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How to Build and Play Ruby/Amethyst in the Into the Inklands Meta

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Ruby/Amethyst has stood against the test of time since the release of Lorcana's The First Chapter back in August of 2023. Now that we're heading into Disney Lorcana's 4th set, Ursula's Return, it's no surprise that a deck with a large representation across multiple tournaments that continues to make top cut attracts players across all skill levels. This article aims to be a primer to help you not only understand the deck better, but pilot it competitively for both upcoming Store Championships and Lorcana Challenge Events. Let's dive right in.

The Deck

We're going to go based off a recent deck that made the Top 4 cut in a recent 2K in Ohio at Refined Gaming LLC:


Key Cards and Synergies

When playing Ruby/Amethyst, the typical strategy is to control your way to the end game, questing where you can and out playing your opponent on card value thanks to your multiple options of drawing cards.

High Value Draws

Chernabog's Followers - Creatures of Evil provides a great early game board presence against aggro decks. enough to where when you no longer need them, you can banish it and draw a card. With its low cost, it can be played during any part of the match for little to no risk. Kuzco - Wanted Llama as a 2-drop is versatile as it can deal with aggro decks and when combined with a Maui's Fish Hook can make favorable trades and draw after being banished. Maleficent - Sorceress is a 3-drop that replaces itself when played. On a follow up turn, you can sing Friends on the Other Side for additional draw power. Finally, Merlin - Rabbit draws a card when it enters and leaves the field, allowing you the flexibility to bounce it back to hand thanks to both Madam Mim - Snake and Madam Mim - Fox. Between all of this, having substantial cards in hand over your opponent should be little to no issue.

Favorable Challenges

Thanks to the new Ruby item, Maui's Fish Hook, Ruby/Amethyst has even more flexibility when it comes to swinging up and making favorable trades. At a small cost of 2 ink, you can grant an additional 3 Strength to a chosen character. This helps small characters like Rafiki and Madam Mim - Fox gain even more value when challenging high Willpower characters and locations. Thematically, you could use the item's effect on Maui free of charge giving him a total of 9 Strength which is enough to handle even the most highest of Willpower locations, such as McDuck Manor - Scrooge's Mansion.

Wipe, Reset, Repeat

Between the amount of board removal, both targeted and not, this is where Ruby tends to shine for the deck. It almost feels like surviving until turn seven just to drop the inevitable Be Prepared is when your game starts. By this time, you should have an overwhelming card advantage over your opponent where you can begin to play additional board threats and outvalue your opponent. Lady Tremaine - Imperious Queen tends to put in a bunch of work post Be Prepared thanks to its enter the field effect of having your opponent choose a character to banish. They will most likely struggle building a board presence faster than you will, and this card punishes them for only playing one character. This also gets around the keyword Ward successfully too. If the opposing character has 3 or less attack, Madame Medusa - The Boss really shines here thanks to her target removal. If all else falls and you have the ink for it, Maleficent - Monstrous Dragon will outright banish any targeted character. You can then abuse these abilities further by bouncing them back to your hand and playing them again. I'm particularly a fan of playing Lady Tremaine and playing additional copies of her on top of herself thanks to Shift for a reduced cost, and playing either Madam Mim cards to bounce them all back to my hand.

Steady Lore Gains

For all other decks, getting to 20 fast is typically a priority. However, this deck is focused more on controlling your opponent's ability to gain lore first, and then questing when it's safe. Your traditional high lore questing characters will be Minnie Mouse - Stylish Surfer, Lady Tremaine, and Maleficent - Monstrous Dragon. However, you have a few more unique options available, such as Merlin - Goat and The Sorcerer's Spellbook. A common synergy is to play Merlin - Goat and quest with it on the following turn, and then bouncing it back to hand from a Madam Mim card. With enough lore, you can play it again and have it ready for the following turn. Being at 15-16 as a Ruby/Amethyst deck versus other decks is a completely different experience since the amount of instant lore gain thanks to Goats + Bounce and Spellbooks can easily close out the game on a following turn leaving your opponent with little to no options on how to respond to it.

Strategies and Overall Gameplay

As a control deck, you want to control your opponent's opportunities while maintaining board and/or card advantage. Knowing, understanding, and preventing your opponent's goals are a surefire way to know you're doing the right thing. The deck has so much versatility, so you'll need to cater your game play to deal with specific archetypes. Cards like Chernabog's Followers, Rafiki, and Kuzco will help you deal with early aggro decks. For midrange, Maui can typically two-for-one characters or locations in the event you see those hit the board. You really shine more in the late game, with a plethora of options to deal with many scenarios. Dealing with an opponent's large board presence with Be Prepared is typically the turn seven play, following up with a steady amount of lore gain since you can continuously punish the opponent's board presence with so much removal.

Against Amber/Steel Songs

The Bare Necessities is a problem. It's important to try to play around this the best you can, as you can expect it to interrupt Friends on the Other Side or Be Prepared. If they are playing Sleepy's Flutes, they've officially started a clock on you. You'll need to race them to the win as they will steadily gain lore from singing or playing their songs outright. Otherwise, respect the board state and play Be Prepared at the right time, trying to weave between the The Bare Necessities and A Whole New World.

Looking at the Mirror

This is my least favorite matchup. It's long, grindy, and takes a lot of metal dexterity to navigate through it. The variance on different cards the deck can use also makes it a bit frustrating to deal with. Keep an eye out if they're playing locations, such as The Queen's Castle - Mirror Chamber and RLS Legacy - Solar Galleon, or The Sorcerer's Spellbook themselves. Utilizing the Merlin - Rabbits for maximum card draw will be key in this matchup.

Facing Ruby/Sapphire Control

A lot more control players seem to be migrating to Ruby / Sapphire to keep the identity of direct removal, but include other win conditions with items, such as Lucky Dime and Tamatoa - So Shiny! Focus on dealing with key card drawing engines, such as Hiram Flavorsham - Toy Maker and removing Gaston - Intellectual Powerhouse and Tamatoa. Once Lucy Dime is in play, you'll need to race to the finish as the opponent can gain lore without questing, which is hard to deal with.

Emerald/Steel Discard

This is probably one of the least favorable matchups. Try to keep your draw engines going and push toward Be Prepared. Being unable to target Prince John or Bucky thanks to Ward is just rough. Beyond that, try to find missed drops and exploit those opportunities to maintain a stronger board state.

Sapphire/Steel Ramp

Very similar to Ruby/Sapphire, you will be dealing with Ramp to get out Lucky Dime as early as possible to start the clock on you. Disrupting the opponent's draw engines is critical because you won't be able to stop a Fishbone Quill from being used, but without cards in hand it becomes useless. Playing around A Whole New World is important too, so look out for those telegraphed plays.

Closing Thoughts

Ruby/Amethyst is an affordable, consistent deck that continues to be reliable in the Into the Inklands meta. While we're seeing other decks rise in popularity, Ruby/Amethyst continues to be a safe choice when all other options feel daunting. It's important to note that the deck isn't invincible. Some of the tougher matchups include both discard style decks and the mirror match. Otherwise, it's not a bad choice.

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