One of my more recent articles featured 5 commanders that are sweet and are simply not garnering the attention they deserve. I began that article by talking about my experience when building this big lovable golem at the onset of that piece. Enough people commented asking for my Bosh list that I finally wrote a deck tech about my favorite big dude.
Link to the aforementioned article here https://mysticalteachingsmtg.com/2018/12/30/5-sweet-commanders-you-probably-arent-playing/
This deck is built around an 8 mana commander who does not function well without a little setup. Therefore, a stipulation of deck construction is shifting Bosh’s role to the finisher rather than the main setup piece which is the key difference between Bosh and Daretti. This brings me to the reason I built Bosh in the first place. I am a spike that truly misses the feeling of playing beefy threats and annihilating people with them. Enter Bosh, a commander that actively encourages the deckbuilder to play a bunch of big nasty robots, mana curve be damned! It is a unique deckbuilding constraint and while we still need to build around his abilites slamming every expensive artifact into a deck will lead to a clunky and frustrating experience. How do we toe this fine line? I think that I have found a relatively good balance between ramp, threats and ways to refuel. Without further ado, welcome to Bosh’s Big Bash!
This is a big mana deck. In order for it to fuction we need tons of mana. The amount of ramp in this deck allows Bosh to be a repeatable removal spell as well as allows us to cast other threats which can also be ammunition for Bosh if needed. In addition, many of our other win conditions cost upwards of 10 mana to cast. If we are setting up to win with Bosh it also puts other plans in motion which we can pivot to if the gamestate demands it.
The biggest upside for all these mana rocks is when we no longer need the mana our Gilded Lotus and Thran Dynamo become removal spells that pay for themselves with Bosh in play. If Bosh isn’t in play this deck almost always wants more mana.
These are techincally ramp however I think of ramp like mana rocks the facilitate early to mid game setup. A mana doubling effect simply puts this deck over the top. The ideal is for the mana rocks to ramp us into one of these effects and then begin casting large artifacts. This deck runs as many of these effects as possible because of how mana intensive most of our win conditions are. Caged Sun is the most expensive but is the best out of the four, it doubles any land the produces red mana, we have a few non-basics that tap for red which a couple of our other doublers will not effect. It is the most expensive but it is well worth the cost and this deck is more than capable otfcheating it into play.
Extraplanar Lense is the primary reason we run Snow-Covered Mountains so that we don’t give any random red player extra mana. The lense could potentially represent a two-for-one again because of the mana-intensive nature of this deck the risk is worth the payoff. The remaning two are Koth of the Hammer and Sword of Feast and Famine. Koth is in this deck because of his -2 and being able to give us gobs of mana instantly is fantastic. In a pinch his +1 gives us one extra mana if for some reason we do not have enough mountains. Sword of Feast and Famine essentially doubles our mana and it makes Bosh a 3 turn clock. It also gives Bosh’s friends some extra punch.
A deck like this will have the same issues as any other big mana deck; a way to refuel after vomitting a ton of mana onto the field. In order to mitigate this problem we run several card draw/selection engines such as Daretti and Staff of Nin(more on them later). The finest red cantrips in Faithless Looting and Cathartic Reunion. Finally, we run a selection of wheels to refuel at a moment’s notice.
I only include wheels that draw us up to 7 since we will be dumping our hand on a regular basis. This is the rationale for not including cards like Fateful showdown. These wheels and discard effects also fill our graveyard with threats to recur later, which brings me to one of the aforementioned planeswalker Daretti. He also fuels the graveyard, gives us more options in our hand and he can cheat threats into play. There has never been a situation in which I was unhappy that I top decked him. He is an all-star in this deck. We also run a selection of artifact based card draw including Staff of Nin.
This is the first time I have ever run this card and it has defied my expectations by being quite good in this deck. I have heard it called mediocre and too expensive for what it does. There is truth to that argument however, given the recent rise of planeswalkers as commanders the tap ability has become much more relevent in recent months and as always it is potential Bosh fuel. One of the best fuctions early game ramp can serve is to ramp us into long- term advantage. Cards like the Staff and Daretti are exactly the long term advantage that will push Bosh into the winner’s circle.
