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Ramp is Back

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One of my favorite archetypes in Magic is Green-based ramp; particularly ramp that emphasizes the role of non-basic lands. Tron decks in Modern? Cloudpost decks in Legacy and Pauper? Those are exactly the kinds of things that I enjoy doing in Magic. Consequently, you can guess how excited I was to see Hour of Promise, particularly as people began to wonder whether this card could bring rg ramp back into prominence in Standard. Let’s take a look:


Hour of Promise
The idea behind this deck never changes substantially, but the means and tempo by which it is accomplished are always different. Where previous formats could play Rampant Growth and Solemn Simulacrum into Primeval Titan, Standard currently has Beneath the Sands into Hour of Promise. In fact, one of the hallmarks of this deck is that it’s really more of a sweeper-based control deck with a ramp end game. While the deck does have eight ramp spells, it also plays five maindeck sweepers in Hour of Devastation and Sweltering Suns, with four copies of Abrade as backup to help you buy time to hit land drops and cast your ramp spells.

Hour of Promise is the real card that makes this deck possible, providing an incredible amount of power and versatility. The default mode is going to be fetching two copies of Shrine of the Forsaken God to get you from five lands to seven and net 4 mana. That puts you one untapped land away from Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. In addition, you can use Shrine of the Forsaken God to begin chaining Eldrazi late in the game. However, that’s not the only angle available to you. As the deck has evolved, we’ve seen the inclusion of more Deserts like Hashep Oasis and Ramunap Ruins to give you the option to turn on Hour of Promise’s secondary effect and stall out the ground even further.

One of the most interesting things about this style of deck is the role of Traverse the Ulvenwald. It allows you to help make sure you’re hitting your land drops early in the game, while the density of cycling lands and spells means that it’s not unreasonable for you to turn on Delirium. At that point, Traverse the Ulvenwald for Shrine of the Forsaken God is one of your more efficient ramp spells while also giving you the option to go find key threats for the matchup, such as Ishkanah, Grafwidow or Void Winnower.

If you are a fan of ramp decks, then this seems like a great time to be playing them. You have plenty of options to vary how you’re building the deck. If you want a higher density of cheaper ramp spells, Natural Connection is still in the format and helps to enable delirium. If you want additional early interaction, Magma Spray and Harnessed Lightning are both reasonable ways to get it. You can even go deeper on Sweltering Suns or Hour of Devastation against Mono-Red and Oketra's Monument decks. There’s even the question of whether you cut back on Deserts to make additional space for Sanctum of Ugin and less painful lands. The amount of flexibility is what makes this deck such a strong contender, and I can’t wait to see it evolve over the next couple of months.

The Hour of Devastation is upon us! Gets singles and sealed at CoolStuffInc.com!