Simic Ramp - Weapon of Choice
Today's Weapon of Choice is a Simic Ramp deck that I have registered for the iOS tournament.
If you just want to watch the darn video without reading all those words, here you go -
I have said about a bazillion times now that I think Gruul Ramp is the best ramp deck, and probably the best deck, you can play in Duels B4Z season. So why work on a Simic Ramp deck?
While I don't think this Simic deck will do great against aggro decks at all, I think it will do well against other ramp decks, including Gruul, and I think it will do well against midrange and control. Ramp is already a strong strategy against these decks, but I think Simic gives up some points in the aggro match for more interactivity and trumps in the Ramp and Control matchups.
Here is the list -
4 x Clutch of Currents
1 x Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
4 x Gatecreeper Vine
4 x Disperse
2 x Displacement Wave
1 x Nissa, Vastwood Seer
4 x Nissa's Pilgrimage
2 x From Beyond
4 x Mwonvuli Acid-Moss
1 x Kiora, Master of the Depths
2 x Drowner of Hope
1 x Greenwarden of Murasa
1 x Oblivion Sower
1 x Part the Waterveil
2 x Nissa's Renewal
2 x Gaea's Revenge
1 x Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
7 x Island
12 x Forest
2 x Lumbering Falls
2 x Hinterland Harbor
The deck reminds me of something I was working on before B4Z dropped, which was a Simic Tempo Ramp deck that went over the top with large threats instead of under the opponent with small aggro creatures. If you require card draw and card advantage to be happy, this is not your deck. It buries the opponent in tempo plays, and then it puts out a big monster that the opponent's entire hand probably cannot manage.
It is pretty common for this deck to spend early turns ramping and bouncing, cutting off lands with Moss, and then dumping something massive like Gaea's Revenge or Ulamog and walking away with the game. Instead of recapping all the games, I'll leave it to you if you want to watch the games or play your own. Instead, I'll walk through the cards and what they do. If you have a format preference for these write-ups about a deck, let me know by leaving a comment or message me on Twitter @danno029
Clutch of Currents - This card is 90% of the time an unsummon at sorcery speed, you use it to bounce whatever the opponent is doing will getting your ramp and aggro on. It is rarely used as an awaken card, especially if you have five or six mana. When you have twelve of more lands, sure, awaken if you like. Most of the time, bounce their creature and cast more of your own spells. It can also be used on your own Gatecreeper to make sure you hit land drops and set up future turns, such as we did on this turn -
Jace, Vryn's Prodigy - Jace gets tossed into a ton of decks because he is Jace, but he has an important role in this deck. Early game he smooths out your draw with his loot ability, midgame he can flash back a ramp spell or an Acid Moss, and lategame he can flash back Displacement Waves.
Gatecreeper Vine - Since we have very few uses for our second turn, the best thing we can likely do is put out a blocker that also finds us another land. I treat these like lands 24 and 25 in the mana base when evaluating them. You could cut them and go up to 25 land and have two open spots, but I still don't see much that will get good use out of turn number two.
Disperse - This card is a great reason to play the deck. It offers the deck a lot of versatility and instant speed interaction that many ramp decks lack. A common use is keeping the opponent's tempo down, but it can do many other things. Worried about the Ulamog vs Ulamog battle? Cast your Mog with two mana open, and when the opponent casts their Mog just Disperse your own after the targets are chosen. On your turn, recast Mog and exile the opponent's Mog and something else. Need something out of your graveyard? Disperse Greenwarden and recast it go get whatever you want (another Disperse perhaps?). Cast Kiora, use the -2, and bounce her back to your hand with Disperse when the opponent attacks her or tries to burn her. Reset your Drowner of Hope, get two lands with Nissa, or bounce their Gideon and Acid-Moss their second white source so it stays gone for a while. The options are many.
Displacement Wave - This card allows for some really busted stuff. In many situations, you can bounce your foe's whole board and swing with Gaea's Revenge or Ulamog. Greenwarden + Wave and 14 mana, not a crazy idea in a ramp deck, equals a full board bounce every turn. We already mentioned that Jace can flash it back.
Nissa, Vastwood Seer - Are you playing Green? Than you probably have at least one of your sixty cards set in stone already. It's freaking Nissa, you don't need reasons to run her.
Nissa's Pilgrimage - Pretty obvious inclusion, but with all the spells in this deck it is not hard to turn this into green Ancestral Recall and get three Forests out of the deal. Since every land comes in handy with this deck, it is sometimes worth casting this a turn or two behind curve to get triple Forest.
From Beyond - We need more Ulamogs, and these are Ulamog two and three. They get sacrificed more liberally in this deck than in other ramp decks because Disperse allows you to reuse Ulamog.
Mwonvuli Acid-Moss - There is a lot of talk and hate for the Moss, but it is right at home in this deck. Setting your opponent back on mana and bouncing their permanents makes Moss really nasty here. That, and Jace flashback.
Kiora, Master of the Depths - This is a great home for Kiora, because she is actually great as a ramp spell. Use the -2 when you need to, but because of the mana-hungry nature of this deck it is often right to push her to the ultimate, as we do in several games including this one -
Drowner of Hope - If I had to cut a card it would likely be this one. Drowner isn't bad, it is just not that good. It is a stall tactic, a threat, or a ramp card, but it is rarely all three, and you have to really know how you plan to use it when you cast it.
Greenwarden of Murasa - I mentioned this card when discussing Disperse and Wave, so I feel like you already get the gist. The most common target has been Wave by far.
Oblivion Sower - Great for hitting land drops, great for blocking, great for attacking. This card isn't much better here than it is in other ramp and landfall decks, but that is OK.
Part the Waterveil - This card can do awesome busted things. It translates to death if you already have a Drowner out, or an Ulamog or Revenge. It is really awesome to awaken.
Nissa's Renewal - This card is good here. It isn't as utterly busted as it is in landfall decks. Still, you really want to be at ten, and preferably twelve for Disperse, when you cast Ulamog, and this gets you where you need to be.
Gaea's Revenge - Still amazing, Revenge is a very common win con. Bounce their blockers, attack for eight a few times, isn't Magic easy!
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger - 'Nuff said. But don't miss the opportunity to attack for 20 cards, bounce Ulamog with Clutch or Disperse, and recast him exiling two more permanents. Sad times for the opponent.
23 lands, almost all of them enter the battlefield untapped except for two Lumbering Falls. 23 lands does work out and work out well with Gatecreepers. If you cut the Vines, you need at least 25 lands, and I would make two of them Evolving Wilds or Gates because Creeper was fetching Islands 99% of the time.
The deck has strength against other ramp decks, or at least that is the theory. I already lost round one to ramp deck in iOS world, but I kept a bad hand in game three and I miscounted my land in game one. Hopefully I will win going forward if I keep my head out of my own butt.
The deck is likely weak sauce against cheap aggro decks, and I am guessing that against Thopters it is D-Wave or bust. I recommend it for a meta full of opposing ramp and control builds. Take it out, try it out, let me know your opinions in comments or @danno029 on Twitter.