Hello everyone and welcome back to another installment of Deck Drilldown! Today I would like to talk a bit about a deck that has shown me a bit of success in the last few HEX Bash events: Ruby-Wild Ramp.
For those who are unfamiliar, a “Ramp” deck is one that aims to advance its resources ahead of the one per turn we normally get to play in order to put out expensive threats out as fast as possible. This Ruby-Wild deck accelerates its resources in a few different ways:
Acolyte of Shoku is a fantastic card in this ramp shell. This is because not only does it provide us with an extra resource every turn, but it also provides an outlet we can spend our excess resources on to push extra points of damage. Tilling the Soil is everything a deck like this wants in a card. On turn two Tilling accelerates our resources. On turn twenty we can simply replace Tilling with another card thanks to its Scrounge effect.
Palm of Granite has no secondary function after accelerating us, but it is also our best card at this primary function. Because Palm of Granite is playing actual resources to accelerate us, it also generates us additional charges when we play it, not to mention triggering Momentum for our troops.
Speaking of troops with Momentum, one of the most powerful cards in this archetype is none other than Infamous Neo’s Exalted card:
Not only does Exalted Pathfinder’s Momentum allow it to close games out quickly in conjunction with our champion power and Palm of Granite, but the card advantage he generates as we play out resources is hard for most other decks to keep up with.
Now if you like drawing cards, and lord knows I do, then you will be happy to note that Exalted Pathfinder is not the only source of card advantage in our deck:
In my experience playing this deck, Runic Avalanche is the card that I have had the toughest time learning to play with correctly. The control player in me, that little voice in the back of my mind that needs maximum value, wants to hold Avalanche as long as possible while I play out the rest of my hand. The correct way to play with Runic Avalanche in this deck, though, is often just to play it out as soon as possible. It does not matter if we are discarding a card or two because we are getting new ones. Not only are we getting new cards, we are also getting a Rock Elemental that is often large and ready to rumble.
Past our Rock Elementals and Exalted Pathfinders we have a few other ways to help us win the game:
Wildlife is our huge end game that goes over the top of most other things in the format when it resolves for X=5 or more. Outside of From The Ashes and Eternal Seeker, there are not really clean answers to it in the format. Speaking of Eternal Seeker—this is one of our best bombs that we can ramp into in this deck. Not only does a 5/5 Flight troop apply evasive pressure to our opponent, but the fact that it comes with a pseudo sweeper is very powerful.
Gargalith and Primordial Sabretooth are the perfect type of cards for a ramp deck. In the early game they provide a reasonable effect for a low resource investment, while in the late game the come off the top of our deck with a powerful effect that we can invest a larger number of resources into. Sabretooth is especially fantastic in this deck, allowing us to interact with our opponent’s board early and quickly close out games later.
Speaking of interacting with our opponent’s board, the last couple of non-resources in our main deck are some cards that help us stay alive against some of the faster decks in the format:
Both of these cards often let us trade up on resources. This allows us to catch up against aggressive decks in the format that would try to run us out of the game before we can start playing out our powerful top end.
The most important thing to know about playing this ramp deck is what hands to keep and what hands we need to redraw. If you are someone who likes keeping seven cards, this is almost certainly not the deck for you. My general rule of thumb with this deck is I never keep a seven card hand that does not contain a piece of acceleration in it. On the draw against aggressive decks, I also never keep hands that do not have a play before turn three.
Our big plays are about as big as you can get in HEX currently, so making sure that we have time to live to get to them is pretty important. The way Runic Avalanche and Exalted Pathfinder make games play out, we can generally recover from any amount of cards we start down. At one point, I won a game on the ladder with this deck that involved keeping Ice, Shard, Palm of Granite, and Exalted Pathfinder.
If you have a burning hatred for HEX’s tiny burning troops, then Ruby-Wild Ramp is a great deck choice for you. Between Scars of War, Eternal Seeker, and our spot removal this match up is very good for Ruby-Wild Ramp. The most important thing to know is that you need to not be afraid to trade removal for their candles early. Keeping their board small prevents them from growing them large.
This is one of Ruby-Wild Ramp’s better match ups. Any game we get to play out one or more Runic Avalanches they generally have a hard time winning. Not only does Avalanche gas up our hand, but it also creates two Rock Elementals which often demand Herofall as an answer.
Their single most important card in the match up is Bride of the Damned. It is their only source of meaningful card advantage, and it applies pressure to our health total while pulling them ahead. In general, we want to be conservative with our removal on their other troops so we can always have a method of killing their best card.
While occasionally we can get run out of this matchup, more often than not our spot removal is enough to bridge the gap into playing out our powerful top end. Post-reserves we get to bring in several copies of Arcing Rust to allow us to completely punish their most explosive starts that Sentry of Nulzann produces.
This is probably our hardest match up among the more popular decks in Standard currently. They have interrupts to stop our cards that go over the top and Dark Heart of Nulzann in conjunction with Runebind can often be a beating. My motto has generally been “jam early and jam often” even when they have resources up. We want to simply to try and run them out of interaction options.
Thankfully, post-reserves this plan becomes even easier:
If you want to see the Ruby-Wild Ramp deck in action, check out this video archive from one of my Twitch streams:
If you enjoy playing a deck that has a powerful long game while still being capable of generating the occasional fast start, then I think Ruby-Wild Ramp is likely the deck for you. I think this deck lines up well against the most popular decks in the format while still having reasonable play against a good deal of the fringe decks that see play in the format as well.
Have a question about this archetype that I did not cover in the article above? Let me know by leaving a comment in the forum!
Thanks for reading,
Jeff is a professional gamer who enjoys the competitive aspects of HEX: Shards of Fate. Constructed is his preferred format and he is always looking for that new piece of technology to give him a leg up on the competition.
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