Aurelia, the Warleader; illustrated by Slawomir Maniak

Boros is the red-white guild of Ravnica, enforcers of justice and scourge of criminals. Your challenge this week is to design a card for the Boros guild. It must be red and/or white, and it can be any card type except legendary as that is reserved for the guild leaders themselves.

Boros Flavor

Boros balances war and peace, enforcing the rules that the Azorius create. At their best, the Boros are a shining beacon of justice. At their worst, they’re vigilantes little better than the thugs they fight against. Though even at their worst, the Boros hold some ideals above all else.

Law and Order

The defining trait of Boros is their military organization and carrying out large-scale operations. Boros works together, using numbers and tactics to win engagements. Smaller creatures, including tokens, work together with combat tricks to subjugate and overwhelm the enemy while a few precision removal spells and some incidental lifegain help to win the damage race.

Cleanse the Guilty

Military might is Boros’s method, but peace and order are Boros’s goals. It will stop at nothing to protect the peace and punish the guilty, which is reflected in many of its cards. There’s a wide range of options here and a lot of room to be creative, some examples to get you started are

  • Reflecting damage
  • Destroying attacking or blocking creatures
  • Untapping creatures to block with
  • Tapping creatures preemptively
  • Preventing creatures from attacking or blocking

Boros Keywords

Boros’s keywords emphasize its military organization, allowing it to engage in large-scale warfare easily. Both of the existing keywords and any new keyword you design for Boros all scale up with the number of creatures on the battlefield, giving Boros an advantage when dealing with larger forces.

Radiance

Boros’s original keyword, radiance, copies an effect for each other permanent with the same color as the target. While the flavor here is great, the execution is somewhat lacking as it’s very easy for radiance to swing between wiping an opponent’s entire board or doing nothing, or even being copied and affecting both player’s permanents equally. Before using radiance again, I would suggest designing a card that can target multiple permanents and which gives players more control over targets, keeping the flavor but abandoning radiance’s clunkiness.

Battalion

Boros’s second keyword, battalion, gives creatures a bonus for attacking with at least three creatures. Most designs with battalion should make the creature difficult to block, so that the aggression can continue. Alternatively, the battalion trigger could be used for some immediate value as with Bomber Corps so even if the creature dies the Boros player has already gotten their value from it. Supporting battalion is simple, really any creature without defender can help. Some more specific ways to help support battalion include

  • Creatures with evasion
  • Creatures which are difficult to kill in combat
  • Token creatures
  • Creatures with haste to unexpectedly trigger battalion
  • Combat tricks which help keep your creatures alive
  • Ways to get multiple combat steps in a single turn

Going Beyond

For those of you who already know all about Boros, an optional challenge this week is to use that knowledge to design a card for Boros which supports a new archetype. Boros has a lot of flexibility to support different archetypes, as seen in cards like Searing Meditation and Blaze Commando each of which are single cards supporting possible archetypes. Creating a new archetype can be as simple as looking through Boros’s existing cards and noting any effects that show up multiple times and don’t already have a lot of cards supporting them as a theme. For example, there are several cards that give Boros the ability to tap creatures, so one possible archetype might combine tapping creatures with Boros’s love of punishing the guilty, leading to cards that grow stronger the more tapped creatures your opponents control.

Design Example

I began this design with the goal of creating a card to help the example archetype of punishing opponents with tapped creatures. The first question I asked was how to make sure the card is playable on its own, but better with the proper support. The answer I came to was reducing the cost for each tapped creature the opponent controls, leaving it overcosted but playable on its own and potentially undercosted and very powerful with the right support. Since opponents are more likely to naturally have tapped creatures in a racing situation, I chose an ability which would help win races and which referenced earlier Boros cards like Lightning Helix. With all that said here is Angel’s Judgment.

Angels Judgment

I hope that gives you some ideas to start designing for Boros. Boros has a lot of options for design, from the hyper aggressive to the more controlling style. I look forward to seeing everything that all of you come up with for the contest.



A photo of Andrew EvansAndrew Evans

Andrew Evans has been playing Magic since 2000, and designing custom cards since 2007. He's a regular at FNMs, and enjoys dissecting games to figure out how they work.