In my last article, I said that the current Bant ramp deck to me felt just like a collection of powerful cards, rather than a deck with a cohesive game plan.
I tried to build the deck my way and this is what I came up with after a few hours of playing on the ladder.
Bant Ramp Fixed
I copied the mana base from Joe and Christian Hauck and I’ve been pretty happy with it. Blast Zone actually won me a couple games and you can definitely afford to run 1 utility land when you are playing 29 total.
Speaking of which, this deck is super mana hungry so don’t even think of cutting some lands. 29 might seem like a lot, but you absolutely need to make the first five or six land drops.
0 Narset, 0 Tamiyo – Current standard is about fighting for board position and neither of these two cards help you do that. A lot of people are quick to point out that Tamiyo is great in the late game because it can loop your Elspeth Conquers Death and it helps you mill cards for Uro, but I am mainly interested in not dying in the early game. Losing the late game with this deck when you are chaining Hydroid after Hydroid with Nissa out is almost impossible anyway.
My experience with Narset and Tamiyo in this format has been that you play them, sometimes you get a card and then they die. That may not sound like the worst deal ever if they replace themselves, but you have to consider that you also invest your entire turn into playing them. So while you played your planeswalker, got a card out of it, and then it died, your opponent played a creature that they used to attack it with, and that creature then stays in play, which means your opponent is now ahead on board and they get to add even more to it. This deck has only 2 sweepers and 3 Elspeth Conquers Death as removal, which is super expensive and only trades 1-for-1. So once your opponent is ahead on board, they are going to snowball that advantage and you might never catch back up. Which is especially bad when your entire game plan revolves around keeping Nissa in play to cast giant Hydroids and drawing a lot of cards.
Narset would be good if everyone played only Temur Reclamation and U/W Control, but there are way too many creature decks. Similarly, Tamiyo would be great in a format dominated by something like Esper Control with a ton of discard spells and counters. Currently the most played decks include Temur Clover, Monored and Rakdos Sacrifice, all of which get on board with creatures very quickly.
0 Mystical Dispute – With 29 lands in the deck, I felt like I needed every card in my deck to do something in every matchup. While Dispute is your best card against the blue decks, it’s usually a completely dead card against aggro because casting it for 3 mana is just too slow.
2 Shatter the Sky – when I first saw this deck, my first reation was why is it not running more sweepers when the deck has so many planeswalkers to protect. Now that we cut half of them, it seems less important. Feel free to add more copies if your local metagame is full of aggro though.
4 Hydroid Krasis – with 4 Nissa and 29 lands, I can’t imagine not playing 4 Hydroids.
3 Uro – now that we got rid of Tamiyo, we don’t want to play 4. You ideally want to draw 1 per game.
2 Omen of the Sea – I wanted some cheaper cards so that I have something to play when I don’t draw Growth Spiral, which is pretty much the best card in the deck. Omen isn’t the greatest card ever, but it’s a cheap way to dig for specific cards like Shatter the Sky and you usually have plenty of extra mana in the late game, so the Scry 2 is very relevant as well.
2 Dream Trawler – An early Dreamy T is your best shot at beating decks like Temur Clover, Monored or Rakdos Sacrifice.
2 Knight of Autumn – There are a lot of Cat + Oven decks on the ladder right now. It also kills Lucky Clover, Wilderness Reclamation, Anax and Banishing Light. It’s also not the strongest card ever, but you need something cheap. Something like Rogue Refiner would be the perfect replacement card for this deck, but unfortunately no such card exists in Standard to my knowledge. Risen Reef also replaces itself, but the problem is that it doesn’t trade with anything.
1 Agent of Treachery – I was looking for more impactful cards and Agent fits that role pretty well.
The sideboard is still a work in progress and that 1 Nightpack Ambusher was mostly an experiment, but I do like the rest. Feel free to add the 4th Shatter if you are worried about aggro.
With this deck you would rather keep a 5-lander than a 2-lander, so don’t be greedy with your mulligan decisions. If you miss your 3rd or 4th land drop, it’s very bad for you because you won’t be able to catch back up.
Pay attention to your lands to make sure you get the most mana out of Nissa. I would love to play Negate in the sideboard over Dovin’s Veto to be able to resolve Nissa, untap Breeding Pool and have Negate up, but there are way too many counters in the format now, so having Veto be uncounterable is actually pretty important.
One last thing I want to mention is that I feel like Knight of Autumn isn’t even good against Monored. It’s a terrible answer to Embercleave because you can only destroy it after you take a hit, which in most cases means you are already dead. If you have to play it as a 2/1 that gains you 4 life, then that’s pretty bad either because 2/1 is a horrible blocker against them and they aren’t a burn deck, they are a creature deck that usually kills you with Embercleave. So you are basically just hoping that you’ll have it in your hand right after they play Anax to get the most value out of it or that you play against someone with Cavalcade in their deck. Most of the time, just play it as a 4/3 for 3 and hope to trade with something so that you slow them down before you can play your Nissa.
If you want to watch some game play, you can check out this VOD, and keep an eye on Channelfireball.com for a video of mine coming soon.
In: 3 Aether Gust, 1 Heliod’s Intervention
Out: 1 Agent of Treachery, 2 Dream Trawler, 3 Elspeth Conquers Death, 2 Shatter the Sky, 1 Blast Zone
In: 3 Aether Gust, 2 Dovin’s Veto, 3 Mystical Dispute, 1 Nightpack Ambusher
The last two cards to take out depend on their exact build, mostly how many targets they have for ECD and how effective Teferi is. Keep in mind that they usually have Claim the Firstborn so try not to die to it by casting an unnecessarily big Hydroid Krasis.
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