Before we begin, be sure to tune into my exclusive Tempest Remastered Preview draft on with Melissa DeTora today (May 4th) at 6 pm PST on my TwitchTV channel. It promises to be good times!
Scapeshift has been a thing for about as long as Modern itself has been a thing. The ability to simply play your lands, get more lands with things like Rampant Growth or Search for Tomorrow or Sakura-Tribe Elder, and then Scapeshift into a couple of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacles along with a handful of Mountains is a powerful one. Traditionally the deck is found in the Temur colors, but today we're going to see if that's something we can change.
Magic Online user stoppre31 took the following Jund-based list to a 4-0 finish on Magic Online.
I'm always a fan of seeing brand new cards make their way into formats other than Standard, so it's kind of sweet seeing two Kolaghan's Command in the list. I'm not sure if it's ideal as two damage, a chosen discard, and destroying an artifact aren't the most useful, but as with most things in Modern, it can be very matchup dependent. The Command can also kill an Amulet of Vigor, two-for-one Affinity, or return a Sakura-Tribe Elder to play, which can allow us to Scapeshift an entire turn sooner.
Going in I have no idea if black is a better addition to Scapeshift than the traditional blue, but I'm eager to find out.
Jund Shift vs. Amulet of Vigor
Jund Shift vs. Monogreen Aggro
Jund Shift vs. Wilted Abzan
Jund Shift vs. Restore Balance
I say it every time, but my biggest issue in games of Magic is not being able to actually play games of Magic The reason that people have been so hard on Modern in recent months (which has seemed to die down some) is because this situation is far more prominent in this format than it is in others. Standard doesn't have nearly the speed or linear strategies that modern does, and formats like Legacy have much more versatile answers. So when you're getting the third Restore Balance played against you in a single game, preventing you from actually playing Magic, despite having a formidable creature out and casting three discard spells, it can get a bit frustrating.
As for the deck itself, my initial concern is that I'm still not sure this is better than the blue version. What we give up in card selection and Counterspells, we make up for in discard spells and efficient removal, but Modern is a format where I'm not sure that's better. Counterspells like Mana Leak and Cryptic Command often take care of the same things that an Abrupt Decay would (only with a smaller window and a larger range). The bigger issue, however, is the fact that blue gives us such great tools to filter through our deck, like Peer Through Depths or even a simple Serum Visions. Not drawing those next two lands when we already have two in hand can be simply huge, as you may have noticed from the sheer amount of games I was either mana flooded or mana screwed. This could likely be avoided with blue in the deck as even cards like Cryptic Command and Electrolyze allow us to see more cards in a given game.
As they often are, the Titans were amazing, and I was surprised at how many decks in Modern had no way to deal with them. While often unsung, Grave Titan and Inferno Titan were still the real deal, and Inferno Titan is pretty efficient at gunning down the excess of tiny creatures and tokens in the format while simultaneously attacking for a million damage. They ended up being incredibly resilient finishers in case our Scapeshift plan didn't pan out for whatever reason
While the deck has a lot of great answers in the form of things like Maelstrom Pulse, four Abrupt Decay, and a whole slew of one-of removal spells, I do wish the sideboard was a little more versatile. We have about eight cards devoted to blue-based decks (with Duress being useful against other decks as well), but I would love to see a little more enchantment or artifact removal. While it will often be too late if we have to cast it (something that's untrue for the blue version of the deck), it would be nice to have a few cards that could answer things like Hive Mind.
Either way, Scapeshift is Scapeshift. The deck will be strong when the opponent doesn't specifically hate it out and we draw the correct combination of cards. The thing is, the black version of the deck is a little better at dealing with threats that have already come down, and the blue version of the deck is a little better at preemptively dealing with threats and finding the things we need to win. Overall I think I would go with the latter, but I will never fault innovation, especially successful innovation at that.
That's all I have for today. As I mentioned, be sure to tune into my exclusive Tempest Remastered Preview draft with Melissa DeTora at 6 pm PST on my TwitchTV channel today (May 4th)! It's sure to be a blast. Thanks for reading and I hope to catch ya then.
Frank Lepore@FrankLepore on TwitterFrankLepore on TwitchTV, streaming Monday - Thursday afternoons