Bant Ramp Deck Guide – #1 Mythic, 89% Win Rate

Bant Ramp Deck Guide

Hello! Today I want to give you all a guide to my pick for the best deck to ladder with: Bant Ramp/Midrange. I recently reached #1 Mythic while maintaining a ~90% win rate with this deck over the course of many matches. Keep in mind, this list is mainly built for MTGA’s ladder environment, where you play against a large variety of decks. If I were to play a tournament, I would skew the deck more towards beating the mirror and Temur Rec. Luckily, there are so many good cards available for Bant currently that it is not difficult to make some adjustments for a more focused metagame. In this article, I will discuss card choices, how to mulligan, sideboarding, and playing against the most popular matchups with my current Bant list.

This is the list I will be referencing:

Bant Ramp by Oliver Tiu – #1 Mythic – July 2020 Season

Card Choices

3 Hydroid Krasis main, 0 Shark Typhoon: I made this choice because this deck does not operate at instant speed much; it is more of a tap out deck that just tries to overwhelm opponents with powerful haymakers. Krasis fits this strategy perfectly, while Typhoon does not. Leaving a bunch of mana up during your opponent’s turn basically only represents Typhoon, which is comically easy for your opponent to play around. There are some matchups where Typhoon shines, such as against Temur Rec, so I chose to play two in the sideboard. Despite its immense power, I don’t think Typhoon is versatile enough in this deck to justify playing in the maindeck.

Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse

2 Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse main, 1 Sideboard: Since I’m playing 3 Shatter main, I decided to put the third Jorael in the sideboard due to this anti-synergy. However, I believe that Jorael is an extremely good card and having it on turn 2 on the play is almost game over in many matchups. Therefore, you almost certainly want 3 in your 75. I can see swapping the sideboard one with a Shatter if you don’t expect much aggro for some reason. However, based on my experience on ladder, you play vs a lot of aggro, so I like this configuration.

thb-013-elspeth-conquers-death

4 Elspeth Conquers Death: I’ve seen a lot of lists trimming on ECDs and I just don’t get it. I don’t see a clear reason why it would have gotten worse than it was before. Based on my extensive experience with the deck, the card is as good as ever. Therefore, I would suggest playing at least 3, preferably 4, because it is just that good against the two best decks in the format (Bant and Temur Rec). Scavenging Ooze may have made the card worse in theory, but the first two abilities are still extremely good, even if the third one gets shut off sometimes.

Scavenging Ooze

0 Scavenging Ooze: I found this card to be very underwhelming in basically every matchup, including the ones where this kind of effect looked like it would shine (such as against cat/oven decks and the mirror). The body tends to be fairly irrelevant a lot of the time, it works poorly with Shatter the Sky, and it doesn’t have a lot of synergy with the deck, since you don’t care much about having creatures to attack with. I feel very strongly about 0 Ooze being correct, regardless of what the metagame looks like.

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

0 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon: 8 mana is a lot for standard nowadays, even in a deck with a lot of ramp and lands like this one; Ugin ends up rotting in your hand far too much of the time. The fact that its -X ability fails to get rid of lands animated with Nissa means that it often dies after one activation. Most of the time, I would rather be playing large Hydroid Krasises or playing two powerful spells in one turn, instead of investing so much mana into a situational and relatively ineffective card such as Ugin. There are certainly situations where it’s excellent, but I found these to be very rare. Krasis serves a similar purpose in going over the top of your opponents, while being a versatile card that you’re happy to play for 4 or 6 mana. Ugin is good against decks like Rakdos and Jund Food, but these decks aren’t all that common in the current metagame. Ultimately, I don’t think Ugin deserves a spot anywhere in the 75.

thb-019-heliods-intervention

2 Heliod’s Intervention in the sideboard: This is a fairly narrow sideboard card, but an extremely high impact one. Since the maindeck is full of generic powerful cards, there often aren’t many cards you want to board out in most matchups. As a result, having narrow but high impact sideboard cards is very desirable in decks like this. This card single-handedly makes matchups like Jund Food turn from slightly unfavorable to very favorable. I have also found it to be quite effective against Mono Green, since it kills Stonecoil Serpent and the Great Henge, which are two of their most problematic cards.

