Matchup Mulligan: RUG Delver

BR Reanimator Final Hand Answer

Hand 10: (on the draw)

DarkRitual DarkRitual Ad Nauseam Chrome Mox Infernal Tutor Duress Cabal Therapy

Most people correctly answered that this was a keep. This article's theme will be "Do not live in fear", and this is a great example of that. While your opponent could have a discard spell or even Chancellor of the Annex, you can't send this back. While you could just lose the game on the first turn, there's nothing you can do to prevent that, so don't let it influence your decisions. A discard spell would be truly terrible, but you can still beat Chancellor of the Annex by simply drawing a land.

RUG Delver

Pre-board

Hand 1: (on the draw)

Polluted Delta Bloodstained Mire Badlands Polluted Delta Ponder DarkRitual Duress

Keep

I think sometimes people get in their own heads about needing to win fast with a combo deck. With a hand like this I want to aggressively search up basic lands and then sit on fetchlands until I'm ready to go off. I would wait to cast Ponder until I could play around Daze and then wait on the Duress until I was ready to go off. Making land drops is one of the best things you can do against RUG Delver making this hand an easy "keep" for me.

 

Hand 2: (on the play)

Duress Thoughtseize Thoughtseize Swamp Bayou BurningWish DarkRitual

Mulligan

This hand can be a bit tricky but is ultimately a mulligan for me. I think people tend to over-value a lot of discard spells, when you actually want mana against RUG Delver most of the time. While discard spells are crucial for discarding Force of Will, you don't need that many, as RUG attempts to attack your mana to keep you off of casting your spells. Which brings me to my next point, this hand doesn't create red mana! In order to win the game you'll need two red mana, one for Burning Wish and another for Empty the Warrens. I think on the draw you might be able to argue this hand as a keep, but it would be rather loose.

 

Hand 3: (on the draw)

Rite Of Flame Lotus Petal Chrome Mox Chrome Mox Infernal Tutor BurningWish Lions Eye Diamond

Keep

Do not live in fear. I keep this hand 10/10 times. While you could lose to Stifle, Force of Will, and Spell Pierce you can't play in fear of what they may have when you're presented with a solid opening hand. If this hand draws anything it can imprint onto the second Chrome Mox or even a land, you're able to combo off through Daze. Depending on how the game plays out, you could even draw up to ten cards that allow you to win through Spell Pierce.

 

Hand 4: (on the play)

Empty The Warrens BurningWish Bloodstained Mire Island Infernal Tutor Chrome Mox BurningWish

Mulligan

While Empty the Warrens is one of the best cards you can have in the matchup, this hand is just unplayable. It's enticing because you have access to both of your basic lands and even Empty the Warrens, but it doesn't do enough. You'll be able to Empty the Warrens for maybe 6-8 Goblins in the face of Daze, Stifle, Spell Pierce, and Force of Will. Which likely won't get there, especially not with any blockers.

 

Hand 5: (on the draw)

Polluted Delta DarkRitual DarkRitual Infernal Tutor Infernal Tutor Thoughtseize Duress

Keep

This hand is a bit risky, the reason why is Stifle. You're really relying on being able to search up your basic Swamp and to be able to play the game. But we're going back to the "do not live in fear" mantra. You shouldn't be throwing away perfectly acceptable hands because they might have something. While this hand still needs more mana, it has a good mix of disruption and mana. You can use Infernal Tutor to search for another Dark Ritual on the combo turn as a way of getting rid of one of them to enable hellbent.

 

Post-board

Website recommendation for sideboarding

IN
Empty The WarrensEmpty The Warrens
OUT
BurningWishInfernal Tutor

 

Hand 6: (on the play)

Rite Of Flame Rite Of Flame Empty The Warrens Chrome Mox Volcanic Island Bloodstained Mire Bloodstained Mire

Keep

This hand loses to two cards - Force of Will and Surgical Extraction. Both of which would require our opponent to play them at the correct time. What I like about this matchup is that eight Goblins is enough without Deathrite Shaman in the format.

 

Hand 7: (on the draw)

Polluted Delta Ponder BurningWish Infernal Tutor Infernal Tutor Empty The Warrens Rite Of Flame

Mulligan

Unlike hand five, this hand doesn't have the potential to back keeping a hand that loses to Stifle. That said, even if our opponent doesn't have one, we're obligated to search up a non-basic land playing into Wasteland and Daze with our clunky draw. There isn't much to like about this hand. If you thought this was a keep, I would recommend exercises in which you think about how game plays play out and future turns. This is the first step in becoming a better player.

 

Hand 8: (on the play)

Ad Nauseam Lotus Petal Rite Of Flame DarkRitual Polluted Delta Infernal Tutor Brainstorm

Keep

The classic, "Do they have it?" hand. If we kept a hand that plays into Stifle and Force of Will, we're definitely keeping a hand that doesn't lose to one of those. They're roughly 38.5-40% to have Force of Will and a blue card, which if you go to a casino is amazing odds. The thing that makes this different is that this is post-board, where we have three copies of Empty the Warrens in our deck. Which makes Ad Nauseam not a guaranteed kill, while there's four copies of Lotus Petal and Chrome Mox to help maintain the balance, crazier things have happened. I would snap this off.

 

Hand 9: (on the draw)

Empty The Warrens Empty The Warrens Polluted Delta Bloodstained Mire Bayou Chrome Mox Infernal Tutor

Either

Somewhat similar to hand four. You have access to both of your basics and Empty the Warrens, the difference here is that you're able to follow up Empty the Warrens with another copy of Empty the Warrens. This helps play around Stifle as well as a singleton sweeper effect. The counter argument would be this hand is a bit slow and doesn't have a whole lot going for it, you're really relying on drawing well in order to win. I think I'd be okay with keeping it due to being on the draw rather than on the play which is the defining difference between this hand and hand four.

 

Hand 10: (on the play)

Chrome Mox Chrome Mox DarkRitual Ponder Brainstorm Brainstorm Empty The Warrens

Share your answer in the comments below!

I'll provide my answer in the next article, but for now, make sure to post your thoughts!


Bryant Cook

Bryant Cook has 1 Grand Prix Top 8 as well as 9 Star City Games Top 8s (2 wins). You can often find him traveling the northeast in search for the next big event, he recently won SCG: Worcester and is the Legacy Premier League Season 3 Champion! Outside of M:TG he's an avid New York Mets fan, graphic designer, pop-punk enthusiast, and doggo aficionado. Bryant Cook is the owner and president of The EPIC Storm.