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Artifact Deck Tech: Green Black Ramp Decklist

January 31st, 2019 | jscaliseok

Introduction


As you all know by now, I love going against the grain when it comes to playing high level decks. There are not a ton of spicy brews across the meta right now, but there are enough to stimulate the mind. One such example is today’s list, a Black Green Ramp deck that comes from Reddit user Zoochz.

Ramp has been the topic of a lot of our deck lists as of late, and that is because extra mana is incredibly strong in Artifact. However, this week’s list does something a little bit different. Rather than going with the usual blue or red splashes, it chooses black's premium removal spells to ensure that it can get to the strong finishers without the opponent's units getting in the way.

The Heroes



Your five heroes in this list are Omniknight, Phantom Assassin, Treant Protector, Lich, and Tinker. That is not your usual bunch of misfits, but they each help you in ways that are specific to this deck.

Protector and Assassin are the two most straightforward choices here. Assassin has one of the best signature cards in the game and her ability allows you to kill off many heroes early on. Protector, on the other hand, is a great way to keep your early creeps alive (which helps push board presence), stem off aggression, and ramp through Roseleaf Druids.

Each hero encapsulates a base part of this deck. You have your big mana and strong board presence from Protector, and the incredibly efficient removal from Assassin.

Omniknight is not a common hero in Artifact, but he has gained a bit of popularity as of late. That is because he is so good at keeping other units alive. All Seeing One’s Favor goes a long way towards ensuring you can cast your spells and his ability is great during longer games against both aggro and control. The twelve health is incredibly resilient as well, and it serves as one of the benchmarks that pushes him into the list.

The last heroes, Lich and Tinker, are great at playing the long game. March of the Machines gets better and better with each turn it’s active, making it one of the best ways to contest flooded boards or clear the way for damage. You can even pop it down into abandoned lanes to wreak havoc on your opponent's plans.

His body leaves something to be desired, but his ability is also fantastic for both finishing off damaged heroes or for shutting down a lane before your opponent can react. Pay attention to initiative when his activation is online.

Lich’s ability allows you to continuously find your stronger cards or niche one-of's, while Chain Frost can help keep boards in check. He is much more here for his ability over anything else, but there is also something to be said for his nine health. It’s nothing to write home about, but it will save him in a lot of situations where other black heroes would die.

Ramp and Restriction



As with so many other ramp decks, this one leans on the trifecta of Stars Align, Roseleaf Druid, and Selemene’s Favor to get to their cards before their opponent. However, there are a few key differences that need to be noted when breaking down this list’s choices.

First, there is only one copy of Stars Align. That then pushes the ramp towards Druid and Favor. It is a nice shift from other popular decks because, while align is good, it only works once and can be hard to properly utilize. In contrast, the other two keep giving you extra value every turn they stay around on the board.

The curve of this deck can get quite high, so it is important to try and make use of all the extra mana you’ll get throughout the game. Favor is particularly important to stick early because it is so much harder to deal with than Roseleaf Druid. Try to figure out where you want to stick it on the board early so you know where you're going to want to push.

Beyond those three, the last interesting choice in regards to ramp is the inclusion of Tyler Estate Censor. The four mana creep is fantastic at crippling your opponent, especially when you're already ahead on mana. Mana curve is vital in Artifact, and being able to attack your opponent's on two fronts is incredible against decks like Mono Blue.

That goes double because many people will not expect the Censor. If you can, try to drop it on the turn right before your opponent needs to play a key card.

Improving Your Position



There are quite a few cards scattered throughout this list, and it seems like a bit of a mess at first glance. However, once you get into the individual choices you realize that it all has a set purpose.

One instance of that is the different improvements. There are three non-ramp ones and they all do a good job of helping you push to your end game in different ways.

First, Unearthed Secrets continues to be one of the best green cards in the game. Being able to get this out on turn one and draw turn after turn is incredible value. Even if your opponent does destroy it or move out of the lane at some point, you will have already gotten more than enough value from it.

