Standard Sultai Ramp Deck Guide: The Biggest Deck in the Format

Koma, Cosmos Serpent Art by Jesper Ejsing
Koma, Cosmos Serpent Art by Jesper Ejsing

Hello everyone! Today I’m going over what I believe is the most late game deck of the format, Sultai Ramp. So as many Standard players are likely aware, it’s an Esikas Chariot format and we’re just living in it. For what it’s worth, there are worse cards to be the best in the format, but considering how many decks in the format are Green, it’s best to be prepared. With that, I’ve been working on a bunch of decks that can beat the Chariot menace, and I believe this is one of them. Let’s take a look at where the deck is currently at.

Sultai Ramp
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Ramp
best of 3
11 mythic
23 rare
16 uncommon
10 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (4)
4
Wrenn and Seven
$199.96
Creatures (13)
2
Lotus Cobra
$9.98
Instants (4)
4
Infernal Grasp
$7.96
Sorceries (7)
3
Field Trip
$0.75
Artifacts (4)
Enchantments (4)
Lands (24)
3
Forest
$0.75
1
Island
$0.25
1
Swamp
$0.25
4
Darkbore Pathway
$43.96
4
Shipwreck Marsh
$33.96
1
Rimewood Falls
$1.29
1
Woodland Chasm
$1.29
60 Cards
$551.68
15 Cards
$32.77

Well I am looking to beat Chariot, but it doesn’t mean I’m not going to play it myself! I promise my other anti-Chariot decks aren’t all going to be playing Chariot as well, but it’s definitely the easiest way to make your deck good. So what’s the prevailing logic behind this deck? I believe standard is played in two stages: the Esika’s Chariot stage and the late game. Generally you’re not going to be run over in the early game, even by the format’s aggro decks, so a lot of a game can revolve around the 4 mana spot aka the Esika’s Chariot stage. Chariot is so good at stabilizing the board or accelerating ahead that you need to build your deck with that in mind whether you’re playing it or facing it. Since I’m playing Chariot myself, I wanted to maximize my ability to play a Chariot ahead of my opponent, whether I’m on the play or draw thus the 10 mana dorks. Tangled Florahedron is my favorite of the rampers as it has a lot of versatility as a land, but Prosperous Innkeeper is also excellent as it can always guarantee the ramp, even if it dies. I wanted a few more ramp creatures so I opted for 2 Lotus Cobra which does have some cool synergy with the land ramp cards like Field Trip and Binding the Old Gods which can create some strong turns.

After the two drops, we have Field Trip as another means to ramp, but also card advantage as it provides us with a Learn card as well. Initially I was reluctant to play Lessons in Bo3, but we can’t afford to overboard with this deck so we generally don’t need all 15 of our sideboard slots, leaving us with free value to take advantage of. Although it is also technically a 2 drop, Infernal Grasp is generally used later in the game to help interact with the large threats our opponents might play, but it can be used early as well to help minimize damage from early creatures.

For thr Esika’s Chariot stage, we obviously have the dynamic duo of Esika’s Chariot and Wrenn and Seven. Practically every Green deck now is using this combination as making a huge token after deploying Chariot is a powerful play, but many of these decks also can’t utilize Wrenn’s +1 that well (barring Selesnya which uses it well), so having some solid late game makes it much better. Beyond the duo, we have Binding the Old Gods which has been a Sultai staple since the Ultimatum days and helps us ramp to our top end.

Finally we have the top end. Alrund’s Epiphany is a no brainer as it’s just such a powerful card in any deck that can afford to cast it. The more interesting choice is Koma, Cosmos Serpent as our final threat. Many of these midrangey green decks have opted for Storm the Festival as their late game payoff of choice, and although it is powerful, it does constrain deck building to minimize the amount of instants and sorceries. Koma doesn’t have such restrictions, and even if Storm the Festival is a strong payoff, it is still a monumental task to outmuscle an unanswered Koma. It’s very easy to just sit back and accrue 3/3s while the opponent deploys threats that just can’t beat through an army of snakes which will eventually lead to an overwhelming victory.

