Deck Tech: RUG with Adam Tanner
At this point RUG is a known quantity to anyone familiar with Legacy—it’s all Delver of Secrets, Nimble Mongoose, Tarmogoyf, some burn, some disruption and loads of great cards up and down a tight 75-card list. The deck doesn’t mess around, and it’s been putting up great results.
But Adam Tanner built his own version of RUG with something else in mind.
“It’s fun,” Adam explained as his primary reason for playing the deck.
His version is still filled to the brim with great—even format-defining—cards, but the ubiquitous one-drops are gone, replaced by a slightly slower but more robust package of men that can just as easily get the job done. Brainstorm and Ponder are still around, but Adam’s not messing with things like Thought Scour, opting instead for Guided Passage as his Ancestral Recall of choice.
The Apocalypse obviously fits the color scheme perfectly, and in addition to having great art, gives Adam the opportunity to gas up in the midgame no matter what the opponent gives him. It’s even more awesome when Bloodbraid Elf flips it over—the free Guided Passage turns into even more free cards, and at that point it doesn’t really matter what they are; they’re going to be good.
“Even the three worst cards in the deck are really good,” Adam said. “Ponder, Grim Lavamancer and a random land is good against a lot of decks, and it can always be pitched to Force of Will. Plus it’s amazing off Bloodbraid Elf.”
Altering the deck’s angle of attack also gave Adam room to find the Punishing Fire-Grove of the Burnwillows package into his deck, which, along with Scavenging Ooze and Grim Lavamancer, lets him dominate the creature matchups, including the traditional RUG Delver decks, Maverick, and anything else. Given the strength of that combo, one could ask why choose Guided Passage when Intuition is available to grab the missing piece of the puzzle without giving the opponent a real choice and easing the strain on the manabase at the same time.
“I’ve been following Enric Luzan who created the deck—he’s been playing it a lot on MODO and made some YouTube videos on it—with the additions of Bloodbraid Elf and Guided Passage to the deck that made it really good against creature decks. A lot of times people just play against really poorly against Guided Passage by giving me the wrong cards. Only one of my opponents has played it well, but it’s similar to Gifts Ungiven in that people just don’t know what to give you.”
With all of the sweet value giving Adam an edge in creature and control matchups it only seems fair that the maindeck is a little soft to combo. He solves that problem by taking out the slower value cards like Bloodbraid Elf (a card that is very good at killing Jace, but very poor at stopping a bunch of Rituals) and Guided Passage for things like Spell Pierce and Red Elemental Blast to supplement the maindeck Force of Wills.
Check out the sweet little list below and chime in in the comments!