Ever feel like your Commander life is getting just a little on the stale side? Looking for a way to spice up your day? Why not push yourself outside of
that Commander comfort zone by forcing yourself to build around a randomly selected Commander?
Just head on over to Gatherer and hit that random button until you get a nice legendary
creature all ready to rock your next Magic night. Grab some random inspiration to shake yourself up!
For a while now, I have been doling out some random commander love because I don’t want to get caught building the same decks for you folks. So the idea is
that I flip over a card, and then we get cracking building you a fun deck.
Just one exception. If I randomly select a legendary creature that I have built a deck around already, I’ll skip past it (unless I have an idea for a
different direction). My last random challenge was a Commander deck around Mirri, Cat Warrior, so I’d skip her if she was randomly chosen again.
Let’s start that random button a’spinning. My first card is Armored Pegasus, which it says here is not a legendary creature. Imagine that! Then Zombie
Master, Mountain, and Opal Palace. It’s odd that I would flip it over in a Commander challenge like this, right? I’ll make sure to add it to my deck later,
even if it’s not the perfect fit.
Icy Manipulator? Wanderwine Prophets? Builder’s Bane? Tombfire? Dakmor Scorpion? No legendaries in there; let’s keep on going!
And then he flips over…
Now I’ve used Iroas myself a few times to make Boros aggro builds in my Commander Cube. So what I want to do is use a few cards from the Cube that you want
to put in your Boros aggro decks, and then leave the rest behind to make a very different take on Iroas Beats.
So my rule is going to be simple. Other than mana stuff, I cannot use more than ten cards that I have in my Cube. Everything else is new.
- 1 Mother of Runes
- 1 Kongming, "Sleeping Dragon"
- 1 Soltari Champion
- 1 Crested Craghorn
- 1 Soltari Guerrillas
- 1 Flametongue Kavu
- 1 Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran
- 1 Firemane Angel
- 1 Cloudgoat Ranger
- 1 Balefire Liege
- 1 Duergar Hedge-Mage
- 1 Figure of Destiny
- 1 Nobilis of War
- 1 Captain of the Watch
- 1 Emeria Angel
- 1 Kor Sanctifiers
- 1 Serra Ascendant
- 1 Cyclops Gladiator
- 1 Hero of Bladehold
- 1 Basandra, Battle Seraph
- 1 Grand Abolisher
- 1 Mentor of the Meek
- 1 Geist-Honored Monk
- 1 Goldnight Commander
- 1 Frontline Medic
- 1 Legion Loyalist
- 1 Boros Reckoner
- 1 Tajic, Blade of the Legion
- 1 Ogre Battledriver
- 1 Purphoros, God of the Forge
- 1 Archetype of Courage
- 1 Eidolon of Countless Battles
- 1 Archetype of Aggression
- 1 Iroas, God of Victory
- 1 Custodi Soulbinders
- 1 Mardu Heart-Piercer
- 1 Wingmate Roc
- 1 Flamerush Rider
- 1 Glorious Anthem
- 1 Sol Ring
- 1 Jayemdae Tome
- 1 Darksteel Ingot
- 1 Savage Beating
- 1 Goblin Trenches
- 1 Prismatic Strands
- 1 Boros Signet
- 1 Rise of the Hobgoblins
- 1 Waves of Aggression
- 1 Glory of Warfare
- 1 Rootborn Defenses
- 1 Boros Charm
- 1 Aurelia's Fury
- 1 Shattering Blow
- 1 Wear
- 1 Legion's Initiative
- 1 Spear of Heliod
- 1 Unexpectedly Absent
- 1 Godsend
- 1 Chariot of Victory
And there’s the Boros Beats by DJ Iroas, coming to you live from clubs on Naxos (off the coast of Greece).
The cards that are also in my Cube are probably obvious: Purphoros, Mother of Runes, Serra Ascendant, Ogre Battledriver, Figure of Destiny, Spear of
Heliod, and so forth. After that decade of cards, I then wanted to push into some different options.
