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The Salt Machine: Mountains of Fun [Primer]

Modern Land Destruction Primer Ramp RG (Gruul)



Over the battlefield, a blood red moon rises. Any hope the opposing army once had drains away as it looms higher in the sky.

Welcome to Green/Red Ponza

Green/Red Ponza is a meta deck. It can do incredibly well in some metas, but terribly in others. The main idea is to stick a Blood Moon on the field early, then slam land destruction effects and huge stompy creatures until victory is achieved. If that sounds like lots of fun, look in the primer below!

Blood Moon: Nothing says fun like a turn 2 Blood Moon! The card is pretty unfair, but it keeps the modern format's greedy mana bases in check, which is necessary. This deck functions best with a Blood Moon on the field, because most opponents will be stuck with lots of Mountains and not much to do with them, allowing the deck's huge creatures to have their way with them. The deck runs a full playset of this fun, balanced card.

Utopia Sprawl: In my opinion, this is one of the best mana dorks in modern. It isn't a creature, which is huge, and it taps for any color of mana. While it has to be attached to a Forest, this deck doesn't have many problems with it, and it opens up some ridiculous plays on turn 2. A full playset of these.

Bonfire of the Damned: DAMN. When this card comes off of the top, it's a miracle.Like this, actually The card is a sweeper that hits only opponent's stuff, and when it comes off of the top, it feels like the best card in the game of magic. Only two here, to prevent drawing one in the opening hand.

Madcap Memes: Yeah, that's right. This deck is running that combo. Spoiler alert: the two-of Platinum Emperion with this card means that Ponza can land a game ender against burn and affinity on turn two. While it is a dead card if both of the emperions are dead, this can help Ponza stabilize in the blink of an eye. Only two of this card are present, since more of them than there are Platinum Emperions is fairly useless.

Beast Within: The extent of the interaction present in the mainboard, Beast Within can destroy any permanent at no cost, simply because all of the threats in the deck are larger than the beast token that the opponents get. It can even be used to create some sweet plays by blowing up your own stuff to get a 3/3. A playset of the card is included for its utility.

Stone Rain: It blows up a land. That is all. Mana denial in a format where decks frequently run on 3 or fewer lands on the field is very powerful, and even more so when it turns off their only lands that produce non-red mana when a Blood Moon is on the field. The deck runs a full playset. And yes, I do run only white-border, Revised edition Stone Rain(3ED)s.

Mwonvuli Acid-Moss: Ohh Time Spiral, never change. What a weird card. Also, what a powerful card! It destroys a land (usually 3 mana) and gets a land (Usually 2 mana) all for 4 mana. It is the card that sets up such bonkers early plays with big creatures. Another full playset of land destruction here.

Chandra, Flamecaller: Normally, no modern player in their right mind would run a six-mana planeswalker in a non-control deck. However, Ponza has the ramp to do it. When Chandra, Flamecaller hits the field, it becomes a must-answer threat. All of its modes are relevant. It makes 6 damage per turn, it draws cards by dumping useless stuff, and it can wipe the field when necessary. Only one is played in the deck due to its mana cost.

Chandra, Torch of Defiance: Little Chandra is a new addition, having previously been Arlinn Kord  Flip. She just seems better, though. All of her modes are incredibly powerful, just generating insane card advantage. While she still needs testing, she feels like she'll be better for the deck. Just one copy in the board to round out the noncreature spells.

Arbor Elf: This card is directly responsible for being able to land a turn 3 6/6. With Utopia Sprawl, this elf taps for 2 mana, and with 2 Utopia Sprawls, it taps for 3. This means that with the right opener, the deck can have access to 7 mana on turn 3 (sound cough cough Tron cough familiar?), except it is colored and is casting an Inferno Titan. We run a full playset.

Birds of Paradise: To round out the package of mana dorks, a two-of Birds of Paradise allows the deck to almost always have a mana dork in its opener.

Inferno Titan: The best single bomb in the deck, Inferno Titan comes down and pings up to 3 things, which can be a genuine board wipe in many match-ups. If the deck is allowed to untap with one on the board, it can even just end the game with its fire breathing ability. Dropping one of these on turn 3 is such an advantage that it can be game over. The deck runs two of these bombs.

Platinum Emperion: Not much of a surprise anymore, but here he is. This guy is in the deck to shut the door on decks like Merfolk, Affinity, and Burn by turn 3. Affinity and Burn just have such a hard time getting through one, and unless they expend significant resources on killing one, it will end their game for them. It frequently gets sided out against more interactive decks for better threats. There are 2 in the deck, one for each Madcap Experiment.

