This entry is part 4 of 13 in the series Notions of Horde

Billy headshot

By Billy

 

Today we’re going to be looking at a fairly straight-forward horde that is very easy to build on a budget, and ought to provide a decent amount of challenge and entertainment for a beginning horde builder. Today we look at Soldiers.

 

Here’s the decklist.

 

One of the most synergistic tribes, likely just behind Elves and Zombies, Soldiers have had a long and storied history on the kitchen table battlefields of Magic. I’ve built multiple soldier decks in 60-card casual land and, while I don’t have one currently built, I like the idea of building a horde so I can see all those big splashy effects without having to pay the mana costs for them. This one is going to be pretty straightforward–and likely a bit on the easier side of difficulty charts–but there’s nothing wrong with that.

 

Officer on Deck!

Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran, Aven Brigadier, Archetype of Courage, Captain of the Watch, Daru Warchief, Field Marshal, Paragon of New Dawns, Renegade Warlord, Rhox PikemasterVeteran Armorer, Veteran Armorsmith, Veteran Swordsmith.

 

No army would last long without strategy, planning, and some inspirational figures in the officer corps. For our purposes, these are represented by creatures with static abilities that benefit the rank and file troops. For the most part these guys are going to be interchangeable, but there are a few worthy of special discussion.

 

 

Field Marshal, Rhox Pikemaster, and Archetype of Courage all give first strike, and give this horde the closest it has to true disruption. I don’t know if you’ve ever been surprised by a hasty Archetype, but it’s hard to block well. Captain of the Watch is good for troop morale and recruiting! If you’re not feeling bound to singleton, as I am, or if budgetary considerations put some of these cards outside of your reach, I strongly suggest more of these. The Captain makes a nice budget replacement for any of the recruiter cards I’ll discuss later, especially since that seems to be where the bulk of the dollar value of this build is. Aven Brigadier is the older templating, so it’ll pump the players’ soldiers and birds, too.  He’s a little lonely as the only bird in this army, but the Air Force can get their own horde later.

 

Recruiting

Assemble the Legion, Nomads’ Assembly, Deploy to the Front, Brimaz, King of Oreskos, Darien, King of Kjeldor, Precinct Captain.

 

Most armies march on their stomachs, but this one marches on cardboard! Lacking any thematic card draw, and generally being on the smaller side, the soldiers are going to need additional token production to fill out their numbers and really become a threat. Nomads’ Assembly and Deploy to the Front provide huge quantities of fresh troops all at once, while Precinct Captain and Brimaz provide a slow but steady flow of new recruits thanks to Brimaz’s incredible recruitment poster.

 

 

Look at that guy. The army should put him on posters instead of Uncle Sam. “Brimaz wants you!” I’d join his army. He’s like Captain America! (Or maybe “Cat-tain America”!)

 

Tangent aside, Assemble the Legion is a win condition in its own right, overwhelming players who lack the correct removal to deal with it.This thing was briefly a Control finisher in Modern. Don’t underestimate it. Darien, King of Kjeldor gives the horde new recruits for every point of damage the horde takes, forcing players to decide how much they really want to get that damage through. I’m a little worried about this leading to stalls where players are too afraid to attack when they should, but Darien is only a 3/3 base so I’m not thinking he’ll be too hard for players to deal with.

 

Special Forces

Consul’s Lieutenant, Crusader of Odric, Gloryscale Viashino, Lavinia of the Tenth, Loxodon Gatekeeper, Legion Loyalist, Goldnight Commander, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Ampryn Tactician, Leonin Armorguard, Tajic, Blade of the Legion

 

Here we have our role-players and what passes for disruption in this horde. Remember up at the top when I said that there’s not much disruption in this horde? Loxodon Gatekeeper does what he can, but he can only keep things tapped down for one turn. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben helps keep players off of their pesky spells, but she’s a one-toughness creature, and first strike is probably not enough protection for her to get a lot of time on the board without help. Lavinia of the Tenth is as close as we get to a one-sided board wipe here, but she’ll frequently detain the bigger creatures your players used to stabilize. She’s also got the best protection in the game, so that’s good, too. Legion Loyalist gives out keywords like candy and makes the tokens player awfully nervous. Anything that makes things a bit harder to block is good.

 

 

Goldnight Commander, Ampryn Tactician, and Leonin Armorguard are all temporary boosts. Goldnight Commander is absolutely brutal, acting as a boss monster that pumps the whole horde, while Leonin Armorguard and Ampryn Tactician offer only a one-time boost of +1/+1. Speaking of Armorguard and Tactician, check those cards out. That Ampryn guy is a real jerk, while that cat is the picture of knightly chivalry. Thus more proof that cats are better than people.

 

 

Crusader of Odric allows the horde to go tall and wide at the same time, and serves the boss monster role here. Though it seems very on flavor for an army to focus on teamwork and being greater than the sum of their parts. Gloryscale Viashino is weird, and probably bad, but it’s got a one-in-four chance of triggering, and you can use some of the Red/White soldier tokens from Gatecrash if you’re into that. I like the art. It has bright colors and I have been trying to find a place for it since Alara Reborn. Tajic, Blade of the Legion is a durable threat who can sometimes play the Boss Monster role. The usual caveats and qualifiers apply for using indestructible things in Hordes. Know your playgroup before dropping it on them.

 

Soldiers are a time-honored tribe. I’m happy to bring them into Horde mode, and I wish you all luck against the oncoming regiments. As Always, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments,and if anyone has any suggestions for themes they would like to see Horded in the future, go ahead and post them, and I’ll add them to the queue.

 

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