Your puny creatures are no match for the awesome power of my deck. Sylvan Advocate, Tireless Tracker, and Collected Company are weaklings. Whichever of them survive the noose will be washed away from the battlefield, only to return and find a giant octopus waiting to devour them.
I will continue to cycle through my deck until an even bigger, alien octopus comes down to finish the game. You may wonder how I can treat your precious creatures so callously. To you I have only one response:
We’ve seen Crush of Tentacles decks before in Standard, but they have always sat on the fringes of the format. The primary issues the archetype faced were the need to find Crush of Tentacles early and often since it lacked the tools to handle aggressive starts, along with the inability to build to anything bigger than an 8/8 creature.
Noose Constrictor is a great early blocker against cheap creatures like Sylvan Advocate and Town Gossipmonger. Most of the time you won’t be discarding cards to pump it so much as threatening to do so and letting Constrictor act as a brick wall. It comes down before you start ramping with Nissa’s Pilgrimage so it shouldn’t hurt your curve much, which is important for the early interaction in ramp decks. Gnarlwood Dryad out of the sideboard functions similarly, and perhaps does it better since it can trade with creatures regardless of size and can be a one mana surge enabler for Crush of Tentacles.
Ishkanah, Grafwidow serves as the army in a can for when you can’t find a Crush, which makes it a key target for Traverse the Ulvenwald. The fact that it is valuable to return to your hand once you find the Crush is simply gravy.
And then we come to Emrakul, the Promised End. Being able to build toward an overpowering effect is critical for ramp decks, because you need sufficient payoff to concede the early game by playing Nissa’s Pilgrimage. Emrakul ends the game very quickly while also compounding the effect of your Crushes by giving you more tools to work with when they are under your control and giving them fewer tools to work with on the ensuing turn.
Some of the other Traverse targets are likely too cute, and I would rather see some more ramp spells since this deck wants plenty of mana to operate effectively, but the innovations made in this list are significant enough to potentially bring the deck into the upper echelons of Standard and it’s already in the upper echelons of Rocky references, so you’re basically halfway there.
- 1 Elvish Visionary
- 4 Den Protector
- 2 Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
- 2 Nissa, Vastwood Seer
- 1 Bounding Krasis
- 1 Hangarback Walker
- 1 Void Grafter
- 1 Emrakul, the Promised End
- 1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
- 4 Noose Constrictor