Stormbreath Dragon: Like most of the threats in the deck, this one has an impact as soon as it hits the field. In this case, it's a 4/4 flyer with haste that can only be killed by Terminate, a killspell that has fallen out of favor in recent weeks. It has too high of a mana cost to be killed by Fatal Push, and it dodges Path to Exile and Condemn. When it becomes monstrous, especially against control, the game is just about over. Only one in the list because of its low damage output compared to others, although I am considering 2.

Thragtusk: It's the SWAGTUSK! This is an incredibly powerful card, being a 2-for-1 all the time while also gaining 5 life. It is huge, able to kill almost anything in combat, and is just a beast (geddit). Only one in the list for diversity.

Forest: The deck runs 9 of these basics to be able to function under a Blood Moon. Other than that, they just produce green mana.

Mountain: The ability to have red sources is very important, and if there is no Blood Moon on the field, it is important not to get choked on red by a clever opponent. The deck runs 2 so that it can have red mana when necessary.

Stomping Ground: The only dual land in the deck, this one turns into a straight Mountain when there is a Blood Moon on the field. It is, however, fetchable and provides both colors when necessary. Only two are included in the list.

Wooded Foothills: This is purely deck thinning, with a side job of being a Mountain when a Blood Moon is on the field. It can grab both colors and make later draws better, which is good. Four copies in the main.

Windswept Heath: These are effectively Wooded Foothills number 5-8. Sadly, they don't fetch red, but that really isn't a problem most of the time.

Kessig Wolf Run: The only colorless producer in the deck, this land can lead to wins if everything else is going awry. It can just pump up a Birds of Paradise or Arbor Elf to 5+ power and win that way. It also becomes a Mountain. The deck only wants one of these.

Natural State: It hits most problem artifacts and enchantments in modern at instant speed for a green. Very versatile in the right matchup, and adds just that little bit more protection the deck needs. One copy.

Relic of Progenitus: The best graveyard hate for this deck in my opinion, as it can stick around and be annoying while always ready to exile everything from the graveyard. In addition, it is a good topdeck since it cycles. Two copies.

Ancient Grudge: Great against affinity, lantern, and U/B Tezzerator. It is almost always a 2-for-1, and it is just a really good hate card. 2 copies.

Scavenging Ooze: This is the last piece of artifact hate, being especially good against DSJ for its ability to get very large very quickly while denying 'goyfs their huge bodies. 1 copy.

Sudden Shock Great card against both Affinity and Infect. It hits their guys without them being able to respond, which can be huge. 2 copies.

Anger of the Gods: While Bonfire of the Damned is good, it is sometimes too slow. In those cases, or in cases where more sweepers are needed, Anger of the Gods comes in. 2 copies.

Kitchen Finks: Well, this card is amazing against aggressive decks. It gains 4 life and blocks twice, meaning that it can significantly impact the matchup. 2 copies in the side.

Trinisphere: Now this is some spicy tech. When it comes out on turn 2, it is a Time Walk. In addition, the rest of this deck's curve is 3 or above, while much of the opponent's curve is probably below 2. It also just slays Storm if it lands. One copy.

Choke: It turns out that this is a real game-ender against blue decks, since Blood Moon shuts off their nonbasics and Choke hits the rest of the blue sources. However, it's a pretty narrow card so only one copy is run.

Obstinate Baloth: Great against discard based decks, and it can also come in against aggro as another huge lifegain creature. Only one copy, though.


Round One: Affinity

Game One: While he came out strong, I got a turn three Madcap Experiment. However, I couldn't make contact due to a Steel Overseer and a bunch of creatures. It started to look like a 40 minute game one, since his Vault Skirge gained him tons of life (look at the rulings on Platinum Emperion on gatherer). Then he double Galvanic Blasted the Emperion, and killed me in one hit.

Game Two: Turn two Blood Moon and two Stone Rains stopped him in his tracks, clearing the way for enough turns for an Inferno Titan to beat down for the kill. Ancient Grudge ended up taking care of his one creature.

Game Three: The hand had a turn two Madcap Experiment, Natural State, and an Ancient Grudge. The Platinum Emperion smashed him down in three turns. 1-0 so far.

Round Two: Grixis Control

Game One: He countered my turn two Blood Moon and landed a turn three Tasigur, the Golden Fang. I had no answer to that, and he won over the course of a few turns.

