Drafting Cube : GX Ramp

Why to play ramp?

You get to play big fatties early, without people getting butthurt that you’re tinker comboing them. Due to the nature of the deck, you can get a really solid mana base, and easily splash two or three colours of a monogreen shell. The deck also features some of the most powerful creatures and spells in cube, and can play them on or before the curve.

An added bonus of playing ramp is that, like counterburn and boros aggro,  it’s definitely a ‘sit and draft’ archetype – it requires no special support from the cube owner to function, and is incidental in almost all cubes.

Why not to play ramp

Because you’ll have a lot of mana dorks, you’ll have a pretty low threat density, and can be slowed heavily in some games by a well-timed pyroclasm. You shouldn’t play ramp if you get frustrated by mana flood easily – some games you’ll draw all your ramp, and no fatties. Mana flood is just a fact of magic, but it feels a lot worse in mana ramp.

Game plan

Drop a turn 1 mana dork or manafact, probably do the same turn 2, turn 3 drop a 4 or 5 drop, turn 4 drop something huge, rinse and repeat. You want to accumulate as much mana as possible, and then play massive stuff with it. If your opponent has got an empty board, don’t be afraid to attack with your mana elves. A usual game ender is a red X spell – they’re ridiculously deadly in this deck. A key rule of thumb is that if you’ve got 3 mana turn 2, and 5 mana turn 3, you’re probably doing it right.

High Picks

1.Fast mana artifacts. First and foremost, you need to be snapping up moxen, sol ring, mana crypt and vault, and grim monolith, since they’re even more broken in this deck. They go quickly too, so snap snap snap!

2. Mana Dorks/Ramp spells – Almost as good as fast mana artifacts, and the easiest way to reach 5 mana turn 3. These are pretty vital to the deck, and I’d want at least 2 or 3 turn 1 mana dorks in my deck. In my 360, I run 5 of these, so they’re pretty important.  They’re the easiest way of reaching your first aim (3 mana turn 2).

3. Timmy-licious fatties. Big big fatties. Huge fatties.Titans are great here, as are Kodama, Thornling, and Ob Nix. My favourite is Ob Nix. Just think about it for a sec. ‘Lightning Bolt your Ob Nixilis?’ ‘Harrow, take 6’. Such a sweet play, and the more ramp spells you have, the better it gets. I’d also like to put a special mention to Krosan Tusker here. Would you play an uncounterable instant ‘search your library for a basic land and draw a card’ for 2G? Maybe? How about if it’s also a 7/6? Krosan Tusker is wonderful in this deck. If you doubt me, give it a go and be amazed. You should run 5-8  creatures with cmc 5 or more in this deck, so you have enough threats. The more fast artifact mana you have, the more fatties you can afford to run.

4. X spells. These are game winning, and can be absolutely crushing for your opponent. Banefire is built for winning, Fireball can decimate your opponents field, and Red Sun’s Zenith will kill whilst keeping your opponents mid-sized creatures at bay. Ramp uses this more effectively than any other deck, and they can be downright broken when goldfishing. When you’re ramping to 8 mana, sometimes Blaze is better than Terastodon.

Sample Decklist


  • Llanowar Elves
  • Fyndhorn Elves
  • Joraga Treespeaker
  • Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary
  • Sakura-tribe elder
  • Eternal Witness
  • Indrik Stomphowler
  • Acidic Slime
  • Kodama of the North Tree
  • Genesis
  • Wurmcoil Engine
  • Inferno Titan
  • Myr Battlesphere
  • Krosan Tusker
  • Woodfall Primus
  • Mana Vault
  • Sol Ring
  • Sensei’s Divining Top
  • Mind Stone
  • Gruul Signet
  • Simic Signet
  • Regrowth
  • Cultivate
  • Harrow
  • Plow Under


Overall, ramp is great. It’s fun, it’s powerful, and it’s  pretty easy to draft a deck of it. That being said, to draft the insane ‘turn 3 wurmcoil engine’ ramp decks takes a lot of practice, and a lot of luck. It’s actually a really good deck to advise beginners (either to draft, or cube, or magic  in general) to try and make, since the cards which are good for it are obvious and numerous, and the strategy is not complex.

As always, thanks for reading,


2 responses to “Drafting Cube : GX Ramp

  • merl

    Nice writeups, but isn’t the ramp deck missing a bit of card drawing?

    And isn’t the Upheaval just a version of the ramp deck?

  • sexyindiancurry

    Card drawing is good in any deck, and since this was specifically GX, there’s only sylvan library to mention, and harmonise. But yeah, you’re right, card draw is good in ramp, but I wouldn’t think it any better in ramp than any other deck.

    The upheaval deck is a ramp deck, yeah. They’re pretty similar, but there are a few differences. Firstly, the upheaval deck is much more dependent on noncreature mana sources, like sol ring and the ilk, since they’ll tap immediatly, and allow you to drop as much as possible after upheavaling.The regular ramp deck will ramp with pretty much anything it can. Also, ramp decks tends towards being more midrangey, with a good few four drops, whereas TUD is a control deck (although it’s more tempo if you’re GX)

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