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Raiyuu, Storm's Edge personifies the Ronin playstyle. A lone swordsman faces down multiple opponents, taking their lives in a sudden flurry of blows. Unlike the noble Samurai, the Ronin does not have the luxury of honoring the Bushido code. Bereft of lord and titles, these wanderers find adversity and danger wherever they travel, striking down threats with deadly, overwhelming precision. It is only by the strength of their resolve and skill with the blade that they survive to see each new day, forever destined to be vagrants of fate.

Winning with Voltron is no easy task in commander, as opponents are VERY aware of what the deck aims to do. They will treat the commander as public enemy number one, so the deck has been tuned to jump out of the gate swinging from turn 1. Ramp, cheap damage multipliers, and protection are key to surprising people and catching them off guard before they have the resources to fight back effectively. A Ronin does not show mercy in battle- kill or be killed. When opponents meet with blades drawn, the time for negotiations has ended.

There are a lot of cards that have good synergy with Raiyuu that ended up not making the cut, either because they were too mana intensive or had too high of a chance to backfire. I'll talk about these cards in the "notable exclusions" section to explain why I did not include them in my list. Depending on your own meta, these cards may work great for you!

Thank you for taking the time to check out my take on Raiyuu, Storm's Edge. The decklist above can be viewed by strategy category by changing the sort option from "Type" to "Custom". If you have any suggestions for cards I may have missed or want to know how certain cards are performing, please leave a comment and let me know!

Disgraced Samurai who follow the code of Bushido are honor bound to commit Suppuku. The Ronin rejects this code, viewing the throwing away of a life before the journey's end as cowardice, not courage.

The first goal of the deck is to keep Raiyuu alive. In order to do that, cards that provide hexproof/shroud like Blacksmith's Skill are the first priority, followed by indestructibility effects. In my meta, most board wipes get around indestructibility, so I did not prioritize including as many sources of it in my list. Options that can stop or survive a boardwipe that ignores indestructible (like Toxic Deluge or Farewell do) are also critical. Tibalt's Trickery, Teferi's Protection, and Robe of Stars do this well in addition to protecting key equipment from removal.

When taking out Raiyuu fails, the next option opponents will turn to will be to take out the deck pilot instead. Due to the unique ability of Raiyuu, Storm's Edge to untap himself as long as he is the only attacker (this occurs even if the extra combat is not triggered), he has a built in psuedo vigilance. This means he can act as an excellent blocker in addition to his role as the deck's primary damage dealer, especially when equipped with deathtouch equipment like Basilisk Collar. First strike and deathtouch is a nasty combination that should keep most attacks aimed at other players unless opponents grow desperate. Curse of Opulence can further encourage attacks against opponents in the early game (while receiving double the value with Raiyuu double combats), and Silent Arbiter can force opponents to meet Raiyuu in single combat to prevent them from attacking with more creatures than Raiyuu can handle on his own.

Removal options are limited in the deck to prioritize early game consistency, but Slash the Ranks, Chaos Warp, Vandalblast, and Swords to Plowshares all are very potent tools for removing obstacles if the game goes longer.

A Ronin must anticipate their foe and be prepared to strike before they have the chance to ready themselves or call for reinforcement.

The deck relies on artifact ramp to get out of the gate quickly, as the first 2 turns of the game are the most important for setting up a turn 3 or 4 kill with Raiyuu. Sol Ring, Mana Crypt, Mana Vault, Ancient Tomb, Chrome Mox, and Mox Opal are all notorious in commander for a reason: they give a deck unfair levels of mana in the early game. A Ronin does not shy away from unfair advantages- it is this huge mana acceleration that allows the deck to have its equipment ready and waiting for Raiyuu when he is cast.

