For anyone who knows me, they know that Scapeshift is by and large my favorite deck I’ve ever played. I’ve played it now for the better part of three years switching back and forth between Titanshift, RUGshift, and Bring to Light Scapeshift, though Titanshift is definitely my favorite. Today I’m going to be discussing a few different options that Scapeshift has available to it in the coming Modern Horizons, and why I will include or exclude them. Before we go further however, here is the latest 75 for my Titanshift list.
This is just about the tightest list that I can string together as of today. Over the course of my years playing this deck I have grown accustomed to playing one-ofs such as a Reclamation Sage and Prismatic Omen in the main. This is because these cards can individually be very powerful but I definitely don’t want to draw them every game. Reclamation Sage is a house in the Affinity, Tron, and Amulet matchup, but is essentially just a three mana 2/1 everywhere else. Prismatic Omen has a lot of power behind it, and I’ve actually killed control players by casting a turn two Omen, and then just hitting my land drops for the rest of the game. But this card is absolutely atrocious against the aggressive decks as a two mana do-nothing Enchantment.
The Sideboard also has a lot of one-ofs, as my attempt to make Scapeshift’s Sideboard as versatile as it can be without causing detriment to ourselves. Detection Tower can be grabbed off of a Primeval Titan or Scapeshift, making it easily find-able, Relic of Progenitus and Grafdigger’s Cage cause the same effect through different methods, Seal of Primordium and Krosan Grip are additional copies of Reclamation Sage, Anger of the Gods gives us a third copy of a three mana Sorcery for three damage when we need it, and Chameleon Colossus and Gaea’s Revenge act as toolbox cards for two specific match ups: Death’s Shadow and Control.
Death’s Shadow’s only answer to Chameleon Colossus is double Snapcaster Mage, which is awful for them. Control really only has Settle the Wreckage and Supreme Verdict to take out Gaea’s Revenge, but there is a high likelihood that they Sideboard those cards out in favor of more meaningful interaction, making Gaea’s Revenge very much un-answerable.
Both of these creatures can be grabbed out of our deck with a Summoner’s Pact, which is even bigger. I’ve looked control players in the eye as I place a Summoner’s Pact on the stack, and every single time I see them reach for a counter spell, then stop themselves, realizing they can counter the Primeval Titan instead, that way I still have to pay for the Summoner’s Pact. So they allow it to resolve only for me to grab an un-counterable creature that hits them for eight damage this turn, giving them a maximum of two draw steps to find an answer which may not even be in their deck. This is by far my favorite piece of Titanshift tech.
This is all fine and dandy, but what does Modern Horizons change for us?
Unfortunately, not a whole lot.
These are the only five cards that I could find that had a chance of making the cut for Titanshift. Now I’m going to be discussing each card individually and see if I can convince myself to play some of them.
First up is Springbloom Druid. This card is very reminiscent of Harrow, a card that I’ve wanted to be good for a very long time. Springbloom Druid fixes the issue that Harrow had, being you have to sacrifice a land on cast, but unfortunately takes away the Instant speed utility of Harrow in exchange for a 1/1 body. The Instant speed may not be relevant, but a 1/1 body may not be either. At worst, it’ll fog a threat for a turn, at best it will trade with a Snapcaster Mage or a plethora of one toughness creatures in Humans. I believe in order to have this in the main, the build have to be centered to a more graveyard-eccentric version of the deck.
Wrenn and Six is pretty hard to evaluate, but I believe it has what it takes to make the cut without too many changes to the main deck. First off, it buys back fetch lands as well as Valakuts and other lands that get hit with Ghost Quarter or Field of Ruin, and as stated above, there are a plethora of creatures with one toughness that can die to this to ensure an empty board state at the end of our second turn, which is huge for protecting this card. It’s an engine that generates card advantage, but I think we need more effects that let us play an extra land to really push this over the edge for us.
Collector Ouphe and Deep Forest Hermit are both solid sideboard cards. The Ouphe is obviously great against Tron and Affinity, and the Hermit can muck up a lot of board states, making it difficult to attack through favorably. I actually think Deep Forest Hermit is better than Deranged Hermit, as I would much rather have Fading 3 than Echo in Modern. By the time this card would die from Fading, the game should be more or less over anyways, buying us plenty of time against the creatures decks. It has main deck potential even, depending on how aggressive the meta game turns out to be.
Ruination Rioter is a very difficult card to evaluate here. The fact that the ability happens when it dies rather than when it enters the battlefield is what really kills it for me. Against creature decks it won’t be hard to throw this in as a chump blocker, but even then you need to ensure that you have lands in your graveyard. If this is done post-Scapeshift it can be fatal, hitting your opponent for upwards of 10 damage, but that’s if your Scapeshift doesn’t kill them. I’m not saying that this situation doesn’t come up, but post-Scapeshift survivability is not a high priority for the deck.
So from what we’ve gathered, these cards all have the potential to be okay to good with the current iteration of Titanshift, but can be good to awesome in a more graveyard eccentric version. That, of course, comes at the trade off of being more reliant on the graveyard, which is not something I’m happy or comfortable with in a meta where people are already packing graveyard hate against Dredge and Izzet Phoenix. I’m going to be brewing up a few different lists in the coming days for a new type of Scapeshift list that I’ve never seen before that takes advantage of these cards, while not relying on the graveyard so heavily and will report back once I’ve come to a comfortable 75.
And with Modern Horizons’s prerelease this weekend, we’re going to get our first chance to start picking up the cards we’ll need for a new Modern format, so be sure to preregister to make sure that you have your spot saved for one of the most innovative sets that I’ve seen release to date. Early sign ups can be found here, as well as booster box pre orders if you’re not confident that a prerelease will get you all you need.