Iroas, God of Victory

Iroas and Mogis are as different in appearance as they are in personality.” Last time I posted about Mogis, God of Slaughter in commander; this week I will be covering Iroas, God of Victory, his twin brother. In fact I think I’ll do all of the original Theros gods over the course of the next few commander posts. Iroas, God of Victory is a 7/4 for 4 mana. Like all of the Theros gods, he is indestructible and your devotion to be so high to use him as a creature. His unique abilities give menace to creatures you control and he prevents all damage dealt to your attacking creatures. This makes your creatures hard to block and hard to kill. Obviously Iroas, God of Victory is a creature focused commander so you want to focus on creatures, especially those that are combat oriented, and anthem effects. A huge problem for white is card draw. Red has some okay options, mostly rummage and loot effects. I’ll address that when I get to that portion, but for now lets talk about some of the creatures you should consider running with Iroas.

Now if you wanted to, you could make this some kind of tribal deck like humans, soldiers, goblins, or anything in red and/or white. I think I’ll just stick with a hodgepodge of whatever is good. Now these two colors do have a lot of cheap creatures and you can certainly take advantage of that and the fact that red and white are not that good at ramp and run a bunch of viable creatures that have a CMC of 4, maybe 5, or less. Creatures that make tokens are great for a deck that has trouble with generating resources. Legion Warboss creates a 1/1 goblin at the beginning of every combat, not to mention it can boost a weaker creature with its Mentor ability. Leonin Warleader makes two 1/1 cat tokens when it attacks. Creatures with Battalion, the boros mechanic from the second Ravnica block, are great for a deck like this. Battalion requires you to attack with at least 3 creatures. That’s not much of a problem for a creature heavy deck like this should be. Boros Elite and Frontline Medic are two great cards with this mechanic. Even creatures that have nothing but good combat abilities like Swiftblade Vindicator should be considered. First strike, double strike, flying, haste, trample, and vigilance are some mechanics that you should also look for.

Luminous Broodmoth and Anax, Hardened in the Forge can help you keep your board state against removal spells and board wipes. Hellrider punishes your opponents by pinging them for each creature that is attacking them. Combat Celebrant can end the game when exerted at the right time; you could even take out multiple players if you time it right. Grand Abolisher makes sure that your opponents are powerless to stop you during your turn while you beat them down.

With all of these little creatures running around, it may be a while before you can deal lethal damage with them. Anthem effects can help speed up the process. Now there are all kinds of tribal anthems out there and you can use them as long as you have enough creatures of that tribe to justify it, but I’m going to stick with more generic options. Glorious Anthem is probably the most basic one. Dictate of Heliod grants a sizable +2/+2 bonus. Angel of Jubilation gives +1/+1 to non black creatures you control, which is all of them in this deck, plus it shuts down some of things that black does: pay life and sacrifice creatures, not that its going to be relevant in every game you play, it’s just a bonus. Benalish Marshal also gives +1/+1 to your other creatures. While it doesn’t offer a power/toughness boost like other anthems, True Conviction gives double strike and lifelink to all of your creatures. I shouldn’t have to tell you that this will gain you a ton of life while making your creatures more viable in combat.

Now let’s turn up the aggression. Avacyn, Angel of Hope makes everything indestructible. Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite creates a huge gap in power/toughness between you and your opponents by giving your creatures +2/+2 and everything else -2/-2. Waves of Aggression and Relentless Assault let you get more combat phases. Since this deck is creature heavy, Impact Tremors can really do some damage over the course of the game.

Now for the card draw. Mangara, the Diplomat is probably the best card draw engine that white has gotten in a long time. The downside is that it relies on what your opponents do. Your opponents need to attack you with 2 or more creature or cast their second spell for you to draw a card. These are common occurrences in games of commander so you will draw cards off of this most games, but it’s also a very vulnerable card. Unless you can give it hexproof, shroud, indestructible, or something along those lines, I wouldn’t plan on getting too many cards with it, but it certainly is worth a copy in this deck. Mind’s Eye is a 5 mana artifact that lets you draw a card if you pay 1 mana when an opponent draws a card. This seems like one of those cards that your opponents will probably ignore when they really shouldn’t, like Rhystic Studies or Smothering Tithe. Not paying attention to cards like these for a round or two will always push that player far ahead and these are cards that some decks are not equipped to deal with. Of course red has things like Faithless Looting and Tormenting Voice that you can run and I’d recommend them. Remember there are tokens in this deck, so you can take advantage of Skullclamp. Red spells and artifacts are your best options to draw cards.

For a deck like this, cards like Ghostly Prison and Propaganda, things that prevent you from attacking, are your kryptonite. Most of them are enchantments so pack some good enchantment removal. Wear//Tear is pretty basic and has the option to destroy an artifact if that is what you need. Soltari Visionary is an older card from Exodus that can destroy an enchantment when it deals damage to a player. It also has shadow which means it can only be blocked by a small handful of creatures that also have shadow. Collective Effort is a versatile card with multiple options. You can also choose multiple options when you cast it for the additional cost of tapping a creature per additional option. Destroying a creature with power 4 or greater is okay. Destroying an enchantment is also fine, which is why this card is here in the first place. Putting a +1/+1 counter on each creature target player controls, meaning you can target yourself, that’s great for this deck. White also has a few creatures that can destroy an enchantment when they come into play as well as some that can be sacrificed to destroy an enchantment. Personally, I’d rather run those with the enter the battlefield trigger.

Creatures are the other problem. Unless yours have vigilance, and there are ways to give it to your creatures, you do risk a counter attack. Board wipes are counter productive to this strategy so I suggest removal that has more precision to it. While red does have plenty of removal options, it’s damage based so you cant always rely on it to deal enough damage to bigger creatures. Forget the burn spells and go for white’s destroy/exile effects. Also forget the Oblivion Ring style enchantments that exile a creature as long as the enchantment stays in play. They only work as long as your opponents don’t have enchantment removal and since this is commander, I wouldn’t count on them not having any.

That wraps up Iroas, God of Victory. It’s a very straightforward strategy and one that I would recommend to newer players. Just play a bunch of low cost creatures which Iroas, God of Victory gives menace to and prevents all damage dealt to them when they attack. Add a few anthem effects and swing away. Use the card draw to keep up the onslaught and use removal to get rid of things that are detrimental to your game plan. What legendary creatures do you want to see after the Theros gods? Let me know in the comments down below.

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