Don’t Shoot The Courier, by Jason Coles
Among all of the new cards from the wonderful Plane of Kaladesh is one little robot that could, it is a little hasty 1/1 with a very strange card advantage engine under its hood. I am of course talking about the Bomat Courier.
Don’t get me wrong there are lots of exciting cards in this set, from mana-cheating monstrosity Marvels to more mana-cheating Metalworks. But for some reason I find myself enamoured with this teeny tiny messenger robot.
The card at its worst is a 1/1 with haste, always a good turn one play. Every time it attacks you exile the top card of your library face down underneath it, then if you would like, you can pay one Red Mana, discard your hand and sacrifice it, you then get a new hand which is all of the cards it has exiled when it attacks.
The aim of this article is to give a good breakdown of the different things this card can be great for. Before we even get into its ability let’s look at what it can do. As a 1/1 with haste, it is currently one of the most aggressive turn one plays in Standard. It allows you to hit an opponent before they have even played a land if you are on the play.
But it’s just a 1/1 with Haste
There is also a very good reason to play a 1/1 at the moment, a little card called Smuggler’s Copter. The little Courier that could can pilot the Copter with the best of them. Both of these cards come down on turn one and turn two no matter what colour of mana you have available, which makes them both very flexible.
It is also an artifact creature. Which is incredibly relevant at the moment, your Inventor’s Apprentice is a 2/3 when the Bomat Courier is in play for you. It helps you activate cards like Inventors’ Fair and Metallurgic Summonings. You can pump it with Pia Nalaar and it only takes one of any type of Mana to cast. Not to mention that if this card is in your graveyard then you’ve already reduced your Emrakul, The Promised End by 2 mana and you are half way to Delirium, and also the fact that you can exile it to Scrapheap Scrounger to keep recurring your threats.
Go on without me
Now let’s look at how useful sacrificing it can be. You can really use this just as a defensive player. It is an incredibly good defence against a strong Lifelink creature. You assign the creature as a blocker, then before damage, you sacrifice it, your opponent gains no life, and you lose none, plus you may well have a brand new hand to stop your opponent or the creature then and there.
Next you have cards that care about a creature being sacrificed. With the loss of Evolutionary Leap (one of my favourite cards from the Magic Origins set) and Nantuko Husk (the darling of a lot of engines based around it and Zulaport Cutthroat), we find ourselves with notably fewer ways of triggering certain effects on our terms.
In terms of current cards that can sacrifice themselves the main leader is Selfless Spirit, because giving everything indestructibility until end of turn can lead to some huge swings. Sure, Bomat Courier isn’t helping out your creatures, but it is helping you out, and that is still pretty selfless. You can refill your hand and trigger the transformation of Archangel Avacyn into Avacyn, The Purifier. Doing that and getting some cards is a pretty big deal.
This is madness, This is Bomat
Now let’s look at the Standard deck it generally sees play in. The Black Red Aggro deck is a great shell for it for a couple of the reasons I have already mentioned. The advantage this deck has over many others is Madness. Getting to discard cards in this kind of deck is rarely a bad thing and is usually an advantage.
If you have a Fiery Temper, Alms Of The Vein (which I think is a massively underrated card, if you discard it you can pay a single Black Mana for a 6 point life swing) or a Bloodhall Priest you can cast them for cheaper than usual and not lose them to your graveyard. When discarding is an upside you’re getting the most out of the ability.
Perhaps most importantly about the Black Red deck is Key To The City, making sure that the Bomat Courier can’t be blocked is a great way to get a few more cards underneath it, this allows you to draw virtually a whole new starting hard and completely overwhelm your opponent under the sheer weight of card advantage you are generating.
Apparently card advantage is good
Any aggro deck tends to fall apart if you can’t win the game fast enough, which is why some of the best aggro cards give you better staying power in a match. Undoubtedly one of the reasons Depala, Pilot Exemplar is so good is because she allows you to refill your hand with exactly what you are looking for.
