Scapeshifting in 100CS

Hello, all you crazy MTGOers out there. I haven’t written an article in quite some time, but today you all get to read about my current favorite deck in 100CS and learn a little about the process of its creation.

I had been wanting to try a Scapeshift build for quite some time, but for one reason or another never sat down to put together a list. After playing versus another player’s Scapeshift deck in the 2-mans quite a few times, I finally was inspired to give my own go at the deck. A few weeks ago I made two successive T8′s with the deck, splitting the finals with MTGOAcademy’s own so many trolls in one of them, and going 6-0 in the other before losing in the semi-finals. He actually had the honor of giving me my only loss the entire PE in the Swiss rounds. I’m not talking match loss either, he gave me my onlygame loss of the entire PE! I played the deck again in a third PE on April 24th with 35 people. I went 4-2 and missed T8 based on the fact that my tie breakers were terrible after starting the PE at 0-2, due to a combination of poor luck, play errors, and a mis-click. The three PEs and numerous 2-mans have proven one thing to me. This deck is powerful and can come out of nowhere with it’s wins. It is also a decision heavy deck and likely to take someone quite a few games before really showing its full potential.

Deck Outlining

Instead of just presenting a list and explaining card choices, I thought it would be more interesting to show readers how I go about building decks in general and for this format in particular. When brainstorming deck ideas I knew that the deck itself was necessarily going to be GRx because of double Green for Scapeshift and requiring a reasonable amount of Mountains to trigger Valakut, and at least one other color to help find Scapeshift. White offers us nothing as far as tutors for Scapeshift, which leaves both Black and Blue as potential options. It would be possible to include zero Red cards and go straight GUx or something similar and count the basic Mountains as colorless mana sources, but that just seems ridiculous since there is bound to be some Red card that will be worth running since the deck will contain Red mana no matter what. Another interesting observation that I had was that each splash color could easily use to the Mountain slots as a large part of it’s splash mana. By this I mean that if you are going to add Blue for example the first two lands that go into the deck are Volcanic Island and Steam Vents and removing two Islands. Tropical Island would likely make the cut, but Breeding Pool is not necessarily an auto-include if the deck is not heavy on Blue, more on this later.

One problem I have seen a few people make when building a Scapeshift deck for 100CS is that they include cards like Sylvan Scrying or Expedition Map to help find Valakut. Triggering Valakut outside of the Scapeshift combo is just inefficient and inconsistent in this format. The format only allows the deck one copy of Valakut and even with 3-4 tutors for the card you are all of a sudden building your entire deck around triggering the Valakut that you may never find and even if you do, you are rarely even going to trigger once in play. Valakut decks work in Standard and Block because you can have multiple Valakuts in play at one time and there are far more cards dedicated to putting multiple Mountains at once into play allowing you to often do 12-18 points of damage in one turn without even using Scapeshift. This is just not going to happen consistently enough in 100CS, which makes Expedition Map and Sylvan Scrying just poor cards as far as a purely Valakut strategy is concerned. Therefore I consider this a Scapeshift deck and not a Valakut deck, trying to make it a Valakut deck will only degrade the quality of the deck.

The other major benefit of ignoring the idea that you will trigger Valakut the hard way, besides not including suboptimal cards in your deck, is that you do not have to focus on Mountains and can run fewer than if you were trying to reach 6+ to trigger Valakut through ramp and land drops. The Scapeshift/Valakut combo is basically a 1 card combo with the following conditions: you must have 7+ lands in play and 6+Mountains in your deck prior to casting the combo card. Seven lands will only net you 18 damage, but I have almost never needed more than that. Most decks take a few points from fetch lands, plus you have creatures and supplemental burn to get your opponent down to 18. I have had only two games in about 50-60 that I have needed more than 7 lands to win directly via Scapeshift. One was versus an Elf deck that had around 24 life. I ended up casting Scapeshift to Wrath their board and won with my own guys after two turns of alpha strikes. The other was against a UW Geddon/tempo deck similar to so many troll’s list that was at 21 life and tapped out while I had a disadvantaged board state with 8 lands out but unfortunately 4 of those were Mountains meaning only 6 were left in the deck. I ended up dealing 12 to my opponent, using 6 damage to kill a freshly cast Meloku. I was only at about 7 life, facing down a fresh spirit token, a Mutavault, and an Exalted Angel the following turn. I got Volraths Stronghold with the other land drop. I also had Jace in hand. I then was able to recur Broodmate Dragon from my yard a few times before also recuring my previously counteRed Meloku, which is quite awesome if you have him out and have cast Scapeshift but did not already win since you can keep returning Islands and replaying them for a free bolt to go with your token. Anyways I still won a very close game even though I couldn’t seal the deck completely with Scapeshift. I have not had it come up yet, but I can also imagine a scenario where Scapeshifting early to get a Wasteland and maybe a Treetop Village or Volraths Stronghold would be the correct play.

