My States 2011 Story started when I saw Gerry Thompson's article featuring a Wolf Run Ramp Deck with Dungrove Elder. After testing it for a bit I came to a few conclusions. While Dungrove Elder was sick I preferred to have answers to creatures and I was concerned that 1 Mountain would not be reliable if it were destroyed. Brian Sondag had also written an article about his winning Wolf Run Ramp deck and I liked where his deck was heading. 4 Garruk Primal Hunter seemed like too much of a good thing but I did want another awesome Planeswalker.
So I brewed up a G/W/r ramp deck in the same vein of Wolf Run Ramp featuring Day of Judgment over Slagstorm and Gideon Jura as my extra Planeswalker of choice. In theory the deck seemed good and I was able to jam a few games on Magic Workstation and was happy with my results.
On Thursday I made a last minute decision to attend States intending to run Wolf Run Ramp. Friday after work I went to a friend's house to pick up all the cards I needed (virtually the whole deck thanks Dave and Jake Gans!). I went home built the G/R deck checked train times and hit the sack.
In the morning I met up with my friend Joe Pennachio at his house and we drove to the train station. I started talking about my G/W/r version of the deck and after some conversing I decided that I was going to last minute audible. I had heard that Hero of Bladehold was sick against Wolf Run Ramp so when Joe mentioned that I could sideboard it I snap called and gave it a 4x slot thinking I would face the mirror a fair amount.
As we got to Penn Station we were greeted by a few friends from a local comic shop. So we grouped up and got on a subway. I was pretty tired…and there is no better way to be woken up then by a traveling Mariachi band on a subway! The majority of the group was hungry so we decided to go to a pastry shop to get breakfast. Not being a breakfast person I decided to skip it and sleeve up the new version of the deck.
I made the manabase on the spot and came to the realization that this deck never wants to miss a land drop and that I didn't want to sacrifice another green source for the second red source. So I went with 27 lands in a 61 card deck.
Without further ado this is the deck:
- 3 Solemn Simulacrum
- 2 Wurmcoil Engine
- 1 Acidic Slime
- 1 Birds of Paradise
- 3 Primeval Titan
- 4 Viridian Emissary
I wanted a card that would crush aggro and be a solid player against control. This is also great against control because I don't want to see Gideon on my opponent's side of the field.
Having played Valakut for some time I realized how bad Red Deck Wins could be as a matchup for this kind of deck. This is another great advantage of playing white in the deck.
Having this card in the mirror gives you a much faster clock against opposing Wolf Run decks.
With that said here's the report!
Round 1: Mono Red (2-0)
Time for the Timely Reinforcements to kick in!
Round 2: G/W Midrange (2-0)
I don't remember this match very well but his deck featured semi-aggressive creatures and Day of Judgment. It was not much of a challenge considering the amount of powerful spells I was casting.
Round 3: Solar Flare (2-1)
Game 1: My opponent mulled to 5 and by hitting every land drop and applying pressure I easily won.
Game 2: I drew a lot of land and not that many spells which led to a slow defeat.
Game 3: The game went long and I managed to win eventually through Inkmoth Nexus.
Round 4: Solar Flare (2-1)
The first two games went back and forth. I had taken the first being on the play and he took the second with the same advantage.
Game 3: It was a war of attrition. The game went long and he had Ghost Quarter and Sun Titan at one point. I used a Beast Within to take down the Titan on my turn to stop the recursion of Ghost Quarter. I was playing for one final turn that I could swing in with a lethal Inkmoth Nexus with the help of Kessig Wolf Run. I had been holding Autumn's Veil for nearly the entire game in order to stop any removal spell he may have. On the turn before I was going to die I ripped Beast Within to force him to kill one of my copies of Inkmoth Nexus so I could swing and pump the other with Kessig Wolf Run for lethal. After resolving the veil before waking up the land I knew I was golden. Pretty lucky but I was playing for it.
Round 5: Wolf Run Ramp (2-1)
Game 1: We both started with Viridian Emissary as our turn 2 plays. I had a read on him being somewhat land light and chose not to block his Viridian Emissary on turn 3 despite the fact that it would put me ahead. He cast a second main phase Slagstorm letting us both dig for lands. I eventually came out on top resolving more threats faster than he did.
Game 2: He got a Garruk Primal Hunter out relatively fast and it got out of hand. I stumbled on some lands and quickly conceded the game.
Game 3: We both started out with Rampant Growth as our turn 2 plays. Despite my lack of lands I managed to stick a hero my opponent cast an Acidic Slime and I got very aggressive. My opponent didn't draw well I assume because I managed to pull it out. That being said I felt like if both of our draws were better throughout the match I would have been favored.
Round 6: U/W Control (2-1)
Game 1: We both mulled to 5 and I couldn't keep up with his counters and Mirran Crusaders.
Game 2: I slammed down a Thrun the Last Troll and it went unopposed for awhile. By the time he caught up I was able to resolve bigger spells and take control of the game easily.
Game 3: He rushed out a Mirran Crusader and Sword of Feast and Famine. I ignored it and kept ramping. A lot of the time players will focus on not letting the sword hit them instead of just making the correct play. Through not caring about the sword I managed to put myself in a fine position. I played Primeval Titan and found some chump blockers with Inkmoth Nexus. A few turns later I had a Primeval Titan in play that would swing in for lethal on my turn. I was sitting on 8 life and had 2 Inkmoth Nexus blockers for his Mirran Crusader with a sword on it. The only possible cards he could have to stop me were two Dismembers and Negate/Flashfreeze. So when I went to animate the first Inkmoth he Dismembered it. Then on the second animation he tapped out to cast Snapcaster Mage and flashback Dismember. When I showed him the Beast Within for the Sword of Feast and Famine he sighed and conceded seeing that I could swing for lethal next turn.
Round 7 and Round 8 were intentional draws.
Top 8: G/W Tokens
Game 1: I started out on a mulligan to 5 on the play. The board stalled out with him having a Hero of Bladehold Elspeth Tirel and Shrine of Loyal Legions with 7 counters. I had a Garruk Primal Hunter two Beast tokens and a Birds of Paradise. I punted this game by not playing Beast Within to make him crack his Shrine of Loyal Legions and casting Day of Judgment after that to be in great shape. I waited a turn in order to try and get rid of his Elspeth while he dropped an Intangible Virtue and swung for way more than lethal.
This was one of the harder matchups I faced throughout the day. Game 1 would have been a lot better for me had I not mulled to 5 and I would have been favored had I not made a crucial mistake. This matchup requires time and makes me want to put Ratchets Bombs in my sideboard.
Future card choices
This has some sweet colors to be protected from and can provide a very fast clock with Kessig Wolf Run
This tournament was a great experience and I feel like this deck is the real deal. It could easily replace G/R Wolf Run Ramp as the go to choice for such an archetype. This version has a better game against creature decks and is favored against other ramp decks thanks to Hero of Bladehold. I have made a few changes to the deck since the tournament and now it looks like this:
Both Wurmcoil Engine and Sword of Feast and Famine were really unimpressive. I never felt that for six mana Wurmcoil was worth it. Also when playing with or against Sword of Feast and Famine it never put me in that good or bad of a position. With the lack of Thruns now it may be plausible to bring in Hero of Bladehold against Solar Flare or U/W decks. Thrun while good can be easily dealt with by a Phantasmal Image. Surgical Extraction will also provide room for blowouts in that matchup slowing them down tremendously.