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Andrea Mengucci Standard Cavalier of Thorns Featured Image

4th Place at Mythic Championship VII with U/G Ramp in Standard

With this 4th place at Mythic Championship VII, I finished second in the Magic Pro League standings, just behind my friend Javier Dominguez—and qualified for Worlds in Honolulu in February!

The deck I played in this event was a strange one: U/G Ramp.

Lee Shi Tian, Lucas Esper Berthoud, and Anthony Lee were the first to bring it to my attention. Anthony is the teammate I trust the most, and after he won his PTQ just three days before the deadline, I was officially interested.

I played against Lucas to promising results. U/G was crushing any sort of Golgari deck, while maintaining a solid win rate versus Fires. It struggled most versus Embercleave and Flash decks, but we expected Cat and Fires to be the most played decks, so I was pretty confident with the choice.

I went 12-4 overall across three days, good for 4th place. I really liked the deck, and it’s what I’d play moving forward.

U/G Ramp

Andrea Mengucci – 4th Place MC VII

2 Castle Vantress
2 Castle Garenbrig
4 Temple of Mystery
4 Breeding Pool
1 Blast Zone
10 Forest
5 Island
2 Arboreal Grazer
4 Leafkin Druid
4 Risen Reef
4 Cavalier of Thorns
1 Agent of Treachery
1 End-Raze Forerunners
4 Hydroid Krasis
4 Growth Spiral
2 Quasiduplicate
4 Nissa, Who Shakes the World
2 Finale of Devastation

Sideboard
4 Aether Gust
1 Negate
3 Mystical Dispute
2 Return to Nature
3 Shifting Ceratops
2 Lovestruck Beast/Heart's Desire

The only change I’d make to my MC list is to cut an Island for a Blast Zone. I never had color issues, but I died to Korvold too often. Blast Zone would be free and help versus any kind of annoying permanent, given the amount of mana at your disposal.

The aim of the deck is to ramp as much as possible and then stall the board with a number of Cavalier of Thorns (plus Quasiduplicate) and then win the game with Hydroid Krasis or even better with Finale of Devastation for End-Raze Forerunners.

Sideboard Guide

Jund Cat Food

Out: 2 Nissa, Who Shakes the World, 2 Arboreal Grazer

In: 4 Aether Gust

At first I thought this matchup was very positive, but at the event I ended up going 2-2 against it. Korvold is really the only way you can lose, but you don’t have many answers to it, other then just speeding up and closing the game with Finale.

I considered adding Kenrith’s Transformation for this matchup, but overall I think it’s more important to focus on the worst matchups with your sideboard slots.

Jeskai Fires

Out: 2 Nissa, Who Shakes the World, 2 Leafkin Druid, 1 Hydroid Krasis, 1 Agent of Treachery, 1 Arboreal Grazer

In: 2 Return to Nature, 3 Mystical Dispute, 1 Negate, 1 Shifting Ceratops

I went 2-0 vs Fires at the MC. Cavalier of Thorns is the most important card in the matchup as you can not only block their Cavaliers, but if they pump them to kill yours, you are usually able to chain Thorns (especially with a Finale) and build up your mana in order to with a big Finale.

The pattern of Finale X=5 for Cavalier of Thorns, chump-block, get Finale back is a pretty solid here.

Quasiduplicate shines in this matchup, as you can easily set it up for when they have Fires in play so they can’t respond with Aether Gust on your Cavalier of Thorns—otherwise you do need to watch out for that.

U/G Flash

Out: 1 Agent of Treachery, 1 End-Raze Forerunners, 2 Quasiduplicate, 2 Nissa, Who Shakes the World, 2 Finale of Devastation, 2 Arboreal Grazer

In: 4 Aether Gust, 3 Mystical Dispute, 3 Shifting Ceratops

I played against Brad Nelson, Seth Manfield, and Javier Dominguez twice each (which is pretty unlucky to be honest) and I finished 4-2 against them, although both losses were on the final day for my elimination from the event.

The matchup is slightly negative, but you can still fight the good fight thanks to Hydroid Krasis. If you manage to ramp up early and chain some Krasises, you can fight your way through their Quenches and Mystical Disputes to resolve your powerful spells.

Post-sideboard the matchup gets much better thanks to all the interaction you add.

U/R Flash

Out: 1 Agent of Treachery, 1 End-Raze Forerunners, 2 Quasiduplicate, 4 Nissa, Who Shakes the World

In: 2 Aether Gust, 3 Mystical Dispute, 3 Shifting Ceratops

I only played against this archetype once, in the hands of William Jensen in the win and in. I executed the plan of ramping into multiple Hydroid Krasis very well and dispatched him quickly. They have a harder time with Shifting Ceratops. While they have Lava Coil and Bonecrusher Giant for it, your Ceratops is much better here than it is against U/G because U/R relies on Gadwick, Brineborn Cutthroat, and Brazen Borrower to deal damage to you instead of Nissa and Nightpack Ambusher, which can attack through the Ceratops.

U/W Control

Out: 2 Quasiduplicate, 2 Arboreal Grazer, 3 Leafkin Druid

In: 3 Mystical Dispute, 1 Negate, 3 Shifting Ceratops

I had the craziest game against Ben Stark on Day 2 of the MC, where I managed to win with 10 cards in each of our decks. The more you slowroll your Hydroid Krasis the better, and make sure to play around Planar Cleansing with few but efficient threats.

Golgari

Out: 1 Quasiduplicate, 1 Arboreal Grazer

In: 2 Aether Gust

Any version of Golgari is a very favorable matchup. You can sideboard differently to have more Aether Gust vs. Chris Kavartech’s list and Return to Nature versus Lucky Clover, but overall your plan is always the same. Keep your head above water in the early game, and ramp into Finale for 10 for the win.

Gruul

Out: 2 Castle Vantress, 2 Finale of Devastation, 1 End-Raze Forerunners, 1 Agent of Treachery, 4 Risen Reef

In: 4 Aether Gust, 2 Lovestruck Beast, 2 Shifting Ceratops, 2 Return to Nature

This matchup is the reason we play so many Aether Gusts and Lovestruck Beasts. I believe this to be a very bad matchup, and the choice of playing U/G Ramp was mostly because we expected not that many people to show up with Embercleave, and thankfully we were right, as there was only one competitor who brought an aggressive deck to MC VII.

I hope you have as much fun with this deck as I did, and boar some people out!

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