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Budget Magic: $86 (52 tix) Revolt Treasure Ramp (Standard)


բարև, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time again! This week, we are heading to Ixalan Standard for one of the crazier decks we've played in a while: Revolt Treasure Ramp! While Treasure might feel like a bit of a disappointment after Clues, they actually have one enormous upside over the artifact tokens from our last Standard format: we can sacrifice them for free! This means that it's time to give the revolt mechanic a second look. The basic idea of the deck is pretty simple: we do some ramping, get a bunch of Treasure tokens on the battlefield, and then use our Treasure to trigger the revolt on Aid from the Cowl every turn, which gives us a free look at putting a huge finisher on the battlefield for free! Eventually, this steady stream of huge permanents wears our opponent down and lets us win the game! Is it time for revolt to make a comeback in Standard, in a ramp shell backed by Treasure tokens? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck! 

First, a quick reminder: if you enjoy the Budget Magic series and the other video content on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish YouTube Channel to keep up on all the latest and greatest.

Revolt Treasure Ramp (Deck Tech)

Budget Magic: Revolt Treasure Ramp vs. Temur Energy (Match 1)

Budget Magic: Revolt Treasure Ramp vs. RW Tokens (Match 2)

Budget Magic: Revolt Treasure Ramp vs. Sultai Energy (Match 3)

Budget Magic: Revolt Treasure Ramp vs. Ramunap Red (Match 4)

Budget Magic: Revolt Treasure Ramp vs. WU Monument (Match 5)

The Deck

Revolt Treasure Ramp is pretty simple and breaks down into three parts: first, we have the ramp, which includes some traditional ramp spells as well as some spicy revolt and Treasure cards. Second, we have our finishers, which will hopefully allow us to go over the top of whatever our opponent is doing. Third, we have a bit of removal to help stabilize in the early game while we are looking to get our powerful late game online. 

The Ramp

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Gift of Paradise and New Horizons are essentially the same card in our deck, coming down on Turn 3, enchanting a land, and ramping us up to five mana on Turn 4 (which just happens to be enough mana to play Fumigate or Aid from the Cowl). While Gift of Paradise is a bit better, since gaining three life is more relevant than putting a counter on a creature (especially considering we don't really have any early-game creatures to get the +1/+1 counter from [[New Horizons]), the main reason both are in the deck is to ramp us. It's also worth pointing out that both of our enchantments also fix our mana, which, combined with our Treasure tokens, means we can play some off-color sideboard cards like Negate and Lost Legacy, even though we don't have any lands that produce blue or black mana. 

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Treasure Map has to be one of the most underrated cards from Ixalan, and it's extremely important to our deck. While the big payoff is making three Treasure tokens (which does make Treasure Map a ramp spell, although a nontraditional one), the fact that it lets us scry in the early game is really important. One of the biggest problems with ramp decks in general is that it's very possible to draw the wrong half of our deck (either all ramp and no finishers or all finishers and no ramp), and the scry from Treasure Map helps to solve this problem while still working toward our goal of ramping into huge things. After we flip our Treasure Map, it becomes one of our best ways to trigger removal, since we can sacrifice a Treasure token to draw a card while also triggering our Aid from the Cowl

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Trove of Temptation is probably the strangest card in our deck, but it's actually the perfect support card for Aid from the Cowl by giving us a Treasure token each turn, which we can sacrifice for free to trigger revolt and hopefully put something huge onto the battlefield during our end step with Aid from the Cowl. At first glance, it looks like Trove of Temptation has a major downside, since it forces our opponent to attack us each turn, but this actually isn't a downside at all, since our opponent is going to be attacking us every turn anyway. In fact, once we get to the late game and have a couple of huge creatures on the battlefield, the "must attack" clause actually becomes an upside, as our opponent is forced to smash one of their creatures into our huge blocker!

