Black Ops (Ruel, Jeudon, Ruel) second deck construction

Posted in Feature

By Rui Oliveira

When anyone talks about Team play in Magic they have to mention Black Ops. The French team, composed by the Ruel brothers (Antoine and Olivier) and Florent Jeudon, is without doubt one of the best in the business.

Their day didn't start in the best way: so far they have only played one round, thanks to their two byes, and they lost that round. Thus they were both eager and fearful to open this second card pool since they can only afford to lose one more round.

At the signal from the Head Judge all the teams eagerly open their card pools and Black Ops quickly settled into a routine created and perfected throughout their long history. They checked the lists to make sure there were no mistakes in the registration and dove right into the pile process.

After all the cards had been separated into good and bad piles they took the time to review the rejects piles looking for any hidden cards finding a couple of marginal card that you might take into consideration for some archetypes. The following step is without any shadow of a doubt the critical in any deckbuilding period: splitting the colors into initial builds.

Black Ops again showed their level in this period calmly discussing the options for a very, very long period. Invasion Team Sealed is not easy since the allied colors sometimes force you to balance things out to make up for a especially weak or insanely strong color. In this case Green was the problem falling into one of its pitfalls: too much mana fixers and not enough creature depth.

They finally settled into a Black-Red and Blue-White splash Black build. With the leftovers from these two decks they would try to create a five color deck that might work. Olivier Ruel took care of the Black and Red piles while Florent grabbed the Blue and White. After a few minutes both these players had very defined skeletons of their decks cut down to around thirty cards. In fact those two decks looked strong but the big problem was the trouble Antoine was having taming the five color madness.

Here are the highlights of the two established decks at this time:

Red-Black: Terminate, Plague Spores, 2 Soul Burns, 2 Death Bombs, Annihilate, Flametongue Kavu, Lava Zombie, Tsabo's Assassin, Tribal Flames.

Blue-White splash Black: Cavern Harpy (improving 2 Hunting Drakes, Sunscape Battlemage and Stormscape Battlemage), Voice of All, Wash Out, Probe, Plague Spitter, Benalish Trapper, Tidal Visionary.

After a few attempts to balance that deck Olivier and Antoine decided to trade places, and possibly decks. Curiously, a few seconds later Zvi and Alex Shvartsman traded places in the next table, proving that Pro Tour teams know how to adapt to the flow of deckbuilding allowing the players that can see a deck more clearly to take it and work with it.

While Florent and Antoine tweaked their decks, Olivier went through all the leftover piles and redid the five-color build. His two teammates went through their decks moving some cards to help Olivier in his wacky quests. He gained a Sunscape Battlemage, Tribal Flames and a Death Bomb.

Highlights of the second build of the five-color: Allied Strategies, Tribal Flames, Draco, Power Armor, Darigaaz's Charm, Rith's Charm, Harrow, Gerrard's Command, Armadillo Cloak, Ancient Spider, Stone Kavu, Sunscape Battlemage, Samite Pilgrim, Fires of Yavimaya.

With the three players putting their heads together for that final deck the process sped up considerably and they settled to an almost finished build and left Olivier dabbling with it while they registered their decks.

Curiously, the card that attracted more attention at the start of the deck construction was the only left alone in the middle of the table. Hanna, Ship's Navigator interacted very well with Exotic Curse, Draco, an Attendant, Power Armor, Hobble, Fires of Yavimaya, Armadillo Cloak and several other cards. So at the start of the pile process they seemed eager to put the legend up to use. In the end the card pool took them elsewhere and they left wondering if Olivier's deck could actually work.

Florent Jeudon

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Antoine Ruel

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Olivier Ruel

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