What is Mana Ramp and how to play with it? Spoiler:Show
Mana Ramp is an archetype who abuses the mana advantage from ramping spells such as Fertile Ground , Rampant Growth and Garruk Wildspeaker untap lands ability which is totally absurd if the land is enchanted by fertile. After ramping the mana up, the deck cast some big threats that are game breakers by themselves also the creatures this deck plays are CA generators, because they can turn the game into a dofferent way putting you in a winning position. This deck it's not hard to play with, but, it must be played carefully and wisely to not commit mistakes and put the game at risk, and of course you must know your deck and waht to bring in from SB and took out from MB. One last point, the deck, it must be well built and balanced, i mean, the spells, lands, creatures and sideboard, must be well balanced with each one. Examples: the lands usually are 23 spots and the ramp spells are 8 plus 3 garruk, totalling 11 spots, the spot and mass removal spells usually are beteween 8-12 slots in MB and 3-6 slots in SB, the other spells are utilities and win conditions cards in general, such as: Primal Command , Banefire , Violent Ultimatum -it can be considered as removal spell as well. And at last, the creatures slots, in general they stay in 12-16 slots, beteween those slots exists a few staple creatures like Kitchen Finks , Chameleon Colossus , Broodmate Dragon and Clousthresher , the rest depends on your call and the meta you are used to play. This archetype were divided into two variation, Jund and Naya variation, the last one, never had any expressive result in any champ, i believe that it's just because jund variation it's better, has better options and pool of cards, also has better answers against the principals deck around, at least in my opinion i believe they are RW variations, BW tokens, 5cc, Faeries and other random agro decks. Those are the decks which i prepare to play against, the others, well, is the others..
Kitchen Finks - Life Gain creature, one of yours greatest weapon against agro decks, because he can be trade for 2 burns, 2 creatures or one of each. This creature should be 4 of always, in any ramp variation.
Sprouting Thrinax - A very nice three drop because it's versatility and CA that he can generates, it competes with kitchen finks in this slot. Particulary i prefer finks but this decision it's a meta call. Some say that this guy it's a better choice because it's terror/shriekmaw/magma spray imune, but now that PtE exists, this creature becomes less viable, because he may not show his full potential.
Troll Ascetic - A great untouchable creature with regeneration, with warhammer it's unstopable. He competes with Chamelon the 3-4 drop, he's also a nice turn three drop, but it's not recommend to cast him on the begin, because i'ts highly necessary let 2 mana open to regenerate him if you need, because of that, he become less viable than colossus. Well he definetely worth some testing.
Civic Wayfinder - Basic Land tutor and early defense, i saw some list with this guy, instead fertile ground, particulary i prefer fertile.
Farhaven Elf - A basic land tutor guy which put it on play tapped, and early blocker, not too good to draw late game.
Chameleon Colossus - This creature were a little bit away from ramp decks, but it came back with a hell of strenght, it's an essential creature and piece of the deck, because it makes your turn three drop a lot more powerful and he's a must answer threat that can win the game by himself, definetely a must in this deck.
Spellbreaker Behemoth - Some said that this should replace CC, i do think so, colossus it's great, but it can be countered against fae and 5cc and makes cloudthrshers uncounterable as well, while the behemoth doesn't on the other colossus has proctetion from black and gets bigger, but never stays alive, while this beast comes down on the third turn and the fourth swings for 5, against 5cc it's a great move, well, both of them are meta choices, particulary i'm running the uncounterable beast which i believes it's better than CC.
Shriekmaw - Spot Removal for non-black and non-artifact creature. A terror with legs.
Siege-Gang Commander - Chump Blockers, burn and/or removal and great finisher, but, SGC may die for your own board sweapers, he must be used wisely and carefully.
Thornling - A green morphling, he has a good cmc and a good body, balanced, nice abilities, i see him as a potentialy creature for ramp deck, it needs tests to know more about him.
Broodmate Dragon - This creature is one of the finishers of the deck, he's 2 for 1, he generates a great CA by himself, definetely a must in this deck. 3-4 are the correct number of copies.
Broodmother Dragon - The mother of dragons, it's a token factory with devour, those tokens can become big enough to be a must answer threat, she's not bad, but i don't see her in a ramp build, she's definetely doesn't belong here, her son, broomate is way better.
Cloudthresher - One of the finishers of the deck as well, and a main deck hate against x/2 defense fliers, he can sweep the board in a flashy way, he can burn face or any planeswalker, definetely a must in this deck. as 2-4 of him.
Garruk Wildspeaker - One of the MVC of the ramp deck, every abilitie he has it's great, especially the untap lands and token producer, he's one of the keys of every game plan you might think to follow. He allows some sick plays, such as turn 4 Violent Ultimatum or Broodmate Dragon , even with all that don't rely entirely on his back, he's another tool to improve the match and put you in a winning possition. For ramp decks, this one it's the most used walker.
Ajani Vengeant - This walker it's a key card in any naya variant, all 3 abilities he has it's great, against agro and control, this one should be played as 3-4 of always, of course when white is in the build.
