It’s time to go big or go home y’all. I was remiss when Temur Ramp, an archetype I previously wrote about and enjoyed, quickly fell out of favor because it struggled in the faster matchups. Genesis Ultimatum ain’t cutting it when an Embercleave comes flying at you on turn 4. Thus, I went on a mission. Can there be a ramp deck that still has a strong late game but doesn’t just get smashed by creature decks? I had to search deep within my Arena account to find the answer, and I think I did the mission justice. It’s time to go BIG.
This deck operates a lot less like Temur Ramp and more similarly to the new Mono Red Ramp deck that’s been popping up. You’re using a lot of your deck to stall your opponent out, then you can finish them off with an Ugin, Spirit Dragon. For the Mono Red version, you do get some additional speed with Irencrag Feat and consistency since you’re one color. However, there’s a lot of payoff for branching into multiple colors. White gives you Elspeth Conquers Death, The Birth of Meletis, and Throne of Eldraine’s least appreciated card, Realm-Cloaked Giant. Green, albeit a small part of this deck, gives you Beanstalk Giant and Klothys, God of Destiny in the sideboard. Why go three colors? Naya is the only tri-color combination with all three Pathways currently in Standard, so splashing is not particularly difficult.
If you’re looking to traverse Bo1 with a ramp deck, here’s what I would run.
The list is very similar but we added additional wraths to help combat all the creature based strategies. Furthermore, despite only having 4 Plains, 4 The Birth of Meletis is generally going to be better than 4 would be in the Bo3 version. If you feel that you need even more anti-aggro cards you can cut into the Mazemind Tome to add more Storm’s Wrath.
3 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon: The only reason to play ramp in Standard right now. Although Ugin’s 8 mana, he’s absolutely devastating when it hits play, sometimes just winning the game on the spot. Most play patterns will involve minus-ing him to exile the board then forcing your opponent to kill it quickly or risk losing within a few turns. Furthermore, threats like Beanstalk Giant and Realm-Cloaked Giant are expensive enough that there are many situations where you can exile your opponent’s board and bring the hurt with a Giant!
4 Bonecrusher Giant: What red deck doesn’t play Bonecrusher Giant? This card is almost always a 2 for 1 against Aggro decks and is a decent beater against slower decks. Furthermore, it’s a Giant, which will be very relevant in a little bit.
4 Solemn Simulacrum: Solemn is a bridge that allows the deck to ramp, stall, and draw a card when thrown under a creature. It’s not an amazing card or anything, but it does the job well.
1 Ox of Agonas: It’s good to have an Escape card in the main deck both for Rogues and for value later if you get to recur it. Although we’ll generally have cards in hand since the spells are expensive, Ox is an amazing top deck if you manage to be hellbent or have bad cards in hand. Be mindful of what you’re exiling to escape as you want some cards left in the yard for Elspeth Conquers Death.
4 Beanstalk Giant: A ramp spell and a potential wincon all in one! On the surface, this card isn’t super impressive, but when combined with Realm Cloaked Giant, you can have OTKs out of nowhere.
4 Realm-Cloaked Giant: The sleeper that sets this deck apart from other ramp strategies. By itself, Realm-Cloaked Giant isn’t a super impressive card. A 5 mana board wipe doesn’t size up well against the 4 mana ones we already have access to, and a 7 mana 7/7 vigilance isn’t amazing either. So why is this card so good in this deck? It doesn’t kill other Giants. With playing cards we’re already happy to play in Bonecrusher Giant and Beanstalk Giant, you can win many games by having a few Giants out and casting a functional Plague Wind! When you don’t have Ugin, Realm Cloaked Giant is going to be your primary wincon as long as you set up your board with a few turns down the road in mind. Plus, it’s super funny to hit your opponent for 20 with 2 Beanstalk Giants after wiping only their board!
4 Emeria’s Call: This cards nuts in slow white decks. A land in the early game and a legitimately good wincon in the late game. Always play a bunch of these if your deck can afford to.
3 Scorching Dragonfire: We don’t want to lose to aggro, so we have the best 2 mana removal spell for the job. It doesn’t hit everything, but 3 damage is generally plenty and exiling is very relevant as well.
4 Mazemind Tome: I still can’t believe this card sees so much play, but looks can be deceiving! In decks with a lot of excess mana lying around, Tome can turn into 4 cards and 4 life over the course of 4 turns. This deck can live or die on hitting all it’s land drops and having interaction along the way, so Mazemind is excellent here.
