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