Brewing for Indy Round 2!
Last week I covered the Mono Blue Control list I’ve been leaning towards. This week I’d like to discuss some variations on a strategy I’m intimately familiar with: G/R Ramp! There are 3 different ways I think you can go with it this format and I’ll have a list for each below.
The first I’d like to discuss you could categorize as “traditional” as it’s the biggest throwback of the 3. With artifacts making a return to the forefront of Standard, World Breaker can once again become an integral part of your overall strategy. It is the cleanest answer to Vehicles, which Ramp has few ways to deal with otherwise since Kozilek’s Return will not usually hit them on the front side, and they probably won’t be crewed for the back half. Decks will also be trying to utilize energy as a resource to do crazy things and the best way to overcome that is to just go bigger than everyone else and oldschool ramp still does it best.
The life-gain package makes a return here with Nissa’s Renewal and Jaddi Offshoot as you have no clean removal spells early for Vehicles without diluting your overall gameplan or changing the texture of the deck. But like previous formats, you can give yourself the time you need against the aggressive strategies with the additional life to catchup with a game-changing bomb. Renewal is also back because we are bringing back the Ulamog top-end and it’s much more important to be able to get from 6-10.
The decision to go Mono Green lies in the fact that I think boards will be filled with larger threats, so Kozilek’s Return is going to lose value. This is also why the top end is much higher as well, and why I’ve chosen Ulamog over Emrakul in the main. Emrakul is still a great card, but it really needs ways to accelerate graveyard types or recycle it to be highly effective. While there are a few here, I don’t believe there are enough to warrant it. In my last list he’ll be a prime focus so stay tuned for that.
I think both of the new Nissa’s are great and fit perfectly to close the mid-late game gap when you’re not ramping. They either gain you life, cards, or stall the board which is everything you could want in that slot. The fact that Verdant Crescendo lets you recycle Nissa, Nature’s Artisan from the graveyard is great. Drawing a ramp spell late in the game when you needed a threat is usually disheartening, but not with Crescendo.
The second list is a variation of something I played in the previous format.
Colorless Eldrazi Ramp
What appeals to me the most about a shell like this is the fact that it can play so many different roles. Now that Dromoka’s Command is gone you have an opportunity for From Beyond to really shine. The green enchantment can single handedly take over a game if left unchecked and now there are even fewer ways to do so. It also pairs extremely well with Vehicles, giving you a constantly renewable Crew that don’t care if they are tapped because you can still sacrifice them for mana. In the Previous list, the deck used Atarka’s Monument as a huge late-game mana sink, but with the addition of vehicles you can freely animate them earlier on allowing you to put pressure on faster than before.
Metalwork Colossus is also a great addition as a cheap threat once you have developed your artifacts that also still triggers Sanctum of Ugin to find one of your bigger threats. It also come back once you’ve used all the energy on a Deadlock Trap or no longer have need for a Seer’s Lantern.
There are a lot of moving pieces and incidental synergy in a deck like this and I think that gives it a ton of room for tight play and minute decisions to give you a larger impact on the game which is something Ramp doesn’t always have.
This final list is a very toolbox oriented one, built to utilize the new Chandra and Emrakul the their fullest potential.
This list is very much designed with a 2-4 curve in mind, having as many opportunities as possible to take advantage of Servant of the Conduit or Ruin in Their Wake to power out a turn 3 Chandra as often as possible. Chandra, Torch of Defiance’s +1 is great with Toolbox Cards and this is full of them.
Some quick thoughts: Aether Hub is a great addition, can even add black in a stalled board if you’ve taken over with Ishkanah! Harnessed Lightning is a fantastic removal spell and having more instants for Delirium is good. It’s entirely possible that some of the Deadlock Traps should be in the main as another energy outlet. All this will require more testing.
Thanks for joining me again this week, hopefully you enjoyed the various takes on Ramp for the new format and I hope to see you in Indy!