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Magic: The Gathering – Standard R/W Boros Mentor Aggro

by Ron Duwell | October 8, 2018October 8, 2018 5:30 pm PDT

Mono-Red is finally out of fashion after five million years of dominating Standard, finally opening up some new options for Red to pair with. If anything had a chance of hanging with Red over the last Standard cycle, it was Black for Scrapheap Scrounger or even Green in the Monsters deck.

Not since the early days of Kaladesh has Red paired with its traditional aggressive partner in crime, White, in the RW Vehicles deck. Guilds of Ravnica now has a brand new deck from right out of the box that is sure to attract fans of aggro.

Using the mentor mechanic, since you’re guaranteed to actually draw it if it’s attached to every creature unlike in Sealed, you should be able to start powering the wimpier creatures in your deck as early as turn-3, creating a devastating army by turn-5 that should hopefully close the game when it untaps.

This! Is! Boros!

1-drops

We’re starting off heavy here. At two power, Dauntless Bodyguard will not be a good early target for mentor. However, jamming in for two damage early in the game is the play that the deck wants to see, making this more valuable than a turn-one 1/1 like Hunted Witness or Haazda Marshal.

Aggressive stats get this creature by earlier in the game, but later in the game is when it really shine. You’ll want to ensure that Tajic, Aurelia, or a card you’ve invested mentor triggers into survives to fight another day, and Dauntless Bodyguard does just that. A simple sacrifice at any moment protects your bombs and investments, value no other one drop allows.

Drop it early, get your value a quickly as you can! If you play a mentor on turn-2 but miss on turn-3, this card allows you to choose which mentor you want to pump when jamming in for combat. This at 1/1 gets a free +1/+1 counter from Boros Challenger or Sunhome Stalwart, but if you pump the Goblin Banneret, you can drop the +1/+1 counter on those creatures, making a 3/3 first strike or a 3/4 and still have mana open for any combat tricks that might even allow the Banneret to not only take a creature with it but also survive.

Value on turn-3 is important in this deck, and Goblin Banneret opens up multiple moves to ensure you can get that value. Later in this game, this can be a mana sink that gets through for big damage or mentors creatures that normally couldn’t be targeted.

Still one of the best cards in Standard, Legion’s Landing creates a lifelink creature early, which can be powered up with mentor as early as turn-3, and it opens up the potential for more targets creatures later in the game. If your game drags on, enough mentor triggers and lifelink Vampires should have no problem regaining the life you’ve lost.

We play four of these because we’ll always get that token, even if this breaks the legendary rule.

Mentors

Alright, the true heroes of the deck. These creatures can be played on turn-2 or even turn-3 and immediately start creating value when they swing in for damage.

Survives against early blockers, can pump one-drops, and is an easy target for even larger mentors. Can’t ask for more.

Survives against early blockers, can pump one-drops, and is an easy target for even larger mentors. Later in the game, it’s a mana sink that can grow to a 4/5 or a 5/6 depending on how many times it was mentored. I guess you can ask for more.

I ragged on him for underperforming in my pre-release Sealed pool, but my guess is that with multiple copies and enough targets, he will perform admirably. He attacks on turn-3, aids in double mentoring a one-drop or mentoring a two-drop, and if he survives, he’ll likely have first strike for the rest of the game.

Oh yeah, and your creatures are immune to damage based direct removal, meaning Red spells won’t work here.

We only have three of him in our deck since he’s legendary and not that big of a bomb. We don’t want dead draws in our hand with this deck.

Rock on! This can’t attack on turn-3, but it does immediately start generating bodies. This means trash blockers if they survive, letting us attack with our good creatures, and it even means mentor targets if necessary.

Goblin Rabblemaster was an all-time great aggressive creature, but with mentor, this is even better!

Curve topper

As if we need to elaborate, this is the ultimate aggressive card. Four mana for what, on its own, is a 4/5 flying, trample, vigilance Angel. That’s absurd.

With a team, she can pass out mentor counters when she attacks, but even if she doesn’t attack, like the turn she comes down, those added bonuses in her third ability can be put on anything! Mentors, lifelink tokens, anything! She’s value the turn she comes into play, and if the opponent isn’t already dead at that point, she’ll likely finish them off the next turn.