Mulligan Guide

This deck has a lot of natural card advantage and value, and therefore I like to mulligan fairly aggressively with it. I am a player who often keeps two landers with most decks, but with a deck as mana hungry as this one, you should probably mulligan two landers more often than not. Many are fine on the draw if you have a Temple to scry to a land or a Growth Spiral to draw towards a land, but make sure to evaluate how likely you are to make future land drops and how costly it will be if you miss an early land drop. This is all entirely context-dependent, so don’t take this as saying you should always mulligan two landers on the play. Many two landers on the draw are fine, but you will need some early plays to make up for the potential of missing crucial land drops. In the current Standard format, you simply cannot afford to stumble, so keep this in mind during your mulligan decisions.

On the flip side, 5-landers tend to be more than acceptable with this deck, but only if you have a turn 2 or 3 play. Otherwise, it is likely that you will fall too far behind on board, if you draw a land or two early and go a turn without making a play. There are some 5-landers where I would keep a hand with Shatter as its first play, but only if you’re on the play and are fairly sure that your opponent is playing a deck where Shatter will be effective. I’d keep nearly all 5-landers with Growth Spiral, Uro, or Teferi, Time Raveler.

Sideboard Guide

You will see me board out Teferi, Master of Time a lot. This does not mean that the card is bad; it is simply a result of it being more of a game one card. It allows you to loot away the cards that are bad in the particular matchup, while also acting as a powerful proactive threat. Postboard, when people bring in cards like Mystic Dispute, it tends to decrease in value a lot. I still stand by including them in the maindeck, and believe that it’s a mistake to exclude them. 

Mirror

InOut
+2 Shark Typhoon
+1 Dovin’s Veto
+3 Mystical Dispute
+1 Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse
-3 Shatter the Sky
-2 Teferi, Master of Time
-1 Nissa, Who Shakes the World
-1 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath

Bring in the 1 Borrower if you know they have Shark Typhoons, but the card you cut for it depends on their list.

This match up is a grind and most games are extremely long, unless someone runs away with Jolrael. There are very few answers to a turn 2 Jolrael on the play, so keep nearly every hand on the play that features a turn 2 Jolrael. This matchup has a lot of play to it, especially in game one, so make sure to think through your plays, but not too much since time can easily be a factor. A useful trick is to often use Teferi, Time Raveler’s -3 ability, even without a target, to ensure that you get value out of it before an ECD or a Nissa takes care of it. In addition, don’t be scared of using Teferi’s -3 on your opponent’s ECD or Hydroid Krasis, even if it means they get additional value out of it later on. Both players have access to a lot of value plays, so it is imperative to get ahead on tempo in order to be able to effectively pressure your opponent’s planeswalkers and force them to make plays from behind. Therefore, a general rule of thumb for this matchup is to focus on maximising the tempo of your plays, which often means bouncing your opponent’s ECD, rather than more value-oriented plays. It is unlikely that you will run out of stuff to do with your mana, so just aim on playing to the board as much as possible and force the opponent into being the one that has to react to your plays, rather than the other way around. Don’t follow this sideboarding completely, sas Bant lists vary a lot and you have to adapt to what cards your opponent shows. Some Bant lists don’t care much about Aether Gust, for example.

Temur Reclamation

InOut
+2 Shark Typhoon
+1 Dovin’s Veto
+3 Mystical Dispute
+1 Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse
+1 Brazen Borrower
-3 Shatter the Sky
-2 Teferi, Master of Time
-1 Nissa, Who Shakes the World
-1 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
-1 Blast Zone

The biggest mistake I see people make in this matchup is playing too scared. Especially in game one, where you don’t have access to counterspells, you just want to constantly be jamming threats into their open mana, hoping that they will eventually run out of counters. I would advise you to basically never play around anything in game one, and just hope that one of your threats sticks. You don’t have access to instant speed threats, so just passing with mana up will often just play into their game plan. The post-board plan allows you to play more at instant speed, thanks to the addition of several counterspells and Typhoons, so you can afford to play more cautiously in games 2 and 3. A big deck-building mistake I see a lot of people make is having too many copies of Dovin’s Veto for this matchup. Postboard, their most problematic cards don’t even get hit by Veto. The cards I often struggle the most against are Shark Typhoon, Nightpack Ambusher, and Commence the Endgame, all of which dodge Veto. Therefore, I like having a larger variety of answers to their wide range of threats.

