I don’t know what you think, but to me, Standard has been pretty great. With a three-color set, Standard is always going to be pretty diverse by nature as your mana is so much better so there’s a lot more room to explore. There’s a good diversity of decks, and even if Esper and Runes are currently standing tall above the other options, there are plenty of viable brews that have been circulating the ladder and the tournament scene. New Capenna Championship has also shown us that these two decks can be targeted and also performed poorly as a result:
As the predicted trend with this meta, things have been slowing down so many of these brews have been midrange decks that are looking to beat up on the other slower decks. There have been plenty of sweet decks that are doing that, but why build a midrange deck that’s slightly bigger than the rest of the meta and just cut out the middleman. Sure we can go a bit bigger, a bit slower, and try to gain a small edge on slower decks, but I want to go BIG. I just want to slam insane spells, obliterate midrange, and call it a day.
To me, Ramp is how you normally get that done, but I was struggling with the cheap threats of the format as Simic couldn’t adequately answer them quickly. This was an issue I didn’t know how to solve, until LUCASG1GGS showed up at the Standard Challenge repping this absolute heater.
This deck was exactly what I was looking for. It was a Ramp deck that actually had great interaction which seemed like exactly you would need for this metagame. The cheap threats are too fast and efficient to not interact in a meaningful time frame so this deck being absolutely packed to the brim with interaction is where it’s at. When I tried this deck out, it performed as advertised.
You were big enough to punish the midrange decks, but not so slow that you got run over by a few early threats. I really liked the base that Lucas had, just thought it needed a little bit of tuning. The mana is easily the hardest part of this deck so that needed some adjusting to get it to my liking, but beyond that, it was fine tuning some numbers and the sideboard. Let’s take a look at where I ended up.
To start off any good Ramp deck, you need some early ramp. To help us there we have Courier's Briefcase and Azusa's Many Journeys. Azusa's Many Journeys is a more classic piece of ramp which lets you play another land, gain some life, and even gain a decent body of the deal. Courier's Briefcase on the other hand seems like a weird inclusion. In most instances, this would just be a weaker Prosperous Innkeeper which wouldn’t be that good in t his deck, but we’re more interested in the second activated ability. For 5 mana, you can sacrifice the Briefcase and draw 3 cards which seems a bit slow, but makes this a relevant draw in the late game even if it’s a bit expensive for that effect. While these are the cheapest of the ramp effects, they are far from our only ones.
Moving up the curve, we have 8 more nice ramp options if we missed out on turn 2 or if we want to accelerate extremely quickly. Fable of the Mirror-Breaker works triple duty in this deck as the initial token creates Treasure on attack, it helps you filter, and then you get another body out the deal that can be a threat or blocker in a pinch. Esika, God of the Tree can be a reasonable ramper as it taps for any color, but the real prize is the flip side of The Prismatic Bridge which can start cheating in threats as early as turn 5! Finally, you have 2 copies of The Celestus which also taps for any color and can be a bit of life gain and card filtering in a pinch. All these effects culminate to letting us get to the late game, be greedy with our spells, and get huge threats into play ahead of schedule.
Moving up the curve yet again, we start getting into our amazing interactive suite. First up we have the perfect mid game bridge for this deck in Binding the Old Gods. Not only does this bonk anything of relevance, it’s even more ramp, and better yet, can fetch triomes! Need to go a bit wider? Good thing we have 5 board wipes with Battle of Frost and Fire and Burn Down the House! Both of these interact with both creatures and walkers which is a big deal when many decks play a mix of both, especially Esper which is the most popular deck right now. Finally, we come to the titular card: The Kami War. This card is hard to cast, but absolutely bonkers. A guaranteed 2 for 1, generally a 3 for 1, and can win the game in just a few hits? Well ok then! We are playing this wonky mana base for the sole purpose of casting The Kami War, and with how much it does, it’s definitely worth it.
For the final card of the deck we have the humongous ramp threat in Titan of Industry. This card is an absolute beating against any type of strategy as it will always accrue value on entry, and for me, has almost always just slammed the door in my opponent’s face. How are they beating a 7/7 that did 2 relevant things? Answer is they probably aren’t.
Overall, I think this deck is perfect right now as the metagame is slow enough that you can get to your relevant spells without a huge risk of dying, but it’s not so slow that you risk your plentiful interaction being blanked by missing relevant threats. It’s pretty incredible how well this deck threads the needle in that sense. On that note, I would like to say that for this deck I would not recommend trying to port it into Bo1. Best of One is defined by the aggro decks and this is almost certainly going to be too slow for what’s going on there. Sure there will be games you can ramp into an early board wipe, but if that’s what you’re looking for, building a Temur Ramp list would probably make more sense rather than the strain of 5 colors.
