The article you are attempting to view is only available to StarCityGames.com Premium Members.
(If you are having trouble viewing this content, please consult this FAQ.)
This week brings some strange tidings. With Ramunap Red dominating Pro Tour Hour of Devastation, you've likely already read an article or two on "How Deck X Beats Ramunap Red," but that's not what we're doing today.
Well, maybe a little.
Highly recommend this if u like ramp for the MTGO PTQ. Im 17-3 in leagues with no losses to zombies/monored/gift/control/mardu/energy yet. pic.twitter.com/vSgtzOQBgW— Willy Edel (@bazardebagda) July 28, 2017
Last Friday, Willy Edel pumped out this tweet talking about how good his G/R Ramp deck was. And if you've kept up with my articles as of late, I've been tinkering with the deck a bit myself. After considering my options, I went with a very similar list of G/R Ramp for the Magic Online PTQ last weekend. Here's what I ended up on, for reference.
There's a lot to unpack here, so let's just dig in.
Cards like this seeing maindeck play will become a regular thing if Ramunap Red continues to be a dominant force in the metagame. In fact, I only played Ramp, and this version in general, because of how good I thought Jaddi Offshoot would be against the field. After all, by the time the PTQ started, the Top 8 had already been announced (along with their decklists) and I assumed many of the participants would lean toward that deck.
With that in mind, I took Willy's ideas to heart. I wanted Jaddi Offshoot to do some early blocking, as well as gain some precious life points. If I could negate the late-game reach, then cards like Kozilek's Return could do some good work. While Jaddi Offshoot isn't exactly exciting against Zombies, Control, or midrange decks, the small points of life occasionally made all the difference. That extra time generated by Jaddi Offshoot allowed me to cast Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger or World Breaker and eventually swing the game in my favor.
Would I continue to maindeck Jaddi Offshoot? Probably, but only in a live-tournament setting. Magic Online has a way of moving quickly fast as far as metagaming is concerned. That is clearly shown by the Top 8 of the PTQ featuring zero copies of Ramunap Red, while Zombies took down the top spot. It didn't take long for people to realize that Zombies was a favorite against Ramunap Red, and this was hammered home by having Ramunap Red on feature nearly every round at the Pro Tour. At some point, when Zombies beats Ramunap Red for the third time or so, we notice.
My goal in this PTQ wasn't just to beat Ramunap Red. It never was. I just wanted a few extra cards to give me a good shot at beating them. My primary goal was to defeat all the deck that had "good matchups against Ramunap Red." Ramp is a deck that sports a fine win percentage against the field, but those percentages increase as you make changes. By adding Jaddi Offshoot to the deck, I had to take something else away, which decreased my win percentage against stuff like B/G Constrictor and U/R Control. Luckily, the deck is solid against both already, so making that change didn't hurt much.
The other weird card in my deck that most people can't really wrap their head around is Natural Connection. I get it. Instant-speed ramp spells are weird. But it does play an important role in the archetype. Not only does it allow you to hold up mana for Kozilek's Return, but it sends you to five mana for Hour of Promise when your opponent might not exactly be ready for it. I've had quite a few instances where my opponent tapped out for something early instead of holding up Negate or Censor, only to have me resolve my back-breaking Hour of Promise.
Hitting your physical land drops is also important in the deck, as turning on Shrine of the Forsaken Gods is huge. Ramp effects that don't physically put a land onto the battlefield are generally worse than the ramp effects that do, even if they have the alternate ability to generate a Clue token. To be honest, I don't know which option is best. It feels a lot like arguing between Void Shatter and Disallow. Both have their positives and negatives, but most of the time they're just going to do the same thing.