If our goal is to have 6 Mountains in our deck when casting Scapeshift, we need some number of Mountains in the deck greater than 6. It is reasonable to assume that we will be searching out at least one Mountain via Green ramp or fetch lands to cast our rRd spells and two should we decide to include double Red cards in our list. It is also reasonable to assume that we will have games where 2-3 Mountains are just drawn naturally. This gives us an absolute minimum need for 9 Mountains. I have found that I like to have one additional Mountain for a total of 10 for the random game that I draw four or search up four because I had out two and then got ‘Geddoned and needed another 2 or drew another 2. I have had several games in testing as well where I had 3 Mountains out and needed 7 because of an opponent at 20 life. I briefly dropped to 9 Mountains just to test the feel, but quickly went back to 10 which has proven to be the optimal number for my playstyle with the deck. One other important thing to keep in mind is that you do not have to sac all your lands to Scapeshift. If say you are running 10 and have 5 Mountains out and 5 in the deck, just leave one of them in play, but you will only do 15 damage in that case (I know so inefficient for a 4cc spell).

From this point my goal was to determine the direction and color focus of the deck. We know that our deck needs a minimum of 10 Mountains and will also be fairly heavy Green because of the need for ramping spells to help get to 7 lands and to cast the double Green of Scapeshift. This does tell us though that our deck does not necessarily have to be heavy Red. It is possible to build our deck to only contain the 10 Mountains plus Valakut as Red sources. While my final list will include a few more Red sources, I believe this is the best direction for the deck as a heavy RG version just doesn’t have the tools to find Scapeshift and if we are adding other colors we might as well take advantage of them. My first build and this article in general are geaRed towards a midrange creature style deck with a combo finish; although after my success with this version I am currently considering a straight up combo version. The reason for initially deciding to take a midrange creature approach was that I did not want my deck to be all about Scapeshift in the event that it was counteRed or disrupted in some other way. I wanted the deck to work with or without Scapeshift.

Finding Scapeshift

If we going to win with Scapeshift, we need to find it. One of the great things about Scapeshift costing 4 mana and the Combo needing 7 lands is that you have 3 spare mana minimum to help tutor the turn you plan to Scapeshift. This means that a 3cc or less tutor is far, far better than a 4cc+ tutor in this specific deck.

Blue and Black offer us the best opportunities for tutoring as usual. Mystical Tutor is by far the best tutor available for our purpose and Blue has the added advantage of giving us numerous other draw spells along with ways of chaining into Mystical Tutor like Merchant Scroll and Mystical Teachings. One of the great things about all of the good Blue draw and tutor spells is that they all have single Blue mana requirements, which makes the mana much easier later. The only double Blue card that I really want to run is Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Jace wasn’t in my original list, but has since found a spot. My original deck was lighter on Blue because the metagame was a bit more Aggro. In the weeks since my first PE with the deck, the metagame has changed and I have increased the amount of Blue in the deck to compensate and give me better options against Control.

