Zendikar Rising Limited Set Review with MTG Nerd Girl
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Ramping with Kaladesh


New sets are always exciting and Kaladesh is no different. This set has so many powerful cards and introduces us to new things like energy and vehicles. While we have never had any of those types of cards before, it’s crucial that we understand how good they are. There is no better way to do that then to actually play with the cards. That’s exactly what I have done and I have some new brews for you. We will go over a deck that tries to use the new resource, “energy” and we will also go over some of the ramp decks that I had in my testing gauntlet. First up let’s look at the energy deck that tries to abuse energy as much as possible with Aetherworks Marvel.

This is where we started with the U/G energy deck. I tried to have a deck that was all in on Energy and that could abuse it the most. We have no better way to abuse energy than Aetherworks Marvel. Cheating an Emrakul, the Promised End or Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger into play at instant speed is pretty gross. If you can Marvel into an Emrakul, the Promised End, you’ll get to untap and attack with your Emrakul if you so wish and then you get to control your opponent’s turn. That’s pretty awesome and backbreaking! This deck has a lot of new cards so let’s talk about it a bit.

Getting Energy and Using It

This deck has a plethora of ways to gain energy. Aetherworks Marvel, Confiscation Coup, Aether Theorist, Glimmer of Genius, Servant of the Conduit, Attune with Aether, Sage of Shaila's Claim, Multiform Wonder, and Architect of the Untamed all generate energy. So you should have no problem generating energy. As far as energy dumps go, the obvious one that we really want is Aetherworks Marvel. That is our go to card to empty our energy. However, we can’t always expect to have Aetherworks Marvel on turn three or four. In the event we can’t get to a Marvel on time we have other ways to dump our energy. Architect of the Untamed can make 6/6 artifact creatures at instant speed essentially giving them pseudo haste. Multiform Wonder can easily take over a game if it doesn’t die right away. It’s basically an energy Morphling which is fantastic since we can use all its abilities at instant speed and without tying up our mana.

The Dig

We also have plenty of ways to dig through our deck to find Aetherworks Marvel. Aether Theorist can hold the fort pretty well while also scrying to our Aetherworks Marvel. Aether Theorist not only finds our Marvel but can also make sure we have a better chance of hitting off our marvel by scrying at the opponent’s end step and then scrying on our upkeep. Essentially this should let us see eight cards down with Aetherworks Marvel.

Glimmer of Genius is also another fantastic way to dig for the Marvel or energy to fuel the Marvel if we need it. It also generates a little bit of energy on its own, so that’s pretty good.

This deck overall was extremely fun and very explosive. It wasn’t the best deck but it does have potential.

Next up is another Simic deck. I actually wrote about the “combo” of Contingency Plan and Splendid Reclamation a while ago in an article. There was no real point to make this deck while we had Explosive Vegetation but now that we’ve lost Explosive Vegetation I’ve revisited the idea.

The game plan of the deck is pretty simple. Dump your deck into your graveyard with Contingency Plan and Oath of Jace. When you cast Contingency Plan you should almost always be looking for Splendid Reclamation. After the first Splendid Reclamation you can find other things but you really want to resolve at least one Splendid Reclamation first. Don’t be afraid to just dump the top five cards of your library if you’re really digging for that Reclamation. After you resolve a Splendid Reclamation you’re basically like any other ramp deck. You can kill them with Part the Waterveil, a surged Crush of Tentacles, or with Coax from the Blind Eternities. If the game goes on long enough you can loop Crush of Tentacles with Greenwarden of Murasa. It’s not as clean as Den Protector, but this one also can’t be Spell Quellered and it’s only one more mana. So instead of traditionally having to have 10 mana to loop Den Protector and Crush, you now need eleven mana.

This deck is a blast to play. Some tips are.