Mono Green Stompy

InOut
+1 Shatter the Sky
+2 Heliod’s Intervention
+3 Glass Casket
+1 Elder Gargaroth
-2 Teferi, Master of Time
-1 Elspeth Conquers Death
-1 Nissa, Who Shakes the World
-2 Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse
-1 Blast Zone

This matchup is easy to play: just answer their creatures and eventually close out the game with a Planeswalker or an Uro. Use your answers at sorcery speed and stop them committing enough to the board that they can play the Great Henge for cheap, since that is one of their more frightening cards. You also ideally want to save your Glass Caskets to deal with Stonecoil Serpent. There will certainly be situations where you can’t afford to wait on Casket, but just keep Serpent in mind before you decide to use Casket elsewhere, as it can be quite hard to deal with otherwise, thanks to its protection from multicolored. In addition, having a Casket on Serpent allows you to use Teferi’s -3 on your own casket to effectively reset it to another target, which is a great late-game value play. Intervention can answer multiple Serpents and/or The Great Henge.

Rakdos Sacrifice

InOut
+1 Shatter the Sky
+1 Elder Gargaroth
+3 Glass Casket
-2 Teferi, Master of Time
-3 Nissa, Who Shakes the World

I don’t like Nissa in this matchup, because it gets wrecked by Claim the Firstborn a lot of the time. Use Shatter early and often, even if you don’t get much value from it. The most important thing in this matchup is to protect your life total and not die to Claim the Firstborn. Keep Claim in mind when you play Hydroid Krasis; it is often correct to play Krasis for lower than the maximum amount. Intervention is alright but very narrow, so I choose not to bring it in. 

Jund Sacrifice

InOut
+2 Glass Casket
+2 Heliod’s Intervention
+1 Elder Gargaroth
-2 Teferi, Master of Time
-1 Nissa, Who Shakes the World
-2 Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse

This matchup is easier than it seems. They have some really good cards like Trail of Crumbs and Bolas’ Citadel, but their deck is overall fairly inconsistent and features some weak cards. If they don’t get a crazy Bolas’ Citadel turn, or go off with their various synergies, it is fairly easy to overpower them with your superior card quality. A good trick that you can do is bounce a food made with Gilded Goose or Trail of Crumbs with Teferi to slow them down. Just make sure they can’t sacrifice the food in response to prevent the card draw. Heliod’s Intervention is key postboard, they have a very hard time dealing with the value and tempo advantage the intervention gives you. 

Sultai Ramp

InOut
+2 Shark Typhoon
+1 Dovin’s Veto
+3 Mystical Dispute
+1 Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse
-2 Teferi, Time Raveler
-3 Shatter the Sky
-2 Nissa, Who Shakes the World

I don’t like Nissa much here, since Casualties of War completely wrecks it. This matchup tends to be fairly close, but Jolrael can net you some free wins. Remember to basically always -3 your Teferi, Time Ravelers as soon as they come into play, to play around Eliminate. They don’t play many counterspells, so the Teferis aren’t necessary post-board. In addition, keep Ugin in mind and don’t overextend into it, if possible.

Oliver Tiu

Oliver Tiu

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Steelgrip_MTG
24 days ago

Yo Oliver! Gz on #1. Can you share a link to your deck tracker? Would love to see your matchups. Also you use MTG Tool by a chance? To track card win rates in your deck?

Last edited 24 days ago by Steelgrip_MTG
Anticorrosivo
24 days ago

I always wanted to be someone who plays such a fine tuned deck which is also one of those decks which make Standard horrible at the moment. But due to the fact that I never received even 1 Uro (while having the full rare THB set cracked from a lot of packs), I think I stay a better person. Don’t get me wrong, if you guys up there in mythic play that, awesome. But those people in the Play Queue or Silver… get over yourself.

Fine Guide tho.

quentinjullian
23 days ago

You take teferi out each time : Isn’t Narset MD*2 instead of Teferi, Master of Time*2 just better?

micronaut25
23 days ago

Teferi MoT helps you in the first game to replace your dead cards for that matchup, which you will board out anyway. Shatter vs control, Gust vs mono black… or extra lands…

Yhippa
22 days ago

What would be the best mods for BO1 for this deck?

ajh158
21 days ago

Thanks for the article, really useful!

I have a couple questions for anyone that feels comfortable piloting this deck.

  1. What is the sideboard plan for RDW and Simic Flash?
  2. How do I make best use of a turn 2 Jolrael here?
nqhute1997
19 days ago
Reply to  ajh158

Hi although i’m not as good as the author but i’ve played this deck quite alot recently. For RDW sb is basically the same against mono G, the only different is i would just bring 1 Heliod and keep Blast Zone. I didn’t play against Simic Flash too much on ladder but i always board out the high mana cost cards like 4 mana Tef, ECD and maybe 1 or even 2 Nissa and bring in as much counterspells and interactions except the Heliod.

Last edited 19 days ago by nqhute1997
caym1988
15 days ago

I just made an account to say thank you. This list took me to Mythic.