Bant Ramp Deck Guide

Fabrizio Anteri

Fabrizio Anteri

Finding the Best Deck with 《Nissa, Who Shakes the World》

Hello everyone!

After Mythic Championship II London and moving away from Modern, I’ve been playing a lot of Standard with War of the Spark. I’ve tried most decks and archetypes the past few weeks and I confidently believe 《Nissa, Who Shakes the World》 is the best card in the format right now.

Nissa, Who Shakes the World

For only 5 mana Nissa adds so much to the board. She can immediately pressure another Planeswalker, she offers you a 3/3 Vigilance to protect her SIX loyalty and with enough 《Forest》 and green two-drops, you can cast something else the same turn you play her. That’s not even all, the best part is untapping with Nissa, a few 《Forest》 and a spell with X in the cost.

Mass ManipulationTeferi, Time Raveler

I’ve been building around Nissa for a while, mostly with 《Mass Manipulation》. The format was slower at first and it made sense to use the biggest possible X spell alongside Nissa. I first added white to the Simic deck for 《Teferi, Time Raveler》. The deck needed three-drops and also some way of interacting early with creatures. The aggro matches were still complicated and I kept adapting the list towards a more midrange deck and not so much an all-in ramp strategy.

Eventually I realised 《Mass Manipulation》 is just too slow for the format right now and it makes the mana base too complicated (you want as many 《Forest》 as possible for Nissa, but also need UUUU). Once you cut the Sorcery, the blue cards are way fewer and way easier to cast in a mostly green deck.

I still like the base Bant colors offer, so I made some changes to the mana base and came to this list:

Card Choice: Mainboard

The Lands

ForestPlainsBreeding PoolHallowed Fountain
Temple GardenSunpetal GroveGlacial Fortress

26 lands are needed for a mana hungry deck. Even land drop 6-7 are welcome most of the time and I don’t want to ever miss any of my first 4. 《Forest》 count is kept very high for Nissa and 《Llanowar Elves》. I use the Blue/White dual lands to cover the Blue Splash and avoid cutting 《Forest》 for 《Hinterland Harbor》.

The Acceleration

Llanowar ElvesIncubation DruidParadise DruidDruid of the Cowl

These are the most important spells to have in your initial hand. With only 10 lands producing Blue, 《Growth Spiral》 is not consistent enough for Turn 2. So two copies of 《Druid of the Cowl》 join the core of 12 mana Dorks (creatures that tap for mana). I will always keep a hand of lands and mana dorks, there are enough payoff in the deck to draw later, but I will mulligan most hands without any of these 14 creatures. I would only keep a hand with 《Jadelight Ranger》 as my first spell if I am on the play (unless is a post sideboard game against control and I already know the match is slow and mana creatures are less important).

The Payoff

4x 《Nissa, Who Shakes the World》

Nissa, Who Shakes the World

We build around her and of course we want all 4 copies!

4x 《Hydroid Krasis》

Hydroid Krasis

《Hydroid Krasis》 is the best thing to do with a bunch of mana, powerful and flexible.

2x 《Shalai, Voice of Plenty》

Shalai, Voice of Plenty

I think 《Shalai, Voice of Plenty》 is a very strong card in general. As a 3/4 flier is already decent, gaining Hexproof is very good against Mono Red and Discard and giving it to the team protects you from big 《Mass Manipulation》s. She is also a great mana sink to use all that Nissa mana and make all the mana creatures bigger threats. Shalai is weak to baby Teferi and 《Lava Coil》, but those cards are not seeing too much play lately.

2x 《Trostani Discordant》

Trostani Discordant

I was playing 《Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves》 in this spot before, but once you are not playing 《Entrancing Melody》 and 《Mass Manipulation》 I think 《Trostani Discordant》 is just better. It gives you protection against those cards in that match (and against 《Command the Dreadhorde》 and 《Hostage Taker》) and I also like growing my Nissa lands into 4/4s and making sure 《Deafening Clarion》 is not such a big problem.

