When a new format comes out, my strategy is to go as hard as possible on the new and exciting cards. This doesn’t always lead to the absolute best decks in the format, but lets you see if the power level is there for specific cards and archetypes. This week, I want to share with you a deck I’ve been working on since day 1, Green-Red Colorless Eldrazi Ramp.
Green-Red Colorless Eldrazi Ramp
This deck is like many ramp decks in the history of Magic. Accelerate your mana and play the most powerful threats in the format. This deck does it in a slightly different way, and that comes from the card Hour of Promise.
The entire Hour cycle has been getting a ton of press since we had the whole card file revealed for Hour of Devastation—the set’s namesake has been earning the most appreciation, but the other one that caught my eye was Hour of Promise. Hour of Promise specifically works well with Shrine of the Forsaken Gods to give you access to 4 additional mana instead of a mere 2. Hour of Promise will allow Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger to remain a viable threat until his rotation along side Gideon, Ally of Zendikar in 4 months.
But you have to live to cast Hour of Promise. The format for week 1 of a format tends to be fairly aggressive, because it’s easier to present threats to an opponent and play generically powerful answers than it is to have all the correct answers to the puzzle. Ramp can be a threat deck, but it really needs some amount of interaction to buy time for its ramp spells to play its expensive threats. That’s where Hour of Devastation and Kozilek’s Return come in. The two sweepers in the list play exceptionally well against energy, planeswalkers, and U/W flash style decks to keep their creatures at bay, and buy you time to cast Ulamog and World Breaker, which can also trigger the Kozilek’s Return for a second play.
The big change in this list you might not see in most versions of ramp is Ruin in Their Wake. Ruin in Their Wake is essentially a Rampant Growth, which is not something you’ll see much of in modern day Magic. Birds of Paradise, Llanowar Elves, and Rampant Growth have proven too powerful for the modern design of Magic where the cost-to-power ratio of the cards scales so well. For 4, 5, and 6 mana these days you get threats like Chandra, Torch of Defiance and Ulvenwald Hydra, so jumping through the hoop of finding a Wastes to make Ruin in Their Wake worth a Rampant Growth is worth it.
It’s difficult to turn on the delirium ability with Traverse the Ulvenwald and you don’t need the energy from Attune with Aether, but each allows you to fetch a basic from your library, and Wastes does have the basic land type. This means you can either draw the Wastes or fetch the Wastes with one of these 8 green spells to turn your Ruin in Their Wake into a real rampant growth. The addition of these 8 green spells also allows you to play an extremely low land count, which means rather than flooding out in the mid- to late-game, if the opponent can answer your first wave of threats, you have the ability to reload more effectively by finding fewer mana sources.
The rest of the deck consists of cards I’m less certain about. Shefet Monitor has been the most impressive of these, allowing you to ramp, draw additional cards, and has enough power to harass planeswalkers. Beneath the Sands has the ability to ramp in the later portion of the game, but on turn 3 can bridge you to a turn-4 Hour of Promise, which means it’s turn-5 Ulamog time! Chandra and Abrade are extra pieces of interaction that allow the deck to bridge from 2 to 4 mana into 5 mana while not just folding to the enemy threats. Abrade is the best of these so far, as it’s been really effective at clearing away Heart of Kiran, which has been an problematic card for this deck thus far.
The sideboard is a trial run. Chandra, Flamecaller and Thought-Knot Seer are the two cards that have impressed me the most so far. Chandra does a fantastic job at clearing the way of the linear creature strategies like Zombies, and Thought-Knot Seer has been instrumental in fighting opposing ramp decks and stripping the Gods from enemy hands. The Tireless Tracker is actually not as good as it is normally, especially in ramp decks, because of your low land count. By the time you stop ramping and have time to get into a grindy game with a Tireless Tracker, there aren’t many lands left in your deck to leverage his power. Thus, this might be a card I’d look to take out in future weeks, but if I were fighting a large number of control/planeswalker decks, this would still be a threat I’d be interested in.
I’ll be running this through a League during week 1 of the new Standard environment! I’ll see if this runs into some new crazy strategies and archetypes from my opponents. I’ve already played about 40 matches online with different decks and I’ve seen a number of wild things—I can’t wait to see what I face!