MATCHUPS AND SIDEBOARD GUIDE
|+2 Ray of Enfeeblement||-2 Esika, God of the Tree|
|+2 Negate||-1 Titan of Industry|
|-1 Burn Down the House|
This is going to be your most common matchup, and thankfully it’s a great one! You both aren’t particularly fast, and your interaction is substantially better. Your only real worry is getting ran over in the early game with a quick curve, but you have a decent amount of interaction to help defend yourself.
Try to preserve your life total as it’s very unlikely you’ll get grinded out in the late game where you can take over with your high impact cards.
|+4 Vanishing Verse||-3 Titan of Industry|
|+2 Infernal Grasp||-4 Battle of Frost and Fire|
|+1 Unleash the Inferno||-1 Fable of the Mirror-Breaker|
|+1 Koma, Cosmos Serpent|
This is no real surprise, but this matchup is all about surviving. We want to maximize our interaction as Runes is going to have generally fast starts and hit really hard. It may be weird to say that you want removal and I cut four Battle of Frost and Fire, but 4 damage is generally not going to be enough in a matchup where their threats can very quickly grow out of reach.
It’s hard to say if this matchup is good or bad rather it’s super draw dependent as if you have a lot of removal then you can definitely make this winnable, but if you don’t have a good amount of interaction you’re probably going to be run over quickly.
|+4 Vanishing Verse||-4 Battle of Frost and Fire|
|+2 Infernal Grasp||-4 Binding the Old Gods|
|+2 Disdainful Stroke|
I haven’t faced this matchup personally, but with it being the third most popular deck in the pro tour it’s definitely worth mentioning! This is likely a bad matchup unfortunately as they do a good job at circumventing what this deck is good at: going long and interacting.
You have to pray that you can get a relevant threat down and keep it before they combo kill you, and even with a decent amount of interaction, they are good at waiting for the perfect turn to go off. Try to keep quicker hands rather than removal heavy hands as you want to try to close quickly rather than trying to keep them off their threats.
This is a bit of an awkward matchup as it’s very much the case you want to bring cards in, but don’t want to bring anything out. The best plan I’ve had is trimming some of the ramp as Jund isn’t necessarily fast, but the fact that they can be is what’s scary. For what it’s worth, the thing you’re afraid of most is a quick Ob Nixilis, the Adversary or Esika's Chariot, but Negate is good at checking both of those as well as the 5 wraths we have.
I particularly like Esika, God of the Tree in this matchup as it’s a threat they can’t Duress that find a bunch of Titan of Industry so I try not to cut them if possible. If you really don’t want to cut down on the early ramp, I would say you should probably just leave the Negates in the sideboard then as everything else seems stronger.
|+2 Ray of Enfeeblement||-4 Courier's Briefcase|
|+4 Vanishing Verse||-4 Fable of the Mirror-Breaker|
|+2 Infernal Grasp|
Angels is a simple enough matchup where all you have to do is survive and you will definitely take over the game. You can board out a good deal of your early ramp as your removal will cover the early turns so as long as you keep hitting land drops you can easily start slamming more powerful threats than them.
Fable of the Mirror-Breaker is particularly bad in this matchup as you’ll never be able to attack with the token so no need to keep it in and Courier's Briefcase is unneeded as you don’t need to wrath particularly quickly most games.
Mono White Aggro
|+2 Ray of Enfeeblement||-2 Esika, God of the Tree|
|+4 Vanishing Verse||-4 Titan of Industry|
|+1 Koma, Cosmos Serpent||-1 Lair of the Hydra|
|+1 The Meathook Massacre||-1 Fable of the Mirror-Breaker|
This boarding is pretty similar to Angels, but the board outs are very different. Unlike Angels, Mono White is very fast so you don’t have the luxury of taking your time to sculpt a game plan. Your hand needs to have quick interaction in one form or another (ramping into a wrath is the best assuming you don’t get blown out by an Elite Spellbinder or
Don’t keep any speculative hands as Mono White is too good at killing players who are stumbling. You could board in Infernal Grasp in this matchup, but realistically you’ll have to start cutting into cards you actively want in the matchup so I’m not sure if it’s worth it. If you think you need them, I would probably shave more Fable of the Mirror-Breaker for room.
TIPS AND TRICKS
- Although it may seem like we’re playing Esika, God of the Tree for ramp, I’ve found I’m more often casting The Prismatic Bridge half. As long as you aren’t dying for a ramper or a blocker, try to save it for the mid game as getting a free Titan of Industry is unreal.
- When in doubt for what to do with Titan of Industry, I make the Rhino and grab the Shield counter. The opponent can’t fizzle the shield counter completely as it’s one effect, but if you think the opponent has exile based removal then make sure to put the counter on the Rhino.
- Don’t be afraid to go for the activated ability on Courier's Briefcase as it plays out better than it reads.
- If you manage to get 2 Reflection of Kiki-Jiki on the board, a cool trick you can do on the opponent’s end step is to copy the Reflection and keep doing that for as much mana as you have. Then you can untap with an armada of 2/2s that can get quick kills out of nowhere.
- I mentioned this already, but remember that Binding the Old Gods can fetch triomes.