The original Ravnica block broke a ton of ground, setting up a bunch of general colour pair tropes that often impact other planes to this very day. Prior to RAV, there were all of three legends between all five enemy colour pairs. The first set of the block brought us Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran and Razia, Boros Archangel, and these early designs ended up setting the tone for a lot of Boros to follow - linear, combat-centric aggro. This sort of setup can do work in various 40 and 60 card formats, but things get a bit dicey if you have multiple people at 40 life to take care of.
Thing is, EDH Boros was always largely stuck trying to bring the same straight-faced aggro, warts and all, to a format renowned for straight-faced aggro not working. While you could set up some value engines, e.g. Land Tax + Scroll Rack, they were quite scarce and far fiddlier to get online than what the other colours would get. Your creatures would scale poorly as time went on, you'd struggle to stay topped up, you'd spend most of your time fearing a wipe, and you'd field a somewhat predictable deck helmed by a relatively same'y combat-centric legend. That, or you'd field some spin on mono white misery with red largely on support, ending up inferior to hatebear decks in other colours. All this would add up to Boros becoming the red-headed stepchild of the format, more likely to be brought up in jest than actual consideration.
Since EDH became a thing, these voices from the community were heard in R&D. Red got exile-draw, be it from its own deck or nicking options from opponents, and a needed catch-all. White got some anti-wipe tech and Smothering Tithe, but its Achilles' heel of card advantage was addressed rarely and situationally. Occasional attempts at more diverse Boros legends were made. It's oddly fitting that the first resounding success at this would happen on Ravnica.
A Feather Phenomenon
Embodying the Spirit of EDH
Present in eight pre-Feather EDH decks
War of the Spark previews rolled around, featuring all sorts of organic EDH-ready nonsense at all rarities. However, in spite of the return of proliferate and tons of planeswalkers, the dominant new deck on EDHREC became Feather, the Redeemed. She is a very elegant design, helping shore up the colour pair's card advantage deficiency in a unique, interesting way.
The main constituents of a Feather deck are the recyclable spells. The bread and butter of those are going to be draw/scry effects, allowing you to rip through your deck in search of anything else you may want. Another important group is various interaction instants to keep Feather alive, as she's the one that turns a heap of sub-limited garbage into a weird humming engine. Once those are in place, you have a surprising degree of flexibility. Some of the protection options flicker creatures, so you can double those up as value generators and milk ETBs. Feather's a reasonably buff winged beater, so you can go for some pump effects and kill people off via voltron damage. All those Heals need to be pointed somewhere, so you can run various heroic targets to get extra benefits from your casting and consider multi-target spells to get more bang for your buck. You can also treat the casting itself as means to an end, keeping your curve negligible and looking for further synergies there. There's plenty of room for individualisation.
I opted for a very mana-rich, card advantage/selection focused, cast-heavy shell as I believe its engine and payoffs to be the most well-rounded of the bunch in a multiplayer EDH pod. I still retain the strongest elements of the three remaining directions, trying to keep the build utilitarian unless crazy mana payoffs are on the horizon. I'm consciously avoiding hatebears in the interest of table-wide enjoyment.
Boros and Me
Waiting for Feather
What's the problem? I don't have these so you don't need them either
My relationship with Boros was always a bit different than the established EDH standard, as an Aurelia, the Warleader has been part of my playgroup since its inception in 2014. The deck was always quite well positioned, as we're not particularly wipe-heavy. Some of my earliest EDH memories are me trying to set up an Ant Queen swarm before being overrun with Hero of Bladehold value. I sometimes dabbled in RWx myself, even papering out one of those dabbles at some point, but would often find myself in blitzkrieg or hatebear territory. Neither of those were ultimately fun to pilot or play against, and the decks would wilt away with time.
I got a pretty bad new-deck itch not long before WAR, having realised that I had managed to create one surviving build in the prior three years. I dredged up Iroas, God of Victory, i.e. the chicken's way to do Boros, and got to work. The end result was functional, but quite derivative of the aforementioned Aurelia. While I got to do stuff like Tilonalli's Summoner the other list couldn't pull off, I didn't feel any connection to it. And then Feather got spoiled. I have a track record of liking strange commanders in the wrong colours, and I immediately saw this as a weird blue-less cast machine. There's no denying Feather would be better with access to blue's entire arsenal, but this impediment is part of what makes the deck oddly fun for me.
Fun fact - as mentioned, I wasn't the only one to get drawn in by Feather's charm. Half an hour after I finished brewing my initial take on her the morning after her reveal, the friend who made the thread's banner notified me of some pieces starting to spike in the USA. As such, I quickly pounced and picked up the mandatory shell ingredients on the cheap without even properly assessing the deck in action first. And then the deck turned out to work. Lucky!
The Deck Ranking
Based on a defunct Avacyn primer
Quick Game Likeness - should fit snugly within a mid power meta, has done turn 7 tablekills on good draws
Newbie Feasibility - "Hey kid, point these instants at creatures you own and turn the bird sideways at people"
Commander Dependency - without Feather, the list becomes a bunch of underwhelming sub-limited garbage only rescuable by a Zada variant
"Scare" Rating - most of your mid-game plays are small and unassuming, but there is a flurry of them
Multiplayer Mode - an interesting tradeoff - in 1v1 you can voltron easier, but in multiplayer you milk your spells more effectively
Expensiveness - Heal tribal, the core of the deck is dirt cheap; expensive utility/support pieces result in moderate performance improvement
Game Play Attributes
Acceleration - ridiculous mana build-up via rocks, land ramp, various engine options to milk extra value from both, and Phyrexian Altar
Library Searching - a bunch of conditional options, with nearly all being multi-use in some form or other
Board Control - a few staple removal spells, plus a bit of potentially reusable ETB control
Spell Control - a smattering of protection instants designed to repeatedly keep your key creatures alive
Card Advantage - very sturdy scry/draw dig when the deck "comes online", recycles crappy instants like a boss even when flailing
Linearity - recycling card advantage instants will be a constant, but you can win in many different ways
Will probably taper off in performance a bit if you try to focus on one of the synergy elements due to lack of card pool depth.
The potential Feather-reusable control options (which I don't run) are quite variable in their returns, ranging from do-nothing to borderline oppressive.
Sometimes induces mild salinity by milking Heal over and over again, while the protection serves its purpose and makes it hard to disrupt.
Other Commander Options
Depala, Pilot Exemplar - The first instance of a Boros legend explicitly granting card advantage out of the command zone. Unfortunately, dwarves did not test particularly well as white's potential characteristic race and fell to the wayside after Kaladesh block, so wanting to get value out of the ability has you picking for scraps in two sets' worth of cards. At least new vehicles show up every now and then.
Aurelia, the Warleader - Nothing says Boros smash like an extra combat out of the command zone. The most popular Boros commander serves as a handy way to double up on the destruction power of your forces, and works super well with all sorts of on-combat triggers (think Hero of Bladehold for a double trouble package of the two most desirable ones) that Boros is so fond of.
Iroas, God of Victory - The coward's way out of Boros, Iroas ensures your aggro swarm retains more relevance as the game goes on. Turns out having a wide board with menace is pretty good for pressuring people, and the fact nothing dies lets you turn various jank like Tilonalli's Summoner sideways and milk value with impunity. That, or you can just Starstorm everything after attacks.
Zada, Hedron Grinder - The go-to option for targeted cantrip abuse. Go wide via means such as Siege-Gang Commander, set Zada down, rip a cheap cantrip, repeat, have trouble differentiating your hand from your deck. It's not uncommon for General Tazri to be a five colour surrogate for getting Zada online outside the constraints of mono red.
Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest - The most conceptually similar option to Feather, is often found running various cheap evasive/pumping scries/cantrips. Feather is a tempting include in this deck's 99, as getting repeatable Shadow Rift action sounds pretty good. Naturally gravitates towards voltron due to the sheer efficiency of the commander's combat pump.
Talrand, Sky Summoner - Having a kickass Young Pyromancer variant out of the command zone is pretty good for getting cast payoffs. Mix up some cheap cantrips with more potent draw and whatever permission you feel like, leading to a rock solid shell of a deck. As a trade-off, you're stuck in blue and blue only.
Niv-Mizzet, Parun - The best Niv is a fierce value engine off cheap casts, so you can take the overall ideals of Talrand but go even lower to the ground and add a touch of red support. Now each 1/2 drop instant in your hand is the equivalent of Defiant Strike/Shelter in Feather, while probably doing something else relevant! I'm pretty sure you can ram it full enough of stuff where not getting the spell back won't really hurt you. Let's be honest, you'll probably be looking for a Curiosity effect with all the dig
The following subsections feature a sizeable list of options for each card group, including cards I currently run, cards I ran in the past and cards that will likely never grace my 99. My opinion isn't be-all, end-all, and whilst I can stray away from flicker value town or heroic tribal, that doesn't mean you can't come up with some angle where they will work.
In the deck attributes section, I made the claim that Feather's a very budget-friendly commander. I then proceeded to thrust a thousand plus dollar list at you. I am fully aware of the cognitive dissonance of these two, but ultimately most of the expensive cards serve as various utility pieces or win accelerators. The core that makes Feather tick is the various cheap as hell instants, plus cheap cast payoff. You'll be ok if you can't get the more expensive options, and I'll go over everything that's even slightly cuttable now.
The first point of trimming is the vanity mana base. I pulled the trigger on fetches during more affordable times, and feel fine proxying them in anything I build as I own one of each. Take 'em out, take Plateau out, take Mana Crypt out. That's two thirds of the deck's cost gone, with negligible performance loss. Sure, it'd be cool to have perfect dual access for colour purposes and Duergar Hedge-Mage reliability, but you'll live Keep everything Reflecting Pool tier and cheaper, untapped lands help the deck work. Mana Confluence is a bit debatable, but should stick with you in future EDH adventures, which makes it a sensible purchase if you get around to it. Slot in some basics, maybe the Karoo or Temple. There are some other expensive rocks lurking in here. Chrome Mox and Mox Amber are both pretty cool, but you'll be perfectly ok if you just put in Marble Diamond and Fire Diamond in instead of them.
Taking out further expensive utility options will result in some level of performance hit to the deck, but its core engine will still be in place so it should be ultimately okay. Maybe a bit slower, maybe a bit less consistent, but still functional. A lot of the money cards synergise with each other, and can be taken out as package deals.
Paradox Engine is extremely strong in the shell and starts the countdown from the second it lands on the table, but it also tends to die on sight against experienced opponents. Plus, every now and then you actually scry it to the bottom when given the chance to, as you just don't have the rock infrastructure in place to support it! If you take it out, Isochron Scepter loses its combo applications, but may still be worth keeping around for its sturdy utility.
Sword of Feast and Famine is a great mana boost, but comes with a massive price tag. Stoneforge Mystic grants you access to it, along with a few other choice equipments, and loses a bit of sheen with one of its best payoffs gone. Both are pretty solid in the format, but not quite ubiquitous staples.
