Some themes I end up repeating many times throughout every Standard season. When you have two different successful decks in a format with some overlapping synergies, sometimes the best thing to do is mash ’em together! Now, when I saw this 5-0 list in a Competitive League, I was a bit taken aback. I’m not sure that the sum is greater than the parts when it comes to Approach Ramp, but let’s break it down.
I’m really, really high on Approach of the Second Sun. The fact that it help you stay alive and it’s a win condition is a lot inside one card. For that, you’re paying 7 mana for a sorcery that doesn’t actually impact the board, so there’s a real cost. If you have two in hand, you’re looking at gaining 7 and winning the following turn. If not, you’re going to have to figure out how to stay alive for a bit until you draw into another Approach. By adding ramp spells to the deck, you make it much easier to get off your Approaches with life to spare.
Weirding Wood and Gift of Paradise will ramp you up to 5 going into turn 4. This means you’re going to be looking at having 7 mana or more on turn 5 and the ability to play some impactful cards outside of Approach. Both these enchantments also offer value in mana fixing to double-white and either a Clue token or some extra life.
Beneath the Sands are 3-mana ramp spells numbers 9 through 11. Being able to cycle is important because sometimes you’re looking for win conditions, but otherwise they’re getting you some more mana.
Hour of Promise pulls double-duty. It’s ramping you to 7 mana and beyond, which is critical to make sure you can get off your powerful spells. You’re also going to often be getting a pair of Zombies to help stabilize the board against an opposing onslaught.
So adding ramp spells to an Approach deck is definitely a move I understand. When I was working on Approach heading into Grand Prix Denver, I handed the deck off to Ben Stark to get some reps in and offer his suggestions. He wanted a ramp spell enough that he was trying to figure out if we could splash Shefet Monitor (hint: this is worth testing in this version). The key is getting off Approach early and often, and that’s your only game plan before sideboard. In this deck, you have plenty of other ways to win.
You’ve got the full Eldrazi package here. There are 3 copies of Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and 3 World Breakers. Now, I’m not sure how many games you actually need to be playing Approach when you’re casting massive Eldrazi, but you’ve got both options here. Casting Approach, followed by Ulamog, to stabilize the board is certainly nice, but I have to imagine that the Ulamog would have been able to win the game from there pretty often. Maybe you can go lighter on Eldrazi and add something like the Shefet Monitors or more removal? Cast Out was great in the U/W version, so that may be something to consider.
You’ve got the full playset of Thraben Inspectors here as a speed bump that’s going to replace itself with a Clue token. Staying alive to ramp, and cast Approaches and Eldrazi, is key.
You’re running no spot removal here, but you’re sweeper flooded. The full playset of Fumigates will wipe the board and gain you some life, and a couple copies of Descend Upon the Sinful will take care of the recurring creatures and indestructible Standard threats.
While there are a number of different directions to take this deck, you’ve got a successful starting shell to work with and some real potential!