Man, ramp decks. In my opinion ramp decks are pretty sweet when we aren't ramping into boring cards like Dragonlord Atarka. Did I just seriously call a dragonlord boring? I did, but only in comparison to Eldrazi! I mean...they're Eldrazi...usually they're the types of creatures reserved for formats like Modern and Legacy. But here we are, once against able to cast Ulamog in Standard.
There was one specific ramp deck that came out of the Pro Tour, played by Victoriano Lim, that managed to finish with an impressive 7-3 record in the Standard portion. I haven't seen the deck appear in many events since then despite ramp decks really hitting their peak the following weekend at Grand Prix Quebec City. One variation of B/G Ramp did emerge this past weekend, however, at Grand Prix Indianapolis, managing to sneak into the Top 16.
This list was piloted by Christopher O'Bryant and it has some significant differences from the Lim version. Most notably is that Lim opted to run three Crux of Fate and three Languish in the maindeck, making his list much more of a control deck. I'm not sure if that's a stronger choice in the current meta, but for the article I decided to go with the more recent version of B/G Ramp as O'Bryant had to adjust his list with the current meta in mind. Let's see how it fares.
B/G Ramp vs. Atarka Red
B/G Ramp vs. R/G Landfall
B/G Ramp vs. Mardu Midrange
B/G Ramp vs. R/G Ramp
Wow. How about those red/green decks? Let alone the fact that all four decks had red in them!
Despite having to mull to four cards in that last match we actually put up a pretty incredible fight. As you could see from that match though, in the ramp mirror whoever goes first is at a huge advantage. Being able to cast the first Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and deny your opponent the crucial lands needed to do the same can often be game over.
Ever since the format rotated, Crackling Doom has been one of the go-to removal spells and it is at its best against this deck. Being able to get rid of an Ulamog (despite still getting the two exile triggers) for three mana is huge. Thankfully we only had to deal with that against the one Mardu deck we faced and we ended up winning with an Ugin, the Spirit Dragon ultimate anyway.
One thing I liked about the Victoriano Lim version from the Pro Tour, which isn't present here, is the inclusion of Nissa, Vastwood Seer. It goes without saying that she's an excellent form of card advantage and/or win conditions. She would be incredibly easy to flip in this deck, and she also makes sure we hit our land drops. I haven't tested the version with her in it, but it did feel weird leaving her out since she seems to fit so well.
Lim's version, however, did only have one Sanctum of Ugin. This seemed strange to me as it's one of the deck's best (and only) forms of velocity and card advantage. Sure, we have Hedron Archive, but typically we want to use those for ramping. I'm also not thrilled about Hedron Archive right now with so many Kolaghan's Commands floating around, especially when the card isn't that strong against us otherwise. One thing I did like about Lim's version was that it had a lot more controlling elements to it, but both decks have some very bad maindeck options in the mirror match. Whereas the red/green version has Dragonlord Atarka and potentially Hangarback Walker, we have Catacomb Sliver and Complete Disregard. Not too impressive when we're facing down 8/8 dragons and Ulamogs. I think after sideboarding our odds go way up though, and we have a lot more threats to present to a deck with not so many answers.
Ultimately this deck was awesome and it was nice to finally cast Eldrazi in Standard again. Having access to four Ugin, the Spirit Dragon was also a pretty sweet bonus.
That's about it for today. I've created a public page on Facebook for all of my Magic content things, so be sure and give me a like. Friend requests are hard to keep up with and a lot of people just wanted to follow my Magic content rather than personal posts. If you're looking to get updates on when a new podcast episode goes up, want to know when I have a new article, see when my stream goes live, or want to join in some cool discussions, be sure and give the page a "like." I'll be back again on Monday with another sweet Modern brew so I'll see you guys then.
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