Red Blue Control decks took a step back after Ramunap Red pushed it to Tier 2 or even Tier 2.5. To help keep it among the control archetypes, players splashed in Black to play Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh, as their win condition.
The Izzet/Grixis control deck packs 28-32 spells composed of spot removal, counter magic, draw cards and run a couple of Torrential Gearhulk and Nicol Bolas. It plays the reactive game that answers most of the opponent’s plays until the control player gets to 6 or 7 mana and play Torrential Gearhulk on end step flashing back Glimmer of Genius or Hieroglyphic Illumination to fill up their hand and start attacking for 5. With Search of Azcanta, I won’t be surprised if Grixis or UR Control decks once again see Top 8 finishes in the next few weeks.
Today I want to play the same shell but instead have a proactive game plan. Using the same strategy of packing the deck with so much spells, we can use these cards to win the game.
Enigma Drake is a pretty balanced card. It cost 3 which saves it from an un-revolted Fatal Push. It has 4 toughness which survives Lightning Strike, Abrade, Harnessed Lightning. It has the potential to hit for 5-7 damage easy mid through late game. Cryptic Serpent looks expensive but in a spell-heavy deck it’s essentially a 2 mana 6/5 creature. Lastly we have Soul-Scar Mage which is deceivingly powerful thanks to Prowess, and it allows us to shrink creatures we can’t normally kill and win the damage rage.
A special mention for Deeproot Champion which I think is great in this deck. Except for lands and creatures everything we cast makes it bigger. As long as we can get it out of removal range, it should get big like crazy.
Our creatures need protection because they are not difficult to kill. Fatal Push kills Deeproot Champion, Walk the Plank kills Enigma Drake, and Never can kill Cryptic Serpent. Thanks to our colors, we have access to cheap protection spells.
Blossoming Defense and Dive Down are great ways to negate the opponent’s attempt to get rid of our threats. Unsummon can sometimes save our creatures, or remove a blocker to win the game.
For reach we will use Shock and Lightning Strike which are the best player-based damage spell. Fling is our surprise finisher, allowing us to deal a lot of damage after attacks. It won’t be rare for Enigma Drake to hit for 5-7 then we toss it for another 5-7 damage.
For our cantrips we have Opt to fix our draws and tuck useless cards. Chart a Course is an awesome draw spell in our deck since our creatures will mostly be attacking anyway.
For the lands, we’ll play 19 but with the help of Attune with Aether we should not have problems. Our curve is really low with an average cost of roughly 1.5 counting Cryptic Serpent as 2, so 19 lands plus 4 half-lands should bring us to 21 which is fine.
So here’s my RUG Tempo deck!
4 Soul-Scar Mage
3 Deeproot Champion
4 Enigma Drake
2 Cryptic Serpent
4 Chart a Course
2 Dive Down
4 Blossoming Defense
4 Lightning Strike
4 Attune with Aether
4 Botanical Sanctum
4 Spirebluff Canal
4 Aether Hub
4 Spell Pierce
3 Chandra’s Defeat
1 Hazoret the Fervent
2 Invigorating Rampage
1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
3 Siren Stormtamer
We absolutely hate getting hosed by sweepers or losing our creatures to heavy removal decks so we’re dedicating 8 out of our 15 card sideboard against them. Our creatures are not many so we can’t afford them taking these out easily.
Chandra’s Defeat is another 1-mana removal spell for creatures we tend to have a hard time killing like Glorybringer, Regisaur Alpha, Whirler Virtuoso, Kari Zev and many others. It’s also a “doomblade” against Ramunap Red. Let’s not forget it can also kill opposing Chandras.
Invigorated Rampage comes out of the sideboard against decks that try to get bigger, or plans to race us for damage ignoring blocks. It’s also a good way to get through chump blockers thanks to trample.
We also have our fun-offs in Chandra and Hazoret from the sideboard which will catch your opponent by surprise. We won’t be having problems satisfying Hazoret’s condition since we will most likely be low on cards by the time we get to draw and cast him.
Chandra is just a good value card we want against attrition decks to allow us to get some card advantage. The advantage of running very few lands guarantees a Chandra reveals a spell most of the time.
That’s it for now! Thanks for reading!
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