Bant Ramp is back in the metagame!
As I write this article, I just clinched fourth place on the MTG Arena Ladder on stream with Bant Ramp. I’ve been playing this deck for two days and I’m putting up an incredible win percentage. The deck is very well-positioned right now and I’ll tell you why.
Bant Ramp for MTG Arena
4 Forest (347) 4 Breeding Pool 4 Temple Garden 4 Hallowed Fountain 4 Temple of Mystery 4 Sunpetal Grove 4 Llanowar Elves 4 Paradise Druid 4 Leafkin Druid 4 Risen Reef 4 Hydroid Krasis 2 Voracious Hydra 4 Deputy of Detention 2 Trostani Discordant 4 Teferi, Time Raveler 4 Nissa, Who Shakes the World Sideboard 1 Veil of Summer 2 Time Wipe 2 Negate 3 Baffling End 2 Aether Gust 1 Devout Decree 2 Vivien, Arkbow Ranger 2 Voracious Hydra
Bant Ramp has always been one of the top decks, but it recently disappeared when Scapeshift became the most popular deck, and way too many decks were packing Field of the Dead to go over the top of everything else, making Mass Manipulation decks not the best go-big deck of the metagame. You needed to have a plan against a huge number of Zombies, which Simic Steal just doesn’t have. I tried to build some Agent of Treachery versions of those decks, but they just didn’t function and I had to put down the Nissa decks.
But the Standard metagame evolves, and more and more players started putting Blood Sun in their main-decks and building aggressive strategies like Vampires to punish those slower decks like Scapeshift. Scapeshift was pushed out of the format, which means that this is the perfect moment to bring back Bant Ramp! In these two days, I’ve played against only one Scapeshift out of more than 20 matches, but 5 Vampires and 5 Esper Hero. Any Nissa strategy used to have a great matchup against Esper Hero, and I built my deck to have a strong game against Vampires.
Having access to Teferi, Time Raveler and Deputy of Detention means that you’re not that bad against Scapeshift and Nexus, as you can deal with their threats as well as put up pressure with Nissa and Hydroid Krasis. I love to play 4 Deputy of Detention and 4 Teferi, Time Raveler in my decks these days. There isn’t much removal around, which makes Deputy an all-star, and I still think that Teferi is one of the best card in Standard and I want to play it in any deck that can cast it.
A lot of people on stream have asked me about the lack of these two cards. I don’t like Mass Manipulation anymore in Standard for multiple reasons. First is Veil of Summer, which is too devastating of a trade, and makes me play too scared if I don’t have Teferi out. Second is the quadruple-blue mana. I built my mana base with just 12 blue and 12 white sources–I don’t want to play Glacial Fortress.
Voracious Hydra is a creature I’ve really liked since the beginning of Core Set 2020 Standard. It’s super versatile, killing cheap creatures in early game and being a huge threat in the late game. I like it a lot against Nissa decks and Vampires. It doesn’t shine vs Legion’s End in multiples but it’s a curve filler, which has great value in a Ramp deck. If you see that Legion’s End get you too often, I could see replacing the two Voracious Hydra in the sideboard with Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves.
After an opponent used Trostani to take back permanents I stole, I remembered how good it was and I added two copies in my sideboard, and then those two copies came to the main instead of Cavalier of Thorns. Cavalier was always medium but never anything more. It’s an Elemental for Risen Reef which is cool, but it’s just too weak on its own. It doesn’t have evasion and gets chumped / exiled too often for this 5-drop to really matter.
I was going to add Vivien Reid in my sideboard for Nexus and Esper Hero, but then when I typed Vivien, this card came up, and after reading it, it reminded me of Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants, which is one of my favorite cards to come out of the sideboard to fight those grindy matchups. I decided to give her a try, and Vivien was phenomenal! The casting cost isn’t a problem, as I built my mana base to only have Hallowed Fountain as a non-green source.
Her plus ability is insane in this deck, as we have the problem of finding ourselves with a bunch of mana dorks in the lategame, and turning those into real threats was how I won most of my games against Esper Hero post-sideboard. She can also kill a planeswalker immediately, which is super important against Nissa, which often manages to survive one combat and then takes the game over the following turn.
I’ve been super impressed with Vivien and I’ll have two copies of her in my Bant sideboard from now on.
Vs Esper Hero
I like to bring in Baffling End, as Esper Hero has Deputy of Detention, Hero of Precinct One and Tomebound Lich that are worth killing–but most importantly Hero of Precinct One, which can get out of hand very quickly. I like to board out Deputy of Detention against control decks.
Risen Reef and Teferi are curve-fillers that replace themselves and are never bad, but I think are the weakest cards in the matchup and I need to build a sideboard that could accommodate cutting those 8 slots.
The 2-mana spot removal is definitely nice, and so is the Wrath effect. I’m still in doubt if Voracious Hydra numbers 3 and 4 is better than Tolsimir, and the reason why I think so is because I don’t want to have 10 five-drops against an aggressive deck (though, granted, I could board out some Nissas).
I’m currently 5-1 against Vampires on MTG Arena, and those matches always end up being against high ladder players, as Vampires is the best deck right now. I like how this deck plays in that matchup and I’m conformable in saying that Bant Ramp is favorite against Vampires.
I have only played this matchup once, and my list was very different than now, so I’m not 100% confident on how to sideboard. I think Vivien is good, as she’ll boost your creatures to get through their Zombies, making them hard to chumpblock, as well as killing their Teferi, Time Raveler.
I love this deck, and I can’t wait to play it more to get to the top spot on the ladder!