TES Matchup Battles: Eldrazi Ramp II

Eldrazi and Ramp decks have existed in Legacy ever since the printings of [[Cloudpost]], [[Glimmerpost]], and the Eldrazi cards. Eldrazi Ramp has always been a small percentage of the metagame, but over the past year, it has picked up in popularity. The goal is to assemble these posts along with artifact mana to accelerate out expensive cards like [[Ugin, the Spirit Dragon]] and [[Karn, Scion of Urza]]. In order to survive the game long enough, Eldrazi Ramp uses cards like [[Chalice of the Void]] and [[Trinisphere]] as a way to lock the opponent down. These cards also help protect the more expensive payoff cards by trying to shut off discard spells or counters. Eldrazi Ramp has proven itself as a force to be reckoned with. It also plays so uniquely compared to more traditional Legacy decks. If we want to have any success against it, then we need to be prepared.

How does Eldrazi Ramp matchup against TES?

[[Thought-Knot Seer|]]
[[Chalice of the Void|]]
[[Ugin, the Ineffable|]]

[[Chalice of the Void]], [[Trinisphere]] – Eldrazi Ramp needs some way to interact with the opponent and combo decks. Being an artifact based deck, it does this through what is considered lock pieces. They are called lock pieces because that’s exactly what these try to do, lock the opponent from casting spells. To nobody’s surprise, this is very strong against a Storm deck. [[Chalice of the Void]] is the least threatening of the two because the opponent can only select one part of our deck based on the number of counters on [[Chalice of the Void]]. Typically, they’re going to choose either zero or one. Whichever number they select, we may be able to go off with enough cards of the other. [[Trinisphere]], however, is a different story. This makes it nearly impossible to combo.

[[Ugin, the Spirit Dragon]], [[All is Dust]], [[Ratchet Bomb]] – These cards don’t seem like they would be that good against Storm. They really aren’t, except for when we try to combo using [[Empty the Warrens]]. Our best chance of winning is to combo off as quickly as possible, and we usually do that with [[Empty the Warrens]]. It is our fastest way to combo off because it requires less mana and we can access [[Empty the Warrens]] through either [[Infernal Tutor]], if you’re playing it, or [[Burning Wish]]. This will expose us to just losing to [[Ratchet Bomb]] or [[Ugin, the Spirit Dragon]] being able to sweep all of the tokens. Thankfully, they don’t run many copies of [[Ratchet Bomb]] in the 75 and [[Ugin, the Spirit Dragon]] costs eight mana. Don’t be fooled by that eight mana though. Eldrazi Ramp has many lands and artifacts that all produce more than one mana. [[Ugin, the Spirit Dragon]] can be cast a lot quicker than one may think. We have to be careful if we choose to play out all of your artifacts before the turn we combo off because [[Ratchet Bomb]] could destroy all the zero cost artifacts.

[[Karn, the Great Creator]] – The main text we need to pay attention to here is the very first line. See [[Null Rod]]. We have 18 artifacts in our deck and they are quite crucial to being able to combo off. This is even worse for this version of the deck compared to previous versions that only played a dozen. At the very least, this will slow us down several turns giving the opponent the opportunity to tutor with [[Karn, the Great Creator]] to find another lock piece. It just piles on. We can win through this, but it will require the right type of hand. Most of the time we will need to remove it or use a discard spell to prevent it from being in play during our turn.

[[Thought-Knot Seer]] – Despite Eldrazi being an aggro deck they definitely play a lot of disruption, and for Storm these cards do overtime. It can be hard to win through some of these cards. We either need a rare hand or an answer once they are on the table. [[Thought-Knot Seer]] isn’t as bad, but it could set us behind a turn or two by taking a crucial card from our hand. That disruption could be just enough for them to win since it also comes with four power.

Deck List

Main Deck

  • 4 [[Burning Wish]]
  • 4 [[Wishclaw Talisman]]
  • 4 [[Brainstorm]]
  • 4 [[Ponder]]
  • 4 [[Veil of Summer]]
  • 3 [[Thoughtseize]]
  • 1 [[Ad Nauseam]]
  • 1 [[Echo of Eons]]
  • 4 [[Rite of Flame]]
  • 4 [[Dark Ritual]]
  • 4 [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]
  • 4 [[Lotus Petal]]
  • 3 [[Chrome Mox]]
  • 3 [[Mox Opal]]
  • 4 [[Polluted Delta]]
  • 4 [[Bloodstained Mire]]
  • 1 [[Badlands]]
  • 1 [[Underground Sea]]
  • 1 [[Volcanic Island]]
  • 1 [[Bayou]]
  • 1 [[Swamp]]


