Standard Eldrazi Ramp

Eldrazi Ramp PicI was playing at FNM, and a new player happened to be sitting next to me. He wasn’t playing in the tournament, but was interested in playing and looking at cards. I had decided that week to play my 4-color Demonic Pact deck (I do love bouncing Demonic Pacts,) rather than the Eldrazi Ramp brew I’d been toying with, so I handed the Eldrazi over to him and while I played my rounds, he sat next to me and basically playtested my Eldrazi list against whoever would play him.

I decided to write about the Eldrazi Ramp list because, it was pointed out to me, it’s basically a budget deck as it stands, with Ulamog and Atarka the only cards above $10. There are a lot of ways to build a ramp deck at the moment, here’s what I’ve put together out of my own collection.

R/G Eldrazi Ramp.dec

Creatures
4 Whisperer of the Wilds
4 Rattleclaw Mystic
2 Endless One
1 Jaddi Offshoot
4 Kozilek’s Channeler
2 Dragonlord Atarka
1 Void Winnower
2 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
2 Desolation Twin

Spells
2 Evolutionary Leap
2 Explosive Vegetation
3 Nissa’s Pilgrimage
4 Hedron Archive
2 Scour from Existence
1 Titan’s Presence

Lands
9 Forest
1 Mountain
4 Rugged Highlands
2 Cinder Glade
4 Wooded Foothills
1 Sanctum of Ugin
1 Mage-Ring Network
2 Blighted Woodland

For starters, do not feel like you must play Wooded Foothills or Cinder Glade. In fact, this deck would function just fine on nothing more than basic lands, since there are good lands to play even at common and you really don’t even need the red if you don’t want to run Atarka. If you want to throw a few rare lands in without breaking the bank, Sanctum of Ugin and Shrine of the Forsaken Gods can help keep your bombs flowing and improve your ramping capability, respectively.

If you can’t afford Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, you can swap them out for Desolation Twins or any other large Eldrazi you might want to include, like Bane of Bala Ged, Void Winnower and Endless One. Dragonlord Atarka is a bit harder to replace, since flying hardly ever comes attached to such a large body, and her ETB effect will usually kill one or two opposing threats. Breaker of Armies is large, and capable of trading for a lot of creatures, and a fine budget replacement if Atarka is out of your price range.

Hitting 10 mana with this loadout seemed particularly easy, with a perfect curve looking something like turn 2 Whisperer of the Wilds, turn 3 Explosive Vegetation or Hedron Archive, turn 4 Kozilek’s Channeler and either another Whisperer of the Wilds or Nissa’s Pilgrimage. Even if you miss a land drop along the way, that sequence makes casting Ulamog on turn 5 easy. I particularly like the interaction of Kozilek’s Channeler kicking up the Whisperer of the Wilds’ mana production. If you’re not so hot on the overcosted and overachieving mana dork, you might consider freeing up the Whisperer of the Wilds slots as well. That’s 8 slots that could be dedicated to other ramp, more diverse threats or removal to bridge you to the late game, according to how you want your version to play.

While I was building, I knew I wanted Jaddi Offshoots, but I only had the one in my collection, so that’s what I put in. It is important that I correct that oversight. You see, time is your most precious commodity when piloting a ramp deck, so anything you can do to block early attackers and keep yourself at a comfortable life total will buy you those precious turns. Jaddi Offshoot fills the one-drop slot, blocks most threats the fast red decks are sending our way, and gains life for playing lots of lands, which is the plan anyway.

The one other piece of tech that I’m excited about is Evolutionary Leap. A common issue with ramp decks is being stuck with too many mana dorks and no big threat to dump that mana into, or your opponent answers your bomb, and you don’t have a follow up. Evolutionary Leap provides a way to find your next threat. Also, it provides protection against your opponent’s removal spells, since you can just sacrifice a creature in response to whatever effect would kill your creature. Just do not play too many, since drawing a second copy of Evolutionary Leap never feels good.

If I were asked to build truly budget list, with no individual card costing above $5, it might look something like this:

Mono-Green Eldrazi Ramp.dec

Creatures
4 Whisperer of the Wilds
2 Rattleclaw Mystic
2 Endless One
4 Jaddi Offshoot
4 Kozilek’s Channeler
2 Breaker of Armies
1 Void Winnower
4 Desolation Twin

Spells
2 Evolutionary Leap
2 Explosive Vegetation
2 Nissa’s Pilgrimage
4 Hedron Archive
2 Scour from Existence
1 Titan’s Presence

Lands
24 Forest

Do Eldrazi stomp? Can one properly stomp when one has a mass of writhing tentacles for legs? I’m going to make a controversial call and say yes, they ground pound every bit as hard as Rhinos and Elementals. Better, even.

This particular style of deck in the current standard is great for both experienced brewers and newer players dipping their toes into deckbuilding waters, because there are so many ways to build the deck. The above list can be put together almost entirely from draft leftovers, but standard has so many great options. Feel free to splash whatever color or colors you like, the lands in standard are great and it’s a good excuse to start chasing fetches. There are even competitive decks running Ulamog, although good luck finding a budget build that will take down a PPTQ. Ugin the Spirit Dragon and Hangarback Walker are the reigning kings of the playground, and it’s probably wrong to not have them in some number if your goal is to just win.

Stompy stompy!

-Wumpus

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