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Praxis Ramp

Standard Deck By
AGhostlyToaster
Team Not-Tavrod

+14

Cost Curve

Type

Faction

Information

Praxis has a new top-end, and he's really impressive - if you can play him. I'm excited to see what Kairos, Grand Champion is capable of in 3-faction decks like Jennev or FTJ, but there's no more natural place for a 9-cost unit that needs a big threat on board than his own 2-faction home, Praxis - the faction of ramping to fatties and sticking them by overloading removal. I've been working on this deck with teammates Marvin_the_Imp and Vaylin, and together we've come up with something that's working very well for me.

Kairos works well with the strengths of a Praxis midrange/ramp deck (power acceleration, lots of high strength units to trigger draw), but also helps address its weaknesses. Running out of steam has typically been a dead end, but Kairos gives the opportunity to completely restock by drawing as many as 12 cards, and usually 5 or 6. If Kairos sticks - which he usually does if you get to him, since you typically don't play him until your opponent can't remove your threats anyway - then you will almost certainly end the game that turn by blasting away their units or remaining life as you dump more threats from your hand. This is great for busting board stalls, another trap Praxis decks can fall into, as you simultaneously develop your board further and clear the opponent's - or just bypass it for lethal face damage. Even if he doesn't stick, the raw card advantage should still lead you to a win.

This deck has a ton of units to beat down/block the opponent and generate power along the way. Initiate of the Sands and Trail Maker are early acceleration that help consistently hit your first fatty ahead of curve. Trail Maker recently replaced Devotee of the Sands, because power kept outpacing influence with so many ramp units. These cards are power sources; don't be afraid to treat them as such in mulligan decisions. You need to be aware of their vulnerability, but you will often need to rely on them anyway to avoid going to 6 too often. Tocas, Waystone Harvester and Auralian Merchant are great early blockers that ramp further. These are important because they tend to stick reliably, or at least eat better removal your opponent will want later. Yushkov, the Usurper and Worldbearer Behemoth are midgame threats that also help push your power upwards in different ways; they wouldn't always be the first choices in a Praxis deck, but really deliver with Kairos.

They are joined by non-ramping staples Sandstorm Titan and Praxis poster-child Heart of the Vault (which does help draw into more power, or even reduce the cost of Kairos if you're lucky). Xo of the Endless Hoard is here as a guaranteed two cards to help offset the aforementioned tendency to run out of steam (credit to Vaylin). The extra card early is really valuable with no other draw until HotV. He can serve as market fodder as usual, but can also be played pretty reliably later in the game along the chain of threats. While Xo's 8-cost body is usually not desirable, it performs more than usual in a deck that exhausts removal like this, providing another window to resupply late in the game. A good alternative to Xo is Thundering Kerasaur, which is relevant on board much earlier and also generates card advantage, but can't work with the merchant or get an extra card early in the game.

Removal isn't a big topic in Praxis decks, but we do have a functional package here. Torch is obvious. Flame Blast is highly flexible and can kill small stuff for cheap, big stuff for a lot, or burn face with your pumped-up power. Conflagrate and Purify are other options, but small units don't tend to trip us up like big ones can, and I have preferred FB since Marvin/Vaylin steered me that way. Xenan Initiation is the other removal option for bigger units. It takes advantage of our big bodies to give us a form of the 2-cost kill spell these colors so desperately lack. It's especially great with Behemoth if you can play them together. Be careful how you use your removal - there isn't a ton of it and it's a little limited or inefficient, so try to leverage bodies into board dominance, don't expect to remove everything that challenges you.

All that's left to discuss is the market. Splitting Kairos up 3+1 feels great to maximize access when you have the power while avoiding drawing too many early. As a bonus, playing a merchant late to get Kairos also bumps up your power one more to help hit 9. Twilight Hunt is a cheap removal tool in the market. Vaylin and Marvin like running it maindeck with Initiation market; both have strengths and weaknesses. Other options for a removal tool include Purify, Phase Out, or Temple Standard/Temple Tactic. Dissociate is mainly for Harsh Rule, but is our only tech against attachments or spells in general. Xenan Obelisk is for winning board stalls against other midrange, particularly Time, decks; try to anticipate the matchups you'll need this in and get it when possible.

