Running the Gauntlet – Boros, Day 3 (RUG)

Last week, I took RUG through the gauntlet, and in these videos I got to see it from the other side. I figured that picking up someone who won a Pro Tour with RUG was a good call, so I shipped PV a deck, a decklist, and a challenge to battle.

First, Boros vs Vampires and Boros vs Valakut, as well as the decklist:


I expected RUG to be a pretty tough matchup. It has access to Bolts, Pyroclasms, Titans, and plenty of acceleration. The plan of going big postboard wasn’t as reliable as in the Cawblade matchup, and RUG always had trumps available.

Channel LSV: Standard Gauntlet – Boros vs. RUG

To see the rest of this deck’s matchups, as well as the current Running the Gauntlet series, click here!

Preboard Games

I got some pretty nice draws in the preboard games, and managed to go 2-1. When RUG draws Cobra and not Explore, Boros can definitely just Bolt it and steamrollsteamclean (the) RUG before it gets to Titan mana, and that is about what happened. This is just a pure race, since Boros can’t compete with Inferno Titan and RUG just has to survive until then.






I actually like this sideboard plan quite a bit. Kor Firewalker is the perfect vehicle for equipment, and unlike in the Valakut matchup, it actually has time to really shine. Mark of Mutiny is also awesome, since grabbing a Titan is insane, and the additional Koth and Titan are just for value. Arc Trails are pretty clearly bad, and as usual I like cutting Goblin Guides, knowing that they are bringing in a fair amount of red removal. Similarly, Hero comes out due to his vulnerability to red spells.

Postboard Games

I went 3-2 postboard, with one of the games (match 2 game 2) being truly epic. In match 1, peeling the second Mark was pretty sick, and definitely influenced how PV boarded in later matches, since he figured I had 3-4 Marks in my deck and cut back on Inferno Titan.

The games felt close, but I think RUG was a little favored. It wasn’t by a huge margin, but the combination of Obstinate Baloth and Pyroclasm made it tough to really deliver the beatdowns. To be fair, if PV was boarding out some number of Inferno Titan there was less actual need to kill him rapidly, but Jace and Avenger were still huge threats. Sword of Body and Mind continued to be absurd, and especially on Kor Firewalker. Protection from RUG? I’ll take it.

Cards I wanted

Kor Firewalker and Sword keep being awesome, which makes me think I want the 4th Firewalker for sure and possibly a second UG Sword.
Koth of the Hammer. Another card that has overperformed, I could definitely see maxing out on Koth as well.

Possible cuts

Hero of Oxid Ridge. I always take him out, and he isn’t really even that insane maindeck. I don’t necessarily want to axe all of them, but going down to 1 copy maindeck might be good.

Thoughts on the matchup

While this felt close, and even possibly unfavorable, I don’t really mind. Not only is RUG not a huge part of the field right now, it was close enough that I would be fine with taking my chances. Kor Firewalker was an all-star, as usual, and going up to four should make things go well, not that they went too poorly in these games anyway.

Join me tomorrow as I tackle public enemy number one, Cawblade with black!


52 thoughts on “Running the Gauntlet – Boros, Day 3 (RUG)”

  1. R1G2 you should’ve considered mark of mutiny on spikeshot because that kills him the following turn if you both blank. Probably not the best but worth a mention.

    Sadly the player has crashed 3 times within 10 seconds each time so I don’t know what happens.

  2. what did pv board out exactly? is boarding out lotus cobra ok? is boarding out jace an option as he clearly didn’t do that much in the shown matches and you get another 4drop in obstinate baloth anyway?


  3. maybe I’m a bit tired, in game three match two if you attacked with all three of your dudes and shot him twice before combat damage with spike shot elder didn’t you win right there unless he had a bolt or burst? him having 4 life and one blocker?

  4. g2m2 (the double mark match): from the information you have, might it not be correct to mark of mutiny your own spikeshot elder to make it a 2/2? this shortens your clock by a turn, and makes it so you can kill one guy a turn if you need to.

  5. Player only crashed once for me and other than that performed great!

    Fun games too 🙂

  6. I really don’t see the Kor Firewalker being that great here. Yes it’s true he can’t burn it out. But you’re the beatdown here and it’s just a bear. Worse, the requirement of double white hurt your mana development several times.

  7. kedi_Nighthavk


    You worry so much about dev a board and doing the “right game” when you could’ve swung for 6 before his 3rd turn. Either case, third turn, you should’ve lead with Lynx and lay a fetchland -that makes you immune to clasm just as good and deals a hell lot more damage.

    Games in and out you don’t take advantage of your deck’s agression. You should really work into it.