The Recruiter friends are even narrower, only getting you small creatures, but help the deck find whatever nefarious weenie it may need at a particular time. Monastery Mentor is wicked good in the shell, but a rare sighting outside it. If these guys go, Phyrexian Altar becomes harder to get online, so you can consider offing it as well.
By now we're left with ubiquitous format all-stars in Smothering Tithe, Path to Exile and Enlightened Tutor. I'd recommend picking the first two up, they'll be fantastic here and will live anywhere Wx you may venture to going forward. The Tutor actually loses quite a bit of sheen if you take out the artifact power lifters, so you can save a bit of moolah on it in that case. However, it is a similarly universal include in the EDH realm.
So what would one do with all these opened slots? An angle that works pretty okay for game closing is voltron, and you can add some more support for it to try to compensate for the various avenues to victory the expensive options may have offered. There's O-Naginata, a very cool bit of equipment that costs a pittance and kicks Feather up to six power realms. Leering Emblem gives Feather double super prowess, and should make turning her into a two/three turn clock quite easy. You can slot in some additional voltron support instants in Invigorated Rampage, Brute Force or Temur Battle Rage. They're not currently in the shell as all they do is pump Feather without offering any additional value, and unlike protection pump isn't important enough to merit value-less spells in the current build. You could explore the other Feather synergy directions. You could, and probably should, put in Sphinx-Bone Wand. Heck, I should probably be running that in here. The world's your oyster, and you shouldn't end up with a clunker of a deck.
Another thing brought up in the deck attributes is that the list is very commander dependent. There's no debating that - without Feather around, all the value instants just happen once and go away forever. Turns out Heal isn't an EDH staple for a reason. As such, it becomes imperative to run various interaction options to ensure Feather's survival through whatever the opponents may try to throw her way. There are five broad classes of interaction effects that Boros has access to - flickering of the end-of-turn or immediate varieties, protection, indestructibility and regeneration. Let's see how these match up against each other when compared in a number of common EDH adversities, plus a few bonus utility categories:
The clear winner is end-of-turn flicker due to its ability to dodge all of the outlined interaction scenarios. After that, things become a bit more situational. Indestructibility beats all damage/destruction, succumbing to -X/-X (Toxic Deluge, Tragic Slip), exile (Merciless Eviction, Duplicant) and bounce (Cyclonic Rift). However, damage/destruction are pretty common in the format - most non-white spot removal and tons of popular wraths utilise it. Regeneration is like a strictly crappier indestructibility due to a no regeneration clause present on a number of older removal options. Insta-flicker does literally nothing against wipes, but shields against everything targeted. Protection blanks everything targeted that has a colour, but most representatives of the category are soft to the occasional Duplicant. To compensate, it offers shielding against damage wipes, which we can actually use ourselves to good effect while choosing our own wraths. A few of the options (Apostle's Blessing, Faith's Shield) come with slightly more diverse abilities, shielding non-creature permanents from harm in dire straits. This is not a bad mode to have - somehow, there's always a piece of spot removal that makes an appearance the split second Paradox Engine hits the board. Protection also comes with kooky evasion opportunities, while flickers offer ETB re-use potential.
The choice of interaction ultimately comes down to the shell. You're probably running the end-of-turn flickers no matter what. If you're after a more ETB build, it makes sense to pursue the insta-flickers en masse. However, outside those decks, the insta-flickers are quite overcosted for what they offer. Cloudshift is the only one-drop, while both protection (Gods Willing) and indestructibility (Sheltering Light) have one-drops that also scry on top of doing whatever they do. That's pretty cool - you still get to milk some value out of them if you don't need them for survivability purposes. There's also a two-drop protection cantrip (Shelter). By contrast, insta-flicker offers a two-drop that does nothing else and a three-drop cantrip. As such, I have only adopted Cloudshift and have devoted my other slots to protection and indestructibility options.
1. One Drop Cantrip Club
The One Drop Cantrip Club is really not that hard to get into - you need to cost one mana, be an instant, target a creature and draw a card. Everything else is optional, which leads to some of these really bringing their existence into question.
Why do I still find you weird?
Bandage - Draws the card immediately, might occasionally actually do something. It's not super common, but sometimes there's some damage flying around from various sources and plus one butt grants your dude survival.
Crimson Wisps - It's weird to see an instant just granting haste, even if it cantrips as well. I imagine the instant part is there so that you can cash it in for a card if you don't need it anymore in the end step before your turn, but it's still just a weird combination of things.
Defiant Strike - Hey check it out, this one actually does something! Adding a power to Feather speeds up her clock and stacks with various other buffs.
Expedite - Crimson Wisps 2.0, this time without the reddening as it's not part of a cycle that changes the target's colour. This came out around the same time as Zada, Hedron Grinder. That can't have been a coincidence
Heal - Ahh, one of the ancient cantrips that only drew you the card next turn. That's actually not that bad a drawback to have, you can cast this in the end step of your turn if you're sitting over hand size to avoid pitching, and still get your cardboard reward in the next upkeep. Comes with the same hyper situational plus one butt clause as Bandage.
Needle Drop - Dammit card, you went too far on the uselessness scale and can't be fit in. The target has to be legal at the time of casting, i.e. you can't just point this at an unharmed Feather, have the spell shrug and give you a card.
Niveous Wisps - Another member of the Crimson Wisps cycle, this one was presumably meant to be used defensively. Well guess what, we're tapping our own creatures with it! Can get a bit dangerous with Zada variants on account of stripping your ability to block. In that case, just pop in main two before your turn and again in the end step before you untap. That should still be plenty of cardboard for you to work with. Still, the least good of the ones that actually draw you the card immediately.
Panic - The least good one overall. Nets you a delayed card, Heal style, but unlike its white equivalent the hyper restrictive cast timing means you can't even hide it away in the end step for value. I guess it can sometimes help you get through, but then you don't get it back.
Renegade Tactics - What are you doing in here? Shoo! The sorcery nature means you only pop this once a turn cycle, whereas all the instants above can net you a card per player in the pod. Just more efficient, really. Plus this doesn't really do anything interesting either, it's literally a sorcery speed Panic.
Rile - This applies to you too, sorry. Not an instant, less value, less good. Go live in some enrage decks or something.
2. Assorted Recyclable Spells
Everything that Feather will reliably pick up that isn't part of the One Drop Cantrip Club lives here. The section is largely dominated by super cheap protection options and scry machines, as casting them for casting's sake is easy to accomplish while simultaneously feeding your synergy pieces and solidifying your game plan via card filtering.
He protecc, he draw, he cook, he clean, eh doesnt afraid of anything
Acrobatic Maneuver - Oh you sly cardboard, trying to tempt me into running you by stapling draw onto an insta-flicker. You cost three though. Go away. I'm sure enough ETB-minded decks will run you.
Adamant Will - It offers some amount of pump and indestructibility, but costs two. Probably an okay include in a voltron build.
Ajani's Presence - One mana, indestructibility, tiny pump. Also comes with strive to sink more mana into protecting a few key pieces from a wipe. I'd say that qualifies as pretty desirable.
Alley Evasion - Picking up to hand is not the best form of protection as you still have to reinvest the mana into recasting. However, it can still be better than just losing the thing, and it comes with the response range of end-of-turn flicker. Coming with the modality of a tiny pump means you could probably do worse than this.
Apostle's Blessing - Due to how mana-hungry the deck is, you'll just about always front the two life for this and treat it as a one drop. Protecting your artifacts is a cool secondary clause to have, as there are pretty dumb engines in there (Paradox Engine, Phyrexian Altar, Scroll of the Masters, Sunforger) that are good to keep around. You don't get it back in that case, unfortunately. The fact you can actually grant protection from artifacts is also sometimes relevant against stuff like Duplicant.
Aurelia's Fury - The good is that this can hurt quite a lot if you're handily built up mana wise and have nothing better to do. The bad is you'll probably have something better to do, and its minimal use case is four mana to ding someone for one and silence them. Ultimately not the best for this shell. Fun fact - it was this card's spike that got me to pull the trigger on papering this out half an hour after finishing my initial brewing.
Balduvian Rage - Another Feather staple that I've been sceptical of. Sure, it draws you a card, but you have to sink four mana into it to get Brute Force/Titan's Strength oomph return from this. That's not where you want to be. Also, the "attacking" clause means that in spite of being an instant, it only nets you one card per turn cycle. Not the best. Skip this one.
Blessed Alliance - So this is essentially a four mana repeatable Celestial Flare. That seems like a lot of mana for that sort of effect, especially as once you reveal it people will probably start playing around it.
Boros Charm - A lovely modal powerhouse, the card lives in this section as it can repeatedly give Feather double strike. The deck is happy to make use of each of the options - wipe protection is good, and is fantastic on Isochron Scepter. If Paradox Engine comes around as well, you can use the face-bolt to kill the table. What a card!
Brute Force - Getting three power pump for one mana is not too shabby, single-handedly turning Feather into a four-turn clock. However, it does nothing else and as such is absent from the build. Perfectly reasonable include in a voltron shell.
Carom - Two mana is more than one, so the two mana cantrips have to actually do something to merit inclusion. This... targets two creatures. That's cool if you've got a bit of a heroic thing going on, but it also comes with the downside of not being Zada'able.
Chandra's Ignition - Would you look at that, a Feather-recyclable wipe! The fact it goes off the target's power means it's a bit conditional in its rate of return, ranging from an annoying do-nothing tickle to oppressive board melting.
Cloudshift - Insta-flicker is perfectly acceptable at one mana, as it still shields from anything targeted and can be used to get extra value off ETBs. Many a game has been spent flicking Depression Automaton over and over again, stripping basics out of the deck like nobody's business.
Dawn Charm - Another modal weirdo, this time offering regeneration along with some surprisingly interesting alternate options. Unfortunately, the base mode of a two mana regeneration shield just isn't good enough to slot this in.
Eerie Interlude - Hey look, end-of-turn flicker for the whole family! Save your entire non-token board from a wipe, re-use a shedload of ETBs, just go ham. Very solid insurance plan for the deck.
Electrodominance - Sink a ton of mana, kill your own guy, flash something out. I'm not really seeing the benefits of this, as whatever you're flashing out would have to be a panic sorcery speed bit of control to be worth it. You want to set down the synergy pieces explicitly in your turn to get maximum value out of them over the go of turns around the table. Plus, like with Aurelia's Fury, I just haven't found the need for an X finisher, and this is worse than the Fury at that job.
Ephemeral Shields - The convoke means this will usually be free to cast. Even having only Feather herself out means you get a discount of one if you hold her back. Turns out that free indestructibility is pretty darn good, and can also be doubled up for firing off various cast synergies for absolutely no cost.
Faith's Shield - A bare-bones protection spell which is a largely crappier take on Apostle's Blessing. It's not common for us to want to protect a non-artifact, non-creature thing, and there's no anti-artifact clause. Still, it offers one-time emergency shielding of key artifacts from harm, so it's worth it. I'm yet to have the weird global clause kick in. It should be noted that if you're below five life, this still targets and you get it back.
