Drafting cube : Boros Aggro

Boros aggro is  the generic term for the WR aggro deck. There are two main types ; Balls out aggro (the manliest decktype)  and Mana Denial Aggro. They’re very similar, and they can run very similarly.

The general idea to get a bunch of one and two drops and win turn 4-6, with relative consistency. Generally speaking, there is a lot of burn in the deck, and white is there to upgrade reds one and two drops, provides access to Armageddon, tag some removal in, and access Lightning Helix and Ajani V. Red provides a lot of the reach, and has a few of the best 1 and 2 drops.

Why play Boros aggro?

Boros aggro is a build in almost every cube,  because it requires very little support. If built well, it can easily crush any slow or unprepared decks, and , most importantly, is pretty easy to draft.

Drafting boros aggro

There are general four things you’re looking for when drafting:

1.Early Beaters.  It sounds obvious, but I’d be looking to make a first turn play every single game. I’d want at least 3 or 4 2 power one drops, so it’s a good idea to pick Elite Vanguard and Savannah Lions early, or even better, Steppe Lynx. In the two drops, you’re looking for Keldon Marauders, Soltari bros, Pegasi, Kor Skyfisher etc.You don’t want to be choosing Kargan Dragonlord here, since it has no evasion and is hard to cast.Evasion is key early in the game, since your opponent is limited in what he/she can block with, and will hopefully start using up removal instead of dropping a fatty. If you can’t get evasive 2 drops, try and aim for the above the curve 3/1s, accorder paladin, blade of the 6th pride, porcelain legionaire, hellspark elemental, or the protection knights.

2.Burn. Burn is reds main contribution to the deck. It doubles as removal so your team can get through and as reach to finish off your opponent. Lightning Bolt and Burst Lightning are massive picks here, but Char and Fireblast should also be takmass en, since they’re easy to cast and deal large chunks of damage. Some burn, like Fireblast, is likely to wheel , but most of it won’t.

3.Reach. Anything which can keep you going in the mid/late stages of the game should be taken highly, but  not at the expense of one drops. Hell’s Thunder, Hero of Bladehold and Calciderm can inflict massive damage given the chance, and Wheel of Fortune and Sulfuric Vortex should seal the game. Probably the best form of Reach, barring the aforementioned is equipment. Obviously it’s great to get a sword of X and Y or Jitte, but Bonesplitter and Grafted Wargear are godsends for you. GW is best against midrange, where your weenies stay relevant against their beasts, and Bonesplitter is best against control, to get the fasted start possible.Red provides access to some of the best units of reach, X burn spells ; Banefire and Red Sun’s Zenith are pretty valuable. My favourite piece of reach is Mirror Entity, because it gets better the later the game goes on. Other types of reach include anthems, draft 7s, card draw and mass LD.

4. Mana Denial. The main aim of aggro is to win in the early stages of the game, and by denying your opponent mana, you keep them in those early stages longer, and increase the time you have to swing for lethal.

You should win every game where you cast Armageddon. I’m not saying it’s impossible to lose if you cast Armageddon, but it provides you with a massive advantage, since your weenies and burn don’t cost much, so you can function much better on one or two land than your opponent can. Failing to get Armageddon or Ravage of War, Molten Rain can double as burn and disruption. Winter Orb can slow your opponent down greatly, and Ankh of Mishra can damage your opponent so much they don’t want to play land anymore.

The best nongeddon mana denial picks are most likely Wasteland and Strip Mine, as they don’t take nonland slots, followed by Ankh and Orb.

All In vs Mana Denial

As mentioned previously, there are two different builds, and an infinite degree of hybrid builds between them.

The All In build focuses on damaging the opponent from 20 to 0 in as fast a time as possible. This deck has huge amounts of burn, lots of one and two drops, and a couple equipment. This deck tends to win a lot against control, but have a much more fiddly matchup against midrange, where it’s creatures get outclassed very quickly, and you start having to rely on topdecking burn to win.

The Mana Denial build focusses on dropping a one drop, a two drop, and then disrupting your opponents mana whilst dropping more weenies until you win. This tends to be a slower deck in terms of turns to win, but is generally more consistent against more decks than the All In variety. This deck is, however, harder to build, since you need to dedicate a lot of picks to mana denial,and may end up without many weenies to beat with.

Signs Boros Aggro is open

If you’re passed any of the following cards, it’s a safe bet that you could probably draft this deck:

  • Lightning Helix
  • Ajani Vengeant
  • Figure of Destiny (!!!) (this likely means noone is in W or R aggro)
  • Sulfuric Vortex
  • Goblin Guide
  • Koth of the Hammer
  • Steppe Lynx
  • Hellspark Elemental
Sample Decklist
  • Elite Vanguard
  • Steppe Lynx
  • Goblin Guide
  • Jackal Pup
  • Goblin Patrol
  • Hellspark Elemental
  • Keldon Marauders
  • Accorder Paladin
  • Stormfront Pegasus
  • Soltari Champion
  • Mirror Entity
  • Hero of Bladehold
  • Avalanche Riders
  • Skullclamp
  • Lightning Bolt
  • Lightning Helix
  • Ankh of Mishra
  • Winter Orb
  • Tangle Wire
  • Bonesplitter
  • Armageddon
  • Journey to Nowhere
  • Path to Exile
  • Banefire

There are two main decks you can transform boros aggro into half way through a draft. American aggro and Naya Aggro.

To change to american (RWU) aggro, you could open up a time walk or ancestral recall first pick, or get Serendib Efreet or Looter il-kor, and then, if you keep your eyes open for any tempo counterspells, ninjas, man-o’-war, then you could shift your deck into this 3 colour build. It’s generally more consistent than normal RW aggro, but slower, and it’s trickier to draft, since you need to get even more fixing.

To change to naya aggro, you might take Wild Nacatl, Kird Ape or Loam Lion, then be passed a Tarmogoyf, and after that, you can look out for Troll Ascetic, Blastoderm, Boas, Rancor, or even Qasali Pridemage and Kitchen Finks.  Bloodbraid Elf is a great shift.


Boros Aggro is a great deck to play, since it’s quick, easy to draft, pretty easy to play, and consistently powerful. The key is to strike a good balance between mana denial ,weenies and burn, which should lead to some good, short, consistent games.

Thanks for reading,



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