Pioneer: Mono-Green Ramp Deck Tech & Sideboard Guide

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Pioneer: Mono-Green Ramp Deck Tech & Sideboard Guide

04/06/22 Comment regular icon0 comments

We'll talk in detail about a deck that returns to Pioneer after major additions from the new sets, Mono-Green Ramp.

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About Mono-Green Ramp

This deck already existed before, before the banning of Leyline of Abundance and Oath of Nissa. After a few months, we had Oath of Nissa unbanned, but it wasn't enough for it to go back to the top. Over the years, Mono-Green has been progressing and having a relatively shy representation. After Storm the Festival came out, the deck returned to the competitive scene, becoming one of the most played in the format, which is due to the great versatility brought by using Karn, the Great Creator combined with the great amount of mana that Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx along with the ramps and Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner. This makes it possible for you to be able to play with this monocolored deck, but which has great answers directly from the sideboard.

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Some key artifacts that can be found by Karn, the Great Creator are Grafdigger's Cage which deals with the opponent's graveyard, God-Pharaoh's Statue for spells, Skysovereign, Consul Flagship for creatures and planeswalkers and the Pestilent Cauldron // Restorative Burst to recover resources from the graveyard, showing the versatility in dealing with different situations.
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Mulligan and Stances

The version we'll be using here is a deck that made 2nd place in the Pioneer Challenge the last few weeks. You can see that the deck is constantly under construction, especially its sideboard.
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The list has a few different lines, the main factor being a good starting hand, as here you need it to be complete with mana ramp + some pay-off, such as a large creature, Storm the Festival or one of the Planeswalkers. It's no use keeping a hand with only accelerators, even more remembering that the deck has only 4 cantrips, Oath of Nissa.
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The deck's playstyle is basically the same in almost every game, the difference here is the way we use our mana-intensive spells, with Karn, the Great Creator being the versatile stance, or even being able to take a more aggro stance with Cavalier of Thorns — this is the best strategy when playing against control. When playing against another aggressive deck, the idea is to use Karn, the Great Creator as quickly as possible to bring out the full versatility of your sideboard, such as Skysovereign, Consul Flagship, which controls opponents' creatures very well, being able to deal 3 damage every turn. As you can see on our sideboard, of the 15 cards there, only 4 are really relevant for side in // side out: 2 Voracious Hydra and 2 (out of 3) Grafdigger's Cage. The others are just versatile artifacts, so our sideboard guide will focus on understanding more how to play in each match and what to look for from these artifacts.

Sideboard Guide

vs. Azorius Control

Against Azorius Control, our best strategy is something more aggressive, always looking to have Llanowar Elves or Elvish Mystic on turn 1 and Old-Growth Troll on turn two, or even try a Cavalier of Thorns on turn 3. We always need to look for these aggressive hands and avoid hands that contain only Planeswalkers, as they make counterspells like Dovin's Veto better and are slower to finish the game, which gives the opponent more time to recover and /or turn the game around.

Side - No changes

Against Control, we don't have a specific side on this list. Practically, nothing changes between game 2 and game 3, but we constantly look for the same strategies. Remember that our opponent must increase their number of removals to eliminate our mana accelerators, making us only cast one spell each turn and favoring their counterspells. Because of this, our best accelerators become Sylvan Caryatid and Wolfwillow Haven, as despite being slower, aren't targets for most removals.

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vs. Naya Winota

We have one of the worst matchups here, as our deck doesn't have more interactions during the first game, as we currently don't use any form to combat their strategy, as they have an x ​​mana cost and this is disadvantaged by Storm the Festival. Taking this into account, we have to seek Karn, the Great Creator as soon as possible and play Grafdigger's Cage, as this will prevent the opponent from using their main strategy, and we will be able to maintain our aggressive game plan. Beware of the big token generation by Tovolar's Huntmaster and Esika's Chariot.

