Confessions of an Ex-Mongooser

2nd at 2019 Brisbane Legacy Championships

By Sean Brown


1.0 Introduction

This will be a bit of a rumination on the state of RUG Delver in Legacy post-W&6 ban and a bit of a report of my hot run at MagicFest Brisbane’s 63-player Legacy side event. It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything, so please enjoy!

After the banning of Wrenn and Six, I felt a renewed gusto to play Legacy again. W&6 RUG was honestly not my cup of tea, with all the “who plays W&6 first” and Goyfs staring at each other mirror gameplay generally boring and not how I really wanted to play Magic. I’d traded in my Gooses for Snakes, Lhurgoyfs and Apes, while still keeping my Stifles, and found this list fine as an angle to be a bit leaner than the other RUG lists. However, the deck, or perhaps the format, never felt particularly right, and despite playing at least a League a week, I generally saw little good results.

And then W&6 got banned and Legacy was exciting again with tonnes of unexplored interactions and lots variants of Delver, midrange and even combo incorporating some of the new cards. My first draft of RUG was to go back to playing my beloved Goose and Stifle-Waste my way to victory. Canadian Threshold was back.

I started jamming with my pre-W&6 list and found it reasonable, but quickly learnt a few things:

  • True-Name Nemesis sucks because of Plague Engineer
  • Oko is a far superior three drop as a result (it also just does a bunch of things)
  • Veil of Summer is incredibly good, but Canadian Threshold doesn’t take great advantage of it. If your plan is to be hyper-reactive with shroud threats and just having more one mana true counters (Blast/Pierce etc.) feels a lot better. Furthermore, the hexproof clause you often don’t capitalise on. I often ended up with dead Veils rotting in my hand, but I could just be bad at playing the card.
  • Wasteland‘s effectiveness against control is almost null, so soft countermagic gets turned off very quickly and hard counters are at a premium. As a result, I found it hard to truly “go under” the format, especially against Astrolabe decks with such resilient mana bases who Canadian would typically prey on (though admittedly Stifle is still good enough against those decks). Instead I was getting bricked by their Anglers and Strix slipping through my Dazes. 

Mongoose was, and still is, great, especially against the White control decks, but I felt the RUG colour combination’s unique X-factor still needed to be captured. Why play RUG over UR? Why over BUG? Why over Grixis?

2.0 Card Choices

Firstly, you get to play some of the most powerful, efficient counterspells currently in the format, together.

Veil and Blast lead to matchups against UBx being a breeze, because the typical issue RUG had of UBx sometimes Hyming away all your reactive answers is now totally avoided. It also defends your threats, which we’ll get to in a moment. Pyroblast is Pyroblast. It’s good. RUG is the only low-to-the-ground colour combination that can utilise both Blast and Veil without becoming an Astrolabe four-to-five colour concoction. Think on that for a moment.

Threat-wise Dreadhorde Arcanist is (for now) what I am playing over my beloved Mongoose. Again, if we want to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the metagame, we need to see where our most powerful threats lie. Of course, UR Delver and Grixis get to play Arcanist as well, and one may argue that Grixis is a better Arcanist deck due to Thoughtseize-flashback Thoughtseize. What RUG gets, however, is Arcanist often defended by Veil, which gives a sure fire way to run over UBx. I also feel Tarmogoyf is very poorly positioned due to the the prevalence of BUG again. Goyf often sits on the table, chips in some damage and then gets Decayed. Meanwhile, Arcanist, if not answered immediately, will find some form of value, and often dig into an answer to defend himself or continue to clear the way.

RUG also gets a “combo kill” if you include Become Immense in your list. This again gives you an added dimension in your list to trample through stalled boards with Arcanist or just kill your opponent outright with 13 damage. Boom. Thanks to Christian Rothen for the inspiration.

Oko needs no explanation. Card is very good, gives the deck a hard to kill threat and gives a flexible answer to problem permanents. Creatures like Marit Lage, which RUG traditionally had problems with, Oko can also take care of, and with Wasteland and bounce spells, you’ve got enough angles to turn what used to be a horrible Depths matchup into something more acceptable.

Looking at the Green threat base, I’m the biggest fan of Hooting Mandrills, since with the two drop slot glutted with Arcanist, you want as many lean threats you can get. He’s also a huge headache for Push decks, and is basically similarly terrible against Plow decks as Tarmogoyf is. There’s a bit of tension with Arcanist, but it generally can be navigated and it’s not like you always need to Delve exactly five.

