The Boros Advantage Engine

The Boros Card Advantage & Ramp Engine

Kristen GregoryCommander

It’s easy to get jealous of colors like green when you’re playing white in Commander. But really, white is one of the best colors at ramping, and when added to red for Boros? You get access to some excellent advantage engines. Kristen takes us through the Boros Toolbox. 

Boros has long been maligned as one of the weakest color pairs in Commander. In the past, that may have had a shred of truth – especially given the social contract chained up mass land destruction and other more antisocial RW cards. In recent years it’s never been better to be a Boros player, as I outlined in my Four Boros Decks to Light Your Fire article. 

But what makes modern Boros so good? Is it just the new powerful Commanders? In short, no. It’s what I like to call the “Boros Advantage Engine”. 


The Boros Advantage Engine (BAE hereon) is a series of ramp and card advantage cards available to RW decks that not only synergize with each other, but also synergize with the other cards you’d want to play in a deck. 

Starting things off is Land Tax. Land Tax lets you draw three cards every upkeep when you’re behind on land drops, with the stipulation that those cards are always basic lands. Even with that restriction, drawing three is phenomenal, as it helps to thin the deck of “bad” draws, something Boros decks are keen to do given their overall less powerful draw power. 

Hitting your land drops in Commander is very important, especially given that many players skimp on land counts and, after ramping, start to fall behind. Archaeomancer’s Map is another piece that ensures you hit the land drops, but crucially unlike Gift of Estates, helps you to catch up too.

Catchup ramp is a mainstay effect in white, but really the only candidate worth playing in this toolbox right now is Knight of the White Orchid. It comes down early, has a simple rider, and leaves behind a body with first strike, which is always relevant, helping it to wear equipment or get attack triggers. Scholar of New Horizons and Loyal Warhound are both reasonably solid too. 


There was a lot of fuss about Deep Gnome Terramancer and Archivist of Oghma on release, and rightly so. These bears could trigger multiple times in a rotation, giving “free” unconditional value. While I don’t think they are bad cards per say, I do think they require some intent in deckbuilding to really get consistent value from. Deep Gnome is only really good in metas where you expect to see a lot of green or white ramping, while Archivist of Oghma excels in high power games with lots of tutors or when you stuff your deck with Path to Exile, Winds of Abandon, et al. 

I’m a big believer in Commander of “if you want something done right, do it yourself”, so I tend to eschew these more passive cards, taking them a lot later in my builds if I take them at all.


Land Tax doesn’t only help with “thinning”. It also starts to fill the graveyard, something we’re keen to do to set up the rest of our BAE. 

Fetchlands are the next piece of the puzzle, and I advocate for running at the very least Arid Mesa, Fabled Passage, Prismatic Vista and then one of Windswept Heath/Marsh Flats/Bloodstained Mire etc. 

Why do we want lands in the yard? Well, to ramp, of course. 

Sun Titan is the poster child for white “ramp”, giving access to multiple extra lands per turn. While six mana means you’re bursting your mana production a little into the midgame, you can get him out earlier by playing some of the other cards on this list. 

You can also play the new Sun Titan, Redemption Choir. Now, not every Boros deck can run this one, given the coven trigger requires you to have a variety of powers on creatures and have a few creatures in play… but… it can be an incredible four-drop to slam down early and start accruing value with. For all intents and purposes, it’s a four mana Sun Titan

Sevinne’s Reclamation and Brought Back are the other two cornerstones of the BAE package when it comes to ramping out lands. Sevinne’s can bring up to two back when cast with Flashback, and Brought Back, with some clever sequencing, can do the same. Make sure to play Lotus Field to really enable that one too. The key to what makes these cards so good is that they can also bring back other amazing cards in our deck, from Adeline, to Cathar Commando, to our Commander.

I don’t run it in every build, but Restoration of Eiganjo is also a really good part of the engine, especially if your budget can’t stretch to Land Tax. It makes tokens to trigger Welcoming Vampire and Tocasia’s Welcome when flipped. 


Now that we’ve started to bring back lands from the graveyard, there’s every chance that we either hit parity or start to pull ahead on land drops. An important aspect of playing Boros with BAE is understanding when to shift gears. Do you need an extra Land Tax turn? Do you plan on casting or flickering a Knight of the White Orchid, and should that stop you pulling ahead this turn? These are questions to ask yourself, but really, you should go for the play that puts you ahead on mana if at all possible. 

Treasure is something Boros can dip into, and while not every deck (or budget) extends to Dockside Extortionist, you do have other options. Goldvein Pick is a strong starter, especially if you have some cheap evasive creatures to get in for damage. 

Curse of Opulence keeps the spotlight off of you, but is a card I would more readily take if I were going wide and attacking; same with Professional Facebreaker. Smothering Tithe, of course, is an option, and one I believe is totally fair in Boros given the amount of dumb stuff other colors at the table will be doing. 