What does Black offer? First it would give us access to Mystical Teachings flashback, so even a single Black source is probably worth it just on the off chance we need to. The other tutors we could potentially use in Black are: Diabolic Intent, Grim Tutor, Insidious Dreams, Diabolic Tutor, and Liliana Vess. Diabolic Intent is by far the best of these options as from the start I planned on running a midrange Green strategy with lots of guys for mana ramp and land search. Intent on its own justifies running some Black. Insidious Dreams doesn’t really have much synergy with the deck and can be disastrous if countered. I’m not too hot on the other Black options. Grim Tutor fits the 3cc or less requirement, but double Black is a bi trough unless we want to focus on Black and I just think I would rather have access to more Blue than Black since there are not really any cards other than tutors that make me want to support double Black spells. Liliana Vess is probably the closest card in that regard, but is still mainly a 5cc tutor in this deck. I would rather have the versatility that Jace brings at a cheaper cost.

Black also offers Mind Twist, which is especially powerful in a deck ramping its mana. After looking at these options I decided that I wanted to run both Blue and Black, but that Black would play a minor roll, limited to a small splash. I also wanted to keep Blue requirements to a minimum, but would make exceptions for exceptionally powerful cards, which so far has only been Jace. If I were to retool the deck into a Combo/Control shell, I could maybe see running a few double Blue counters like Mana Drain and Counterspell.

Running the combination of Blue and Black gives one very important gold card as well, Clutch of the Undercity. I originally saw this card as being fairly narrow and didn’t include it. I eventually decided to give it a shot once I saw how powerful the Scapeshift combo was and realizing the 3cc or less tutor rule for the Combo, which Clutch meets. I have been nothing but happy with the decision to try this card out. There are a number of relevant cards other than Scapeshift to tutor for, but it fills one giant hole that my tutor chain was missing. What happens if I have to use an early Mystical Tutor for ramp or removal to stabilize? Sure Teachings and Merchant Scroll can still find things like Fact or Fiction, but all of a sudden I cannot easily tutor up my Combo. Clutch is key here as it gives you a second Blue instant capable of finding our combo card.

This set my deck as being GRub with the potential for going GRUb or even GUrb.

Filling Out the Deck

Since our primary game plan with the Scapeshift combo is to ramp to 7 lands and cast our kill spell, we need the rest of our deck to function based on the same idea of ramping out lands to give it some synergy in the event we are prevented from accomplishing our primary victory path. When building decks with a Combo component, I often like to look for alternate Combos or win conditions that are synergistic with the same deck structure. An example something that does not fit our deck structure is Thopter/Sword or Nest/Craft. Some spell win conditions that are potentially synergistic with this deck structure would be Rude Awakening, entwined Tooth and Nail, and Banefire. I briefly had Rude Awakening in the deck; I like how it can give you wins out of nowhere, but it is a pretty dead card until you have the 8+ mana required and is much harder to set up than something like Scapeshift, which doesn’t worry about blockers. This eventually lead to it’s removal from the deck as I did not like drawing it early and it was only functioning as a pseudo second Scapeshift to naturally draw because I was almost never going to tutor for Rude Awakening over Scapeshift from a combo kill perspective. The same is true for Tooth and Nail with the exception that it also requires the deck to run Kiki-Jiki and Pestermite, which it would not run otherwise. Banefire has the advantage that it can be cast early as removal or late as an uncounterable finisher. While it does not have the potential to do the same amount of damage as the other two cards, it has versatility that they both lack. In the end I decided on consistency and went with only Scapeshift and Banefire.

The next thing to consider is creatures that fit well with this plan. We need guys that are ideally in the 4-6 mana range to ensure that we can quickly accelerate them out, have some sort of built in resiliency, and provide a quick clock. The monsters that fit this bill for me include guys like: Rampaging Baloths, Arc-Slogger, Meloku, Broodmate Dragon, Siege-Gang Commander, Wolfbriar Elemental, Chameleon Colossus, and Thornling among others. I could also potentially see Avenger of Zendikar making an appearance, but haven’t yet tested him. This is not to say that I will end up running all these guys but just to show a sampling of guys that can fill our role of finisher, while being synergistic with the deck.

These are the ones that I decided to use:

Rampaging Baloths — This guy is just insane in this deck. A 6/6 tampler for 6 is not terrible, but when he brings his buddies to the table often two at a time your opponent doesn’t last much longer. He does what a 6cc guy should do.