Snek boi (arch nemesis of Nimble Mongoose, confirmed by Odyssey art), as I like to call him, ensures the deck can cleanly curve out by being one-mana upfront and can get the deck out of oddball boardstalls – you’d be surprised how often the snake becomes mini-Progenitus. Hexdrinker and Oko gives RUG a surprising amount of inevitability in the late game, which is again something appreciated. Diversifying threats away from graveyard-reliant ones is also important.

With all these thoughts about what was the best way to approach RUG, I again put my Mongoose away and crafted up this slick list, after performing very medium with Canadian Threshold at the State Championships.

Creatures: (12) Sideboard: (15)
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Dreadhorde Arcanist
2 Hexdrinker
2 Hooting Mandrills
3 Pyroblast
3 Veil of Summer
2 Abrade
2 Submerge
2 Cindervines
2 Surgical Extraction
1 Sylvan Library
Non-Creature Spells: (30)
4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
4 Daze
4 Force of Will
2 Preordain
2 Spell Snare
2 Force of Negation
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Vapor Snag
1 Become Immense
2 Oko, Thief of Crowns
Lands: (18)
2 Flooded Strand
2 Polluted Delta
2 Scalding Tarn
2 Wooded Foothills
3 Tropical Island
3 Volcanic Island
4 Wasteland

Some oddball choices here include the Vapor Snag as a hedge for Depths that also clears out Angler nicely (and often, with Arcanist, bounces it a second time when they try to recast it) the Snares over Pierces for traditionally hard-to-deal with threats like Goyf and the aforementioned Become Immense. I guess this falls into the camp of “No Bad Cards” RUG… But I still tried to spice up the list with some bad cards.

3.0 Brisbane Legacy Championship Report

On to the report. There were 63 players for MagicFest Brisbane’s Legacy Championship, and it was great to see so many faces jamming the format.

Round 1: Eldrazi Stompy

Game 1: I’ve played this guy before. A lovely fellow who likes Reality Smashing. I drew too many Arcanists in game one while he drew many Caverns that I couldn’t Wasteland away. I had double Force in hand as my Arcanists got bricked and I died. I also followed up my turn two Arcanist with a cantrip, flashback and then Wasted my opponent’s Tomb rather than cast Oko, which was a bad choice when my opponent played Eye into Seer into take my Oko. Just slam your good cards folks. Interestingly, if I drew Become Immense at any point, I would’ve just won out of nowhere. These are the matchups where it’s a nice out to have.

-4 Dreadhorde Arcanist
+2 Abrade
+2 Cindervines

Game 2: Being on the play is a nice respite. He turn one Chalices me, I play a turn two Cindervines and continue on my merry way. I destroy the Chalice next turn, play a Snake, Waste some stuff, Daze some stuff, play an Oko and the game is basically over.

Game 3: My opponent gets the crummy Eldrazi hands, mulliganing to five. I accidentally show my Oko to him on turn one which alarms him, causing him to play a second City, saccing his first one, to cast Seer right into my Daze. I have more Dazes and Wastelands and have Oko to clean up.

Round 2: Lands

Game 1: I played my opponent yesterday at the State Championships and I killed him with two Nimble Mongoose as he slowly tried to Punishing Fire me to death. Living the dream. This time though, all my threats were killable and he did so. And then he Wastelocked me. And then I scooped.

+2 Abrade
+2 Surgical Extraction
+2 Submerge
+1 Sylvan Library
-4 Lightning Bolt
-2 Hexdrinker
-1 Daze

I can’t remember my sideboarding and honestly, I need to put a bit more thought into this. Bolt is out and Drinker is too mana intensive to be relevant. I’m never a fan of cutting Daze, but perhaps that’s because I’m used to Stifle-Dazing my opponent’s out of the game, but it’s either that or a Delver in this matchup. I’m also cautious of Oko, because three mana can be very tough to get to, but planeswalkers are traditionally very hard for Lands to deal with when resolved.

Game 2: I keep a medium one, spin my wheels with cantrips for a bit, my mana gets crippled and I die. I think I should’ve mulliganed more aggressively to some actually strong hands that do something, but I’m too used to snapping off any seven with cantrips with traditional Canadian, since every card matters in that list. When you’re playing Arcanist and co. though, recovering from mulligans becomes a lot more trivial, so I should be less afraid of doing so.

In general, the theme of this tournament is a lot of growing pains of playing a Delver deck that can grind quite well, but still having my typical “play reactively like the Nimblest Mongoose” mindset. As we’ll see later, I get punished significantly by my narrow-mindedness, but I guess that’s why I play Magic. To learn.

