Myth Realized - What if Any Planeswalker Could Be Your Commander? (Boros)

Huatli, Dinosaur Knight | Art by Anna Steinbauer

It's Not Boring; It's BOROS.

The question of planeswalkers as commanders has been brought up in Magic discourse an infinite number of times. People say it would kill EDH as a format, and others say it will do nothing but give more options to a perpetually endless pool of commanders. I believe the truth is somewhere in the middle. My name is Nick, and the sixteenth installment of Myth Realized will cover Boros (red and white) cards. Let's look at how they would each ruin (or not ruin) your favorite 100-card Singleton format.

If you've stuck around with me until this article, you know what cards to look for in this color combination. If not, check out the articles I did in red and white to see the cards I've previously shouted out in these colors.

Ajani Vengeant - 2RW

Everyone complains that all Boros decks do is attack. Well, Ajani doesn't care about the combat step. Ajani doesn't care about your opponent at all. He only wants one thing, and that's a slow death for the table. I am unsure how to build a version of this deck that isn't mean. This card is Boros Stax, and that's it. I have lost to this in Magic Online cubes and even Modern, and there's no world where I wouldn't be losing to this card in EDH. I ended those games with few permanents on the board and a distinct lack of a smile compared to my opponent. This card is very good in 1v1 and was designed for it, with no abilities affecting more than one player, but it fits inside of its shell. Pair this card with salt-inducing inclusions like Smoke, Winter Orb, and Authority of the Consuls, and you have a recipe for success.

Comet, Stellar Pup - 2RW

Yes, this card is from Unfinity, and everyone can have their opinions about that set and its legality in the format. But this is an article series about a theoretical rule change to the biggest format going, so I will hear no slander against my Best Boros Boy. There is only one problem with this card: you can't control the ability you use each turn. Rolling a six on this card is undoubtedly the best thing you want to happen. The other roles are always situational. But unless you have no graveyard and nothing can be targeted, none of the modes are ever dead. The Squirrel-making effect of this card is met with laughter and considered underwhelming. There are a lot of cards in the format. Two of those cards are Impact Tremors and Warleader's Call. Please don't underestimate the Dog and his Squirrels.

Huatli, Dinosaur Knight - 4RW

This card is supposed to work with Dinosaurs. All of the abilities on this card say the word Dinosaur. It even has the word Dinosaur in the name of this card. This card is missing one of the most important aspects of making Dinosaur-anything work in a commander deck... THE COLOR GREEN. Dinosaurs are expensive, much like this card, which is costly at six mana. The -7 not giving trample is a big letdown. I also believe that being unable to hit your creatures with the -3 is a missed opportunity. Enrage is a significant mechanic for Dinosaurs, and this card not being able to trigger it adds to the big pile of predictably bad cards that this is.

Huatli, Warrior Poet - 3RW

This card lets you do stuff with Dinosaurs, but you're not locked into Dinosaurs on only one card. If you keep to this character's typal nature, then the +2 should give you a decent amount of life every time you use it. Boros can access other large creature types outside of Dinosaurs, such as Angels, Barbarians, Dragons, Giants, and Eldrazi. I love a Planeswalker that makes a token for free, and the 3/3 Dinosaur token with trample is one of the better tokens around. The -X on this card does what I wish the previous version had the option of doing: targeting your creatures. It also makes it very easy to get past an opponent's board since you only need one damage on each creature you want to get past.

Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients - 2RW

Voltron and Equipment-based strategies are not something I vibe with for decks I want to play personally. As a commander, I think this card would do something different from other Boros Equipment-matters legends. Making a creature and giving it free equip is fantastic. Those are two things that Equipment decks are always looking for. The fact that it's on a +1 means it's just icing on this card's cake. -2 finding a warrior is decent. But -2 to find Sword of Kaldra, Shield of Kaldra, Helm of Kaldra, and maybe even Kaldra Compleat, is "chef's kiss". Having the word "double" as part of a card text often makes things that are good into something far better. Here, the word "double" seems to take only the -3 ability from bad to just ok. An excellent commander for the Equipment-matters archetype. It's just too bad the Equipment-matters archetype in Boros is oversaturated.