  • Don’t be afraid to cast a Splendid Reclamation for just an Evolving Wilds if you have to.
  • Future Reclamations aren’t totally dead because of Blighted Cataract and Evolving Wilds.
  • Don’t forget to pick up your Oath of Jace with Crush of Tentacles! I know I forgot once during testing.
  • When boarding against a deck that might have lost Legacy, bring in an Ulamog. If the deck with Lost Legacy is also very aggressive. You might not have time to Coax and then cast your Eldrazi. So don’t be afraid to just leave one Eldrazi in the sideboard to Coax for while having the rest in your deck. Even if they Lost Legacy your Eldrazi in the deck, you’ll still have a Coax.
  • Tireless Tracker does a lot of work out of the board. He’s great against all the slow decks. I debating if I wanted him main or in the sideboard a lot and decided to put him in the board so I could be all in Game 1. Wouldn’t blame you if you moved Tireless Tracker to the main deck.

All right, I have one more ramp deck for us. This one is very traditional. It’s just a different take on the R/G ramp strategy that we are accustomed to having in Standard. The loss of Explosive Vegetation has affected the deck but it’s still a contender. Especially with the new toy it got, Chandra, Torch of Defiance.

Ali, why are you running the full playset of Ulamog and no Emrakuls main deck?

Because reader, Ulamog is better than Emrakul when you aren’t reducing Emrakul’s cost. If we are paying the same amount of mana for both cards, then Ulamog is just better and trumps Emrakul. Even if we get Mind Slavered by Emrakul, our opponent can’t really cast Ulamog but they’ll have to, otherwise we’ll untap and exile their Emrakul. So they will eat two of our lands and then we get to untap with a hasty Ulamog that will exile the top twenty cards of their library. People have a hard time killing a 10/10 indestructible creature believe it or not. If your life total is high enough, you’ll more than likely get to just untap with Ulamog again and exile the rest of their library.

Emrakul also isn’t that great against the Bant midrange decks, especially now since they play more Tamiyos. Tamiyo, Field Researcher and Thalia, Heretic Cathar make Emrakul a much lesser threat. Tamiyo and Thalia can’t do that to Ulamog since Ulamog will just eat (exile) them as soon as you cast him. Ulamog is the safe choice and I also believe it to be the better choice. Vote for Ulamog.

Chandra, Torch of Defiance in Ramp

The deck isn’t as “rampy” as it used to be. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, it means we get to interact with our opponent’s more. Believe it or not, this has actually made the aggro matchup better since we can interact more. Chandra doesn’t just ramp you, she can also kill creatures and then soak up some damage when your opponent tries to kill her, which is fantastic since all this deck needs is time before it kills you. Chandra will also ramp you the following turn. Sure the mana she provides you doesn’t stay but that’s okay since she’ll be killing creatures, ramping us, and drawing us cards. Chandra is great here since we want every single one of her abilities.

More Removal

Harnessed Lightning is one of the best creature removal spells we’ve had since Grasp of Darkness. Any energy left over from an early Harnessed Lightning allows you to kill bigger and better things. This card is a must, especially early on in a format since traditionally, people will play aggro. Kill that freaking Smuggler's Copter! On top of Lightning we have Incendiary Flow and Kozilek's Return. A great way to survive the early game as long as they don’t have a Lathnu Hellion and to a lesser extent Smuggler's Copter. At least Chandra can eat Lathnu Hellions.

Verdant Crescendo

This is the last thing I want to talk about. If you want to cut cards from the deck your first to cut is probably going to be this card and Nissa, Nature's Artisan. All I can say is please try it out first before removing it. Crescendo ramps you AND gets you a win condition. This card tutors your library and graveyard for 6 mana Nissa. That’s so much value. It makes Verdant Crescendo not a dead draw like Explosive Vegetation could be in the late game. Nissa, Nature's Artisan is good against aggro and control decks alike. She will get overshadowed by Nissa, Vital Force but don’t forget that she exists in Standard.

All right friends, that’s all the ramp I have for now. This weekend I’ll be going to the StarcityGames Open in Indianapolis, if you’re there make sure to stop by and say hi. I’ll be playing either one of these decks or a control deck, haven’t decided just yet. Make sure to tune in next time to see the deck I played and more new decks from my testing session along with new decks that emerge from the Open.

As always thank you so much for reading.

May the ramp be with you,

Ali Aintrazi

Follow me @Alieldrazi

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