Valakut Titan Ramp Deck for Post Rotation
September 23, 2010 | Posted by Dee
Update: I got 6th place at States with a version of this deck. Click here to read my tournament report.
I started testing with Valakut Titan Ramp for post rotation Standard because I felt it would be a good choice for States, which is in about two weeks.
Many of Valakut’s tough matchups will be severely weakened or not exist anymore. Mythic Conscription loses Sovereigns of Lost Alara and Knight of the Reliquary, Polymorph loses its namesake card, and Pyromancer Ascension loses Time Warp and Ponder.
Also, Mono Green Eldrazi Ramp doesn’t lose much in the rotation but it seems like a good matchup for Valakut.
In a new format, you want to have a strong proactive plan against many types of decks since the metagame is not established. You don’t want to play a reactive control deck. The metagame will usually be too diverse to have all the right answers in that type of deck. Turn four Titan is one of the strongest proactive plans in post Scars Standard. Its power level in the new format feels similar to turn four Sovereigns in Mythic.
My testing with the deck has been pretty successful. I’ve been winning a lot with Valakut so I thought I’d share my latest list.
|Valakut Titan Ramp|
Building the Deck
I based my decklist on the first place deck from German Nationals by Dennis Johannsen. I liked the mana base with 13 green sources, the Summoning Trap in the main, the huge amount of ramp spells, and the straightforward sideboard. The only changes I made were:
-1 Verdant Catacombs
+1 Rampaging Baloths
-1 Inferno Titan
+2 Lightning Bolt
+2 Overgrown Battlement
-4 Rampant Growth
+1 Burst Lightning
+3 Wurmcoil Engine
-4 Obstinate Baloth
+2 Lightning Bolt
+2 Growth Spasm
-3 Thought Hemorrhage
The deck survived the rotation except for Rampant Growth and Thought Hemorrhage. Hemorrhage was not a concern because I could go with Memoricide from Scars, which basically did the same thing. But in testing, I realize that Memoricide was pretty useless because combo decks like Pyromancer Ascension didn’t see much play.
Replacing Rampant Growth could’ve been a big problem. Fortunately, I found suitable replacements with 2 Lightning Bolt and 2 Overgrown Battlement. I went with 2 Bolts because I think the format is faster with Koth of the Hammer and the new dual lands. But I still wanted some ramp spells on turn two against other ramp decks. If you have a lot of fast creature decks in your meta, you can move all four Bolts main and put 2 Overgrown Battlement or 2 Khalni Heart Expedition in the sideboard.
Dennis had Rampaging Baloths instead of Inferno Titan for the ninth fattie, but Inferno Titan seems better since Jund is rotating out. Plus, in a field with many fast aggro decks, you’d rather have the red titan.
The last change I made to the deck was cutting 4 Obstinate Baloth for 3 Wurmcoil Engine and 1 Burst Lightning. Baloth was great pre-rotation but he’s mediocre against Koth. Wurmcoil Engine costs two more mana but you should have time to play it if you overload on removal spells. Baloth feels like a five mana spell anyways since you don’t have Rampant Growth anymore to get double green early. Plus, red loses Ball Lightning, Hellspark Elemental, and Hell’s Thunder so Pyroclasm can buy you a lot of time post rotation.
Playing the Deck
If you’ve never played this deck, the gameplan is straightforward. You have a bunch of ramp spells because you want to hit six or seven mana as soon as possible to play your fatties or Summoning Trap. Your fatties are so powerful that one of them often wins the game on its own. If your opponent deals with the first creature, you win by playing another one or finishing them off with Valakut.
Primeval Titan and Avenger of Zendikar are the best threats available since they are very synergistic with your many ramp spells. Titan is especially good since it is not vulnerable to Day of Judgment like Avenger. If your opponent deals with Titan, you still have ramp spells and Mountains that deal damage because of volcanoes from Titan.
The typical land configuration you want after you cast Titan is 2 Valakut, 2 Forest, and 4 Mountains. With these lands, you can do a lot of Valakut damage with Titan, Harrow, and Khalni Heart Expedition. These cards can do 12 damage on their own because of the 4 Mountains ruling.
The deck seems to have solid matchups across the board. Many decks just do not have an answer to a turn four Titan.
Fast decks and counterspell decks can be tough at times. Bring in removal and lifegain from the sideboard to beat the aggro decks. Bolt is solid as always and Pyroclasm is a two mana wrath against so many decks.
Summoning Trap helps you fight counterspells in game one and Gaea’s Revenge has been solid from the sideboard. Also, you will have to play smart to fight Mana Leak in game one. I often play around that spell when casting big creatures. You have a bunch of land and ramp spells so it is not too hard to hit nine mana to cast Titan.
If you’re playing against Spreading Seas or land destruction like Acidic Slime, you should be careful with your green mana sources. Sometimes you need to fetch three Forests to ensure that you can cast Titan or Avenger.
