Krark-Clan Ironworks is out of Modern, which means changes far greater then the turning of leaves await us with this new seasons beginning. The meta is going to shift drastically now that decks don’t have to worry about racing KCI. Because the hyper-aggressive decks are going to slow down, this gives us room for interaction, bringing control and midrange decks back into the format. And with this new breath of slow, interactive decks, Titanshift will prey.
Before I move into card choices, I want to preface with how I imagine the format will shape. Modern is going to initially shift in favor of the creature decks. Decks like Izzet Phoenix, Death’s Shadow, and Dredge will stay on top, but fair decks such as Spirits, Humans, and Jund will encapsulate them.
After the meta has adjusted, control will begin to rise. A steady meta makes for some great meta-calls and deck building choices can be aligned easier to cover multiple bases with one card. Because of this, control will see an uptick in popularity and the more degenerate decks will fall out of favor, leaving control and midrange creature decks.
With the wins ripe for the picking, decks like Tron and Affinity will swoop in and prey upon their easy matchups in the fair decks. People will be attempting to adjust accordingly, as Artifact hate will be light in Sideboards at this time. Once the meta has adjusted to these new top decks, the cycle will repeat.
With all of that in mind, let’s get to the deck.
Sakura-Tribe Elder (Steve) and Farseek: Two mana ramp spells, one of which fogs a creature’s attack for a turn. No one can beat Steve when it comes to turning snakes into trees. Farseek can’t block, but it can grab Stomping Grounds or Cinder Glades, as it’s not restricted to just basics like Steve is. These have to be 4-ofs, as it is essential to have a ramp spell on turn two.
Search for Tomorrow: Search for Tomorrow is the best ramp spell in the deck, as it’s the only one we can play on turn one. Also, it puts the basic land that it grabs into play untapped, something a lot of people miss about the card. The only time this card isn’t great is on turn two.
Flame Slash and Lightning Bolt: I arrived at the arrangement of a 2-2 split between these cards for a few reasons; The most resounding argument for Flame Slash being Thing in the Ice. Izzet Phoenix puts up excellent results too consistently for me to no longer respect the threat that thaws from ice. There is an argument for Roast over Flame Slash, as Roast can hit Gurmag Anglers and can more consistently kill Tarmogoyfs, but I respect Spirits and Kitesail Freebooter enough to know better.
Anger of the Gods and Sweltering Suns: I have fought long and hard against Sweltering Suns in the past, but I believe the time for it has come. It’s a solid 1-1 split on these two sweepers, as this effect is very subpar against Death’s Shadow, Amulet Titan and control. I want to main deck two sweepers, but I don’t want to commit to two hard sweepers.
Chandra, Torch of Defiance: I’ve been through a lot with this card, and it’s once again time to sleeve my favorite Planeswalker up. Chandra provides card advantage to avoid running out of steam after you’ve played your ramp spells. She helps find the combo by ticking up, she can also contribute mana for if you need to ramp and cast a win condition to win in the same turn. If you’re in a stickier bind, she can remove a threat while fogging another one for a turn by having your opponent attack her.
Also, I have used her ultimate before, and it will win the game.
Explore: Explore is a support card rather than a core card because of how it functions, which is more of a cantrip that can sometimes ramp us, rather than a hard ramp spell. It’s in the deck more for the filling and thinning than anything.
Prismatic Omen: I’m a big believer in the 1-of Prismatic Omen. It’s very volatile in how it acts in a game, as sometimes it will let you get a lethal Scapeshift off of just six lands rather than seven, and sometimes it will let you kill your opponent with natural Valakut triggers, and some games it will kill you because it’s a two mana “Do nothing” Enchantment. It has the added perk of getting you more Green mana when under a Blood Moon, but it’s just solid enough to make the cut.
Reclamation Sage: Scapeshifts biggest weakness is its softness to hate cards like Blood Moon, Leyline of Sanctity, and Alpine Moon. Unfortunately, some decks are known to main deck multiple of these. It’s out of respect for this, that I run a main deck Reclamation Sage. It can also deal with an Aether Vial or Shriekhorn if needed, and can get rid of Spreading Seas and Ensnaring Bridges as well. It has just enough versatility to be great as a 1-of.
Summoner’s Pact: This may seem like it’s just copies five and six of Primeval Titan, but it’s got a lot more potential to that. Most of it comes from the sideboard, as it can fetch us a Gaea’s Revenge to kill a control player, or an Obstinate Baloth in response to a Liliana of the Veil uptick. The card is absurd and we need to utilize what we can of its potential.
Primeval Titan and Scapeshift: The real reason we’re here. Both of these cards have the potential to outright win us the game by themselves at any time after turn three. Primeval Titan can sometimes take an additional turn, but he also pressures the opponent with a 6/6 Trample body as well. It’s a fair trade off.
Detection Tower: This is a new addition to our arsenal, a new way to fight Hexproof effects. Collected Company decks are on the rise again, and Shalai, Voice of Plenty is proving to be a pain. We need to have a way to deal with Hexproof on multiple bodies, and this is a way to fight it. It can also be fetched up by a Primeval Titan, which is extra nice.
Chameleon Colossus and Gaea’s Revenge: Both of these creatures are dedicated hate cards that can both be grabbed off of a Summoner’s Pact. This is great, because by siding in the one copy that we have, we’re essentially uping our count of them in the deck to three. Colossus is for Death’s Shadow, as they have no way to deal with it other than Lightning Bolt and Snapcaster Mage. Gaea’s Revenge murders control players without a second thought.
Seriously, I won three back-to-back control matchups at Grand Prix Vegas last year because they would let me resolve a Summoner’s Pact, thinking they could just counter the Primeval Titan I was about to grab. Moments later, they’re staring down the barrel of a Gaea’s Revenge that’s already hit them for eight damage, none of their targeted removal can hit it, and they took out all of their sweepers after sideboarding because they’re playing against Scapeshift.
Gaea’s Revenge will punish players for making good choices, and kill them in two turns for it. I cannot recommend this guy enough.
By no means is Titanshift going to be the best deck in the format, but I think with the propper card selection for your build you could tune it to beat almost any meta you play in, as long as that meta isn’t ridden with Ad Nauseum. Ad Nauseum is a near unwinnable match up, but as long as no one plays it, we’re fine.