Nahiri, Storm of Stone - 2(R/W R/W)

As usual, uncommon planeswalkers from War of the Spark tend only to matter based on the static ability on this card. We see nothing different in this card. Her -X damages only a tapped creature, which is too conditional to really ever matter. The first strike ability is solid, but only getting it on your turn is a major feel-bad. If this card gave double strike on your turn only, I could make an exception, but even at uncommon, the set this card came out in was not an Equipment-matters one. The designers might have been playing it safe. They did at least give you a reduction in Equipment abilities, but it's not enough.

Nahiri, the Harbinger - 2RW

Unfortunately, the best use of the card in non-multiplayer formats is banned in this format: Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. All that aside, this card is severely underrated. The consensus is rummage < looting, but when you give it to me on a +2, I can look the other way as I race to this card's ultimate. Not to mention, the removal ability on this card is fantastic. Yes, the creature and artifact you remove have to be tapped, but you get to exile instead of destroy, and as a bonus, you can hit enchantments as well. If you can ultimate this card, the creature or artifact you get might overwhelm you with decision paralysis. So here are some suggestions:

Nahiri, the Unforgiving - 1R(R/W/2 life)W

This card does a staggering amount of nothing. At first glance, having two abilities that add loyalty and an ability that doesn't cost loyalty makes it seem like there is a good card attached. This is not a good card. Forcing a creature to attack but allowing the creature to attack you or the planeswalkers you control is embarrassing. As just mentioned above, rummaging is worse than looting. The only possible good thing the card can do is use the zero ability to make a token copy of an artifact or creature that can win the game by itself. Tying the ability to the loyalty on Nahiri means this card is even more impacted by the card having the Compleated mechanic. Even Dockside Extortionist would struggle to make this card good.

Quintorius Kand - 3RW

So far, in Boros, Ajani wants to be built around anything that makes the other players salty. Huatli wants to be built around dinosaurs. Nahiri wants to be built around Equipment. Quintorius wants to be built around exile. Red loves exile. From impulse draw effects to the ultimate on this card and even the "fixed" version of Cascade, Discover. Quintorius will throw around two damage as if it's their job- and they are very good at it. So good at it that other cards in different formats had to be banned. While not ban-worthy, the card is not without a win-the-game combo.

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This is one of the better generic planeswalkers in this color combination and one of my favorites from recent years. Other than someone playing Ajani Vengeant "fairly" or Comet, Stellar Pup, you don't need to build around Quintorius for it to be good.

Wrap Up

I like Boros. It's straightforward. Every card in Commander doesn't need to be something that makes the gears in your brain turn a mile a minute. Ajani Vengeant and Quintorius Kand are the most likely candidates to be the "top tier" new commanders if they suddenly became legal. The thing about this color combination is that it lacks a pure number of cards and the ability to do anything the color needs. Red and white are two colors that used to struggle the most in the Commander format. Over the years, both colors have seen improvement and in the case of the white color pie have seen some of the best cards for the format ever.

Boring is not even the correct description for the set of cards. Uninspired does a better job. I hope there will be more Boros planeswalkers printed over time, and they are more exciting than some of the ones in this article. Maybe letting all planeswalkers be legal as commanders would push for exploring that design space. Perhaps that change would do the opposite? Only time will tell. Either way, I don't see any danger in changing the rule with this set of cards, but other colors might not be the case. Check out my other articles if you want my thoughts on different colors. Join me as we close out the guild pairs with what has to be the most potent pairing, Simic.

Read more:

Myth Realized - What if Any Planeswalker Could Be Your Commander? (Golgari)

Do Your Worst - Boros Landfall

Player and lover of all Magic the Gathering formats. Forged in the fires of Oath of the Gatewatch expeditions. Always down to jam games with anyone and everyone. When not playing Magic I am doing something else equally, if not more nerdy.

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