Fell the Mighty - Another Feather-recoverable wrath. This time around, it's the equivalent of Retribution of the Meek, unless you get some perma-pump going on Feather. In which case it probably won't accomplish a lot. Add in the five cost, think I'll pass on this one.
Gird for Battle - Not too shoddy a one drop, hits two guys and perma-pumps them. Probably worth some consideration if you're going deep on heroic.
Gods Willing - Hey cool, not only does this shield my stuff from harm, you get to scry 1 on top of that. This means you can toss this around even if absolutely nothing is going wrong and get decent returns from it.
Grapeshot - Seems like a cool match on paper - this deck casts a flurry of instants, so this will make a flurry of pings. Aim the original at Feather, get this back. However, individual turns don't tend to be extremely stormy, and this would force you to commit more resources than you'd otherwise probably want to in your turn to get some amount of payoff out of this. And then the amount of payoff isn't even going to be that big.
Impact Resonance - Another one of those super variable damage spells. Guess it's fun to piggyback off other players' actions if it's not your go, while having it be a Fall of the Hammer-like in your own turn. That, and you get to spread the damage around.
Intimidation Bolt - Feather absorbs a literal bolt to the face, your opponent's creatures look at each other in bewilderment and refuse to swing. Boros gets to have a Constant Mists now. If only this didn't cost three...
Invigorated Rampage - Another solid voltron option, +4 is the magic number. Suddenly Feather kills people in three swings. Plus on top of that you get multi-target potential. Unfortunately, it costs two mana and does nothing on the whole protection/cardboard get plan.
Launch the Fleet - You don't tend to frontal people too hard here, unless you're sitting on a gigantic swarm that got buffed out of 1/1 realms. Even then, it's an inefficient way to go wider given you already went pretty wide to get there in the first place. Would the strive be of potential relevance to heroic builds, or would the mana cost prove prohibitive?
Liberate - End-of-turn flickers have been deemed state-of-the-art protection, and this is an end-of-turn flicker at two. We can live with that.
Long Road Home - Would you look at that, another end-of-turn flicker. This one has the decency of netting an extra +1/+1 counter, which marginally improves Feather offensively. It can also potentially be used to get problematic blockers out of the way, but then you won't get it back.
Magnetic Theft - Attach Sunforger instant speed, slightly cheat mana cost on other equipments as well. We don't crutch super hard on Sunforger though, and this card is literally dead when there are no equipments around. To the cute drawer it goes.
Mortal's Ardor - Getting lifelink on a swole Feather is not a bad way to pad out your life total. Might merit consideration in a voltron build.
Orim's Thunder - Repeatable artifact/enchantment removal, as you zing your own guy with the kicker. Costs four to do that though, and you do have to zing the guy.
Reckless Rage - Not too shabby a removal spell. If you stack it main two and end step, you can ram eight damage onto something. That should be enough to take out most targets. Feather may have trouble sucking up two shocks though, so you'll need a friend of some sort to eat the second one in that case. Or an indestructibility spell. Or some pump. There are options.
Repel the Darkness - Pay three mana to ground an attacker and get a card. Not that bad, especially if there's some choice fat to keep tied up, but it's still a bit on the pricey side for the deck. Intimidation Bolt would probably ultimately be better.
Samut's Sprint - Plus two oomph and scry one. The haste will probably be less relevant. Not a bad little pump/filtering option.
Seismic Shift - Feather-recyclable land popping. At four mana again. I somehow don't think Craterize being far from an EDH staple is related to it not returning to your hand after you're done with it.
Seize the Day - Four mana, extra combat. Stacks with double strike. Voltron-centric builds may consider it.
Shelter - Oh cool, a cantrip stapled onto a two-drop colour protection spell. I'll take one please. Thank you.
Spawning Breath - Paying two mana for a mana sac chicken that makes colourless is not super amazing. Comes online a bit with Zada, but then you have way better things to be doing with Zada if I'm to be honest.
Stand Firm - Minuscule pump, scry 2. Don't underestimate the scry, going deep in search of stuff you actually want in your hand is rock-solid value.
Temur Battle Rage - The surprise trample (which you'll probably get if you're going voltron) can help gib people out of nowhere. Same shtick of not doing anything non-pump that's keeping it out of my list.
Titan's Strength - A respectable +3 oomph, plus a scry 1 stapled on there for some reason. Card filtering while solidly advancing the clock sounds pretty good to me.
Twinflame - Create a sorcery-speed copy of an ETB creature. Loses whatever protection value flickers bring to the table to potentially insta-frag the table with Dualcaster Mage. Seems a bit situational for this shell's purposes.
Valorous Stance - Two mana for indestructibility without any perks may not be ideal, but the thing's modal. If need be, this doubles up as a removal spell and slurps something massive on the other side of the board.
In spite of an extremely lean and mean curve, the deck's extremely mana hungry. Each of those one-drop instants actually secretly costs one per player in the pod, if you let it, and your grip keeps growing. That means mana! Unfortunately most Boros ramp comes in the form of rocks, but that comes with the upside of letting us run Paradox Engine and Unwinding Clock for payoff.
Okay, who's the mana chicken this turn?
Boros Signet - The nicest fixing cycle will obviously have its representative in the list, given its two-drop, untapped nature. Two-drop rocks lead to a turn three Feather with protection (be it bluffed or real), which sounds pretty good. The fact this comes in untapped is super nice later on as well, as it's a net cost of one on the turn you play it. Its only drawback comes in the mandatory RW payout, while sometimes the list may want slightly different combinations of the colours. That's a bit of a nitpick though, I have to admit.
Burnished Hart - While the land ramp is nice, the hefty mana price tag is not. Add zero recursion potential and you get a pass.
Chrome Mox - We can usually spare an early card from hand for this, as we'll be refuelling at a dizzying pace soon enough. Obviously trivialised if encountered later on, as a ginormous grip is bound to have something that would go into the bin otherwise. A nice kick up the early game's butt, speeding proceedings up a notch.
Commander's Sphere - Three drop rocks don't enable that nice line of play I described in the Boros Signet write-up, while being the same net expenditure as a two-drop rock if done later. As such, I'm not running any. True, they usually try to bribe you with all colour access, but that's not extremely vital for the deck's needs. This one at least has the decency of cycling itself if someone rips a Vandalblast.
Coldsteel Heart - While any colour access would be preferable, the fact this is a Make-A-Diamond is pretty good for fixing you on the fly. That, and it's one of those whole coveted two drop rocks that I keep rambling on about.
Dowsing Dagger - You expend the net cost of a Thran Dynamo, potentially split across early turns, and you get a Thran Dynamo-tier payoff in coloured land form. The fact it's triple mana of a single colour means you'll probably use this for advancing your board in your turn, but still nothing to sneeze at. The plants are irrelevant given Feather's wings. Staple early game Stoneforge Mystic target.
Fellwar Stone - The come into play untapped nature is nice, the conditional colour payoff is not. The turn three vacuum scenarios are here to stay.
Fire Diamond - A sturdy two-drop rock, taken out early in the deck's life to make room for more busted options. Perfectly playable.
Gilded Lotus - Here I am, ragging on Commander's Sphere for costing three, and then I have the audacity to ram this? No matter how you spin it, this is a ridiculous mana burst. Similarly to the Sword of Lotus Flip land, this generates a uniform chunk of mana and will often be used on main phase stuff. Single-handedly fuels Paradox Engine. Also pretty silly with Unwinding Clock. It's just good.
Gold Myr - Hey look, it's a dude that taps for mana. Not super keen on these guys, as they die to both creature and artifact disruption, but they could work in a budget build.
Lotus Petal - While I talk about early game efficiency and trying to land a Feather with some protection mana up, I don't think we're quite desperate enough to shuffle a treasure token into the deck to try to get there. Sustained mana is good, the deck wants all the resources it can guzzle.
Mana Crypt - Given the deck's coloured thirst, you can skip this here easier than most other places. That's not to say having a second Sol Ring is bad or anything, mind you. It helps play various permanents, and is stupid helpful when barfing out the Paradox Engine setup off a gigantic Zada draw.
Marble Diamond - Same story as its Fire equivalent, 100% playable. You should probably replace some of my vanity rocks with these. Like the one above.
Mox Amber - But Rumpy, this does nothing without Feather out! While I agree, astute reader, this is also the case for the rest of the deck. As such, being able to sneak this in out of nowhere turn three and drop a Feather with protection seems pretty good. Obviously useful outside this isolated blip as well.
Mox Diamond - Not as reliable early as its Chrome counterpart. The fact this essentially just accelerates the land drop is less desirable, especially when you notice the number of lands in the 99. Similar to all other Moxen, the drawback becomes negligible once you're already doing well.
Mox Opal - Same story, even more pronounced. Having three artifacts just isn't going to reliably happen by turn three or so.
Paradox Engine - This thing is a windmill slam in here, given the negligible curve, draw potential and rock heaviness. Upon resolving, you cast something and pass priority with the untap trigger on the stack. If nobody responds, you probably win before the turn is over. If someone tries to pop it, you can still milk insane value off it before it goes away. There are even Isochron Scepter tablekill combos, and it also does a pretty convincing stupid with five mana in rocks and a Sunforger. While Pengine is quite overrated in most decks, offering some sensible, finite amount of nondeterministic value, here it is quite close to the apocalypse monstrosity the EDH community seems to perceive it as.
Phyrexian Altar - One of the cast spam payoffs the deck is flooring is making dudes. Seeing how most instants in here cost 1, you suddenly get the possibility of shredding through your entire hand at the cost of using the freshly generated bodies for mana rather than gumming. Not quite as insane as Pengine, but still incredibly powerful mana generation that tends to rocket you ahead like mad.
Primal Amulet - The cost reduction is largely irrelevant as your spells rarely venture out of the 1 territory. The spell copying is okay, the most exciting usage would be to double up on removal, pointing the original at one of your own creatures and the copy at the actual desired target. No high-impact spells to be found here, and getting an extra plonk of cantrip isn't ultimately that relevant given the investment and setup. Oh yeah, and if you copy a modal spell you don't get to reselect the mode either.
Pyromancer's Goggles - Like the above, but you skip the buildup and only get red out of it. A ton of spells are white, a lot of those are one cost. No thanks.
Runaway Steam-Kin - The red in the deck mainly lives in costlier permanents rather than hyper cheap instants, so this isn't going to charge as reliably as you'd imagine.
Smothering Tithe - There's a reason this thing is taking EDH by storm. Its weird rubber-band dynamic ramps you up against people who are drawing cards, i.e. by extension doing stuff, scaling with the degree of their card advantage. The ever-hungry mana guzzler that is this shell will happily accept these treasures and grind them into cards, scries and avoiding death.
Sol Ring - This is an EDH deck without any sort of stipulations. Sol Ring gets stuff done.
Springleaf Drum - A weird faux-Mox Amber, can come down early and whip something into being a mana chicken to get some juice out. Not a bad thing to have around as you get Feather out. Super efficient to get out later in the game, unlike most of the conventional non-Mox rocks.
