How to Win in Standard? Adjusting Bant Ramp to the New World

Grzegorz Kowalski

Grzegorz Kowalski

Bant Ramp at Mythic Championship V

Hello! I’m back from Los Angeles, where we played Mythic Championship V. The event didn’t go my way, I finished 25th on tiebreakers, and only 24 best players advanced to day two. It’s just how it sometimes goes, not a real reason to complain, so let’s focus on what matters. I think we had a really good deck for the tournament – Bant Ramp.

Oko, Thief of CrownsGilded Goose

Stan Cifka, who was in our testing team together with Martin Juza, Ondrej Strasky and Oliver Tiu, made top8 playing the same deck. We used the well known, powerful Food shell with 《Oko, Thief of Crowns》 alongside 《Gilded Goose》, and put it to another level, trying to go over the top any other Food deck.

Arboreal GrazerGrowth SpiralOnce Upon a Time
Nissa, Who Shakes the WorldAgent of Treachery

With more ramp spells, like 《Growth Spiral》 and 《Arboreal Grazer》, combined with four copies of 《Once Upon a Time》, we had the highest chance for turn two Oko, or turn three 《Nissa, Who Shakes the World》, which are the biggest power plays in Standard. Every time that doesn’t work, there’s always a plan B – 《Agent of Treachery》 stealing their Nissa!

List I played:

Deputy of DetentionTeferi, Time RavelerTolsimir, Friend to Wolves

I believe the idea behind the deck is great, and all we have to do is adapt to the new world we live in. Without 《Field of the Dead》 white color isn’t that great anymore. 《Deputy of Detention》 was the best answer for a horde of zombies, on the other hand facing 《Wicked Wolf》 on the other side was a nightmare. Now, 12 decks in the top16 of MCQW were UGx there is no reason the maindeck Deputy (You can find all MCQW day 2 decklists here: Part 1 / Part 2). 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 was an all star before Throne of Eldraine, but now it’s so embarrassed looking on Oko. Why would you ever play a three mana planeswalker staying on one loyalty after the first activation, where you can get six? The only card I’ll be missing after cutting white is 《Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves》, but again, in the current world dominated 《Forest》s and 《Island》s, aggro decks have a truly hard time. In the end Friend to Wolves doesn’t seem to be necessary.

What Should We Play Now?

I hope we all agree, and you want to throw white out of the deck with me. The real question is, what to do now? I believe we have two major options.

Option #1

Noxious GraspVraska, Golgari QueenGarruk, Cursed Huntsman

One is adding black, to give us access to 《Noxious Grasp》 (the best removal vs Food), 《Vraska, Golgari Queen》 (perfect answer for Oko), and 《Garruk, Cursed Huntsman》 (another great high end card). I think this is a very good, and safe approach. A lot of players did that already, and I don’t think they’re mistaken.

Option #2

Although I think we can do better than that! There are two scenarios how a Food mirror usually plays out. One is playing Oko turn two, or Nissa turn three on the play, and snowball really fast, the other is a pure long grind, with big 《Hydroid Krasis》, and multiple planeswalkers involved. You know what covers both bases? Yes! The ramp idea from the Mythic Championsip. The short snowball games are covered thanks to higher density of ramp spells and ways to find them. And then, if we get rid of white, and stay with only two colors, it will be easier to pay for cards with difficult mana costs. Do you know what’s the best way to break an opponent who tries to fight you with one for one spells like 《Noxious Grasp》, and win games with powerful planeswalkers?

Mass Manipulation

Yes! 《Mass Manipulation》! 《Agent of Treachery》 was a better card previously, because we could take control over lands like 《Field of the Dead》. Now it’s all about creatures and planeswalkers, and 《Mass Manipulation》 does it better.

Veil of Summer

As long as Sultai is a default way to build a Food deck, we should always have 4 《Veil of Summer》 in the sideboard. It’s simply the best card against them.

Disdainful Stroke

Without 《Golos, Tireless Pilgrim》 around we can cut some 《Disdainful Stroke》, although don’t underestimate 《Doom Foretold》, 《Wilderness Reclamation》, and 《Fires of Invention》. Maybe they are not as popular as turn two Oko, but they exist, and Stroke is the best weapon to fight them. I think two is a good number.

Wicked WolfVoracious Hydra

The last thing we have to take care of are aggro match up. As I said before, we shouldn’t commit too much to improve them, as I don’t think aggro is well positioned right now anyway. Fortunately, we can do a lot for such a low price. 《Wicked Wolf》 does a good job in the mirror killing early mana dorks, and is the best anti-aggro card at the same time. Easy four-ofs! I didn’t face many red decks lately, so I’m not entirely sure about the sideboard. I think 《Voracious Hydra》 will be a good replacement for Tolsimir, at least as a starting point. To be honest, I’m not even sure if it’s needed, but we should have some cards to bring in, when we cut 《Mass Manipulation》 and 《Growth Spiral》 against them.

My List

Here is my list for now. If I had to submit a list for Mythic Championship VI right now, I would definitely play this. There is still a lot of time for practice, so maybe I’ll figure out something better? Whatever happens, I’ll be happy to share it with you in my next article!


Thanks for reading! Until next time,

Grzegorz “Urlich” Kowalski. (Twitter / Twitch)

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Grzegorz Kowalski

Grzegorz Kowalski He made top 8 in GP Lille 2012 and GP Brussels 2015, and GP Santiago 2017 has achieved second place. His extraordinary skill is also demonstrated on Pro Tour, experiencing countless top prize and money finish. He is one of the top players who travels the world and continues to fight. Read more articles by Grzegorz Kowalski