Forest Ramp

Written by James Heslip on . Posted in Casual Magic

Forest Ramp

James Heslip

James is a budget Magic connoisseur who values silly strategies and rogue decks. He has been playing Magic since 1998, and competing in Legacy events since 2010. When he is not teaching high school English, he can be found brewing Casual and Legacy decks to play with his students and peers. Always appreciative of feedback, he loves it when people send suggestions and share crazy decks with him!
Day three of Mono Green Ramp Week brings us to probably the most basic all forms of ramp: land ramp. There are no creatures, auras, spells, or artifacts boosting the numbers in our mana pool. Today, it’s just you, me, and lots of forests. I hope you like planting trees!
The Core

Searching for forests and getting them into play as quickly as possible is our core strategy. Green has an insane amount of options for us here. Rampant Growth has been one of the most popular land ramping spells since its introduction in Mirage, and fits well. The land it grabs comes into play tapped, so while we can’t use the forest the turn we find it, we are still getting extra land drops, putting us ahead of our opponent in terms of mana.

Nissa’s Pilgrimage is the forest-only version of Cultivate and Kodama’s Reach, some of the best land ramp spells in the game. It’s cheaper than both, so of course we play it. Ranger’s Path is basically a Pilgrimage that puts both the forests into play at the cost of one extra mana. These spells make up the core of our deck, but they are not the only forest finders we have.

The Backup

Yavimaya Dryad is a better Wood Elves, since she has more power. Her forestwalk may become relevant from time to time too, depending on the opponent. Search for Tomorrow provides us with a turn one play, and curves well into our Khalni Heart Expedition, which can be quite explosive. Finally, we have Krosan Tusker. Tusker’s cycle ability is a two-for-one in situations where we need more lands, but we can also just cast him  if we need to start laying down the beats.

Speaking of fatties, Let’s look at the options we have for finishers. Sure, we could throw in a bunch of Plated Crushers and call it a night, but that’s not very synergistic. We want our finishers to benefit from the large number of forests that we will have in play. Kalonian Twingrove is probably the best beater we could ask for. He gets stronger every time we execute our game plan, he comes with a buddy, which makes removal less relevant, and at the bare minimum he creates twelve power for just six mana. I wanted to play Vinelasher Kudzu in the deck as well, but found him to be a horrible topdeck. Scute Mob was reprinted recently, though, and is better in pretty much every way. We can play him early and let him grow over time. We also don’t mind finding him in the topdeck. The point he becomes relevant by losing summoning sickness is also the point he will start growing. Finally, Crash of Rhino Beetles is a Scute Mob’s older brother, and boy does he pack a punch.

Big creatures not your thing? What about tons of smaller ones? Howl of the Night Pack gives us a 2/2 wolf for every forest we have. Talking bare minimum here as well, we get fourteen power on the board for having just the seven forests required to cast it. Because it is not unrealistic for us to have all the lands in our deck in play at the same time, you can imagine how silly the card can be. Our two copies of Rude Awakening are basically Howls five and six. The benefit here is that you can attack with most, if not all, of your 2/2’s the turn you play it.

The Final List

Playing the Deck
The most complicated aspects of the deck have to do with play order. Khalni Heart Expedition is one of our most powerful ramp spells, and should be prioritized early because of its limitations. Playing a turn one Search for Tomorrow, turn two Expedition, and a search spell on turn three is likely our most explosive line of play. Plays like this enable Howl of the Night Pack on turn four!

Search for Tomorrow is not our only turn one option. An early Scute Mob is also fine. The five land requirement on him is not difficult to achieve by turn three. Once he starts growing, he is a must-answer threat.

Rude Awakening is our coup de grace. With a deck built around building up its land count, having access to eight mana is nothing difficult. Cast it, and swing in with eighteen power to end the game. That’s at the bare minimum, too. Try casting this puppy with fifteen or twenty forests in play and see if anyone survives.

The most important cards to note here are Nature’s Lore and Skyshroud Claim. Each are more expensive but strictly better versions of our Rampant Growths and Ranger’s Paths. If you want to shell out some extra cash do so here. Having your forests come into play untapped and ready to roll is powerful, and allows for additional ramps spells cast every turn. Claim was recently reprinted, which helps the price point if you have access to the Battlebond version.Sakura-Tribe Elder is a great card in almost any green ramp deck since he’s basically a Rampant Growth that can attack and block for you. Look for the cheaper Conspiracy printing of the card if you want to try him out.

Dungrove Elder is Kalonian Twingrove but it can’t be killed easily and can be cast earlier in the game. There’s not much to be said about him besides “Play him if you can.” He’s perfect for any forest ramp deck.

Landfall cards like Scythe Leopard, Undergrowth Champion, and Rampaging Baloths are great when you are dropping multiple lands a turn. However, they can be lackluster in the later game when you have run out of ramp spells. In general, they can also be poor top decks.

Additional game-ending options are Timbermaw Larva, Multani, Yavimaya’s Avatar, Avenger of Zendikar, and Liege of the Tangle. Each is more than just a generic fatty, as they synergize with our high land counts. Liege of the Tangle is probably the most back-breaking. If he hits once, it’s likely game over for anyone across the table from you.

Conclusion

Like this deck? Want to see more like it? Let me know on my facebook page. Do you have an idea for an inexpensive and fun deck you want me to see? send me an email at Spooky386@gmail.com.

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