MtG: Toying around with the Theros Block “Heroic” ability…

Dear readers and fellow M:tG enthusiasts!

I am in a writing mood so I will follow up my previous Magic-related article I just posted with yet another one:

As I have been visiting the Magic Shop on a weekly basis for quite a while and through buying some Theros Block Intro Packs and through participating in a Sealed Deck release event as well I became somewhat familiar with the Theros Block cards and one new ability had caught my attention in particular and made my inner deckbuilder curious. I am talking about

“Heroic”

Heroic is a creature ability that triggers some effect whenever the creature with heroic is the target of a spell. Most commonly the creature would receive a +1/+1 counter when targeted by a spell. Here is a typical example of a creature with heroic:

So my curiosity was raised and my inner deckbuilder unchained and ready to come up with some decks maxing out on the in my opinion and in the right deck awesome new heroic ability!

I will present you with three decklists in this article along with my ramblings on how the heroic ability is put to proper use in them. The first will be a pretty straightforward White/Green “weenie-eskue” type of deck whereas the second deck will add in some blue and explore how creatures with heroic can profit from auras (formerly known as enchant creatures) and the third deck will be something completely crazy, maybe crazy enough to actually work!

Let me get this started with showing you how I would build and play a Green/White Heroic Deck on a budget:

Modern Heroes on a Budget (Modern Format):

Creatures…18

4 x Favored Hoplite W

4 x Phalanx Leader WW

4 x Akroan Skyguard 1W

2 x Wingsteed Rider 1WW

4 x Fabled Hero 1WW

Instants…20

4 x Mutagenic Growth G

4 x Ajani’s Presence W x

4 x Emerge Unscathed W x

4 x Solidarity of Heroes 1G x

4 x Selesnya Charm GW x

Lands…22

4 x Brushland

4 x Sunpetal Grove

12 x Plains

2 x Forest

About the Deck:

This deck consists of 1/3 lands, 1/3 creatures with the heroic ability and 1/3 of cheap yet powerful and flexible instants that all target creatures, thus triggering the heroic abilities of my army of White-Weenie-style creatures.

Favored Hoplite is a great one-drop with a great heroic ability…

… and Phalanx Leader…

…is very powerful, acting as some kind of pseudo-Crusade / Crusade replacement, as whenever he is targeted by a spell, all your creatures will get a +1/+1 counter. Akroan Skyguard and Wingsteed Rider, the former costing just 1W and the latter 1WW, are both flyers, which is great because a +1/+1 counter will be added to them everytime they are targeted by a Spell you cast. Fabled Hero is a 2/2 Doublestriker costing 1WW with the same heroic ability. That one can grow out of control in the blink of an eye!

Now on to the instants that will support the “heroic weenies” and cause their heroic abilities to trigger, placing lots and lots of +1/+1 counters on them:

Mutagenic Growth is basically a free +3/+3 boost when used on a heroic creature, whereby the +2/+2 from the spell will terminate at end of turn while the +1/+1 counter granted by the triggered heroic ability will last and remain.

Ajani’s Presence makes one Creature or even more if you can pay for the additional “Strive” cost indestructable for one turn AND gives them +1/+1 until end of turn. Of course, if heroic creatures will be targeted, those will have their heroic ability trigger and recceive a +1/+1 counter in addition in most cases. Ajani’s Presence is a great way to save one of your creatures while at the same time giving it a permanent boost as well.

Emerge Unscathed is a great way to save one of your creatures from targeted harm like Path to Exile, Journey to Nowhere, Oblivion Ring, Doom Blade, Putrefy, Mortify etc just to mention a few and what is more, it will rebound, you will be able to play it again for free on your next turn that is, thus triggering heroic twice.

Solidarity of Heroes doubles the number of +1/+1 counters on one or more of your creatures at the cost of 1G per creature. The cool thing is that it targets the creature first, meaning the heroics would get their counters and then these are doubled. A nice addition to a deck like this in my opinion. And all this at instant speed not to forget!

Selesnya Charm is so tremendously versatile and useful. Just have a look at it:

While the first ability will be useful in conjunction with your heroic creatures, the other two may well be of great usefulness at times as well.

