RUG FunStuff cashes FNM

Been a while since I wrote a report. I only managed to play in a total of a half-dozen events in BNG standard after Game Day, and I wrote a report for the first of those, which was the finals of Game Day with Jund Monsters. I missed Game Day for Journey into Nyx, but this is the second Standard FNM since JOU. However, the first one I was caught off-guard because my LGS switched from draft to Standard last minute, and I ended up playing a Junk midrange deck with like 4 Journey cards that I jammed in at the last minute.

But you don’t want to hear about all that. What you really want is this list and the report, because it’s amusing. Here’s the list:

Is it RUG Monsters? Is it RUG Walkers? I couldn’t decide so I made up a name goofy enough to suit the deck. The key to the fun of the deck is that one slot is, instead of a 4-of, is 4 1-ofs, and each one something slightly weird, but powerful: Keranos, Prophet of Kruphix, Prime Speaker, and Progenitor Mimic—cards a little off the beaten path. I was fully expecting to have people read my cards.

The only cards I really struggled with were the sideboard slots, where I cut three Mistcutters for the 3 Disciples, because I expected mostly control and other aggro, but not mono blue. Turns out this was the wrong call, as there were many people piloting mono blue, but it turned out more or less OK anyway.

Round 1: Naomi, playing BW Midrange
This wasn’t quite the typical BW Midrange, but had some of the same core cards, like Desecration Demon and main deck Doom Blade and Banishing Light. She was also running Hopeful Eidolon, which seems a little substandard, but is actually slightly scary when bestowed on a Desecration Demon, which happened in game 1. The good news is that I had a Xenagos at that point, so I never did get hit by a Demon, but it was like an 11/11 by the end of the game. A Courser and an Ooze kept me OK on life, and while a Stormbreath and that Ooze both died to Ultimate Price, the Courser was still around, and I stuck Keranos, which Naomi stopped and read. The Courser-Domri interaction is one people like to talk about, but Courser-Keranos is no slouch, either, and was the first “achievement unlocked” moment of the night for me. I even got enough devotion to get Keranos live, and that ended it. Game 2 I got an early Domri and we spent most of the rest of the game trading resources. She drew a few creatures, I drew a few removal spells and a lot of land, but could not draw creatures other than Mystics, even with Domri. However, she only had a single creature of her own, and I got Kiora on-line to protect Domri, which I got to ultimate—with two Mystics as my only creatures. I had a Prime Speaker in hand, and I just cast it for a whole 1 counter and 2 cards—weakest Prime Speaker ever. However, with the Domri emblem, even that was enough.
1-0 matches, 2-0 games

Round 2: Nestor, playing mono-White aggro
Interesting matchup, since the only sweeper-like card I have access to is pretty bad against Brave the Elements. In fact, in game 1, my attempted 3-for-1 overloaded Mortars met with exactly a Brave. He did get me down to 9, but Courser and Ooze again kept my life afloat. I did lose a Stormbreath to a main deck Celestial Flare, but I managed a second Stormbreath and then a more respectable Prime Speaker (which he stopped to read), and that locked it up. Game 2 I ramped early into… nothing. However, I did have the mana to overload Mortars after he had tapped out to play a Blind Obedience and then attack with a pair of Boros Elite backed by a Launch the Fleet. My followup to that was Prophet of Kruphix, however, and that not only nullified the tapped part of Blind Obedience, but allowed me to flash in a pair of Ætherlings on consecutive turns (achievement unlocked!). Now, he had been extorting all his small spells and I was down to 5, but a pair of shapeshifters will end the game pretty quickly.
2-0 matches, 4-0 games

Round 3: Tim, playing mono-Black aggro
So, this matchup is mostly about trying to stay alive long enough to be able to overload Mortars, which is a one-way Wrath here. In Game 1 I managed to do exactly that behind a Carytid and an Ooze, then later a Courser after the Ooze had eaten a Doom Blade. Ral Zarek also kept his guys mostly off the table. I don’t even remember which big monsters brought it home in the end. Game 2 I mulled to six and still didn’t have a great hand, and he just curved me into oblivion and I didn’t get enough removal. Game 3 he drew pretty much all the 2-power 1-drops available in his deck. I had a Carytid and a Courser out, but he had 5 2-power guys on the board (plus two Mutavaults) and had bestowed a Gnarled Scarhide on my Courser so I couldn’t block with it. I was at 7 and had a Mortars and a Nylea’s Disciple in my hand with four lands and the Carytid on board. I drew for my turn, and if the top card flip was a non-Temple land, I could haved wiped his board and then followed up with a life gain of five. And the top card was… Kiora. Dang. The next card was a Steam Vents. Bummer, missed it by a card. Good match.
2-1 matches, 5-2 games