1x 《The Immortal Sun》

The Immortal Sun

Another very powerful card. Stopping Planeswalkers is game changing against many decks. Nissa not being able to make more 3/3s is not the end of the world. The static ability is probably more important in most cases, especially when drawing two cards per turn.

2x 《Finale of Glory》

Finale of Glory

This is the main appeal to having more white than blue in the deck. In most mirrors of green decks both players are using green creatures to accelerate into Nissa and adding more and more creatures to the board, making it hard for either player to attack through. 《Finale of Glory》 is game winning and 12 mana is way easier to achieve than it looks. The card is quite flexible as well, X=2 or X=3 can buy you a lot of time and X=4 or X=5 is sometimes enough to close the game (especially when you have so many ways to make the 2/2s become bigger).

The Stuff in the Middle

I don’t like the approach of just playing mana creatures and big spells. I also like to be able to cast some spells early to help me progress my strategy and/or slow down my opponent.

2x 《Jadelight Ranger》

Jadelight Ranger

《Jadelight Ranger》 helps hitting land drops early and finding big spells later on. It is not a card I want to have too many copies of and be casting it all the time, but I think it’s important to have some glue to stick both halves of the deck together.

2x 《Prison Realm》, 1x 《Teferi, Time Raveler》

Prison RealmTeferi, Time Raveler

I started the list with 3 《Prison Realm》s, but I don’t really want to draw too many (especially when I already have 《Baffling End》 in the sideboard as well) and also I wanted to be more proactive and be able to cast my 3-drop even if my opponent doesn’t have anything on board, so I replaced the third copy for one 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 (which is a better card in general, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also harder to cast).

Card Choice: Sideboard

NegateBaffling EndDeputy of DetentionKnight of Autumn
Trostani DiscordantForced LandingThe Immortal SunTeferi, Time Raveler

Most midrange matches are already very good. You are normally going way bigger than them without being too greedy or inconsistent about it. Aggro is much better for this version of the deck and it gets even better once you get access to some removal. Pure control decks are probably the matches I don’t really want to face but I don’t think it’s unwinnable or even more important, I don’t think control deck has the tools to be a reliable deck in this metagame, so it’s just a very small portion of the field.

The cards and numbers I choose to play are very arbitrary based on my experience and what I’ve been playing on the Ladder on MTG Arena. The sideboard can be customised for your metagame.

Lyra Dawnbringer

Also I don’t have the “correct” answer if you want to try something else. I like the third 《Trostani Discordant》 because I can not only bring it against aggro, but also 《Mass Manipulation》. 《Lyra Dawnbringer》 could be a better card on that spot if you think you may play against Mono Blue or you don’t think people will play 《Mass Manipulation》.

With that said, I know we live in a world of Sideboard guides!

Sideboard Guide

So here’s a base to follow if you pick up the deck.

Mono Red

Against Mono Red

Out

Paradise Druid Paradise Druid Paradise Druid Paradise Druid
Finale of Glory Finale of Glory The Immortal Sun Nissa, Who Shakes the World

In

Baffling End Baffling End Baffling End Trostani Discordant
Knight of Autumn Knight of Autumn Deputy of Detention Deputy of Detention

Gruul

Against Gruul

Out

Incubation Druid Incubation Druid Incubation Druid Incubation Druid
Shalai, Voice of Plenty Shalai, Voice of Plenty The Immortal Sun Nissa, Who Shakes the World

In

Baffling End Baffling End Baffling End Trostani Discordant
Deputy of Detention Deputy of Detention Forced Landing Teferi, Time Raveler
Incubation DruidShockShalai, Voice of PlentyLava Coil

This is based on the most aggressive versions of the deck, but their build changes a lot and you have to be able to recognise what role they are trying to play post sideboard. I cut 《Incubation Druid》 because of 《Shock》 and Shalai because I expect 《Lava Coil》.

Baffling EndParadise DruidForced LandingRekindling Phoenix

If they are playing 《Paradise Druid》 and a more heavy build, I would not bring in all copies of 《Baffling End》, especially on the play. I like 《Forced Landing》 because they always have 4 《Rekindling Phoenix》 and some number of 《Sarkhan the Masterless》 and/or 《Skarrgan Hellkite》.