When we have a way of recurring our key pieces it gives Bosh a steady stream of fuel as well as gives us valuable death triggers. We run all the cards that one expects from a mono red artifacts deck. Trading Post in particular has done quite a bit of work as it does everything our deck wants in one card. It fills the graveyard, draws cards, and recurs our artifacts.
In addition this deck can produce interesting lines with Scrap Trawler. The amount of recurisiveness in this deck allows for an enviable amount of resilence and as previously stated allows the Bosh train to keep chugging.
This is commander board sweepers are an absolute must. We run a couple one-sided wipes in All is Dust and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon.
These wipe colored permanents off the board which will mostly leave our board untouched. Our other wipes are Oblivion Stone and Blasphemous Act.
O-stone makes the cut due to it being an artifact thus, it can be a tutor target for our artifact specific tutors in case of an emergency. Blasphemous Act is simply one of the best red cards out there, most of the time it will be cast for one red and that mana efficiency is simply too good to pass. In addition, we do not run that many creatures so odds are our board will be less impacted. Nevinyrral’s Disk has been suggested to me several times as an additional wrath effect.
It did not make the cut since I do not have a way of untapping it and I personally do not want to forecast that I have a wrath-like effect. At this point my build would not neceesarily benefit from artifact untappers thus, I feel as though they would be a dead card. I would rather catch opponents off guard rather than giving them a turn of preparation. Perhaps if it became profitable to run untappers then the disk might become worth a slot.
Again we are in Mono- Red so outside of burn spells we do not have a plethora of options. We do have some unconditional removal it simply comes at a steep cost. Duplicant exiles any creature, Karn can hit any permanent, and Spine of Ish Sah also kills any permanent. In addition to those we have the obliatory include Chaos Warp.
The fact of the matter is that this deck is simply not meant to be interactive. Those slots are used to further enforce our own game plan. These are not mana efficent options but these serve both as removal on their own and can be flung to remove another problem or they can begin stacking damage at our opponents. In addition Spine is resuable unconditional removal that has insane synergy with Krark-Clan Ironworks.
I built this deck primarily because it forced me to work with tutors that are less than ideal. Since we are Mono-Red so our pool of tutors doesn’t quite match the stable available in black. We run Gamble because it’s what we have in these colors and one mana to tutor for a key piece is nothing to scoff at and as a bonus Gamble can double as red Entomb!
We also include Kuldotha Forgemaster and Inventor’s Fair as our artifact tutors. It is not unlikey that we will have artifacts sitting on board that have done their job. The forgemaster can also sacrifice itself if the junk supply is running low. We also include Sactum of Ugin which triggers when we cast our commander and can find Blightsteel to end the game or Mycosinth Golem to make our threats ludcirously cheap.
This is one of the aspects of building Bosh that was particularly difficult since I had become overly reliant on black tutors. I have learned to be much more careful what I tutor for and when to spend the few precious tutors I have. It was an interesting excercise in deckbuilding. Bosh forced me to A) not worry about my curve and B) work without my usual suite of tutors that fetch me whatever I want whenever I want. Which personally created a skill-enhancing expereince.
Winning the Game
As I have stated Bosh gives threats that are impactful on their own a duel purpose.. This creates a deck that has a density of plans and win conditions that fuction independent of the commander. Thereby creating a situation in which opponents become unsure of which piece to answer. Due to this dynamic, this particular Bosh deck is packed to bursting point with explosive cards. Most of these artificial monsters can end games on their own and become more formidable with Bosh on the field. When piloting this deck, we could be building toward any of these win conditions, since they easily fit into our overall game plan. This compensates for our general lack of tutors in Mono Red, as well as offering flexibility for us to react to what our opponents are playing.
Bosh+ Large Artifacts
This is our main way to win. Once all of the problem creatures are dealt with, Bosh can begin flinging large pieces of metal at our opponent’s faces. In order to make this plan a bit easier, we run a couple enchantments that double damage in Dictate of the Twin Gods and Gratuitous Violence.