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While it might be wrong to include Aid from the Cowl in the ramp category, that's essentially how it plays. In our deck, which only has five non-permanents, Aid from the Cowl basically reads, "Sacrifice a Treasure each turn. If you do, you put the top card of your deck onto the battlefield during your end step," which is insanely powerful. Of course, the results are random, since we are just flipping the top card of our deck onto the battlefield. Sometimes, we get a land; other times, we end up with a seven-mana creature or eight-mana enchantment, but either way, the result is good for us. If we hit a land, at least we aren't drawing that land next turn (plus, it counts as ramping, since we have an extra land on the battlefield to cast huge things from our hand); if we hit one of our huge finishers, we probably just win the game on the spot.  It's also worth mentioning that since we are putting the card onto the battlefield, everything we play with Aid from the Cowl is uncounterable, which is very helpful against various control decks. While there is a bit of a deck-building restriction to make Aid from the Cowl work (minimizing the number of non-permanents in the deck), the payoff of drawing an extra card every turn and occasionally just winning the game by putting something huge onto the battlefield for free makes it more than worth the cost. 

The Finishers

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Our finishers break down into two camps: enchantments and creatures. Let's start by discussing the enchantments. If you think about Revolt Treasure Ramp, the one qualification for being a finisher is that the card must be a permanent, so that we can flip it with Aid from the Cowl, and enchantments fit the bill. Aid from the Cowl also discourages us from using planeswalkers as our finishers; because they enter the battlefield on our end step, we won't get any value from them until our next turn, so things that can somehow impact the battlefield right away are at a premium. Finally, the biggest reason we're playing enchantment finishers is because they are really hard to kill in our current Standard format. While decks are prepared to deal with big creatures thanks to Vraska's Contempt and with artifacts with cards like Abrade, the list of cards that can get an Overwhelming Splendor or Sandwurm Convergence off the battlefield is actually pretty short, headlined by Cast Out and Ixalan's Binding along with the random Vraska, Relic Seeker from token decks.

As for the enchantments themselves, Overwhelming Splendor is a great answer to nearly all of the most annoying cards in the format, shutting down Hazoret the Fervent and The Scarab God while also turning utility creatures like Rogue Refiner and Servant of the Conduit into relatively useless 1/1s with no abilities. Meanwhile, Sandwurm Convergence can sometimes stop opposing creatures like Glorybringer and Whirler Virtuoso tokens but is mostly in the deck to make a 5/5 Wurm token every turn. While it takes a few turns to close out the game, it's almost impossible for the opponent to stop once it gets going.

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As for creatures, we rely on two new Ixalan Dinosaurs to finish the game. Apart from from having big bodies, which allows us to kill our opponents through attacking (especially with Overwhelming Splendor on the battlefield), both of our Avatars are great with Aid from the Cowl, since they impact the battlefield immediately. Burning Sun's Avatar is actually surprisingly good at killing things, with eight of the 10 most played creatures in Standard and 15 of the 20 most played creatures in Standard dying to the three damage it offers. Plus, being able to throw some damage at our opponent's face helps us close out the game. Meanwhile, Verdant Sun's Avatar is a great stabilization card, gaining us five life when it enters the battlefield along with a bunch more when we get Wurm tokens from Sandwurm Convergence or when we cast Burning Sun's Avatar. This is important because we have a tendency to fall behind in the early game, since we spend the first few turns ramping rather than casting creatures, so the life we gain from Verdant Sun's Avatar helps to keep us out of the danger zone of dying to things like Hazoret the Fervent activations or Lightning Strikes to the face. 

Removal

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Two copies of Settle the Wreckage and three of Fumigate are the only non-permanent cards in our deck that can't be put onto the battlefield with Aid from the Cowl, but they are worth the cost. As I mentioned a moment ago, Revolt Treasure Ramp has a tendency to fall behind in the early game, so we are relying on our sweepers to help us stabilize while we set up our huge late-game plays. Settle the Wreckage is high risk (we occasionally end up losing because of all the lands we give our opponent), but it's important since it gives us a way of dealing with cards like The Scarab God and Hazoret the Fervent permanently. Meanwhile, Fumigate is our best stabilization wrath, not just because it clears the board but also thanks to the life that we gain. As for Ixalan's Binding, it's a removal spell that we can flip off of Aid from the Cowl and might be better than Cast Out at the moment, since it's one of the best answers to The Scarab God and Hazoret the Fervent, not just dealing with the copy on the battlefield but all copies for the rest of the game. 