Bomat Courier alleviates this issue greatly by allowing you to build up cards and just draw them. If your deck is built well this allows you to spend the next turn casting multiple threats and really make the most of your low mana curve and explosive speed. You can completely refill the board after a nasty Fumigate or Planar Outburst in a way that you can’t normally in this style of deck.
I think the next home that could house the Bomat Courier is a deck that can really make the most of the Artifact Creature’s speed and card advantage. The Green Red Pummeler deck has been around for a couple of weeks, at first glance the deck is pretty harmless but anyone who has been on the receiving end of the Built To Smash/Uncaged Fury combo knows that it can be brutal.
As it stands the deck has no one drop creatures, if you can lower the curve and add some longevity at the same time then there is every chance it will give you the edge in the current aggressive meta. Being able to get a couple of points of damage in early gives you more chances to finish your opponent without requiring everything to fall into place. Refilling your hand when you have so many low cost cards is great as well.
The current version runs 4 Bristling Hydra, the reason being it generates 3 energy upon entering the battlefield, is a reasonably sized body and also gives itself Hexproof which is fantastic given how much spot removal there is at the moment. However I think lowering the curve allows you to go a bit faster, so I would do a straight swap for the two creatures. I have been tinkering with a version of the deck for the little courier that could.
Instants and Sorceries
- 4 Larger Than Life
- 3 Uncaged Fury
- 4 Blossoming Defence
- 4 Attune With The Aether
- 3 Built To Smash
- 3 Harnessed Lightning
As you can see Bomat Courier slots in quite nicely as a one drop. The issue with the card in this shell is that it doesn’t generate energy, however the pros far outweigh the cons here. Being a one drop aggro creature fits in nicely to help smooth out the games where you can’t get the perfect set up. The card draw helps for exactly the same reason, once you’ve cast your entire hand you may find you struggle to stabilise or win against spot removal spells. The card draw from the Bomat Courier means you restart but with lots of mana in play and no doubt some energy as a starting point.
Next is the fact that it is an Artifact Creature. Built To Smash is a fantastically aggressive card. It gives 3/3 for one mana, which is good but we’ve seen it before in Giant Growth plus, unlike Giant Growth, Built To Smash can only be used on attacking creatures. The advantage however is very specific, Built To Smash allows you to grant Trample to said attacking creature, with the caveat that the creature has to be an Artifact. As it stands the only Artifact in the deck is Electrostatic Pummeler.
Giving yourself another target for this spell increases the spells usefulness and also the decks potential for better draws. Allowing you to draw a card that can hit straight away lets you get damage in if your opponent is tapped out. Plus if you’ve got Uncaged Fury and Built To Smash in hand and top deck a Bomat Courier, for the low cost of 5 mana you can hit your opponent for 10 damage out of nowhere.
All aboard the Bomat beatdown
Bomat Courier is an incredibly fragile creature, however given all of this potential, ignoring it would be a waste. It is flexible and given the right shell it is incredibly powerful. It can be an important component of a Madness deck, because of the discard and reloading your hand. It can be great in a Delirium deck, you can craft a hand of cards you want to get rid of to get delirium online and power up your other creatures and spells. Most of all in any aggro deck you are playing red in, the card should be a serious consideration. It gives the decks the kind of staying power they generally struggle with and allows you to play for far longer than most aggressive decks can manage.
It might just be the one mana creature that you are looking for when you are crafting your next deck. Keep it in mind if you like drawing cards and dealing damage as it does both of these things pretty well for such a cheap creature.
In the event you are playing against this card you have a couple of things to consider. Spot removal on a 1/1 creature doesn’t feel great, but neither does the opponent suddenly having more cards in hand, so maybe spending a spell killing it is a good idea. Just make sure your opponent is unable to pay that one Red Mana before targeting it or you may find yourself at a card down and your opponents a few cards up. Sometimes it is correct to shoot the messenger, sometimes it isn’t.
Whether against it or with it, keep in mind that the card is surprisingly flexible and give it due respect.
Are there any other cards you think have been overlooked, or is there another deck that Bomat Courier could go into?
Thanks for reading,