I have considered adding more, but could never find a slot for them and both of these seem to do the job. Dictate having flash creates a ton of surprise potential. Bosh can be activated at instant speed, therefore, we can flash in Dictate and activate Bosh to kill a player with a problematic spell on the stack. In addition, if we leave mana open, people tend to assume that that mana is to activate Bosh. Thus, the Dictate is never telegraphed. Gratuitous Violence also doubles both combat damage and Bosh damage. Therefore, we can remain in second place for most of a game then kill whoever is in the lead then immediately move for the win. In a pinch, Bosh can sacrifice himself, and if we have Mycosynth Golem, we can sacrifice him to himself multiple times depending on our boardstate.
This interaction usually won’t win the game on the spot, but it is a way of pushing the last few points of damage through. This deck can win out of nowhere, because when people glance at our board and simply see mana rocks and some other miscellaneous artifacts, it doesn’t appear that problematic, when in reality, we are one turn away from snowballing.
Mycosinth Lattice+ Vandalblast
This is as staple win condition of many other artifact decks. However, it is a combination of cards that gives us a win should both of these resolve. Mycosynth Lattice makes all permanents artifacts and Vandalblast, when overloaded, destroys all artifacts that we don’t control. Our opponents no longer have permanents and our board is untouched, a win is assured.
Mindslaver+ A way to recur it
If we have Mindslaver and a way to bring it back to the field(preferably Goblin Welder as pictured above), or even back to our hand, we can effectively lock out the game for our opponents. This doesn’t technically win the game, but at this point, the game is at a state at which our opponents are completely helpless, and we will eventually find some way to reduce their life totals to 0. Since we are sacrificing artifacts to Bosh, this decks runs more than a few ways to recur artifacts, and having most of these engines online with Mindslaver creates a winning state. At this point if our opponents do not wish to scoop we can simply draw cards until we have some combination of a board wipe+ Blightsteel to finish the game.
Rings of Brighthearth+ Basalt Monolith
This is a known artifact-y combo and is not unique to Bosh. However, Bosh is our most common outlet to end the game. If you are unaware, these two cards in play net us infinite colorless mana. I will not go into great detail on how this combo works for the sake of space. Essentially, we can pay 5 mana to get 6, thereby netting one. Since we are using the Rings to copy Basalt Monolith’s activated ability to untap itself instead of using the monolith’s activated ability thus netting us one colorless mana each time. Once we have infinite mana, as long as we have enough red, we simply sacrifice Bosh to himself and he can dive-bomb our opponents until the game is over. This combo doesn’t depend on Bosh being on the field, but he is our go-to mana sink to craft a win.
This is a win condition in the same way that Genesis Wave is. With enough mana we can reasonably hit some bombs from resolving this spell. Resolving the Directive X=a lot is not quite a win condition by itself however, should it resolve the result is any number of other win conditons being on the battlefield.
This is one of my favorite cards in magic because of the titanic amount of power. I have had games where everything has gone wrong. My graveyard got exiled, most of my threats got blown up, Bosh costs a ridiculously high amount of mana to cast. Then I slammed down this big bad dude and won the game because he was able to connect. Blightsteel is a game ending threat by himself, and with Bosh in play he represents twelve instant speed damage. In addition, he can be fetched with any of our artifact tutors, as well as Sanctum of Ugin as mentioned previously. Thus, it is not difficult for us to fetch the One-Shot Robot when his services are required.
I will never make the argument that Bosh is the best Mono-Red artifact commander. The point I would like to make is that Bosh leads a deck that is unlike most other artifact decks out there, he fosters an interesting deck building constraint, while also allowing room for other plans that are not commander dependent. For instance when we are conducting our normal setup to win with Bosh, that also sets up a win with Mindslaver. In addition, the damage that Bosh can do adds up quickly, in a way that most players do not see coming. Bosh is, for these reasons, compelling to play and to build because he is so unique in the way he plays and in the way he is constructed. Daretti might be more consistent and Slobad might enable more combos, but this big lovable golem should receive more play. I can say from experience that he is a literal blast.
Full decklist here: http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/boshs-big-bash/
I do not own any of these images, these are all owned by Wizards of the Coast and were obtained from http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Default.aspx