Tuning Titanshift feat. Modern Horizons

Modern Horizons had a specific ‘lands matters’ theme to it, one that got me more excited than ever in the hopes that Titanshift would get some new upgrades. While the spoiler season unwrapped and I slowly began to realize how few playable cards there were in the set that Titanshift could use, I began going over my options for tuning. It’s more difficult to do without knowing the meta, but now that we are a few weeks in I think we can put together a pretty decent list. Without wasting any further time, here’s where I ended up.

Titanshift

William Sawyer

So let’s talk about what’s new.

First and foremost, there’s Wrenn and Six. Wrenn and Six calls for the changing of multiple things in order to keep the deck running smoothly. The first is, in order to ensure that Wrenn will net us value, I’ve gone up from my traditional six fetch lands to eight. This almost guarantees that there will be a land in our graveyard on our second turn.

There are a few ripple effects caused by playing eight fetch lands, however, that we need to resolve. The first is how painful it can be fetching every turn. Courser of Kruphix is our answer to this. Not only will this offset the loss of life form our fetch lands, it also allows us to filter our draw steps to ensure that the engine can continue to run smoothly. With Wrenn online, we won’t need to draw lands for the rest of the game, especially where we’re not playing any Explore effects.

Talk of drawing too many lands leads me to my next subject. I, traditionally, like playing 27 lands in Titanshift, as it ensures that we’ll draw enough lands to be able to hit our land drop every turn while we tutor lands out of our deck. 27 was a safe number, but Wrenn and Six is offering a different perspective. Now we run the risk of flooding out. This is slightly offset by the fact that eight of our 26 land mana base is now fetch lands, but it’s still a risk I would not like to take, and would rather dedicate that slot to a third Lightning Bolt.

Those are just the deck building choices I’ve had to make in order to justify playing Wrenn and Six. So what does she actually do for us? She does a lot and a little all at the same time.

First off, she guarantees we will hit our land drop every turn. This is huge considering the countless times that this deck has just needed to play its land for the turn until it can cast Scapeshift. It sounds simple, but against the interactive decks where their standard operation is sit there, draw a card, play a land and pass the turn, Wrenn and Six will be able to generate enough value for us to be an engine by herself.

Being able to come down on turn two and deal one damage to something seems like it wouldn’t cause too much impact, but allow me to supply you with a quick list of creatures that Wrenn and Six can kill.

  • Birds of Paradise
  • Blighted Agent
  • Bloodghast
  • Champion of the Parish
  • Dark Confidant
  • Glistener Elf
  • Gravecrawler
  • Grim Lavamancer
  • Mausoleum Wanderer
  • Memnite
  • Noble Hierarch
  • Phantasmal Image
  • Rattlechains
  • Selfless Spirit
  • Signal Pest
  • Snapcaster Mage
  • Steel Overseer
  • Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
  • Thalia’s Lieutenant
  • Vault Skirge
  • Vendilion Clique
  • Vizier of Remedies

All of these creatures die from Wrenn and Six by herself. She also upgrades our Lightning Bolts to four damage and our Magmatic Sinkholes to six damage, which I hardly need tell you is a heck of a lot of damage.

If we just so happen to get to her ultimate, I don’t see a way we lose the game. We can retrace our Lightning Bolts, Scapeshifts, or Summoner’s Pacts to do pretty much whatever we need in any given situation. I don’t expect this to happen often, but it is possible, and it can be game ending. That concludes my justification for the inclusion of Wrenn and Six.

Magmatic Sinkhole is the next new inclusion. I’m still kind of on the fence with this card, as it feels like a slightly upgraded Harvest Pyre to me, and I’ve never been a fan of Harvest Pyre. The fact that we’re playing eight fetch lands is a strong argument for this card, on top of the fact that we’re not using our graveyard for anything else, save a Wrenn and Six activation. I’m hoping that Magmatic Sinkhole will act more like a Murderous Cut that can hit Planeswalkers. 

 

So that’s it for the main board. Only five slots in the deck will be taken by Modern Horizons cards, but those five slots required the deck to be changed dramatically, even though it appears quite similar to every other Titanshift list out there. Now it’s time to see what’s new in the Sideboard.

Collector Ouphe is the one and only slot in the Sideboard that is from Modern Horizons, though it is a powerful one. Not only does green now have Stony Silence, but we get it on a creature that can be tutored for with Summoner’s Pact. This is extremely strong, meaning we can play one copy of it and have it function as three copies once it’s in the deck.

The rest of the Sideboard is pretty standard, my only concern being my suite of graveyard hate. As it stands I have three Relic of Progenitus in the side, but it feels awkward. I have to respect the graveyard decks, and I will lose to them if I don’t. But Relic makes both Magmatic Sinkhole and Wrenn and Six worse. This isn’t as big of an issue as I believe it to be, as the match ups where you want Relic of Progenitus are likely the match ups where you would side out Sinkhole and Wrenn (especially when you factor in that Relic is coming in from the side) but it nonetheless feels wrong. I’ve toyed with the idea of just straight swapping the Relics for Grafdigger’s Cage, but the card draw and permanent exile effect of Relic helps get us closer to our combo while also dealing with cards like Bridge from Below better than Cage can.

 

That’s it for this right up, I believe this to be the best that Titanshift can be for the current state of Modern, the other option being main decking Relic of Progenitus and not playing Wrenn or the Sinkholes, but I believe the upside provided by the latter cards far outpaces the upside of a mai boarded sideboard card.

Modern is still flip-flopping around, trying to find a hold of what’s good and what’s hot garbage. If there is one thing that’s for sure, graveyard decks have gotten better. The Hogaak Bridgevine decks teamed with Phoenix and Dredge make for very potent threats, while other decks that rely less heavily on the graveyard such as Jund and Mardu Pyromancer are still putting up extremely good results. All of this only means one thing; I hope you’re bringing graveyard hate to your next Modern 1K.