Building Blocks: RUG Control

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So I spent a lot of time in my last article talking about various aggro decks I expected to continue to dominate the metagame for the first week or so of the format. Well, I missed one new deck that cropped up after I posted the article, a revived RG Undying deck that’s basically a midrange list that exists to go bigger than the smaller aggro decks while still being resistant to non-Sever the Bloodline removal. But, as sweet as this deck may sound, I didn’t want to record a daily with another aggro deck. I’m tired of aggro decks being the better decks in the format, and I wanted to give y’all something else. Plus, I don’t particularly like playing aggro when there’s value in flashback spells to be had.

But where to start? I constantly bash Jund for being boring, but it is effective, so I started testing there. Deck performed fine, but the red spells in the deck like Brimstone Volley and Faithless Looting were very slow and didn’t guarantee victory like consistent Curse of Deaths Hold on Turn 5. So I switched to Goliat9′s BUG deck, which was a black-based BUG list that gave up Huntmaster of the Fells for Snapcaster Mage. It was a fine 2-2 or 3-1 deck, but I never felt like it had enough power to close out games before losing to a topdecked Devils Play.

So imagine my joy when a RUG deck 4-0′d with BOTH Snapcaster AND Huntmaster! The list was a little janky, full of Dawntreader Elks and a strange sideboard with a singleton Gnaw to the Bone, so I worked on the deck a bit. Here’s what I played in the Daily:

Innistrad Block Constructed Daily Event Decklist

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Innistrad Block Constructed Daily Event Round 1

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Innistrad Block Constructed Daily Event Round 2

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Innistrad Block Constructed Daily Event Round 3

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Innistrad Block Constructed Daily Event Round 4

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Nooooo! Apparently my microphone did something funny (probably due to me fiddling with it due to unfamiliarity), and cut off the sound for the last two. Sorry about that. I had a pretty good record (4-0), but the deck still needs some kinks worked out. I’ve had more testing since then to tell me a little more about how to play the deck.

Here’s the version I’m playing now:

I’m going to talk about each card in the sideboard briefly because sideboarding is very hard, as you can tell by my haphazard sideboarding in every video I’ve ever done.

Dungeon Geists – The worst matchups for this deck are Self-Mill since we don’t have Severs, and GR… mostly for the same reason. It’s very hard to deal with Vorapede and Splinterfright with Brimstone Volley and Devils Play alone. And while I’ve considered Silent Departure as a temporary solution, your deck doesn’t win fast enough to utilize the tempo from Silent Departure before they replay their guy and you’re in the same spot. Dungeon Geists comes into play and locks down a guy while also attacking for three. It’s generally game against Splinterfright, since they have no removal or flying blockers (Spider Spawning is very easily Dissipated). Against GR, it’s not as good since they may have Brimstone Volley or Devil’s Plays, but they don’t always, and you still need some way to deal with their Predator Oozes and Vorapedes.

Daybreak Ranger – This card is for Boros. I know I didn’t board it in above because of their vulnerability to Brimstone Volley, but then I started dying to Brimstone Volley to the face a lot more. Daybreak forces them to have the Volley to answer it, or you start mowing down their team. He’s also good against Zombies and passable against Green-Red. I don’t usually like bringing it in against Jund because they have so much removal that they can’t board a lot of it out, and it acts as a lightning rod when you don’t also have a Huntmaster. And even then, the average case is that you skip your turn to get a 4/4 with nothing really to kill.

Naturalize – Stalker is not an amazing matchup, so we have a bunch of Naturalizes in the board in case people are still playing that. Also, it’s necessary to have a couple in case we encounter Witchbane Orbs (only in control mirrors; drawing Naturalize against a Boros player – even if they have Orb – is just miserable). Two Curse of Deaths Hold is also all but game over, so we have to bring in at least a Naturalize in addition to Witchbane Orbs.

Witchbane Orb – The tech against the mirror, in that it stops them from Devil’s Playing you (that is, outPlaying you), and it also protects your planeswalkers from burn spells if you cast the Orb before the Garruk. Orb also has the auxiliary function of protecting you from Curse of Deaths Hold. I haven’t played the flipside of the Jund vs RUG matchup, so I don’t know if Curse even stays in, but it’s all but impossible to beat a couple Curses enchanting you.

Dissipate – This card comes in against control, Stalker (since you have so many spells that don’t interact with them), and GR Undying (because their spells all cost a lot of mana, it’s not as punishing as Dissipate versus Boros.)

Memorys Journey – Usually just for the Splinterfright matchup, though I sometimes bring it in against the mirror to counter Snapcaster. This isn’t hugely reliable because you can’t target them after they put a Witchbane Orb down.

Blasphemous Act, Tree of Redemption – The second Act comes in against Boros and basically nothing else. The Tree comes in against every aggro deck.

So that’s RUG in a nutshell.

And on that note, happy brewing!

gardevior[at]gmail[dot]com
Gard on MTGO
@leemcleo on Twitter

-Lee McLeod

 
  1. In match 2 game 1 huntmaster is also an out because it gains him 2 life. Granted, he goes to 1 life and you just cast act, so he still probably loses.

  2. Why the Thoughscours? I don’t get it. Hitting random flashback spells? Is this the only form of virtual card draw you want?

  3. @Brandon: Yes! Probably the best card in block; moreso than Hellrider. :)

    @MonKei: The synergy with Snapcaster, flashing back cards you hit with your Thought Scours. And also just naturally hitting flashback spells. Also importantly, it’s a one mana spell, which makes it easy to play it and something else to flip Huntmaster.

  4. Thanks for the videos. I really enjoyed watching them.
    The new mic makes a world of difference. :)

  5. @dasMetzger: There’s no audio. He mentioned that in the article: “Apparently my microphone did something funny (probably due to me fiddling with it due to unfamiliarity), and cut off the sound for the last two.”

  6. i’m wondering how much ancient grudge was considered over naturalize. i dont play a huge amount of block… so i’m not overly familiar with sideboarding strategies… but what enchantments are we really afraid of here?

    -curse of death’s hold (does the jund player still play this against a control matchup? especially one so obscure as RUG control?
    -spectral flight – is this in fact the only enchant we’re worried about in the UR stalker matchup?

    now the artifacts:
    -grafdigger’s cage – obv we cant kill the cage with any grudges already in the gy… but still
    -witchbane orb
    -cleaver/dagger

    i can see the argument for both. and in the end, naturalize may be safer as it kills a wider range of spells… but with the amount of GY interaction, random milling and discard that this deck already instills, i’d think grudge may be considered

  7. also…you mention the bad matchup with splinterfright…

    would undead alchemist be a considerable option? or is 4 mana too slow?

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