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Win Hard: Or Die Trying (Akroan Style)

Modern Aggro Budget Casual Competitive RW (Boros) Soldiers


(Hi everyone!! I'm trying to get back into deck building again with a brand new entry to my old Ultra-Budget series! If you'd like to help me get this new build off the ground, head over to Ultra-Budget: Dunwich Horror (And Friends!), check it out, and shoot me a comment with your suggestions!)

This is the definition of a Death or Glory deck. Use your superior tactics and speed to hold the pass, or die gloriously in a hail of pain.

This deck wants to come out of the gates hitting like a train before your opponents have a chance to respond. It isn't the ideal strategy, but with Favored Hoplite + Ordeal of Purphoros + Boros Charm + Titan's Strength , you can potentially seal a turn 3 win. The play-style is aggressive and insanely fun. And when everything lines up just right and you drop your opponent from 20 to 0 in a single swing on turn 4, the look on your opponent's face is worth all those times you got wrecked by burn and control.

This deck is full of killer combos, including the one I mentioned above. I'll detail them below!

Deck Breakdown


Favored Hoplite - The 1 drop slot for this deck has seen a lot of traffic. But ultimately, I feel this guy is the best fit. He provides a strong body on turn 1 as well as a Heroic trigger that not only makes him bigger very quickly, but makes him unkillable to boot. That kind of power for is pretty fantastic. Under ideal circumstances, he can win you the game on turn 3 by himself. Check out the section below on playing the deck to see how.

Boros Swiftblade - His art is goofy, but his stats and abilities are nothing to sneeze at. A double striker on turn 2 with this deck can spell the end for your opponent in the right circumstances. With the right combination of pump spells and heroic triggers, this guy can start forcing through some serious damage on turn 3. With Madcap Skills and nothing else, he swings for 8. He also brings an extra toughness over similar creature, Fencing Ace, as well as an additional mana symbol to help make sure Iroas comes down at full power. ( Fencing Ace is a good alternative though if you prefer the easier mana cost).

Fabled Hero - In this deck, this guy is a bomb. He can often win you the game, or at the very least clinch the win for the next turn, the turn after he comes out. On turn 4, this guy plus a Madcap Skills and a Martial Glory swings for 20 and demands a minimum of two blockers by himself - not even taking into account your other attacking creatures. On turn 5, with Anax and Cymede out, that same combo will swing for 22 and be backed up with Trample. If your opponent doesn't have an answer, it's good game.

Anax and Cymede - The warrior king and queen of your army. Their body and abilities are relevant on their own, making the card a solid standalone threat. But giving a stackable board-wide pump and Trample buff to this deck is absolutely devastating. They aren't the direct damage threat that Fabled Hero is, but they make sure that when he goes all in, your opponent feels it.

Iroas, God of Victory - It isn't enough to just have your king and queen fighting alongside your army. That's why this legion brings its god along too. When this guy drops, even if he isn't a creature, your opponent is in for a world of hurt - and at 4 mana, he's one heck of a deal (especially if he's a creature). He essentially functions as a board-wide Madcap Skills, which as we already know is tremendously destructive in this deck. Add on top of that the fact that all your creatures are indestructible when they're attacking, and you can march to battle fearlessly every turn thereafter. He won't always come down turn 4, but when he does show up, it can very quickly spell defeat for your enemies.


Madcap Skills - It isn't instant speed so it isn't the trickiest combat trick this deck sports, but it is definitely one of the most devastating. It makes every creature in the deck a relevant threat, and is especially destructive on your double strikers. It is, however, a big red bullseye for removal, so you'll need to think tactically when using it. Is it better to put it on your Fabled Hero and swing for the win, risking him eating a Doom Blade or something along those lines? Or might it be better to put it on your Favored Hoplite then sneak through a double strike anyway with a shot from Boros Charm?

