Three top 8s in one month with RUG Lands
On April 2nd I played the Bazaar of Boxes tournament in the Netherlands and wrote a tournament report about it which can be found here.
Following that tournament, I played two more tournaments with RUG Lands: Bottrop, Germany on April 23rd and Dutch Open Series on April 30th.
Bottrop, Germany. 70+ players
My alarm went off at half past six to travel to Amsterdam and then drive two and a half hours to Bottrop with three friends. When I ordered a cocktail a couple of hours before, at around two o’clock, I knew I would regret it later.
Super tired and with a hangover, we were on our way to a tournament held every month. A great tournament in a good location, with fantastic catering and 70+ Legacy enthusiasts.
In the end there were more than ten Dutch players and we were determined to beat those Germans in their own house 😉
My list was the same as for the BoB series a short while before:
I played the exact same list for two reasons: it was well-constructed and I was too lazy to do anything about it to change it. Here’s a visual:
Disclaimer: I use better arts.
When it comes to Attractions, I already wrote my findings in my last report. But I noticed these two tournaments something else. Not only did it not throw my opponents off their game, many of them had never even heard of it! I had to explain to them what Attractions was, how it works, and they even wanted me to show them after the match. Mission failed successfully.
With 71 cards in the deck, the 61st card being Field of the Dead, I was ready to take on all challengers!
Round 1. Daniel on Omnishow – 2-0
In the first game, I was on the draw and had a fast Urza’s Saga hand, which allowed me to go for the beatdown plan. My opponent had a Brainstorm and a Ponder on their turn two, but failed to draw a land. On their third turn, they played a fetch but chose not to crack it. My Saga then went to three and I used a Pithing Needle on their Scalding Tarn, which resulted in me winning the game.
In the second game, my opponent had a turn two Show and Tell and put Omniscience into play with a Force of Will for my Force of Vigor. Afterwards, they bricked and it took me only a couple of turns to put Dark Depths and Thespian’s Stage into play on my side of the table. This allowed me to win the game.
Round 2. Bjorn on Mono R Stompy 2-0
Game 1 I’m on the play and mull to five. I have a Minsc & Boo and a Saga that doesn’t get Blood Mooned. The game is quickly over.
In game 2 my opponent has a Chalice on 1 and some Goblin guys. He has few cards left and wants to attack. I politely ask if I can cast Kozilek’s Return and it turns out he has no permission spells. From an empty board I take the game with a Minsc & Boo.
Round 3. Dirk on Bant Stoneforge 2-0
I’m on the draw for game 1 and my opponent gets a Kaldra into play and then also a Batterskull. I’m working towards a Field of the Dead boardstate on my side, but my life total is under pressure. I do have a Loam + Exploration loop though. My opponent has very few cards in hand. To get some more time, I call upon Marit Lage for assistance. She swoops in and gets immediately exiled. I’m back up to 24 and I can keep going. She’s a keeper.
Gradually my army of zombies grows and eventually his KaldraSkull gets overwhelmed. I win game 1.
In game 2 I have a classic hand with Mox, Grove of the Burnwillows, Punishing Fire, Loam and the combo. My opponent plays Stoneforge, I Punishing Fire it. He protects it with FOW. I take the turn and play Grove, get Punishing Fire back and kill Stoneforge. Then I play my combo, Loam again to get a Wasteland back and my opponent can’t do much about it.
Three times 2-0. Is this going to be one of those days again?
No. Because in the next round I’m playing the mirror and I lose game 1.
Round 4. Tobias on Lands 1-1
I’m on the play and I mull to a mediocre six. My opponent plays a fast Library and I already know how this is going to go. He has all the answers, all the engines and I get overrun. He plays it well and I give up.
The next game is an interesting one. I mull to six and I’m on the play. I have all the green cards that I’d want to see and a black one: Surgical Extraction. However, I only have one land. A fetch land.
I play my land and say go. My opponent plays a land and passes the turn. Then I draw five turns without a land. On the other side of the table, the combo is put down and he goes for it. I fetch, crop for a Karakas and bounce. Then I draw two more turns without a land.
In the meantime, I have surgically removed something. I think it was his Stage, but I’m not sure.
Eventually, I find a Ghost Quarter and GQ my Karakas to finally have some green, so I can Loam too. My opponent has no answer to my Loam and my Exploration and I start playing lands. About ten turns later, I had everything: Field of the Dead was live, I had Minsc & Boo, Loam+Exploration+Wasteland+Ghostquarter. When my opponent conceded, we had seven minutes left and we decided not to play any further. Time for a breather.
