A Generalized Approach: Ruhan, Commander Guy Style

I had originally planned on writing up a discussion of my favorite spoiled Shadows cards.  I am, after all, literally oozing excitement.  It’s actually rather disgusting.

After some deep soul searching however, I decided that talking about new cards was a little premature.  There are still about a hundred cards left to reveal and I don’t want to have to timidly come back next week and add in some late additions.  Yes, most of the exciting, “flashy” cards have no doubt been revealed thus far, but who knows.  Anything could happen I guess!  Regardless, sometimes the best EDH cards aren’t the most interesting on the surface.

So what are you actually writing about?

Okay!  I get it.  Enough exposition.

Last week, lesser fellow MTGCardMarket Commander author Troy Bishop wrote about Ruhan of the Fomori.  I, too, have a Ruhan deck.  It is, in fact, one of my first ever Commander decks and one which I hold near and dear to my heart.  Seeing another author write about my precious Giant Warrior before I had a chance to do so filled me with a boiling, giant-sized rage.  [You have been writing for this site longer than he has… -Ed.]

Fortunately for you, the reader, our decks are not particularly similar.  While Troy’s Ruhan list is game-crossing exploration in thematic discovery, mine is a tad more cutthroat.  If left unchecked, my Ruhan deck tends to kill its first opponent, on average, by turn 5 or 6.  Even when stymied at every turn, the deck is surprisingly adept at shrugging off these pathetic attempts at survival.  Obviously this deck works better when it’s mono e mono Magic, but multiplayer battles can be surprisingly short as well.

At its heart, my Ruhan deck operates as a combo deck of sorts, the combo being “deal 21 general damage to the opponent.”  There are some alternate routes to victory in there, but by and large you’re going to be killing folks with an hasted, unblockable, double-striking 7/7 (at a minimum) that may get to take multiple attacks per turn.  Sounds like fun!

Tricks of the trade1

The tricks in this deck take on a few different roles.  Sometimes, if we’re lucky, cards can be roleplayers in multiple roles!

Before we start, one note: generally, these tricks are going to be instants and sorceries rather and enchantments, artifacts, or planeswalkers.  Yes, those supertypes are in here, but as the deck progressed along, it developed a instant/sorcery theme to it (as UR decks are wont to do).

Get Ruhan through

These are the cards that enable Ruhan to attack our opponent, unmolested by irksome blockers.

Cantrips go along way to making sure we have enough gasoline to put constant pressure on our opponent.  False Orders is a wonderful, albeit ancient and confusing, card that is more or less a Outmaneuver for one less mana (although, now that I think about it, should I also be playing Outmaneuver?)

Two cards, Veil of Secrecy and Fire // Ice, may seem somewhat suspect, but they serve a very specific purpose, namely stopping Maze of Ith.  Veil may be on its way out, but it’s a nice Counterspell + Unblockable spell if someone tries to Icy Manipulator down our guy precombat.

Get Ruhan huge

This selection of cards aims to ramp up the damage Ruhan does on any given turn.  These spells generally either give Ruhan double strike or give him another attack, be it via an extra attack step or with an entire additional turn.

Fatal Frenzy and Temur Battle Rage tend to do extra work in this deck, allowing Ruhan to not only go crazy damage wise, but by acting as psuedo-evasion by granting him trample.  Guess you should’ve blocked with more than that plant token!  The only suspect card on this list is clearly Final Fortune, but I can’t bring myself to cut it because of how well it epitomizes the deck.  Whether I win or lose, this game is going to end fast!

Protect Ruhan

The annoying part of playing against an opponent is that oftentimes he will try his best to stop you from winning even when he knows that you’re trying to win yourself!  How selfish.  To that end, he’ll often try to answer Ruhan, be it with a removal spell or the like.  These cards aim to put a stop to that nonsense.

I cannot think of a better use of Not of This World than in this deck.  Nothing feels quite so satisfying as tapping out to lethal your opponent, having them smugly respond with a trick to kill your general, and then responding right back with a free counterspell and now YOU’RE DEAD!  Boom!

Notably, the protection spells here work double duty.  Not only can they prevent a removal spell from our opponent, they can also allow sneaky Ruhan to waltz past like-colored blockers.  This is particularly awesome on the rebound spells: one part Counterspell; one part unblockable spell.  Finally, the suite is rounded out with some assorted cheap coutnerspells that can or do draw cards in a pinch.  If I were playing in a more competitive context, I’d probably add even more cheap counters up to and including Force of Will.

Other, non-Ruhan avenues to victory

Begrudgingly, I am playing other creatures in the deck.  There’s not a whole lot, and those that do tend to work well with the abundance of instants and sorceries in our deck, as well as the overarching “make a creature huge” plan.

Kiln Fiend’s whole extended family is here including crazy uncle Wee Dragonauts.  Wrecking Ogre is a house when cast on Ruhan, although I’ll forever be sad that it doesn’t enable a one-card-kill all by itself.  Surrakar Spellblade is perhaps the most powerful card in the whole deck.  Innocuous at first glance, an Assault Strobe and an Artful Dodge later and you’ve just drawn 4 cards… and that’s with nothing else being cast.  The only real odd duck here is Medomai the Ageless.  I added here because of the cute interaction she has with double-strike effects, as well as how favorable she interactions with haste granting effects.  Speaking of which…

Ruhan go fast (and other assorted odds and ends)

Finally, we get to everything else.  The fast mana.  The card draw.  The give Ruhan haste cards.

There’s not much to say about any of these cards really.  Soul’s Fire has won a surprising amount of games and Sunforger is incredible, acting as way to ensure that games that go long are within reach.  I often think about adding more mana rocks to the deck in order to power out Ruhan; I never end up getting around to it though.

Lands

As always, I usually don’t end up providing a land base for these decks due to the varying budgets of my readership (all two of you).  The only three lands that I would absolutely play are Hall of the Bandit Lord, Slayer’s Stronghold and Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion.  Other than that, add whatever you’d like.  In this deck, I personally have a honed mana base consisting of fetches, duals, the whole nine yards.  After all, I don’t want to stumble on mana and let Ruhan down.

Be sure to tune in next time where I’ll be going through the cards that I, Commander Guy, see as potential inclusions in the EDH decks of tomorrow.  Until then.

Commander Guy

Commander Guy

Commander Guy prides himself on building interesting, powerful, or at the very least, original Commander decks on a more or less frequent basis. An otherwise agreeable fellow, his only flaw is his intense and all-consuming hatred for Sol Ring. If you play one, prepare to suffer his wrath.
Commander Guy

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Published:March 22, 2016

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