Arc-Slogger — Judicious use of his ability can often lead to the inability to Scapeshift Combo, but if you are throwing shocks all over the place that tends not to matter. Then there’s the fact that this deck will drop him on Turn 4 helps to crush Aggro decks.

Meloku the Clouded Mirror — She just never lets me down. It is rare for me to build a deck with Blue and not want this guy in it. She provides blockers, numerous attackers, saves lands from destruction and is fetchable with Imperial Recruiter. It’s arguable that Meloku’s ability is anti-synergistic with the goal of getting 7 lands on the table, but Meloku is just insane and works well on his own in a deck that is accelerating out lands since it means that you can afford to return lands more easily.

Broodmate Dragon — I was finding that I often wished I had a bit more evasion or occasionally a second flier to help block fliers. This just seems to be the best available dragon for the deck since I would rather have 2 vanilla dragons than one with an ability more often than not.

Siege-Gang Commander — Another guy similar to Meloku. He provides numerous blockers and threats as well as some removal.

Wolfbriar Elemental — See a trend yet? I like guys that create multiple creatures. This guy can just be insane. Even with what will turn out to be a 4-color deck, I am able to pump nearly all of my lands into this guy every time. He is great against Aggro both early and late since even for 4-5 mana he is not bad.

Tarmogoyf — Man this guys just sneaks in everywhere, I’m throwing him in up here though because then I don’t have to discuss finishers again as a category later in the article as he would be the only card left out of the discussion otherwise.

I didn’t end up including Chameleon Colossus or Thornling (which is basically a 6cc 5 drop) because I ended up deciding that I don’t like the way they tie up mana even after being cast, which is something the other guys don’t really require as much even though some do have mana activated abilities.

From this point I wanted to continue with the path I was on so far which is building a midrange deck that includes primarily 2-for-1′s to gain card advantage and work toward building up 7 lands for Scapeshift. This means the deck will include many familiar faces such as Flametongue Kavu, Eternal Witness, Solemn Simulacrum, and so on. I will discuss these cards in groups after presenting my final deck list. Similar to the creatures I decided to round out the decklist with, the spells would need to fill one of three rolls: ramp, card draw/tutors, or removal.

Let’s look at the deck. This is my list as it currently stands, which is a bit different from the list shown in the T8′s that I made. As I said before the original deck was a bight lighter on Blue and heavier on Red as the Red was better against a more Aggro metagame and the Blue cards that are now in the deck tend to be better versus a more control and midrange metagame.

*100c Scapeshift

Creatures (30)
Other Spells (32)
Lands (38)
Sideboard (15)
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100c Scapeshift Click the arrow to download the above deck in .txt format

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Card Categories

Mana Ramp/Fetch (noncreature)

Farseek

Into the North

Natures Lore

Rampant Growth

Search for Tomorrow

Three Visits

Mana Ramp/Fetch (creature)

Farhaven Elf

Lotus Cobra

Sakura-Tribe Elder

Solemn Simulacrum

Wall of Roots

Wood Elves

Yavimaya Dryad

Yavimaya Elder

These make up our decks acceleration/mana generation. The main goal for these cards was that they specifically help find lands or put lands into play instead of just generating mana like Llanowar Elves. That said 2 cards did make it in that don’t fit that criteria: Lotus Cobra, and Wall of Roots. Wall of Roots was an easy exception as it provides the deck with some defense as well as acceleration. My original iteration of this deck did not have Lotus Cobra, but prior to the second PE I played this deck in I decided to test him out and he has been insane. With fetch lands and all of the Rampant Growths activating him is easy. This deck likes to get to 5-6 mana and Cobra makes that happen very easily while also making it very easy to cast both a threat and an accelerant on the same turn. Birds of Paradise and Noble Hierarch were in the deck at one point, but were recently replaced with Farhaven Elf and Into the North. It’s just too inconsistent to only have 2 1cc mana guys that don’t help your goal of getting to 7 lands. Perhaps the most obvious card not in this list is Kodamas Reach. I would actually love to be playing Reach and did in my first PE with the deck. The problem is that Reach costs 3 and this deck really really wants to cast its Rampant Growths on Turn 2. The creatures are fine for 3cc mana since they also provide a chump blocker if needed. Kodamas Reach was just too slow against goblins and other fast Aggro and left the deck in favor of Farseek, which along with Into the North and Farhaven Elf was also not in the original 115.

