The Rise of Rectors - an interview with Overhaul on Rector Curses
Back in late June when I first saw Nic Fit back among the 5-0 lists, I’ll have to admit I was a bit surprised. 8 Rector is a great deck but the list wasn’t even running Village Rites! None of the cards were new. Nic Fit is highly meta dependent, but what changed to put the deck over the top?
A few short weeks later and 8 Rector feels like a regular contender in both Leagues and the even more competitive Challenges. It’s now merely “semi-spice” in the Reddit compilation threads. That impressive show has a lot to do with user Overhaul on MTGO who barely missed Top 16 with a 17th place showing, before getting two Top 8s (a 6th place and a 7th place) across the Challenges of the last few weeks.
Rector Curses by Overhaul
MTGO Legacy Challenge 7th Place - July, 2020
|1||Recruiter of the Guard|
|2||Ugin, the Spirit Dragon|
|1||Vraska, Golgari Queen|
|3||Once Upon a Time|
|1||Curse of Death's Hold|
|1||Curse of Exhaustion|
|3||Curse of Misfortunes|
|1||Cavern of Souls|
|1||Field of the Dead|
It’s great to see Rectors getting some Top 8s and that’s worth writing about. More interesting is that Overhaul’s lists have been going for the Curses package with Curse of Misfortunes and including Crop Rotation which is different from most of the other Rector lists I’ve seen. I sent some questions to Overhaul to get his thoughts on the deck directly.
Interview with Overhaul
Thanks for taking the time. Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your local MTG scene like? How long have you been playing MTG/MTGO/Challenges/Nic Fit?
Hi! My name is Thiago Nakamura, or Overhaul on MTGO. I live in Brazil, and have been playing Magic since 2001. I started playing MTGO casually in 2010 but just started playing competitive a few weeks/months ago in June. I play mostly leagues during the week and play Legacy Challenges as much as I can during weekends. My second challenge was when I started playing with Rector Curses/Curses Fit and finished in 17th place.
I have played other versions of Rector Fit during past years but mostly casually. My interest in playing again with Rector Fit happened after I saw the player Threpio having good results playing with the version with Eureka. I liked the Eureka version and played some leagues with it. I was going to play with Threpio’s version during my first Challenge with the archetype, but a few minutes before I registered the deck I decided to change some cards and ended with the version I play today that I call Rector Curses/Curses Fit.
Congratulations on your recent finishes getting two Legacy Challenge Top 8s in the past month with Rector Curses and then just missing another top 16 in another Legacy Challenge. Your list is definitely a change from other Rector lists I’ve seen in the past. Let’s start with the full four Crop Rotations. What do you like about Crop Rot in your list?
Thank you! My first Challenge playing with the deck I ended 17th place and that was my first time playing with the changes I made. That was my first “test” with Crop Rotation and the curses package and I loved it!
I think that Crop Rotation was the most important piece that made me reach the Top 8 in those later Challenges. I would have not won some of my games if I didn’t have them in my deck. Crop speeds your own game finding the Phyrexian Towers inside your deck and at the same time it gives a way to interact with your opponent with the utility lands like Karakas, Bojuka Bog, or even Field of the Dead as an alternative win condition.
After playing the Rector Fit archetype without the Crop Rotations, I saw that we were mostly playing at sorcery speed. Against fair decks it could work but against fast combo decks like Depths, Reanimator, or Sneak and Show our chances to win were very low. The other thing I like with Crop Rotation is that I can side in a specific land during game two and find it at instant speed instead of trying to draw it or wish for it.
You did well in multiple challenges and only made a few tweaks. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! You leaned heavy on the Curses package instead of using Eurekas like some other lists out there. What do you like about Curses?
What I like about the curses package is that it provides more redundant ways to access all the enchantments we were already playing. I wanted to play a version with fewer “brick cards” – expensive permanents that are strong but hard to cast and get stuck in our hand – and removed Eureka from the deck so playing too many big enchantments was not an option. We have a strong silver bullet package with strong enchantments that works pretty well together but they are not as good alone. Curse of Misfortunes helps you get these combinations. Having many big enchantments works in the Eureka version but are pretty hard to work in this version.
It’s not uncommon to have 5 mana on turn 2 in this deck (Turn 1 – Veteran Explorer and Turn 2 – Phyrexian Tower) so it’s not impossible to have a turn 2 Curse of Misfortunes. Curse of Misfortunes in this deck works like extra copies of Academy Rector and gives you other ways to get your enchantments online if you’re playing around grave hate or something like that. Also playing Curse of Exhaustion gives you another way to play against combo decks or even blue decks. Curse of Exhaustion plays the same role that Dovescape typically plays. Dovescape works pretty well but you need extra layers of protection before playing it.
I noticed that you cut Cruel Reality in the later variations. That card is currently bugged on MTGO but you mentioned on the Nic Fit discord that you aren’t a big fan of it anyway. Talk me through what you don’t like about Cruel Reality. If it weren’t bugged, would it make the cut?
