Deck Spotlight: Snowy Scapeshift

With Faithless Looting leaving the format, we may be returning to the Modern of old. That and recent printings have been kind to the midrange and control decks of the format. So how did we keep these decks in check in the past? Crushing them with ramp decks! Scapeshift players no longer have to keep up with nasty graveyard decks and their best matchups are poised to rise. Today we will be taking a look at the hottest new build of the deck, which recently went 7-1 in a Modern Challenge.

Land (26)
2x Breeding Pool
1x Hallowed Fountain
4x Misty Rainforest
2x Snow-Covered Forest
3x Snow-Covered Island
2x Snow-Covered Mountain
1x Snow-Covered Plains
4x Steam Vents
4x Stomping Ground
1x Temple Garden
2x Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
Creature (8)
3x Ice-Fang Coatl
4x Sakura-Tribe Elder
1x Snapcaster Mage
Spells (26)
4x Bring to Light
3x Cryptic Command
1x Drawn from Dreams
1x Farseek
1x Hunting Wilds
1x Ojutai’s Command
4x Path to Exile
2x Remand
2x Scapeshift
4x Search for Tomorrow
1x Supreme Verdict
2x Teferi, Time Raveler
Sideboard (15)
1x Anger of the Gods
1x Crumble to Dust
3x Force of Negation
1x Force of Vigor
2x Grafdigger’s Cage
2x Huntmaster of the Fells
1x Obstinate Baloth
2x Rest in Peace
1x Shatterstorm
1x Timely Reinforcements

The Build
The above list was recently piloted by Sungjin to a 7-1 finish in the Modern Challenge. Due note that this was before the B&R update so if you want to take this deck for a spin, adjust accordingly. Regardless of the timeframe, there is a lot to love about their list.  The manabase is very typical for these decks. It is important to note that there are no actual red spells in the main deck of this list, so there is very little reason to fetch out red producing lands before Scapeshifting. This helps to keep enough mountains, of which there are ten, in the library as you ramp up to the magic seven lands. Four copies of Stomping Ground, four Steam Vents, and two Snow-Covered Mountain are all this deck needs. I do think that a single copy of Field of the Dead could be worth looking into though. Having seven lands with different names is trivial in such a build.

The most noticeable addition is of course the snow. As a deck that naturally plays a high number of basics, running a high count of snow basics is trivial. Any time that I have the opportunity to play Ice-Fang Coatl in Modern, I am excited. Build-your-own Baleful Strix is one of my favorite cards from Modern Horizons, so I am very excited to play it in a classic shell like Bring to Light. Elvish Visionary with flash, flying, and deathtouch is a good card; who knew? It even can fly over and poke opponents down to eighteen before you Scapeshift them. I am surprised to see fewer than four copies but I suppose it is quite underwhelming against combo decks and opposing ramp decks.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Teferi, Time Raveler. Threeferi makes it incredibly hard for control decks to interact with you. I’ve considered changing the white splash in this deck to a black splash, but Teferi is one of the big reasons that I think this version is superior. He allows for instant speed Scapeshifts/BTLs and makes counterspells irrelevant. The other big reason to keep the white cards is Path to Exile. Path is a clean answer to any problematic creatures and the exile effect is still relevant post-ban. You can even Path your own Coatl to ramp into a lethal Scapeshift. The rest of the deck should be fairly familiar for anyone who has played the Bring to Light archetype before.

Bring to Light is an archetype that has been around basically since the card was printed. It is a toolbox deck that almost always leverages the potent combo of Scapeshift and Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle. In order to cast our five mana sorcery and have seven lands in play for Scapeshift, we need ramp spells; Search for Tomorrow, Farseek, and Sakura-Tribe Elder. The ideal draws in this deck almost always start out with turn one Search for Tomorrow. Search for Tomorrow allows us to leave up interaction on turn two and still play our four drops on turn three if needed. Remand is our cheap interaction of choice and helps to give this deck the time it needs to do it’s thing.

Cryptic Command is the best jack-of-all-trades answer in the format. It is expensive, but its utility is sorely needed in the main deck. The deck is only playing a single copy  of many other spells because it can tutor it up with a resolved Bring to Light. The most common option beyond Scapeshift is Supreme Verdict for creature decks. Ojutai’s Command is not quite a Cryptic but it is versatile and can recur a Coatl. Drawn from Dreams is an interesting new inclusion that plays a similar role to the now-banned Dig Through Time; bridging the gap from midgame to closing. Hunting Wilds is another ramp spell but can act as a wincon when the Scpaeshift win is not possible.

The sideboard is a result of the pre-ban meta so it will need overhauled but I do want to highlight a few cards that I believe you should stick with. Crumble to Dust helps this deck deal with big mana decks like Tron. Tron generally comes online a turn quicker, so resolving Crumble can be the difference between winning and losing. Force of Negation helps this deck interact with combo decks that it would be too slow against otherwise. The main deck has twenty blue spells so it is not difficult to cheat out. There are also nineteen green spells for Force of Vigor but this is mostly there for Bring to Light. The same can be said for Shatterstorm, which is better against artifact-centric decks.

Overall, I think Sungjin has an incredibly solid decklist and his card selection definitely played into his success in the Modern Challenge. The deck struggled with the speed of the previous format but still pulled out admirable performances. A slower post-ban meta game would benefit this deck in a big way. That being said, the deck requires drawing the right mix of spells and does not have room for Serum Visions. With that said, I think the deck has an incredibly high power level and it has shown it can have success for people that play it well. Toolbox decks have a special place in many people’s hearts. Bring to Light can scratch that itch while simultaneously being a very viable deck.

This deck has proven that it has the power level to succeed in Modern. While it hasn’t put up any results at the Grand Prix level, many players have gotten 5-0s with it, Sungjin went 7-1 at the most recent Modern Challenge, and several players even chose to sleeve it up at the Mythic Championship. Now the post-ban metagame looks especially ripe for it. What do you think? Is it time for ramp decks to rise again? Does this build have any merit compared to Titanshift? Please share your thoughts with us in our discussion group. Or if you would like to take a swing at writing content for the site you can contact us directly here. We will be back tomorrow with another article for you to enjoy. Until then my friends.

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