About the Deck
Atraxa Ramp, or 5C Control, has been one of the best decks in Standard for some time now. Recently, in Wilds of Eldraine, this list got an upgrade with Up the Beanstalk. This card brings a new card advantage source to the deck, and adds even more value to the heaviest spells, particularly Leyline Binding, which will be cast for one mana many times.
Like every ramp deck, you'll need spells to speed up your curve and be able to play your heaviest spells with ease.
Topiary Stomper is a creature that becomes more relevant when you get seven lands on board, at the same time it speeds up this plan on its own. With two Stompers attacking on your side, you can put an absurd pressure on your opponent, potentially finishing the game quickly without them being able to interact.
The Battle acts in the same way, speeding up your curve even more, and being able to serve as a 4/4 body with Vigilance, just like Stomper, later on.
This deck counts on a good variety of removals - mostly enchantments. During my testing of this deck, I tested out a version which used black removals and some new cards, but I felt that the mana base got a little harder to access, and the deck overall leaned more on the mulligan, so I opted to keep the more traditional removals.
Ossification is versatile enough to be in this deck and The Kami War is here in a single copy which when drawn can save the game with its abilities. Sunfall is the deck's global removal, and is highly relevant due to its ability to leave a threat behind.
Atraxa, Grand Unifier is the main win condition, but it is also a great source of value in the deck, refilling your resources and changing the game's path even if it dies before it can get an attack in. Herd Migration is another extremely efficient way to close out games, particularly if your opponent doesn't have global removals, besides being able to search a land and generate some extra life in the game's early stages.
Archangel of Wrath is an exceedingly important card because it can both pressure your opponent and remove a threat on the other side of the board, and it can also be used to transform Invasion of Zendikar. Lifegain is quite important with this card.
Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines is a card I started using because of the mirrors, because, besides being a threatening creature, it can also lock down your opponent's game plan completely at the same time it improves yours. Thrun, Breaker of Silence is a must card against Control and Midrange decks, and can many times close out games alone.
Mulligan and Game Style
As this is a ramp deck, as I described before, you'll work on your land drops and ramp spells, so you can play your heavy spells on board. However, the strategy is also known as 5C Control (or 4C Control, depending on the version, but they are basically the same decks), and, this way, you should always keep in mind that the main posture is more reactive, saving your answers, interacting with opponent threats, until you can finally have control of the game and can play your own threats.
An ideal initial hand for this deck should have removals, ramp and some other value card, like the following example.
As the most efficient removal in the deck, Leyline needs an adequate land setup to show its maximum potential, so observe well the basic types of lands you have and if you can activate Domain easily.
Up the Beanstalk is another great card to have in your initial hand, but many times it can be not as useful in a hand without removals or threats. Be careful with hands that have less than three lands or hands that are too greedy.
Remember to always play your tapped lands first, and, preferably, play one that can create white mana. Don't forget Ossification needs basic lands to be used.
The sideboard I have been using seems quite balanced for the current metagame, being able to direct the deck according to your needs for the desired game plan.
Tranquil Frillback is a card I added due to its versatility which has proven to be an excellent option in many games. Chrome-Host Seedshark helps tremendously against Control decks, just like the second copy of Thrun, Breaker of Silence.
Next, I'll discuss my sideboard plan against the five most important matchups.
Vs. Mono-Red Aggro
This is the most popular deck in Magic Online's Standard. I haven't faced that many of them in Arena, but the approach is the same. You need to guarantee your land drops and your access to removals.
Archangel of Wrath can turn the game around completely, and often guarantees you victory. Removals are particularly effective here, as red can't deal with enchantments. Recycle Herd Migrations and survive until you can stabilize the board.
Post-side, Revelry and Thrillback improve the game. Be careful with greedy hands, because Mono-Red can close out games terrifyingly fast.
Vs. Golgari Midrange
This deck has proved to be a great threat. With powerful creatures and numerous resources, Golgari always provides tough matches.
Use your removals wisely and prioritize killing creatures which create considerable value to your opponent, such as Mosswood Dreadknight or Glissa Sunslayer. Global removals are always important here.
Vs. Esper Midrange
Esper is still one of the most powerful combinations in the format. The Midrange version is extremely problematic to deal with, as it gathers exceedingly powerful cards in the format and can interact with practically anything.
For this game, you'll need to play around counters and be extra careful with Flying threats. Faerie Mastermind is an absurdly strong card, particularly when we have Up the Beanstalk on board, which ends up creating extra value to the opponent and can put us in a complicated position.
Post-side, your opponent will bring more counters and Duress, which can disrupt even more the 4C game plan.
Vs. 5C Cascade
Cascade is another new deck which popped up with the arrival of Wilds of Eldraine, and which behaves similarly to 4C Control, but is closer to a combo strategy.
The deck is centered around Invasion of Alara, a card that allows you to cast Cascaded spells as long as they have a mana value of four or lower. With that Cascade effect, your opponent can access Bramble Familiar's Adventure without paying its cost, and with that bring from the graveyard a Cemetery Desecrator, get the Battle's counters to zero and cast Awaken the Maelstrom in the same turn. It is an absurdly powerful play, but our deck has the tools to deal with it.
A simple Sunfall can turn the game back around, even after this combo happens. But be careful, as some Cascade lists use Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines and, as I mentioned before, this card shuts off our deck completely, and makes the game extremely hard for us. Have in mind that the same goes to your opponent if you manage to stick your own Elesh Norn in play.
Follow the control game plan, and place your threats on board; everything will be fine.
Vs. Dimir Faeries
Dimir Faeries is another new thing in the metagame, and has shown to be a resilient strategy with tremendous potential. Usually, Tempo decks are tough to deal with, but with the right hand and lucky draws, our deck can overcome this obstacle.
Sunfall is your most important card, because it can clear your board and turn the game's tide in your favor. Use it at the right moment and always play around counters.
4C Control is one of the best decks in the format, and Up the Beanstalk elevated this deck to a new level. If you're looking for a viable option to venture into Standard, and you like powerful spells, this is the deck you're looking for.
Another article finished. Leave your questions and suggestions in the comment section, as I'll try to answer all. See you next time!