Round 3: Death & Taxes

Game 1: Another tough matchup. I think I win Game 1 with a Delver into Arcanist Zoo draw, which keeps the gasoline flowing despite my opponent having a lot of removal.

One piece of removal was a Path, which I was surprised to see but assumed could’ve been a fifth removal slot he was tinkering with. He later admitted he accidentally left it in from the previous match, which in the end didn’t matter since I won this game, but I heavily cautioned him to call a judge next time that ever happens. I was really suss about this but gave my opponent the benefit of the doubt, since he mentioned he really only played on MtGO and seemed a bit fresh to Paper Legacy.

+2 Abrade
+1 Sylvan Library
-2 Force of Negation
-1 Preordain

Again, I’m boarding like a spud here, and maybe Hexdrinker is the cut over Preordain due to it being tough to level him up when your mana is under duress. But I generally like having guys vs. the mono-guys deck and more action is better than cantrips in a matchup where Thalia can take a toll.

Game 2: I have to Force a Mom as I have an awkward Bolt with no Red mana hand, but I do have a curve into Oko… If my opponent doesn’t cast a Thalia on turn two. He does, and I still have no Red mana and am a cripple and die to a following turn Stoneforge into Batterskull.

Game 3: I open up Volc, Delver, Delver, Bolt, Bolt, cantrip, Arcanist. The perfect Delver hand for this matchup. I do Delver things. He has Vial, but doesn’t find a Flickerwisp until late and I kill it as it comes into block. At the final point in the game he has Crusader into Stoneforge and he’s one Delver hit away from dying, but if he draws his fourth land he can put Jitte into play and then equip. But he doesn’t find it and I cruise through the air to victory.

Round 4: 4c Control (UBgr)

Game 1: This one goes by as a bit of a blur. I think a Dreadhorde goes unchecked and cantrips me into victory. My opponent kills stuff but I continue to throw threats into my opponent and he gets overwhelmed by a Mandrills that he can’t deal with whatsoever. As we’re topdecking, I draw a Become Immense targeting my Drills to close it out. Who said I was playing too many Delve cards?

-4 Lightning Bolt
-1 Vapor Snag
-2 Force of Negation
+1 Sylvan Library
+3 Pyroblast
+3 Veil of Summer

I actually am not sure about boarding out all Bolts in this matchup, or in general. Before, when playing Mongoose and co., I would rely on just having countermagic to get me through these matchups. But with Arcanist, having some number of Bolts in the deck is almost a requirement to make Arcanist into an actual reasonable clock – otherwise he just helps you spin your wheels. It also gives you an okay answer to on-board Angler. I have no idea what I’d cut though to keep two Bolts in – the only reasonable cut I see is two Delvers, two Daze (draw) or two Force (play). I hate boarding out Force or Daze though… Opinions here would be appreciated.

Game 2: My deck disgusts me (in a good way). Turn one Delver, into turn two Arcanist. I have two lands, Oko and Brainstorm in hand. My opponent Hymns me, hitting Brainstorm and a land. Next turn I slam Oko and even get to flashback my Brainstorm off Arcanist. The rest is elementary.

Round 5: Lands

Game 1: Lands again… But my opponent has a slow start while I go Delver into Arcanist into Waste his only Green source. He scoops it up from there.

Sideboarding is the same as the last match against Lands, though I may of boarded out Oko this time.

Game 2: I have Surgical for Loam but can read my opponent is instead going for a fast Depths kill – my Surgical then confirms this. I have Dreadhorde on board but I’m all cantripped out. My opponent Crop Rotates for the combo and then in my upkeep makes the beast to play around Wasteland. I draw…

Vapor Snag for turn. My opponent, happy at his lack of Forests jeers and says “What, do you have Vapor Snag?” ironically. I look at him dead in the eyes and Snag his Marit Lage, then flashback Surgical on his Depths with Arcanist. He scoops it up.

And with that 4-1 we scrape into the Top 8 as seventh seed. Woo! Unfortunately honorary Melbournian and reigning Eternal Weekend champ Jaren missed Top 8 on breakers. Well done on the strong finish though buddy, and keep that Slow Burn going. 

Quarterfinals: BR Reanimator

Game 1: I’m on the draw, I get Thoughtseized. Next turn he Unmasks himself and Rituals into Griselboi. I’m dead. 