  8. @Amarsir: The Firewalker is a very, very good card in this matchup. Don’t forget that it carries any equipment very well (obviously SoBaM is just sick), since there isn’t many ways for RUG outside Tumble Magnet to interact with it (you can Jace it, but if RUG boards out countermagic, you just play it again). It doesn’t kill Inferno Titan, but it lives through an attack, so it represents an out. It isn’t an explosive card, since it’s role is almost purely resilience. The lifegain of it is sometimes relevant too.

  9. The sideboard plan of Mark of Mutinies is really just an appalling repetition at this point.

  10. @LSV
    You board in Firewalker against Vampires, Valakut, and RUG. Why not to play some in the main? Just these three decks account for about 35-40% of the metagame. Also, I expect you to board him in against mirror as well.
    I understand that he is not very good against Caw Blade, but Caw Blade is still a little less played than Valakut about 20% of the meta, and even with Firewalker I would expect the preboard match-up against caw blade to be about 50%. A little worse after board.
    Just a little thought.;-)

  11. I was surprised by the results. Piloting RUG I am 7-0 in matches vs Boros in daily events. You do play very well though and I think the average Boros player is below average due to it being a cheaper deck. It did seem PV had some very slow draws however. I would love to hear his thoughts on the matchup.

  12. I didnt read any comments so I dont know if this was mentioned.. if you want to skip the ad at the beginning just jump ahead 5-10 seconds in the video at the beginning!

  13. While not doubting your skill, it just seems wrong to take Goblin Guide out and leave Elder in. Goblin Guide just wins games especially in multiples. As we saw in the games you lost, you were only a few damage off, that is the Goblin Guide damage you missed.

  14. I’ve heard this comment multiple times and I agree. Since its all team cfb you play, you should record both sides with commentary. We(your loyal fans) will win because that would be awesome; you win because it might as well be effort free content.

  15. You need a mortarpod in that deck. NEED it. There are so many games where you have 3-4 creatures to his one fresh cast avenger and you have no way to get the last few points in, it’s not even funny.

  16. As cool as this series is, please make some more draft videos too! Without pointing fingers or naming names, ill just say, the draft videos of recent have been sub par. Not the greatest logic or card evaluations. No where near as many good puns either!

  17. You sarcastically say “How skillfull to draw that second mark of mutiny” as if that win was pure luck, but if you look at PV’s draws, he was insanely lucky as well, with 3 pyroclasm, 2 baloths and the singleton Avenger of Zendikar, and each of these cards being basically his best out at each of these times. Even though you were in fact lucky to draw a card than wins you the game, you actually had several outs (Teetering Peek, bolt, mark) and had to take a series of correct decisions to get there, including a bunch of great (non-obvious) plays at the beginning of the game. Pretty sure that win was deserved there.

  18. Match 3, Game 2: “Well, I knew I was drawing Terramorphic, so I didn’t need to get a Mountain there.” Classic.

    Also, ditto on the Mortarpod inclusion.

  19. Game 2. I would leave jace. Crack fetchland attack for 8. Bolt him he goes down to 1. Spikeshot goblin still in hand.

  20. I don’t understand how this player crashes apparently for everyone except me. After installing adblock plus firefox add-on, my only complaint has been the wavering in-and-out resolution changes, but hopefully they’re still tweaking that.

  21. Why am i not amazed by the fact that LSV tries to take the control role against every single deck he faces, even though he is playtesting boros? Seriously.

  22. I’ve noticed that most Boros decks use Arc Trails over Journey these days. I’m sure it’s because of the hawks and such, but I’m still afraid of Baneslayers and Engines still. Am I better of switching over to Arc Trails? Are Tumble Magnets with considering?

  23. for the love of god, this is so frustrating. Videos are unwatchable here and icomplete on youtube…

  24. For whatever it’s worth, my thoughts:

    Game 1 does not seem very favorable from my point of view. There are four cards that really matter in the RUG deck, the four inferno titans, so I need to have both titans and ways to survive before I can cast him. In M1G1, for example, his draw was slow and I had a mana leak, so I survived to 6 mana, but I had Precursor Golem instead so I just died. In another game, I mulliganed into a hand with cobra and 2 Inferno Titans, but then he killed the cobra and I promptly died. I think it’s very possible though that you just go Bolt/Leak/Explore/Titan and then they can’t do anything about it.

    After board, I feel like things got a lot better, and I feel like RUG should be favored there regardless of the result we had. I had never played this particular match on either side, so I don’t know if what I did with sb was right, but I took out the golems, the cobras (I knew he’d take out arc trail, but I don’t really want to play Cobra and Clasm) and some (3 or 2 depending on whether I was on the p or d) inferno titans for more burn, baloths and tumble magnets. It’s deffinitely possible I should just keep more titans in my deck and “ignore” mark, though.

