All Standard Wanted was a New RUG, Man

In very recent tournaments, there has been a Red/Blue/Green (RUG) Monsters deck seeing some success. I believe the deck was popularized by Sam Black. My friend and I have been playing and tuning a different type of RUG deck lately: RUG Midrange. I’ll be showing this deck to you, along with what card choices can likely change as well as sideboard plans against the common matchups. This deck is fun to play and can make for some pretty commanding board positions. This deck is not quite polished enough for your next large tournament, but let’s see if we can get it there. Without further ado:

[deck title=RUG Midrange]
*4 Sylvan Caryatid
*2 Kiora’s Follower
*2 Scavenging Ooze
*4 Courser of Kruphix
*3 Master Biomancer
*3 Polukranos, World Eater
*4 Stormbreath Dragon
*1 Prime speaker Zegana
*4 Mizzium Mortars
*2 Divination
*2 Turn // Burn
*2 Kiora, the Crashing Wave
*3 Xenagos, the Reveler
*4 Stomping Ground
*4 Breeding Pool
*2 Steam Vents
*4 Temple of Mystery
*4 Temple of Abandon
*3 Forest
*2 Island
*1 Mountain
*2 Pithing Needle
*1 Chandra, Pyromaster
*2 Flames of the Firebrand
*1 Shock
*1 Unravel the Aether
*3 Mistcutter Hydra
*1 Scavenging Ooze
*2 Cyclonic Rift
*2 Negate

Card Choices

I’ll admit there are some unorthodox card choices in this list, but testing these is the best way to see if an underplayed card shines in the metagame. The ability to play [card]Kiora’s Follower[/card] is helpful, since it lets us get a little bit tricky by untapping creatures during combat. [card]Kiora’s Follower[/card] also works well with cards donning the inspired keyword. Similar synergies that have been overlooked may have been passed up because of the prevalence of [card]Thoughtseize[/card] and how it skews the viability of synergistic decks against decks that run individually powerful cards.

Currently, [card]Master Biomancer[/card] plays out well enough and can steal games fast enough that it is worth playing, even though it is not an individually powerful card. Notable cards that our pet four-drop plays nice with are [card]Xenagos, the Reveler[/card] and [card]Prime Speaker Zegana[/card], since drawing extra cards off of a giant monster and making large haste creatures for free are both proactive winning strategies. We found that the deck needed more card advantage sources, and [card]Prime Speaker Zegana[/card] seemed too good to pass up. [card]Divination[/card] is also in the deck to provide more consistent early-game velocity, which is especially helpful given  the three-drop slot is a bit light.


Rather than giving you a card-by-card guide against popular decks, I prefer to list the cards in the sideboard and how they can help you increase your chances of winning in your post-sideboard games. I like the philosophy of sideboarding against cards rather than decks, since it often allows your choices to be more accurate. The cards you cut when sideboarding are heavily based on the cards you see and what you expect based on that, so I’ll leave that to all of you.

[card]Pithing Needle[/card] is necessary against [card]Aetherling[/card] and is helpful when trying to fight [card]Underworld Connections[/card] as well. This means you want it against blue control and likely Mono-Black Devotion, along with the other black variants.

[card]Chandra, Pyromaster[/card] is a solid source of card advantage that is also generally useful against [card]Sphinx’s Revelation[/card] and [card]Underworld Connections[/card]. Keeping up with these decks is a strong strategy since your cards are generally more powerful than theirs on a one-for-one basis. [card]Lifebane Zombie[/card] will likely be in the Connections decks, so we might want more than one of these in the board.

[card]Flames of the Firebrand[/card] and [card]Shock[/card] are there to kill those pesky tiny creatures that try to kill us before we get our plan of an early 5/5 going. [card] Scavenging Ooze[/card]  is strong here, too. We want the fourth Ooze against the Golgari graveyard deck that has been popping up lately.

[card]Unravel the Aether[/card] is self-explanatory, as is [card]Mistcutter Hydra[/card].

[card]Cyclonic Rift[/card] is a house against other creature decks, especially large creatures, since you are undoing their mana investments from multiple turns. This often wins the game when overloaded. Think of it as a [card]Bonfire of the Damned[/card] that doesn’t [card]Fireball[/card] them. Remember that card?

[card]Negate[/card] provides some insurance against large spells like [card]Sphinx’s Revelation[/card] and [card]Rakdos’s Return[/card]. The chance to counter an opponent’s entire turn definitely worth these slots in the board.

Cards We Can Consider

There are a lot of powerful cards in Standard, but we can’t play them all. Some honorable mentions of cards I’d like to play include [card]Domri Rade[/card], [card]Izzet Charm[/card], [card]Boon Satyr[/card], and [card]Nylea, God of the Hunt[/card]. [card]Prophet of Kruphix[/card] deserves a shot, too. Some of these cards would require us to build the deck differently, or push us in a direction that might not be best, but all are powerful enough in their own right to warrant some testing.

Let me know what you think. I encourage you to try this deck because it is definitely capable of powerful hands. Having multiple [card]Master Biomancer[/card] in play is very satisfying. Saying, “Dragon, 10 you?” sure does feel nice.

If you have comments or questions about the deck, please share below!

Leave a Reply