Red/Blue/Green Ramp Deck with Thragtusk and Devastation Tide
July 25, 2012 | Posted by Dee
Thragtusk is one of those cards that fits well in a Wolf Run Ramp deck. Like Huntmaster of the Fells, it buys you a lot of time with its life gain against aggro decks. Also, you can search for it with Green Sun’s Zenith.
With Huntmaster of the Fells, Thragtusk, and Primeval Titan (to get Glimmerposts), it’s hard for aggro decks to beat you because you gain so much life.
Jonathan Job tried this life gain strategy and got good results with it at this past weekend’s Starcitygames Standard Open in Las Vegas. He played a Red/Blue/Green (RUG) Ramp deck to a 29th place finish out of 439 players. He had seven wins, two losses, and one tie.
For his blue cards, I expected to see Temporal Mastery and Frost Titan but he didn’t play any of those cards. Instead, he played 4 Devastation Tide. Check out his decklist below.
|RUG Wolf Run Ramp|
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Devastation Tide is an interesting choice for a boardwipe spell because it doesn’t actually kill your opponent’s creatures (unless they are token creatures). It just bounces them.
Other Wolf Run Ramp decks have mass removal spells like Slagstorm, Bonfire of the Damned, and Day of Judgment that destroy creatures.
Devastation Tide hits noncreature nonland permanents so that’s a plus for it. This feature is helpful when your opponent has planeswalkers, Swords, Birthing Pod, or enchantments like Oblivion Ring, Honor of the Pure, and Rancor on the board.
However, many decks only have a few noncreature nonland permanents. Blue/White (UW) Delver has 2-3 equipment cards. Red/Green (RG) Aggro has 4-6 Swords/Rancor. Pod decks have 2-4 Birthing Pods and maybe 1-2 planeswalkers. Naya Aggro doesn’t have any of these spells. It only has creatures and lands for its permanents.
Therefore, there will many times when Devastation Tide will only hit creatures.
I analyzed the decklist to find combos with this blue sweeper spell. Also, I played a couple games with the deck to see why Jonathan liked the card so much. After all, he played four copies and it was his only removal effect other than Tamiyo’s +1 ability and Huntmaster of the Fells’ transform ability.
Here’s what I learned.
Abundant Growth is pretty sweet with Devastation Tide. You definitely want to bounce the enchantment to recast it and draw more cards. You don’t really mind bouncing Huntmaster of the Fells, Thragtusk, or Acidic Slime, because you can replay them to gain more life or destroy another land, artifact, or enchantment.
Thragtusk is really good with the blue spell because the creature gives you a 3/3 Beast when it leaves the battlefield.
The biggest thing I learned is that Devastation Tide slows down your opponent a lot. Even when you bounce your own creatures, you usually rebuild much faster than your opponent unless they are also playing a ramp deck. Devastation Tide hurts your opponents much more than it hurts you.
Many decks rely on mana creatures like Birds of Paradise and Avacyn’s Pilgrim. When your bounce these creatures, you stunt your opponent’s mana development. Your mana development is not affected because you’re relying on ramp spells that get lands like Rampant Growth and Primeval Titan. Devastation Tide doesn’t affect lands.
Here are two before and after screenshots to illustrate this point.
In this situation, he had Primeval Titan locked down by Dungeon Geists. Also, he had Thalia, Guardian of Thraben on the board. I played a land and cast Rampant Growth. Then, I tapped out for Devastation Tide.
Here’s what the battlefield looked like after my next turn.
As you can see, Devastation Tide put me in a much better situation. He still has Dungeon Geists in hand to tap Primeval Titan but I have a lot of mana, Kessig Wolf Run, Inkmoth Nexus, and Huntmaster of the Fells.
Inkmoth Nexus is threatening to do eight infect damage. He might have to block it with Dungeon Geists. Huntmaster can flip to kill Thalia. Then, I can turn it into a 13/4 trampler with Kessig Wolf Run.
Of course, when you miracle Devastating Tide, it is even more deadly.
In this situation, I miracled the spell and I had enough lands to replay Thragtusk and both Primeval Titans. His board was decimated. Here’s what the board looked like when I passed the turn.
When he saw this board state, he didn’t even untap his lands to take his turn. He just conceded.
You can do some real damage with Devastation Tide if your opponent is relying on Fiend Hunters for removal. Check out this screenshot.
I showed him Devastation Tide and he instantly scooped. He had 3 Fiend Hunter that had exiled Primeval Titan, Huntmaster, and Inkmoth. What a freaking beating.
Try out this deck and let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. If you have sideboarding questions, tell me which decks are in your local metagame and I’ll try to give you sideboard strategies for them.