Jeska's Will, Jeweled Lotus, and Scorched Ruins serve as excellent bursts of mana for the turn that Raiyuu is cast, allowing for the payment of equip costs and protection spells. Curse of Opulence and Sword of the Animist are wonderful sources of ramp with Raiyuu's extra combat ability, allowing the deck to continue accelerating the mana advantage through the midgame along with Land Tax and Smuggler's Share. Even with the heavy ramp package, the deck still plays 35 lands to ensure that the pilot can keep more of the starting hands they draw. Mulligans should be focused on finding early game aggression pieces, not mana.

When facing multiple opponents, each blow must be delivered with the intention of finishing each adversary. An injured opponent stands up again and stabs the Ronin in the back as they turn to face the others. Each strike of a Ronin's blade must be overwhelming and lethal.

To ensure lethal commander damage, stacking different damage amplifying effects is the most efficient means to accomplishing this goal. To that end, the five key elements for increasing Raiyuu's combat lethality are: pump effects, double strike, damage multipliers, trample, and extra combat effects. The deck employs various equipment tutors like Stoneforge Mystic, Steelshaper's Gift, and Open the Armory to find equipment to complement the equipment already worn by Raiyuu. Additionally, the deck would rather hold back mana to use for protection spells than to pay for equip costs, so cards like Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist, Bruenor Battlehammer, Puresteel Paladin, and Hammer of Nazahn provide ways around paying for equip costs.

Increasing Raiyuu's power has a dramatic impact on the total commander damage after other effects like double strike and damage multipliers are applied. Pump equipment like O-Naginata, Hero's Blade, and Bruenor Battlehammer increase the base damage of Raiyuu's atacks.

Umezawa's Jitte is especially silly when equipped to Raiyuu; with double strike and his extra combat effect, the Jitte gains 8 charge counters per turn. These charge counters can be removed after each hit, so counters gained during first strike damage can be removed to increase the normal hit damage, and then those counters can be removed for the extra combat phase attacks, etc. Alternatively, save them for the following turn to begin that combat round with +16/+16! (Can also spend the 8 counters to gain 16 life or give a creature -8/-8 until end of turn. Really, what an insane card in this deck.)

Temporary pump effects tied to spells should serve double purpose in the deck, such as how Beaming Defiance can both protect Raiyuu as well as provide the extra oomph to finish off a player. Wrecking Ogre did not make it into the list even though the Bloodrush ability can one-shot an opponent with Raiyuu because it is a 5 mana investment that leaves two other very worried opponents and no immediate means of defeating them afterwards. Effective Voltron strategy should treat the whole table as an opponent to be defeated in three steps, and not aim to knock out one opponent early without the means to swiftly eliminate the other two as well. No one fears the Ronin who can only defeat one enemy before dying.

Double strike immediately doubles the effectiveness of any pump effects applied to Raiyuu, so the deck includes cards like Lizard Blades, Reyav, Master Smith, and Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion. When coupled with Raiyuu's additional combat ability, this means Raiyuu will deal 4 times his power to an enemy in a single turn, turning 6 power into lethal commander damage to an opponent.

Damage multipliers like Inquisitor's Flail, Two-Handed Axe, Jeska, Thrice Reborn, and Fiery Emancipation not only lower the requirements for lethal commander damage to a single opponent, but when combined with other effects like pump and double strike, mean that taking out multiples opponents in a turn becomes possible. For example, a 6 power Raiyuu with double strike and a damage doubler on board can take out two opponents in a single turn easily. Add in an additional combat and the whole table is dead in a single turn.

Trample effects mean that all of Raiyuu's combat damage can't be simply chump blocked by an opponent. All of the trample effects in the deck like Embercleave, Tenza, Godo's Maul, O-Naginata, and Footfall Crater also serve an additional role besides trample which makes them even more valuable. A creature with deathtouch and trample also only needs to assign one point of combat damage to a blocking creature before assigning the rest to the creature's controller, so Basilisk Collar and Gorgon's Head also increase commander damage dealt to opponents in addition to their defensive purposes.
Regarding extra combat effects, Raiyuu, Storm's Edge is already Relentless Assault on a stick, but Godo, Bandit Warlord and Seize the Day are also included to further increase the lethality of the deck. Godo can find the missing piece of the damage puzzle for Raiyuu, be it double strike, trample, haste, pump or protection, and can also tutor for Lightning Greaves to attack on the turn it is played to provide an additional combat for Raiyuu if that would be more effective. Seize the Day is notable in providing two additional combat phases in one card, and the fact that it only untaps a single creature is irrelevant in this deck. I have not included any extra turn effects in the deck right now, but Chance for Glory and Final Fortune may be included later if I find that an extra turn would have been worth the extra risk. Once Raiyuu is set up, taking an extra turn might be all that is needed to close out the game.
A Ronin must never remain in place for too long. Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.

