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Shifting Brews


Scapeshift has been a card that has fascinated me for a long time. I started playing Magic right around the time when Lorwyn was released. As a fairly new player when Scapeshift premiered during Morningtide, I didn't think much of it. It was simply a weird card that I didn't quite understand and didn't know enough about the game of Magic to be able to figure out how to break it. Not too long after that, I saw it being played alongside Swans of Bryn Argoll and Seismic Assault and things began to click. A little later, I played a deck with it alongside Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and Primeval Titan, and had a lot of success with that deck. I guess what I'm trying to say is that Scapeshift has the potential to be both a fun and powerful card in the right deck. This week I have four decks that all feature Scapeshift. Let's get started.

Golgari Explore Scapeshift

The first deck I have for you features Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar in a Golgari Explore deck. Let's take a look at it:

Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar is a great card to play alongside Scapeshift since Multani gets +1/+1 for each land you control and each land card in your graveyard. Once you Scapeshift away a ton of lands, you're able to double Multani's power and toughness, if you want. One thing to note with Scapeshift is that you can sacrifice lands that you've already tapped for mana, so be sure to make the most out of your mana for the turn before sacrificing those lands.

Crucible of Worlds is another card that doesn't see a lot of play in Standard, but when paired up with Scapeshift, it can be amazingly effective. You can use Crucible of Worlds to continuously return Memorial to Folly from your graveyard to the battlefield. Then, the following turn you can sacrifice Memorial to Folly to return a creature card from your graveyard to your hand (Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar perhaps?). It's a great way to bring back a big threat every turn. If you happen to have a Wildgrowth Walker in play, you can use Memorial to Folly to bring back a creature that can explore to give you a little more life and make the Wildgrowth Walker even bigger.

Crucible of Worlds can also bring back Field of Ruin again and again. You can ensure that your opponent doesn't get to use their Shocklands or Gates as effectively as they'd like and can possibly cause them to concede the game if they find themselves low on lands due to not having many basic lands in their deck.

Four-Color Gateshift

The next deck I have for you combines a Gate-based deck with Scapeshift as a means to ensure that you have the correct color of mana you need at all times. Let's take a look at it:

Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar
This deck has a single copy of Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar as a route to victory, but it also includes a few other creatures that can get the job done for you. As this is a Gate deck, Gate Colossus is a great choice as a finisher. Since there are a lot of Gates in the deck, Gate Colossus will generally be at least three or four mana less to cast than usual and is easy to return from the graveyard. Since Gate Colossus can't be blocked by creatures with 2 power or less, it can be difficult for your opponent to block effectively.

Another great finisher for this deck is Zacama, Primal Calamity. While getting to the 9 mana needed to cast Zacama might be difficult, both Growth Spiral and Circuitous Route are there to help you ramp. Plus, if you've already cast a Scapeshift and have lands in your graveyard, you can potentially return those lands to the battlefield with The Mending of Dominaria. Once you've cast Zacama, Primal Calamity, you'll be able to begin dealing direct damage to your opponent's creatures and gain life that will make it difficult for your opponent to win. Additionally, once you're able to attack with Zacama, it hits like a Mack truck and, thanks to having vigilance, sticks around to act as a deterrent to any attackers your opponent might have.

There is one more great finisher this deck has and that's Banefire. For the same reasons you're able to ramp into Zacama, Primal Calamity, you're also able to ramp into a gigantic Banefire. Once you get enough mana, Banefire can no longer be countered or prevented, so it can be a great way to close out a game if you find yourself unable to attack normally.

Gruul Land Flood

The next deck I have for you continues the trend of pairing Scapeshift with Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar, but it also looks to overrun your opponent by animating your lands. Let's take a look at the deck:

Sylvan Awakening
Wayward Swordtooth acts as a great source of mana ramp in this deck, allowing you to play an additional land each turn for each copy of Wayward Swordtooth in play. When you combine that with the ability to play lands from your graveyard thanks to Crucible of Worlds, you have the ability to play a staggering amount of lands each turn, allowing you to build up a huge amount of lands on the battlefield.

Once you've reached a critical mass of lands in play, you can cast Sylvan Awakening to turn all of those lands into 2/2 creatures that are indestructible. Go wide when attacking and begin whittling down your opponent's life total by two points for each unblocked land. Be on the lookout for Settle the Wreckage, as that will exile your attacking creatures, and you'll no longer have the ability to play those exiled lands with Crucible of Worlds.

This deck also plays a lot of lands with differing names in order to power up a creature that doesn't see much play in Standard, Awakened Amalgam. Awakened Amalgam can easily grow to become a 7/7 or an 8/8 without much difficulty. If you have a copy of Awakened Amalgam in play, don't forget to try to play differently named lands with Crucible of Worlds or Scapeshift whenever possible.

Simic Scapeshift

The final deck I have for you this week is a Simic deck that pairs up Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar with Hydroid Krasis. Let's take a look at it:

Tatyova, Benthic Druid
Thanks to Tatyova, Benthic Druid, you're able to keep a steady stream of cards in your hand, as she allows you to draw a card whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control (in addition to gaining you a point of life). The can keep the lands flowing turn after turn as well as helping you find your threats quickly.

With all of the lands this deck can put into play, casting a relatively large Hydroid Krasis should be no problem. It's another way you keep cards flowing and gaining additional life, even if the Hydroid Krasis is countered. Additional ways to draw cards include Arch of Orazca and The Immortal Sun.

Once you've gotten Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar or Hydroid Krasis on the battlefield, you can begin the assault. River's Rebuke should help you in this endeavor, as it basically makes your opponent start their game plan over while you press the assault. With your opponent on their back foot, you'll hopefully be able to finish them off before they have enough time to stabilize.

Wrapping Up

When I started writing this article, it was intended to showcase a few decks featuring Scapeshift. Instead, it because a showcase of a few decks featuring Scapeshift alongside Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar. I shouldn't have been surprised by this since the decks I mentioned from the past always paired Scapeshift alongside a powerful card that could take advantage of the lands that Scapeshift provided.

What do you think of these decks? Do you have any suggestions for improvements? Let me know by leaving a comment below or you can reply to me directly on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg), or email me directly at mikelikesmtg@gmail.com. And be sure to join me here again next week as I continue my search for innovative decks in Standard. I'll see you then!

-- Mike Likes

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