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Running the Gauntlet – RUG, Day 5 (Conclusion)

Time for this ruggedly handsome deck to get its final makeover! The gauntlet matchups can be found here:

Day 1 (mirror)
Day 2 (UWB Cawblade)
Day 3 (Valakut)
Day 4 (B/R Vampires)

Today I get to make some changes, play with them, and figure out how good this deck is for the field. This deck definitely had less problems than last week’s (Tezzeret). The changes I’m going to make aren’t nearly as big, though they are improvements, and even the original decklist is ready for action.

After changes, here is the decklist:

 

From the original list, I changed a Precursor Golem to a Garruk in the maindeck, and took out [card]Arc Trail[/card], 2 Acidic Slime, and 2 Spell Pierce from the sideboard, replacing them with a Deprive, 2 [card]Tumble Magnet[/card]s, an Obstinate Baloth, and the fourth Flashfreeze.

The main reason to cut a Golem was curve considerations, since I kept ramping to four on turn three but only have 5+ drops. The sideboard changes were, unsurprisingly, made to shore up the matchups I thought needed help, and mostly were just adding more of cards that impressed me. The only new cards I added were Tumble Magnet and Deprive, both of which seemed like they would help against a wide number of decks.

So, let’s see how the 8-man went:

Channel Conley: MD5 Draft #1


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

I managed to pull off a clean sweep, and even played against three different archetypes.

Round 1 I won a close match against UW Cawblade, mainly thanks to the die roll. Because I got to go first games 1 and 3, I got to resolve a 4-drop when he tapped out for his 2-drop, which put me way too far ahead. The games are interesting, but the player who went first had a very large edge. If RUG and UW just start playing draw-go, that plays right into RUG’s hands, since it has a vastly better late game. When RUG is on the play, UW is faced with the poor options of not tapping out, and hence letting RUG ramp to the late game, or tapping out and letting RUG resolve a Jace. However, on the play, UW can play a 2-drop on turn two without fear, giving it the advantage.

I didn’t think I was winning round two, since Valakut had to brick pretty hard on draw steps. Still, the all mana, no gas draw is definitely a risk of running 28 lands and 24 ramp spells, so I’ll take it. Him having [card lotus cobra]Cobras[/card] was interesting, since it made me board differently than I would against most Valakut decks.

Round three I got to face none other than Brian Kibler, who was running his trademark UB poison brew. His mana problems game two got him pretty good, since I kept tapping out for Jaces and he kept countering them, but never had the fourth land to play his own Jace. I eventually stuck the third Jace, and that was that.

Final Verdict

This deck is awesome. If I were playing the Starcitygames Open in LA tomorrow, I’d definitely be jamming that 75 (though I may change the 1 Burst Lightning to something spicy). The changes I made aren’t huge, but definitely streamline the sideboard for the current metagame. If you are looking for a recommendation, it doesn’t get much stronger than that. I do suggest that anyone interested in RUG make sure to get in plenty of practice games. The deck isn’t easy to play, and the combination of Halimar Depths, Preordain, Explore, Lotus Cobra, Jace, and fetchlands can be tricky, since you really have to plan out your plays multiple turns in advance.

Join me next week as I get (fetchland) cracking with Boros, which is not only the first aggro deck I’ve featured but also doesn’t play even a single Jace!

LSV

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