Some cards demand certain cards to be played with. Fetchlands with shock duals in Modern for example. It’s not really a combo, but they work very well together. Or the classic Survival of the Fittest/Recurring Nightmare combo. Once you’ve seen the synergy of those cards, you cannot unsee it. Not all cards have that. In fact, most cards don’t have that. And then there is this category of cards that do have obvious partners, but are more fun without those. I realise this is more of a personal problem, so let me explain:
I really want to make a deck with Assemble the Legion. In fact, I already did, but it was not a very fun deck to play against and, if I’m honest, not very fun to play with. It played sort of combo control with Cataclysm and Razia’s Purification for control and Impact Tremors and Purphuros, God of the Forge as win cons. The idea was to ramp to Assemble the Legion, play a sweeper the turn after and win by spewing an army of tokens each upkeep while my opponents needed to build up everything, including their mana base. Effective? Yes. Fun? Not so much.
However, I still wanted to make a deck with Assemble the Legion. It is exactly what the card’s name is: each upkeep you assemble a small army that gets bigger over time. I find that making lots of creatures (aka going wide) is a good way to win a game of multiplayer Magic. Maybe I need to take it in a different direction?
The Boros guild is basically the army of Ravnica and Assemble the Legion makes us go wide with soldiers, that might be a fun theme to work with. And since it’s multiplayer we’re building for, maybe we can make our army of soldiers bigger. That will be hard to punch through. But how are we going to do this? For this I included some cards from the original Theros block that ask to be targeted by spells.
Akroan Crusader is a soldier for one red mana to play and every time you target it with a spell, it makes another soldier with haste. This can work within our soldier making theme and introduces another theme we can work with: heroic. That would open possibilities that can further enhance the going big theme.
Phalanx Leader is another soldier I wanted to work with for quite some time. With double white in its casting cost it is pretty color intensive, but if you target it with a spell, it gives your whole army of creatures a +1/+1 counter. A 1/1 (or an army of them) is not that threatening, but if you can make them into 2/2’s, 3/3’s, 4/4’s or even bigger, that is quite threatening, so in it goes.
Anax and Cymede is another nice heroic target. It also grows your army, but only until the end of the turn, but it also gives trample, which can help punch damage through.
Fabled Hero is a sturdy beatstick with double strike. With all the pumping other heroic creatures give, you rarely make use of the heroic on the Hero. Still, it serves as a strong game ending threat if opponents don’t deal with it.
The heroic ability needs you to have spells to target your heroic creatures and preferably a spell that can do that multiple times. Gird for Battle targets two creatures and can target two creatures at the same time. If those creatures are Akroan Crusader and Phalanx Leader, you end up with with a 3/3 Phalanx Leader (getting a +1/+1 counter from the Gird for Battle and itself), a 3/3 Akroan Crusader (also getting a counter from the Phalanx Leader and the Gird for Battle) and a 2/2 soldier with haste (getting only a counter from Phalanx Leader).
Crown of Flames is not in the deck because of its firebreathing ability. It is nice, but more often you’ll just want to target a heroic creature with it and then bounce it again to do it all over. The deck can play rather quick and there is a real possibility you run out of spells to target your creatures with. The Crown helps out in these situation, giving you staying power.
Something I want to try out is combining heroic with radiance, the Boros mechanic from the original Ravnica: City of Guilds block. Yes, you target only one creature, but all creatures with the same color are affected. Imagine you target Anax and Cymede with a Bathe in Light. Both your red and white creatures get protection of the color of your choice and all your creatures get the heroic bonus of Anax and Cymede. Bathe in Light not only gives creatures protection, it’s also an instant, so you can surprise your opponents with it. Be careful however: if one of your opponents play red or white creatures, they also get protection!)
So Bathe in Light is in and I also want to try Rally the Righteous. It is also an instant with radiance and can be used in a surprise attack, giving all your creatures of the right color +2/+0 until the end of the turn and it untaps all your attacking creatures. This way you are not open to a counterattack of one of your opponents.
Even though the deck is not really about Assemble the Legion, if you get it, you want to be able to play it. At five mana it is expensive compared to the rest of the deck, so I want to play some ramp. For this I play Boros Signet and Mind Stone. The Signet makes the colors you play and the Mind Stone can make a colorless mana can draw you a card by sacrificing it if you need it.
For the manabase you want somewhat more white than red. I play 3 Wind-Scarred Crag to be able to produce both red and white. The cycling of the 3 Forgotten Cave and 3 Secluded Steppe helps to sift through your deck if you don’t need the mana. 7 Plains and 6 Mountains are the basic lands that you need for this deck, resulting in this:
|RW Heroic Assembly|
|4 Akroan Crusader|
4 Phalanx Leader
2 Anax and Cymede
2 Fabled Hero
|4 Crown of Flames|
4 Gird for Battle
3 Bathe in Light
2 Rally the Righteous
3 Assemble the Legion
|4 Boros Signet|
4 Mind Stone
|3 Forgotten Cave|
3 Secluded Steppe
3 Wind-Scarred Crag
This wasn’t really what I expected to end up with. Somewhere there was a plan to combine Assemble the Legion with Hellrider and spells like Waves of Aggression and Fury of the Horde to get extra attacks and damage from the Hellrider and Glory of Warfare to pump the tokens. Well, maybe some other time, Heroic Assembly seems really fun as well.
What do you think? Should I go for the other idea to work on? Let me know and in the meantime: see you at the next sixty!