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The McShake Alchemist on Magic
Wolf Run Ramp: A love story
March 12, 2012

Hey everyone! The McShake Alchemist here with a new article about a deck that is (in my head) the only reason that I have any kind of credibility as a Magic Player today, Wolf Run Ramp. Today I'm going to be talking about the 7 (!!) accepted builds of Wolf Run. All of these lists are relevant for the week after GP Lilles (weekend of March 9th, 2012).
 
The first build of Wolf Run that I will be talking about is the classic build with is a pretty standard Red/Green styled deck. The 'suggested' list for this is something close to Brian Kibler's list from Pro Tour Honolulu last month, which he piloted to first place, (with Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa coming in second with a single sideboard card being the only change)
 
Lands
2 Kessig Wolf Run
4 Copperline Gorge
4 Rootbound Crag
4 Inkmoth Nexus
7 Mountain
5 Forest
 
Creatures
3 Solemn Simulacrum
4 Huntmaster of the Fell
4 Primeval Titan
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Acidic Slime
2 Inferno Titan
 
Artifacts
4 Sphere of the Suns
 
Spells
4 Rampant Growth
2 Green Sun's Zenith
4 Galvanic Blast
4 Slagstorm
1 Whipflare
 
The deck is pretty straightforward but more than likely the most consistent of all the builds that I will be presenting today. This build is easily the best if you are expecting a creature-based meta such as spirits, humans, or zombies. There is just so much removal packed into this deck, and Inferno Titan is incredible against spirits (unless they have multiple Drogskol Captains in play, of course). This is also the best option for defeating Tempered Steel, Jun'ya Iyaanaga can attest to that (2011 World Champion, also won with R/G Wolf Run Ramp)
 
The second build that I will be outlining today is the build that Todd Anderson has been pushing pretty heavily as of late, and that is the Wolf Run Green build, which, as the name may suggest, is primarily green, only playing red for the namesake Kessig Wolf Run.
 
Lands
2 Kessig Wolf Run
2 Mountain
2 Inkmoth Nexus
19 Forest
 
Creatures
4 Birds of Paradise
2 Llanowar Elves
4 Dungrove Elder
3 Primeval Titan
2 Strangleroot Geist
1 Acidic Slime
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
1 Daybreak Ranger
2 Phyrexian Metamorph
3 Solemn Simulacrum
 
Spells
3 Rampant Growth
4 Green Sun's Zenith
 
Planeswalkers
3 Garruk Relentless
2 Garruk, Primal Hunter
 
This is one of the better positioned builds of Wolf run if you are expecting a lot of UB control in your area. There are several things just in the maindeck that UB has trouble answering. Thrun is fantastic against spot removal, and even if they have the Phantasmal Image to kill thrun, that doesn't do anything against Dungrove Elder, they generally have to either edict it or Black Sun's Zenith it to death. The Amount of Planeswalkers are a huge plus as well, generally a resolved Primal Hunter is game over of UB. A Relentless isn't a much better outcome, since the ultimate is game over more often than not.
 
The third build that I will be discussing today is what Conley Wood's used to win Grand Prix, Orlando, in January, and it is the Black oriented style of Wolf Run Ramp.
 
Lands
2 Kessig Wolf Run
2 Inkmoth Nexus
1 Mountain
1 Rootbound Crag
4 Woodland Cemetery
1 Evolving Wilds
7 Forest
8 Swamp
 
Creatures
4 Primeval Titan
4 Grave Titan
4 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Acidic Slime
1 Glissa, the Traitor
 
Artifacts
4 Sphere of the Suns
3 Ratchet Bomb
 
Spells
2 Geth's Verdict
2 Go for the Throat
4 Rampant Growth
2 Green Sun's Zenith
3 Black Sun's Zenith
3 Tragic slip
 
This deck is generally the slower of the various Wolf Run-oriented brews, with the amount of 6-drops that it plays, and the high cost of their sweepers. While this deck is the slowest, it definitely has the most inevitability of all the decks. This is the other option in regards to wolf run decks if you want to be able to have a decent matchup against UB control. All of your threats in this deck are just incredible threats. Grave titan alone spits out 3 bodies that you can Wolf Run them into oblivion with. Also, for those who haven't noticed, Grave Titan has death touch, which I hear is pretty cool in a deck with Wolf Run*.
 
The halfway point for Wolf Run lists in this article will be with what I would have to say is my least favorite of them, Wolf RUG ramp.
 
Lands
2 Kessig Wolf Run
2 Inkmoth Nexus
2 Hinterland Harbor
3 Island
1 Evolving Wilds
4 Copperline Gorge
4 Rootbound Craig
3 Sulfur Falls
2 Mountain
3 Forest
 
Creatures
4 Primeval Titan
3 Frost Titan
3 Solemn Simulacrum
2 Snapcaster Mage
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Acidic Slime
1 Phantasmal Image
 
Artifacts
2 Sphere of the Suns
 
Spells
2 Green Sun's Zenith
3 Vapor Snag
4 Slagstorm
3 Galvanic Blast
1 Cackling Counterpart
4 Rampant Growth
 
I've played with this dec ka few times, and while it is decent in the mirror, it really only has the "Wow! That's a Snapcaster alongside a Primeval Titan!" going for it in my opinion. Most of the things that the blue aspect does in the deck is not what the deck needs to be doing. frankly (I don't know if you've ever Wolf-Runned an opponent's image for 0 to kill it, but, it does basically the same thing, even if you control the phantasmal image). I will concede that Frost Titan wins titan wars, but, in a Wolf run deck, most of your creatures kill Frost Titan anyway, assuming that you got a Wolf Run with your Primeval Titan. If you have a hard-on for cute tricks with Cackling Counterpart and Snapcaster, you should play this deck, if you are playing Wolf run just for the sake of winning, I would recommend basically any other decklist in this article.
 