Round 5. Markus on Mono Black Helm 2-0
These two games were pretty simple since my opponent apparently picked up the ‘wrong half’ of their deck. I didn’t see any combo pieces, except for Dauthi, which I killed with a Bolt. I won pretty easily. A good line was that I made sure to have a construct token before I summoned Marit Lage in order to play around removal. That new Edict.
Round 6. Michael on Sneak and Show 2-1
My opponent came over a bit grumpy after I presented my Attractions deck. He didn’t know what it was and everyone around us said he was behind on the developments. Attractions are, of course, the new craze in Legacy. He asked (rightfully) if this was Magic or Yu-Gi-Oh!
Game 1 I played a pre-emptive Pithing Needle on Sneak Attack. I think that was a good one and I got him down to zero with a Marit Lage.
Game 2 I didn’t really get a say with a Show and Tell into an Omniscience into Atraxa into Emrakul. I asked him if this was Magic or Solitaire. (I didn’t actually ask this.)
Game 3 was a fun pot. For me that is. Michael mulled to five and I kept seven. Not much happens in the first few turns since he has a quick Blood Moon and he is also a bit flatlined by it. It’s draw-go for a few turns but I pick up 2 Pyroblasts and Force of Vigor and a green card and wait for the right moment since my Dark Depths are already in the game with zero counters on the Mountain. He hardcasts a Brazen Borrower, wanting to put pressure on my life total. I Pyroblast that to buy some more time. He plays his second Blood Moon and I decide to Force of Vigor it end of his turn. He counters with FOW and I counter back with Blast. One of my Mountains turns into a Dark Depths with zero counters on it and the rest is history.
I went into the last round with a record of 5-0-1, and instead of having a top 8, we just played seven rounds and then dished out the prizes. If I won this round, I’d be crowned the champion of the tournament.
Round 7. Dennis on Naya Depths 0-2
Dennis is a great player and an excellent Naya Depths pilot. This is a tough matchup for me, especially when my opponent knew what he was doing.
Game 1 was a struggle because he had a Knight and an Elvish Reclaimer and when I took over the initiative, he went for a main phase Marit Lage without protection. I guess he was thinking, either you win on the spot or I do. I couldn’t find an answer and we went to game 2.
Game 2 was also super close with a lot of complex lines. Eventually he had a strong board state that I could have wiped out with Kozilek’s Return, but I was one mana short of activating my own Elvish Reclaimer to get Bojuka Bog and shrink his Knight and Reclaimer.
I could kill his Safekeeper and bounce his Marit Lage during my turn after untapping, but his Knight and Reclaimer stayed alive on an empty board. I had two more turns when his 8/8 knight started attacking, and on the last turn I had an answer in Crop Rotation for Field of the dead or Marit Lage, but his Reclaimer stayed behind and he got to fetch Steppe for lethal.
Good job to Dennis and he ended up first place.
I ended up fourth with a score of 5-1-1 and you can find the top 8 decklists here.
I got to choose between the prizes as fourth pick and won two beautiful Scalding Tarns and a deckbox.
It was a really fun tournament, well worth the trip but next time without a hangover. Met some great people and on the 25th of June there’s an ELM qualifier which I’m planning on attending. It was nice to be recognized for my deck by some people, but probably more for my Attractions.
The Dutch Open Series, Netherlands. 111 players
It was the grand opening of the biggest Magic: The Gathering tournament in the Netherlands, after a few years of having to close the doors due to COVID. This was the first event, but if they keep going at the same rate as before the pandemic, then this tournament will take place four times a year. In addition, there are qualifiers throughout the country and you can qualify for the Championship tournament at the end of the year. They used to also have the ‘Player of the Year’ award for the player who had earned the most points throughout the year, not only in the four tournaments but also in the smaller, affiliated tournaments from all over the Netherlands. I can’t remember who the last ‘Player of the Year’ was though.
They host Pioneer, Sealed, Modern and Legacy every time. I don’t know the player numbers for Pioneer and Sealed, but Modern had 125+ players this time, so it’s very popular.
It was great to meet people I also encountered in Bottrop (Germany) and also a Belgian crew. It was fantastic to see how Legacy is alive and people from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany visit each other’s tournaments!