Side in

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Side out

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In game 2 and 3, we must look for cards from our sideboard, with Voracious Hydra being fundamental since it fights a threat. With that, we managed to reduce our opponent's aggressive plan a bit more, and by moving up the cages we were able to gain more time, favoring our game plan. Remember to be careful with Grafdigger's Cage in this game, as having it on the battlefield reduces the power of your field and can only bring lands and Planeswalkers to the battlefield with Storm the Festival. Another key card in this game is Skysovereign, Consul Flagship, so after Grafdigger's Cage, this must be our second search, as it helps remove our opponents' creatures, which are mostly small.

vs. Rakdos Midrange

Against Rakdos, we should avoid hands that contain dorks/elves, as the opponent plays with many main deck removals. We should prioritize ramps that cannot be removed easily, such as Wolfwillow Haven or Sylvan Caryatid, with our main payoffs being Old-Growth Troll and Cavalier of Thorns which are fundamental in this game, recovering resources that may have been lost. Old-Growth Troll becomes a ramp if he dies, without harming our main deck strategy, which is to generate plenty of mana. Our Karn, the Great Creator strategy is to find Pestilent Cauldron // Restorative Burst to recover some of our resources as well. Another key card in Game 1 is Storm the Festival, as we can easily recast it if it got discarded in the early game. Be careful when using Grafdigger's Cage in this matchup against Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger, as it also disrupts one of our key cards, Storm the Festival.

Side in

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Side out

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Post-side, we should add Voracious Hydra, serving to increase our threats with its fighting ability. Since our elves become irrelevant cards in the first few turns, we'd better have more threatening creatures, so a Voracious Hydra might allow us enough time to establish board. We should still prioritize hands with ramps that cannot be removed, considering that opponents can increase discards. Escape from Storm the Festival on your initial.

vs. Lotus Combo

As Lotus Combo has no interaction with us in the first game, we should be as fast as possible, ramping up as much as possible and trying to close the game with our threats like Old-Growth Troll and Cavalier of Thorns in turns 2 or 3.

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If this strategy doesn't work, we should use Karn, the Great Creator to get Damping Sphere as soon as possible, but remember that it also prevents us from using Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx to generate tons of mana, so use this strategy after you have some threats in play.

Side in and out – No changes

In this matchup, we will not use our sideboard and our game plan doesn't change during game 2 and 3, even more because it is a relatively favorable match for Mono-Green, since we have 4 Karn, the Great Creator plus 4 Storm the Festival. That is, we have numerous opportunities to stop our opponent's combo and then close the game with a big threat.

vs. Spirits

Against Spirits, we must adopt a creature stance because while our opponent can counter them, there is also a very aggressive plan through the air. So, we need our creatures like Old-Growth Troll, which is a big threat, and Cavalier of Thorns, which has reach. Be cautious when relying on non-creature spells such as Storm the Festival or our Planeswalkers, as the Spirit deck can easily counter these spells with Spell Pierce .

Side in

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Side out

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Post-side, some of our top threats can be easily countered by Aether Gust. Therefore, we should aim to cast more spells than our opponent can counter. Taking this into account, we've increased the amount of Fights, which are always must-answer threats. If you're playing against the

Azorius

version, be careful, as some use Portable Hole to remove our mana ramp. In this case, remove 2 Llanowar Elves instead of the cards above.

Mono Blue Spirits

has Witness Protection, which is its version of Portable Hole, but less harmful as it doesn't take away our devotion. Having Hydras as a threat or as a fight improves our plan to prevent our opponents from winning fast. So, to win this game, you must have a good read of what is happening, trying to decipher what answer your opponents might have in their hand.

Gameplay

Conclusion

That's all for today! If you have any questions about the deck, I'm available in the comments. Until the next time!
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Raphael Martinez

I'm Martinez! Math teacher and in my spare time I do missplays live or on YouTube. Lover of our card game called Magic!

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