AuthorRick Rust

Over the years, Rick has gradually reined in his predilection for rogue decks and become more of a Spike player. In 2004, Rick placed in the top 64 at U.S. Nationals.

Spike Pushes Timmy Aside: Rediscovering The Rock

How do you weather one of the worst Magic slumps of your career? By returning to your roots, of course, and piloting a deck that fits like an old pair of house slippers to a consistent set of wins. Today Rick discusses the midifications Rock decks have had to make to compete and gives a complete matchup analysis against all the major decks in the field.

Fire And Ice: Red And Blue In Betrayers

All right, you know the drill: I’m going to list tons of cards, then I’m going to rate them for both Champions of Kamigawa Block and Standard. Can Ponza work? Is the blue Shoal worth putting in your deck? And what Legends should you be concentrating on breaking?

Benevolence and Foliage: White and Green in Betrayers of Kamigawa

This is going to be a long one, so I’ll keep the introduction short. This is a first look at the Constructed quality of Betrayers of Kamigawa. Since my expertise is only in Standard, I’m going to leave Limited and Extended evaluations to other people. I’m also going to give a separate rating for a card’s Kamigawa Block Constructed worthiness, since that format is quite different from Standard.

Rebirth: The Secret Best Deck

Sexy Rector. Ghoul Burst. Pattern. And most recently Rebirth. The deck has had many names, but none of them seem to stick. Sexy Rector sounds like a bad porno movie title. Phyrexian Ghoul now has to compete with Nantuko Husk. Thanks to Symbiotic Wurm, Saproling Burst isn’t even necessary anymore. The deck finished just outside the Top 32 in Columbus and has been completely under the radar in the prelude to Extended season, so it has a lot of surprise factor. Should you be playing it? Rick Rust thinks so…

This Ain’t No Rock: Fine-Tuning B/G Control in Standard

No other archetype in Standard has the flexibility that B/G Control does. This is both a blessing and a curse: With so many options, finding the optimal configuration for the deck is challenging – but even more than usual, knowing your local metagame is critical. Once you know what you’re up against, it’s simply a matter of adding the proper tools to the deck. This also means that B/G Control is not particularly friendly to net-deckers. There is no universal build, and even the core of the deck leaves a tremendous number of open slots…

Losing To Alex’s Proteus Staff: U.S. Nationals Day One

Yeah, you may have heard of some of those guys. Two veterans from Your Move Games. Then there’s Billy Postlethwait, who almost became the national champion. I didn’t recognize Mitchell Tamblyn’s name, but when Ted Knutson sat down behind me with his laptop, taking notes on Mitchell’s drafting, I knew that he had to be a pretty hot Limited player too. Needless to say, having only drafted this format twice, this was not the draft pod I was hoping for.

Mayhem at Midnight: Grinding at U.S. Nationals

After sleeping for the first half of the flight from Washington, DC to Kansas City, I finally wake up and pull out my notebook. Since the first grinder begins in about six hours, I should probably come up with my decklist. The maindeck looks pretty good, at least on paper. I haven’t actually tested it yet. But finalizing the sideboard is the hardest part. After much scribbling and scratching out, it finally looks good.

Who Needs the Clamp? A Mid-Atlantic Regionals Report

After many weeks of playtesting, I couldn’t find a rogue deck that pleased me. My G/R Urzatron Tooth and Nail deck promised to be the most fun. But an important part of fun for me is earning a winning record and coming as close to qualifying for Nationals as possible… so Tooth was a bad choice. I eventually settled on Paskins Red, and this is my tale.

Three-Color Slide: A Primer And A Defense

People say that the only reason to go green is Living Wish – but Burning Wish doesn’t depend on having Astral Slide already in play and cycling cards in your hand. Your rogue opponent just surprised you with Tranquility after you overextended. How do you win immediately? Burning Wish for Earthquake or Blaze. In short, Burning Wish provides access to more answers, and each one is faster and more efficient in terms of mana cost.

After Judgment Has Passed: White Answers And White Weenie

Deadly enchantments, like Solitary Confinement and Mist of Stagnation. Hard-to-kill creatures, like the Phantoms. Punishers and Incarnations. What trends are coming up in a Judgment-fueled Type 2 – and what answers exist to stop those threats before they arise?