Deck Tech: RUG Aggro with Cliff Weixler
Florida player Cliff Weixler is one of several strong PTQ players in the area—in fact, he’s already qualified for Barcelona. Cliff’s strength tends to be brewing for Constructed, and his decklist for today is no exception. Combining Delver’s disruption with R/G Aggro’s durable creatures, Cliff has a new breed of RUG, powered by Dark Ascension.
The biggest draw is the powerful undying two-drop, Strangleroot Geist. Making its Constructed debut in the hands of Todd Anderson’s mono-green project, people have been enamored with adding colors to the mix ever since. “I like being able to play Strangleroot Geist over Delver. It requires so many cards to deal with and it attacks them as soon as it hits, representing a similar amount of damage,” Cliff explained.
If a major selling point is that the deck can pretend it’s a Delver deck, then one of the most important edges it has is the matchup against true Delver—which Cliff really, really like. “It basically can’t lose to Delver,” Cliff said—a bold claim. “The Delver matchup is extremely good, and the U/B matchup is good after boarding.” His trouble matchup is on the rise now, which could admittedly be an obstacle. “It only really has a problem fighting the Frites deck—Elesh Norn is good against a bunch of 2/2s.”
The edge against Delver comes from Cliff’s efficient removal spells and powerful creatures. “The fact that I play Huntmaster and Daybreak Ranger in multiple copies, and a fair amount of burn spells to go with Snapcaster and control the flipping of Huntmaster, puts them far behind.” Snapcaster Mage is an ideal partner for the Huntmaster, as you can pass the turn to flip him and then use Snapcaster on Mana Leak or Galvanic blast to flip him back!
Grand Prix Baltimore put U/B back on the map, so Cliff was wise to plan for the control deck. “I’m playing multiple Dissipates, two Thruns,” he said. “Depending on what you see you may want Ancient Grudge as well, for Ratchet Bombs and Batterskulls. You’re a lot like the Delver deck, but you have much larger threats.” U/B tends to improve against decks that are slower and less disruptive, but as Baltimore showed us, both Delver and R/G give it problems—the combination, perhaps doubly so.
What about Wolf Run Ramp, the Pro Tour-winning archetype that has caught fire since? “You have seven counterspells after board, which is really good,” he explained. “You have the same amount of Huntmasters as they do, plus Increasing Savagery to blow them out and Dungeon Geists to fight their Titans.” Increasing Savagery is a sick beating, especially on the hexproof Thrun. Resolving the card once should end most games—twice is overkill.
One of the deck’s MVPs has been Garruk Relentless. He’s in a constant struggle with Primal Hunter most of the time, but for Cliff he has been an easy number one. “He’s probably the best threat against U/B. They can’t really beat the card,” Cliff said. “He makes a legitimate threat every turn, since you also play Wolf Run in the deck. I’ve won many matches by just sticking him on turn 3.”
If you’d like to combine mana ramp with efficient beats and burn spells, then RUG is an excellent alternative to the R/G Aggro list so many people have started playing. After all, you get to play with Snapcaster Mage!