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Wow! So how about those Ramunap Red decks?
My deck of choice for the Pro Tour was U/R Control.
Now, you may be thinking, "Shaun, why would you play U/R Control to a Pro Tour where the best deck is Ramunap Red? Isn't that a bad matchup for you?"
Well, you're right.
Although I was really happy with the deck and U/R Control in theory, I underestimated the amount of Ramunap Red that would be played, and how powerful the deck actually was.
But all is not lost if you're a Control mage! I don't think the matchup is that bad for Control, especially if your list is focused towards beating it. I also think Ramunap Red is highly beatable, if not by U/R Control, by other strategies, and that should be good for U/R Control as well.
So let's talk about the list I played, my sideboard strategy, a matchup guide, and what direction I would take the archetype following the Pro Tour.
Here's the list I registered for the Pro Tour:
There are some pretty big deviations compared to normal U/R Control lists.
My favorite addition to the deck was the Desert package. Although it might look strange and Pro Tour Hour of Devastation didn't have a particularly good metagame for it, the Desert package is really exciting.
Ipnu Rivulet isn't going to be winning the "Best Desert" contest, but it served a very specific purpose in the deck. Ipnu Rivulet is there almost purely to win the mirror match in Game 1 by milling your opponent, although you can mill yourself in a pinch to find Commit or Torrential Gearhulk fuel, or mill people in other matchups.
It's hard to win the mirror through damage, since U/R Control is packed full of answers and not many threats, which means Game 1 often comes down to decking, and having an Ipnu Rivulet in your 60 cards makes a big difference there, since you'll eventually draw it and win the mill race. It's also a low opportunity cost to run it, since it replaces an Island and only hurts when you need to use it for blue mana, which isn't that often.
Scavenger Grounds was another maindeck inclusion, and it speaks to how I mispredicted the metagame. I thought U/W God-Pharaoh's Gift would be the breakout deck of the tournament, and it really wasn't. Scavenger Grounds is great in that matchup but pretty underwhelming elsewhere, although there are eternalize creatures to eat and delirium to disrupt.
Finally, Desert of the Mindful boosted the power of the other Deserts and acted as flood insurance.
Jace, Unraveler of Secrets was absolutely fantastic. There are very few ways to outright kill planeswalkers at the moment, which meant Jace often has to be dealt with through good old-fashioned damage, which is surprisingly hard to do. You're often happy to trade Jace's loyalty when your life total is being spared and you're drawing a bunch of cards anyway.
Opponents are often just casting spells as quickly as they can and hoping something sticks, so countering and killing your opponent's first few plays and then landing a Jace often means the game is over.
Jace, Unraveler of Secrets also filled a bunch of holes the deck had. Where Torrential Gearhulk was lacking, Jace was amazing. Torrential Gearhulk might just die to Abrade or Unlicensed Disintegration, but Jace just sits and draws cards until you win. Jace's ultimate also kind of acts as a win condition. Just ultimate Jace and then your shields will be up and the coast will be clearer to start attacking with Torrential Gearhulks and Wandering Fumaroles with impunity.
Using Jace, Unraveler of Secrets's +1 for two turns in a row is basically Glimmer of Genius, and anything beyond that is pure gravy. It's nice having some flood insurance for games where you don't find Glimmer of Genius to get your card draw engine going.