Commander 2021 Upgrade Guide: Lorehold Legacies

Kristen Gregory Commander

Boros Reanimator has been around for a while now as something of a cult archetype. Lorehold Legacies sees that archetype realized by Wizards — so how is the precon? And how can we upgrade it?

Osgir, the Reconstructor

First up, let’s have a look at the commander. Osgir has some relevant creature types, a decent-sized body, and two very relevant abilities. Though having a sacrifice outlet is always nice, it’s the second ability that makes him tick — and that’s what we’re interested in.

By exiling artifacts from the graveyard, we can make double what we started with — just in token form. So, by paying four mana, you can make two token copies of a Thran Dynamo and be up on mana for the turn. Two Myr Battlespheres for seven is also a mighty fine deal, and two Platinum Angels? Sign me up — there’s always a game where that’s relevant. 

There are many fun routes to go with this precon, but before we get into the review and upgrade options, let’s just clarify something. When you make a token copy of a permanent that can transform, the token does not copy the other face of the card

So, if you want to create two Treasure Maps with Osgir, they will not transform into Treasure Cove when the condition is met. Similarly, if you had somehow changed a double-faced creature like Archangel Avacyn into an artifact — perhaps with Mycosynth Lattice — you would not be able to transform the token copies if you were to try and create them with Osgir.

Lorehold Legacies Deck Review

If you were wondering whether to pick up the deck, then it’s good news all around. I can heartily recommend picking up this precon, and that’s not just because I love playing red and white. There’s a couple of main reasons why this deck is a home run for me, which I’ll cover now. 

First up, the new cards are really quite something. Lorehold Legacies is home to some of the most exciting new card designs from Commander 2021. I’ve written recently that red is in something of a renaissance design-wise, and white is also receiving a lot of love. For a full rundown of the best of Strixhaven and Commander 2021, check out my articles here and here. Suffice to say, this deck is brimming with fun new cards.

Secondly, the reprints in this deck are some of the best we’ve seen in a long time. Outside of obvious high-ticket items like Hellkite Tyrant and Thousand-Year Elixir, there are a lot of solid cards here. Steel Hellkite, Boros Charm, Daretti… and even the less valuable cards like Scrap Trawler and Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer are still very playable. If we’d gotten a decent red-white land and a copy of Loyal Apprentice, this would be an A+, but it’s still a solid A from me. The deck runs really, really well, and has very little filler. 

Upgrading Lorehold Legacies

Just because the deck has little filler doesn’t mean we don’t want to upgrade it, though. There’s a few different directions to take the deck — from combo, to go-wide, to reanimator — but all of them would benefit from a number of upgrades that offer more consistency across the board.

Card Draw

First up, card draw. Wheels are a great choice in any deck that wants to use the graveyard, and picking up some or all of the more affordable Wheels is a great place to start. If you’re able to add a Smothering Tithe as well, you’ll be able to take advantage of one of the best engines available to Boros decks. Going that route is obviously easier if you have access to Wheel of Fortune and/or Memory Jar, but even without them, you can pull off a nice chain, especially with a copy of Underworld Breach and a card like Mana Geyser

Wheels aren’t the only draw available, and adding some looting and rummaging effects is recommended. Outside of the likes of Cathartic Reunion and Thrill of Possibility, you have the flexibility of Nahiri, the Harbinger as a removal source. Smuggler’s Copter is also a nice way to get set up, and it’s an artifact you’ll enjoy making copies of with Osgir.

Of course, there are other ways to gain card advantage in a deck like this. Mystic Forge is an obvious shout if we’re going all-in on artifacts, while Pyre of Heroes rewards us for sticking to a consistent creature base. Between Humans, Artificers, Golems and Constructs, there’s plenty of space to experiment with this colorless Birthing Pod. Trading Post might be worth a look, too — though I often find myself cutting it from decks these days, as it seems a little on the slow side.

Ramp

Smothering Tithe is the obvious winner when it comes to ramp, but there are other ways to make Treasure. Magda is one of my favorites, given it helps you turn the Treasure into artifacts or Dragons — two things an Osgir deck is likely to care about a lot. Don’t underestimate the likes of Prying Blade, Goldvein Pick and Dowsing Dagger, though. Boros has plenty of strong, evasive bodies that give a lot of value and are happy to wear Equipment besides Sword of the Animist. Whether that’s Thopter tokens, Selfless Spirit, or even Reidane, God of the Worthy — you have options. 

While Land Tax is the obvious combo with Archaeomancer’s Map, don’t ignore Armillary Sphere. Adding lands to hand is underrated, and can help fuel our discards, if not just help us make our land drops. Burnished Hart is a mainstay of these builds, and combines well with the likes of Emeria Shepherd for repeatable reanimation. 

Of the mana rocks not included in the precon, I’d go for ones that either give you more than one mana, like Thran Dynamo, or some of the filtering effects that dedicated “eggs” decks want. Making two copies of Guild Globe, for example, draws you two cards for two mana. Your mileage may vary, but if you’re keen on taking advantage of Gerrard, Weatherlight Hero and other combo pieces? It’s time to break out the research and dig into what makes those decks spin. 

