Tuning Titanshift After Hogaak Summer

Modern players can be seen everywhere, moving forward from the shadows and into the light of a brand new meta. The grey rain-curtain of Hogaak and Phoenix has rolled back, and we watch as Stoneforge Mystic arrives at the silver shores. What a time to be playing Modern.

In this new era, adjustments need to be made to each deck in order to properly combat the meta, and, in my case, that deck is Titanshift. But first, let’s talk about one thing.

Wrenn and Six.

I’ve mentioned in a few articles in the past that I am testing Wrenn and Six out in Scapeshift variants, but I haven’t posted a deck list as to what I’ve discovered. Now, I believe my research is complete enough to present my arguments for this card in Scapeshift. Due to the nature of Wrenn and Six being from the same set as Hogaak, naturally most of this data comes from Hogaak Summer, that being said, I rarely played against Hogaak, so I believe the data to still be relevant.

The first deck that I tested Wrenn and Six out in was, naturally, Titanshift. For the first build, I stuck with the traditional four Farseeks and two Explores, though I thought of swapping the numbers on the two cards. I was playing a full set of Wrenn and Six in this deck. This build felt mediocre. It felt just like regular Titanshift, except I either win or lose the game with more lands in hand. I also noticed that Wrenn and Six is pretty awkward in multiples, as Legendary permanents are. I was left hanging dry with unsatisfactory results, I knew there had to be more.

The next build I tried out was RUG-Shift, but very different from traditional RUG-Shift. My build was more closely related to Titanshift, but had a blue splash for Growth Spiral and a few copies of Remand. It was on four Explores alongside four Growth Spirals and four Wrenn and Six, as I wanted to see if by chance that was the new thing. The deck worked rather well, though I did find that eight Explore effects were too many to reliably ramp off of them. The deck had to be on 28 lands in order to reliably ramp from them on turns two and three.

Another issue with this build was being extremely weak to aggressive decks. Being a Scapeshift deck, you naturally have to play Mountains, which means shock lands. Adding the blue splash was done with four Misty Rainforest, a Breeding Pool, a Steam vents, and a basic Island. This was enough to consistently get the three colors I needed each game, but made the mana base extremely painful. Especially now that Hogaak is gone and Burn is seeing a large uptick in popularity, I don’t think this is the right time for this build. With another meta shift and proper tuning, the future may be nice to it however.

So here is what I’ve learned about Wrenn and Six:

  • She is awkward in multiples.
  • She combos well with Explore effects.
  • The more Explore effects you play, the worse they get.

With this knowledge, I decided that Titanshift is the correct Scapeshift shell for her, but the proper build still needed to obtained. This week after the ban announcement, I tuned the deck to be what I believe suitable for Wrenn and Six.

Titanshift

We settled on three Wrenn and Six, with four Explore effects. That’s all we need. With that combination, it feels like a very solid engine. Four Explore effects helps guarantee drawing 1-2 between turns two and three, and allows us to play a Wrenn and Six on three on top of an additional ramp spell.

This build is kind of reliant on Summoner’s Pact being more of a utility piece than a combo finder. I found that there are a lot of Artifact and Enchantment decks running around the local meta, so a mainboard Reclamation Sage is going to allow us to not auto-lose to Blood Moon or Leyline of Sanctity. It has added utility against Tron, Eldrazi Tron, Boggles, Urza Thopter Sword, not to mention the fact that Stoneforge Mystic just got unbanned.

Wood Elves is also quite good, as it’s a ramp spell that helps protect our Wrenn and Six for a turn. One thing I noticed is that Wrenn and Six can’t be what you rely on to win, she has to sit back and generate as much value as you can get out of her before you combo. Wood Elves can buy our Wrenn and Six (or us) and additional turn, which can change the match.

A single Khalni Heart Expedition is also being played for excellent synergies it has with Wrenn and Six and the seven fetch lands we are now running. Its only a one because it is one of the few cards in the deck that is a dead card in top deck mode.

I normally despise Sheltered Thicket in Scapeshift, but that value that it can generate off of Wrenn and Six is too much to turn down. One of them is justifiable. 

The sideboard is where the utility of this deck can really be seen. Collector Ouphe stops any equipment from doing anything, you can never have too many Rec Sages, Chameleon Colossus kills Jund and Death’s Shadow (yes, it is still a thing) and Gaea’s Revenge kills control. Obstinate Baloth is great against Burn and Jund, which there are a LOT of in the local meta, hence the play set of them.

 

Titanshift is in an excellent spot right now, with Tron, Jund and Control all on the rise. If you build it so it can survive the aggressive decks and combo decks that are popping up such as Urza and NeoBrand, you have a genuine competitor in the Modern meta.

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