We’ve seen ramp decks built around Crush of Tentacles and Part the Waterveil before. Oath of Nissa, Oath of Jace, and Elvish Visionary form the backbone of the deck, letting Crush rebuy your seemingly useless permanents for some sweet, sweet value while keeping your opponent’s battlefield in check. This deck goes even further with two copies of Nissa, Vastwood Seer so you can keep making your land drops well into the late-game. The extra lands can even be ditched to that Oath of Jace you just bounced if you want to. That’s what we in the business call synergy.
But beyond Explosive Vegetation, we don’t see any ramp cards in this deck. Instead, there is a collection of control elements in the form of Descend upon the Sinful, Anticipate, and Jace, Unraveler of Secrets. That’s because Vegetation is more of a mana fixer in this deck than a pure ramp spell, letting you play UU and WW spells in your base-green deck and even get a little red in there for Dragonlord Atarka. (Another nice one to return with Crush of Tentacles, by the way.)
Descend upon the Sinful gives this deck a whopping six sweepers, all of which have the potential to leave behind a serious body so your follow-up Part the Waterveils are extra-backbreaking. Not that anything really needs to be extra-backbreaking, since Humans only have one back, but you get the idea.
Reflector Mage sort of ties the whole room together, giving you another enters-the-battlefield trigger to reuse while also stymieing some of the more aggressive decks in the format long enough for you to set up. This deck really wants to untap on turn 4 with a relatively stable battlefield so you can take a turn off to cast Explosive Vegetation, and Reflector Mage does that better than any card in the format.
Since most players are going to look at you more like a ramp deck, the sideboard is geared to shift further into a control role, with classic cards like Negate and Dragonlord Ojutai alongside recently minted Standard all-star Linvala, the Preserver. This sort of hybrid ramp-control strategy is something we don’t see often, but is nice because your opponents are forced to measure their threats more carefully against sweepers, which only enables your more powerful end-game to come online. I’m sure that strategic squeeze helped Zsolt a lot last weekend, so be sure to keep updating this one so you don’t find yourself on the wrong side of the information war.