While a quick victory in combat is preferable, sometimes the fight must go longer. The deck utilizes the equipment synergy of Boros with cards like Sram, Senior Edificer, Puresteel Paladin, and Akiri, Fearless Voyager to continue to draw cards as Raiyuu grows stronger. Esper Sentinel, Mangara, the Diplomat, Smuggler's Share, and Mask of Memory provide additional draw power. Note that Mask of Memory results in drawing 8 cards and discarding 4 per turn with Raiyuu's ability, which can filter through the deck quickly.

Akroma's Will, Basilisk Collar, and Shadowspear provide access to lifelink, which helps to mitigate the blowback of table aggression.

Boros will always be weaker against certain deck archeotypes, such as deck that do not seek to win through combat. Without access to many counterspells, universal tutors, or ways to break stax parity, the best way to prevent strategies like combo decks from doing their combo thing is to kill them immediately at any cost. If the combo deck is wasting their early turns shutting down Raiyuu, at least their own plans are also being delayed. The Ronin will not be victorious in every battle, but strong opponents are a good thing; they force growth as a player. If you face a strong opponent, acknowledge their skills and then show them yours. The harder a victory is, the sweeter it tastes.

Chance for Glory and Final Fortune: May be added to the deck at a later date. The upside is winning a turn faster without providing opponents the ability to draw into or play answers they don't aren't already have, but these extra turn effects have the ability to blow out the deck and result in a loss where patience would have rewarded a win.

Flawless Maneuver and Selfless Samurai: Most of the mass removal in my meta gets around indestructible, so these effects are not strong enough in my case. If your meta uses more destruction effects instead of exile, reduction of toughness, and sacrifice effects, these are great additions.

Archaeomancer's Map: 3 mana ramp is too slow for the playstyle of the deck.

Dockside Extortionist: This deck usually has the most artifacts at the table, so I don't like presenting a reanimation target for the enemy that can win them the game on the spot.

Dowsing Dagger  : May replace Land Tax after more testing, as it serves as an additional source of pump with a nice ramp payoff. Right now, Land Tax allows greedier hands to be kept and provides a turn one play, which is important as following turns are more critical for mana conservation.

Temur Battle Rage: Only lasts for a single turn but does provide trample. Will need to play with Fireshrieker more to see if the cheaper cost would be worth not having the lasting double strike. There are enough options for double strike in the deck currently, especially when equipment tutors are considered, but this could replace Embercleave if Embercleave underperforms for the mana cost. Since we only attack with a single creature, Embercleave is expensive to cast from hand, but it provides pump, trample, AND double strike. The deck also has a few ways to cheat equipment into play and Embercleave automatically equips to Raiyuu as it enters.

Blackblade Reforged: The deck wants to win quickly and utilizes a lot of artifact ramp instead of land ramp, so this is just not that impressive in the list. Even in the mid to late game, there are more powerful equipment for Raiyuu to wear like Umezawa's Jitte to be able to justify including it.

Oathkeeper, Takeno's Daisho and Grafted Wargear: These are great effects, but they let the opponent two for one our strategy if they have artifact removal.

Ring of Thune, Ring of Valkas, Lion Sash, Golem-Skin Gauntlets, Ancestral Katana, etc: Either too much mana for the effect, or not enough value to warrant a slot compared to the equipment already in the deck.