If not, her naturally low power makes her an easy mentor target, as well! I mean, come on! With little work, she could be turned into a 5/6 flyer or even a 6/7 flyer… for four mana! We run two of her. She’s the top of our curve and wins us games, but she’s legendary and needs to have plenty of smaller targets to match her potential.

Yeah, Ajani fits very well into this deck. His plus ability is the most important, those two +1/+1 counters pumping our mentors, allowing them to further pump our smaller creatures, potentially doubling the value of Ajani’s ability. you get the idea at this point. Any Planeswalker that boosts our creatures is solid gold.

His minus ability brings back mentors or smaller creatures to target if we’re desperate. I wouldn’t put much stock in this ability since this deck wants to carry on and keep up the pressure. Count your losses and press on.

If you can get to his ultimate, it works very well in this deck. In no way is this necessary, but with three lifelink cats a turn, those make for perfect mentor targets.

Other mentor targets

An obvious target. Luckily, I took a second glance at the converted casting cost because I originally thought she cast three mana, not two mana. If she cost three, I would say she’s too slow.

However, for two mana, playing her on turn-2 and pumping her with a Goblin Banneret and Tajic on turn-3 is a power move unlike any other in the deck. That’s best case scenario though, and playing this card on turn-2 might be jumping the gun a little. Holding back in such an aggressive deck isn’t recommended, but be sure to have at least one mentor on the battlefield before you start jamming with the Swiftblade.

Against non-Black decks, this is an easy target for mentor, making it a 3/3 first strike with any mentor strong enough.

Against Black decks, this is harder to mentor since it is a 3/2 anyway. Being immune to Black removal is worth that point of toughness since first strike means it will survive anway. Plus, if the game goes on long enough, you’ll get that mentor counter eventually, and a 4/3 semi-hexproof creature is sure to devastate Black decks.

Removal/Combat Tricks

Yup, we still use Lightning Strike. We would LIKE to finish the game with our mentors, but if the case arises where we need burn to finish the game, yes. This is still viable. It messes up our consistently a little, but if you can point me in the direction of a Red deck that doesn’t want Lightning Strike… you get a cookie!

However, we are abandoning Shock for this excellent, versatile card. As mentioned before, the Integrity half of this a great way to help your 3/1 Goblin Banneret survive combat after you’ve pumped up a two-drop mentor in turn-3. If your opponent foolishly doesn’t block it on the spot, an extra two damage to the face is still a considerable contribution in an aggressive deck.

Later in the game, Intervention is a quality way to control the board and gain back some lost life. Both halves of this card are what the deck is looking for, meaning we get twice as much value from this being in our deck.

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Sideboard

There are so many Oblivion Ring effects in Magic right now, but I still think this one is the best. It doesn’t have flash and it requires you to tap creatures, but casting this for two, one, or even for free makes it prime against bigger threats your deck can’t handle alone.

Sometimes, you just get off to a slow start, and that’s fine. Pull the trigger against any opposing aggro decks, and try to recover your board state before them. Later in the game, you can gain some life back as well, should your creatures survive, of course.

Sideboard this in if you’re trying to slow the game down, and rotate in a few heavy hitters like…

Yup, Lyra pumps Aurelia, gives her lifelink on top of her other abilities, allows her to pump bigger creatures, and is a huge threat in and of herself. If you need to slow the game down, this will get you there.

And in that case, why not add another mentor in there while you’re at it? Another Aurelia is fine, but Light of the Legion is a one-off that is immune to the legendary rule and is a 6/6 lifelink with Lyra on the board and a 7/5 vigilance with Aurelia on the board. Just…ugh!

Sometimes, you just gotta blow up something big, and you need to exile it permanently. Lava Coil gets both done.

Excellent removal against aggressive decks.

The more versatile your removal package, the better. These two give other options that Justice STrik

The Deck

Creatures (26)

Enchantments (4)

Instants (8)

Planeswalkers (2)

Lands (20)

Sideboard (15)