+2 Surgical Extraction
+1 Sylvan Library
+3 Veil of Summer
-4 Lightning Bolt
-2 Dreadhorde Arcanist

Game 2: My opponent rips apart my hand of Forces but I have double Oko in hand which he seems cautious about. I have a Delver. I eventually see why… He Rituals into Rotting Regisaur, which immediately gets turned into an Elk after I play Oko. I then start making Elks and overwhelm him.

Game 3: I end up pinching my opponent on mana and again have plenty of counters that get discarded by Thoughtseizes and Unmasks.

On one turn, after I Wasteland his Badlands, he goes for a Reanimate off a Petal, his final mana source, with me having Brainstorm, lands, Become Immense, Library and FoN in hand, with not enough mana to hardcast the FoN. Without the Brainstorm my hand sucks, although I will have Library to pull me back in. I risk it and cast my only Blue card to ensure next turn, if he top decks a land into Reanimate, my hand is still in good enough shape to follow-up counter him. I’m rewarded and find a Delver and Daze. I Daze the Reanimate, slam the Library with FoN still up, and then Ancestral next turn. Arcanist and Delver get together, I muddle up some Delver flips because I am bad and prioritise getting the slick combo kill, but eventually I deal sixteen to my opponent in one hit with Arcanist and Delver and win.

Semifinals: BUG Delver

Game 1: Again with me on the draw, we both have Delvers against each other and start to beat each other down. At one stage he taps out for a Bitterblossom, which I don’t like as a main deck card in general, and looks a bit embarrassing as I cast Hooting Mandrills that tramples through. I attack with Delver and Mandrills into his Delver and Faerie, and he double blocks into the Drills. Eventually he tries to jam an Oko and it gets Dazed. I keep attacking with my Delver as his life total ticks down. Eventually he double blocks into my Delver but I draw a second one and keep applying the pressure. He soon succumbs to his own faerie-making machine.

+3 Veil of Summer
+2 Pyroblast
+2 Submerge
-4 Lightning Bolt
-2 Force of Negation
-1 Dreadhorde Arcanist

I’d probably cut an extra Arcanist to keep another Bolt in future, but otherwise I’m okay with this boarding.

Game 2: He starts off with a Delver, I start off with a Ponder, seeing two Wastelands. I have a Vapor Snag as my removal of choice in hand, so it looks like the plan will be to bounce his Delver and then rip his mana apart so he can never recast it. Instead, he starts to Delver me, firing off a Wasteland. I take some hits from the Delver but the plan eventually comes to fruition and, with my opponent struggling for mana, stuck on a single Sea, I deploy a Mandrills who gets to work. My opponent looks at his Fatal Pushes sadly as the Apes take him all the way to zero.

Finals: Miracles

And here is where the wheels fall off. This was a great match that has some coverage coming up somewhere, but I’ll give my summary here. Jitesh was an excellent opponent who bitterly fought to claim his victory, and watching him play Miracles is always a pleasure. The games against him taught me a lot of things about the new deck I was piloting and also just improved my growth as a Magic player in general. So kudos to him.

Game 1: I’m on the draw again and open a hand of Oko, Force, Force, Delver, Delver, land, land. This game is going to revolve around me getting Oko into play safely and nullifying the typical game plan Miracles has to beat Delver decks game one: Plow-Snap-Plowing everything. We draw go for awhile, with me arming myself with a Snare as well. On turn five, I play my Oko with a mana up. He goes to Counterspell it and I Snare in response. I make a Food. Jitesh untaps and Council’s Judgments it – I let it go; I’ve drawn a second Oko. I play this one, it again resolves, I attack with my Elk that gets Plowed. Jitesh’s Mystic Sanctuary gets the CJ back. Now we fight. I Force back, he Forces back and I finish off with my back-up Force. I make a mistake here, being narrow-minded and throwing all my Delvers to the Force of Wills, being all-in on this shroud plan. I could’ve pitched a Daze instead to my second Force, but I guess I was being wary of a potential Counterspell. Anyway, Oko sticks, makes Elks, they get Terminused at one stage but no matter, the Elks take away Game 1.

+3 Veil of Summer
+3 Pyroblast
+1 Sylvan Library
+2 Cindervines
-3 Lightning Bolt
-2 Wasteland
-2 Hooting Mandrills
-1 Become Immense
-1 Vapor Snag

I think this sideboarding is wrong. I think against Miracles it’s important to leave in at least two Bolts, because you lean extremely hard on Dreadhorde Arcanist to pull ahead and to actually make him a relevant clock Bolt is a necessity. Dealing with planeswalkers and Mentor is also required. I also think three Veil is likely too many against UWx, since it’s only a Flusterstorm-style effect to win a stack battle, rather than that and protection from removal. I ended up with a lot of Veils rotting my hand in this match and struggled to convert them into an effective advantage.

