This week, the Arena Boys got stuck in with our first viewer-submitted list: Boros Divine Visitation! I’ve always been a fan of token decks, and Divine Visitation was a card I was hoping to muck around with as soon as I saw it previewed. For that reason, I had a lot of fun slamming and jamming with the deck that Jan Grinsdoof sent into us. If you’d like to follow suit and submit a list of your own, get in touch on Twitter: @thearenaboys.
As you might already have guessed, the deck seeks to abuse Divine Visitation by upgrading tiny little 1/1 tokens into mighty vigilant 4/4 flyers. A 5-mana do-nothing enchantment can be a liability in this fast-paced Standard environment, sure, but the payoffs for getting to untap with Divine Visitation are insane—Heroic Reinforcements unloads 10 damage immediately, while Siege-Gang Commander dumps 13 power into play just like that.
But it’s important not to focus too heavily on Divine Visitation and turn this deck into a one-trick pony. As this week’s video demonstrated, there are games where you just don’t draw it and instead have to play an “honest” game of Magic with your little 1/1s going wide. That’s where the Goblin theme becomes so important—Goblin Instigator and Legion Warboss are the perfect cards to allow an unanswered Siege-Gang Commander take over the game.
There are some weird card choices here, none more so than Skirk Prospector. Put aside your initial skepticism for this card—it does a lot of work in powering out an expensive 5-drop enchantment. Conversely, it allows you to go ham once the enchantment is online, sacrificing leftover Goblins to deploy multiple token-makers once the Visitation hits the battlefield.
Outside of the Goblin package, there are some of the most efficient and effective token-makers in Standard. Legion’s Landing is a format staple, of course, and if you thought a free 1/1 was good every turn, wait until you’re deploying Angels instead! Leonin Warleader is surprisingly good as well—for a clunky 4-drop, it has a lot of impact, gaining critical life points against aggressive decks and snowballing quickly. I’ve been more impressed by this card than I thought I’d be.
Of course, a smattering of interaction gives the deck a little more staying power in matchups where you can’t afford to just ignore what your opponent is up to. Lightning Strike is a fine card, but Justice Strike is, of course, the real powerhouse. Killing everything from Jadelight Ranger to Niv-Mizzet, this 2-drop answer excels in any creature-based matchup. Finally, Conclave Tribunal usually comes down at a bargain price thanks to all the tokens lying around, and is an important answer to opposing planeswalkers and/or copies of Experimental Frenzy.
Overall, this deck is pretty linear, although there are two different lines you can take, depending on whether you draw Divine Visitation. With a Visitation in hand, look to leverage interaction and removal in order to slow down the game and give yourself enough space to untap with the enchantment in play, sandbagging token-makers until after it’s online. Remember that a card like Heroic Reinforcements is great on offense and defense once Visitation is online, as the 4/4s have vigilance!
Conversely, you can aggressively deploy your Legion Warbosses and Siege-Gang Commanders, and play the “honest” token game. This aggressive posture is a good one to take against slower decks, especially when you don’t have Divine Visitation in hand. As there’s never a guarantee you’ll draw it, play to the board as best as you can and apply pressure with your go-wide strategy.
Prioritize flipping Legion’s Landing, even if it means a chump attack. This deck is mana-hungry, and having an extra land in the early turns is huge—not to mention the previously-discussed interaction between Adanto, the First Fort and Divine Visitation. It’s bonkers.
It’s difficult to overrun this deck on the ground thanks to the raw number of bodies it can deploy. In aggressive matchups, save your best removal for evasive threats like Tempest Djinn or Crackling Drake, as the ground usually looks after itself. Eventually, they’ll succumb to your Angels once you have Divine Visitation out.
In a stalled-out late game against a slower deck, this list doesn’t have great draws (another reason why flipping Legion’s Landing is so important). High-impact cards like Siege-Gang Commander are few and far between, and even if you draw Divine Visitation, you need to back it up with token makers immediately. For these reasons, be proactive and aggressive—apply pressure to slower decks as quickly as possible.
Given that this deck is so linear, it’s not ideal to make huge changes to the main deck in games 2 and 3. Diluting your main plan of flooding the board with tokens and eventually upgrading them to 4/4s is not a good idea, as this deck’s bets draws are all heavily synergy-dependent.
In faster matchups, rely on flooding the board, blocking as profitably as possible (Adanto Vanguard looks very silly against all your 1/1s), and stabilizing behind something like a Leonin Warleader. Baffling End represents extra interaction, while Settle the Wreckage can of course be a mighty blowout.
Against midrange decks, you can afford to go a little bigger. The value of Skirk Prospector falls off highly in game 2, where there will be more sweepers and interaction, so diversify your threats and bring in engine cards like Dawn of Hope and Treasure Map. Tocatli Honor Guard is too good against Golgari not to play, but be sure to take out Siege-Gang Commander!
When matched up against control, it’s important to try to go as big as possible. Otherwise, you’ll just eat it to Deafening Clarion or Ritual of Soot and never get back in the game. Experimental Frenzy is a must-answer card for control decks, and it will overload their interaction in conjunction with Divine Visitation.
Next time, I’m trying to break Quasiduplicate, harnessing the power of Dimir’s creature suite. I’ll be back then with a deck guide!