Do you enjoy doing the biggest and baddest thing you can in a format? You’re not alone.
Ramp strategies have been around from the beginning. Players love being able to play huge creatures. There’s a reason these awesome monsters keep seeing print and it’s not surprising people try to find the best ways to utilize them.
Sam Black brought an innovative ramp strategy to the MOCS playoff event last weekend. He had the usual key ramp spells: Nissa’s Pilgrimage and Explosive Vegetation. He also had 4 copies of Oath of Nissa, one of the best cards in Standard when you have access to early green mana, helping to smooth out any draw or find key threats later.
The rest of the deck, unlike most all other ramp decks, was entirely made up of lands and creatures. No other ramp spells. No planeswalkers.
First, this makes Duskwatch Recruiter an excellent threat. Not only will he help recruit some of your powerful creatures, but he can be a ramp spell himself when flipped, making all your creatures cost less mana.
Deathcap Cultivator is another easy 4-of in this strategy. The Cultivator is a pretty big upgrade on Hedron Crawler when you care about damage, as a deck filled with creatures often does. Accelerating your mana is great and you will even often have delirium thanks to your second copy of the legendary Oath of Nissa.
Sylvan Advocate is still the best. No more explanations of this card. Tireless Tracker is getting to that point, too. If you don’t know why this card is amazing in Standard, there are tons of articles to help you out!
One card from Shadows over Innistrad that hasn’t seen much play at all has been Ulvenwald Hydra, but Sam is trying to change that. This is a huge threat that gets to completely ignore cards like Grasp of Darkness and Languish that many players use as removal spells. Getting the value of an extra land even when they deal with it is pretty nice.
The top of the curve features no copies of World Breaker, at least not in the main. Instead, Dragonlord Atarka is the 7-drop of choice. This also means lands like Sanctum of Ugin are unnecessary, but Haven of the Spirit Dragon is still useful.
So, the deck is called Naya Ramp, but I’ve only discussed green and red cards so far. The sideboard, however, houses a single Plains and 3 copies of Dragonlord Dromoka. Dromoka can completely dominate a board in so many matchups, especially when she’s not expected. There are even Havens in the main deck to help cast the Dragonlord or to bring her back! The Plains can also help assist you for sideboarded Radiant Flames if you need to cast it for 3.
Ramp decks excel in formats that are dominated by midrange decks, which is exactly where we are right now. The absence of Chandra or Kozilek’s Return can feel weird, but with so many solid green creatures right now, this might be the best way to build ramp decks going forward!