The Praxis Arcanum is pretty poor for a site, but it's here for more than just flavor. Unit cost reduction is really relevant in this deck (basically another form of ramp). Both it and its payoff, Talir, Unbound, are great for getting Kairos into play. I grab this as a sort of default when nothing else is needed in the matchup, or when I am specifically working toward Kairos. It's a great fetch with Behemoth in hand, as Behemoth is the best target for Accelerate. The other spells have some utility, particularly for helping defend the site, which helps the card deliver a lot of value. Eternity Core is an alternative 4-cost ramp option if you don't like the site. It's more helpful for playing Kairos specifically but is a 4-cost do-nothing, whereas the Arcanum is full of on-board utility, even if only at the margins.

That wraps up a whole lot of words about a rather simple deck. Most of the card choices and strategies are fairly obvious, but hopefully the text has been helpful for highlighting some of the interactions that make the whole thing tick. This isn't my usual style of deck, but I've been having a ton of fun slamming Kairos and proclaiming myself Timmy. And so far, it really feels the card has brought something meaningful to the Praxis faction. Give it a try and share your thoughts!

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Updated with Flame of Xulta's release to include Ramba, Arena Showman over Xo (also bouncing an Initiation to the market). As as aggressive midrange threat which is powerful late in the game and accelerates expensive cards, Ramba fits neatly into our dual gameplan, playing midrange fatties and ramping to Kairos. The ability is a nice mana sink to help grind out games after ramping up, and the cost reduction is another tool to get to Behemoth and Heart ahead of curve and eventually reach Kairos.

Update FoX day 2: This list was very aggressive on its power total to begin with. Harsh Rule is popular right now, making ramp units less reliable, so more power was appropriate. Initiation is especially strong in the mirror and sometimes against aggro, but Flame Blast can also bust a board stall and is amazing against otherwise challenging Harsh Rule decks, too. Removal was most expendable, so Initiation has been taken out of the maindeck to accommodate Seek Power for more consistent power totals, influence, and especially opening hands. With sigil fetchers on hand I felt better including some Granite Waystone without hurting the Seats. The extra fixing also eases the burden on influence when ramping aggressively, so Devotee gets the call again over Trail Maker.

I found myself wanting to market for power frequently, so I put a Praxis Banner in the market. Maybe this won't be necessary with seeks in the deck. To fit it I removed the Obelisk, as I hadn't marketed for it in a long time and Initiation is an alternative mirror-buster.

Details

Shiftstone Cost
Does not include campaign cost
81,650

Premium Cost
288,800

Influence Requirements
3 3

Power Sources
21 21 16

Power Calculator
Shiftstoned Icon View Deck on Shiftstoned

Deck Rarities
23 13 12 4 21

Card Types
40 0 13 1 26

Archetype
Midrange

Updated
October 11, 2019

Added
September 27, 2019

Views
4,680

Eternal Version
v1.47 - The Flames of Xulta

BBCode For Comments

Deck URL

Revisions (Since last major patch) October 11, 2019

Comments

biologynut99 Eternal Version: 1.47.3
Trying to decide between this kind of kairos deck, and one that doesn't have so many squishy ramp cards (initiate and such)
Ninjacan Eternal Version: 1.47.3
what do you think about crimson firemaw in this deck in place of sst? I've been playing almost this exact deck as a fun gauntlet deck with basically everything I could think of to cheat kairos out early, and let me tell you, drawing a 3 power kairos off of a hotv is pretty damn satisfying.

I also play waystone titan over worldbearer, but I could see playing either. I think waystone is really overlooked and a pretty awesome card, but having an extra set of 6 drops is a lot to ask lol.

final question, if harsh rule is popular right now, why not powerstone over devotee?
fulaftrbrnr Eternal Version: 1.47
Thoughts on Novaquake Titan in the Market? I've found he's really satisfying to bond onto a HotV/SST as a way to break board stalls post Kairos-drop for almost guaranteed lethal.
biologynut99 Edited Eternal Version: 1.47
Great deck!

Looking forward to seeing any improvements (if any can be made) with the new FoX cards!
tmattoo Edited Eternal Version: 1.47
Hey, thanks for the deck and the most recent update. Really, I just wanted to give a shout out! Time (and Praxis in particular) is my favorite faction. When Kairos was released I knew I was playing him no matter what. I had good success before FoX but since release Praxis just seemed to be in a bad place. I was losing what seemed to be 75% of my games. I attempted adjusting the deck to the meta but I am not an experienced deck builder and was having no success being stubborn with Kairos and friends. With your changes, addressing the power issue etc., I am now on a ladder rampage. So thanks for posting and I look forward to more of your deck lists in the future.
AGhostlyToaster Eternal Version: 1.47
Thanks for your comment, I'm glad my list was able to help you find more success with a deck you enjoy!
Cadbury Edited Eternal Version: 1.47
I made a deck very similar to this once Kairos came out, I'm a Big Praxis fanatic so I knew he was a day 1 craft the moment I saw him. I'm curious why you don't use Predatory Carnosaur? I'm honestly not a huge fan of Xenan Initiation as it's very situational for a removal, you need a creature to use it on and that creature also needs to have enough strength to kill whatever you need, if your creature dies in the process you actually 2 for 1 yourself and as Praxis doesn't have a ton of card draw as it is this is a big deal. With Carnosaur on the other hand it's usually a 2 for 1 in your favour and it's rare that your opponent will have a creature out that Carnosaur can't kill.