Chandra Nalaar - A great walker, she can act as one more spot removal which it's always great and ping one damage on the opponent or even ping another walker loyalty, if you go ultimate with her, it's almost gg. She is very useful, it worth some tests with her for sure.
Liliana Vess - Another great walker, her disrupt ability, wrecks control decks in such a great way that can put you in a nice CA. Also go for tutoring a card and don't reveal, it's great, for sure. Another card that worth testing.
Fertile Ground - Ramp spell. Just be careful with bounce and ld spells. 4x of this it's necessary alongside with garruk, is what make ramp decks better and faster.
Trace of Abundance - Another enchantment ramp, but it's not good nowadays, just by the fact that the shroud ability that it gives for the land, makes it unseful with garruk untap ability, if you're not running garruk it must be tested at least, because the mana cost can hard sometimes.
Rampant Growth - Ramp Spell and basic land tutor. Don't have to explain this one. Run 3-4 of this, it'll depend on your mana base.
Spot and Mass Removals
Terror - Instant speed spot removal, which doesn't take care of black and artifact creatures, which can be a huge problem. This one like eyeblight's is a meta call.
Terminte - Instant speed spot removal, that kills almost everything that terror does, plus the black and artifact creatures, it doesn't kill forge-tender, the only issue with terminate, even thought, it will see more play than terror sees, because it gets were terror can't reach. It's BR version of PtE, waht these coulours were needing to get an additional boost and fights back.
Maelstrom Pulse - This card, it's absolutely great, it's another boost that ramp needs, pulse deals with enchantments, artifacts, creatures and planeswalkers with great cmc in or colours, it's a fantastic spot removal, which can act sometimes as a pseudo-mass removal, definetly this card will stick in any jund ramp in a 2-4 proporcion dived mb and sb, this spell it's a must in this deck, not to run this would be a bad idea since it can protect your game plan and your total life points, together with terminate completes the spot removal slots in this deck.
Resounding Thunder - Burn or removal, or later on the game goes for 6 damage plus a draw. 3-4 of it are the right number, but it's a meta choice.
Firespout - Mass removal. Don't have to explain much of this.
Volcanic Fallout - An uncounterable instant pyroclasm which hits players, this one gives a new breath against fae decks, it kill's almost everything on their board, the mainly reason to run this it's to be played against fae decks, of course that it's great against other agro decks as well. This one must be used 2-4 in md or sb option.
Infest - It gives -2/-2 to everybody, including forge-tender, which can be very annoing, because he can protect their creatures against our red sweepers. In a Jund Ramp, this card should be run as a 3-4 of, in main deck or sideboard.
Lavalanche - A big sweaper that acts more as a win condintion card, because it open the way for a big swing and also can kill their walker or hit for the opponent for a big amount of damage, definetely this card must be played, but no more than 2.
Path to Exile - This is one of the most important cards that shows up in this standard season, every deck running white will run a full set of this removal, but, it must be used wisely, because some times giving your opponent a land can be nasty for you. Well, if your ramp deck goes white, then this is a must, 3-4 md definetely.
Oblivion Ring - Non-Land Spot Removal, great against enchantments and PW, if you're running an white version, this card should be played as a 2-4 copies.
Wrath of God - Mass Removal, staple in any white version, very important against all agro decks, 3-4 it's the right number of it.
Martial Coup - Token producer spell, with some sort of mass removal, i think that this one should be played but as only 1x of, it's too fragile to rely on, you tap 7 mana to make 5 tokens and clear the board, then they counter it, i'm not convinced on this card, but definetley has some power.
Utilities cards in both variations
Jund Charm - Instant mass removal, main deck hate against lark decks. This one can win you those games against kithkins and others little army kind of deck. Great card. 3-4 are the right number in a jund ramp.
Naya Charm - An interesthing card to play, because it can act as a spot removal, a "fog" effect or even a "recollect" effect, this one it's also a staple in any white version.
Banefire - An improved demonfire, this spell it's the new breath that ramp decks were needing, it can be devastating, against control, hitting them twice with creatures, just to put them in banefire target. Definitly a must in any kind of ramp variation as 1-4 proporcion in md or sb.
Primal Command - Life gain plus tutoring a creature will almost always be the 2 abilities of this command played, of course there will be some execessions.
Profane Command - Burn, removal and reanimating a creature and have a plus that it's the fear ability, together with garruk it's a nice little combo overruned creatures with fear. 1-2 of this it's the right number.
Violent Ultimatum - One the key cards of this deck, destroying three permanents it's always good even though if it's on the 4 or 5th turn.
Loxodon Warhammer - Pumping your creatures giving them evasion and life gain. 1 of it it's a must.
Thought Hemorrage - The new cranial extraction with a lightning bolt on it, this card will definetely become an essential part of any jund ramp, it wrecks control decks, taking care of their main threats, it's also great against agro decks because it takes care the problematic creatures or their win condition in both cases. This is MB or SB material for sure.
To Build the mana base, so to build your mana base these lands should do the job, even in a straight 3 colour ramp or a ramp with splash for other colour. Just don't forget to use 7-8 basic lands for rampant growth.
