I have been preparing for Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch and trying to look into unexplored archetypes that may be well positioned after the recent banning of Summer Bloom and Splinter Twin. These bannings leave room for combo decks that are a bit slower or a bit less played to shine. Red/Green Through the Breach is an archetype I have had my eye on for a while now. The deck is not just fun to play, it is also relatively straightforward and it gives you free wins with Through the Breach plus Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. When I saw that Magic Online handle Smithenator had went undefeated with the deck, I wanted to look into the list, here it is:
This list is pretty straightforward as it doesn't try to get too fancy; the deck is mostly ramp and threats. The optimal opening is to suspend a Search for Tomorrow and then on turn two have an Explore or Sakura-Tribe Elder. Alternatively if the plan revolves around Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle then Khalni Heart Expedition is another route you can go. When the Search for Tomorrow resolves on turn three it is possible to essentially win the game with a Through the Breach right away. Check it out for yourself!
After playing the games it is clear that the deck has a ton of potential, as it is able to win quickly or grind out games against the most controlling of strategies. The reason why the deck has the inevitability most of the time is the Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle package. Interestingly enough the deck is not a Scapeshift deck, though there are certainly versions of the archetype I have seen which run the powerful game-winning sorcery. Here though Primeval Titan is heavily relied on to turn on Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle quickly.
When casting Through the Breach and putting Primeval Titan into play you essentially have four land searches, two before attacks and two afterwards. The idea is to search for Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle immediately and then the attack with Primeval Titan often amounts to eighteen damage. With two copies of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle in play six each comes from the two Mountains searched up with Primeval Titan, and another six from the Primeval Titan itself. Besides Through the Breach the deck also runs Summoning Trap as another way to find the powerful creature and put them into play at instant speed. Unfortunately in these games Summoning Trap wasn't cast for its alternative casting cost, but the situation does come up.
Besides the ramp and combo cards there are a couple other forms of interaction to help hold off early aggression from the opponent. The deck has two copies of Obstinate Baloth which can be used as a win condition, but are generally just used as a distraction until one of the real heavy hitters comes down. Gaining four life can be the difference in the game versus decks like Zoo or Burn. Playing against the Black/Green Midrange decks their plan is often to attack your hand with cards like Liliana of the Veil, and Obstinate Baloth is a great answer to that. Besides Obstinate Baloth the deck plays a full four copies of Anger of the Gods. Honestly four maindeck Anger of the Gods is a lot, but currently there are a lot of decks that get hurt by this kind of sweeper.
If I were to play the deck myself I would likely make a few changes, especially with the sideboard. My plan would be to add more hate for decks like Zoo and Affinity which are extremely popular right now. In exchange some of the cards which were good versus Splinter Twin strategies, like Boil and Rending Volley, no longer seem that important. Many decks will need to adjust their sideboards to accommodate for a shifting metagame and this is one of them. Chalice of the Void was the card which impressed me the most out of the board. It can completely stop many decks just by casting Chalice of the Void for one or two. This deck doesn't get hurt much by a Chalice of the Void as the important spells are the expensive ones later in the game.-->
As far as the matches go, I was certainly pleased with the results, as winning always builds my confidence in a deck. On the other side of the coin there were some draws that didn't line up well and made things a lot more difficult. One of the issues with playing Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is that if you draw it, you also need a Through the Breach to make it useful. There were games where Emrakul, the Aeons Torn was stuck in hand the entire game. Still whenever Emrakul, the Aeons Torn was put into play with Through the Breach it had a huge impact and often ended the game immediately. The deck is kind of high risk and high reward as well.
As far as the matchups go it doesn't feel like any deck beats R/G Breach outright, but I would be worried about fast combo. A deck like Goryo's Vengeance is going to be faster most of the time, and we don't have too many ways to disrupt a deck like that. When playing against Storm I was similarly worried, but we do have useful sideboard cards there. Both Amulet Bloom and Splinter Twin were bad matchups and having two bad matchups Disappear is a good sign. I'm looking forward to tuning the deck a bit more to see if it could be a legitimate contender for Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch.
Thanks for reading,