Commander's Plate, Champion's Helm, Mask of Avacyn: I don't love Champion's Helm at 3 mana, but we'll see if more permanent hexproof inclusions are warranted. Mask of Avacyn does not offer enough in addition to hexproof to justify the include. Swiftfoot Boots and Lightning Greaves along with the various equipment tutors and other protection effects are currently enough for Raiyuu to survive. Commander's Plate does not provide enough protection.

Moraug, Fury of Akoum, Akki Battle Squad, Aurelia, the Warleader: They cost 6 mana, which means we would likely be tapping out to play these cards. Godo, Bandit Warlord is already a hard include at 6 cmc, but at least Godo can tutor out the key equipment piece Raiyuu needs to win the game with. The deck prefers cheaper extra combat effects so that it can hold back mana for protection spells, so if more extra combat effects are desired, Relentless Assault should be the first choice for an include, or the Aggravated Assault and Sword of Feast and Famine combo.

Aggravated Assault + Sword of Feast and Famine combo: Speaking of which, the reason this is not included is because I do not love either of these cards on their own in the deck. Aggravated Assault is an 8 mana investment to get an extra combat the turn it is played, and Sword of Feast and Famine does not accomplish the goal of making an enemy dead well enough by itself for an inclusion. I can understand why someone would include it and infinite combats are spicy, but completely unnecessary for the deck. If you're still not convinced Raiyuu is perfectly capable of wiping a table without infinite combat steps after reading through this primer, this may not be the deck for you. If infinite combats are what is desired, there are better commanders for the purpose, like Aurelia, the Warleader who can abuse things like Helm of the Host, Combat Celebrant, and Rionya, Fire Dancer.

Mana Tithe: This is a good include if your meta has a lot of cutthroat combo decks, or just very quick decks with tight mana requirements. It's been too often a dead card for me to include right now.

Pyroblast / Red Elemental Blast: These are awesome includes if you are trying to fight through control decks. Meta dependent include.

Trailblazer's Boots: There is more than enough damage and trample in the deck to not care about making Raiyuu unblockable, and Trailblazer's Boots doesn't offer anything else along with the effect. In fact, I would much rather opponents be forced to throw their creatures in front of a Raiyuu attack as that keeps them from developing their own gameplan.

Wheel of Fortune, Wheel of Misfortune, Reforge the Soul: Refilling our opponent's hands with potential removal for Raiyuu and powering up graveyard decks is too risky to justify the efficient draw.

Urza's Saga: I already have a lot of colorless lands in the deck as is and three turns is a long time to wait for the final payoff. Currently not including it but that may change.

Will update this as I play the deck more!

Potential changes:

Right now, I am watching Godo, Bandit Warlord to possibly replace with Relentless Assault, Chance for Glory, or Final Fortune. 6 CMC is a lot to play, but he offers the strong possibility of ending the game if played when Raiyuu is on board.

I am also considering switching Land Tax for Dowsing Dagger  . I like Land Tax because I can keeper greedier hand with it, but Dowsing Dagger's pump effect and ramp payoff make strong arguments as well. Who knows, I may even cut a land for the dagger after more testing.

Mana Tithe: I'll see how my games go and try to evaluate if it would have made a difference in the outcome of games. Mana Tithe is better in lower CMC games, and believe it or not, Boros voltron is not exactly competitive when everyone else is running fast combo decks anyways.

Armored Skyhunter may be too awkward to include with Raiyuu as they are not a warrior and also interfere with his pseudo vigilance ability, so this may be switched out for one of the above mentioned options or Enlightened Tutor if it doesn't perform well.

Loxodon Warhammer may replace Tenza, Godo's Maul if the lower equip cost does not turn out to be more valuable than lifegain.

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34% Casual

66% Competitive

Date added 1 month
Last updated 6 days
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

14 - 0 Mythic Rares

42 - 0 Rares

23 - 0 Uncommons

6 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.29
Tokens Copy Clone, Treasure
Folders Uncategorized
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