In the battle against inbreeding and stagnation, I like to look at Other Peoples’ Decks and learn new angles for EDH.

Dakkon Blackblade is superficially obvious: a lands-matter deck built around a non-evasive, potentially big beater. But the juice that makes Jon’s “off-color ramp deck” hum shows just how interesting an RFK Swordbearer can be. This deck dumps lands but it isn’t green, and plays around with landfall in a framework that you don’t see as often.

I really enjoyed playing against it and have found his level of lands-synergy and voltron card choices interesting and fun.

[Deck title=Jon’s Off-Color Ramp Deck]
[General]
Dakkon Blackblade[/General]
[Creatures]
1 Admonition Angel
1 Burnished Hart
1 Clone
1 Dakkon Blackblade
1 Deadeye Navigator
1 Dreamscape Artist
1 Duplicant
1 Herald of Leshrac
1 Kor Cartographer
1 Mulldrifter
1 Ob Nixilis, the Fallen
1 Patron of the Moon
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Pilgrim’s Eye
1 Roil Elemental
1 Rune-Scarred Demon
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Sun Titan
1 Treasury Thrull
1 Walking Atlas
[/Creatures]
[Enchantments]
1 Land Tax
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Rhystic Study
[/Enchantments]
[Artifacts]
1 Armillary Sphere
1 Conjurer’s Closet
1 Crucible of Worlds
1 Druidic Satchel
1 Fleetfeather Sandals
1 Journeyer’s Kite
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Obsidian Battle-Axe
1 O-Naginata
1 Power Matrix
1 Strionic Resonator
1 Swiftfoot Boots
1 Sword of Vengeance
1 Trading Post
1 Trailblazer’s Boots
1 Wayfarer’s Bauble
1 Whispersilk Cloak
[/Artifacts]
[Planeswalkers]
1 Liliana of the Dark Realms
1 Venser, the Sojourner
[/Planeswalkers]
[Instants and Sorceries]
1 Ashes to Ashes
1 Blue Sun’s Zenith
1 Cyclonic Rift
1 Day of Judgment
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Oblation
1 Praetor’s Grasp
1 Remember the Fallen
1 Return to Dust
1 Revoke Existence
1 Rite of Replication
1 Savor the Moment
1 Spell Crumple
1 Supreme Verdict
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Temporal Mastery
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Vindicate
[/Instants and Sorceries]
[Lands]
1 Academy Ruins
1 Arcane Sanctum
1 Bant Panorama
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Command Tower
1 Drowned Catacomb
1 Esper Panorama
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Flooded Strand
1 Ghost Town
1 Glacial Fortress
1 Grixis Panorama
6 Island
1 Isolated Chapel
1 Oboro, Palace in the Clouds
6 Plains
1 Reliquary Tower
6 Swamp
1 Tainted Field
1 Tainted Isle
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Terrain Generator
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Thawing Glaciers
[/Lands]
[/deck]

Pflug answered a bunch of questions that shed some light onto how this became a deck for him.

On the genesis, he said

My original Esper deck was a Sharuum artifact deck. In other words, boring…After playing with it for a while I really did not enjoy it…From other Esper generals, Dakkon intrigued me. He cares about lands in colors that are not known for getting lands into play. Challenge accepted.

He elaborated how this list evolved, which interested me because he uses a few cards that are not obvious for a deck like this (hello Praetor’s Grasp and Savor the Moment).

The early version of the deck relied on blink effects a bit more, but now I am trying out only repeatable Blink effects (Conjure’s Closet, Venser etc.) and attempting to use extra turns in the least obnoxious way possible as a Cultivate type effect (extra land into play and draw an extra card). That’s why I chose Temporal Mastery and Savor the Moment… I also want to try to use some copy spells in order to take other deck’s ramp spells.

And if you were scratching your head a bit about Ghost Town, Jon adds,

My absolute two favorite creatures in the deck are Herald of Leshrac and Patron of the Moon. They are my two favorite ramp options because they are so unorthodox and out of place in the colors. I have no idea how they printed the ability on Patron, but the interaction between him and my two bouncelands (Ghost Town and Oboro) give me all the landfall triggers.…Also, Terrain Generator is my favorite land in EDH so I am happy to say that it has a prominent place in the deck.

You’ll notice a few themes. The first is Landfall because duh. Ob Nixilis, the Fallen, Admonition Angel, and Roil Elemental. They play nice with the cards that put lands into play: Terrain Generator, Patron of the Moon (which I also love), and Walking Atlas.

Next, check out his main strategy, which is actual ramp. There’s nothing too exciting about ramp, except that a. Dreamscape Artist is incredible, especially when you have Crucible of Worlds in play; and b. it’s obviously not green. His ramp package includes some draw and ways to put lands into play, plus a few more traditional-looking options:

Eventually the deck has to beat in and connect to do things. And I’m pumped about his choices. Man are O-Naginata and Obsidian Battle-Axe sweet, flavorful choices.

This deck is a bit heavier on goodstuff than I like my builds to be, but it’s tough to avoid that in Esper sometimes. He balances that out with a few weird options like Power Matrix. Overall, I like how his commitment to ramp squeezes space in his deck, forcing him to rely on getting more value out of fewer resources. Hence the ability to get a ton of triggers out of his landfall guys in fewer turns using bounce and ramp, for example. I could also see an argument for more card advantage, as he has about seven ramp/landy type CA spells, and another seven-ish draw spells, which feels like not quite enough when he’s rocking all the durdles.

The last note I’d like to leave you with is the importance of balance, which Pflug’s deck demonstrates very well. Notice  the presence of Deadeye Navigator (and Conjurer’s Closet) as part of a small, entirely non-abusive blink theme. Clone, Duplicant, Kor Cartogrpaher, Mulldrifter, Phyrexian Metamorph, Pilgrim’s Eye, Rune-Scarred Demon (the worst offender by far), Solemn Simulacrum, and Sun Titan all work with it, for sure. But except for tutor demon, who even cares? OK I guess “CU: draw two cards” is pretty busted too.

This is the perfect example of fair balance. His lack of busted “I win” cards, annoying engines, and combo-like synergy neuters tutoring every turn quite a bit. I’d like to see something like Counterspell or Arcane Denial in place of Spell Crumple so he can’t assemble infinite tuck counters, but that’s it.

Any deck that can make tutoring at will something that doesn’t urge you to flip the table immediately is doing it right in my book.

Keep it fresh.
<3
Dave