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Growing Strong


The big shakeups in Standard mean that almost anything is possible in the first week. The fact that the best aggressive deck and overbearing midrange deck took hits means that there's new space for big mana decks in this new Standard format. While many others are thinking that Thunderherd Migration-fueled Dinosaurs are the place to be, Lukas Blohon is hoping that now is the time for Growing Rites of Itlimoc:

Huatli, Radiant Champion
While this deck doesn't get Thunderherd Migration, Channeler Initiate does a reasonable impression, particularly if you're expecting to see fewer copies of Magma Spray and Abrade now that the format may be slowing down. The idea here is that Merfolk Branchwalker and Jadelight Ranger help to ensure that you consistently hit your first couple of land drops. Then your goal is to utilize Sram's Expertise or Angel of Invention to flip a Growing Rites of Itlimoc.

From there, there's any number of exciting things that you can do. Arch of Orazca becomes much easier to leverage as a card advantage engine when you have a Gaea's Cradle, and Walking Ballista becomes a great way to manage the board and shoot down Planeswalkers. You even have the possibility of taking over the game with Tendershoot Dryad.

The last exciting thing about this deck is that it is a home for Huatli, Radiant Champion. There are plenty of powerful Planeswalkers in wg, including Ajani Unyielding, but Huatli gives you the unique ability of quickly getting up to emblem status so that all of your grindy explore creatures and token generation turns into raw cards that your opponent won't be able to keep up with.

If you're looking for a ramp deck with an overbearing late game and plenty of options to play a more midrange-oriented game, then wg may be the best way to get that done.

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