This time I wasn’t too lazy to change my deck and I made a meta prediction. I came up with this, based on ~70 players:
I was debating whether to stick with blue in my list because I expected fewer Red decks (than in the last two tournaments) and Choke seemed strong. I also really wanted three Maze of Ith due to all the creatures.
So I just decided to do exactly that: I replaced Ipnu Rivulet with a third Maze and replaced an Endurance in the sideboard with a Choke. I was only playing one (Tropical) Island…
I had tested one league online with that list and went 5-0, so the science proved me right, though I was aware that the manabase was quite greedy. I replaced one Minsc with a Sylvan Library to have some extra filtering options.
I still decided to keep my 71 cards, including Attractions. This time for the meme.
Round uno. Tim on UB Ninjas 2-0
Despite a judge call for an important moment in Game 1, Tim and I had a good vibe and it was a relaxed experience as well as competitive Magic. The judge call was about this: Tim hacked a Ninja into the game and I wanted to cast Crop Rotation for a Karakas before damage. My opponent said okay and I picked up part of my deck. At that moment he said: “oh wait, I wanted to response.” I had already seen a card from my deck.
Should the Crop resolve – yes or no?
The judge decided no and the moment was rolled back. I was okay with the decision. Tim did say it pretty quickly after the “okay”. Game 1 of a big tournament, no need to waste too much energy on this.
I built up a board state that gave me a good lock and since I watched a lot of Ninja movies when I was a kid, I knew exactly what to do and he conceded to not waste too much time.
Game 2 was pretty much the same: I built a board that could answer anything. I got Choke and it resolved. I had previously used a Saga to grab a Needle and put it on his unused Prismatic Vista. He then got two more Vista’s. My Tabernacle did a lot of work for his two creatures, which I had Mazes for. Although he could tap his Vista’s for green through my Yavimaya which I still needed, as I had little colored sources and a Trop which stayed tapped…
In the end I locked the game and he eventually conceded when we were running out of time.
Conclusion Game 1: I was happy with my third Maze. I was glad with Choke. My Trop was painful. I got into trouble with my colored sources. Just as predicted!
Round 2. Peter on RB Reanimator 2-0
It is almost impossible for Lands to win against Reanimator game 1. I was also on the draw. My opponent, Peter, was playing it slow. Too slow. Maybe he had the wrong hand, I don’t know. But I played multiple Sagas on my side. Off of the first one I got Soul-Guide Lantern, and off of the second one a Map to get Bojuka Bog. So I answered his GY a couple of times and still had Soul-Guide up. My Constructs started swinging, and the bleeding didn’t stop.
Game 2 he mulled to five. So did I, but I had two answers: Endurance + pitch, and Surgical. I didn’t even look at the rest of my hand.
Peter went all-in with his five cards. Land, Unmask + pitch to target Griselbrand and playing Reanimate. I asked politely if I could answer with Surgical and he politely said he’d give up in response.
Score: 2-0. Twice 2-0. Is this going to be one of those days again?!
Nope. Because Round 3 was against Enchantress.
Round 3. Robin on Enchantress 0-2.
Robin was a friendly chap and reminded me that we had played in Amsterdam years ago. I thought to myself: “I have no idea what you’re playing, Robin, but you seem to know what I’m playing. I hope I can catch you off guard with my Attractions.” He seemed to not know what Attractions were, so there went my plan.
Game 1 I was on the play, but I had little interaction with what he was doing. Just when I finally had my combo ready at the end of his turn, he casts Devoid Druid in his first main phase. A card I hadn’t seen too often, but it rang a bell, though I wasn’t sure why. Then he puts Swift Configuration on the stack and I can tell by looking at him that the question of whether that card resolved was a big one. It did and before I knew it, Emrakul was on the board. BAM!
Game 2 I had Exploration with Dark Depths, 2 other lands and a Crop Rotation. Just one more land and I would have Marit Lage. But I didn’t draw a land for three turns. I had some interaction with his engines, but he always drew at least one card of his engines and I was losing cards. I tried to hold on, but couldn’t. One for one removal just didn’t cut it.
When he had 10 cards in hand and I had two, I threw in the towel.
Score: 2-1. No big deal, right? RIGHT?
Round 4. Teun on Reanimator. 1-1-1
2-1. No biggie, until I saw the pairings and knew that my opponent was playing Reanimator.
I was on the play and mulled to five with no Crop Rotation. I didn’t want to go any lower and decided to keep the hand. What if he didn’t play Reanimator after all and I mulligan into oblivion. He kept six.