Game Two: I kept a one-lander, and though I didn't draw a land for a turn, I slammed a Blood Moon after he tapped out for a Serum Visions. He had only fetches and shocks, leading to a Thragtusk victory. It felt pretty good to win through mana screw.

Game Three: This was an intense game. I came out strong with another turn two Blood Moon, but he had some basics and kept my creatures off of the field for a bit. We both were topdecking, and his hand started to fill up with interaction. I topdecked a Chandra, Flamecaller, and sent in for six with the elemental tokens. He EOT Lighting Bolted Chandra, Flamecaller, then Lightning Bolt + Snapcaster Mage ed her on his turn, killing her. He also played a Tasigur, the Golden Fang. It was looking grim, and then I topdecked an Inferno Titan, hit him for two and the Snapcaster Mage for one, leaving him at three life. He didn't see an answer, and I took the match. 2-0 so far.

Round Three: Burn

Game One: I didn't know what my opponent was on since he has lots of decks. When the first Lightning Bolt came for face on turn one I realized the problem. However, a turn three Platinum Emperion shut him down for a turn until he expended three Lightning Bolt effects on it. Next turn I slammed a Thragtusk, and he scooped.

Game Two: He played a Mountain turn one and a Goblin Guide. I played an Arbor Elf and passed. He missed his second land drop and played another Goblin Guide. I took the hits, then Stone Rained his land away on my turn. He drew his card, attacked, then passed. I had some breathing room. I played land and Utopia Sprawl and passed. He drew a land, bolted face, then attacked. What with fetching and stuff, I was at one life. I drew a card... Kitchen Finks off the top! I played both that and another Stone Rain, leaving him landless again. Suddenly, he had no favorable attacks. He didn't draw a land, and passed back. I drew, played a mana dork, and passed. He was counting on a land and a bolt for the win. He drew land, and said, "It was a land... I'll bolt you for the win?" I responded by Beast Withining my own Kitchen Finks to gain two life and a 3/3 beast token. He had me at two, but with my Mwonvuli Acid-Moss and Thragtusk the next turn, he scooped it up. 3-0 on the night thus far.

Round Four: Eldrazi Tron

To be honest, I don't really remember much other than I turn two'd a Blood Moon both games with creature backup. That matchup is so very easy for the deck. I went 4-0 on the night and earned $30 for my victory.

Round One: Gifts Storm

Game One: I knew as soon as he played a Baral, Chief of Compliance that this match was going to be tough. The deck is almost always awful against Storm. I Beast Withined his first Baral, but he dropped a second and Stormed me off.

Game Two: This game I turn two Beast Withined a land, then turn three played both Blood Moon and Choke. Then I slammed a Stormbreath Dragon and killed him with the monstrosity.

Game Three: Turn two Stone Rain a land, turn three Chandra, Torch of Defiance, minusing to kill a Baral. Next turn Chandra, Torch of Defiance made RR and I cast Choke into his two tapped Islands and Stone Rained his Mountain. He scooped to Inferno Titan and Stormbreath Dragon. Somehow I won! 1-0.

Round Two: Living End

Game One: I just made sure he had no lands this game. I beat him to death with huge guys and he couldn't do anything.

Game Two: He was too fast for me, and though I played a Thragtusk early, he had too much force on board to deal with.

Game Three: This was the best match of the night. He forced an early Living End for two Street Wraiths. I managed to deal with them, but by that time he had reloaded for his second one. This one got lots of power on board, but a couple of Beast Withins took care of the bigger things. I traded away my board for his, then ripped a Bonfire of the Damned off the top for X=3 to wipe his stuff except for a Monstrous Carabid. I had a beast token, and we started racing. I played a Kitchen Finks and passed back to him. He resolved his third Living End, leaving me with just a Beast token and a 2/1 Kitchen Finks. I had 18 life, he had 2. He had 24 power on board, I did not. I had 4 lands and a tapped Arbor Elf. He attacked with everything, and I blocked away his two biggest creatures, leaving me at 2 life. My hand was an Inferno Titan and a Mwonvuli Acid-Moss. I drew a card... and it was a Wooded Foothills. I windmill slammed the Inferno Titan for the win. 2-0.

Round Three: Orzhov Tokens

Game One: My hand was fine, but my draws were not. Four consecutive lands off the top put me far enough behind that I died before any real actions could be taken.

Game Two: He had to mull to four, and my hand was gas. He didn't stand a chance.

Game Three: I had to mull to five, and he had a fairly agressive hand. It was an anticlimactic end to an exciting and fun night. I went 2-1 and got $10 in credit.