Card Draw/Tutors (noncreature)

Brainstorm

Clutch of the Undercity

Diabolic Intent

Fact or Fiction

Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Merchant Scroll

Mystical Teachings

Mystical Tutor

Ponder

Senseis Divining Top

Sylvan Library

Card Draw/Tutors (creature)

Mulldrifter

Ohran Viper

Trinket Mage

Most of the spells are pretty obvious inclusions and I talked about the tutors near the beginning of the article. Mulldrifter found it’s way into the deck when I was looking for a bit more draw. It seemed better than Compulsive Research as I didn’t really want to be pitching too many lands and at 5 mana would also give me a blocker or an evasive beater for the first 2 points of damage. Viper is just a good midrange guy that I am always happy with. He either draws out removal, trades with a bigger guy in combat, or draws cards. I’m happy with any of those scenarios. Trinket Mage only has one target main deck, which is Top. I briefly had an artifact land in the deck to search for until people realized they could keep me off the Combo by killing the land. It’s definitely a slot that has potential for change, but I pretty much always want top in this deck with all the search and I would rather pay more to tutor for Top and get the body than just run something like Mirris Guile. Plus Trinket Make gives me the potential to run various sideboard answers. Don’t forget that if you have Top in play and draw the Trinket Mage you can tap the Top to draw a card and then fetch it back to your hand, giving you a free shuffle in the process.

Creature Removal (noncreature)

Banefire

Fire/Ice

Firebolt

Firespout

Incinerate

Lightning Bolt

Maelstrom Pulse

Magma Jet

Slaughter Pact

Creature Removal (creature)

Arc-Slogger

Duplicant

Flametongue Kavu

Grim Lavamancer

Shriekmaw

Siege-Gang Commander

I have been a fan of the Firespout main as a tutor target against Aggro decks, but I could see removing it if you feel that the metagame does not necessitate it. That said I would probably find something else to cut and add the card you were planning to add because Firespout can just give blowouts versus Aggro and is sometimes the only card that will save you. It is the first card to come out versus Control, but so does most of the other burn. Duplicant is in the list because large guys especially fliers were a major weakness to the deck. It can be fetched via Imperial Recruiter. I have been pretty happy with his inclusion even though I do tend to side him out versus Gobbos. Slaughter Pact is in for a similar reason. I wanted an instant speed tutor target for Mystical Teachings that would let me kill pretty much any guy. I like that I always have enough mana to cast Slaughter Pact and Teachings on the same turn if necessary. Big Sloggs and Siege-Gang are also finishers, but since they are removal as well I listed them here. The deck feels about right on its removal balance to me at this point. It has enough removal that you generally have an answer early to stabilize and also another piece for later when there is a new must answer threat on the board. I can easily see the new Flame Slash finding a slot in here, although the big disadvantage will be that it doesn’t double as planeswalker removal, which is one reason I like burn over Black removal.

Utility (noncreature)

Garruk Wildspeaker

Sword of Fire and Ice

Utility (creature)

Acidic Slime

Bloodbraid Elf

Eternal Witness

Imperial Recruiter

Kitchen Finks

Ravenous Baloth

Wall of Blossoms

Wickerbough Elder

These guys all generally all give you some sort of 2-for-1. Wall really doesn’t have much utility, but I didn’t really want to classify it as card draw or any other category. One interesting thing about Imperial Recruiter is that I first included it to fetch Meloku, Duplicant, Acidic Slime, or Eternal Witness depending on the situation. In practice I find that my most common targets are often Sakura, Wood Elves, Yavimaya Dryad, or Solemn Simulacrum. I find that I often just want to push my mana out although it helps that he tutors for win conditions and solutions when needed.