Game 2: Jitesh stumbles a bit as I Daze his cantrips, missing his second land drop and having a prone Volcanic in play. I get Dreadhorde online and then Waste his Volc at some stage, with him only able to operate off an Island. Dreadhorde triggers a pile of times and I get a Delver in play to start the beats going. I win a big stack battle over a Jace at one stage and get very far ahead on cards, Jitesh starts to crawl back into the game, blinding flipping a Terminus with an empty hand. I reload with another Arcanist waiting in the wings, Pyroblast at the ready to blow on any topdecked cantrips. Unfortunately Jitesh casts Monastery Mentor off the top and I look glumly at my hand full of Blasts and Veil of Summers but barren of answers to the Monk machine.

This again highlights the value of holding a single Lightning Bolt against Miracles when operating with Dreadhorde Arcanist. I ended up shuffling one away in the midst of all my cantripping and bitterly regretted it. Not only because it would’ve killed my opponent’s Mentor, but it also would’ve just killed my opponent by going straight to the dome! This again highlights the different play patterns of a RUG list like this and “Mongoose Control” that I typically fight with, that fights almost everything on the stack.

Anyway, I cast a Sylvan Library, aiming to dig for answers next turn and pass the turn, not attacking with my Arcanist, missing a trigger. In my flustered state of mind, I believe a 1/3 trades with a Gray Ogre. Obviously I need to draft more.

Jitesh finds a Portent making a Monk, I Blast it, then dig with Library. I cantrip around a bit finding an Oko to cast next turn. Jitesh draws a Disenchant for my Library making more Monks. I’m in trouble. Oko comes down with Dreadhorde on blocking duties but a Jace from Jitesh bouncing Dreadhorde makes my Oko go splat to the raging Monks. I am soon left with nothing and Jitesh takes Game 2, despite me having such forward momentum from the beginning.

There were definitely a lot of mistakes made from my side in this game that gave Jitesh enough cracks to get the win, but he also played incredibly well to pull himself back into the game.

Game 3:  I think games one and two were a lot more unconventional – game 3 played like a typical Miracles vs. Delver matchup, where all my guys get Plowed, my opponent plays some stuff bigger than me and I eventually crumble to a board of a lonely Monk (I killed the Mentor with a Bolt this time but…) and Snapcaster. I have an awkward mana situation where I draw only Volcs within the early turns and I jokingly pretend to cast a Veil rotting in my hand at one stage.

Anyway, so ends the Brisbane Legacy Championship, with me in second place. Before we get to the wrap-up, let’s go through the clean 3-0 in matches, 6-0 in games sweep I did the day after the Championship in one of the Legacy Double-Up side events

4.0 Saturday Legacy Double-Up Report

Round 1: 4c Control (UBgr)

The same 4c Control opponent a last time. Game 1 I have Arcanist go haywire and although my opponent is able to crawl back in, Thoughtseizing away my Oko rather than my Hexdrinker, I draw my fourth land, play Drinker and immediately pump him up to a 4/4. He then becomes a monster and overwhelms my opponent. Game 2 I again remember casting a lot of Veils, keeping me up on cards, and Arcanist taking over the game, cantripping into a Blast to clear away a Strix. I then play an Oko at some stage and run my opponent over with Elks.

Round 2: Turbo Depths

Game 1 my opponent starts on a Thoughtseize on my Delver, but I draw snek boi to have a one-mana threat still going. He then plays a Map and a Depths and I’m ready to be in a world of pain. I find a Delver and Oko and plan to use the Delver to block Marit Lage, and then Elk it with Oko. As I’m executing this plan, my opponent plays a Hexmage that gets Dazed and they end up stuck on one land. My Delver and Drinker and then Elks finish up the rest while my opponent is mana screwed. In Game 2 my opponent draws a lot of reactive cards, I draw enough threats to keep the damage up and eventually, when they find the Hexmage, I have a Wasteland already waiting in the wings to stop the combo from happening.