Let’s unpack Iroas for a moment though. Iroas is essentially a Goblin War Drums for your team. It takes two baby, me and you, to block an attacker fighting
under Iroas’s banner. Additionally, any attacking creature won’t take damage, so there is nothing lost by bringing some serious heat. Gang blocks won’t
A lot of players immediately noticed that Iroas’s damage prevention means that instant damage-dealing sweepers won’t kill your team. Take Starstorm, as one
1). Swing with Iroas and your team.
2). Cast Starstorm to deal seven damage to all creatures (or whatever number you prefer).
3). Damage to your attacking squad is prevented by Iroas. Damage to others is not prevented.
4). Enjoy the damage you’ll dole out as you essentially just cast Plague Wind.
This works well with any instant-damage based removal, from Magmaquake to Pyrohemia. You’ll often see Iroas combined with cards such as Lightmine Field and
Powerstone Minefield or even Caltrops. After all, the damage will be prevented by your team entering the red zone.
That’s a nice way to push Iroas. But that’s not where I’m heading today. Instead, I want Iroas as this fun leader of a nice Boros aggro strategy that uses
his prevention merely to keep your suicidal attackers from leaving the battlefield.
What are some useful cards that work with Iroas aggro? I like what Tajic brings to the table with that useful battalion ability. Let’s add in some more
like Legion Loyalist or Frontline Medic to give you additional red zone boosting. In a similar style, we could toss in some battle cry effects too. Let’s
call back Hero of Bladehold from the old Standard days.
Speaking of callbacks, Boros Reckoner is a solid choice for this deck. And it will get your Iroas quickly online, playing the same devotion tricks to which
we became accustomed. I tossed in some folks that will pump the team, like Agrus Kos, Balefire Liege, and Kongming. We can use them as a nice way to make
our smaller creatures more pertinent beyond the battalion and battle cry tricks.
One creature I want to highlight here is Crested Craghorn. This card sucks, right? But, with Iroas in play, it’s a very strong creature. Why?
Well, first of all, you can play it, and then attack, due to haste. Because it has provoke, you can untap and force a blocker from any creature the
defender has. Now, because Iroas is out, you have now forced two of their creatures to block the Craghorn. Now you can dole out four damage and kill one or
two creatures, and your nominally fragile Craghorn survives because of Iroas’s protection. That’s a great choice for my Boros aggro deck!
If you wanted to, you could toss in one-drops Deftblade Elite and Goblin Grappler to push that ability.
In a similar way to provoke, Cyclops Gladiator is pretty good as well. When you attack with the creature, you basically have it fight a defending player’s
creature. Now the problem is that you might kill your Gladiator in doing it. But it won’t take the damage back from the fight (thanks, Iroas!). For similar
reasons, check out Flamerush Rider, who won’t die from attacking and churning out a token. You could also run stuff like Flameblast Dragon, Tyrant’s
Familiar, or Hellrider if you prefer.
I like that creatures like Basandra, Battle Seraph and Grand Abolisher will shut down spells or abilities by your foes during combat. Since Iroas already
prevents damage from taking down your attackers, these two creatures will help shut down other angles of attack for taking out your stuff.
Because of the attacking nature of the deck, I tossed in Soltari Champion and Soltari Guerillas. Both open up a useful shadow-oriented lane of operation.
Smash at will! Plus, both have attack triggers that can pump and shoot stuff (respectively). A useful card that was forgotten long ago on a similar vein is
Soltari Visionary. Just smash someone, and you can destroy one of their enchantments. Repeat as needed. Feel free to toss it in if you like!
Next up were some opportunities to toss in token creatures. From Geist-Honored Monk to Emeria Angel, there are a lot of ways to spawn extra creatures for
the deck. Iroas should be able to easily get in raid triggers, so Wingmate Roc is a nice way to make a pet.