Eventually, he had a slow hand and was throwing creatures into his graveyard with Looting. I had Exploration and two lands in play and an Expedition Map in my hand, and my next draw would have to be a land to play the Map, crack it, and play Bojuka Bog to gain some time.
I drew… a Maze! Aagh!
My opponent takes the turn and hacks all kind of big creatures into play.
Game 2 I keep seven and he six. I’m keeping a hand with a green source and two Crop Rotations, plus a Soul-Guide. I play the Soul-Guide turn 1 to get it in play. He plays discard and picks one of the Crops. Ultimately, it’s a bit of a longer game because I have a few answers. I have a Saga with two counters, and he plays after some good sequencing a Magus of the Moon. He knew I had a Blue Blast and played a Looting first. I hesitated to counter it, because I wanted to save it for the Magus. I still decided to counter the Looting and he then played Petal and Magus. I gave him props, but with that props on the stack, I made a Construct token with the Saga.
I start swinging in for three slowly and at some point I Bolt his Magus. Then I draw an Endurance and when he wants to target a creature in his graveyard at the last moment, I play my Endurance and he conceded.
For game 3 we still have a few minutes. I don’t want to lose, because then I’m out of the tournament. I have no hate in my hand and mull. And mull. And mull… to three! Three cards without GY hate. I kept one land, Force of Vigor, and an Exploration. Hopefully he goes for the Animate Dead route.
He bricked on his first two Lootings and does not do much. Eventually we go into turns he finally gets a Griselbrand in play, but it’s turn 2 in turns and he only has one turn after this one. He draws cards and has three life. I take the turn and there are many people watching. I do play Bolt in my deck…
I tap my fist on my deck, everyone holds their breath, I draw a Bolt and win the Pro Tour finals!
No, I draw a random card and pass the turn. He attacks, goes to ten, draws cards and stands at three again. But then he plays an Archon and goes to six and passes the turn. I draw another random card in my last turn and it’s a draw and I get away with it.
Score: 2-1-1. Now just win everything…
Round 5: Alex on Bant NO Show 2-1
Yes!! Another tough matchup! I won game 1 on Construct beats. Game 2, he had a quick Natural Order into Progenitus. No interaction there. Game 3 was a long one. I ended up with 47 life and the match went into time again. I had a Choke doing some heavy lifting. He only had two lands, a green and a white. I had some lands and a Trop that stayed tapped. At one point, I had a Spell Pierce in hand and drew an Expedition Map. He had two lands, like I said. I played Map and got an Otawara which I also played. In the next turn, he played an important spell which I could Spell Pierce. He had to smile and cry a bit. Spell Pierce from lands with an Otawara, really?
Alex is a chill guy I play locally with, so everything’s cool. I even decided to give him some life with my Grove of the Burnwillows once in a while. Eventually, I resolved a Minsc & Boo and it was a race against the clock. A draw and I’m out of the tournament! He then finds a Swords and an Ending. So he answers my token two times and has an Ice-Fang.
Finally, I take turn five and he’s on three life, as he had to fetch in his last turn. He has an Ice-Fang in play, one card in hand and I get a token from Minsc, have a 3/4 Reclaimer in play and draw an Endurance. I activate -2 from Minsc and hold priority to then cast Endurance. He concedes and I’m proud of my sequencing, while everyone had gathered around at this point since Jordy went into time again.
Round 6. Robbert on Cephalid Breakfast 2-0
Robert got off to a rough start, mulling to five on game one, while I got to play an Elf on the play. He didn’t have any Swords for the first two turns, so I didn’t have to worry about that. I went for Marit Lage token and won.
I boarded wrong though, seeing two Tundras and an Island and put him on UWr control. He played Underground Sea, Aether Vial, Go. And I was like, okay, okay…
I had a Wasteland in hand, a green source, a Pithing Needle and Exploration, so I played the Needle on his Aether Vial. He then played a Tundra and started Brainstorming and Pondering. I then aggressively Crop Rotated for Wasteland, played my second Wasteland, and put him back to zero lands, fearing a quick combo from his side. He took his third turn, didn’t play a land and said go. I started Loaming and ran away with the game thanks to a Saga. He later played a Saga of his own, but I had Wasteland ready.
Non-game. He revealed his hand and had all the good cards. But my Needle and Wastelands exactly answered his weak spots.
Score: 4-1-1. If I win the last game, I might make top 8.