The Mana

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For the most, part our mana base is simple, featuring a bunch of different colors of mana to help us cast our cards, but I did want to take a minute to mention the Desert package because they have some hidden value in our deck. While it might sound strange, if we don't have a Treasure token on the battlefield, we occasionally sacrifice a Desert, not so much because we want the Desert's effect but because we want to trigger revolt and hopefully flip something huge at the end of our turn with Aid from the Cowl. While Treasure tokens are clearly the best way of triggering revolt in our deck, it's worth remembering that the Deserts offer a backup plan in a pinch. 

Wrap-Up

All in all, we finished our video matches 3-2, but we actually lost additional matchups to Temur Energy and RW Tokens, bringing our overall record to 3-4. As such, Revolt Treasure Map is probably in the middle in terms of level of competitiveness. Thankfully, whatever the deck may be lacking in raw power, it makes up for with spice and fun. Aid from the Cowl adds a ton of suspense to the game. While it's always adding some amount of value, it's one of the swingiest cards in Standard, with the range being from "hit a land" to "win the game." As a result, Revolt Treasure Ramp is a blast to play. 

On the other hand, the natural variance of the deck is one of the biggest things that keeps it from being even more competitive. While ramp decks naturally tend to be high variance thanks to the need to draw pieces in the right order, Aid from the Cowl ups the variance even more, and it's pretty sad when we put a bunch of work into triggering revolt and flip lands for a few turns in a row. We can occasionally be too slow, especially if we don't have any of our Turn 3 ramp spells, which are some of the most important cards to see in our opening hand. 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 Magma Spray [ALA]

As far as changes I'd make after playing some games with the deck, the big one is adding Evolving Wilds to the mana base. I ended up leaving it our of the video build because it isn't very good fixing for our deck (since we have so many double-colored mana cards in different colors), but the upside of being another free revolt trigger probably makes it worthwhile, even despite its limitations. Oh yeah, and Slash of Talons should be Magma Spray. Otherwise, I was pretty impressive with our finishers, especially Burning Sun's Avatar, which is sneakily good by not only killing a lot of threats but stonewalling both The Scarab God and Hazoret the Fervent as a 6/6, and Aid from the Cowl, while high variance, certainly proved powerful enough to be worth building around. 

All in all, I don't think Revolt Treasure Ramp is as competitive as Temur Miracle Grow, so if you're only looking to win tournaments on a budget, last week's deck might be a better option. The good news is that Revolt Treasure Ramp is really unique; plays a ton of really fun, splashy cards; and is still competitive enough to pick up some wins, even against the best decks in Standard, as we saw when beating Temur Energy and Ramunap Red!

Ultra-Budget Revolt Treasure Ramp

The easiest way to get Revolt Treasure Ramp down into the ultra-budget range is to trim back on the mana. Instead of Rootbound Crag and Sunpetal Grove, we add in some more basic lands and Evolving Wilds. While the mana looks pretty bad, hopefully the fact that we have Gift of Paradise and New Horizons to fix our mana will make the deck run smoother than it looks. Otherwise, we trim back on Settle the Wreckage and add in another copy of Ixalan's Binding to deal with The Scarab God and Hazoret the Fervent and cut a couple of sideboard cards. While these changes do make the deck slightly weaker, especially the worse mana, it should function pretty much like the build in the videos and still be able to pick up some wins.

Non-Budget Revolt Treasure Ramp

Upgrading Revolt Treasure Ramp is weird. While in theory you can run any number of expensive finishers, for the most part, we already have the best options for most things in our deck. When it comes to producing Treasures every turn, Trove of Temptation and Treasure Map are tops, Gift of Paradise and New Horizons are the best ramp options for a five-color deck, and our finishers are powerful. As such, rather than making a ton of changes, we just tune the mana base a bit, throw some copies of Chandra, Torch of Defiance into the sideboard, and roll with what we played for the videos. While these changes do up the power level a little bit, they aren't really a big enough improvement to merit going out and buying Chandra, Torch of Defiance or anything like that. 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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