    @Amarsir: Firewalkers were really good, they stopped my titans, swung past them, carried equipment and, more importantly, they let him add another threat to the board without overcommitting into pyroclasm.

    @Effovex: I agree he played very well, but I disagree that I got insanely lucky – I don’t remember the game exactly, but I think I had most of those cards in my hand way before I got to play them, I did not topdeck all I needed every turn ;P

  25. g2m1 on the last plays you could have bolted him to 7 gained life to 20 eaten 19 and maked and sworded the avenger for game. you forgot the calculate the extra life you gain off firewalker.

  26. @PV First, if you had the bolt in hand then you probably played it incorrectly, because if you shot the elder after he bolted your face he could not kill any of your plants afterwards and you would win.

    Second, I think mtgplayer is probably correct, LSV should have bolted your face, and tried to kill you next turn.
    LSV has 1 draw and 4 outs in his deck (1 mark, 3 bolts, with lets say 40 cards left thats 10% chance to win). The only way he could lose is the bolt which if played correctly from you should not have been in your hand at first place. Either way at that point I d say there is less than 10% chance you have the bolt in hand. Even though you kind of telegraphed it turn before. I think the correct play is to take the chance and promptly lose. 🙂

  27. Could anyone give me a rough estimate of how much this deck would cost to build from scratch on Magic Online? Would be much appreciated.

  28. You can actually see that I did not have the bolt in hand the turn he shot me, because I am an idiot and tapped all my mountains, leaving UUU untapped. My hand at that point was Baloth, Explore. Then the following turn I drew the Bolt, but then he had already started killing plants, and he never shot a plant again because the elder died the following turn, so I could actually never stop him from killing a token.

    What I could have done was to first bolt the Elder, which would probably lead him to shoot me, and then play baloth, but I’m not sure that is any good – at that point I did not have any lands. I happened to draw into land + fetchland in the same turn with Explore (that part was very lucky ^^), and then he happened to have drawn into Mystic for Sword, which forced action from me. When I played Baloth, I was not worried about killing him, I was worried about not dying, so I didn’t care if he killed plants – sword changed that. I don’t know, I think the way I played the end of that game specifically was fine, though I can definitely see arguments for attacking with Avenger the previous turn.

  29. ok seriously guys stop with the player complaints if it is that much of a problem go download firefox and get the adplus add-on then you have no probs with player no ads or crashes it is really annoying seeing these complaints everyday fix your comps and stop blaming other people

  30. @ross: i thought about that too, but PV wlould have been able to animate Ravine to block as well, leaving him 1 point short.

  31. @Carsofel There’s nothing we can do about the player crashing our flash plug-in on ALL of our tabs. Moron.

  32. @Will R: Online it’s a little under $200 for the main deck and a bit over $120 more for the sideboard. (Koth 19, Gideon 45, fetches 7.50, guides 6.50, hero & stoneforge 9, inferno 15)

    @PV, @Mcmokka, and anyone else responding to my Firewalker comment: I appreciate the pov. It is good to keep developing without over extending to Pyroclasm too, I admit. But “carries a sword” isn’t so compelling because all creatures do that including the Goblin Guides that get taken out! And look at the second-to-last game. Evolving Wilds gets a plains, then Arid Mesa gets another plains. The need for double white thus strands 2x bolt + guide + mark in hand. I’m just saying Boros is the beatdown deck so I wouldn’t underestimate that tempo cost. Good to block an Inferno Titan. Better to have red so you can steal it and win.

    (That said, Firewalker clearly deserves its sb slots for other matchups so at my craziest I’d attempt to bring in 2 and leave an extra Guide.)

    Anyway, again I appreciate the responses.

  33. Weeks later…

    So I was just turned on to these series, and I wanted to ask. In game two of match one. PV attacks with the team after pumping plant tokens.

    When he pumps his plants why not bolt in response? This make his attack much less strong since an alpha means you just block with the Raging Ravine with Firewalker for free, and take the rest. making Mark of Mutiny a automatic win? This may cause him not to attack, but I can see a profitable attack for him that is not an alpha strike.

    It seemed to me that was the play to best hold out the game.

  34. Pingback: Testes – Boros « COMICS GAMES

  35. He was at 19 AFTER casting Lightning Bolt, not before. There was no way he could go to 20 to survive the attack without using the Lightning Bolt defensively.

  36. Pingback: Running the Gauntlet – Boros, Day 4 (Cawblade) : Magic: The Gathering – Strategy, Singles, Cards, Decks

  37. Pingback: Running the Gauntlet – Boros, Day 5 (Conclusion) : Magic: The Gathering – Strategy, Singles, Cards, Decks

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