I decided to do a bit of scouting around the tables and got a good idea of the decks I could face. Nice variation of decks. Hoping for a Death’s Shadow deck with my three Mazes and Choke. I saw a friend playing Painter who made top 8 at the Bazaar of Boxes in Tilburg with Mississippi River, and I got paired against him. Too bad, because only one of us was playing for top 8.
Round 7. Mark on Painter 2-1
Painter is a good matchup for me. I know the matchup well and I’m playing blue in my sideboard. I win the die roll and start. I look at my seven and see some really good spells and Mox Diamond. However, I only see two lands. Two Maze’s of Ith. Damn. I mull.
I’m punished by beatdowns of his creatures due to a too slow six.
Games 2 and 3 are beautiful. In Game 2 I keep a hand with everything I need. But, the Expedition Map must stay alive until the next turn. I play Mox, land, Map.
He plays Saga, Needle. I think and decide to Pierce. I really need the Map to get going. The Pierce ended up being lethal since he was all in on the Saga plan and I can now Wasteland him out the game with Map for Wasteland and the full Loam + Exploration nuts. I have full control and he conceded to save time.
Game 3. I keep a hand with Fov, pitch card, Mox + pitch, land and Blue Blast and something else.
He goes turn 1 Tomb into Painter, names blue and plays Lotus Petal.
I put him on Red Blast. Definitely.
I draw a card, play Mox and a land, GO!
He played Saga and with the trigger on the stack I FoV’d both his Saga and Painter. He used Petal for Red Blast, and I counter his blast with Blue Blast. That resolved and he stayed with only a Tomb in play.
Mark was out of gas pretty much and I started developing my board with Loam and I believe Exploration.
By the time he used Surgical in his main phase as his last card, I showed him a winning Crop Rotation for the combo. He still went through my deck, but realized he couldn’t do anything.
Too bad we got paired!
Score update: I’m in 8th place with a 5-1-1 record on breakers! Now that’s what I call magic!
I faced off against Alex in the top 8 with Riddlesmith Combo. Alex is an amazing player and (spoiler alert!) would ultimately make it to the finals against Sneak and Show. In this version of RUG Lands I didn’t play Sphere of Resistance which is a bit of a shame against a deck like Riddlesmith. On the play Alex went off turn 2 and then turn 3 on the draw. Game 3 had a Flusterstorm for his Grapeshot on hand but I was tapped out, so there was no chance. I had a Surgical on his Urza’s Saga in game 2 hoping he was on that plan but he wasn’t. I feel like the deck has a weak spot for Surgical on LED and then its second plan is Constructs. I could’ve used some luck there but unfortunately, no such luck!
I ultimately won some sweet prizes, including a beautiful art piece of Unholy Heat and Eldritch Evolution, a deckbox, and a March of the Machine Set Booster Box.
Conclusion Dutch Open Series
I’m satisfied with making it to the top 8. Just barely making it in with one loss and one draw shows how quickly you can fall out.
I’m glad that the Dutch Open Series is back and hope it continues and grows into a grand tournament that happens throughout the year and connects to local tournaments. That’s good for the Dutch Magic scene and ultimately the Dutch Legacy scene.
It was really cool to see so many familiar faces and people from Belgium and Germany too.
The head judge even came up to me during the rounds to say he appreciates how I deal with the judges’ decisions, even if I don’t agree with the ruling or if it turns out badly for me. Awesome compliment! Respect is important and judges and tournament organizers also do it out of love for the game. And the foil judge promos of course.
Conclusion RUG Lands
After three top 8 finishes in a month, I can’t say RUG doesn’t work in Lands. I think Otawara is great and Ipnu is a good addition if Doomsday is being played a lot. Further, I think Blue Blast is really good and Flusterstorm/Spell Pierce are more than just ok. Maybe you could swap them for two Spheres instead. But I can also see why you don’t. It also depends on what you expect from the meta and a bit of luck which decks you’re going to face. But with so much Painter, Mono Red and RW or RG initiative I think blue is good.
Still, I remain a big fan of Choke and I don’t think Choke goes with blue, even if you only run one Trop.
Three Maze is a bit too much, but in RG it might be ok. It really depends on whether you play with Reclaimer or not. With a resolved Choke, I missed Port. You can wonder if Port isn’t too low power leveled nowadays.
Soul-Guide Lantern I think is a fantastic card and I didn’t miss Shadowspear, although it’s always nice to have access to that card.
Next Legacy tournament is May 7th in Turnhout, Belgium.
May you all get Brainstorm locked.
Thanks for reading!