I personally run 2 Xenan Initiation and 2 Predatory Carnosaur as my only removal options besides Torch, Flame Blast is just really meh removal and only used as such in emergencies, most of the time it's used as reach and the deck doesn't really need it imo as once you've won on the board you usually overkill your opponent anyway.

At first I used Xumucan but imo he just doesn't fit into this deck, he's a powerful card once active for sure but you really want to ramp up and play your big dudes ASAP and Xumu often ends up clogging your hand and slowing you down as you can't really gain influence anywhere near fast enough, so Xumu often ends up being unplayable until you reach about 7 power even with a heavily time focused power base.

I also think Devotee is better than Trail Maker in this deck, having 3 health is just such a huge deal as she can block against aggro, doesn't die to Snowball or Vara's favour and if you're up against control or worried about Torch you can shift her guaranteeing power for at least 3 turns, instead I have Seek Power in place of Flameblast for influence fixing.

I know for people that play other decks having so little removal in your deck is painful, but imo with Praxis if you try to use removal like you would in other decks you're just shooting yourself in the foot. Like you said, Praxis has really inefficient removal and you often need to spend your whole turn just to remove a single threat so you should try to avoid doing that as much as possible.

I highly recommend using Prideleader though, it's fantastic against aggro, decent in every other matchup and makes not having relic removal in the market far less punishing if you run up against something like Obelisk.

Just waiting on Ramba now, i'm really happy with Kairos so far :)

Edit: Also I highly recommend Passage of Eons for your market, I originally had Gnash but I think Passage is just more useful in a variety of situations and can often be just as game winning, great for removing Permafrosts, Weapons and silencing fliers/annoying value engines that Praxis has difficulty dealing with.
AGhostlyToaster Eternal Version: 1.47
Thanks for all the discussion!

Carnosaur - Certainly a strong card, but I don't think an automatic inclusion. It's nice having the body and the killer on one card for card efficiency, but it's also a problematic restraint on flexibility, having to pay 7 at once to get off the killer and not being able to assign it to your preferred body. You'll sometimes miss out on interactions like Behemoth + Initiation. Carnosaur is also a really bad 7-cost play when not hitting good value off the killer and a huge loss to play out on an empty board when a threat needs to be developed.

Flame Blast: Certainly very inefficient removal, but its flexibility is valuable. Paying 6 to kill a HotV sucks, but it's still a rare tool to take over a board stall or get past a tricky blocker. It can also be inexpensive removal for small units with a little excess power, and just generally scales up nicely with ramp. It can additionally kill sites, which can be troublesome. Certainly not an automatic inclusion either; I was highly skeptical of it but it has worked well. I did just trim to 3, however.

I played with Devotee for a long time before switching to Trail Maker. I did so because I was regularly falling behind on influence and failing to capitalize on ramp to play units like Behemoth, Yushkov and even sometimes SST on curve. I was also just not running into many decks that were removing ramp dorks. We often need FFF or TT on 3 followed by TTT on 4, and missing those early fatties is problematic. I'm not set on Trail Maker nonetheless, but it has recently worked out better for me. Seek power + Devotee would certainly be nicer if I had more power sources. This build is quite conservative on power sources, instead trying to play a little stronger in the midgame than a deck that buys into the ramp plan more fully and then reach Kairos when things stall out and a game drags.

I'm aware of Prideleader's merits and would typically run it in a time deck, but I find Yushkov is much more beneficial to this deck overall - we already crush aggro and early Hearts/reaching Kairos are just great. I did not want to overcrowd the 4 drop slot with relatively low-impact bodies. The maindeck relic removal would be really nice, but its popularity alongside Garden's are already providing some protection by pushing people away from relic-based strategies.
Cadbury Edited Eternal Version: 1.47
I hear you on Carnosaur's downsides for sure, that's why I only run 2 as I don't usually want to draw more than 1 and playing it on an empty board/with nothing to kill feels bad. That said Xenan initiation is also useless in that same situation as it can't be played on anything/you aren't going to play it unless you're killing something in the same turn.

