I was trapped in a loop. I wanted to play big powerful minions and I wanted to play Green. The constantly optimizing part inside of me said, “You have to play Necromantic then”. But Disk of Circadia Hopeless Necromantic builds have been explored in many variants to great success, so I felt I wouldn’t be able to break new ground in a so thoroughly charted territory.
Clearly I could just wait until turn 8 to play an Indrik Beast from hand, but that sounds somewhat inefficient. What else could I do to speed things up a little bit?
Paralelly, I come from CCGs where players don’t start with 0 resources, so there’s no ingrained love for 1-drops in my mind. Legend of the 5 Rings players started with 4-6 gold in the old version, 7 fate in the new one. Duelyst players started with 2 mana, Artifact with 3. I am not a stranger to Magic the Gathering’s Llanowar Elves and the like, but it’s not my second nature.
The lack of love for early plays makes my decks generally slower and vulnerable to aggro. While sometimes you can make up for that weakness with stabilization and lifegain, it’s not ideal for the “comeback” to be the norm.
Recognizing your own vices and crystallized loops is a necessary first step, but then you have to dismantle them. To solve the diagnosed issue.
After reading erobert’s article on Virtual Card Advantage, I was drawn to Grinning Kolobok. As a 1-drop, it always hid beyond my deck building gaze. Judging it now, with an open and unfettered mind, it addresses both my wants and my needs. A way to speed up big green minions, and an early game plan that can trade successfully or block well into aggro.
There are currently two other reliable ways to ramp: Night Market and Foul Harvest. We’re going with the latter on this one.
Since graveyard clutter is not an issue (because we’re skipping Necromantic), we’re gonna take advantage of that by using many disposable cheapies. A full set of Maze of Iyatiku and Clay Effigies to block early aggression, draw cards, be Foully Harvested and then Tomb Raided. The whole process seems kinda disrespectful to the entities involved, but resource efficiency is a cold, hard mistress.
While on the subject of Raid the Tombs, the cost reduction when compared to Brainstorm is a lot more relevant than I originally thought. Coupled with the surplus mana the deck has, and the tendency to sometimes play one big card per turn, you won’t run out of fuel.
Detained is an all around great spell. You need it to buy time if the ramp does not appear, to clear space for your big guys to finally hit face, and to allow Windfury to Blast away without taking any damage.
Due to the greedy nature of this archetype, “Cramming every useful Mythic and 2 Harvesters” is not a disastrous approach to deckbuilding. I went with a Toolboxy approach because of my bias of versatility over consistency. Whatever your favourite suite of minions is, I strongly suggest including a few Warded ones and at least one copy of Vilja Windfury, due to the powerful synergies this deck provides for her.
If you’re engaging with this article with a “What should I craft?” mindset, let me help you with priorities:
Sapo, The Devourer: Immediate powerful impact, Warded, and can feed upon small, neighbouring minions. Can be self-detained for more removal.
Traitorous Murmur: The card advantage is unreal. We’re running Impel so we’ll almost always be able to make good use of it.
Chort Stag: Part of the reason why I choose a toolboxy approach is this cute fellow. Bring back the silver bullet you need in your specific matchup.
Tricks of the Trade
Orbital Jamming Satellite will take care of any crazy shenanigans your enemy tries to pull off. Deadly creatures are a big no-no. “No Dragon-slaying allowed!”, says the Dragon. Remove Warded for a Sapo kill, turn off Demise effects, cleanse stuns,
Godspore Mushroom: We particularly want this on Windfury for a keyword overload, or the Warded minions Sapo, the Devourer and Indrik Beast. But any big boned guy that can stick will do.
Volition: This does many things and might be considered crucial to the whole build. It can serve as a pseudo-Rush for recently dropped minions, which can effectively work as removal, but also as a finisher when one of your giants gets a clear shot at the enemy. It’s worth mentioning that Volition lets Vilja Windfury use its TWO attacks on the turn its dropped. Exploit that. If you have 10 mana, feed her some Godspore while you’re at it. Sablewing Zira also digs this move.
The Final Touch: Sword Saint (What?!)
