The Pro Tour Qualifier season is in full swing, and Grand Prix Boston–Worcester is quickly approaching, so I’ve been doing a lot of work on Modern. Previously, I’ve been all-in on Jund (with Lightning Bolt and Chandra, Pyromaster) as my deck, but the metagame has been shifting a small amount to compensate for it.
On the advice of other people I know, I’ve been trying a few other decks. Scapeshift is still a very powerful linear strategy that is very difficult for some decks to beat, and Kiki Pod is advantaged against a lot of decks (especially the Junk Pod decks).
The list of Scapeshift I’ve been trying I affectionately have dubbed Brute-Force Scapeshift:
Brute-Force Scapeshift ? Modern | Jarvis Yu
- Spells (22)
- 4 Remand
- 2 Anger of the Gods
- 4 Explore
- 4 Scapeshift
- 4 Search for Tomorrow
- 4 Prismatic Omen
- Lands (28)
- 1 Island
- 2 Mountain
- 3 Forest
- 1 Breeding Pool
- 1 Halimar Depths
- 4 Misty Rainforest
- 4 Scalding Tarn
- 4 Steam Vents
- 4 Stomping Ground
- 4 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
There’ve been two lines of thinking with regard to Scapeshift: R/G-splash-blue (with Prismatic Omen and Primeval Titan (splashing Remand)), and R/U/G (with Cryptic Command, Snapcaster Mage, and Peer through Depths).
The R/G deck definitely is the epitome of brute force. With a full set of Primeval Titans and Prismatic Omens, it’s definitely possible to kill your opponent without casting a Scapeshift. Fetch lands become incredibly valuable with a Prismatic Omen in play (two Valakut, the Molten Pinnacles with a fetch land will deal 12 damage).
Prismatic Omen is one of the best cards you can ask for against Splinter Twin decks and control decks alike. It’s at its worst against B/G (and Jund) because it makes opponents’ Abrupt Decays live, but it is still fine there if the opponent is tapped out (to gain a free Lightning Bolt off a land drop). With Prismatic Omen, Valakut, and fetch lands in play, it is very difficult for a Splinter Twin player to go for the combo when you can simply fetch up a land to Lightning Bolt his or her creature for free. Two fetch lands completely protect you from Deceiver Exarch as well. Prismatic Omen with Scapeshift is lethal on six lands, assuming the opponent does not kill your Prismatic Omen. I’ve also often made the play of preemptively Scapeshifting for fetch lands and Valakuts with an Omen already in play. That generally leads to the opponent dying within a turn or two with your land drops and fetch lands.
A control deck is forced to try to be proactive against your active Omen; otherwise, the opponent will die to seven land drops and/or ramp spells. This gives you a better chance to resolve a Primeval Titan or a Scapeshift.
Courser of Kruphix and Oracle of Mul Daya also supplement the Prismatic Omen plan in ensuring you hit your land drops. I’m not sure which of these two is better since the life-gain from Courser of Kruphix is relevant in the aggressive matchups, but being able to play two lands in one turn via Oracle of Mul Daya is very good as well.
Remand is probably the worst card in the deck, but it’s still a necessary evil. Note that, against the blue decks, a common line of play is to Remand your own spell in response to the opponent’s Cryptic Command, Mana Leak, or Counterflux to try to recast it next turn.
Remand is pretty terrible in the following matchups: B/G/x, Affinity, and—to a lesser degree—Pod on the draw. In general, it’s probably okay to take out Remands on the draw against a fair number of decks. Anger of the Gods is bad against decks that don’t have a lot of 3-toughness creatures.
Ancient Grudge, Nature's Claim, and Seal of Primordium are pretty obvious, but I prefer to split them so you can have Nature's Claim and Seal of Primordium for a possible Blood Moon or Leyline of Sanctity.
Anger of the Gods is stellar against Birthing Pod variants and (sometimes) Affinity. The issue with it against Affinity is that the opponent’s nonexplosive draws line up very well against Anger. To use Alex Majlaton’s terminology: piercing with Nexuses as opposed to swarming with Memnites/Pests.
Harmonize comes in against midrange blue decks, Tron, B/G/x, or basically any deck that isn’t trying to combo-kill you or aggressively kill you (Affinity or Burn).
Obstinate Baloth comes in against Burn, B/G/x, or midrange blue decks as well.
Please, please, please remember: You should playtest to figure out what comes out in most of these matchups.
If Scapeshift isn’t in your wheelhouse, I’ve updated my Jund list here:
Jund ? Modern | Jarvis Yu
- Spells (18)
- 1 Slaughter Pact
- 1 Terminate
- 3 Abrupt Decay
- 4 Lightning Bolt
- 1 Maelstrom Pulse
- 4 Inquisition of Kozilek
- 4 Thoughtseize
- Lands (24)
- 2 Forest
- 2 Swamp
- 1 Blood Crypt
- 1 Grove of the Burnwillows
- 1 Misty Rainforest
- 1 Stomping Ground
- 2 Marsh Flats
- 2 Overgrown Tomb
- 4 Blackcleave Cliffs
- 4 Raging Ravine
- 4 Verdant Catacombs
I still like this deck on paper, and I definitely think playing eight discard spells in the main deck is correct at the moment. Against a more open field, it’s helpful to know how to sequence your cards given a turn-one discard spell, and it makes the matchup against Twin or R/W/U a lot easier with the full boat of discard.
Fulminator Mages in the board, you are still a heavy dog.
There’s a plethora of other reasonable options if neither of the above decks fits your style:
- Junk Pod (either with or without Melira, Sylvok Outcast)
- R/G or Mono-Blue Tron
- Burn (R/w/g or R/w/b or mono-red—Eidolon of the Great Revel provides a significant power boost for this deck)
- B/G or B/G/W have also posted pretty good results (see Willy Edel’s article on ChannelFireball about B/G/W).
- U/R or R/U/G Twin
- R/W/U (with or without Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker).
Just know your deck, and know how to sideboard by jamming in as many games as you can before your next tournament (whether it be a PTQ or Grand Prix Boston–Worcester)!
Thanks for reading, and please leave any comments here or on Twitter @jkyu06.