Any Modern deck that can enable a second- or third-turn win will always catch the eye. Historically, these strategies are kept in check through bannings and reactive deckbuilding. Nevertheless, there are rare instances where decks can achieve this feat with no fear of retribution, as the strategy is on the fringes of the Modern metagame. Perhaps one of the most rewarding feelings playing Modern is being able to demonstrate success with your pet deck or using a rogue strategy that proves that playing the best option isn't the only path to success.
Similarly to Hydra's Growth or Colossification, Colossus Hammer rewards you for playing a creature that can swiftly get out of control if not dealt with immediately. These strategies lean into a build-your-own Slippery Bogle approach: load up a creature with powerful equipment or aura and turn it sideways. Trample or double strike push incredible amounts of damage, and as a result, the deck has seen modest success in various Magic Online leagues in the last few weeks. Last week, Meryn Moon piloted the strategy through a Magic Online Modern League, which I recommend checking out if you want to see the strategy in action.
The card that makes Colossus Hammer viable in Modern is Sigarda's Aid, an enchantment that discounts Colossus Hammer's steep equip cost and allows it to double as a combat trick. While this combination is the deck's primary win condition, the alternative is to go on the creature beatdown approach with the lesser-powered equipment as our backup plan.
Meryn played an optimized list that we can pare down into a budget and affordable strategy to slam in FNM and Magic Online leagues alike. Given that the namesake card is only an uncommon, this allows us to create a reasonable foundation to optimize the strategy.
The non-Kor Outfitter creatures here are redundant: they all have double strike. Kor Duelist is our most potent threat, allowing for turn-two wins alongside Colossus Hammer and Sigarda's Aid or Magnetic Theft. Even if we have Boros Swiftblade or Swiftblade Vindicator, we can kill the opponent on turn three, which is still blisteringly quick!
While Colossus Hammer is usually the primary Open the Armory target, Flayer Husk, Swiftfoot Boots, and Ancestral Blade can serve as silver bullets in certain scenarios. Flayer Husk and Ancestral Blade present another body for the Colossus Hammer, and Swiftfoot Boots is key against removal-heavy strategies. We have ways to clear blockers as well, with Declaration in Stone and Chained to the Rocks. At the same time, Apostle's Blessing gives our creatures and artifacts protection from a particular color, which reduces our odds of being two-for-one'd and losing our Colossus Hammer. Rounding out the build is Magnetic Theft, which is the biggest draw to splashing red.
If you are looking to upgrade Boros Hammer, let's begin by looking at Meryn's list:
While Meryn's list utilizes Lurrus of the Dream-Den, it is not an essential inclusion but it does offer a unique axis of attack. While the strategy is prone to removal, Lurrus of the Dream-Den mitigates that vulnerability with ease. With regards to upgrades, I'd begin by replacing Open the Armory with Steelshaper's Gift. Lower mana costs allow us to combo off faster, making Steelshaper's Gift ideal. Then I would focus on refining the mana base with Inspiring Vantage, and if you are unable to acquire Sacred Foundry, then Battlefield Forge is an excellent substitute. Boros Hammer can be demanding on mana, requiring access to double white and even red on the first few turns. Rounding out the upgrades is Shadowspear, which slots into Boros Hammer perfectly: it offers trample, costs one mana, and provides an answer to problematic permanents.
Meryn incorporated Inkmoth Nexus as an alternative win condition; although Colossus Hammer nullifies flying, you can still equip Colossus Hammer after Inkmoth Nexus has flown over potential blockers, either by flashing Colossus Hammer in with Sigarda's Aid or by equipping it at instant speed with Magnetic Theft. Giver of Runes and Spellskite offer more Apostle's Blessing redundancy, leaving the deck with plenty of ways to preserve and force through the one-shot kills.
When it was first unbanned, Stoneforge Mystic raised concerns but has proven safe to unban in hindsight. It's quite the tool in Boros Hammer, and while it will be rare to activate its second ability, Stoneforge Mystic allows us to find Colossus Hammer, doubling as a warm body to equip it to in a pinch. However, Stoneforge Mystic's price-tag is a reflection of how many applications it has in Modern and beyond. I recommend holding off on acquiring Stoneforge Mystics until you are happy with your build—just keep Swiftblade Vindicator in until then. The upshot to buying Stoneforge Mystic is that it has extensive Modern applications, and as a result will see milage in many other strategies you choose to play.
Even though the deck is primarily white strategy, only touching red for Magnetic Theft and Swiftblade Vindicator, you could always splash into a third color or replace red altogether. For example, green will give you Glistener Elf or Slippery Bogle, and blue will offer cheap, evasive threats like Slither Blade. If you find you really want to swing the Colossus Hammer but don't even want to spend the money for the budget Boros version, here's an Azorius version that's dirt cheap:
While it won't slam any FNMs or Magic Online leagues any time soon, Azorius Hammer is bundles of fun for ~$25. Blue gives the deck Slither Blade, mentioned above, along with Trinket Mage and Trophy Mages package to tutor for Brass Squire, Ogre's Cleaver, and Colossus Hammer. While it's unlikely to offer consistency compared to its Boros counterpart, it's a cheap way to enjoy the strategy in a kitchen-table environment. If you are feeling creative, adding Invisible Stalker, Blighted Agent, or Bonesplitter could be a fun approach.
Even though Boros Hammer operates similarly to Infect or Bogles, it provides an unusual approach in a color pairing that is not known for second- or third-turn wins. Modern is known for being the format where you can play a strategy you deeply enjoy and leverage the understanding you gain by playing that deck repeatedly to grow as a player. Boros Hammer has the potential to be one of those decks for the next generation of Modern players—far from being a one-hit-wonder. Maybe a two-hit-wonder, but it's looking to be an integral part of Modern going forward.