Greedy decks need comeback potential for when things don’t go so smoothly. Sword Saint fits perfectly. She serves as early blocker and preemptively gives us Biting Blades for when one of our monstrosities stick. But WOOPS, this card got nerfed during the writing of this article and now costs 2 Purple gems. A change I agree with, but that forces us to drop her from the list. I chose to leave this section up because the usefulness of post-stabilization lifegain against fast decks is important enough to be mentioned, even if the proposed optimal tech is no longer viable. And to plant the seed of Purple-Green Ramp 😉
The Budget Version
The deck is Mythic-intensive. If we’re ramping, might as well ramp to excellent stuff. But the Mythics are not necessary and can be substituted by less flashy but similarly efficient cards.
Volkov Heavy enables its own kind of curve. You can aim to have a YGG gem setup in turn 3 and Foul Harvest one of these in. There are not that many ways to deal with that play in those stages of the game. Due to the lack of 5-drops in the expensive version it could even be argued that its inclusion is an upgrade. The same will happen with other choices made in this list.
Keep it flowing. Use your cards fearlessly. Everything just fuels the Raid the Tombs. Dig for a good hand. Overkill his early drops to have 2 cards on the graveyard if you need to, you don’t care. We know where we’re going and we’re doing it FAST. Don’t be afraid to use T3 to just draw cards, you’ll start pumping Dragons, Demons and Unicorns in no time.
Don’t risk your heavy minions to block small chip damage. You’ll open up to Dark Passenger or Ignition kills. Be specially careful in Winter, as usual.
Grinning Koloboks are the bread and butter of the build and its usage can be optimized through subtle choices.
If you have one of those turns with awkward mana usage, you can Impel a recently dropped Kolobok to immediately charge him. That will guarantee an extra mana on death.
Place your Koloboks far enough from the enemy so they don’t get killed with 1 energy, but close enough so that you can reach them with a Swift movement. You want them to ideally die in the enemy turn on an even energy number, but sometimes killing a 2-1 vampire who’s threatening your Maze is more important.
If you feel like it, you can 2-drop a Godspore Mushroom on the Kolobok for immediate pressure. The Swift makes him very dangerous, like a slightly less violent Freki Scout. They’ll have to spend resources to deal with him while you ready the big guns. Move him first, in case he bad-trips and dies when you (de)buff him.
Gigantomachia: When facing red, you’ll have to play around this. Don’t overcommit if you’re already ahead. If you have board control, push your advantage by spending your mana on drawing cards, Impeling for optimal placement, or placing some of your small minions.
Temptation: Be very careful against Orange. Try to prioritize 7+ costed minions to be outside of this spell’s range. Getting a Shroomed-Windfury stolen could be completely devastating.
Traitorous Murmur: You can’t completely play around this, but try to save some Detained when playing against Green so you can
I feel kinda guilty posting a specific decklist. Yellow-Green ramp is a very versatile archetype and there are tons of cards that fit and that answer to specific situations and boardstates. Others open up strategic possibilities and vectors of attack. I’ll mention a few, but you’ll be better off tailoring the flexible spots to suit your particular needs. As in many cases, it’s not about what to put IN but about what to take OUT.
Vedma Flamespar: She’s a little fragile, but you have cheap creatures to take advantage of her luker. With the sick amounts of mana we’ll have, she can be a formidable and card-efficient unit that can surgically impact the board the turn she’s deployed.
Bela the Witch Queen: Running big creatures instead of many small ones frees up slots for spells, and we’re packing a ton of them. We’re already diving deep in Green gems so that won’t be an issue. The stun allows for immediate impact which the deck could really use.
Meso Libre: If you don’t like this whole “Skipping Mid-game with ramp” gimmick, the wrestler can provide a healthy transition. Usable in all stages of the game.
Led Astray: Some minions you want to get rid of without having them come back on the next turn. This beauty does the job and synergises optimally with Detained.
Poxbringer: Similar to Led Astray. Even better on Bald Mountain builds for instant Murmur recycling.
Born-Again: If your current build is losing against aggro, this will certainly help. She can always be Foul Harvested for more pleasure.
If you’re like me, after trying this deck you’ll go from disdaining 1-drops to loving them. I can play my big minions without sacrificing the early game, playing something other than Disk and running a TON of Raid the Tombs.
Now when I get a Kolobok in my opening hand and read “YOU PLAY FIRST”, I make a face surprisingly similar to this one.
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