Star Compass - While you're being a little risky by only getting the colours of basics you already have, you should be able to ensure a set of each with relative ease. That failing, it still almost always taps for something and costs two.
Sword of Feast and Famine - Given the solid draw, you should be making land drops quite consistently. As such, this becomes a massive mana burst upon connecting with Feather. The synergy with Sword of Lotus Flip is real.
Sword of the Animist - Given the list's track record of getting turn 7 tablekills on a good draw, this is just too slow to merit an inclusion. Sword of Rampant Growth thrives on grindy games where it can be milked for mad value. Here it'll take three swings before it fetches lands tapping for the equivalent of Sword of Lotus Flip, and even then the Lotus Flip would have immediately come into play untapped and provided extra mana in all those other turns up to then.
Thran Dynamo - Spending four mana on three colourless on tap is just not somewhere the list wants to be. That said, the Dynamo is a phenomenal rock (as shown by measuring stuff against it), just not in this shell.
Thought Vessel - The lack of a hand size clause and two-dropness are nice, the colourless on tap is not.
Treasonous Ogre - Unfortunately, the deck tends to shred more white than red instants. Not worth the mana investment.
Unwinding Clock - Another way to get some extra value out of the rocks. Nowhere near as baller as Pengine or even Phyrexian Altar, but still pretty solid. The deck will take all the mana it can, and a solitary rock is enough to get this to make Thran Dynamo tier mana in a four man pod. I run the artifact lands for the sole purpose of getting them untapped with this.
Wayfarer's Bauble - A lovely turn one play leading into a land-ramped turn three Feather with protection mana. Later on, a three mana expenditure for a tapped land. Worse mana efficiency than two-drop rocks in a deck hellbent on mooching every droplet of mana it can.
4. Cast Friends
An umbrella category for all sorts of stuff that benefits from you spamming spells. These guys get stuff done, and will likely form the backbone of your victories.
I think it's perfectly fair to draw 45 cards for two mana
Aetherflux Reservoir - Not as efficient a game-ender as Guttersnipe, but compensates in various other areas. A typical mid-game setup will see you gaining somewhere in the ballpark of 20 life per turn cycle off this. However, the healing does come with the flexibility of not just shredding face, it can help you absorb beatstick meatshots, or act as a political tool to get people off your back once you charge up to 50. It is also pretty darn fun, messing with the stack to get maximum benefit from this.
Akroan Conscriptor - Having Threatens on demand for targeting is not too bad. You can nick a thing and then Path it, getting some land and disproportionately pissing off your opponent. For some reason steal and sac has always been more salinity inducing than just straight spot removal. Probably not worth it at five mana though, given how conditional this is to get online.
Akroan Crusader - A one-drop that makes fellow chumps if targeted. I mean, all those Heals have to go somewhere, and making bodies that can be used for various tasks seems like a pretty good idea.
Anax and Cymede - The global pump and trample are nice, the fact it fades away as the turn ends is a bit less so. Phalanx Leader may skimp out on the trample, but his benefits are longer lasting.
Burning Prophet - One of those unsung hero cards. Super cheap to play, decent body that doesn't fall over to a stiff breeze, stapling a scry onto everything non-creature you do is fantastic at sculpting a line of play, and she even temporarily grows with each cast!
Electrostatic Field - An off-brand Guttersnipe that only hits half as hard. Personally, I haven't found these one damage ticklers to be particularly impactful, only devoting a slot to the original, but maybe these will be up your alley.
Firebrand Archer - Gains the full non-creature range for pinging, at the cost of the smallest butt. x/1's tend to die a bit easier than x/4's in EDH land.
Guttersnipe - Mowing each opponent for two off each recyclable spell you cast adds up pretty quick once you get off the ground. He makes for a more effective clock in a multiplayer pod than Aetherflux Reservoir, given how the deck tends to ration out its spells, but "only" shreds face.
Leering Emblem - Feather now has double super prowess. It shouldn't be too hard to turn her into a two/three turn clock with this thing, especially once you get set up a bit.
Mindmoil - A pretty good way to recklessly mow through your deck if looking for stuff in a pickle. Every spell you play ships your hand to the bottom and draws you a replacement set of cards. Don't forget you can hide whatever you want to keep in exile, but if you are trying to preserve multiple cards you have to respond to the trigger and stash them in unison. The five mana overhead does this no favours either.
Mirrorwing Dragon - Oh would you look at that, they printed a Zada that also discourages opposing spot removal. Because spreading your spells to your whole board for wrath immunity, ridiculous draw or whatever else wasn't enough. The possibility that someone will get funny and cast something beneficial on the Mirrorwing exists, and could be amusing. I don't feel that Sarkhan's Triumph is worth running for this guy alone though.
Monastery Mentor - Probably the best cast spam board gum variant in the game, making a flood of dudes with prowess. Build up a sufficient legion, turn them sideways, cast a couple of instants and someone may be staring down lethal off a one-card army in a can. Also pretty good on defence, what with the monks' potential to grow and guzzle attackers. The tokens also come out when you play rocks, in case you weren't sold yet.
Myth Realized - This thing racks up counters pretty easily, but then becomes a gigantic vanilla beefslab. The deck's not good at helping it connect.
Ojutai Exemplars - A versatile modal cast payoff, can tap down problematic creatures or insta-flicker itself out of spot removal. I can imagine scenarios where the lifelink is also okay. An interesting card, but doesn't really offer anything game-warping enough to merit its four mana investment.
Phalanx Leader - The Heals of the world now permanently anthem your team. Understandably baller with 1/1 swarmers, but still pretty damn good even if it's just Feather around. I've grown a small board of utility pieces to the point it survived a Blasphemous Act.
Precursor Golem - A shoddy Zada imitation that merely triples your aimed spells. It also takes all its friends with it when offered a solitary piece of opposing spot removal if unprotected, and nips any flicker swarm considerations in the bud. Oh yeah, and it comes with a five mana price tag.
Purphoros, God of the Forge - A harder to remove Guttersnipe that goes ham off ETBs. Has a similar synergy level to Phyrexian Altar coming online, so not too bad. In fact, if you get multiple token producers, they stack. Ultimately I've preferred Guttersnipe's steady payoff and increased tutor response, but Purph's nevertheless a valid consideration. Gets better if you include ETB swarm too.
Pyre Hound - One of those dudes that beefs up when you cast spells, but this one has the decency of growing via +1/+1 counters and comes with trample. Will become a massive evasive beefslab soon enough.
Scroll of the Masters - It's cheap, so it can come out early or slip in easily late and start racking up the counters. See four spells (once again, artifacts count here) and Feather can now be a three turn clock on demand, nothing else needing to happen. And things will keep happening, mind you! Very potent voltron angle card that can also optionally offer its boost to other creatures. Most of the time you'll point this at Feather though, and we both know it.
Shrine of Loyal Legions - Kind of like the above, but for dude making. A lot of the shreddable instants are white, so this should rack up counters, and then you can pop it for a dude burst. However, having a constant stream of dudes rather than a single pent-up swarm comes with a number of play flexibility upsides. The main pro of this I see is it can survive a board wipe unimpeded. However, it also falls over to sneaky spot removal if you tap out too far and can't pop it in response.
Sphinx-Bone Wand - The definition of inevitability. Play a spell, click up the wand, whack something. By the time you get 20 spells out with this thing, that's over 200 damage dispensed. That should hopefully suffice to clear out the table. However, it does come with a staggering seven mana price tag that is nontrivial in most game states.
Tenth District Legionnaire - While not quite as good at scry-spam as Burning Prophet, as she hogs the targeting, the Legionnaire still offers solid value and grows gigantic in the process. A massive vanilla beefslab isn't likely going to do too much harm on the offence, but it does make for a convincing argument to avoid being punched. Plus hey, sometimes someone doesn't have blockers and you can smack 'em good.
Tethmos High Priest - There are a few useful sub-3 CMC creatures in the list, but I'm not sure if it's worth devoting a slot to having the potential of picking them up via targeting. One for the heroic setups, I'd imagine.
Torchling - A kind-of Akroan Conscriptor, as you point your removal at it and redirect it somewhere else. You still got the Feather trigger, so you get to recycle said removal. I'd say the Conscriptor has more overall utility, and he was already written off.
Veilstone Amulet - Each spell you cast now grants your whole team hexproof. While this sounds cool and all, it seems that it's ultimately largely redundant - the protection options are pretty good at keeping your stuff alive. As such, it's probably not worth a slot for repeatable spot removal protection.
Young Pyromancer - True, the tokens are less impressive than Monastery Mentor's monks, but the Pyromancer is one cheaper to get out and still produces the same number of bodies without hogging targeting.
Zada, Hedron Grinder - A marginally cheaper and more tutorable spell-spreading option, losing the ability to radiate back spot removal. Still absolutely ridiculous - If left unattended, especially with some tokens around, will draw the deck in no time at all while ensuring the board lives through whatever happens.
5. ETB Brigade
Creatures that do useful things upon entering play have a huge presence in EDH. Feather offers the potential to recycle flicker spells, getting more value out of these options. I've kept my choices pragmatic to the core, but you could go deeper here and augment your flicker suite to match.
So who we gettin' out, boss?
Angel of Serenity - Hits the field, three creatures get O-Ringed. Also potentially recycles stuff out of your graveyard. Can result in permanent removal if you flicker it in response to the exile trigger because of the wonky old wording.
Boreas Charger - Nets you some Plains upon leaving the battlefield, and only if someone has more lands than you. Don't think it's necessary here.
Chancellor of the Forge - A high-end swarm option that doubles your board's size each time it hits. Sounds like a good way to cap off an ETB swarm build.
Duergar Hedge-Mage - Comes in, pops an artifact and an enchantment, land situation permitting. Close to a strictly better Reclamation Sage. Good removal options are appreciated. This definitely qualifies.
Goblin Matron - We many not be particularly gobbo heavy, but this gets both Guttersnipe and Zada. Sounds like a good mini-toolbox to access.
Imperial Recruiter - As luck would have it, you can get most anything you need with this, even a Zada if you're cool with doing it via Goblin Matron. So yeah, having your entire deck's worth of various synergy/utility creatures at your disposal sounds like a pretty good deal for gameplay consistency.
Karmic Guide - Get a dude back. Renowned for doing silly things with Reveillark if there's a sac outlet around, but I don't feel that Boros is the best place for this sort of thing.
Keldon Firebombers - Shrink everyone back to three lands. May be worth it to choke out aggressive green ramp, as you've got rocks to fall back on.
Knight-Captain of Eos - An ETB swarm variant that comes with a built in Fog. Recycle him to get more fogs. More ways to avoid dying!
Knight of the White Orchid - A two-drop that gets a land on entry! What's not to love? Namely, an opponent has to have more lands than you. As such, this is not actually a legit two-drop, but rather a turn 3+ play done before you pop out a land. That, and it runs out of steam if flicked into oblivion. At some point you'll out-land your opponents and then this does nothing. I'd rather add a couple more mana and run...