I’ve really enjoyed this deck so far as it works against every strong axis in Standard right now. It’s fast enough to keep up with aggro decks and outmuscle them, it goes bigger than the midrange decks, and it has plenty of interaction for the other over the top decks. If you’re looking for a powerful and balanced deck, here it is.

NOTABLE EXCLUSIONS / POTENTIAL INCLUSIONS

Test of Talent Art by Lie Setiawan
Test of Talent Art by Lie Setiawan

Jwari Disruption

A reasonable card in a deck looking to up the land count and get some more (albeit weak) interaction. I think ramping is too important right now to justify playing something like this, but if for whatever reason decks aren’t under the gun anymore then this could be a solid addition.

Negate

Negate is still reasonable right now, but with Disdainful Stroke and Malevolent Hermit, I have my counterspell suite covered I believe. If you want some Negate over some of the others, that’s also reasonable.

Test of Talents

I was never a big Test fan, but with the increase of Storm the Festival and Alrund’s Epiphany, this has become a much more attractive option. I could see subbing out some amount of the other counterspells for these.

Iymrith, Desert Doom

Iymrith is the tragedy of Standard as I thought it was going to be busted after rotation, but Wrenn and Seven is such an efficient answer to it that it can’t see play at the moment. It’s a great bridge into the late game as a 5/5 Flying Ward 4 is an amazing blocker, but it’s not at it’s best right now.

Check for Traps

Reasonable board card, but I believe it’s worse than the other sideboard options as the other answers make them invest mana into what we’re answering.

Flunk

I was torn between Flunk and Infernal Grasp, but eventually opted for Grasp. I hate the life loss in slower decks, but I believe this deck is fast enough where the tradeoff is worth it. Flunk is nice as it kills most of what you need it to for no cost, but this deck is looking to go above everything else and if it has a dead card in hand, that’s going to make it much harder.

Skyclave Shade

I love this as a board option against Control decks, but considering we already have a lot of threats, counterspells, and Smoldering Egg blocks it so well, it’s don’t particularly good here.

Curse of Leeches

I don’t think this would particularly fit into this deck or anything, I just like it as an anti aggro option in general if you need one.

Soul Shatter

I’m a Soul Shatter stan, but Wrenn and Seven makes it so awkward right now and it works awkwardly with Chariot. If Goldspan Dragon and other Planeswalkers come back to prevalence I would consider it, but I don’t think this is the right time for it.

Lolth, Spider Queen

I love Lolth, just don’t really have room to fit her.

Shadows’ Verdict

Verdict is a great sweeper, but unless Werewolves explodes in popularity, Crippling Fear will do it’s job for a mana cheaper most of the time.

The Meathook Massacre

Could be an ok one of as we generally have a lot of mana, but I like Crippling Fear more as we can preserve our mana dork most of the time.

Storm the Festival

Storm is a way to go over the top of other decks, but when you have access to Epiphany and Koma, it makes sense to play them in my mind.

Skeletal Swarming

An interesting win con that’s likely too slow compared to our other options.

Quandrix Cultivator

I love Quandrix Cultivator as our mid game spell, but it’s so bad compared to Esika’s Chariot that I can’t justify playing it.

MATCHUPS AND SIDEBOARDING

Malevolent Hermit Art by Daarken
Malevolent Hermit Art by Daarken

IZZET DRAGONS

INOUT
+3 Disdainful Stroke-2 Lotus Cobra
+4 Malevolent Hermit-1 Binding the Old Gods
-4 Alrund’s Epiphany

This matchup is going to revolve around whether you can keep their Dragons under control before you can resolve a Koma. Thankfully, they have extremely few answers to Koma which generally makes this a good matchup, but a few pieces of interaction into a Goldspan Dragon can be a nightmare for this deck. Try to keep proactive hands so they can’t spend their early turns setting up Foretells and drawing cards.

