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Goldfish Gladiators: Legendary Boros Angels (Standard, Magic Arena)

Welcome to Goldfish Gladiators! This week, we're jumping back into an Arena mode (best-of-one) tournament but trying something a bit different and scary: a midrange deck! Normally, Arena mode is dominated by linear aggro and, to a lesser extent, linear control decks. Can a midrange deck full of powerful value creatures keep up in the format? If any midrange deck has a chance, it might be Legendary Boros Angels, which not only is overflowing with powerful threats but also has some solid removal in Lava Coil and Justice Strike, along with Urza's Ruinous Blast to sweep away the board. Can Legendary Boros Angels specifically and midrange in general work in best-of-one on Magic Arena? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Goldfish Gladiators: Legendary Boros Angels


  • All in all, we finished our league 3-3, which isn't all that exciting. While Legendary Boros Angels was powerful and showed that in some of our matches, there were also some games where our good-stuff plan simply couldn't keep up with more linear strategies. Plus, Carnage Tyrant can be really difficult for our deck to deal with if we don't happen to draw an Urza's Ruinous Blast at the right time, which led to our loss against Golgari Midrange.
  • In some ways, Legendary Boros Angels is probably the exact type of deck you shouldn't play in best-of-one matches. One of the problems with the deck is that the curve is pretty high, which means we lose some games by not hitting our land drops quickly enough. In a traditional best-of-three match, we can overcome these rough draws and still win the match thanks to the high power level of our deck, but in best-of-one, we lose the entire match if we stumble on mana for just a single game, putting us at a disadvantage against more consistent but less powerful aggro decks.
  • The good news about Legendary Boros Angels is that we can best just about any deck in the format, thanks to the power of our cards. Lyra Dawnbringer and Resplendent Angel are great against aggro decks like Mono-Red and Boros, while Treasure Map and our planeswalkers give us the opportunity to grind against midrange and control.
  • One possibility for the deck is to try to streamline it more for best-of-one matches, which probably means adding more copies of Deafening Clarion and potentially more copies of Urza's Ruinous Blast as well. Speaking of Urza's Ruinous Blast, it's one of the most powerful sweepers in Standard that isn't currently seeing much play. With some more legends on the way in Ravnica Allegiance, including the new Dovin, Grand Arbiter, it's a card to keep an eye out for moving forward. 
  • Captain Lannery Storm is surprisingly important to making the mana work. While the Pirate looks underpowered, as we saw last week when playing Sunbird's Treasure, it's a great deal if you can get two Treasure tokens out of the three-drop, especially for a deck like Legendary Boros Angels, which is pretty overloaded in the four- and five-mana slots.
  • Overall, Legendary Boros Angels felt like a powerful deck but a deck that's probably better suited for traditional best-of-three play than best-of-one play. Random, non-linear, midrangy good stuff is a tough sell in the hyper-linear world of Arena mode. Maybe we'll give the deck another shot in the future but play traditional best-of-three rather than best-of-one.


Anyway, that's all for today. While posting a better record would have been nice, chalk Legendary Boros Angels up as another learning experience in best-of-one mode. The more I play the format, the more it becomes clear that some decks simply don't do as well without a sideboard. The good news is that, at least in theory, this means there are probably some spicy brews that no one else is playing that will find more success in best-of-one than they would in best of three, so hopefully we find some of those before long!

As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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