Kor Cartographer - ...this guy. Costs four, but doesn't have any weird timing clauses that make him stop doing the thing. Having a Plains as a clause is pretty good, by the way - nets you duals, Mistveil Plains. Pretty handy effect to have on tap in a mana hungry deck, especially one that can occasionally flicker him.
Lumbering Battlement - The flagship ETB value milker. Now all your single-target flicks act as faux-Eerie Interludes. Probably makes sense to run him if you go deep on this sort of stuff.
Luminate Primordial - Pop a creature per foe. Doesn't need stack shenanigans to do its thing, unlike Angel of Serenity, but in compensation forces you to spread the removal around.
Mangara of Corondor - Rumpy, what are you doing, this isn't an ETB dude! Fair point, but it does circumvent its own limitations if flicked, so it gets to live here! The lack of immediate effect is not ideal, but Mangara is cheap to set down and makes for a potent rattlesnake once online. Occasionally you can haste him up with Crimson Wisps or something to catch people off guard, and he chainsaws the board like crazy with Paradox Engine. A cool mind game card in a deck that thrives on however many layers of "what if" it can generate.
Meteor Golem - Comes in, whatever you desire gets clonked. Very good flexibility, to the point where you're willing to consider the seven mana price tag given its mild promise of repeated value.
Pia and Kiran Nalaar - Another swarm option worth mentioning on account of producing winged board gum.
Reveillark - As mentioned when discussing Karmic Guide, this guy doesn't do anything particularly noteworthy from a combo perspective in Boros. In a vacuum, recurs two of the things that the Recruiter friends can reach. Not sure if worth it at that tier of mana investment.
Solemn Simulacrum - Hey look, a second Kor Cartographer effect. Guess we can survive it not grabbing non-basics as it isn't limited to Plains. Very common flicker sinks, these guys.
Tyrant of Discord - Maul a random land and some number of nonlands, scaling with the difference between the land pool and other permanents. Flicker for intensified unpleasantness.
Wall of Omens - A cheap cantrip chicken. Can be used to turn flickers into cards instead. Not too shabby.
All sorts of solid cards that don't fit into any of the previous categories. They help the list function. A more responsible me would run more of those. Current me can't hear him over cantrip spam.
Fill in the gaps in the instant suite
Aven Mindcensor - Shuts off your opponents from searching their libraries. That's pretty good in the format - fetches and ramp spells become iffy, Demonic Tutor becomes a sorcery speed Impulse.
Blasphemous Act - This dukes it out with Toxic Deluge for best wipe in the format. We don't get to have the latter, but we'll make do with the former just fine. Usually comes out for one and unconditionally resets the overwhelming majority of the board, while we protect our key pieces via anything non-Cloudshift as it's damage. Sneaky!
Blood Moon - Could be quite easily supported by the shell if the mana base went more back to basics. That and the rocks should be sufficient, while potentially hosing some foes big time.
Chain Reaction - Another solid damage wipe, which makes it good for us to easily shelter our stuff.
Chaos Warp - Hit literally anything you may need, flip something random which will probably be less troublesome than what you shunted with this. At least that's the usage principle, bring out in case of emergency. It's good to have a Sunforger'able bit of hit-anything removal.
Containment Priest - Hoses various play cheating, but is a bit of a nonbo in here as it also hates on flicker protection. Proceed with caution.
Eidolon of Rhetoric - Everybody only gets one spell a turn. You get one spell in everybody else's turns as you pop one of your instants. I'd say stay away from this, as it will still throttle you pretty hard. While you may not get too hurt by only juggling one instant, what do you now do with all the advantage it helped you get? I guess you can nominally point an end-of-turn flicker at him and go ham, but you're gonna hurt outside those moments.
Enlightened Tutor - There are various artifact power lifters in the deck, capable of ending the game. Seems pretty decent to be able to get the cream of the crop to the top of the deck when you need it.
Elspeth, Sun's Champion - Your stuff is small, so it lives through the wipe. The plus is a nontrivial board gum. Solid stuff.
Isochron Scepter - A bit of value, a bit of combo piece. While you may theoretically recycle instants with Feather, a bit of caution never hurt anyone. Fail case scenario you put on one of the recyclable instants and don't worry about getting blown out in response to popping it. Good case scenario you put on some instant you'd otherwise have lost on cast when used for its designated purpose (Swords, Path, the thing above, you get my point). The absolute nuts involve Boros Charm. Repeatedly shielding your entire board from destruction is very solid, and if Paradox Engine comes around you get to instantaneously melt the whole table.
Land Tax - I find I draw/filter cards reliably enough to not have land drop problems at most stages of the game.
Linvala, Keeper of Silence - Freezing activated abilities of creatures is a pretty effective hate strategy at a variety of EDH tables. The Llanowar Elves in the horrid junk heap do nothing, as do Arcum Dagsson and Captain Sisay. These sort of effects are probably the way to go if trying to milk every last drop of competitiveness out of Feather. But then, why not just go towards a better colour setting and embrace the hatebears?
Oblation - Another instant speed problem solver, this one giving out two cards rather than a random flip. I'd say on average a random flip is more benign than two cards though.
Past in Flames - Due to the way Feather is worded, flashbacked targeted spells still get recycled. As such, you can pick as much stuff up from your 'yard as your mana will let you. Twice - this has flashback too! I ran this for a while and never once cast it though. Be more responsible than me and keep this as backup.
Path to Exile - While you can nominally be cute and turn some of your token swarm into repeatable Rampant Growths, this is still ultimately a removal spell first and foremost. The cute mode is pretty cute though.
Pyroblast - Gives you a one shot no thank you to countermagic, which none of the deck's bucket of protection spells do anything against. Can be idly recast targeting some dude for no discernible effect of its own, triggering any on-cast synergies for spare mana.
Slaughter the Strong - A solid board gut that keeps Feather around, plus you can maybe flick some other stuff out of harm's way.
Spirit of the Labyrinth - Everybody only gets one card a turn. You get bonus cards from cantrips in other people's turns. Still a bit iffy, as it shuts down juggling multiple cantrips or Zada setups where you draw 90% of your deck. Can also be unreliably turned off via end-of-turn flicker, Eidolon of Rhetoric style.
Sunforger - This thing lives here out of lack of a better category. This is one of the hype spikes I actually agree with to some extent, but I don't think it's quite as spammable as people seem to believe. You put this on Feather, you have a three-turn clock, and you sit back and observe the situation. If somebody tries to do something you otherwise can't answer - go dig out an answer. If you're missing a cantrip and have the mana to support one - go get one. If an opening presents itself to move Feather up to a 14-per-hit monstrosity, you can also summon double strike. Plus you have the standard removal lines and Mistveil Plains that are well-treaded paths.
Swords to Plowshares - Now that's one you're probably quite unlikely to use for its nominal recyclable purpose. Still, a staple piece of removal for a reason.
Vandalblast - Five mana to asymmetrically wreck all artifacts is a strong play. You could run it, it's a solid option.
Wheel of Fortune - Everybody drops their hands and picks up a fresh seven. A red staple for a reason, as wheels are one of the few ways to refuel in the colour. I ran it early in the deck's life, and it was very good in the early turns if you didn't have anything particularly interesting to do. You'd barf your hand of all the rocks and stuff, not even bother with Feather and wheel. However, if encountered later on, it'd just get ignored and dropped to hand size. It's probably a responsible include, like Past in Flames.
Being an enemy pair is rough, as we miss out on loads of ally-only cycles. You can easily save a lot of money and shave all the fetches + OG dual and still retain functionality. There's not much wiggle room for colourless lands, you're usually stuck funnelling them into non-instant plays in your main phase. There's only so much of that you can do while holding protection.
Ancient Den - The artifact lands respond to Unwinding Clock. That's quite cool for trying to milk extra spells in other people's turns.
Arid Mesa - The OG dual + fetches is the perfect mana base setup, helps make Duergar Hedge-Mage marginally more reliable and reaches Mistveil Plains easier. Probably not worth the moolah if you don't have access to it already though.
Battlefield Forge - The painlands are a good cycle, as you can save your life total if you don't need the coloured or ding yourself for one if you do. You'll probably be doing a nontrivial amount of dinging in this shell.
Boros Garrison - Boros was archetypically so card advantage starved it'd deliberately keep running the karoo in higher quality mana bases because of the trickle of value it offers. Well, we don't need it anymore!
City of Brass - Mandatory dinging is a bit less desirable than having the option to just generate a colourless, but realistically the deck is fast enough to not care about this too much. And hey, fixing!
Clifftop Retreat - The checklands are great, as you're quite likely to have something with an appropriate basic type kicking around. Auto-include in two-colour mana bases.
Exotic Orchard - The land version of Fellwar Stone, and just like the original rock it's probably better to just ensure you've got the colours on your own than hope your opposition brings them to the table for you.
Great Furnace - The red artifact land, offers the same benefits as the white one. Okay, fine, it offers marginally fewer benefits as more spammable spells are white, but it's still pretty good.
Inspiring Vantage - Fastlands have no place in the majority EDH. If anything, most decks will stomach an early tapped land instead of something that turns into a guildgate turn four. Why oh why couldn't they have picked one of the other incomplete cycles to fill out in enemy colours in KLD...
Mistveil Plains - Well-known Sunforger tech, allowing you to recycle popped instants. We're also sporting a few ETB tutors, so it could also potentially help get some equipment or reachable creature out again. Plus it comes with a land type, so it can be summoned at your leisure via a fetch or Kor Cartographer.
Plateau - Ain't we lucky, we get to have the cheapest dual!
Reflecting Pool - A land I'd argue is just about as mandatory as Command Tower in any 2+ colour mana base. True, there are corner cases where you're outright lacking a colour and then this does nothing to help, but it's still very sturdy in the majority of scenarios.
Reliquary Tower - The deck's only colourless land is devoted to having no hand size. We can survive a solitary colourless land, and getting to keep an ever-growing hand of nonsense is not a bad avenue to various ridiculously explosive plays if sufficient synergy pieces come along. Ultimately, the opportunity cost of a land slot is pretty low for this possibility.
Rugged Prairie - The filter lands are another great cycle, and help you traverse colour screw waters quite convincingly. The masters set reprint of the enemy pairs made them a lot more affordable. One of the few perks of being in enemy colours, I guess.
Sacred Foundry - The sun rises in the east, capers are inedible, and shocklands are good and should be ran if possible.
Strip Mine - While the ability to take out key lands is nice, ultimately it's not worth another colourless land entering the pool.
Temple of Triumph - Tap lands are not really where the deck wants to be. The scry could maybe be useful in the early game, but later on you should have enough card advantage/filtering going on that this won't help you a lot. Still, you could consider it if you're doing the sensible thing and shaving the dual + fetches setup, and don't feel comfortable with a sea of basics.
Piloting the Deck
Deck Strategy in Shellnut
The deck's primary aim is to get out Feather and start ramming cheap card advantage/filtering instants over and over again, sculpting a grip and a game plan.