Round One: Ad Nauseum

Game One: He got the god hand: 2x Lotus Bloom + lands + ad nauseum + Angel's Grace. I lost right quick.

Game Two: The same thing happened! It was unreal, he got insane hands both games. The round was over for me in about 7 minutes. A stellar start :( 0-1.

Round Two: Mono-White Hatebears

Game One: This was the same player who played Burn against me on the 4/11/17 Modern event, so I wasn't sure what deck he was on. However, it is always a good bet that this guy is on hatebears; he's been playing the deck for 4 years and it is entirely foiled out, masterpiece Aether Vialfoil icons and all. Anyways, Game One is a race. I blow up a few of his lands, and then start racing with a Stormbreath Dragon. As it turns out, protection from white is quite good in this matchup. I ripped a Bonfire of the Damned to clear away most of his board, and I am able to get there with the Stormbreath Dragon.

Game Two: This game was all his. He sandbagged me at every opportunity, and just slowly and surely ate away at my life total. His deck performed exactly as it was supposed to.

Game Three: This game was a good one for me. The land destruction proved to be too much for him, and he struggled to keep up with the threats that I was bringing to bear. Once again, Stormbreath Dragon proved its worth by getting in for 16 damage before the game was out. 1-1.

Round Three: Jeskai Control

Game One: I got off to an interesting start, playing out three mana dorks and a Blood Moon. While he was trying to play through the moon, I started slamming threats out at a rate he couldn't answer. Chandra, Flamecaller into Inferno Titan is not an answerable threat while on three Mountains and an Island.

Game Two: This game was his from the very start. The hand I kept was slow, so I would have had a turn 3 Blood Moon, except he Vendilion Cliqued it away. I proceeded to flood out something fierce, and a Snapcaster Mage ended the game.

Game Three: This was a gross game. I landed a Choke on turn 2. He used Spreading Seas on a Forest to both knock off my Utopia Sprawl and keep it tapped with Choke. The next turn I played Blood Moon. At this point he is completely locked out of the game, and it was just a matter of time until I got a big threat and killed him. 2-1.

Round Four: Grixis Shadow

Game One: This was the luckiest I got all night. I played this game very poorly but somehow pulled it out. He tore my hand apart with Inquisition of Kozilek and Thoughtseize, and though I blew up some lands, he got ahead on board. I had no hand, 6 life, and I was facing down an 8/8 Death's Shadow and a Tasigur, the Golden Fang. He was tapped out. I drew my last card, knowing full well that I was definitely dead no matter what. Well, we both forgot about Bonfire of the Damned. I domed him for 7. Not much he could do.

Game Two: This game he did the exact same thing, except I didn't get obscenely lucky. He beat me quickly and efficiently. I kept another slow hand at six cards, which is probably why.

Game Three: This time I kept a good hand, and though he did Thoughtseize me on turn one, he kept a one lander against a land destruction deck. Stone Rain and Mwonvuli Acid-Moss did their job and kept him down until a Chandra, Torch of Defiance provided too much value for me for the win. 3-1 again, more prize money.

Round One: G/W Duders

Game One: It was this guy's first tournament with the deck, so it was still a little spotty. He led off strong, playing out a lot of Loxodon Smiter-type creatures and got me to one (!) life when I cast a Madcap Experiment. He obviously had no answer to it and durdled for a turn or two before getting blown out by a huge Bonfire of the Damned.

Game Two: This was a strange one. I kept a no-threat hand, banking on an Anger of the Gods and land destruction to carry me for long enough to find a threat. While Anger did some work, a sneaky Loxodon Smiter made it through the fire and started beating down. My opponent had no lands, and I had a hand full of LD. After 6 solid turns of attacking, he finally wore me down and killed me. I was just a tiny bit salty :)

Game Three: I ended up just blowing this game out of the water. While he, again, came out swinging, a bunch of land destruction paired with an Inferno Titan ended the game rather quickly. 1-0.

Round Two: Revolt Zoo

Game One: He did mean things to me! I had no real answer to the amount of permanents put onto the board in the first couple turns, and the three toughness creatures made Bonfire of the Damned for three (seven mana) unfeasable. I died real quick-like.

Game Two: Thank goodness for sideboards. I got a Kitchen Finks out on turn two and followed it up with a Stormbreath Dragon. He kept trying to find a Reckless Bushwacker to put me out of action, but ended up dumping three Burning-Tree Emissarys onto the field out of desperation. However, I had saved my Anger of the Gods in my opener, and wiped him out in one fell swoop to take the game.

