Taphouse Issue #2

– Alex Sarver –

Hey everybody. Welcome back to the Taphouse, another round of brewskis is coming right up. Let’s start with some updates from the last article.

Jeskai Dragons got some minor upgrades. Two cards change in the mana base, simply swap one Flooded Strand out for the second Prairie Stream in. This is simply to allow us to get to 5 mana more consistently, while we want to get more fetches in the yard to flip Jace quickly, a lot of times lands are the easy early discards on looting and then we struggle to cast Dragonlord Ojutai. To mitigate this in small percentages we want another real land vice a fetch. The other changes come in the sideboard. We drop the two Tragic Arrogance and the one Fate Forgotten to add two Stasis Snare and a Dragonlord Prerogative. The snares are just good removal and the exile clause is very relevant. The Tragic Arrogances were never as good as I originally thought they were going to be, and the creature catchall appeals more to the list. The Dragonlord Prerogative is to allow us to keep up against esper dragons which is back on the rise. In further news this deck has been tested in fire and come out very well as I ran the deck to top 4 a pptq last weekend. I continue to recommend it to anyone at this point of the standard meta. It has a great matchup against gr aggro utilizing soul fire grandmaster and draconic roar. With the haste creatures in mantis rider and Sarkhan it also has good game against control, especially sideboarded when we can also counterspell. Flyers have always been a weakness of abzan helping that matchup. Also mantis rider has always punished decks with awkward mana bases or any falter from the opponent.

Rug 49 also got a few minor upgrades. For this one we drop the two Brutal Expulsion from the main and slide them to the sideboard. Taking their spot mainboard we get the 25th land in a second Shivan Reef and one Temur Charm. It was determined this deck wanted another land after the Shaman of Forgotten Ways not always playing nice with planeswalkers so we need to hit real land drops. The Temur Charm is just another utility spell that does everything we want it to in the main. We don’t completely lose the Brutal Expulsion as the card is nuts, it just moves to the sideboard in the place of the Ugin’s Insight and one of the Whisperwood Elemental. While this deck hasn’t been proven at a Pptq level like Jeskai, it has been proven at a weekly magic event going 5-0. If you are a fan of midrange this is the list for you as it is the king of big dumb beaters.

Now let’s get to why we are here, this week’s new hotness. In the style of the most hipster IPA, this deck is jammed full of hops, and can’t get any greener. Without further ado:

The Mean Green Machine

Creatures (13)

  • 4 Rattleclaw Mystic
  • 2 Nissa, Vastwood Seer
  • 3 Conduit of Ruin
  • 4 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Planeswalkers (4)

  • 4 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

Spells (19)

  • 4 Nissa’s Renewal
  • 4 Explosive Vegetation
  • 4 Nissa’s Pilgrimage
  • 2 From Beyond
  • 3 Hedron Archive
  • 2 Winds of Qal Sisma

Lands (24)

  • 2 Haven of the Spirit Dragon
  • 2 Sanctum of Ugin
  • 4 Shrine of the Forsaken Gods
  • 16 Forest


  • 4 Gaea’s Revenge
  • 4 Jaddi Offshoot
  • 2 Blisterpod
  • 2 Windstorm
  • 2 Display of Dominance
  • 1 Reclaim

The alternate name of this deck is Nissa’s Betrayal, as it features Nissa herself, all her ramp spells, and her dreaded enemy the eldrazi. And I know what you the reader are thinking, really bearded one a mono green ramp deck? Well I’m here to tell you this deck is legitimately good. The typical problem with ramp decks is drawing all the ramp and none of the payoff. This deck however, has 7 main deck tutors for Ulamog. Also if there was any doubt of whether or not ulamog was going to be hardcast in this format this deck answers that with a resounding yes, and turns sooner the people thought. So let’s break down some more of the cards in the deck:


  • Rattleclaw Mystic– best all-purpose ramp in the format, most others are creature specific or cost more mana.
  • Nissa– helps ensure land drops and very flappable in this deck to start ticking up for value.
  • Conduit of Ruin– A 5/5 for 6 is nothing to write home about, however it’s the abilities we want here. It tutors for Ulamog on cast which is relevant so we don’t care about counterspells. Also if it resolves the making a creature cost 2 less helps ensure the Ulamog gets cast. And the big body helps play defense.
  • Ulamog– the payoff card. The reason to play the deck. In one word, unstoppable.


  • Ugin– used for stability or a wincon on his own. Also used to trigger the sanctum to tutor up the Ulamog. Also the ultimate puts Ulamog in play in a pinch.


  • Nissa’s Pilgrimage– the cheapest ramp spell and puts land in hand to ensure more land drops and ramp.
  • Explosive Vegetation– the middle ramp spell getting us directly to conduit or renewal.
  • Nissa’s Renewal– the biggest and best ramp. It gains us 7 life to keep us alive and stable until our payoffs as well as getting three lands to ramp hard and thin the deck.
  • Hedron Archive– another good middle ramp card as well as card advantage in a pinch
  • From Beyond– ramp, stabilization, and a Ulamog tutor all rolled in one. Very strong.
  • Winds of Qal Sisma– this may seem weird but it is for a reason. The worst matchup for the deck is aggro and this helps stem the bleeding. Mostly it’s to keep us alive so we get our payoff.


  • Haven of the Spirit Dragon– gets back our Ugins
  • Sanctum of Ugin– another tutor for Ulamog
  • Shrine of the Forsaken Gods– helps us ramp further in the end game, surprisingly good.

Okay so how does the deck play out. Honestly it’s a game of solitaire. Can the deck survive to cast Ulamog. Ulamog will close out a game very quickly once it hits the field so the deck is a support system to allow that to happen. It is super straight forward, ramp to an Ulamog and buy time in between. The only time the deck struggles is against control and aggro. And honestly we aren’t that scared of counterspell as Ulamog exiles on cast and damage is done no matter what. Which is where the sideboard come in, it is almost exclusively for these two matchups.


  • Gaea’s Revenge– Beats control single handed especially when we ramp them out.
  • Jaddi Offshoot– We use the lifegain provided by this card to survive against aggro to cast fatties and win.
  • Blisterpod– Also good against aggro
  • Windstorm– This is for Dragonlords and Mantis Riders as we have no reach and can get clocked by flyers. Based on your meta this could be naturalize to stop stasis snares.
  • Display of Dominance– stops black exile effects in abzan charm and utter end. Also works well with gaea’s revenge to protect it against the two charms that can actually touch it.
  • Reclaim– It’s used to get back our creatures against crackling doom the one card that can hit us.

There is also a lot of play in this deck to splash a color. The best options would be white or red. White is for Dragonlord Dromoka to hedge the aggro and control matchups thinks to lifelink and uncounterable. White also gives us access to Dromoka’s Command to hit Stasis Snare and fight for removal. And we can run Stasis Snare ourselves as catch-all creature removal. The red splash gives us access to Dragonlord Atarka as removal and a relevant clock. We also get Radiant Flames to help in the aggro matchup. While both splashes are essentially free with a fetch and battle land in color, I’m going to stick with the mono color version for now. Until people catch on to the deck and start bringing the hate I want to run the fastest and most consistent version, which is the mono color version. Well this once again brings us to closing time, get yourselves some road brews and hit the weekend tournaments. I for one will be playing eldrazi stompy at a pptq this weekend. Hopefully you, the reader, enjoyed the article and continue to look for them in the future as I will provide any updates on previous lists and exciting new brews. Also any feedback is appreciated. Is there a deck you want information on, a card you want brewed around, or a format you want to see? Let me know and I’ll do what I can. Thank you for the read and good luck to all players this weekend.