BFZ Spotlight: Eldrazi Ramp

Another one of the deck archetypes that I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see come out of Battle for Zendikar is a new ramp deck, this time powering out the Eldrazi titans.

The problem, compared to the current ramp deck, is that we lose the ability for our lands to generate our massive amounts of mana and instead need to rely on accelerators instead. Enter Frontier Siege and Hedron Archive. These cards provide the foundation of the deck to generate the mana necessary to play the new Eldrazi in a timely fashion. Tacking these on to 24 lands leaves us with 28 slots left, with which we need to find removal, early creatures, and then our monsters of choice.

Early creatures are fairly easy. Hangarback Walker is probably the best card in standard, gives us a mana sink, slows down aggressive decks, and is a pain for control decks. All of this while also being colorless so Ugin, the Spirit Dragon doesn’t get rid of him. The other big contender for an early creature is Herald of Kozilek. This little guy is a great blocker early as well as accelerating into our large colorless spells. Removal is also pretty easy. We’ve already established at this point that we need for colors, which makes Roast a great maindeck inclusion as it kills most creatures we’re really worried about (with the exception of dragons). The other removal spell that makes a ton of sense is Titan’s Presence. While the card can be very awkward, and is not the best when drawn late, it often will give us an instant speed answer to what our opponent’s are doing early. 8 early drops, 8 removal spells, 8 ramp spells, 24 lands. This leaves us 12 slots left for monsters….

I break these down into two groups: the ones that cost 6 mana, and the ones that cost more. I want each of these groups to be close in size to the other. Here are the options at 6 mana: Oblivion Sower, Conduit of Ruin, and Sire of Stagnation. For larger I think the best options are: Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, Desolation Twin, Void Winnower, and Ruin Processor.

Here’s my thoughts on an initial deck for testing purposes, not counting a full sideboard:

Creatures (19)
Conduit of Ruin
Desolation Twin
Hangarback Walker
Herald of Kozilek
Oblivion Sower
Ruin Processor
Sire of Stagnation
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Spells (17)
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Frontier Siege
Hedron Archive
Titan’s Presence
Lands (24)
Bloodstained Mire
Cinder Glade
Frontier Bivouac
Lumbering Falls
Shivan Reef
Sunken Hollow
Tomb of the Spirit Dragon

I’ve actually thought about dropping one of my ramp spells to include an extra 6 mana creature, not only to make Titan’s Presence more reliable but also to just give the deck more gas. Tomb of the Spirit Dragon is a concession to the aggro matchups, where the ability to dump mana each turn to even gain a small amount of life could be very good. I tried a few of the other colorless options, and none of them super impressed me (Blighted Cataract is probably the next best one).

As for the sideboard: I would certainly include a single copy of Void Winnower if only for the mirror. I don’t think the card belongs in the main as I’m not sold on how disruptive it will be against the majority of the field, plus most of the removal spells in standard can still get rid of it. The other cards I’m really interested in are Radiant Flames against aggro decks and From Beyond against control decks. Beyond that you have a lot of room to play around what’s big in your meta and plenty of good options.

Chris Wendelboe

Chris is a level 2 judge from Ashland, New Hampshire. He enjoys Scapeshift, modern, and putting on the best events possible.