Note that, while not the main mode, you can use Secrets to force your opponent out of a lane. Dropping secrets can sometimes get your opponent to focus on other areas of the board. That can then give you a chance to jump into that lane and go for their tower. This doesn’t come up often, but it is important to be aware of from time to time.

Next, there is one copy of Mist of Avernus and a full three Steam Cannons. Mist is a great way to go wide and gives you a bit of extra support when trying to dominate combat in a lane, which is vital in today's Artifact. This isn't a game-ender by any means, but it does just enough to warrant a slot.

Cannon may be one of the strangest choices in the deck, but it is a fantastic card to ramp up to. Being able to drop one a few turns early allows you to control exactly how you want the board to look. Four piercing damage a turn not only allows you to snipe down creeps, but it also gives you a fantastic way to pick off heroes.

Also note that, when cannon is out, your opponent has more math to do. This is a small part of the game, but forcing your opponent to react to a number of different scenarios goes a long way. Never try to tip off where you’re going to use it and, unless you’re using it in the active lane, try to prioritize the activation last.

Remove Your Problems



The other “pile of cards” in this list comes from the ample black removal spells. The color is known best for taking things off the board, and that’s what it does here.

There are four distinct removal options in this deck: Slay, Gank, Hip Fire, and Pick Off. The mix of 2, 2, 2, 1 may seem strange, but all of the kill spells do something different to maximize versatility.

Slay is great against other big creep decks or when there is an annoying body standing in the way of massive damage. Gank and Pick Off both allow you to go out of the lane to do some damage where it is needed. There could be three Ganks if you so choose, but the one Pick Off exists because there will be times throughout the game where you really don’t want to kill off your black hero.

Finally, the double Hip Fire helps with the all important initiative. Going first in Artifact is as vital as ever, and that's what you get from the four mana spell.

You need to be able to kill things each and every game, but you never quite know what you’re going to face. The above mix gives you a little bit of everything to ensure you're never caught off guard.

Bigger is Better



Ramping needs to have a purpose, and, as with many other decks, the purpose here is Emissary of the Quorum and [[Thunderhide Alpha].

What makes this one-two punch so strong is that it creates two diverse finishers. Many lists ramp up to one set card or push for damage in one way. By running both Alpha and Quorum, the deck attacks the opponent on two fronts. You can either go wide and create a board of unstoppable creeps, or you can push with your massive 25/25.

As with the removal suit, the combination of different choices gives you the ability to adapt depending on what’s going on in front of you. If your opponent won’t let you pile up creeps into a lane, hit them with a big body and see how they handle it. In contrast, if your opponent has a lot of targeted removal, flood them to death.

The Items



As has become the norm, the item deck here is a straightforward affair that values a streamlined plan over tricks or valuable one-ofs. You aren’t here to create a lot of gold, and that’s fine. Rather, you just want to get items you can use in the early game to make sure your heroes stick around.

Revtel Signet Ring’s ability to decrease bounty has made it a premium choice over Traveler’s Cloak (though, that works fine as well) for an early game health buff, while Jasper Daggers has become on of the best items to play with since they got buffed.

Both of these cards then work with Stonehall Cloak to ensure you have a high chance of being able to spend your early gold right away. Health is ever-important in Artifact, and being able to get in on turn one or two (depending on how many things you kill) is wonderful.

Finally, there are three Blink Daggers because, of course there are. It's still the best card in the game, and it’s hard to run a top level deck without it.

Conclusion


Black and Green are two great colors that help a lot of popular decks. It may not be standard to mix them together, but this list does a lot with the ramp. Rather than simply trying to push to one binary finisher, or just going up the ladder to a big play, you get to both ramp and interact your opponent's board by picking off units. That is a truly wonderful combination that gives you the best of both worlds.
(Last Updated: March 21st, 2019)

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