Lightning Bolt - What can I tell you that you don't already know about this spell? It's the best aggro burn there is. In this deck it can help clear the way for big heroic swings, or go straight to the head to help mop up when your soldiers are done. And in a pinch, it can even be used to trigger Anax and Cymede's heroic ability to pump your board and Trample over your opponent - if Iroas is down and you're attacking, they're indestructible anyway. Plus, calling down the wrath of the Akroan gods adds quite a bit of flavor to this Greek pantheon themed deck, and that makes it extra awesome!

Titan's Strength - In a deck that wants to hit hard and win fast, cheap instant pumps like this give you that extra punch right when you need it. Throw this on Fabled Hero and he swings for an extra 8 damage for the turn. Or if you need need to pump the field with Anax and Cymede, this spell is cheap enough that you can hit them and still have mana left to hit them with something else or pump your other creatures too. The ability to scry is just icing on the cake.

Ordeal of Purphoros - In a lot of decks, this spell is just OK - it's cool when it goes off, but it's usually too slow to be competitive. But in this deck, where Heroic triggers can give your creatures 3 +1/+1 counters almost immediately, this spell shines. It very quickly pumps up the damage output and toughness of our Heroic creatures. And once one of them has 3 counters, it basically becomes a copy of Lightning Strike that triggers our Heroics while simultaneously nuking your opponent's face/board. (Plus I like to imagine it as your soldier in the middle of a 300 or Spartacus style battle, he maneuvers 3 attacks then when this pops off, he pulls some kind of sick slow motion leaping attack that obliterates an additional enemy - because I'm a super nerd and imagine all my matches are like epic movie battles...)

Boros Charm - This spell brings so much utility to this deck. Going for 4 to the face is always helpful, especially to burn off those pesky last few hitpoints to secure a win. But making all your creatures indestructible is incredibly useful against removal. And as I've pointed out a couple times already, sneaking through extra double strikes is always relevant. And it triggers heroic to boot? Yes please!

Martial Glory - For two mana you get two heroic triggers AND the ability to wreck face AND the ability to protect one of your creatures from removal or from a strong blocker. There are limitless ways that this spell can ruin your opponent's day. Save it for just the right moment, and it wins you games. Cast two of these targeting Fabled Hero and Anax and Cymede and it's game over!


Sacred Foundry - Just a quick budget note on this land. It is fairly expensive. You can swap it out for Boros Guildgate, Wind-Scarred Crag or another similar land if the cost is prohibitive for you. You'll sacrifice a little turn 1 consistency, but if saving $30-$40 is more important, by all means, save it!

Playing the Deck

As I mentioned in the intro, this deck wants to win quickly. It can win in longer games if everything comes together right, but that certainly isn't ideal. The more turns that pass without a win, the harder that win becomes. So use your assets wisely, apply some tactical thinking, and take down your opponent before they can respond. The key to winning with this deck is unleashing huge unexpected, explosive bursts of damage when your opponent's defenses are down.

Because of how lean this deck is, it can effectively function on 3-4 mana. More is ideal of course, but if you can get 3 mana down by turn 3 and 2 of it is or , you're solid (ideal being 3x or ).

This deck only has one creature at the 1 drop slot. But as I mentioned above, Favored Hoplite is pretty amazing for just one mana. His tougher than average body and powerful Heroic ability make him a relevant threat at any point in the game. ButwWith the right cards in your hand, bringing him down turn 1 means your opponent is in for a particularly nasty ride. Allow me to demonstrate: Turn 1, this guy. Turn 2, Ordeal of Purphoros , attack (he's already a 3/4 that can't be damaged). Turn 3, attack, Boros Charm + Titan's Strength (he's now a 9/10 double striker that can't be hurt and has a free Lightning Strike attached). Under the right conditions, that's probably GG. All from your 1 drop. And he isn't even the scariest creature in the deck!

