So the third deck I played around with coming back from US Nationals was a variation on Mono-Green Eldrazi Ramp as played by Conrad Kolos.
This is the deck list I played with:
Modified Conrad Green
The main difference between the deck that I played and the one that Conrad used to make the US National Team is the presence of Joraga Treespeaker in the main. If you don’t know the story, I was lamenting the randomness of Ramp mirrors. It seemed that if one player got two accelerators and the other only one, then the one with two would always win. It had very little to do with play skill.
“Why don’t they just play Birds of Paradise?” he asked.
I was pretty confused. I wasn’t really questioning the master of mana acceleration when I asked why they would want to play Birds of Paradise.
“If the limiting factor is acceleration, why not add a kind of acceleration that not only can they not interact with (the Valakut decks are going to take out their Lightning Bolts, which don’t do anything), but that can allow you to break serve? I mean you will be able to play Cultivate on the second turn!”
For that matter, why not play Joraga Treespeaker?
I ended up having dinner with Conrad the night before Nationals and told him about breaking serve with Joraga Treespeaker. He went crazy and added it to his sideboard as a “Sol Ring”. I didn’t take credit for the one drop tech for very long, and quickly owned up that I had gotten the idea from Zvi. Anyway, Joraga Treespeaker ended up being an All-Star for Conrad and he mentioned to me after the tournament he would consider playing it main deck, over the weaker cards.
I quickly evaluated that I wanted all four copies of All Is Dust, and Conrad told me he wanted another Fog given how half the decks in the metagame only attack. So that’s how I came to the above deck list.
Conrad explained how even though the Mono-Green deck is weaker than the Valakut Ramp decks in terms of being Primeval Titan decks, it is a stronger Summoning Trap deck. Watching him play over the course of the National Championships, I could see how strategically he played the deck. He used the Primeval Titan as a toolbox rather than just a mallet. Defensive Primeval Titan; grinding Primeval Titan; Mjolnir-to-the-skull Primeval Titan, too, make no mistake… But more than the superficial superstar.
So how did I do?
Unfortunately, the Mono-Green Ramp deck did not perform as well as the other decks I liked this run.
I played it in eight MTGO queues (the last four being just tonight), and went 1-7.
- Valakut Ramp, Lost; -8 Points
- Naya Fauna Shaman, Won; +9 Points
- Terrible Red Deck, Lost; -9 Points
- Jund, Lost; -6 Points
- Mono-Green Ramp (mirror), Lost; -7 Points
- Soul Sisters, Lost; -8 Points
- Soul Sisters, Lost; -7 Points
- U/G Eldrazi Monument, Lost; -6 Points
The matches had varying degrees of eventful-ness.
The Mono-Green mirror was basically an abombination. I had a Joraga Treespeaker in my opener in the first, but my only Green source was Khalni Garden, so I ended up way off curve. He was on the play anyway and drew multiple awesome threats; I had a Primeval Titan but was way behind to his better acceleration draw-into-Primeval Titan and opted for a Hail Mary Summoning Trap to try to mug the Titan and get back in the game.
Like clockwork I got Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre.
Of course he just drew his Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre and got full value along with the Legendary deuce.
In the second game I ramped to third turn Summoning Trap… and whiffed. Just that kind of match.
I felt like Soul Sisters should be a good matchup. The first match I lost to a mis-click, but the deck just never came out for me. I was always just a little bit shy in both matches. Other than the mis-click I felt like I was managing my resources correctly but the dominoes just didn’t line up. For instance over the three games of the first match I never saw even one All Is Dust; in the second I drew all four All Is Dust in Game One and two in Game Two (sadly a mulligan to five)… but stalled just under its cost both times around (Soul Sisters seems pretty soft to All Is Dust).
I guess that is just the problem with Ramp decks in general. Your cards are so expensive that you can lose very thin margin games on just getting to an Incredible amount of mana when you need low Amazing, or maybe Monstrous.
Of course it could just be me.
Before finishing this blog post I decided to play a round with Joshua Utter-Leyton’s Mythic Conscription deck (my MTGO file for that deck is “Utter Beatings”). In the first game I played Noble Hierarch; Lotus Cobra + Noble Hierarch; third turn kill. He got the first Linvala, Keeper of Silence in Game Two, and by the time I played mine he had already disrupted me enough with his Cunning Sparkmage that I couldn’t Recover. With one or two more mana I would have flat-out won, but he had two Fauna Shamans running, after all; in the third, I played a Noble Hierarch into a Knight of the Reliquary; into third turn Linvala; into Elspeth, Knight-Errant.
You know, average draw.
Or… Nope, not just me.
This isn’t an indictment of Primeval Titan; that card is a game changer that allowed the Green decks to build in a less profligate fashion. But I don’t really know what to say… It hasn’t been performing on the same level as Eldrazi Conscription.