Said game plan can be quite varied. There are various paths to victory in the deck. You can Guttersnipe/lazor people out. You can drown people in dudes. You can clonk people for 21 with Feather. All this is aided by ridiculous mana mediated by Paradox Engine, and to a lesser extent Phyrexian Altar. Piece something together from whatever shows up.
Scry is good. Scry allows you to ship undesirable draws to the bottom and make your cantrips give you productive stuff you actually want. If you have the mana to support them, make active use of your scry options to milk card quality. A good general scry-dig priority list in a game state vacuum would be locating a cantrip or two, then some solid cast payoff, wrapping up with any game-ending haymakers when you have the real estate to support them.
If in doubt, even the slightest bit of it, hold up interaction mana to the point of letting it go to waste in the end step before your untap. Keeping Feather alive is a priority, and can lead to some interesting mind games with your opponents with regards to what you choose to let them know about. Experienced foes will usually just leave you alone.
Even if you get caught with your pants down in some exchange, it's not the end of the world. The opposition probably had to actually use cards, probably in multiples, to make it happen. There's only so much spot removal they run. You should be able to bounce pack in a bit.
You're not particularly removal heavy. You have a few staple instants, a solitary creature wipe, and a bit of ETB destruction that you can recycle via flicker. You can assist in solving some emergencies and try to keep yourself alive through dire straits, but will be far from fun police.
Mana makes the deck go round. You look at the 99's innards, you see the 1 cmc instant tribal and overall nonexistent curve, and find out in action soon enough this is capable of guzzling any amount of mana you can throw at it. Each of those one-drop instants can be cast in every player's turn, and the cantrips will quickly bring new friends to the party. All while holding up the vital interaction mana. Get your rocks out and look for other mana opportunities.
Being rock-heavy is quite painful on the surface. However, repeatable cantrips tend to get you consistent land drops, and there are a few avenues in the deck (Kor Cartographer/Depression Automaton + flicker, Sword of Lotus Flip) to get land mana. Getting your rocks shot out from under you is annoying, but not typically game-ending.
Given the various cast triggers the list has on offer, it's good to pay attention to the stack and try to maximise your value. You can respond to various individual triggers, spells, copies, what have you, and try to get maximum benefit from everything. Quite a fun thing sometimes, particularly with Aetherflux Reservoir. At the same time, the bigger the unresolved stack the harder you can get blown out by something like Cyclonic Rift...
Sunforger is mainly used as a toolbox addition here. Don't spam it every single time you can, even sitting idly on Feather helps out with her clock. Rip it when you explicitly need something. The deck does not run spells that are worth sinking five mana into every turn.
The game-ending artifacts are good to keep around. A few of the protection spells (Apostle's Blessing, Faith's Shield) come with emergency clauses to act as shields for them too. You won't get them back then, but they will prevent an instance of spot removal on them. This should hopefully suffice, given sufficient game-ending girth.
1. Early Game (Turns ~1-3)
*audible whip cracking*
The very first thing you do in a game is acquire a hand of some sort. Feather's not that picky in this regard. You're looking for 3-4 coloured mana spread between rocks and lands, some sort of value spell (scry will do in a pinch) and ideally some level of protection, especially against inexperienced foes. If you get that, you're fine. Some sort of cast payoff or tutor wouldn't hurt either. If the draw luck is not with you and you're missing some of these, you'll probably still survive. Mana's the most important component - getting stiffed on coloured before you run out Feather is very unfortunate, and you should only consider hands with two or fewer coloured sources if they offer a bunch of early action that will keep you busy before you run Feather out. That means your Young Pyromancers, Burning Prophets, Scroll of the Masters, you get the drill. You might have noticed I haven't mentioned Sol Ring or Mana Crypt. They're good here, as you have non-Feather plays to make as well, but they're far from their usual snap keep selves as they don't explicitly help you get your commander out.
The early game should play itself automatically after that. Your realistic goal is a turn three Feather with a mana up. Chasing Feather out with no protection, be it bluffed or real, will often lead to her eating removal and slow you down. Thankfully there are a lot of cheap rocks that can take up some of the first two turns. There are also some less conventional options in Springleaf Drum or Mox Amber that do nothing before you cast Feather, but work just fine for the extra mana purpose once she's around. You can also chase out the cheap synergy pieces, if you have them. However, if given a choice between a Young Pyromancer and a rock enabling a protected Feather the next turn, you should probably go for the rock. The deck's swath of cheap instants are dead weight without her around, and only start doing their thing once you get your commander out.
There's not a lot you can do if someone explodes out of the gate. You've got Path/Swords, but those may be insufficient to stop a particularly feisty delinquent. There's also Duergar Hedge-Mage, who might be a reasonable emergency popper. At times like these the fetches and dual really shine, as you should be able to have at least one (usually both) of the modes online pretty quickly. Chaos Warp may be held if you smell something going super crazy, but will more often be done sorcery speed after untapping in those sort of scenarios. Look, there's no beating around the bush - you're not a particularly removal-heavy deck, and your interaction is limited. And that's okay. You probably shouldn't be running Feather at a table where games end turn three anyway, if I'm to be honest
Your early game is very one-track. You get the rocks out, you get Feather out with protection mana up. This typically happens turn three. Some super nut draws do it turn two sometimes, but are not common. The deck needs the commander to function. As such, we have now acquired the commander, are signalling to the world we can keep her alive (whether we actually can is a different matter entirely), and are ready to move on to the mid game.
2. Mid Game (Turns ~4-6)
Hey ho, hey ho, a-swarmin' we shall go
It's now approximately turn four. You played Feather, the turns went around the table, you held up interaction mana, nothing came, and it's back to yours. Alternately, something came and you stopped it with much panache, impressing the rest of the board and notifying them of your protective prowess. One way or the other, things are okay. Time to get cooking with gas!
The protection aspect of the deck is vital to reliably keeping it online. Picture casting Feather only to have her die over and over again. Some good all those cantrips/scries in your hand will do. That's not the best. As such, you need to always hold, or at the very least bluff, protection for Feather. One mana will suffice. That's where Gods Willing, Sheltering Light and a few others reside. Staying in control of Feather being on the board is important, and can lead to various cat and mouse mind games with the opposition. Some of the protection spells come with added value, so you can pop a Gods Willing to get a scry with some spare mana. Now your opponents are notified that you can blank spot removal, and have to play around it. Use Ajani's Presence to minimally speed up Feather's clock? That Wrath of God won't take her out. This tends to ultimately lead to you being left alone and not interacted with outside wipes when playing against opponents experienced against the deck. "He'll have something to stop it, just don't mess with him." This is where the bluff element comes in - you can sometimes get away with not having protection at all against those foes, and as long as that token mana is waiting they'll leave you be. The only time you should feel ok using it is in main two before your turn with everyone tapped out. You can try greeding it in less inviting circumstances, but don't say I didn't warn you if someone rips a funny on you in response.
The second order of business comes in various cast synergy friends and other value pieces worth getting out. You need payoff. While you'll eventually be casting an impressive flurry of spells with frightening regularity, card advantage for card advantage's sake won't get you too far if nothing is happening as you rip it. Board gummers like Monastery Mentor help ensure you have some board presence that deters free swings into you. Being able to chump, maybe even trade with, anything coming your way will dissuade attacks reasonably well. Non-board payoff, such as Burning Prophet or Scroll of the Masters, is also pretty good to have around. The cumulative value these sort of cards bring to the table is very handy in trying to close out the game later. Thankfully, most are pretty cheap to cast.
At this point, you should still have some mana left. Probably not a dizzying amount, but a few pips of pocket change. This is where you start spamming the value spells. Cantrip a bit, scry a bit, try to find some good payoff to work into your board. Or mana, if you're short. Anything you need, really. For now this is not means unto itself, but you can invest heavier in this if you find yourself lacking payoff. Each of those one-cost cantrips you have does not actually cost one. It can secretly cost as much as you have opponents, as you can pop it in everyone else's turn. As such, it's very easy to have a small value suite stretch a long way if given the opportunity to, or roll back the expenditure and devote mana to furthering your board state. Another important thing to keep track of is what your opponents know about your hand for another cat and mouse element. Let's say you've opened Heal, and have been using that for card acquisition. A couple Heals in you find yourself an Expedite. That's objectively better as you get the card immediately! However, your opponents are not aware of you having that card, so unless you have the resources to start slinging both around keep showing them the Heal.
Everything else you do around now is a bit more variable. If you get given ways to improve your mana setup, try to work those in as mana's just a good thing to have. Sometimes you can use some ETB value, sometimes you can recycle it via flickers. If you get some Feather voltron options and folks are open, by all means spend a couple mana to rough them up a bit more. You can mooch extra value from protection spells by making your chumps impervious in combat, saving your precious hit points for a later turn. The deck does stuff. Do the stuff.
As the mid game progresses, you should have found some decent synergy pieces and slowly started moving your resources towards juggling spells around. Your token horde gets bigger, your Scroll of the Masters is starting to fill up, and your scrying priorities change a bit. Whereas previously you were probably looking for these synergy pieces, now you're trying to find something with enough kick to it to just end the game in short order.
3. Late Game (Turns ~7+)
Pass priority with the untap on the stack. Anybody got anything?
By now your mana pool should be impressive, you should hopefully have some well-humming synergy on board, and you're trying to bring it home. Some games you won't even need to reach out to an end game play as you'll incidentally count to 20 with a Guttersnipe that came out early, or just keep ramming Titan's Strength and Psychotic Fury to two-shot a guy at a time. Incidental voltron kills are particularly common in 1v1 games. However, in a multiplayer pod, you'll often find yourself pining for a high-impact setup that will really allow you to kick things into overdrive.
The most reliable way to close out the proceedings is to acquire a way to machine gun spells. Paradox Engine is super good at that, given the rock heaviness and negligible curve of the deck. You suddenly churn through your entire instant collection for free, probably picking up some new members along the way, and can keep doing it in everybody else's turns if necessary. Some more silly Pengine interactions are Isochron Scepter, which leads to infinite casts with at least two untappable mana, and Sunforger, which is a bit greedier, and not explicitly infinite, at five. The ideal thing to slip under the Scepter is Boros Charm, as in the mid game it can act as a repeatable wrath shield while offering table shredding potential off the seldom EDH-used bolt mode when going off with Pengine. In a pinch, stick some sort of cantrip/scry on there, dig your way to a Guttersnipe/Aetherflux Reservoir and get it on the field. Even if you're about to deck yourself, you can still win this - rip a Scepter copy, resolve the damage and untap triggers, and respond to the spell by repeating the thing again. Your foes shall be dead soon enough. The Sunforger setup allows you to go dig up as many instants from your deck as you feel like and cast them. While technically not infinite, this should result in a back-breaking repeatable value explosion that should close out the proceedings in no time flat. Probably right then and there if you have Guttersnipe/Aetherflux Reservoir or a way to get then. Good ole gobbo/lazors, they're sure doing a lot of work in these combo'esque endgame setups, eh? Another machine gun setup involves swarm capabilities and Phyrexian Altar. While not as explosive as Pengine, and lacking either of the two grand finale finishes, it allows you to trade board development for barfing your entire hand over and over again. This should let you dig for whatever you may need to properly end the game.