Your 2 drop isn't the toughest creature in the deck, but he can bring the pain if he has to. Double strike synergizes very well with all the pumps in the deck. And because the first strike component of it can potentially mean your opponent losing a creature without killing yours, a lot of the time when you declare Boros Swiftblade as an attacker, they won't block him. And when that happens, you hit him with Titan's Strength and he sends 8 damage straight to the head. Another thing to keep in mind is that the Trample buff from Anax and Cymede makes double strike really nasty. When an opponent is looking at losing their creature, taking damage to the head, AND not killing your creature, they're not going to be happy. So look for opportunities to make that sort of thing happen with your instant pumps. Finally, double strike is particularly nasty when combined with Madcap Skills. On these guys, that's 8 damage that will likely cost your opponent at least 2 creatures to stop. If you have a Boros Charm handy or Iroas, God of Victory is out, he might even be indestructible. In which case, your opponent is really in trouble. A little trick - if you have a card in your hand, don't be afraid to bluff a pump spell to try to get your opponent to let you through. The opposite works as well if you bluff a crappy hand, they might try blocking, which they will then regret when you plop down Titan's Strength .

At your 3 drop slot are the two linchpins of this deck. Fabled Hero is your bomb. It only takes two spells for him to make game winning swings on turn 4 (any two of your +3 damage spells - Madcap Skills, Martial Glory , and Titan's Strength and he swings for 20). Look to the tactics mentioned above for Boros Swiftblade , but keep in mind, Fabled Hero is a much bigger target for removal - understand that when making decisions about what spells to cast on whom. Sometimes you can use Fabled Hero to draw out removal so your other creatures can secure victory. Other times, you can draw out the removal in advance (for example, putting Madcap Skills on Boros Swiftblade ) to make way for Fabled Hero to win you the game. Your other 3 drop, Anax and Cymede, is 1 part creature/1 part Overrun. Abuse vigilance and first strike as you set up your winning swing, then target Anax and Cymede at the right moment and force all your damage through to your opponent's head. Do keep in mind that like Fabled Hero , Anax and Cymede are a magnet for removal. Keeping a Boros Charm chambered to make them indestructible is never a bad idea if you know your opponent is running removal. Turn 4 and 5 are your critical turns for this deck. Get either of these guys out turn 3, if you can, the other on turn 4, and then the following turn, all your mana should go to maneuvering for the win with your pump spells if at all possible. If during these critical turns it becomes apparent that you can't seal a victory, that's when the next guy comes in.

If you can't win turn 4 or 5 with the strategy laid out above, you want, if at all possible, to get Iroas, God of Victory out right away. Even if he isn't a creature, his two abilities can help you shore up that win in the following rounds. The essentially board-wide Madcap Skills buff he provides means your opponent will need to dedicate a lot of resources to stopping your assaults. And the indestructible buff means that they will definitely lose the trade if they do. In this deck, where creatures are first/double striking for tons of damage, that's a bad position for your opponent to be in. If they don't have an answer, the game won't last much longer.

The final component to this deck is utilizing your spells effectively and tactically.

I won't spend a lot of time on Titan's Strength as it's very straight forward. Save it for the best possible moment to maximize its damage output/utility. It makes for cheap triggers for Anax and Cymede. It can save your creatures from burn or -X/-X effects. And of course, any two +3 power spells on Fabled Hero makes him swing for 20. Enough said!

Now then, on to the fun spells! Lightning Bolt - yes, sometimes going straight to the head for 3 is the best play, but using this spell to control the battlefield is almost always the better choice. For example, if one of your creatures has Madcap Skills on, they have to be blocked by at least two creatures. Lightning Bolt can give you the ability to select which creatures the opponent has available to block. And if they only have two creatures, you can potentially use the spell to kill one and make your attack unblockable. And of course you can use it defensively to eliminate a dangerous attacker or blocker, or to weaken a stronger creature so that it'll die during a first strike round to save your own creatures from getting killed. And don't forget about flyers. This deck doesn't have reach, so picking off a flyer could save you a headache down the line. In a pinch, you can even trigger Anax and Cymede with it. This is a very versatile spell, and you only have 4, so use them wisely.

