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Artifact Fire

Artifact Deck Tech: Red Green Ramp Decklist

January 17th, 2019 | jscaliseok

Introduction


The latest Artifact WePlay tournament is underway at the time of me writing this, and that means there are plenty of decks to break down and dissect. Though there were a lot of spicy brews to choose from, the one that called out to me the most was Red Green Ramp. Though the archetype is not necessarily brand new, it something we've never covered before. It also operates in a way that is unique to what all the other builds are doing right now.

This list, as the name suggests, is all about using extra mana to power into huge threats. You have beefy heroes to start, and you use them to solidify the lanes you want to push. Backing that plan up with quick ramp and some choice glue cards enables you to quickly get to your more powerful plays before your opponent can properly react.

The Heroes



There are a few different builds of this list out there, but I chose Stormlike’s version because I enjoy the hero choices and order. You open the game with Omniknight, Bristleback, and Legion Commander. From there, you get Treant Protector for round two and Axe for round three.

All of these cards help push the “get to the top of the curve” game plan quite well. You aren’t messing around here. You need the game to go long, but you want to do it in a way where you’re controlling the board the entire time. The heroes make that happen.

Axe, while no longer the strongest hero in the game, is still very solid. His signature card, Berserker’s Call, works wonders with Legion Commander’s Duel. Not only do both of those heroes have incredibly sturdy bodies, but both of their cards give you fantastic removal options.

Bristleback may not have a good signature card, but his body is simply too powerful to pass up. You are a deck that wants to control the board and push back against the other powerful decks in the meta. Bristleback does all of those things through sheer stats. He also is incredible with both Duel and Berserker’s Call.

In the green corner, we have two lesser played cards. Treant Protector is a bag of great bonuses. Roseleaf Druid perfectly fits the ramp game plan, his ability furthers board control, and the ten health go a long way towards ensuring you can play your green cards. It would be hard to play this style of deck without him.

Finally, we have Omniknight. This is largely a flex spot in this build, but he works extremely well in it. His ability and signature card help keep units alive (a common theme of the cards here), while the 12 health is harder to deal with than you imagine.

Protector and Omniknight are sticky green heroes, which is vital towards pushing out early ramp. Do your best to keep them around in the first turns of the game.

More and More Mana



With any ramp deck, mana is the name of the game. There are three main ways to make this happen: Stars Align, Selemene’s Favor, and Roseleaf Druid.

All of these cards do the same thing, but they operate in slightly different ways. Favor is the hardest for your opponent to deal with, while Roseleaf is the easiest to handle. Understand that, and play them accordingly.

Dropping Favor first is almost always a better move because, not only does it provide more mana, it dodges popular removal and cannot be picked off by opposing units. Though Roseleaf is strong (and does a great job of sticking around against creeps) Artifact is full of kill spells at the moment.

Where and how you place these cards comes down to your hand. It is often a good idea to spread out your mana to get the most use out of it (having three lanes at five mana is usually better than having one at eight) but that largely depends on what you’re pushing towards. If you have a finisher in your hand that you can get out next turn, one lane can be the way to go.

Stars Align is a one shot, but what a powerful one shot it is. Be careful when you pull the trigger on the spell. Using it early to grab the board can go a long way, but it is often best used to get your finishers going long before your opponent is ready for them. It all depends on the matchup and whether you’re ahead or behind in the game.

The Glue



Green brings the ramp side of the deck, while red serves as the value cards that help hold everything together. There are numerous value cards sprinkled throughout this list, and they all serve a certain purpose.

As yours truly predicted a month ago, initiative matters. It matters a lot. So much so, that just about every viable deck wants some way to take it back from their opponent. In this list, we have two copies of Fight Through the Pain.

Though not a game-changer, the ability to take the turn order from your opponent is one of the most important things you can do when fighting popular builds like Mono Blue. The two armor, though it can matter for combat, is more of an afterthought here. This card is best suited to fight against your opponent’s kill spells and AOE plays. While it can be used early, you typically want to hold onto it late.

Mercenary Exiles is not a card you would normally see in any competitive Artifact deck, but this build uses it to great effect. You want to spread out your threats in a list like this one, and that is where the exiles shine. Though the three drop is not the scariest card when first played, it doesn’t take much gold to turn it into a beater.

The unit has a lightning rod on its head, and it will force your opponent to react. That alone is worth the inclusion. There is no gold generation here, but being able to play a real threat on turn one matters as you move up your curve. This card is also great to drop into an empty lane to make your opponent move there. If they don’t, simply buff the exiles and get in for massive tower damage.

Enough Magic! Is another fantastic value card that I’ve gushed about a lot in the past. The ability to instantly end the game or shut down your opponent’s plans in one lane is invaluable. In fact, there is a real case to be made to run three of here (depending on how much blue you face).

Artifact is all about careful planning and setting up future turns. Enough Magic! completely destroys those plans for your opponent and takes away their chance to play cards. It also gives you the chance to swing in for lethal unfettered and helps you take great trades on the board before your opponent can get out of them.

Just understand that you need initiative for this card to get its full potential and should always play to go first when setting it up.

Finish Them



Of course, no ramp deck is complete without the top end. There are many ways to gain mana in Artifact, and the payoffs for that are Spring the Trap, Time of Triumph, and Thunderhide Alpha.

These three cards are fairly straightforward compared to the other ones listed above. There is very little nuance here. If you can get to a big card and play it out, you should.

Though Thunderhide Alpha is the biggest unit in Artifact, it is likely the least useful of your finishers. That is because, much like Roseleaf Druid, it can be taken down with spells. Time of Triumph, on the other hand, gives you an instant boost that will quickly overwhelm your opponent and take over the game.

Spring the Trap may not be quite on the same power level as the other two cards, but it is a fantastic way to control the board. This card is often seen as a reactionary play that you use to stop a push. While it has that use in this build, it is best ramped into early to apply a ton of pressure in a lane.

You want to get these cards going quickly. Though Spring may not be a game-ender, the other two finishers are often worth stacking mana for. Getting three or four extra mana in a lane can enable you to power out a finisher as early as turn five. That route isn’t the goal every game, but it should be taken into account when figuring out your path to victory.

What Glitters is Gold



Though the finishers in this deck are big and expensive, the items are not. The item deck is a relatively simple blend of effective cards that help supplement your other plays as you move up your curve.

The single Traveler’s Cloak is a cheap item that keeps your heroes alive (try and target the green ones when you can) and burns through your shop a bit quicker.

Next, there are two Jasper Daggers. These cards have become quite powerful since the buff, which is why they are here. Removing effects from a hero is quite nice and extremely useful in a range of situations. The attack and pierce are largely secondary. You can buy these early on and simply hold them, or you can opt to not buy them from the shop and put your gold into your Mercenary Exiles.

Finally, you have three Stonehall Cloaks and three Blink Daggers. Dagger (covered earlier this week in my guide on it) continues to be an incredible play that gives decks a wide amount of flexibility. There is nothing like the ability to move lanes, and they truly open up the board in a way nothing else does.

While the three cloaks may seem a bit strange, they work wonders when paired with beefy heroes like the ones in this list. The original four health gives you extra consistency and helps your board, while the extra two every single combat phase stacks up quickly. Either your opponent takes out your heroes right away, or they will never be removed. That then plays perfectly into Time of Triumph.

Conclusion


Ramp is not an archetype we've seen a lot of in Artifact, but it has the tools to be an incredibly powerful deck. This list is just one take on it, and there are many tweaks you can make to fit your own style. Playing big cards is fun, and if you like slamming down the best that red and green have to offer, this one's for you.
(Last Updated: March 21st, 2019)

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