G/R Ramp is not a new strategy, and we even looked at a deck that performed well at the Pro Tour. While this one isn’t radically different, it is much better tuned for the current metagame. Pro Tour Champion Guillaume Matignon piloted this version to an undefeated record in the Swiss of the latest MOCS Playoffs, one of the toughest Magic tournaments there is, before winning his two Top 8 rounds and clinching his ticket to the MOCS Championship.
Any ramp deck is going to need strong ramp spells. The breakdown of 3-mana ramp spells has the full playset of Weirding Woods and Beneath the Sands and only a single copy of Gift of Paradise. Previous incarnations started with 4 Gifts, and Red was definitely public enemy #1 headed into this weekend, so why the different distribution?
The ramp deck runs a lot of cheap removal and sweepers to try to keep from falling too far behind red decks. One issue with this is that sometimes you just don’t have the payoffs. Weirding Wood and Beneath the Sands can both help that as the Clue from the enchantment can be sacrificed for a card and Beneath can be cycled when necessary. The 9th 3-mana ramp spell is a single Gift, but it’s not the standout here.
The big ramp spell remains Hour of Promise. While this puts some deckbuilding restrictions on you as you have to play a number of Deserts and they can deal you some damage, the reward is enormous. If you already have Deserts in play, Hour can search out nonbasics like Shrine of the Forsaken Gods and Sanctum of Ugin to ramp you to big spells and make sure you have a steady stream of them. Spending 5 mana to get 2 lands and 4 power across multiple bodies is valuable against aggro, midrange, and control alike.
Hour of Devastation gives you the reset button ramp always wanted. It takes cares of planeswalkers, indestructible creatures, and just about everything else. Your creatures also survive the Hour, and you can cast it on turn 4 consistently with 9 ramp spells that cost 3.
Kozilek’s Return gives you early interaction against Red and Zombie decks that can flood out the board early. You have 6 Eldrazi in your deck, so the Return is likely to return when you need it. Abrade adds in some additional removal and the ability to deal with Gearhulks of all flavors.
Your top end is really powerful and rewards you handsomely for all of your ramping. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger gives you inevitability against any deck that isn’t looking to close the game out in a hurry, and an exile effect is handy in this Standard format. World Breaker gives you a mini-Ulamog effect, along with the ability to bring it back from the graveyard in the late game.
Neheb, the Eternal adds some insane ramp to your strategy. It comes down as early as turn 4 and can ramp you to Ulamog on turn 5. If they chump it, you still get in the afflict trigger and gain some additional mana. With so many big spells to cast, as well as Clues to crack and lands to cycle, you can use your mana really well.
Chandra, Flamecaller gives you game against lots of different decks. It’s an additional sweeper against Zombies, can win the game in a hurry against control, and can provide a great way to attack planeswalkers or cash in your hand for new cards.
Ramp is still proving a reliable way to win games of Magic, even in a world of aggro decks, and this list is the best I’ve seen!