Lovisa.

Today is my birthday, so I'm writing this for me....

OK... truth be told I am writing this as my "birthday post". I write about three weeks (or so) in advance, so its not quite my name day, but close enough.

Lovisa Coldeyes is my simple, aggro commander for EDH when I just want to "play and not think too hard". Her strategy is simple. Make big creatures. Swing as much as possible. Repeat. It is the oldest of my EDH decks and doesn't require a lot of upkeep, so when I started the site it was one of the first decks I wrote about. That article was focused as an "Intro to Commander" treatise and not a detailed deck analysis. I always felt bad about that. Lovisa is a tough chick and I didn't give her the proper respect. Let's rectify that today... and take a look.

Cold eyes, cold heart.

Cold eyes, cold heart.

Warriors.

Barbarians, Warriors and Berserkers.... Oh My! Lovisa gives them all +2/+2 and makes them Haste-y. She is a pretty darn good "lord" with her only shortcoming being her toughness is still in Lightning Bolt range. Nobody's Perfect. With such a broad ability, there are a lot of fantastic choices to build Lovisa's perfect army. So many in fact, that she is very budget-friendly; as any of the more expensive selections can be substituted easily for another card. In a mono-red EDH/Commander world where players struggle to find a general that doesn't revolve around Goblin tribal, Lovisa is a welcome alternative.

You can mix and match any of her three creature types in your deck, but of the three, Magic supports Warriors the most, so that is where I chose to focus. When you are making your selections, make sure to use a Gatherer search like this one to see all the options, since a lot of the older cards (like Jeska, Warrior Adept) have had these creature types retroactively added to them through Oracle text over the years. For the backbone of your army, build around creatures that trigger Lovisa's ability while buffing the rest of your field. Archetype of Aggression, Paragon of Fierce Defiance and Brighthearth Banneret are all great choices here and three of my favorite includes. Fill the rest of your creature slots with strong "position players". Jeska, Warrior Adapt and Zurgo Bellstriker are two of my recommended selections that fill this role. Zurgo is just pure aggro for a single, red mana and don't under estimate Jeska's "ping" ability, as it can be really useful against a token based opponent. My favorite of all the available Warrior choices is the Boldwyr Intimidator - just for his "fun factor". Any card that makes other creatures "cowards" is OK by me - and "Cowards can't block Warriors" may be the best rule text in all of Magic. As a bonus, this giant is also functional, giving "out-of-tribe" creatures the "Warrior" type. If you don't like the wacky Future Sight borders (I love them FWIW), he was "first printed" in Morningtide and then reprinted in Conspiracy

Better than the Beatdown Box Set.

Better than the Beatdown Box Set.

Bringing the pain.

After your army has been selected, it is time to go to war. Here we look at the weapons and the training to prepare your army for combat. Weapons are essential to victory, and we should make room for several pieces of equipment to arm your team. Obsidian Battle-Axe is a great choice and my first pick. Sure... at first glance it is a relatively "underwhelming" piece of equipment, but in this deck it provides a pretty important second source of Haste, which is essential if you can't keep Lovisa on the battlefield. Equipping for free is also commonly overlooked, but this ability is "no joke" when you are fielding 20 warriors. Blade of Selves is another "must include" if you can get your hands on a copy. Only printed once in one of the crappier Commander 2015 decks, this sword makes sure your "all aggro" strategy can keep pace with all your opponents in a multiplayer setting. My build is fairly equipment heavy, but most of the choices are pretty interchangeable with all the "Sword of X and X" being solid includes.

Looking at our strategy in a more "global" way, we should include some cards that provide effects across our entire army. Think of Shared Animosity, Aggravated Assault, Berserkers' Onslaught and Gratuitous Violence as advanced "combat training" for your troops. All three cards ratchet up the damage you deal to your opponents, whether it is from a buff, continuous effect or even a second combat phase.

The cards that make an aggro player's heart swell with pride.

The cards that make an aggro player's heart swell with pride.

Supporting the troops.

Every EDH deck needs support cards to shore up the limitations of their slice of the color pie. As a mono-red player our two biggest limitations are ramp and card draw. Wizards feels our pain and has been working to give red solutions within its color identity. New in Kaladesh, Chandra, Torch of Defiance is the "poster child" for their efforts. Find a way to get a copy of her for your build - there really isn't a substitute. Other great includes are Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx and Ruby Medallion for "ramp" and Reforge the Soul and Wheel of Fortune on the "card draw" side of the equation. These are pretty pricey cards, but the good news is if these are out of your budget, the new Chandra seems to indicate that affordable help is on the way. We should probably take a moment to mention the ever present Darksteel Plate. In EDH, there are few better cards to protect your commander.  

Card draw and ramp... the bane of mono-red.

Card draw and ramp... the bane of mono-red.

Well I'm glad I got all that out of my system. I feel a lot better now that I have given Lovisa the proper attention! As always, you can see my entire deck list on Tapped Out. I'd love to stay and chat with you longer, but the early-bird senior buffet is calling me and I need to get to bed before ten. Until next week.... Enjoy the deck!