One month ago, in Ready to Role’s own backyard of Boston Massachusetts, fierce competition took place at the 2017 Magic: the Gathering World Championships. The finals, and everything else, can be found on Magic: the Gathering’s YouTube Channel here. Now that I’ve had some time to think about the results, and compare the results to my own FNM results, here’s why it’s time to revisit Ramunap Red’s sideboard. The 75 cards in this deck are not an “auto-lock.”
A list of the maindecks that competed at Worlds 2017 can be found on the official Magic website here. Several similar versions of Ramunap Red made the Top 16, but the sideboards varied considerably. For that reason, we are mostly going to take a look at the sideboards. The second place finisher, Javier Dominguez, brought the following sideboard:
Additionally, 2017 Player of the Year and Worlds competitor, Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, wrote this Channel Fireball article outlining his sideboard choices and what to side in/out against certain matchups. In the article, he noted that he would not recommend Ramunap Red moving forward due to a small lack of power, the overwhelming presence of Temur Energy and the mirror match, and other deck’s more flexible sideboards. Either way, this is the sideboard brought by himself and a handful of others who ended up making the Top 16 at Worlds:
As you can see, there are several differences in the sideboard based on what each player expected to see at Worlds. For example, Paulo valued Aethersphere Harvester over Pia Nalaar in the mirror match and ran one less Rampaging Ferocidon.
Paulo also cut a maindeck Chandra and an Abrade to run two maindeck Harsh Mentors, which Javier did not have anywhere in his 75 cards. Paulo essentially maindecked against his worst matchup, Temur Energy, and relied upon his sideboard if he faced the mirror match.
I also want to quickly talk about two interesting adaptations of Ramunap Red that I saw do well on a National level. The first is 2017 Irish Nationals winner David Murphy’s deck and sideboard. Notable choices in the maindeck:
Again, much like Paulo’s deck, we can see the loss of Abrades in exchange for the player damage from Harsh Mentor or Rampaging Ferocidon.
We also see Pia Nalaar and her tokens continue to fall out of favor in exchange for bigger bodies that deal direct creature damage like Glorybringers and Sand Stranglers. David also figured that 2 Chandras was enough to handle the already favorable control matchups and that the Glorybringers and Sand Stranglers did the same job as Chandra while also providing a body.
Similarly, Omar Beldon made top 8 at Canadian Nationals with this list:
Interstingly, Omar opted not to include any Rampaging Ferocidons and instead valued Key to the City.
As a side note, definitely check out Alan Ngo’s spicy Rakdos (B/R) build at the very bottom of the page. These have been popping up a lot lately in the past month featuring Dread Wanderer, Night Market Lookout, Scrapheap Scrounger, Vicious Conquistador, and Yahenni, Undying Partisan. Is this deck an evolution of Ramunap Red or is it a completely new deck?
We all netdeck. There is no shame in copying the tried-and-true, tested decks that the top competitors bring to top competitions. However, what’s important to note is that they all know eachother. There is a lot of cross-testing. They know the styles of opposing teams. So their decks and sideboards are tuned against what they expect out of the meta that is the best players in the world.
Unless you competed at Worlds, this means that their sideboards are not tuned for your meta. You should adapt your deck to your surroundings. However, that doesn’t mean you should just tweak the deck for the sake of calling it your own.
For example, at my local store, Ramunap Red has almost vanished. I might be the only one left playing it. That means that I have at least six wasted sideboard slots in Chandra’s Defeat, Pia Nalaar, and Aethersphere Harvester. Until this article, I had merely cut the Pia Nalaars for some help against Temur Energy, Grixis Improvise, and Tokens. Let’s take a look:
First off, I’d like to stress that many of the singletons in the sideboard are a result of holes in my collection and my own experimentation. This is by no means a “final” list. I have been bringing some spice to FNM for testing and this is the latest. With the open spots that I have, due to the lack of the mirror match in my meta, I’ve been experimenting with cards like:
If you are interested, the background discussions leading up to choosing these cards can be found on the original post that I made here:
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