  • 2 [[Abrupt Decay]]
  • 1 [[Thoughtseize]]
  • 2 [[Chain of Vapor]]
  • 1 [[Defense Grid]]
  • 1 [[Infernal Tutor]]
  • 1 [[Grapeshot]]
  • 4 [[Empty the Warrens]]
  • 1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]
  • 1 [[Echo of Eons]]
  • 1 [[Pulverize]]

Ways to Win This Matchup

[[Echo of Eons|]]
[[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]]
[[Burning Wish|]]

Killing Them and Our Game Plan

The key turns of this matchup are the first three turns. What happens during these turns will often determine the outcome. This isn’t a game about grinding and trying to outmaneuver the opponent. It’s a straight-up race against their lock pieces. During the post-board games, there can be a little more play to it when we add bounce spells and removal spells. Another crucial decision we make is balancing speed using [[Empty the Warrens]] or potentially waiting a turn to go for something like [[Ad Nauseam]] or [[Echo of Eons]]. This is a tough balancing act because the punishment could be locking us out of the game if we wait another turn. As previously mentioned under what cards the opponent could play against us, they certainly have a few answers to [[Empty the Warrens]], so it’s not always a guaranteed win. Making these type of decisions often come from practice and just putting in the reps to know when we should go for each combo and how many goblins we need. For example, making eight goblins is a lot different than 10-plus. The difference between a two-turn clock and a three-turn clock is huge. The number of goblins we can make may sway in which direction we go. If we’re not winning quickly, we’re going to want to be getting all of our permanents on the battlefield as quickly as possible. This will allow us to get underneath permanents like [[Chalice of the Void]] and [[Thought-Knot Seer]].



-4 [[Veil of Summer]], -4 [[Ponder]], +2 [[Empty the Warrens]], +2 [[Abrupt Decay]], +2 [[Chain of Vapor]], +1 [[Infernal Tutor]], +1 [[Thoughtseize]]

While [[Veil of Summer]] can allow zero mana spells to resolve through a [[Chalice of the Void]] on zero, it’s not very reliable. For this reason, we sideboard it out as the green instant has very little impact on the matchup. From here we bring in our suite of answers: [[Chain of Vapor]], [[Abrupt Decay]], and [[Thoughtseize]]. [[Chain of Vapor]] is the best bounce spell for answering [[Karn, the Great Creator]] and [[Trinisphere]] but tends to be weaker to [[Chalice of the Void]]. [[Abrupt Decay]] is the exact opposite since it can’t hit [[Karn, the Great Creator]] and can always destroy [[Chalice of the Void]]. I would try to sequence [[Abrupt Decay]] to destroy any copies of [[Chalice of the Void]] and then leave [[Chain of Vapor]] for any remaining permanents. [[Empty the Warrens]] is also pretty good here because it allows the deck to combo off faster and before any hate permanents can come down.

Game Play

Example Game – Game Three on the Draw

I lost the die roll and was on the draw. I had a relatively decent hand, but just missing a tutor or a pay off card. My opponent lead off with a tapped land, and on my first turn, I just played a land and cast [[Ponder]] hoping to set up a second turn combo. Unfortunately, on my opponent’s second turn they played a [[Chalice of the Void]] for one. On my turn, I drew the [[Empty the Warrens]] that I knew was there from my previous turn. I then had the option to cast [[Empty the Warrens]] for 10 goblins, and I did just that.

Matchup Battles Post II - Image 1

Matchup Battles Post II - Image 2

My opponent then responded on their turn by playing a [[Walking Ballista]] and [[Thran Dynamo]] to block and shoot down a couple of tokens after I attacked on my third turn.

Matchup Battles Post II - Image 3

On their following turn, the opponent cast [[Karn, the Great Creator]] to tutor for a [[Ratchet Bomb]] to play. Having no resources left and my opponent with an active planeswalker, I conceded the game

Matchup Battles Post II - Image 4

Despite me losing this game, I think it’s an important one with several lessons in it. The first is that it shows the flexibility of TES that we can still combo off through a [[Chalice of the Void]]. It proves that it’s not the end all be all. The second important lesson is just because we can still combo off using [[Empty the Warrens]] early in the game doesn’t mean it’ll be good enough. If I was in the same situation in the future, I would still go for it and cast [[Empty the Warrens]]. There’s no other path to victory here and I can’t just sit and wait for another pay off card. The opponent probably has less than 6-7 cards in their deck to beat [[Empty the Warrens]], and a lot more than prevent me from comboing off. I hope you enjoyed this example game, and I wish you the best of luck in your own testing!