EDH IMHO: Rating Your Ramp, Eat your Vegetablesss

Vegetables. It’s as if the word itself is perfectly designed just to kill the inner child in each and every one of us. But perhaps this is an unfair association.

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But is this fair? What do we really know about vegetables?

Some like to party.

Some make great weapons; right, Clive Owen?

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That’s right, mate.

And some just…

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…explode.

Welcome to EDH: IMHO. A diverse haven for passionate, casual weirdos who want to create stories with their friends through a game of Commander!

Today, we continue our unlimited, running series evaluating the different options for ramp in commander. The beginning of a commander game is crucial, so its important to give plenty of consideration to your ramp passage.

Every time we Rate that Ramp, we invite a special celebrity evaluator on to help us know just what to do with these silly cards. This week’s guest is the star of 1982’s classic horror film and internationally acclaimed diabetes spokesperson Wilford Brimley. Thanks for joining us today, Wilf!

Today, Wilf wants to talk about vegetables. Exploding Vegetables, also known by its technically-correct-but-far-less-satisfying name, Explosive Vegetation. This was the first real ramp card I got excited about. After all, when you start playing commander, and you’ve got a hand full of seven drops, few things bring you more joy than seeing good ole’ veggies there to help get you there.

In format of big, explosive plays, who wouldn’t want more big, explosive vegetables?

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And the stakes just get higher when you learn that Veggies is just the oft-forgotten middle child of this kind of ramp.

Meet its cool, mature older brother…

And the likeable, unassuming younger brother:

When I first started playing with my current group, we collectively loved “veggies” and friends. It seems to put you so far ahead, along with the fact that it’s incredibly helpful for manafixing, especially in decks with three or more colors. Suddenly, our cool seven drops were playable on turn five if we had a land. Even if we had cast our general once already, we probably had the mana to cast them again.

Which is why I am a little sad to say that these cards have slowly begun to fade out from our playgroup. Skyshroud Claim makes the occasional appearance, but the other two are going extinct quickly.

Why? Well, the short answer is that it costs four; for ramp, I’m afraid…

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The big drawback of any ramp spell is the fact that you need it early, but don’t want it late. Nothing is worse than hoping for the perfect topdeck, only to get a ramp spell. Sometimes, in the care of Sol Ring and other cheap ramp, the upside you get from the early boost is worth the occasional late-game dead draw. Sol Ring even adds an available mana for you in the late game, giving your Black Sun’s Zenith one more toughness to cancel out, or one more card from Pull From Tomorrow.

But Veggies and friends, at four mana each, will rarely be something you can just tack onto your turn. Not only is it a dead draw, its converted mana cost makes it a comparatively expensive dead draw, keeping it from even piggybacking on another play in a convenient fashion.

The final problem is this: on turn four, is this what you really want?

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Turn four is pretty important in Commander. Chances are, this is a turn where your commander is playable, perhaps for the first time. For white decks, you are finally within reach of a Wrath to stop the guy who got the god start. For blue, you’ve got the mana for Fact or Fiction.

As spoiled as it sounds, turn four just feels too late for ramp. Sure, this gives you a shot at 7 mana on turn 5. There are certainly a good number of landfall decks that benefit from a double drop. But most decks aren’t specifically built around land drops. I am willing to bet you’re gonna have a hand full of cards you would much rather play on turn four than Veggies and pals.

Skyshroud Claim still makes a decent case; both lands come into play untapped, along with the ability to search for shocks or other dual lands. This makes it a little more helpful than its homies, but only slightly so. In general, Mr. Brimley is just not impressed.

Explosive Vegetation:  2.5 Brimleys

Ranger’s Path: 2.75 Brimleys

Skyshroud Claim: 3.25 Brimleys

This makes our running list as follows:

1. Sol Ring (*****)
2. Mana Crypt (****3/4)
3. Skyshroud Claim (***1/4)
3. Birds of Paradise (***)
4. Ranger’s Path (**3/4)
5. Explosive Vegetation (**1/2)

Thanks for joining us this week! As always, if you like veggies…keep it! The best part of Commander is the ability to just play a card if you like it. Just one word of advice: don’t tell Wilford Brimley.

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Kyle Somerfeldt is an avidly casual player of Commander. He loves movies, Japanese pro wrestling, and Sphinx Ambassador. Every week, he uses EDH IMHO to share his rambling philosophy regarding the format he loves.

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