Baltic Sea (Alara Reborn Standard deck)

I’ve decided, barring a compelling interest in doing otherwise, that I’m naming my decks after random songs kicked up from my music collection. Thus, this post’s offering is named Baltic Sea. It’s a B/R/G ramp deck that attempts to burn its way through aggro decks and finish the game with some combination of beasts, Cloudthreshers, and Lavalanches.
Click through to the extended entry for more.


First, the deck list:
Baltic Sea

12 Creatures:
Kitchen Finks
Shriekmaw
Cloudthresher
24 Spells:
Fertile Ground
Rampant Growth
Maelstrom Pulse
Firespout
Garruk Wildspeaker
Thought Hemorrhage
Liliana Vess
Lavalanche
24 Land:
Savage Lands
Treetop Village
Reflecting Pool
Karplusan Forest
Llanowar Wastes
Fire-Lit Thicket
Graven Cairns
Forest
Swamp
Mountain
15 Sideboard:
Thoughtseize
Faerie Macabre
Anathemancer
Banefire
Lavalanche

I have a certain discomfort with ramp decks. Basically, I hate do-nothing cards, and it’s a necessary quality of ramp decks that they have 4-8 do-nothings. In this build, our compromise number is six, with two Rampant Growth and four Fertile Ground. My heart still bleeds every time I draw one of these in the late game, and I find myself wishing for Edge of Autumn instead. Ah well. Let’s look at the deck piece-by-piece.
Critters
A LSV has recently reminded us in the context of B/W Tokens, persist is a strong mechanic. I like Kitchen Finks in the ramp deck, as it brings life on the way in, and is a durable and efficient beater as well. To the Finks, we add a full quarter of Shriekmaws, which are Nekrataal ++, as they can be evoked for early kills and can swing with fear later. Finally, there’s a quarter of Threshers as giant beaters, skysweepers, and dudes that can eat pesky little 4/4 dragons. Woot.
Removal
There’s rather a lot of it. In addition to the Maws and Threshers, this deck runs four Firespouts, four Pulses, and two Lavalanches. I don’t know if I need to say much more about the usefulness of these cards, but I can comment on the choice of Firespout over, say, Volcanic Fallout or Jund Charm. In testing, I’ve found that being able to kill X/3s is tremendously important, and especially with the Threshers in the build, there’s not a lot of need for even more reactive (that is, Instant-speed) sweeping.
Disruption
There’s three Lilianas, of course, although her main purpose here is to tutor up the needed answer or threat, depending. In addition to Lily, we have a single copy of Thought Hemorrhage. The idea here, that bears actual real-world testing, is that you can tutor up the Hemorrhage with Liliana and de-threat a Five-Color Control build.
Win Conditions
We’ve already covered the main deck’s twelve creatures. Baltic also features four copies of Garruk Wildspeaker, ready to churn out some beasts. Garruk can also, in combination with Fertile Ground, churn out especially large Lavalanches. Lavalanche is pleasingly asymmetric, and backed by the ramping of the deck, is a huge beating. Finally, the deck runs three copies of Treetop Village, ready to live through all Wrath effects and beat the opponent down after you’ve cleared the decks.
Lands
The mana base always requires the most tinkering, but I’ve had reasonably good results with this one. I started with four Villages, but found that that was one too many, and swapped one out for that Mountain. Since then, I’ve been reasonably happy.
Sideboard
The sideboard is, as always, super-tentative, and awaits modification in response to actual results ahead of Regionals. Regardless, there are four Anathemancers and three more Hemorrhages for the Five-Color Control matchup. I’ve been vacillating between main deck and sideboard Anathemancers, and so far the results are inconclusive. The Banefires are also meant to come in for control matchups generally, where you’ll be Banefiring them out, hopefully, in between beast attacks and Lavalanches. Naturally, there’s also a third Lavalanche.
Parting Thoughts
This is a fun ramp deck, although I’m always wary that my unwillingness to go all-in on the ramp concept means that I’ll make bad ramp decks. Perhaps this another one, but I think it has some seeds of good ideas. Definitely give Lavalanche a shot – a giant Lavalanche to the face is awesome.
Note that I know the linking script I’m currently using doesn’t link to Alara Reborn cards. I’ll be dealing with that soon.