All the options are meta call. Never will exist 2 identical sideboard, ebcause the meta changes on each region/play area. So this is just an idea. Also some cards that are in MB can be on the SB too by their proporcion.
Guttural Response - Counter in our colours against 5cc, Fae and other counters based decks, this one is a must especially in a heavy counter meta, even if it doesn't, this card it's a 3-4x of for sure.
Celestial Purge - A very important sb card, can be useful in a lot of MU, but it shines against rdw and blightning agro, but as i said very useful in other mu. 3-4 as sb option.
Goblin Assault - This one, has a hidden power i think, everytime i casted it against control, i won the game just on it, if there 2 on game, man, it forces them to cast an answer. I like it a lot, test it, and you'll what i'm talking about.
Scepter of Fugue - A great disrupt artifact, play him on a the 2 turn and activate on the third and continue disrupting their hand with it, this artifact it's great as a sb option.
Deathmark - Green or White creature spot removal, great if WW, Dark bant, Bant Agro and others agro decks with heavy G/W creatures.
Obelisk of Alara - I'm in doubt with this one, i mean in theory it's a great mana spender artifact with great abilities, all of them very relevant, which can change the game for in ramp favor, but in practice, is it that good? i saw a few lists running this artifact and decided to make some tests with it and see how good is it.
White Weenie - It's a very hard match, because the first turns can very explosive by their side, we have to survive the first 6 turns, delaying them gaining life with Kitchen Finks , Primal Command , adn sweeping their side with Jund Charm which it's brilliant against tthem because it's instant speed mass removal also Firespout it's a great card, just take care with those forge tenders. Once you have the control of board end the game with big creatures.
BW Tokens - Another thought match-up, because this runs Bitterblossom and Spectrall Procession , which generates a lot of tokens, they are not too hard ot deal with, when they aren't big enough to survive jund charm and volcanic fallout or even infest after g1, their mainly threats i belive that aren't creatures, they are the both enchantments and the walker this deck runs, which are: blossom, Glorius Anthem and Ajani Goldmane those last ones are the Most Valuable Card in their deck, because they pump their tokens a lot removing them from the board sweapers range, those are must answers threat and must be dealed with as soon as they hit play.
Here i'll speak a little bit against 5 Colours Control archetype, because it's the most hatred control deck ever, in my opinion. The others control match-up won't be too hard against, the only control match that it's really hard, it's facing Lark Control Decks because their CA that they can have, against them we have a main deck answer which is Jund Charm the grave removal ability put's the deck in a great position against them.
5 Colour Control - It's a hard match-up, if the deck goes ramping in the first 3 turns and solve a 4th or 5th turn Violent Ultimatum it's almost game for Jund Ramp, destroying 3 of their lands in 4th or 5th turn will be devastating, especially if the turn next the ultimatum you land a Broodmate Dragon or other big creature to end the game. Also it's a match that can go on and on because their counters and Cruel Ultimatum plus Nucklavee , speaking of cruel as everybody know, it's their mainly win con, take care with that, game 2 and 3 i can count with a full set of Thoughtseize plus a couple of Mind Shatter to disrupt their hand taking of the key spells or all of the cards ino hand!. this match it's hard but not impossible, i would say that this match it's like 50/50, it will depend not only the deck but the pilot as well.
Faeries - This one itt's the hardest match for this deck, early Bitterblossom totally wrecks this deck, the only that might save the ramp deck it's [c]Jund Charm[/b] or Firespout removing their little faes, for sure both are key cards against faeries. Also Cryptic Command and Mistbind Clique are really painfull for ramp deck. This match can be very good for us, if we ramp for early Violent Ultimatum and Cloudthresher which can turn the game in ramp favor, the last one it's for sure he's a key card together with firespout and jund charms against faeries deck, because he's a big and instant speed creature that can destroy their game.
Saw a deck like this played at my local FNM. Was 4 or 5 color though. Used Garruk, Fertile ground and violent ultimatum. Was a nasty deck to face, he also was playing quite a few planeswalkers though, the rings and Courier's Capsule also. (playing rings on capsule was disgusting)
I called it 7 mana win. He would turn 5 Violent/cruel ultimatum and destroy.
The more I look at Relic, the more I think that it's just better than Macabre. The faerie can be found via Primal, which is nice, but the multiple uses from Relic, especially earlier in the game could be crucial. I'm gunna test it out.
Jund Charm is your lifeline the Reveillark matchup. You winning this match hinges on this card. Not only does it remove their yard, but the instant Pyroclasm effect can net you serious CA in certain situations. For example; my opponent had Sowered my Colossus, taken a card with Sculler and had a Drifter in play. He tapped out for Profane Command choosing to drain me and give his team fear. I responded with Jund Charm naming Pyro. Thanks for the 4-for-1. Jund Charm or not though, it's by far the worst matchup for this deck.
I've been testing Jund Ramp variants since before States and I think the deck can be a serious contender for a DtB, and I think my list is really close to optimal. It just crushes Fae, Kithkin and other aggro strategies and is really strong against 5c Control. At this point the only thing I would consider changing in the main would be adding Resounding Thunder for Lash Out. I would only do this in a 5c heavy field, however.