Top 5: Ramp cards in EDH

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Ramp in EDH comes in many shapes, and I wanted to take a moment and look at my favourites, in a Top 5, something I haven’t done in quite some time. To clarify, by “ramp” I mean cards that put you ahead on mana vis-à-vis the turn progression. Prismatic Omen does fix your mana, but it won’t get you ahead on mana, so it’s a fixer, not ramp.

Jimmy and Josh of The Command Zone talked extensively about ramp in EDH in their two-part episode on mana bases not long ago, I recommend listening to those episodes, but in short I agree with most of their points. Ramp is more important in EDH compared to other formats due to its slower nature, and the fact that EDH tends to be about big broken spells. As such, aiming for around ten ramp spells in a deck is usually fine in my book.

Honorable mentions: I’m not a fan of huge artifacts taking up slots in the ramp section. Gilded Lotus and Thran Dynamo are great cards, as are Caged Sun and Gauntlet of Power. However, I’d consider them more of “late game” ramp, since they cost 4+ mana to cast and only really generate mana. The two former I’d play in deck that synergize with artifacts, and the two latter has the restriction of only being really good in mono-coloured decks, which lands these cards outside the list.

azusa,lostbutseeking.hqPermanents that lets you cast more lands than the regular one-per-turn are occasionally awesome. Exploration, Burgeoning, Oracle of Mul Daya and Azusa, Lost but Seeking are all great and I can see myself playing all of them – especially Azusa as a commander, since casting her from the command zone doesn’t mean card disadvantage. However, the fact that these cards don’t get any lands (aside maybe Oracle of Mul Daya) means they are quite bad topdecks later on in the game, and this keeps them just outside the list.

Finally, green spells like Kodama’s Reach, Cultivate, Rampant Growth, Far Wanderings, Farseek etc. are all also great cards and should at least be considered in some number in a Gx deck.

There are plenty more, the format is full of ramp. Below are my top 5, the cards that have been the kindest to me.

cabalcoffers.hq5. Cabal CoffersWhile this might fall into the category of restrictive, since it on paper only supports mono-black, Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth allows decks that aren’t entirely mono-black to utilise this land properly. When active, it generates lots of black mana suitable for Exsanguinate:ing the table to death doing fun things with your friends. This does fall into the late game ramp along with some of the cards mentioned above, however, Cabal Coffers holds so much value and is so easy to get online (especially in mono-black), and it is also a nice trip down memory lane for me – I used to play MBC a lot when Torment was released. The latter might be the main reason this is here on the list, by the way.

azoriussignet.hq4. Ravnica SignetsIn the original Ravnica block, Wizards printed ten genius little mana rocks with little investment and a lot of return. They effectively act as extra lands that you cast for two mana, and must be counted as ramp since they, for example, allows you a total of four mana on turn three, provided yo didn’t miss any land drops. They are also fixing to some extent, although it can be quite limiting. The only thing keeping these precious artifacts from a higher position on this list is the limiting factor – due to the rules of EDH, you can only use the ones that are completely on-colour, limiting the number of decks they can go into. Still, I think everyone should at least consider these if they are applicable to the deck. Some of these are more valuable than others, for example, Boros Signet will be more valuable to a white-red deck than any of the Gx Signets would be for a part-green deck, since white-red generally has quite little ramp.

sakura-tribeelder.hq3. Sakura-Tribe ElderThis humble green snake gets a sweet spot on the list not because of raw power, but because of versatility. On one hand, it could be regarded as just a Rampant Growth effectively, but a creature will always do so much more. The 1/1 body is negligible, especially in a format where aggro can be considered “neutered”, but being a 1/1 isn’t always bad. For example, if one happens to draw Sakura-Tribe Elder late in the game, it will easily trade for two cards via Skullclamp, effectively turning this Rampant Growth into a green Divination. Being a creature means it’s also quite easily recurrable, with stars like the on-colour Genesis or Phyrexian Reclamation will quickly add value to Sakura-Tribe Elder. In the end, most of the value comes from being able to just block and sacrifice it before damage, but most of the time, that’s plenty good.

solemnsimulacrum.hq2. Solemn SimulacrumFrom the mind of fellow Swede Jens Thorén comes my runner-up on this list and it’s one of those cards that should fit into most every EDH deck. For those too lazy to click on the link, Jens Thorén won the 2002 Magic Invitational, being the second Swede to do so (the first was Olle Råde who won the first ever Magic Invitational and eventually designed Sylvan Safekeeper after getting over some procrastination). As is evident here, Thorén handed in a card called “Forestfolk” originally, a more-or-less functionally identical card to Solemn Simulacrum. The difference was that it cost 2GU and was a Creature – Elf Wizard instead of costing 4 and being an Artifact Creature – Golem. Thankfully, since the next set was Mirrodin, R&D decided to make it a colourless artifact creature, thereby cementing Solemn Simulacrum as a constructed staple for its entire run in its original printing, as well as its reprint in M12. Granted, he does cost 4 mana, but he is essentially a three-for-one, he gets a land when he comes into play, and he replaces himself when he dies. The value can not be contained. Sadbot for life!

solring.full1. Sol RingTaking the number one spot is not only the very best ramp spell in EDH, it’s one of the best cards in the game ever. There’s no competing with the ring of power, and everybody knows it. The only downside might be that the table will hate you if you drop it on turn one, but, you will always have that extra mana boost to crush them anyway. It should be in every EDH deck, with very, very few exceptions (and these exceptions are probably wrong anyway).

What did you think of the list? Do you agree/disagree? Leave a comment below!

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2 Comments

  1. Grim Lavamancer

     /  April 22, 2015

    Nice to see a top 5 article, something about that format really speaks to me. I think you’ve got most of it covered, but I’d like to give Land Tax a dishonourable mention for being a very good card that makes the game a lot longer than it has to be.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • For sure, Land Tax is both a bit annoying and really good. As I stated in the post, it’s impossible to cover it all, these are just my opinions, about the cards I liked the most.

      (well, actually, I think I like Sadbot the most, but Sol Ring is too good for him to compete with :/ )

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