This week I have a brew I want to share. I'm calling it Boros Boat Brew because it has a boat (Skysovereign, Consul Flagship) and because it is similar to the Brian Kowal creation back in Shadowmoor Standard that bears the name. The general concept of the deck is to be a value deck that curves out with creatures, most of which produce card advantage and/or are resilient to various removal spells. The deck has surprisingly played out better than I expected.
Even though I have flooded out a few times with the deck in testing, I still think 25 lands is the right number. It's possible that the colored mana requirements are too heavy to afford Field of Ruin, but for now I'm playing a pair of them. It's also possible we want a Stone Quarry or two. Being able to curve History of Benalia (or Gideon of the Trials) into Chandra, Torch of Defiance (or Rekindling Phoenix) is pretty important, and given that we don't have any one-mana plays in the deck, Stone Quarry may be worth it.
The early creatures of choice are Adanto Vanguard, Kari Zev, Skyship Raider and Walking Ballista. Adanto Vanguard is great against Wrath effects. It allows us to over-extend a bit into Fumigate without getting punished. It's also hard to block profitably early on, so it usually gets in for three to six damage in the first few turns. Kari Zev is likewise not easy to block and hits for three. Unlike the Vanguard, she also blocks reasonably well against the red decks. Walking Ballista usually only comes down on turn two when we are on the back foot or we want to kill an opposing Llanowar Elves or Glint-Sleeve Siphoner. Otherwise it is more of a later game card and one that gets better as the game goes on, especially after a Settle the Wreckage.
Gideon of the Trials is great against Lyra Dawnbringer and is generally good right now against all the decks that play a big threat, including Heart of Kiran or Steel-Leaf Champion. Against decks that don't, it is basically a 4/4 for three mana that survives Fumigate, which is more than acceptable. History of Benalia is our premier turn-three play, threatening to deal huge chunks of damage, especially in multiples while also providing card advantage. Pia Nalaar also provides card advantage while pressuring the opponent or their planeswalkers. Captain Lannery Storm was just something I wanted to try out and I like it enough to keep it in the deck. It helps ramp us from three to five mana and in one instance I was able to sacrifice both treasures for green mana to activate the ability of Shalai to pump my team.
Speaking of Shalai, she makes us much better against Settle the Wreckage while also providing a very reasonable body. She also protects our planeswalkers quite well. Rekindling Phoenix is just a great creature and fits with the theme of the deck of being good at dodging removal spells. It's unclear to me whether Chandra or Rekindling Phoenix is better for this deck, so I have them split 2-1 in favor of Chandra. It's possible this should be reversed.
Atop our curve we have Siege-Gang Commander, Angel of Invention and Skysovereign, Consul Flagship. The Goblin boss has been great for me. It gives the deck some reach in the form of eight points of burn or it provides blockers to help stabilize when we are behind. It can also remove opposing creatures after the boards get stalled out. Angel of Invention works great with Siege-Gang Commander because it makes more tokens while pumping all the Goblin Tokens. It also pumps all our Knight Tokens, our Thopters token, our Monkey token, and all our other creatures. The boat is basically something I am testing over Glorybringer. I'm not sure which is better, but the boat has been pretty good for me in testing. And it wouldn't be a boat brew without the boat, so there is that.
Even though our only removal spells are two Abrade, two Fight with Fire and two Cast Out, we actually have many more ways to deal with opposing creatures. Gideon can prevent their damage, Chandra can burn them for four damage, Pia can make them unable to block, Walking Ballista can ping them down, Siege-Gang Commander can throw Goblins at them and the boat can smack them for three damage.
The deck has tested well against control decks so far. I beat both white-blue decks I faced and an Esper Control deck. We're generally good against the other midrange decks because we can play the value game quite well with all our planeswalkers and value creatures. Black-Green Constrictor can maybe use a little work, though I think my draws may have just been bad in the one match I played against it. The matchup that really needs help is Black-Red Vehicles. Unfortunately that deck looks like it may be the deck to beat in the metagame right now, so perhaps this deck either isn't the right metagame choice. I'm a bit more optimistic though as I think the matchup can be improved. I'm not exactly sure how and I'd love to hear suggestions, but I think if we move more Abrades to the main and maybe replace Fight with Fire with Thopter Arrest that can go a long way, though that would weaken our control matchup a bit. The matches against black-red have been close; I just find myself typically falling short in the end. If you don't expect to face that deck or you believe you know how to improve the matchup, this deck would be a good choice right now.