I didn’t really know where else to categorize Sword of Fire and Ice or Garruk. Garruk is sort of mana acceleration, that doesn’t help with the Combo and also provides beaters. He is definitely good enough to make the cut, but just doesn’t easily fall into one of the categories. I really like Sword of Fire and Ice in a deck like this. The deck is playing quite a few underwhelming guys primarily due to their comes into play abilities and this deck generates the mana to effectively use this piece of equipment. In other decks I tend to prefer other equipment like Lightning Greaves or Mask of Memory. The guys in here are not getting through with a Mask on and very few of them are worth the shroud and haste that Greaves gives. This deck wants a piece of equipment that helps turn those guys into threats and SoFI is about the best one at doing that.

Disruption

Condescend

Mind Twist

Remand

Not a very large category and one that only had Mind Twist a couple weeks ago. The two counters were part of my re-arrangement of the deck to include a few more Blue cards. They both help you dig for your Combo, so they earn their place in the main. Also they can catch people quite off guard since most people assume that you don’t have any counters especially in 2-man queues where you might play the same person several times in a row and not draw one of them until your 4th or 5th game. Often side out remand on the draw versus Aggro and many times I just side them both out depending how much of my board I want to bring in.

Lands that do stuff

Creeping Tar Pit

Raging Ravine

TreetopVillage

Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle

Volraths Stronghold

Wasteland

I didn’t see much point in listing the basics and duals/fetches. I do want to point out that I am only running 8 of 10 fetches. I did not include Marsh Flats or Arid Mesa. I tend to like fetching out basics whenever possible with my fetches and with Mesa I didn’t really want to fetch basic Mountains all that much since I try to limit my Mountain searching. Black is such a small component of the deck that I really didn’t feel it to be necessary to run Flats. I don’t really like running all of the fetches just because unless it is a dedicated 5-Color deck.

The two surprises might be Raging Ravine and Creeping Tar Pit. I guess you could say that I am still trying them out. I haven’t drawn them a whole lot, but I like the idea of them in Control matches. I also like that Tar Pit is sort of like planeswalker removal in land form. I did just recently have a game where I had 7 lands, one being the Tar Pit, and an opponent on 20 life with numerous blockers. I was able to get through for three and then Scapeshift for the win the following turn. Raging Ravine doesn’t seem to get activated a whole lot, but seems to be messing with my opponent’s plans, so I’m still testing with it.

Sideboard

Aggro

Arc Lightning

Engineered Explosives

Hydroblast

Primal Command

Pyroclasm

Starstorm

Control

Cold-Eyed Selkie

Glen Elendra Archmage

Duress

Thoughtseize

Pyroblast

Ricochet Trap

Negate


Utility

Krosan Grip

Relic of Progenitus


These are grouped with the top cards being primarily against Aggro, the middle group being primarily against Control and slower strategies, and the last two cards being specialty cards for decks that they happen to be good against.

Primal Command is a card that used to be in the main deck. It’s a card that I really don’t tend to like, but I often find is a necessary evil against some of the Red decks, as without White I lose access to Loxodon Hierarch and a few other of the better life gain cards. Primal Command is sufficiently versatile, but I just wish that it cost 4 mana instead of 5. Often I feel that the 7 life is basically a fog and doesn’t really get you that far ahead in the life race since you aren’t affecting the board state from a creature perspective. A card that has been in and out of the deck in its spot has been Grazing Gladehart, but it just lacks the versatility that Command has.

The other card I want to mention is Starstorm. This is a card I think is highly underplayed in the format. Instant speed Wraths are not something that come along very often and no one is ever prepared for it. The fact that it is searchable via Teachings is just gravy and cycling means it’s never dead. Being able to EOT sweep the board and follow it up with your own creature drops first just tends to win vs Aggro decks.

In the Control pile sits a card that I really don’t see people playing and I am not sure why, Ricochet Trap. Ricochet Trap does just about the same thing as Pyroblast except instead of being able to hit permanents it i sable to redirect card draw, which in my experience has turned out to be an equal trade off. You are still able to counter their countermagic for 1 Red by redirecting the counter to the Trap, but the first time you redirect a Compulsive Research orAncestralVisions it just seems like cheating. Cold-Eyed Selkie is another card that I have not really seen anyone else play, but has been good in testing. This might not be the perfect deck for it though as I am short on 1cc mana acceleration like Birds and Elves, so there is a chance that it comes out of the deck eventually, but it certainly will be going into some other decks like Rec-Sur that can frequently drop it on turn 2.