Lands in play are worth more than ephemeral treasure, though, so it’s equipment time. Sword of the Animist and Sword of Hearth and Home are how Boros decks pull ahead and stay ahead, and it might be worth running a Stoneforge Mystic or Kellan, the Fae-Blooded just to ensure you have access to these pieces. 

Ramping lands is so good that many Boros decks that go wide with tokens should be playing Settle the Wreckage, a modal spell that can be used defensively but one that I overwhelmingly cast aggressively to ramp myself multiple lands in one turn. 

I could see the new Pip-Boy 3000 finding its way into the BAE over time, given it untaps lands for a cheap investment. 


Sword of Hearth and Home isn’t just for getting lands – it also flickers our bodies. Flicker is incredible in Boros decks, given it can reset any number of powerful EtB effects. From Knight of the White Orchid or Solemn Simulacrum for more ramp, to Duergar Hedge-Mage, Loran of the Third Path or even Solitude for removal, getting to double dip on the best effects in our deck is incredible – no Roaming Throne necessary. 

Ephemerate is a standout card in the BAE, given it gives us two flickers for just a single mana. One of them can even be used for protection, reactively, and then we’ll get the value flicker on the Rebound. While many players gravitate toward Blacksmith’s Skill or Galadriel’s Dismissal, I like to take Ephemerate first because of the value it can squeeze out. 

Cursed Mirror is the poster-child of the double dip. Whenever you get to play this card you can get to do something fun with it, and in the BAE, it acts as both ramp, removal, draw, and a wildcard, given it can copy an opponent’s creature for the turn. 


A big part of BAE is card advantage, rather than straight draw. You’re getting extra cards worth of value from the cards in this package, even if they aren’t directly drawing cards. What’s more, a lot of new white draw is deck dependent. Some decks want Chivalric Alliance and Tocasia’s Welcome, while others want Trouble in Pairs or Wheel of Fortune and Imposing Grandeur

That said, a few do make it into the BAE. Esper Sentinel is the first, and it’s largely because of how often you’ll get extra cards for such a low investment. He also synergizes with a lot of what Boros wants to do, growing bigger with equipment, anthems or counters.

Mask of Memory is another staple of the BAE, and quite often is a card I’ll tutor for alongside Sword of the Animist in the early game. It draws a good amount for a low investment, and it helps fill up the yard for other effects.

Valakut Exploration is one I’ve come around to more recently, and it works especially well if you’re running the BAE with a full complement of fetchlands and other ways to get extra lands hitting play each turn. I really dislike impulse draw in some builds, and Valakut Exploration ensures you don’t lose things forever, while speeding the clock on your opponents. 

Speaking of putting things in the yard, red has an abundance of Thrill of Possibility analogues now. The one I’m still highest on is Bitter Reunion. It can just sit there, waiting for the perfect turn and ability to give us haste. 

The final draw piece I’m high on right now is Brass’s Tunnel Grinder. When used as part of the BAE, it can flip quite quickly, giving you a hand refresh and a card advantage piece for just three mana.


The BAE provides a lot of setup and value, but there are a few final cards that tie the whole thing together nicely. 

Dire Fleet Daredevil is a pet card of mine, and while I often find myself ruing the waste of holding mana up for Dualcaster Mage these days, I’m much more amiable about slamming “Snatchcaster Mage” at the right moment. It can give you what you need from an opponent’s yard, whether that’s removal, ramp, draw, or just something splashy and fun. 

It gets better with flicker, which is why another glue-card for the BAE is Teleportation Circle. It not only resets a bunch of value creatures, but it can also reset artifacts. This means Archaeomancer’s Map, Brass’s Tunnel Grinder, and if nothing else, flickering a mana rock or land to leave you with more mana going into the opponent’s turn. It also flickers Cursed Mirror, which is rad

Reconstruct History is what truly makes a deck using BAE sing, though. I once dubbed it the Boros Harmonize, but I actually think it’s a lot better, especially if you’ve been setting up the yard properly. While it doesn’t get back creatures, you can still get them back by grabbing artifact or enchantment creatures. This thing feels worth the four mana if it only gets you back a Boros Charm and a Winds of Abandon, to be honest. 

Of course, the best way to see BAE having a positive effect on your deck is to make sure you stuff it with creatures and cards that synergize with it. Selfless Spirit and Boromir, Warden of the Tower, for example, can be brought back with the recursion effects. Playing Wheel effects can stack the yard with things to bring back. 


The Boros Advantage Engine ensures that Boros decks can tussle with the best of them. While green is undisputedly the king of ramp, and black the king of reanimator, the BAE can give both a run for their money – and in plenty of games I end up coming out on top of the mana race utilizing this very engine. 

The BAE can be found as a package on Moxfield

To see it in action in a deck, check out my Hofri Reanimator deck, updated recently with a bunch of new toys.