Various Eldrazi decks have been popping up here and there, but this one is truly off the wall. Rather than focusing on ramping, Matsugan is trying to slow the game down with removal and counterspells, hoping that will buy him time to get to his big spells.
There is still some ramp present, but it might not be the cards you would normally expect. In a deck with very few four-ofs, you would not expect Temur Banner to be one of them. I can’t remember the last time someone played a Banner in a competitive Constructed deck, but here we are. It fixes your mana early and gives you a turn where you get to cast two spells thanks to Fiery Impulse and Dispel. It can also turn on Thopter Spy Network after sideboard!
Mage-Ring Network is the other “ramp” card, but that one isn’t as surprising — It just isn’t one we’ve seen played a lot in this strategy. With Mage-Ring Network, you can probably deal with your opponents stuff while building up to a big turn, allowing your one card to provide five or six mana in one turn. I could see having games where you’re too busy interacting to be ramping hard with things like Explosive Vegetation, but you have enough mana left over to charge up the Mage-Ring Network.
On the top end, there’s Sarkhan Unbroken. He ramps and draws cards, which is basically all this deck wants. Sarkhan is also a very potent threat if you need one. In order to protect him, you need extra removal, so that’s where Matsugan’s plan comes together.
The 4-2 record with this deck isn’t anything to write home about, but this deck is. If you’re sick of getting beaten down by Mantis Rider, perhaps you should consider sleeving up some Monastery Flocks.