The deck I am talking about now cheated it's way on to the list, but, it was the first deck to actually use Kessig Wolf Run successfully, so I want to talk about it some, and that is Wolf Run Red (this is also the easiest to get all of the cards for, for all of you budget players out there). A build of this deck recently won the Starcity Games open 5k in Charlotte.
 
Lands
3 Kessig Wolf Run
4 Rootbound Crag
16 Mountain
 
Creatures
4 Stromkirk Noble
3 Goblin Fireslinger
1 Grim Lavamancer
4 Stormblood Beserker
2 Hellrider
2 Porcelaine Legionnaire
3 Chandra's Phoenix
 
Artifacts
4 Shrine of Burning Rage
 
Spells
2 Brimstone Volley
4 Volt Charge
4 Incinerate
4 Galvanic Blast
 
This is the fastest of all the decks that I'm going to be listing because, well, it's Red deck wins with Kessig Wolf run in it. Without the inclusion of any Maindeck Koth of the Hammers, you can afford to not play an all mountain build, not to mention the fact that you are playing Rootbounds already for the common side-boarded Ancient Grudge, Kessig isn't good until lategame in these style decks anyway, if definitely doesn't hurt to play. You would be surprised how much the card helps against something like UB control when you play Chandra's Phoenix and surprise them for 8 damage they didn't account for from haste.
 
Deck #6 is probably the least known that I will be discussing today, and truthfully, the list that I have the least experience with, Wolf run Robots. Yep, Robots.
 
Lands
4 Glimmerpost
3 Ghost Quarter
2 Kessig Wolf Run
2 Mountain
4 Inkmoth Nexus
3 Buried Ruin
7 Forest
1 Swamp
 
Creatures
4 Primeval Titan
1 Copper Myr
1 Palladium Myr
2 Myr Battlesphere
4 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Birds of Paradise
2 Acidic Slime
1 Glissa, the Traitor
2 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
 
Artifacts
3 Ratchet Bomb
4 Sphere of Suns
2 Birthing Pod
 
Spells
4 Rampant Growth
2 Green Sun's Zenith
 
While easily the least known of the Running decks, this is the most fun by a long shot, in my personal opinion, just from the amount of tricks, though I must concede the most inconsistent. Birthing Pod can just do some nutty things in conjunction with Buried Ruin or Glissa, the Traitor. If you want a more fun build, then this is definitely the list to take for a spin. A note that one should take with this deck is the RDW matchup isn't as horrible as it looks, as Battlesphere can be very problematic, and Primeval Titan has the ability to grab two glimmerpost, which nets four like the firs time, and 8 life if it happens again.
 
The seventh and final 'known' build of Wolf Run Ramp I'll be showcasing is the Naya build of the deck. It has arguably the most cards to cram in, and the least amount of space to do it for cost restrictions (mana-wise). The build I'm playing right now is a build I've been playing tech'd mostly to beat the mirror match and have it not even be close. My list for reference-
 
Lands
3 Inkmoth Nexus
2 Kessig Wolf Run
1 Clifftop Retreat
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Rootbound Crag
4 Copperline Gorge
2 Plains
2 Mountain
4 Forest
 
Creatures
3 Primeval Titan
3 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Huntmaster of the Fells
2 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Acidic Slime
2 Hero of Bladehold
3 Wurmcoil Engine
 
Artifacts
4 Sphere of the Suns
 
Spells
4 Rampant Growth
2 Green Sun's Zenith
3 Galvanic Blast
3 Slagstorm
2 Day of Judgment
 
I reiterate what I said in the initial statement about this build: It is built to beat other Wolf Run decks. Right now my locals are absolutely swamped with Wolf Run decks and I have some cards in there that are just to beat the mirror. If you want to play this in a meta with less Wolf Run, I would make the following changes
 
-2 Hero of Bladehold
-2 Wurmcoil Engine
 
+1 Batterskull
+2 Day of Judgment
+1 Gideon Jura
 
I think that Naya is the most well positioned of the Wolf Run decks at this point, just because while the mono Green build has a great UB matchup, it can suffer against creature decks that get a faster start, and this build has sweepers, as well as a lot of resilience. Wurmcoil is one that I would keep in the main if you expect to see a lot of UB control, due to the amount of removal that it takes to deal with it.
 
So, those are the most popular versions of wolf run in their wonderful, colorful glory. I'd love to hear anyone's feedback on the decklists. I must concede I have only played 3 of these builds in the last 30 days, and the meta changes very rapidly as the format evolves and new formats are introduced. Feel free to contact me on any of the social networking sites
 
email: andro_sphinx@yahoo.com
facebook: facebook.com/shakezilluh
twitter: paper_gagnsta_
youtube: Themcshakealchemist**
 
As always, hit me up if you want to talk Yu-Gi-Oh! or Magic, I'm open to most suggestions, and I am happy to do *most* deck fixes that people send me. 'Till next week
 
Never stop learning
Sean Handy
The McShake Alchemis
 
 
 
*If a creature with Deathtouch gians trample, 1 Damage of Deathtouch is considered lethal in regards to be allowed to assign the rest of the damage to a player. (Example: If you have a 10/6 Wolf Runned Grave Titan being blocked by a 15/15/ Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, yo ucan assign 1 point of Damage to Emrakul, and the other 9 points of damage to your opponent, because 1 damage of Deathtouch is enough to kill it.)
 **Hopefully I'll start having the ability to do videos soon. I've been having some trouble streaming lately and it makes videos nigh-impossible to upload.

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