It’s not strictly a ramp card, but Krark-Clan Ironworks is a mana source we can opt for, and it can allow for some explosive turns — and help us set up our graveyard. It’s worth checking out. Coveted Jewel, on the other hand, is ramp and card draw. I highly recommend trying it. 

Recursion

If we’re setting up to enjoy time in the graveyard, then it’s a good idea to consider how we do that without just exiling everything with Osgir. Activating Osgir should be a value play, and not our entire strategy, or we’ll run out of cards quickly. We also need less risky options for playing against tables with a lot of bounce spells; having our tokens bounced is a recipe for disaster, just as a flood might destroy an archaeological site!

Scrap Mastery is Living Death for artifacts, and a slam dunk in an Osgir deck. Reanimating all of our artifact creatures means we can turn the corner and strike out from a losing position, all while removing problem pieces on the other side of the field. Trash for Treasure is a one-shot effect much like Daretti, but one we might want to take. Altar of Dementia, on the other hand, is a linchpin for a deck that wants to play in the graveyard. It works as both a combo piece and an enabler, filling our own graveyard for big plays like Wake the Past, one of the new mass reanimation spells included in the precon. There’s also the aforementioned Underworld Breach, one of the best red spells printed in a very long time. 

One glaring omission from the precon is our trusty Goblin friends. Engineer and Welder are great effects for a deck like this, and Slobad is happy to come along for the ride. 

Utility Cards

Whatever direction you take Osgir, there are some strong utility cards to consider. 

First up, more planeswalkers. The original Ugin is a monster of a board wipe which can often be fairly one-sided, while New-gin gives us a way to empty out our hand while having access to decent removal. Karn, meanwhile, is a card I’m much happier to take instead of Pull from Eternity. I don’t think the deck wants both, and I’d prefer my way to bring back an exiled artifact did other things, too. 

Welding Jar is a cheap way to keep your best artifacts around, and Restoration Specialist continues to be my favorite card I never see anyone else play. Ugin’s Nexus is a nice way to take an extra turn in our colors, but I’m also pointing it out to clarify something: there is no way to take two extra turns with this card and Osgir without doing convoluted things with Mirror Gallery that just aren’t worth the effort. 

Depending on how fast you can fill your graveyard, you might get a lot out of some of the enablers for Osgir. Getting to untap him multiple times can give you some really explosive turns.

Rounding things out here — because I could go on — are three powerful pieces. Spine of Ish Sah is cheaper than it seems if you can get it into your graveyard, and it works well with Osgir. Unwinding Clock gives you extra mana and pseudo-vigilance, and Oblivion Stone is just one of the better removal pieces to consider. 

Example $50 Lorehold Legacies Upgrade

So, first up, let’s take out the following, giving us 19 cards to play with for upgrades. 

On a $50 budget, you can pack in a lot of value! For our upgrades, I’ve chosen to add better mana, better card draw, and some more creatures that contribute to our plan for aerial superiority. We also managed to squeeze in some much-needed recursion, Altar of Dementia as an enabler, and Ugin, the Ineffable as a strong all-rounder. 

Though we have lost a little top end, we’ve gained the ability to play a longer, more resilient game, and we’ve gained some ways to make sure that when we do go wide, we hit hard.

Check out the full decklist to see how it all comes together.

Choosing a Win Condition

Of course, a budget upgrade isn’t going to let you completely re-tool the deck. If you want to spend a little more, you’d be best off choosing a win condition to go along with some of the more expensive cards mentioned today. 

Personally, I enjoy combat a lot — you can take the red-white out of Boros, but you can’t take the Boros out of red-white.

I’m aiming to try an artifact creature build, taking full advantage of the alternate commander Alibou, Ancient Witness and Jor Kadeen for big, go-wide beats. Alibou provides a lot of value for just one creature, and I’m excited to try it out. 

The other direction you could try is pairing Rebbec with another red or Boros commander. Part of me loves the idea of Rebbec and Jeska; sending in a Hellkite Igniter with triple damage sounds glorious alongside some of the sweet upgrades the archetype has gained from the Lorehold Legacies precon. 

There’s two more win conditions Osgir is built to set up for. First is the extra turns combo, made easy with two Isochron Scepters. If you’re going for this one, I’d consider investing in Platinum Angel and Indomitable Archngel for extra protection. 

Otherwise, I think I’d be keen on looking at infinite-ETB-style combos. Altar of Dementia already helps us mill our opponents, but we can also use pieces like Reckless Fireweaver, Impact Tremors and Purphoros, God of the Forge. This combo works by fishing Gerrard back out of the bin with Loyal Retainers before Gerrard is exiled. Gerrard’s trigger then resolves, bringing everything back, including Loyal Retainers.

In Closing

The Lorehold Legacies precon is a fantastic deck, and I can’t tell you how excited I am that Wizards has finally decided to support my pet archetype: Boros Reanimator. Though I’m most at home with big Angel beats, I love the idea of an artifact-heavy build, and I’m looking forward to brewing with the precon. After I try it out, I’m not sure which direction to take it, so I might have to try them all… an exciting prospect!

Let me know on Twitter what you think of the precon, and what cards you’re looking to try out in it.