I was not a big fan of Cruel Reality even before I noticed the bug. Cruel Reality is a strong card but for me it “only works when It works”. I mean most of the time it will not be the first card you’ll search with Misfortunes or Academy Rector. If not Omniscience it will probably be Overwhelming Splendor. The problem with Cruel Reality is that it gives your opponent an option to choose what they want to sacrifice and they’ll obviously choose the least bad option. Sure it can be good against Oko or other annoying planeswalkers but it’s rare that you will face a board with just Oko and no creatures at all.
Instead of Cruel Reality, I prefer to play Curse of Exhaustion that will give you more options against other archetypes like combo/burn/prowess or just limit your opponent’s cantrips.
You have tried a few spicy wishboard targets through the iterations of your deck in Wispmare, Primeval Titan, Faerie Macabre, Phyrexian Revoker, and Peacekeeper. Which of these do you think worked well and are you trying out any other crazy tech?
I have been testing some wish targets during my Challenges but noticed that besides the Rectors you probably will not have time to cast any silver bullet creatures. I mean I can wish for Containment Priest against Reanimator, Show and Tell, or Dredge but by doing that I remove the surprise effect and they’ll just play around it. During your first turns you won’t have enough mana to play Living Wish and cast a creature on the same turn. Against fast combos you won’t have time to cast it or even worse they will just discard it from your hand.
As a result, I’m trying a more land focused wishboard because most of the time, if you are not wishing for a Rector, you probably are wishing for extra mana to play them. Having silver bullet utility lands in the wishboard against other decks is better than playing specific creatures because even if you can’t play them the same turn it doesn’t matter too much. Lands are harder for the opponent to get rid of from your hand and your opponent will not be able to Thoughtseize it or just save their removal for it. Since we play a deck with only a few creatures, wishboard creatures will just die immediately because your opponent will have lots of removal just waiting for a creature to target. The only exception besides Rectors is Tomik, Distinguished Advokist against matches like Lands or even Dark Depths. Another option that could work against D&T or Elves is Plague Engineer.
So I have decided to play more utility land in my wishboard because even if I need to side in them against some matches I can can just find them with Crop rotation at instant speed. Recently the new crazy tech I’m testing is Lotus Field as a wish target and I love it! This a tech against D&T and other decks that play tax lands or land disruption like Rishadan Port or Wasteland.
It’s not impossible to play against D&T but most of the times you will lose because they will not let you cast your rectors. Your explorers will help them more than help you and they have more creatures to pressure you. They will just wait until you have enough lands and will play Cataclysm and it’s GG. After losing too many times against this strategy I have decided to play with Lotus Field. Their Rishadan will be worthless and you can survive even after a Cataclysm. Nobody expects you to play Lotus Field in Legacy and It’s not good just because the “surprise” effect but because it really works in the matches you need it.
Are you thinking of changing anything for your next challenge?
Yeah for good or for bad I’m always testing other cards to adapt against the field. Recently I’m testing a version without 3 Once Upon a Time and playing 3 Assassin’s Trophy instead. Also I’m playing just 2 Arena Rectors main and only 2 Ugins as my planeswalkers to make space for 2 Abrupt Decays.
Decays are more a test to have a better game plan against RUG Delver but it could change if it doesn’t work the way I expect. With Assassin’s Trophy I’m pretty sure I’ll keep them in future versions because they are very versatile. It’s a 2 mana instant Vindicate against Delver and at the same time you can remove chalices/walkers and even have another way to deal with Dark Depths.
Something I noticed is that aside from Force of Vigor and Leyline of the Void you are not going to side any other card into your main deck. In the version with more creatures in the wishboard you are not going to side in just one random creature and expect to draw it. Playing main deck Assassin’s Trophy increases your answers against hate cards during game 2 and at the same time alleviates the pressure to find a Force of Vigor against some decks.
I’m pretty happy with the changes and I’ll probably keep improving the deck (or at least I’ll try) as much as I can until it stabilizes as part of the meta because the deck is not just strong but very fun to play.
Is there any one or any thing you want to shout out before we go?
I would like to give special thanks to Threpio for giving the initial inspiration to play the Rector Fit archetype again and also to the player rikimaru6 for some insights around the archetype too. Also I want to say to all Nic Fit players (and all other decks) that there is no “bad deck”. Sure there are the meta decks and everything else but keep playing and keep improving with the cards you like. After playing and testing you’ll see what works and what doesn’t. We can play the same deck but there are cards and synergies that works for me but could not work for you. Find the cards and synergies that work for you and for your own playstyle. When you find them you’ll know! ^^ Thanks for having me and sorry for writing a “bible” here XD
Thanks again for taking the time to answer these and it’s my pleasure to have you. Good luck on the next challenge! I also appreciate you posting the couple replay videos you did of the Challenges as that gives some insight into your approach to the deck and to sideboarding.
A replay video of Overhaul playing Rector Curses to a 6th place finish in June, 2020.
A replay video of Overhaul playing Rector Curses to a 17th place finish in June, 2020.