindy should win out long term
Out 3 Journey to Nowhere
In 3 Pyroblast
There is not much you need to do. Instant speed removal is better than sorcery speed, and taxing their mana by casting spells on their turn is the best thing you can do.
A mirrior to Dimir Control but with more Burn.
Keep them off counters and swing back some life lost with a few Children if you can. This is also a sideboard that would be fine if you run into Eyecandy/Delver Fiend. Against Fiend you will also want to cut 2 Origin Spellbombs and bring in 2 Electrostatic Bolts
So ends the sideboard plan. The main deck is typically very strong against rogue durdly decks. Against blue counter based control Spellbombs Wellsprings or Journey are good cuts to bring in Pyroblasts. The format isn’t as Rouge as it once was though, you find you are playing against established decks more often than not, and the most established decks are included in the primer.
And this brings an end to the primer. It’s been fun, and long, and lots of words, but worth it. If anyone has suggestions or thinks I missed any decks that are part of the Meta, but haven’t been showing up on Goldfish let me know and I will add them. Also any further suggestions against Mono Black Control, that would be amazing as well. It’s the deck that I have the most fear about facing.
Till next time may you Empty the Warrens for lethal. Or Rebirth. That’s the ticket!
Sam aka Vaultboyhunter.