When Boar Meets Goryo's Vengeance - Boaryo's Vengeance in Modern

Parker Ackerman
July 03, 2019

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and Griselbrand have been fan-favorite reanimation targets since they’ve been printed. Emrakul ruins any chance your opponent has of winning when it attacks, and Griselbrand can draw you a bunch of cards to set up the kill.


But there’s a new kid on the block, and he’s ready to bring the whole party with him. If you haven’t seen him yet, I’m sure you will soon. It’s time to meet Ilharg.

Like most red decks these days, we run three Generator Servants. Okay, maybe that’s not quite the standard, but the card is still great in this deck, allowing us to power out Ilharg as early as turn 2. With haste. Simian Spirit Guide also helps in this endeavor, giving us more mana to use to get out our threats. Ilharg can bring down either Griselbrand or Emrakul with him when he swings, making him a great piece in this deck to help us get out our real killers. Griselbrand hits hard and draws us cards, and Emrakul alongside Ilharg can end the game in a single swing if the opponent isn’t ready.


Faithless Looting and Cathartic Reunion help us find our kill, and help to turn on the Goryo kill. Thoughtseize allows us to protect our combo while also having the “secret mode” of discarding our own creatures, and Collective Brutality is an incredibly versatile spell that also gives us a discard outlet. Goryo’s Vengeance lets us win early with our reanimation targets, and Through the Breach gives an alternative way to power them out early. Pentad Prism, although it doesn’t see much play, is actually a pretty good way to ramp us up to our endgame. The manabase isn’t too special, with fetches, shocks, and fastlands. The main thing interesting here is that we have 2 Gemstone Caverns, which helps us win faster when we’re not on the play.

In the sideboard, we have four Chalice of the Void to deal with the fast decks running around, Alpine Moon and Blood Moon to help with big mana. Alpine Moon can hit Bojuka Bog or Slayers' Stronghold in a pinch against Amulet of Vigor decks. Extra copies of Thoughtseize are useful against graveyard hate, and Abrade can eliminate small creatures or artifacts. Anger of the Gods is a nice board wipe in a format full of graveyard decks, and Bontu’s Last Reckoning gives us another three mana board wipe that can take care of more than just the small creatures and Lightning Axe to take care of large creatures.


  • Your discard spells can be turned on yourself to help yourself with the Goryo kill, so don’t be afraid to lose two life so you can get the kill.
  • Remember that Emrakul needs to be instantly reanimated when you discard her. You can respond to the shuffle trigger with Goryo, but it’s easier to forget that bit than you might think in the moment.
  • Turn one Spirit Guide into Servant, followed by turn two Spirit Guide, sacrifice Servant makes enough mana for a hasty Ilharg, meaning you can drop Emrakul and win that turn. Sure, it’s a bit of a “magical Christmas land” scenario, but it’s a great story if you ever pull it off.

Extra Spice:

Blightsteel Colossus can tear through the opponent in a single swing, and is always a fun way to kill someone.

Craterhoof Behemoth (AKA Hoofdad) comes down and hits with Ilharg for a total of 15, making him nothing more than a big beater, but a fun one at that.

Sundering Titan has a great ETB effect, and can cut down on your opponent’s interaction before you kill them.

Overall, the deck is pretty similar to the Groyo’s decks of old, but has some really fun new lines opened up by Ilharg, including repeated abuse of ETB abilities thanks to the fact that our favorite boar returns the creature to hand. The deck is interruptible, but overall has a very fun gameplan, and can win very quickly if the opponent isn’t adequately prepared for 13 or 21 power coming at them on turn three.

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