3 The Birth of Meletis: Although innocuous, this is actually where I had the idea to add White to a ramp strategy. Wall of Omens was excellent back in the day, and 2 mana to find a land, make an 0/4, and gaining 2 life is literally perfect for this deck. I would play the full 4 if the deck could afford to play more Plains, but 3 should be good enough and drawing multiples isn’t the best anyway.
4 Elspeth Conquers Death: The Birth of Meletis is great and all, but here’s the REAL reason we play White. This is the best White card in Standard and not playing it in a slower deck just seems silly. It’s not amazing against every deck, but when you get to exile and recur something, it just feels ridiculous.
22 Lands + 4 Emeria’s Call
1 Scorching Dragonfire: Simply to fill out the playset in the 75. Good against small creatures, no surprise there.
2 Wilt: The Great Henge is so brutal as it let’s you grind like crazy and dodges an Ugin minus the first time around. You really need answers to it and this is the best one available.
3 Klothys, God of Destiny: Klothys is excellent right now, and she’s an honorary giant so we have to play it. If you resolve this against Rogues or Rakdos, winning becomes infinitely easier.
4 Storm’s Wrath: Sometimes you just need more board wipes. I don’t like Shatter the Sky as it’ll draw your opponent a card most of the time. Furthermore, Storm’s Wrath is a clean answer to Vivien, Monster’s Advocate the turn it comes down which is a huge plus for the card.
1 Ox of Agonas: Good if you really need to grind or you’re facing Rogues. Ox is the best Escape card in the format at emptying your yard which is super helpful when Rogues is banking on you having a stocked graveyard.
1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon: In the extremely grindy matchups, it’s very likely that the first Ugin will not be good enough to win the game, but subsequent copies could be. Keep windmill slamming these bad boys til your opponent loses.
MATCHUPS AND SIDEBOARD GUIDE
Remember everyone, sideboard guides aren’t gospel. You need to think on your feet, just try to understand why certain cards go in and out.
MONO RED AGGRO
|+1 Scorching Dragonfire||-2 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon|
|+4 Storm’s Wrath||-1 Ox of Agonas|
|-2 Beanstalk Giant|
Per usual, you need to cut your slower cards for more interaction. This matchup can be challenging if they have a very fast start, but we have a lot of interaction for a reason. Do everything you can to keep their board clear and you can generally find a way to win.
|+3 Giant Killer||-1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon|
|+1 Scorching Dragonfire||-4 Solemn Simulacrum|
|+2 Wilt||-1 Ox of Agonas|
|+4 Storm’s Wrath||-1 Mazemind Tome|
|-3 The Birth of Meletis|
This is a similar gameplan to Monored but executed quite differently. Gruul tends to be slower than Monored so roadblocks like Solemn Simulacrum and The Birth of Meletis become significantly less important. Specifically for The Birth of Meletis, the 0/4 blocks functionally no creature in their deck as well which makes it way worse. Once again, if you can keep their board clear, one of your 7 drops can easily win you the game.
|+1 Scorching Dragonfire||-2 Solemn Simulacrum|
|+3 Klothys, God of Destiny||-3 The Birth of Meletis|
|+1 Ox of Agonas|
Unfortunately for Ramp, Rogues will always be a challenging matchup. However, Klothys really makes what used to feel like an impossible matchup into a very reasonable one. Like many of the other strategies, if you can keep their board clear and land a high impact card, you have a great shot at winning.
|+3 Giant Killer||-1 Bonecrusher Giant|
|+3 Klothys, God of Destiny||-3 Scorching Dragonfire|
|+1 Ox of Agonas||-3 The Birth of Meletis|
Rakdos is a midrange deck so this is one of our best matchups. Klothys is a bear for them to beat, as is Ugin. Just ramp to your big threats and crush them.
|+2 Wilt||-3 Scorching Dragonfire|
|+3 Klothys, God of Destiny||-3 The Birth of Meletis|
|+1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon|
This section originally was just UWx Yorion, but Esper seems to be the clear favorite right now so that’s what I’ll focus on. This is a grindy matchup and Dance of the Manse can be scary, but Ugin is still the king here. Save your Ugins for devastating turns and you should have an easy enough time.
That’s all that I have for today! If you like my content and want to see more of it, you can check me out at Twitch! Have a great day!