The way I see it Xenan initiation is better for tempo whereas Carnosaur is better for value which is why I split them in half as 2/2, I find that with 4 Xenan initiation I end up with a hand full of them too often which is worse than most removal as they can be so situational, but that's just my opinion if it's working out for you then keep it as it is, just offering my two cents :)

I hear you on Flameblast as well, I think one of my main issues with it along with being inefficient as removal is the relatively high influence cost, I generally don't like having cards in my hand that I have enough power to use but don't have the influence for, it's the same reason I removed Xumucan from the deck, even though technically I can play him on turn 5 or 6 relatively consistently I usually want to be playing 7 or 8 cost cards at that point, and it sucks having a 5 drop that's unplayable 90% of the time that you first reach 5 power.

I suppose if you aren't facing many pings then Trail Maker is better than Devotee, I just really really value the guaranteed ramp that shifting gives you, it's really frustrating when you have your 4 drop in hand on turn 2, you play your Trail Maker and then it instantly gets removed leaving with you nothing to play next turn.

I'm also considering replacing the Kairos in the market with a Pit of Lenekta reason being that getting Kairos from the market and then playing him takes 2 turns which gives your opponent ample time to topdeck removal, at least with Pit it doesn't matter if they remove your board anymore. I also find that I often draw Kairos by the time I have enough power to play him anyway, what do you think?

AGhostlyToaster Eternal Version: 1.47
I'm definitely not set on Trail Maker vs Devotee still, just will continue playing them and see. Trail Maker seemed to set me on a better course but I'm a much bigger fan of Devotee in general in 2-faction decks and have a feeling I will go back to it.

I'm also planning to move an Initiation to the market in place of Twilight hunt when Ramba comes around (along with probably taking out the Xos).

Lenekta is interesting. We originally sent a Kairos to the market after starting with 4 main because getting the power to play him and not drawing him felt terrible and happened too often, actually, but that does come down to variance. I tend to prefer the 3+1 Kairos arrangement because I think he's a better payoff (assuming board presence, but if you don't have that at such a point you're dead as Praxis anyway) all around, but diversifying win conditions isn't a bad idea either.
Wingflier Eternal Version: 1.47
Dawnwalker might be a nice replacement for Tocas, especially in Gauntlet. You lose some Ramp but you gain a shitload of recursion as the deck is otherwise well-suited for it (4 Xenan Initiation + Twilight Hunt in the market). I don't know, I'll test it.
AGhostlyToaster Eternal Version: 1.47
Dawnwalker is an interesting card. Tocas is one of the best in the deck so I wouldn't replace it if you don't have to, but if you need to sub it might work. However, I'd look to make some sort of other change that helps ramp or to add more power sources if you lose Tocas.

When FoX releases in full, Ramba, Arena Showman looks like the best sub and is only a rare. My plan is to try to fit that card in here alongside Tocas; we'll see if that's good or too many 3-drops.
Axulus Edited Eternal Version: 1.47
Fun when you get the cards you need when you need them but doesn't deliver. Went from 500 to 1200 in masters, about a 10-20 win/loss record with it. The problem is it struggles with any kind of control, has no counter to it.
VaylinArcher Edited Eternal Version: 1.47
That has always been the praxis way. Dissociate is the only way to keep from getting blown out by a Harsh Rule. Praxis is always a hot and cold type of deck and has been since set 1.
sanjitps Eternal Version: 1.47
This deck is great! This is the first time I've ever made it to top 500 master and the deck is super fun as well. Thanks for the great list!
biologynut99 Eternal Version: 1.47
Too many other cards I'll need my shiftstone for to craft 4 Kairos, but one seems worthy.

Replacement units for the 3 kairos?
AGhostlyToaster Edited Eternal Version: 1.47
You could try Great Kiln Titan if you have it; it isn't nearly as powerful but is still big and does a lot. I dont really think there is a replacement for Kairos. Instead I think you should build the deck a little differently.

If I didnt have Kairos I would trade him and Yushkov for Prideleader and Xumucan if I had them. Then I would change the power to slant more toward time. Thundering Kerasaur is another pretty good card, or a few Gnash.
DeathSmile Eternal Version: 1.47
As usual came with a nice deck! thanks for sharing this with us
AGhostlyToaster Edited Eternal Version: 1.47
Thanks for the compliment, hope you enjoy it!