Game Three: My hand was just a little too slow this time. It was double Bonfire of the Damned (feelsbadman), Birds of Paradise, Arbor Elf, Chandra, Flamecaller, and a couple of lands. He kept bolting my mana dorks though! He got enough damage through just fast enough that I couldn't land the Chandra, Flamecaller to end the game. 1-1.

Round Three: U/B(g) Tezzerator

Game One: Same opponent as my first tournament with the deck. He decided to splash green for Abrupt Decay, which, while being good in theory, is horrible against the Blood Moon deck. Game one was savage; I held him off colored sources for long enough to land a couple huge threats. He managed to assemble Sword of the Meek + Thopter Foundry , but I had a double Beast Within to deal with both that and the Welding Jar on the field.

Game Two: He led off with a thoughseize, taking care of a Chandra, Torch of Defiance. I just played land for a couple turns. This is one of the few matchups where keeping a dork-less hand doesn't feel too bad at all. He got off to a strong start, but I drew both Ancient Grudges and a Beast Within to take care of a Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas and some artifacts. The land destruction also kept him off of Whir of Invention for long enough to land both a Chandra, Flamecaller and a Thragtusk, effectively ending the game. 2-1



Drkuhn says... #1

Like the format of this page. No matchup notes? I'm getting the rest of my mono green deck together and I'm taking some notes from your deck. Why not just play the cheaper version of platium emperion Elderscale Wurm? Then you wouldn't have to fumble around with the combo. Why not just main anger of the gods in place of bonfire, freeing up two more spots in the side?

April 16, 2017 6:10 p.m.

Moonbar says... #2

Hey there Drkuhn, thanks for the comment!

I posted an FNM result from last Friday just now, so you should take a look at that.

If you are not on a budget for your mono green deck, I'd highly recommend adding red for Blood Moon, as it can sometimes read 'You Win the Game' against some opponents.

My reasoning for not playing Elderscale Wurm is as follows: the wurm always is cast for 7 (three of which is Green, which sometimes matters) and doesn't actually stop life drain effects and such. Platinum Emperion simply shuts down any conventional ways of winning. In addition, the Madcap Experiment + Platinum Emperion combo is cast for 4 mana and only needs one card in hand, Madcap Experiment. This allows me to cast it on turn 2, unlike turn 4-5 for the wurm.

Anger of the Gods hits my mana dorks also, and costs double red. I would rather get a sometimes-bonfire-for-x=7 in the main than always 3 to everything.

Thanks again for the input!

April 16, 2017 10:59 p.m.

Dren_Nas says... #3

Why not use trinisphere? You can have a possible soft lock on turn 2 if you go first. I run a deck which is a little simpler, but I'm always looking to improve it.

April 27, 2017 12:08 a.m.

Moonbar says... #4

Dren_Nas: If you take a look at the list, I am running one in the sideboard. The thing is that the card is fairly useless in the mainboard and a terrible topdeck. I prefer it in the side against Storm and stuff.

April 27, 2017 12:13 a.m.

Dren_Nas says... #5

That's fair. just wondering. :)

April 27, 2017 12:19 a.m.

Moonbar says... #6

Dren_Nas: yeah, no problem. I also want to be able to run the Madcap Experiment + Platinum Emperion combo in the main deck.

April 27, 2017 12:27 a.m.

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Compare to inventory
Date added 6 months
Last updated 3 days

This deck is Modern legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 3.16
Tokens 3/3 Beast, 1/1 Elemental
Folders buy, Inspired, Modern - Ponza
Views 519

Revision 13 (4 days ago)

+2 Bonfire of the Damned main
-2 Bonfire of the Damnedfoil icon main
-4 Windswept Heathfoil icon main
-1 Kessig Wolf Runfoil icon main
-4 Beast Withinfoil icon main
-2 Inferno Titanfoil icon main
-4 Mwonvuli Acid-Mossfoil icon main
-4 Utopia Sprawlfoil icon main
-4 Stone Rainfoil icon main
-4 Wooded Foothillsfoil icon main
+4 Utopia Sprawl main
+4 Wooded Foothills main
+2 Mountain main
+4 Mwonvuli Acid-Moss main
-2 Platinum Emperionfoil icon main
-9 Forestfoil icon main
+2 Birds of Paradise main
-2 Birds of Paradisefoil icon main
+2 Inferno Titan main
-1 Chandra, Flamecallerfoil icon main
and 62 other change(s)

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