Esper Midrange

Against Esper Midrange

Out

Trostani Discordant Trostani Discordant Incubation Druid Incubation Druid
Finale of Glory Finale of Glory

In

Negate Negate Deputy of Detention Deputy of Detention
The Immortal Sun Teferi, Time Raveler

(Note: you can board in 2 《Baffling End》 instead of 2《Negate》 if they play 《Thief of Sanity》.)

Another deck with plenty of different builds. Against the most aggressive versions with 《Thief of Sanity》 I would like to have some copies of 《Baffling End》, but in most cases I would prefer having some 《Negate》s. I cut 《Finale of Glory》 because they are likely to have some sweepers and/or 《Deputy of Detention》. If I see 《Thief of Sanity》 or 《Hostage Taker》 I would keep 《Trostani Discordant》.

《Command the Dreadhorde》

Against 《Command the Dreadhorde》

Out

Shalai, Voice of Plenty Shalai, Voice of Plenty
Teferi, Time Raveler

In

Negate Negate
The Immortal Sun

This is a very good match. What you are doing is normally better and bigger than what they are trying to do.

White Aggro / Azorius Aggro

Against White Aggro / Azorius Aggro

Out

Shalai, Voice of Plenty Shalai, Voice of Plenty Jadelight Ranger Jadelight Ranger
Prison Realm Prison Realm The Immortal Sun
Nissa, Who Shakes the World Nissa, Who Shakes the World

In

Knight of Autumn Knight of Autumn Deputy of Detention Deputy of Detention
Baffling End Baffling End Baffling End
Teferi, Time Raveler Trostani Discordant

Simic 《Mass Manipulation》

Against Simic 《Mass Manipulation》

Out

Jadelight Ranger Jadelight Ranger The Immortal Sun
Hydroid Krasis Hydroid Krasis

In

Deputy of Detention Deputy of Detention Trostani Discordant
Teferi, Time Raveler Negate

This is one of the few matches where I don’t think casting a big 《Hydroid Krasis》 is good enough to win. It’s more about making sure they can’t keep Nissa around and sometimes they just flood and run out of significant plays because Trostani or Shalai is stopping them from casting 《Entrancing Melody》 or 《Mass Manipulation》.

Jeskai Planeswalkers

Against Jeskai Planeswalkers

Out

Incubation Druid Incubation Druid Incubation Druid Incubation Druid
Shalai, Voice of Plenty Shalai, Voice of Plenty

In

Negate Negate Negate Negate
The Immortal Sun Teferi, Time Raveler

Esper Control / Esper Planeswalkers

This is a tricky one because they have a lot of cards in common, but sometimes they have 《Hero of Precinct One》 and no 《Kaya’s Wrath》 and 《Basilica Bell-Haunt》 instead. They could have it in the sideboard even if they don’t play it main. Sometimes they play a lot of counter Magic, 《Vraska’s Contempt》… It’s pretty hard to know exactly what sort of deck they are playing.

In general you always want to add; 4x 《Negate》, 1x 《Teferi, Time Raveler》, 1x 《The Immortal Sun》.

And you normally want to avoid losing to 《Kaya’s Wrath》 so you want to cut; 4x 《Incubation Druid》, 2x 《Finale of Glory》.

Against Esper Control / Esper Planeswalkers

Out

Incubation Druid Incubation Druid Incubation Druid Incubation Druid
Finale of Glory Finale of Glory

In

Negate Negate Negate Negate
The Immortal Sun Teferi, Time Raveler

Conclusion

This is what I’ve got for now. I’ve been having a lot of fun with the deck and I also think it’s very good at the moment. I encourage you to give it a go. Let me know if you have questions, comments or suggestions for it.

Thanks for reading,

Fabrizio (Twitter)

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Fabrizio Anteri

Fabrizio Anteri Fabrizio Anteri is a Pro Player from Venezuela. He has 11 Grand Prix Top 8s and won 5 trophies. He went 2nd place at GP Bologna with his teammates and he joined Hareruya Hopes at The 2nd Hareruya Hopes Open Recruitment. Read more articles by Fabrizio Anteri