Relic of Progenitus and Engineered Explosives[/card] give me some more Trinket Mage targets. I’m not completely sold on Explosives yet, but the only card I would maybe want in it’s place is Pernicious Deed and I like that at least with Explosives I can fetch it with Trinket Mage, whereas Deed would be a random 1 of that can’t be easily tutored and doesn’t have any equivalentanalogs. For some cards that isn’t always a problem if the card is a threat or a general use card like Duress and Thoughtseize, but it is not something that I am looking for in a card that is predominantly an answer to on board threats.

General strategies that I tend to follow are that when bringing in all or some of the Aggro package, I tend to remove some of the higher end cards like Mind Twist and Duplicant, one or both of the maindeck counterspells, and the Banefire. Against Control I take out the two walls, Firespout, and then a bunch of the cheap burn spells. Although I tend to leave at least one or two burn spells in.

Final Thoughts

I have been really happy with the direction this deck has taken and with its overall performance for me so far. I’m still unsure if a more straight up Combo route would be better or not, but would have to test it. The problem with that approach for me is that you are then relying almost too heavily on finding Scapeshift andguaranteeing its resolution. What I like about the current list is that it often wins with Scapeshift, but the deck has numerous other paths to victory if that doesn’t happen to present itself. It also allows you to draw out counters from a control deck by giving them other threats that must be answered. I find that against Control I just play threat after threat saving Scapeshift as my final threat once I feel that I have spent all their counters instead of playing it as soon as possible.

I think a better direction to try might be a heavy Blue version that focuses a more on a Control approach.This version would probably replace all the ramp with counterspells since you can’t have counter mana up if you are casting ramp spells and then replace many of the guys with draw spells. It seems like this is likely to cost you against aggressive strategies though.

I could also see trying a more Jund based approach where the Blue is lessened to try out black tutors in favor of the {card]Mystical Tutor[/card] chain that I currently use, but I think losing out on some of the Blue draw and fixing like Ponder and Brainstorm would hurt the deck’sconsistency and Black doesn’t really offer you much else other than a few tutors and there are still a few Blue ones that I did not use like Personal Tutor and also the gold Lim Duls Vault, so the argument to increase the Black component seems slippery at best.

The deck is certainly powerful in the right hands and gives wins out of nowhere. The worst matchups for this deck are probably slightly aggressive strategies that contain light countermagic, which can put you off some key spells, while beating down. Luckily there are not a whole lot of decks trying to do that at the moment. I think this deck is very well positioned in the current metagame, despite my T8 near miss in the recent PE, but you can’t always win.

Sorry for the lack of any witty humor along the way, but I was trying to get this out quickly and I hope you enjoyed it nonetheless. I look forward to hearing your comments below.

Cheers,

Platipus10

 
  1. Nice take on the deck. I have been playing a version of David Yoe’s Scapeshift deck for some time. Haven’t had any time to modify it at all.

    But I really like the direction you are taking it. Looking forward to taking your version for a spin.

  2. The thing I like about this article is that it spells out the constraints you were looking at when you built the deck. The individual card considerations were also valuable, but I think your discussion in broad strokes about where a Scapeshift deck can go was really neat.

    By the way, Meloku is a DUDE, dude.

  3. @Neoshinji, I have discussed the deck quite a bit with David Yoe. I saw him playing it in the same PE I split with Trolls, which was the second PE I made T8. I believe he took most of the base of my deck from my first T8. When I saw we were both playing the deck I chatted to him about it and we exchanged lists, which is when I decided to add some more blue to get Jace in the deck. I didn’t like the idea of running all the counterspells though that he had at the time because most of the other decks were still fairly aggro at that point.

    @Zimbardo
    Thanks, I wanted to do something different than just a card by card because I think it is valuable to see how and why those cards got included as well as why a certain direction was chosen. I think this helps people trying to build new decks more than just showing the final product.

  4. I’m pretty sure we’ve played and you’ve stolen game wins from me with scapeshit…I mean scapeshift =P Nice article =)

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