Round 3: Bant Miracles

Basically the list from the GP, but my opponent was playing Supreme Verdict rather than Terminus. I have active Arcanist for awhile that clears away some Coatl etc. and a Delver soon joins for beatdown. I then get Verdicted off the top and am low on gas – but I find a Brainstorm that Brainstorms me into Mandrills, Delver and Arcanist. I play Arcanist and Delver with a Bolt already in my hand placed on top. I flip Delver to Bolt and see if my opponent has any more Verdicts, or even a Snap-Verdict at this stage. They don’t. Game 2 I take the lessons learnt from Jitesh and apply them, with Arcanist again pushing me ahead but me also having Lightning Bolt to carve the way through Coatls and reduce the clock on my opponent too. I get an Oko before my opponent does as well, which certainly helps. We have a big battle featuring Veil of Summer which I win at the end of the match, thanks to my Veil cantripping me into a Force.

5.0 Alternative Lists

I believe there is a lot more room for tinkering within these lists, and, in addition to the above list I would recommend as the “default” option, I’ll post some proposed lists below:

Creatures: (12)Sideboard: (15)
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Dreadhorde Arcanist
2 Hexdrinker
2 Hooting Mandrills
3 Pyroblast
3 Veil of Summer
2 Oko, Thief of Crowns
2 Abrade
2 Submerge
1 Sylvan Library
2 Surgical Extraction
Non-Creature Spells: (30)
4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
2 Preordain
4 Daze
4 Force of Will
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Vapor Snag
1 Become Immense
3 Stifle
1 Force of Negation
2 Spell Snare
Lands: (18)
2 Flooded Strand
2 Polluted Delta
2 Scalding Tarn
2 Wooded Foothills
3 Tropical Island
3 Volcanic Island
4 Wasteland

All I’ve done here is squeezed Stifle into my previous list, moving Oko to the sideboard and switching up the disruption. I’m not sure if we even want Become Immense in this kind of list, but it’s something still worth testing.

Creatures: (12)Sideboard: (15)
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Dreadhorde Arcanist
3 Young Pyromancer
1 True-Name Nemesis
3 Pyroblast
2 Veil of Summer
2 Oko, Thief of Crowns
2 Abrade
2 Submerge
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Price of Progress
Non-Creature Spells: (30)
4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
2 Preordain
4 Daze
4 Force of Will
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Become Immense
2 Force of Negation
1 Vapor Snag
1 Chain Lightning
2 Spell Pierce
Lands: (18)
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Flooded Strand
2 Polluted Delta
2 Wooded Foothills
2 Volcanic Island
1 Tropical Island
2 Island
1 Mountain
4 Wasteland

Less of “RUG” Delver, more so a variation of UR Delver, this list splashes for all the Green cards I just mentioned. Young Pyromancer naturally partners up with Become Immense, in addition to the obvious combo with Arcanist, to do something similar to the old Standard Atarka Red deck – poop out tokens that can go around blockers and then pump the tokens up to deal that extra six damage. Veil and Oko are there for when you expect your mana to not be under attrition.

Creatures: (10)Sideboard: (15)
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Nimble Mongoose
2 Hooting Mandrills
3 Pyroblast
2 Submerge
2 Oko, Thief of Crowns
1 Sylvan Library
1 Life from the Loam
1 Fiery Islet
1 Counterspell
2 Abrade
2 Surgical Extraction
Non-Creature Spells: (32)
4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
4 Force of Will
4 Daze
4 Stifle
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Dismember
2 Spell Snare
2 Force of Negation
2 Spell Pierce
Lands: (18)
2 Flooded Strand
2 Polluted Delta
2 Scalding Tarn
2 Wooded Foothills
3 Tropical Island
3 Volcanic Island
4 Wasteland

I can’t not try and make a true Canadian Threshold list featuring four Goose and four Stifle. This list actually looks a lot more punishing against Miracles than the other lists, especially with the card advantage engines of Library, Loam + Islet and of course the Thief of Crowns himself. Islet or Grove are both for consideration but I’m expecting you’ll be holding up Islet for Bolt / Blast and then cycling it away otherwise when need be. The Counterspell fulfils a critical role at not letting non-Blue threats slip through, and you can see the theme of “don’t fiddle around with Veil, just have hard counters” mentality this deck single-mindedly has. Other “bad cards” to consider are non-permanent grind engines in place of the Library, such as my pet cards Mission Briefing and Predict.

6.0 Conclusion

Anyway thank you dear reader for reading through my RUG ramblings! Hopefully this gives some good insight into where I believe RUG currently sits in the metagame. In conclusion, RUG Delver is still truly alive and well and has particular advantages compared to the other breeds of Delver.

Until next time, keeping on flipping those Delvers, Stifling those fetches, Elking those permanents and Bolting those faces for the win.

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