Boros Charm is another spell with a lot of applications in this deck. Combined with Lightning Bolt, the deck technically has enough burn to win the game with direct damage. You'll rarely use this spell's burn that way, but it is definitely an option if you need to race an aggro deck or finish off the last few point of health after a big attack. The board-wide indestructibility is also extremely situational. However, when you do need it, you'll be glad you had it. Protecting your wincons from removal or deaths in combat is never a bad thing. If an opponent lines up all his blockers expecting to trade and you drop this saving all your creatures, you can gain a serious advantage. But where this spell really shines is when you sneak through double strike damage at instant speed when your opponent didn't expect it. As I've said before, occasionally your opponent is going to let something through unblocked. And when they do, this spell can enable you to punish them for it. Combine it with other damage pumps for really big, totally unexpected swings. (i.e. Favored Hoplite going from a 1/2 to a 6/5 double striker with this plus Titan's Strength ).

One spell that's easy to underestimate how valuable it is in this deck is Martial Glory . It may seems like a less useful, more expensive Giant Growth /Brute Force. But in this deck, where triggering multiple heroics at once gives you a big advantage, this spells shines. Since it's instant speed, you can use it to save a creature from burn or -X/-X removal effects while simultaneously pumping another creature to punish your opponent. Often times I'll use it while blocking to allow one of my weaker creatures to survive blocking a bigger creature and at the same time, taking out another creature with the damage pump. And when attacking, you can use it to pump your unblocked creatures to help force damage through (or trigger Anax and Cymede) and save your weaker creatures from big blockers at the same time. When attacking, I'll commonly target Anax and Cymede with the defense boost and Fabled Hero with the damage. It makes for a brutal combo.

A recent addition to the deck, Ordeal of Purphoros brings quite a bit to the table. Not being instant speed is only a minor drawback as its ability to quickly pump up your Heroic creatures while simultaneously working to keep the board clear and/or send extra burn to your opponent's head is fantastic. As described above in Favored Hoplite 's section, it combos extremely well into quick kills on all 3 Heroic creatures. And on the non-Heroics, it adds counters to help make them less vulnerable to removal. There's pretty much never a time that seeing this is your hand is a bad thing (unless you have no creatures out, but if that's the case, you've probably lost already anyway!).

And the last spell is the one I get the most heat about - Madcap Skills. A lot of people don't like it on paper because it isn't instant speed and it's a big target for removal. But when used effectively, it's a wincon. If this is on any first/double striker, your opponent is going to have a very difficult time blocking your damage without taking massive casualties. And if you've maneuvered correctly, this spells can mean a 20 damage swing from Fabled Hero is completely unblockable. As long as you go into your games knowing that this spell is a bullseye and make your decisions accordingly, it pays dividends. If you haphazardly drop it on the first creature you can, you'll probably get 2-for-1'd. If you have 2 in your hand, use one as bait for removal. Or if you have Boros Charm available for protection, maybe hold off on casting this until you have enough mana to cast both. Be smart and this is one of your nastiest weapons.

So to sum up, use your spells and abilities to shape the board to your advantage. Then maneuver for one or two big explosive attacks and you'll take home the win.

And that's the deck! Suggestions are appreciated, as are comments and +1's! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.


Updates Add

I've updated the deck to include Favored Hoplite and Ordeal of Purphoros. After a lot of testing, the former is by far the best 1 drop for the deck's playstyle, and the later allows for some insane combos and deadly interactions (i.e. Favored Hoplite + Ordeal of Purphoros + Titan's Strength + Boros Charm for a turn 3 kill). The deck breakdown and how to play sections have been updated accordingly!

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Date added 3 years
Last updated 1 year
Key combos

This deck is Modern legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.00
Folders Cool, open, Boros (Modern/Standard), Favorites, Decks I think are cool, Possible Modern Decks, Boros/Jeskai, Intressanta lekar, Deck ideas, things i want to try, See all 216
Top rank #1 on 2015-04-14
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Revision 13 See all

3 years ago)

+4 Emerge Unscathed side
+4 Mortal's Ardor side
-4 Launch the Fleet side
-4 Spark Elemental side