OK so much about my take on a straightforward White-Green Heroic Weenie built on a budget – actually, the only cards that are a bit costlier are the lands, the 4 Brushland and 4 Sunpetal Grove. All else is pretty much dirt cheap, the deck consists mostly of commons and uncommons and yet I see great potential in it.

Let me show you another take on a deck making great use of heroic by other means: auras. Since auras target the creature they enchant when played (at least as far as I know) they should in theory also trigger the heroic abilities of the creatures we have seen and discussed above. For the fun of it, I added some blue to this deck as well besides white as the main color and green as the secondary color.  There is one card in particular that was begging for a heroic deck making use of aurus:

But on to the decklist already!

Enchant a Hero (Modern Format):

Creatures…16

4 x Favored Hoplite W

4 x Akroan Skyguard 1W

4 x Hero of Iroas 1W

4 x Battlewise Hoplite UW

Instants…12

4 x Ajanis Presence W

4 x Emerge Unscathed W

4 x Selesnya Charm GW

Enchantments…10

4 x Aqueous Form U

3 x Snake Umbra 2G

3 x Unflinching Courage 1WG

Lands…22

4 x Sunpetal Grove

4 x Glacial Fortress

10 x Plains

2 x Forest

2 x Island

About the Deck:

This deck contains many cards we have seen in the last one already. When it comes to Creatures, I cut some out and added in Hero of Iroas whom I just showed you as well as Battlewisse Hoplite who is a great deal at a mere cost of UW:

Not only does he get the somewhat standard +1/+1 counter whenever he is targeted by a spell, you also get to Scry 1! That is a great additional ability in my opinion.

So much for the Creature base. When it comes to heroic-triggering instants, the assortment is pretty much the same as in the first deck showcased, with some cards left out in order to make room for the auras which should play a big role in this deck. So there is Ajani’s Presence, Emerge Unscathed and Selesnya Charm once more – cards I already introduced and discussed above.

What is new and what I think makes this deck unique and what differentiates it from the first heroic deck I showed to you is the addition of 3 different auras (enchant creatures), 10 cards in total – an assortment which I think would go particularly well with this kind of deck. Again I am pretty sure that auras target the creatures you cast them onto so if I am not completely mistaken they should in theory trigger the heroic abilities of my creatures, which would be the main plan in this deck. Let me go through the three auras i chose for this deck in particular and share my thoughts about them:

  • Aqueous Form: At the mere price of 1 blue mana, this makes one of your creatures unblockable AND you get to scry 1 whenever it attacks which is an amazing deal if you ask me, especially when you attach this cheap aura to one of you bigger heroics.
  • Snake Umbra: This is a great, great aura that I like to play in many of my decks for its sheer versatility. It gives the creature it enchants not one but three amazing bonuses/power at the cost of 2G (it may be cheaper if you got one or even multiple Heroes of Iroas in play): Firstly, the enchanted creature gets +1/+1 which is the least exciting of the powers Snake Umbra grants. Then, far more exciting, it lets you draw a card whenever the enchanted creature deals combat damage to an opponent. This is simply amazing if you enchanted the same creature with aqueous form previously, as it will not only be unblockable, securing you the card draw, but you will actually be able to scry for 1 prior to drawing the card from Umbra, which is an awesome synergy in my opinion. And the awesomeness does not stop here: Snake Umbra has a third power named “Totem Armor” which simply says if the enchanted creature would die, you may destroy the Umbra instead. This is great to protect one of your mighties heroic creatures from being killed by any means, which can be a very useful emergency option. All in all, the threefold usefulness of Snake Umbra made me run this one over Curiostiy, which would be away cheaper option at the cost of 1 blue mana. But thanks to Hero of Iroas, you may be able to lower the cost of Snake Umbra considerably as well.
  • Unflinching Courage: At the cost of 1GW, the enchanted creature gets +2/+2, trample and lifelink, thus making this the aura equivalent of Behemoth Sledge and an awesome power-up for any of your heroic creatures! I was arguing with myself if Rancor wouldn’t be the better alternative since it is considerably cheaper and, what is curcial, it returns to your hand when the creature it enchants would die, so you can cast it again and again, triggering heroic abilities over and over again. In the end, I chose to run Unfliching Courage over Rancor because of the lifelink and additional +2 toughness boost and the fact that the whole thing would cost just GW with only one Hero of Iroas in play.