Unfortunately, I wish I could give solid sideboarding plans, but I’m still trying to figure it out. Here are some principles to consider.
Khalni Heart Expedition seems like a good cut against aggro. Don’t be afraid to cut other ramp spells to fit in removal. You can still hit six mana without a lot of ramp since you’re playing 28 lands and the removal buys you time to make your land drops. I wouldn’t cut Cultivate though.
You can also lower your curve versus super fast burn decks by cutting some Avengers for Wurmcoil Engine.
I’ve been cutting a couple Harrows against counterspell decks.
Growth Spasm is my attempt to out-ramp other ramp decks. You can also bring it in for Harrow against blue.
If you leave in the Traps for post-sideboard games, make sure you have at least nine targets.
Other than that, observe the cards your opponent plays to inform your sideboarding decisions. If he has a lot of counterspells, bring in Gaea’s Revenge. If you see a lot of creatures with toughness higher than two, don’t bring in Pyroclasm.
Sideboarding should be very fluid for a while since players will be trying out a bunch of different cards. For example, you may play against Bant Midrange for two rounds straight and sideboard very differently in each match since the decks are not similar at all.
All my testing has been non-rated games because the full spoiler was not released until yesterday.
Full matches: 54-7 (88.5%)
Here is a breakdown of the results. Anything that is 2-0, 2-1, 1-2, or 0-2 was a full match with sideboard for games two and three.
Bant Midrange: 2-0, 1-0, 2-0, 2-0, 1-4 (these five games were all sb games)
Mono Blue Grand Architect: 1-2, 1-2
UW Midrange: 2-0, 2-0, 2-0, 2-0, 0-1, 0-1
UW Control: 2-0, 2-1, 2-0, 2-1, 2-0, 2-1, 1-0, 1-0
BUG Dredgevine: 2-0, 2-1, 1-0, 1-0
Mono Red Goblins Equipment: 2-0, 2-0, 2-1
Mono Green Eldrazi Ramp: 2-0, 2-0, 2-1, 2-0, 2-0, 1-1, 1-1
RDW (Red Deck Wins): 1-2, 1-2, 1-0
Big Red Koth: 1-2, 2-0, 2-1
WW Equipment: 1-0
GB Poison: 1-0, 2-1
Mono Black Midrange: 1-0, 2-0
BUG Midrange: 2-0
UG Turboland: 2-0
GB Vengevine: 0-1
Mono Blue Artifact Control: 2-0
UG Artifacts: 1-0
White Weenie: 2-0
UR Control D-Force: 1-2
GU Rite of Replication/Frost Titan: 2-0
Mono Red Midrange: 2-0
BUG Poison: 2-0
GW Tokens: 2-0
Mono Blue Artifact Midrange: 2-0
Mono Green Myr Ramp: 0-1
Mono Black Poison: 2-0, 2-0
UW Artifacts: 2-1, 2-0, 2-0
Esper Control: 2-0
GW Midrange: 2-0, 0-2, 2-0, 2-1
UB Poison: 2-0, 1-0, 2-1, 2-0, 1-0
RW Myr: 1-0
Mono Black Vampires: 1-0, 1-0, 2-0, 2-1
Mono Green Stampede: 1-2, 2-1
UWR Midrange Equipment: 2-0
UR Pyromancer Ascension: 2-0
Mono Red Artifacts: 1-0
UG Eldrazi Ramp: 2-0, 2-0
A couple highlights.
I lost two matches in a row to Mono Blue Grand Architect. He had early Lodestone Golem, Argentum Armor, Wurmcoil Engine, and Mindslaver to wreck me. His Spreading Seas main and counterspells didn’t help either. I thought Pyroclasm would help out but he was playing Kraken Hatchling lol (0/4 for one mana). If I don’t draw a Bolt and he has an early Lodestone Golem, I pretty much lose.
I played against UW Midrange deck with 4 Arbiters main and 4 Seas sb. We played three matches and I went 2-0, 2-0, and 2-0. I got a little lucky of course, but I think the results show the resiliency of the deck. My opponent was a solid player and had only lost one match until playing me.
I was doing well against Bant until I played five sideboard games with someone who brought in 14 cards against me including 4 Acidic Slime and 8 counterspells. I went 1-4 in those games but I think I could’ve done better if I had brought in Gaea’s Revenge.
Somehow I went 6-0 in full matches against UW Control and 5-0 against Mono Green Eldrazi Ramp. Mono Green didn’t seem like a tough matchup. Most of the matches against UW felt close. I had to play very tightly to win.
I went 1-2 against RDW in full matches. I had problems with Koth so I added Wurmcoil Engine over Obstinate Baloth. Unfortunately, I haven’t played against RDW since making that sideboard change.