Monday, February 10, 2014

RUG Thievery in Standard

When I think of thievery decks, I think back to the time in Standard when I was using cards like Act of TreasonBeguiler of Wills, Traitorous Instinct, and Zealous Conscripts. I liked that deck and found it didn't work well, except for the time I stole a Tree of Redemption. But then I saw Taylor Walker's deck at Red Battle Games. Of course it happened to be late at night and after not doing so well, meeting his deck was not something I felt up for, but overall, I respect this deck. It's so aggravating, it was hard to sit there and watch the events unfold and during the second game, I gave up at 12 life because nothing I did would stick. I was running a Green/White enchantment deck, and my creatures were getting stolen, my enchantments were given new targets (his creatures), so I decided to give him the win, but not before making sure he could email me the deck list. So here we go...

Now, in the real world, stealing is taking things from other people or businesses, but in some respect, if you were to print your own money and spend it, you are knowingly stealing by giving someone fake money. So what card in standard involves money? That's right, Conjured Currency.

Conjured Currency

If you've opened packs and don't recognize that card, maybe telling you it's the card no one wanted and was pretty much one of those rares you open and wish it was something more useful. It's converted mana cost of 6 makes it pretty much unplayable, but not in this deck!


RUG Thievery (Blue/Red/Green) by Taylor Walker

Red Battle Games FNM: Danville, VA 7 February 2014

Creatures

x4 Elvish Mystic
x4 Kiora's Follower
x2 Sylvan Caryatid
x4 Perplexing Chimera

Land

x4 Gruul Guildgate
x4 Izzet Guildgate
x4 Simic Guildgate
x6 Island
x6 Forest

Other Spells

x4 Retraction Helix
x2 Urban Evolution
x4 Gruul Charm
x4 Simic Charm
x4 Cyclonic Rift
x4 Conjured Currency

If you were to buy this entire deck, excluding basic lands (which are assumed most everyone has at least 10 or 20 of each color), Star City Games prices would run you about $60 for Near Mint of everything (which they don't all have in stock). So this is a pretty cheap deck to build. The Sylvan Caryatids and Cyclonic Rifts are the most expensive with Cyclonic rift being about $6 each and Sylvan Caryatid coming in at about $7 each. Those 6 cards in all wind up costing almost 2/3 of the whole deck.

The win/loss/draw record for the night was 2-2-1 with a loss against Gruul Aggro (which a fast deck against a slow deck typically results in the fast deck winning), and then a mill deck. Taylor tells me that he did manage to steal a Jace and mill out his opponent, but that was one win in a match he lost because his Perplexing Chimeras and Conjured Currencies were all milled. He also mentioned that Supreme Verdict could be a problem, but most control decks that involve White and Blue (and Black) seem to be major problems for everyone.

Before we look at how this deck works, there is a basic principal you need to understand: ownership vs. control. Ownership is actually owning the card. Cards you own are in your sleeves, they came from your deck box, they come from your library, go to your graveyard, and can be played from your hand. Control is where they are on the play area. When you play a spell and it resolves, or you play a land for turn, you control it. If someone switches a card you own/control for one of theirs, you still own it, but for this game or this turn, they are controlling it.

Now that we have gone over that principle, let's look at how this works:

You're obviously ramping with the Elvish Mystics, Kiora's Followers, and Sylvan Caryatids mixed with your lands, so by turn 3, you should hopefully have 5 mana and can start doing things. Let's look at the main engine here:

Perplexing Chimera  Conjured Currency  Cyclonic Rift

Alright, so Conjured Currency is one of the main pieces here. You switch it for a card controlled by your opponent but not owned by you. For example, if I owned/controlled Chandra, and Conjured Currency gives it to my opponent and I get Conjured Currency, during my upkeep, I cannot get my Chandra back because I own it. I can go for anything else my opponent owns/controls but nothing stolen from me.

Perplexing Chimera was used during the game to take things I cast switch targets and be lost from me. Having something countered is one thing, but watching the card you need to try and win the game taken and replaced by a Perplexing Chimera is not fun at all. Of course, you then get a Perplexing Chimera, but a quick Cyclonic Rift gives it back, but that is where the other important cards come in:

Retraction Helix  Gruul Charm  Simic Charm

Retraction Helix is a neat little trick to get a permanent back to your control by tapping a creature, and works like Cyclonic Rift, but only for one permanent. Cyclonic Rift has the benefit of giving you back everything if the trading went on for several turns. Gruul Charm also works for like an overloaded Cyclonic Rift, and Simic Charm works like Retraction Helix except just for creatures.

Everything else in the deck revolves around mana or mana creation which is really ingenious because if you are playing this deck and trade Conjured Currency for a really awesome creature, your opponent can only take a mana dork or Kiora's Follower which just untaps a permanent when tapped. It gives them little to no power to take anything, and all your creatures just got yanked leaving you with nothing to stop your opponent for beating you with everything they took.




What, you thought the post ended there? Nope! I was a little surprised too, and I had been planning to make my own updates, but Taylor gave me a deck list of what he wants to do to improve the deck. There are only a couple changes, but here we go:

Improved RUG Thievery (Blue/Red/Green) by Taylor Walker

Creatures

x4 Elvish Mystic
x4 Kiora's Follower
x4 Sylvan Caryatid
x4 Perplexing Chimera

Land

x4 Izzet Guildgate
x4 Temple of Abandon
x4 Temple of Mystery
x4 Breeding Pool
x4 Island
x4 Forest

Other Spells

x4 Retraction Helix
x4 Gruul Charm
x4 Simic Charm
x4 Cyclonic Rift
x4 Conjured Currency


The changes here are the loss of the two Urban Evolutions and the addition of two Sylvan Caryatids, the replacing of the Gruul Guildgates and Simic Guildgates with Temple of Abandon and Temple of Mystery, and then the loss of two Islands and two Forests to make way for Breeding Pools. 

Breeding Pool  Temple of Abandon  Temple of Mystery


Personally, I'd go with Steam Vents in place of the Izzet Guildgates, but my guess is that Taylor is waiting for the Blue/Red Scryland from Journey Into Nyx. I also might have kept the Urban Evolutions because it gives card draw, but he came up with this deck and must know best in that matter, so I'll defer to his experience in this instance.



Do you have a deck you want to share? Send it to DeckMaster {at} mondaymorningmtg {dot} com.

3 comments:

  1. Hey. I really enjoyed this deck and played it with my friends...but then we came up with the following problem:

    my friend controls my perplexing chimera and conjured currency. I try to bring it back under my control using either gruul charm or cyclonic rift. If he exchanges control of chimera with the spell, he can then use it to bring back the creatures/permanents he owns, which are under my control?

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    Replies
    1. That is one of the risks with the deck. I'll contact Taylor and see if he has a good explanation since it is his deck, but I believe you would have to play something like Simic Charm first before executing something like Cyclonic Rift or Gruul Charm. When I was playing against Taylor, he only let me have Perplexing Chimera or Conjured Currency, never both, and never for too long.

      Thanks for the comment!

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    2. Hey, sorry I am so late in replying. In the situation you described, your friend would then be able to bounce his permanent(s) that you control back to his hand with the rift. For that reason, I tend let the chimera sit on my side and trade it only in emergency situations or when my opponent has cast something I know I can use to win.

      The exception to the above situation is when you are holding a gruul charm, control nothing of your opponent's, and they are casting a spell that isn't a permanent. In this case, you can trade the chimera for their spell and then cast the charm to regain control of your chimera. This works because, whether or not your opponent decides to trade, the outcome is the same.

      - Taylor

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