In fact, I looked at some other Mardu options that segue nicely with Iroas. The Mardu Heart-Piercer certainly seems like a nifty addition. You could also
consider Timely Hordemate. A few fun utility creatures follow the Heart-Piercer. Stuff like Duergar Hedge-Mage and Kor Sanctifiers join the team.
In non-creature news, don’t ignore the power of a lot of planeswalkers in an Iroas shell. After all, a lot of white/red ‘walkers make token creatures, and
that alone is very useful. An ally like Elspeth, Sun’s Champion will just spew out tokens with alacrity. Meanwhile, you have various Ajanis for
creature-pumping, often en-masse. After all, someone can blow up your Spear of Heliod or Kongming in the middle of combat to rig the math in their favor
suddenly. But it’s hard to (pardon the joke) counter the use of counters by an Ajani Steadfast.
One card I probably use too frequently in my decks is Rootborn Defenses, since it’s just so perfect at keeping your team alive when something untoward
happens (mass removal, combat tricks, bad combat beats, etc.) Because it has populate, you can slap out another token sometimes as well, which is always
useful. And don’t forget that Boros Charm can play the same trick. In a similar space, Prismatic Strands can prevent damage to keep your stuff alive.
Since our creatures aren’t dying in the attack step, this is a pretty awesome place to run effects that give you more than one attack, right? I like Waves
of Aggression here. It fits the colors, it has the standard Relentless Assault ability, and if you stored away a land or two, you can discard them to play
it over and over again. That is a great repeatable effect. See also: Savage Beating, which can be another attack, a double striking combat trick, or both
if you have the mana. Quite a Beating, indeed! From Aggravated Assault to the original Relentless Assault, you can easily add in a few other effects along
this track and get your train on home.
There are a few fun Boros-flavored enchantments that I want to highlight. Yes, Rise of the Hobgoblins is a fun but odd way to make some fighters for your
team. But also note that post-arrival, you can spend a single mana to make your whole team first strike. That’s a serious threat, and when you are throwing
the whole team into the breach, you can add a little more heat just by keeping one mana open. Goblin Trenches wasn’t just a card that Eric “Danger” Taylor
once used to tremendous effect (to win a Grand Prix over Pat Chapin), it’s also
a pretty fun card at churning lands into creatures. And really, when you’re the beatdown, why bother with fancy things like lands?
After that, we’ll smooth the deck with things like mana, removal, equipment, and such. And you know what? I think we have a pretty solid Iroas deck sitting
here. What do you think?
Oh, and by the way, if you have the money, grab Yuan Shao, the Indecisive. This is an obvious home for him.
Looking for a fun Commander challenge to push your deckbuilding skills and perhaps your card collection as well? Why not grab a random leader and be
Want to see my other crazy random decks? Check out the Appendix!
Here are all of the previous random commanders that we’ve done:
1). Grimgrin, Corpse-Born – The random machine pulled out a fun little Dimir sacrifice deck all laden with lovely
2). Yomiji, Who Bars the Way – We flipped over a mono-white legendary creature from Kamigawa who has a serious legendary permanent theme. Let’s let the good times roll!
3). Thriss, Nantuko Primus – Our good legendary leaders inspires the
use of the fight mechanic to defeat
foes with aplomb. And to have fun too!
4). Lady Caleria – What happens when I flip over one of the least exciting legendary creatures of all time? One of my favorite decks, that’s what!
5). Balthor the Stout – Sometimes you flip over a tribal legendary creature, and I love when it’s a odd, less obvious tribe, like Barbarians, that is being built around.
6). Verdeloth the Ancient – Man, speaking of tribes, how do you deal with this saproling and treefolk enabling leader ? By hitting both themes right out of the park.
7). Mirri, Cat Warrior – Here come the Forests. Let’s make a deck that Gaea’s Liege is proud to call home.
8). Iroas, God of Victory – Um…..that’s this article. Do you need me to link to it for you?