Sometimes it can be hard to determine whether a card is overpowered or if it’s just no fun to lose to it. One such card that suffers from this debate is Ruunin the Relentless, a legendary Green card featured in many of the decks I find myself ultimately surrendering to. Let’s get this out of the way: I am tired of losing to this card. In a recent Reddit post, many players felt the same way. But is the card broken, or just poorly dealt with by the playerbase?
Ruunin offers 6/6 stats with a land cost of 2 Forest, and an initial Faeria cost of 8. Upon its death, the card is returned to your hand with its Faeria cost lowered by 2. This means that after 4 deaths, Ruunin can be summoned for a whopping zero Faeria. It’s easy to see why this might become annoying. In countless games, I found myself unable to deal with a constantly returning monster, particularly in Highlander mode. I have few removal cards to begin with, and Highlander mode reduces my deck to a Falcon Dive, Flame Burst, and maybe a Firebomb or Bomb Slinger. None of these cards effectively remove Ruunin, and all of them require another creature to dispatch the card back to its owner’s hand. On top of that, the Faeria and land cost for these cards is high, and they only deal with Ruunin once. My disastrous Red/Green deck is pretty bad to begin with, but Ruunin means an instant loss for me.
So how can a new player with limited cards deal with Ruunin?
1. Blue Control Decks
For the player lucky enough to run a Blue deck, Ruunin should pose few problems. Rife with options for transforming creatures and controlling the game, Blue decks counter Ruunin in the best way possible. Although somewhat lacking because of its high land cost, Unbound Evolution effectively negates Ruunin’s Last Words. Playing this transformation is slightly risky due to the random nature of the transformation, but with cards like Frogify and Mirror Phantasm, you have less to worry about.
Frogify, of course, is the most obvious answer to Ruunin’s tyranny, transforming Ruunin into a 2/2 Frog which can even be controlled with Aurora’s Trick, effectively negating Ruunin entirely while giving you another creature at your disposal. Mirror Phantasm is another option, although it suffers from high land and Faeria cost aside from leaving your opponent with a solid 4/4 creature at his or her disposal.
2. Yellow Rush Decks
Blue decks can be hard to get off the ground if you’re just getting started and lack the full collection, but many common or rare cards found in Yellow Decks can answer Ruunin’s endless charge without an extra purchase. Yellow is rife with opportunities to march down the board to your opponent’s God Orb, with cards like Oradrim Templar and Khalim’s Follower gaining extra damage against Gods.
Last Nightmare is one of the most powerful removal cards in the game, although it comes at a steep price of 6 Faeria and 3 lands. It destroys Ruunin, but costs way too much to be viable in play, as Ruunin comes right back on the next turn. Still, it can be used effectively against any other creature in your opponent’s deck, making it worthwhile to have aboard. It’s best to use Yellow’s extensive collection of Haste and Charge cards to whittle your opponent down before he has a chance to make Ruunin worthwhile. Celestial Tower can give up to 3 creatures an incredible Charge 5, effectively negating most of the distance between your God orb and your opponent’s. With aggressive use of land, constant pressure, and intelligent use of Haste, Ruunin quickly becomes a distant memory.
It’s best to use Yellow’s extensive collection of Haste and Charge cards to whittle your opponent down before he has a chance to make Ruunin worthwhile. Celestial Tower can give up to 3 creatures an incredible Charge 5, effectively negating most of the distance between your God orb and your opponent’s. With aggressive use of land, constant pressure, and intelligent use of Haste, Ruunin quickly becomes a distant memory.
These options, while solid answers for Ruunin, aren’t as effective when faced with Highlander Mode. In Highlander Mode, your opponent effectively has access to as many Ruunin cards as he chooses to summon (assuming that you have no way to deal with it). Your ability to deal with this strategy depends on your ability to draw the cards you need to counter Ruunin, a chance markedly reduced by playing Highlander Mode. Still, you’re likely to achieve much better results with these colors than with Red or Green.
As always, there are multiple ways to deal with any given strategy, and these two are far from comprehensive. Have a better way to deal with Ruunin the Relentless? Think the card should be nerfed to the ground? Let us know in the comments, and link your Ruunin-killing deck if you’ve got one. See you in the game!