Round 4: Karl, playing mono-Blue
As I said in the intro, I didn’t think there would be any of this around and so I didn’t have much in the way of sideboard for this matchup. My best hope was to sneak by game 1 on the back of his lack of removal, and then hope to split the sideboarded games. A fair if somewhat unlikely plan. Game 1 turned into a classic. He had a faster start than me, of course, but not too fast, so I had a chance. I got out a Prophet, which was excellent. However, he came back with a Master of Waves for six (yikes!) and swung with his only flier (a 2/3 Cloudfin) and I think with Thassa. However, I flashed in a Stormbreath to block and kill the Cloudfin. Then on my turn I had a land, and cast Progenitor Mimic, which caused a slight ruckus. Karl stopped and read the card a couple times, finally looked and me and said “every upkeep?” I nodded. “And when you copy the Dragon, this will have haste, too, won’t it?” I nodded again, and he handed the card back—it resolved, and copied my Stormbreath Dragon (achievement unlocked!). I attacked for 8, putting him to 10 and everything untapped. He was able to hit me down to 8 on the swing back, but he couldn’t stop 12 in the air the following turn. Game 2 I had a turn 1 Mystic, which he locked down with a Tidebinder. I don’t remember if I had a turn 2 play, but his 3 was a Nightveil Specter, and his 4 was Thassa, and he just ran me over—that one was short and boring, but easy for him. Game 3 I had a turn 1 Mystic again, he played a Familiar. I played a Temple and passed. He played land, swung in the air, and passed with no 2-drop. On my 3, I played land and passed with a Syncopate in hand, expecting a Thassa on 3 from him. He obliged, and I could Syncopate for 1 and leave 1 up to pay for the Familiar, so Thassa hit the bin. On my 4 I played Prophet and untapped on his turn. He played a Cloudfin and passed, and on his end step I flashed in an Ooze and a Courser. He realized just how bad the Prophet really was for him and Hybridized it in response to the second creature. I untapped, played Xenagos, and swung with Courser, Frog Lizard, Satyr token, and Elf. He played a not very relevant Bident, I made another Satyr token and some other monster and that was it. (I’m pretty sure he thought he had me with Thassa followed by Bident and Cloudfin—I don’t think he saw the Syncopate coming.)
3-1 matches, 7-3 games

Round 5: Festus, playing mono-Red
The breaks were funny because there were two people with 10 points, but they weren’t paired, and there were many people with 9, including one 9 who got rounded down and had to play a 7. We were 4th and 5th on breakers, though, and decided to chance it and ID’d. It worked, we both got in.
3-1-1 matches, 7-3 games

Quarterfinals: John, playing Jund Monsters
I think that strictly speaking, Jund is the better deck overall (has to be more consistent than my collection of 1-ofs). But head-to-head, I think it’s pretty close, and these games were entirely consistent with that. Game 1 he came out a little faster than I did and I was at 10 pretty quick (some of that was shockland damage) but I managed to stabilize with a 3-for-1 overloaded Mortars because I got two lands in play on 1 turn with Kiora’s minus-1, and that meant we were going for the long game. I managed to get out an Ooze and eat four creatures, and while that ate a removal spell and he eventually got Kiora, I cast both Ral Zarek and Xenagos on the same turn (untagging a land with Ral to cast the second planes walker) and things started to get interesting. I got a Stormbreath and got it monstrous, and attacked and then untapped it with Ral. He played a Stormbreath of his own (I knew it was coming; he had a Courser out) but couldn’t swing. I saw his next card was a Ghor-Clan Rampager and he was at 14. He had the ground kind of clogged with two Coursers, I had a Courser of my own and a Satyr token. He had plenty of land—certainly enough to monstrous his Stormbreath—but he was dead if I could connect twice with my Stormbreath. Also, Ral was up to 6. So I ticked up Ral to tap his Dragon and swing in for 7 and made another Satyr. He drew the Ghor-Clan and revealed a land (fortunately not a Dreadbore, but he had already used one of those), which he played to put him back up to 9. He could not get out since I was either going to ultimate Ral or get in with Stormbreath and my ground crew, so we went to game 2. Game 2 was another tricky one. I got an early Domri and a Courser, and there was a Stormbreath on the top of my library (but another in my hand). He was ahead on mana, also had a Courser out, and cast Vraska. So, the decision: plus Vraska or use her to take out Domri? If he had plussed her, I would have used Domri to have my Dragon fight his Courser and then swung into Vraska, then taken Vraska out with the second Stormbreath. Instead, he took out Domri. I got in with the Dragon, then got a second Dragon, then wiped his board with a Mortars. He came back by wiping my Dragons out with a Mortars of his own—I probably should have made one monstrous to avoid that, but instead had cast a Kiora. However, he was only able to manage one creature and so Kiora ticked up and I added a Domri. I stuck a Keranos and had a Prime Speaker in hand, but not enough devotion to turn Keranos on, even if I played the Prime Speaker (still only six). But I managed to get Kiora to 5 and got to ultimate her (achievement unlocked) and that was the match.
4-1-1 matches, 9-3 games

Semifinals: ID
It was past midnight and my 10-year-old was with me, and other folks were amenable to a split, so we chopped the prize pool. The top 4 split was $35 in store credit, and I won the die roll for a promo, so a pretty good night overall.

Comments on the Deck
Well, I have to say, this was the most fun I’ve had playing Magic in a long time. Not simply because I mostly won, which is always nice, but because I got to unleash my inner Timmy. Or is that Johnny, I can never really get those straight. Regardless, there are multiple cute interactions possible in the deck which makes it very fun to play. And there are 9 Planeswalkers. Other thoughts:

  • I think it’s a little soft to straight aggro which is why the three Disciples are in the sideboard, but I’m not sure that’s the right answer.
  • Ral Zarek was actually pretty good. I had thought about cutting him but I’m glad I didn’t.
  • I sided in Turn / Burn often, so maybe at least one of those should be in the main deck.
  • Prophet of Kruphix is amazing. Might want to work in a second one.
  • Prime Speaker Zegana is, even for this deck, probably trying to be a little greedy. I’d like to try a Xenagos, God of Revels in that spot.
  • Despite winning, I’m still not sure the mono-blue matchup is that great. Mistcutters would be nice, but I’m not sure what comes out of the sideboard; maybe the Needles.

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