GRUUL AGGRO/WEREWOLVES/MONOGREEN

INOUT
+4 Crippling Fear-1 Field Trip
-3 Alrund’s Epiphany

There’s a lot of ways you can decide what you’re taking out, but you want to lower your curve and try to beat them in the mid game if possible. Alrund’s Epiphany is a great card, even in this matchup, but once you draw your hand of 3 lands and all card 4+ mana, you’ll see why it has to go. Keep hands with a piece of interaction, lands, a solid blocker, and you should be fine.

IZZET TURNS

INOUT
+3 Disdainful Stroke-3 Infernal Grasp
+4 Malevolent Hermit-4 Binding the Old Gods

This is a different iteration of Izzet which eschews the Dragons for just trying to combo with Alrund’s Epiphany and Galvanic Iteration. They play next to no creatures so you’re mostly looking to race with your mid game versus their very powerful late game. For what it’s worth, our late game is also very strong and we have so many counterspells post board it’s going to make their life very difficult. Be mindful of Divide by Zero as that circumvents the uncounterable clause of both Koma and Benevolent Geist.

ORZHOV MIDRANGE/MONOBLACK CONTROL

INOUT
+3 Disdainful Stroke-2 Lotus Cobra
+4 Malevolent Hermit-4 Infernal Grasp
-1 Binding the Old Gods

These decks are generally excellent against the Green decks, but we’re the exception. We have so much top end and interaction they’ll have a hard time gaining meaningful ground while we can keep deploying threats and protecting them. This isn’t to say the matchup is unloseable or anything, but we’re going to have a much better chance against these strategies versus the other green decks of the format.

SELESNYA FESTIVAL

INOUT
+3 Disdainful Stroke-2 Prosperous Innkeeper
+4 Malevolent Hermit-4 Infernal Grasp
-1 Binding the Old Gods

The boarding is tougher here as there’s so many different iterations of the deck, but the general boarding strategy is that you want your counterspells and to take out some of your smaller spells. This is going to be the most malleable of your matchups as different cards will be good against different versions of the deck, so keep your options open. In terms of the matchup itself, you’re playing very similar decks except you have better interaction and better late game which is definitely going to swing the matchup in your favor.

TIPS AND TRICKS

Alrund's Epiphany Art by Kieran Yanner
Alrund’s Epiphany Art by Kieran Yanner
  • You pretty much always want to minus Wrenn and Seven when it enters, even if you’re looking for lands. Most decks are going to be ready to kill it at a moment’s notice so you want to accrue as much value from it as possible. However, some decks will have an easier time killing it if you minus, so also keep in mind when the opponent may not be able to answer it immediately.
  • I play Tangled Florahedron as a land more often that I do a 2 drop as the curve generally works out that way.
  • Although it’s not the most intuitive, you can not sacrifice Lotus Cobra for Koma, Cosmos Serpent abilities.
  • The deck is really good at getting to it’s land drops, so even if I don’t have 7 mana yet, I tend to grab Mascot Exhibition off of my Field Trip.
  • I foretell Alrund’s Epiphany quite aggressively as any mana reduction can be vital, especially if you get to double spell as a result.
  • Even if your hand kind of sucks, if it has the ability for a turn 3 Esika’s Chariot, keeping it is likely correct.
  • Although land sequencing isn’t difficult, be sure you can cast all your spells on curve. Remember to prioritize Green and Blue mana first as game 1 you really only need one black source until you hit 6 or so mana, and even then it’s not a necessity to have 2 sources.

Thank you for reading!

DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on Twitch and Discord.

1 Response

  1. HarrietTubgirl says:

    Love the multiple win cons in this deck. I’ve been playing with Wrenn and Esika’s, they’re so satisfyingly OP when combined 😈