Another closing time usher comes in Zada variants. Suddenly your Expedites nab you as many cards as you have bodies. Combine that with a little spare mana and you should be able to pick up most of your deck in short order, especially if there's some swarm around. There's another neat trick to maximising Zada'd cantrip returns with swarms around - cast whatever you can spare to go as wide as you can, and then rip your cantrips one at a time, allowing the swarm triggers to resolve but keeping the Zada copy on the stack. Once you run out of cantrips, resolve them one at a time. Maybe you'll find more ways you can use to increase your swarm or draw further cards along the way? This may seem like unnecessary levels of faff, given the draw potential of just normally casting the cantrips, but the more cards you see the better. Another cool thing you can do is copy a scry spell, resolve the copies one at a time, shipping stuff to the bottom until you find something you want, and respond with a cantrip. Then draw a swath of cards with the one you want in there, and you still have some scry left over when that's done. This may seem like basic stuff, but the deck's pretty good at getting you to pay attention to every last trigger and spell on the stack to milk maximum value from everything. Another good thing the Zadas do is spread your protection board-wide, which should make you near impervious to interaction, helping your odds of closing things out in your favour. One way or another, a Zada on the board will typically deposit you in the Pengine combo realm soon enough.
Sometimes the mid game value engines will run away with stuff on their own. Go wide enough with Monastery Mentor and a few spells shredded in your turn may well translate to lethal on someone. Non-Mentor wides can use Phalanx Leader to buff up. Scroll of the Masters quite easily gets itself into two-shot range, and it's conceivable for it to hit 18 and single-handedly make Feather a one-shotter. Something will typically happen. You'll keep shredding the casts, digging your way through the deck, and assemble something. And it'll be fun. And won't feel stereotypical Boros at all.
Ebline - Continued feedback throughout the deck's development, and surviving me keeping the mana-centric equipment
Greendawg - Enduring various configurations of the deck in testing, magicking up a cool banner, and alerting me of Aurelia's Fury spiking.
Carthage - Providing a number of spot-on card suggestions, some of which I'm still processing in my roundabout way.
Dominicus - Reinforcing me in my choice to run copious amounts of dirt cheap protection, and hopefully coming around to the various swarm synergies.
Everybody not mentioned who provided their opinions/feedback at any point of the time-space continuum, or even made it down here. You rock!
Where applicable, the deck change header is clickable to take you to the relevant discussion post in the thread.
I mentioned this in the other thread, but flashback spells, that target a creature you control, will get returned by Feather, as flashback just looks that Feather's replacement effects sends the card to exile and doesn't care if it later comes back. Although there weren't a ton of good RW spells with flashback, there is one card that I think you could really do with: Past In Flames. For all the instants and sorceries you managed to lose, here's the chance to bring them back to your hand!
They were also talking about an Arcane / Splice package, but that probably takes more away from the deck.
Private Mod Note
Rollback Post to RevisionRollBack
"It is better for all the world if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes... Three generations of imbeciles are enough."
--Buck v Bell, 1927. This case, regarding the compulsory sterilization of inmates at mental institutions, has -- somehow -- never been overturned. Just a wee PSA for ya.
Thanks for the thoughts, cool stuff to consider. The RecruiterFriends make perfect sense here, as they reach a bunch of cool utility creatures. Intimidation Bolt is super cute. The principle behind Gamble is that what you get is what you want, so whatever you lose at random is an acceptable sacrifice to make. Unless RNG guzzles what you tutored. Past in Flames seems like a better Goblin Dark-Dwellers in the shell, provided enough mana is available. I'll probably aim to work some of this stuff in at some point soon, but for now I culled some underperformers to smooth the core out a bit more.
I felt aa bit removal-light in the list, so I added Chain Reaction for another wipe and Duergar Hedge-Mage for repeatable artifact/enchantment disruption. I wanted to include Sword of Rampant Growth, so here it is. While playing I noticed that I'd often gum up the game a bit and become difficult to answer while not doing a ton offensively, grinding out victories off Guttersnipe triggers. As such, I increased my Guttersnipe quota with Electrostatic Field and Firebrand Archer. Thermo-Alchemist may be a Guttersnipe variant, but a summoning sick one. Goblin Dark-Dwellers cost too much and are a touch too situational for what they offer - I've been piloting the list very defensively, keeping up interaction mana and interaction options, leading to very few instants going astray. As such, they'd mainly just recycle the handful of removal spells and that would be the end of that. I also found Sunforger to be uncomfortably slow to work with here - when the list refuses to run Acrobatic Maneuver because of the wrong kind of flick timing and being a three drop, paying a net total of eight mana to get my first utility instant and then five for furthers seems like a stretch. The deck thrives on the one-drop instant to diversify its portfolio and keep things going, wincing a bit at some of the twos in action, so paying five for a slightly broader selection just isn't going to work. True, it could get hyper specific situational answers, e.g. wipe survival tools, but the day to day operations cost remains too damn high. It's a pity really, if there ever was a general equipped to make good use of 'forger it was this one. Taking the dismal Magnetic Theft with it, plus Stoneforge Mystic - the package became small and not quite as significant to gameplay as the 'forger was to be by design.
I'm not sure if Launch the Fleet would actually be good or if it's still just winmoar. Heat Shimmer and Twinflame abuse ETBs just as well as flickers.
Burn spells that can target your own creatures like Cone of Flame or Reckless Rage sounds funny, but it might be too cute to be useful.
Lastly, how many spells can you reliably churn out a turn? Repeatable Grapeshot sounds hilarious.
Indomitable Creativity could be good in a Feather deck as long you target at least one of your own creatures. The strategy would be to blow up your creature tokens as fodder to dig for artifacts and/or creatures. Otherwise you can hit the opponent's creatures or artifacts.
Seismic Shift can target your own creature. So Feather can bring it back. It could be useful to get rid of certain lands.
If I'm not mistaken, you can search up magnetic theft as your first sunforger target and then using that you can magnetic theft to equip sunforger to something -> use sunforger ability to cast any spell from your deck, which makes it 3 mana( R + RW ) to cast any instant from your deck instead of 5.
Yeah, and then you open a hand with Magnetic Theft, no trace of equipment or ways to get it, and you start questioning your life choices I'm gonna be honest, I really like Sunforger and I'm hoping I'll get it to operate here one day. For now it's just not quite working out for one reason or another. It's still on my radar. Back in the early days of my Daxos the Returned list, I cut Necropotence twice
Chain Reaction is a conscious design choice as all but one (dammit Cloudshift) of the shielding options work to make my stuff survive it, whereas colour protection does nothing against destruction wipes. If I decide to add even more kaboomboom, good ole OG Wrath is the next on the menu. The repeatable wipes are oddly unpleasant and at the same time oddly narrow, which makes them a rather crappy include for general game quality.
The next round of includes, which will probably be pushed here after some more testing (I still haven't actually seen some cards, e.g. Knight of the White Orchid), actually features Recruiter of the Guard. Thank you for reminding me that those are a good idea.
Before delving into the update, a quick response to the options I failed to acknowledge before. I don't feel I attack enough for Launch the Fleet to work. Heat Shimmer/Twinflame are time-honoured options, but also sorcery speed. I don't have enough synergy outlets for Indomitable Creativity to be reliable. I tend to sling one cost garbage instants in other people's turns, so Grapeshot forces me to commit to more action in my turn for payoff that largely scales into winmore ranges. Everything else seems too pricey for what it offers. Thanks for all the suggestions though!
I've been liking this lean Guttersnipe-tastic take on the commander. The various instant speed shenanigans keep people off my back pretty reliably, and I aggressively spam instants and churn through the deck looking for payoff in other people's turns. There are occasionally cool stack times, largely when Zada/Mirrorwing are kicking around and you can interrupt a copied scry spell with a cantrip when you see something you want, preserving the rest of the scry for later. Or when you ram spells in the end step before your turn to get the card churning benefits and untap with as much mana as possible to try to work something up. Or that one time a guy tried to modular lethal onto Trike, so I Fall of the Hammered, to what he Arcbound Ravagered it out of harm's way, to what it ate a Valorous Stance. Let's try to support that direction a bit more then - good cheap utility spells, good return for having said cheap utility spells come out again and again.
Artifact lands in for Unwinding Clock purposes, thanks for the catch darrenhabib. I don't feel comfortable enough to run Darksteel Citadel, all of my lands are coloured due to the deck's lack of appetite for colourless mana. As mentioned, the cheap scry instants are almost as good as cantrips, as they can help dig into the deck and ship unnecessary drivel to the bottom so you don't waste your precious draws on them. As such, adding Stand Firm - scry two for one mana is good stuff. On a similar note, added Burning Prophet for further scry value off casting anything while not hogging targeting. I risked it and slid in Akroan Conscriptor, expecting him to be super clunky, and instead finding out he works great. The instant speed Threatens are a pretty good tool to have both on the offensive and defensive, and the synergy with spot removal has been brought up a number of times on the boards already. The most triumphant use so far was watching a guy absent-mindedly bunt into me, taking his bigger swinger, slurping his smaller attacker with it, and then thanking it for its service by getting a land. For whatever reason, this seems to upset people a lot. They thankfully calm down when I remind them just how elaborate and largely untutorable this setup is, versus Attrition or other options of that nature. Speaking of tutoring, Recruiter of the Guard in. Gets most utility pieces, and the trade-off with Imperial Recruiter was Akroan Conscriptor versus a cheap Guttersnipe knockoff. I'll take the Conscriptor, thank you very much
Cut-wise, I had a game where I managed to Cloudshift every last Plains and half my Mountains out of the 99 with Depression Automaton, which quickly translated to going bananas with a hand full of nonsense spammed remorselessly in other people's turns. Knight of the White Orchid doesn't do that. Reckless Rage dispenses a four-damage smack, which is not quite enough to feel comfortable about it eating most possible targets. Stacking it twice by popping it in the turn's end step again is sufficient to accomplish that goal. However, the self-harm from the spell is enough to take out Feather when applied twice, and the list is not known for particularly notable butts. Most anything non-Feather will die from the shock, which is a bit sad. Soul's Fury costs three, and only really comes online via Phalanx Leader or Monastery Mentor after a massive chain. One copy of the effect at one mana less, without face potential, should still be enough. Aurelia's Fury spiking drove me to buy the bits and bobs for this, but turned out to be reasonably uneventful. I was completely disincentivized from casting it, even in that Cloudshift + Depression Automaton game where mana was seriously no issue. Sure, it's a fireball thing that can silence some pesky opposition if you need to go ham in peace, but given my only >2 CMC instants are currently Chaos Warp, Eerie Interlude and Wear // Tear, that should paint a pretty good picture of what's up in the list.
