Examining Boros Prowess (Obosh) And Modern’s Red Revival

A new companion and bigger curve have led to a revival for Prowess decks in Modern. Todd Anderson dives into Boros Prowess (Obosh) for Magic Online and paper MTG play.

Obosh, the Preypiercer, illustrated by Daarken
Obosh, the Preypiercer, illustrated by Daarken

Prowess has been a powerful archetype in Modern for a while now. Old-school versions ranged from Bedlam Reveler midrange all the way to Arclight Phoenix and Desperate Ritual combo. Most builds featured two creatures that I would consider the glue that holds the deck together:

Monastery Swiftspear Soul-Scar Mage

These two creatures offer high amounts of damage output for a small investment. Every burn spell you cast deals an extra point of damage. Blocking them is difficult because there are so many free and cheap spells at your disposal. A single Lava Dart can mean a ton of extra burst damage thanks to just casting a high number of raw spells. In essence, casting raw spells is how you create velocity in this type of deck, since every noncreature equates to a buff for these two threats.

In the olden days, the best way to beat Prowess wasn't with lifegain spells, but instead putting an emphasis on killing their creatures. Lava Dart isn't that threatening unless there's a creature getting buffed by it. When building this style of deck, you can go a number of ways, but traditional builds were lighter on creatures in favor of more "combo-style" turns. Having fewer creatures meant you'd draw more noncreature spells, thereby pumping your one-drops to the best of your ability. If an opponent had a ton of dedicated cheap removal, your deck basically fell apart.

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