About two weeks ago, I stumbled across one of the coolest decks I had seen in Standard in some time. The list was played to a 5-0 League finish on Magic Online by _shipitnugs and contained a ton of cards you don’t see very often in the format. Take a look.
After the list was posted, several other known players like Conley Woods and Kenji Egashira tried the deck out after tweaking it to their liking. I was considering playing the deck in some videos, but given all of the alterations that have been made to the shell of the deck, I’m not sure that it would even be worth it. Technically, it has been evolving in the public eye since it was published, which doesn’t happen very often.
I managed to take note of the updates Conley and Kenji were making as they were streaming the deck, and I wanted to go over some of those updates here, to see what cards both (or all three) players found valuable.
First let’s take a look at both the Conley version and the Kenji version of the deck.
As you can see, all three lists go in somewhat different directions, but they all have a lot of core cards in common.
Cards shared by all three lists:
So ultimately, Hour of Promise, Hour of Devastation, and Gift of Paradise were too important to the deck. I agree completely, considering the main goals of the deck are to wipe the board (of planeswalker and creatures) and to ramp your way there. A few cards they were all unable to agree on, however, were the specific numbers of cards like Vraska’s Contempt, Star of Extinction, and even Vraska herself.
Additionally, all players agree that 4 Duress and 2 Lost Legacy were the correct numbers. As someone who was pretty opposed to Lost legacy, this surprises me, but I am warming up to it thanks to cards like Approach of the Second Sun, The Scarab God, and Hazoret, the Fervent. There are a lot of cards in Standard right now that can take over a game on their own, and a deck that depends on surviving to the late game will need to deal with them.
There were also several cards that both Conley and Kenji added to the deck in the same numbers.
Cards that both Kenji and Conley added:
4 Fatal Push seems to be the agreed-upon number, which makes sense because it’s an incredibly useful card when it comes to accomplishing the aforementioned goals. The 4th Hour of Promise also seems like a great addition considering how your deck really gets going when it hits 7 or 8 mana.
Kenji/Conley core cards:
That’s 34 main-deck cards, 13 of which are lands, and 8 sideboard cards. That means that if you’re going to add another 12 lands to the deck, you have 14 slots to play with in the main deck and 7 slots to play with in the sideboard.
I ended up using this information and to put my own version of the deck together that uses most of the cards that were tried here, in varying quantities. Take a look:
First off, this deck wants a good deal of green sources so that you can cast your ramp spells on turn 3. One of the biggest controversies is whether to run Beneath the Sands or Spring // Mind as your secondary ramp spell. I ended up a bigger fan of Spring // Mind. While cycling is nice, I’d rather be able to get the land, as well as draw two cards in the late game. I also have both Gift of Paradise and Treasure tokens to help cast Mind.
I liked what Kenji was doing with Treasure Map, but based on my experience with G/W Sandwurms, I didn’t want all 4. It was frustrating to use in the early game because you want to cast it on turn 2, but you want to be ramping on turn 3, not scrying. That being said, it’s still a great form of card advantage in the late game.
While Conley cut the Cruel Reality, Kenji doubled up on it. I thought 1 was fine, especially because it was a fun card that I wanted to try out.
Without a lot of early removal, Sweltering Suns feels necessary. At worst, you can always cycle when you have a million mana, or even to simply hit your fourth land, which is more than you can say for some other removal.
Just like with G/W Sandwurms, I’m a huge fan of Sandwurm Convergence and was thrilled to find a deck that could give that card some more play. It’s an awesome top end, especially when you’re stopping Thopter tokens, Glorybringers, and Heart of Kirans. Besides, what’s the point of playing a ramp deck if you aren’t ramping into obscure 8-mana enchantments?
I made sure that I had 2 Vraska, Relic Seeker—again, another win condition that’s very strong. I made sure that I had 2 Abrade and 2 Vraska’s Contempt as well. Both are versatile cards that aren’t dead against decks without creatures.
The decks are all basically mash-ups of one another with various 1-ofs thrown in here or there. I covered a lot of the bases with this list, but I do like the addition of 2 Shefet Monitors as well. Not only are they reasonable threats when you’re clearing everything off the board, but they can also make sure that you hit your fifth land for Hour of Promise/Hour of Devastation, and that you have at least 1 Desert in play for the former to trigger. The deck seems to thrive on versatile cards that have varying functions, and this is just another of them. Heck, you could probably run the Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh in the main deck—you certainly have enough ways to make a single blue mana!
The sideboard is pretty self-explanatory. It has ways to deal with basically everything, and a good amount of cards to bring in against control decks, as you’ll have a lot of dead main-deck cards. I’m a big fan of this archetype, and if you all have tried it out, I’d love to hear about your experiences! It’s interesting to see all these ramp decks popping up so late into the season, but I’m enjoying it. If you get a chance to try the list out, let me know what you think. Thanks a ton for reading and I’ll see you next time!