Ok so much for the “Heroic Auras” deck. Let’s get right to the third deck I came up with, which is, as I said initally, crazy enough that it might actually work:

Heroic Survivor (Modern Format):

Creatures…15

4 x Favored Hoplite W

4 x Phalanx Leader WW

4 x Akrosan Skyguard 1W

2 x Battlewise Hoplite UW

1 x Dawnbringer Charioteers 2WW

Instants…14

2 x Bioshift U/G

4 x Ajani’s Presence W

4 x Emerge Unscathed W

2 x Mortal’s Resolve 1G

2 x Selesnya Charm WG

Sorceries…8

3 x Supply / Demand XGW/1GU

4 x Day of Judgment 2WW

1 x Supreme Verdict 1WWU

Planeswalkers…1

1 x Ajani, Mentor of Heroes 3GW

Lands…22

4 x Coastal Citadel

4 x Sunpetal Grove

4 x Glacial Fortress

10 x Plains

About the Deck:

I think by now you are already familiar with the creatures I am running in this deck, with one exception: I added a sole copy of Dawnbringer Charioteers as you ace/killer card (if you ever draw them). Take a look:

When it comes to instants, we have seen most of them already in the previously showcased decks. What is new are two Bioshifts and two Mortal’s Resolve. The former costs either 1 blue or 1 green mana and lets you transfer any number of +1/+1 counters from one of your Creatures to another wheras the latter costs 1G and gives one of your creatures +1/+1 and indestructibility for one turn. What I am planning with those two will become evident now as I want to explain why I named the deck “Heroic Survivor”:

The basic plan is to play a bunch of your heroic creatures fast, true white weenie style, and pump them through heroic as much as possible. Then on turn 5 or 6 you would unleash one of your mass creature removal cards – either Day of Judgment or the “cannot be countered” Supreme Verdict. What you would do if you did that on your 5th turn would be spend 4 mana on Day of Judgment and save the last 1 (white) mana to cast Ajani’s Presence targeting your “best” heroic creature, thus giving it a +1/+1 counter from heroic, a temporary +1/+1 boost from Ajani’s Presence and, and here it comes, make it indestructible for the turn. This means on turn five, provided you played a land on each of your turns you would whipe the field clear of all creatures, save for one: Your lonely “Heroic Survivor”! Mortal’s Resolve is your backup for Ajani’s Presence here but it costs one more mana than the latter.

If you think such a feat as described above would be devastating enough, you could be doing something even nastier if you can wait until you have 6 or 7 mana handy. This is where Bioshift comes in. In the best case scenario you would unleash Day of Judgment or Supreme Judgment when you got 6 or 7 mana at your disposal, pay 4 for the mass removal, save your mighties “hero” with Ajani’s Presence and furhtermore, spend one green or one blue on Bioshift, transferring all +1/+1 counters from your second most powerful heroic creature to your lone “survivor”. Both Ajani’s Presence and Bioshift will trigger the “survivor’s” heroic ability anyways plus it will get a ton of +1/+1 counters from your second mightiest creatures which would die to Day of Judgment or Supreme Verdict anyways. What an awesome move!

I added 3 Supply/Demand as this is an amazing tutor for so many great cards in this deck, tutoring for anything multicolor – Supreme Verdict or Ajani, Mentor of Heroes (I pulled one out of a booster luckily but the deck works without him as well!) would be prime targets.

—————————————————————————————–

Well, dear friends of Magic: the Gathering, this is it about my ramblings on the rather new heroic ability/game mechanic. I hope you had a good read and found my deck ideas interesting to some extent. As a matter of fact I already bought together the cards for the first of the three decks I showcased above, and I tell you it was very, very budget friendly, and will keep you up to date on how the deck will work out!

So thanks for being a reader and, as always,

HAPPY GAMING,

Yours,

Andi

 

 

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