In terms of tempting includes, there's Unexpectedly Absent for more removal potential, Wall of Omens for flicker draw potential, Wily Goblin for ETB treasure making, Imperial Recruiter and Gamble for more tutoring, Meteor Golem for ultra mega removal and Tenth District Legionnaire for more on-cast scrying (although this one's competing with other heroic friends for targeting). In that huge mana game I could have made use of that cut Sunforger after all, to some extent. But when I consider it, I immediately gravitate to the incredibly situational Magnetic Theft, plus I'd need to carve out room again for Stoneforge Mystic. Could also hit up the goodstuff market - Smothering Tithe because Smothering Tithe, Ghostly Prison to further help deter swinging. While right now the list feels pretty smoothed out, I probably just need to get some more games in to see how everything operates now and I'll be back here soon enough tweaking again.
Zada is so stupidly good I'm consciously keeping the Goblin Matron. She also gets Guttersnipe, so there's that Having your crappy little cantrips turn into 20+ cards a turn cycle is pretty good for game winning, as it turns out.
I agree Vandalblast is a stupid good card, but I'm shying away from it in early builds. It'll probably ultimately go in, just like the Recruiter of the Guard did, it's early days, I'm focused on getting the deck's engine humming first. Don't you knock on Stand Firm, that thing is stupid good and I'm very happy I included it I know scry doesn't seem like a lot at first, but just try playing it, if applicable - you sift your crappy would-be draws to the bottom, looking for whatever is the definition of "gas" at that time, it smooths gameplay dramatically.
I still maintain 4 damage doesn't really do that much. It kills some utility dudes. Stacking it twice for 8 would be good, as mentioned, but the only butts up to the task are Zada, Dragon Zada, Monastery Mentor, anything post-Phalanx, Guttersnipe knockoff wall, disposable Young Pyromancer/Akroan Crusader chumps... okay, that's actually quite a few options. I may have been hasty in taking it out. Thanks for getting me to reevaluate this one. Psychotic Fury is pretty okay though, at least in principle - you pop all the Stand Firms of the world to marginally pump Feather, you rip a double strike cantrip and voltron someone. I haven't been doing a whole lot of that recently, I've mainly been keeping her around on defence duty and spamming casts. Need more games!
Most of my decks have the comfort of winning out of the command zone in one way or another, this one "only" gets to have an engine instead. Something usually happens. I've shredded people with Guttersnipe variants, I've voltronned people down, I've made impenetrably dense token forests that then sometimes grow. Just had a turn seven win where I set down Zada, spent two mana to draw 45 cards and assembled Paradox Engine + Isochron Scepter. It seems to be the same ballpark power level as the other lists I have built.
In most decks I would agree with you. In this deck I don't want to risk a colourless rock because of the whole "the list lives by the 1cmc instant" thing. I'm actually considering Springleaf Drum, and still remember your suggested moxen.
As for Reckless Rage, what targets are you expecting that 4 damage wouldn't be enough? (Almost every Tier 1-2 Commander, as well as a bunch of utility creatures/dorks, even LabMan, die to 4 damage.)
This is not a tiers build in the slightest. I have never set foot in cEDH and likely never will A lot of the conventional EDH power lifters tend to sit around the 6 toughness mark. It has already been established I'm aiming to work it back in soon.
Do you think Braid of Fire is too cute? I guess most of the cantrips are White, but it does let us get free value from Red instants in our upkeep.
It's cute, but as you noticed most of the instant suite is white. It doesn't hit a whole lot while eating a card slot. Also, absolutely worthless outside of instant casting given how the list is currently built. Mana, like removal, is a dish best served reliably and flexibly.
Any reason you're not running Balduvian Rage? Seems like a versatile way to "Voltron" someone out.. And unless I'm mistaken, it IS a 1-Mana Cantrip, no?
Ahh, the most inexplicable Feather-related spike. Note it says attacking, so I can't juggle it in other people's turns. I'm also sinking four mana into it so it becomes as good as a Titan's Strength, requiring beyond baller mana totals to not suck. But at that point you probably should have done something, or be underway to doing something as you amassed a beyond baller mana total. Something must be going right.
Is summoning sickness enough reason to avoid having every pinger, when you're basically on the pinger plan?
For the time being, yeah. May find room later, but it's not uncommon for the deck to be mid-game, ripping through the deck, looking for various pieces. This coming in off the top with summoning sickness is not the best.
Thoughts on using Past in Flames to get back cards that unfortunately had to be thrown away? Or do we have enough redundancy that you don't see it being necessary for it's cost?
Yeah, that's rock solid, probably correct to run. As already stated upthread.
There really aren't that many - four generators (I'll count Akroan Conscriptor here as well), one way to tutor. Potential for two ways to tutor if Imperial Recruiter goes in. If you want to do that, look at ISB's list. Tons of token generation off ETBs and flicks, always a disposable chump to flip into something nice. I'm also not a huge fan of using Polymorph style removal, most EDH decks feature stuff that's in there for a reason, making this more of a chaos spell than an actual answer.
Hell no, go for it. I own a single set of fetches, which makes me feel comfortable proxying them in anything I build, and agreed on a very good Plateau price with a guy in my playgroup upon realising this deck is happening. I'd probably stop at the karoo though, the guildgate style ones are no bueno. From lands I'm not running, you could also ram in the temple.
Ahh, the most inexplicable Feather-related spike. Note it says attacking, so I can't juggle it in other people's turns.
Oh wow, I totally missed that.. (I guess the only way to use that on someone else's turn might be to steal an attacking creature with Akroan Conscriptor and then use Rage on them? o_0 Even if that does work, that's just absurd.. lol.) Guess I won't be running that after all.
Yeah, the main reason I like Karoo Lands is because of the pseudo-card advantage they give you when you're mana-screwed (and getting tons of Mana if you have extra Land drops.) But I rarely use them outside of very specific decks (like Mono-W or Muldrotha.)
Well, that hit a decent level of construction pretty quickly. Turns out that if your premise are cheap instants that do stuff coming in over and over again, plus various payoff for having cheap instants that do stuff coming in over and over again, you can select a solid set of each and things are gonna work well out of the box. While flicking Depression Automaton over and over again that one time was cool, I think I've made the correct call to go for this spell-shred approach. The deck is going down well with my meta, and at the same time I don't see a way to take it in a direction that will make it radically more powerful or unpleasant than it is now. What can I say, I'm feeling this list, and will likely go for a primer write-up in a couple months once it becomes legal to do so
Some general observations:
By now, it's almost become part of the game universe that I have creature protection. I sling various instants, always keep interaction mana up, nobody tries to challenge me outside wipes. However, key non-creatures (Paradox Engine etc.) get nuked on sight. As such, it's become par of the course for me to set the Pengine down, hold priority, cast something, and pass priority to see if anyone has kaboomboom. There are still two outs to Pengine kaboomboom in the list (Faith's Shield, Apostle's Blessing), so sometimes it lives. There's one more potential protection piece (Razor Barrier), but I'm not adding that.
The protection plus scry/draw complement each other very nicely. It's kind of like your archetypical draw-go control deck, where you can use up any resources not spent on permission for card advantage. You rip through the 99, you find whatever cool pieces you need, you keep the value train going.
Sometimes the value train goes off the rails and you have to pitch to hand size. It's an interesting feeling, dropping six cards at the end of your turn in a Boros shell. I don't think the list is too mana deficient, and it's more a result of the occasional hyper-efficiency of the engine.
The engine becomes really, really hyper-efficient with Zada or Dragon Zada. Feather, a few chumps, enter Zada variant, each cantrip starts drawing ~4 right off the bat. The protection spells become board-wide. I'd greatly, greatly recommend running the Zadas in most any Feather build. This doesn't really need spelling out though. I'm just spelling it out in the interest of thoroughness.
The deck's various synergy pieces and lines of play lead to a surprise degree of responsiveness and on-board versatility. One game I was staring down a horde of Darksteel Juggernauts courtesy of Brudiclad, having failed to obtain any spot removal in the split second I needed to prevent him making a token copy of it. No problem. I just went turbo wide and repeatedly made my whole board indestructible via Zada, and stalled him out while Feather pecked away at him in the air.
Boros Charm is the perfect Isochron Scepter card at every stage of the game, only really contested by the spot removal options. Make stuff not die, sometimes help Feather voltron better, if you land the Pengine infinite just kill everyone off the bolts.
Occasionally I'd find myself wishing for a particular instant. No card advantage, no perfect response to removal attempts, no kill potential. It wasn't super common, but that is a gap that Sunforger could potentially help fill - not something you'd feel obliged to ram every turn, but rather an emergency superman that delivers whatever you're in dire need of. This means I could probably ease off the Magnetic Theft
Recruiter of the Guard has been an all star. Most of the time, she just gets Depression Automaton, but she has the potential to get a board-gummer, a board-grower, Guttersnipe, Goblin Matron (as a Zada proxy)... the options are there. And there's a bit of flick to get another go at those options. As such, Imperial Recruiter makes sense as an added include to double up on this. I'm also going to be a responsible builder and try out Past in Flames. I saw Finale of Promise, read it as this deck's Regrowth and got thinking - would I rather have a Regrowth, or a damned Yawgmoth's Will/Praetor's Counsel with flashback? I'm gonna try it out and see how it goes, it'll probably be like Wheel of Fortune, i.e. dwell in the 99 and get shipped to hand size when the deck is really humming, but offering a good line of backup if things go south. Also, the flashback means that even in the event of being shipped to hand size it still offers some protection! Took out the two Guttersnipe knockoffs to make room. It's not that they're bad, they're just less impactful than the original and I needed room. I also took out a Mountain (as the deck's a bit more white) for a Reliquary Tower to offer the possibility of mega hand retention.
There are still some includes kicking around on the sidelines for when something underperforms or I feel like shaking things up a notch. Smothering Tithe, Chrome Mox and Springleaf Drum are all mana considerations, in order of likelihood of making it in. Sunforger bundles with Stoneforge Mystic, awaiting a go in the more silver bullet/gap fill style described above. If it makes it in, I'd probably need Teferi's Protection in there too. Aetherflux Reservoir feels winmore but exciting. Reckless Rage is also in consideration. I could also add more good ETB stuff, be it removal, swarm or whatever. And yet, in spite of all this cool stuff being absent from the 99, the decks's already humming quite well!
Occasionally I'd find myself wishing for a particular instant. No card advantage, no perfect response to removal attempts, no kill potential. It wasn't super common, but that is a gap that Sunforger could potentially help fill - not something you'd feel obliged to ram every turn, but rather an emergency superman that delivers whatever you're in dire need of. This means I could probably ease off the Magnetic Theft
Someone brought to my attention that other than Sunforger, the only other way to tutor for a specific Instant in Boros.. is Gamble; and I'm definitely tempted to include it now, because I want to live the disgusting Path+Token Gen ramp dream as much as possible (because imo it's the most broken thing the deck can do! :P)
PS. Someone else mentioned Veilstone Amulet, and while it is cute, I think it's ultimately not good enough (too much mana, doesn't do anything right away without holding up even more mana, and it only protects against single-target removal which we already do in spades..)