Red-Green Through the Breach and Primeval Titan decks have been longtime fringe playable and second tier Modern decks. Almost out of nowhere, we saw two of these "BreachTitan" decks reach the elimination rounds of Grand Prix Indianapolis. I like to assume occurrences like this aren't random until proven otherwise, especially in a format as diverse as Modern.

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This performance is indicative of a strong position within the current metagame. Modern is more populated with midrange and aggressive creature strategies than ever at the moment. It makes sense that a ramp deck that can go over the top while also controlling the opponent's board with maindeck Anger of the Gods, Lightning Bolt and Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle triggers would be well positioned at the moment.

The week after the World Championship, Oliver Tiu and Ondrej Strasky played a new and exciting variant dubbed TitanShift! Horrendous deck name aside, the switch from Through the Breach to Scapeshift is quite innovative; sometimes the simplest changes are the most effective.

Essentially, the move from Through the Breach to Scapeshift sacrifices raw power for increased consistency. In a field full of Thoughtseize, Path to Exile and Thought-Knot Seer, relying on Through the Breach is much tougher as these cards counteract Through the Breaching a Primeval Titan quite nicely. Whereas with four copies of Scapeshift you essentially have additional threats in your deck, making you more consistent and resistant to disruption.

Additionally Scapeshift also fights on a different axis, making it more difficult for your opponents to interact with you. With Through the Breach you have to rely on Primeval Titan and a combat phase in order to win, opening you up to spot removal which is abundant throughout Modern. Scapeshift wins through the commonly played interactive Spells in Modern. We see very few Remands these days, but a rising number of Path to Exiles. Scapeshift is a perfect adaption, so much so I wish I would've thought of it myself. Clean, efficient, and opens up draws where you can kill on Turn Four, without the need of a combat step.

Here is the list I played in the video, which is quite similar to Tiu's:

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We play a full four copies of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle. Naturally drawing at least one often allows your first Primeval Titan to fetch up 2 Mountains if needed. This is a bit of a leg up on traditional Scapeshift as well as Lipp's BreachTitan version that plays only two or three respectively. Never before has there been a Scapeshift deck that doesn't max out on Stomping Grounds. Yet, we manage to do so while playing a whopping 13 Mountains.

Now, if you've never played a Valakut based deck before, let me tell you having access to this many Mountains is game changing. It puts clear restraints on your mana, but having the extra Mountains wins many games. This especially happens within this deck when facing down pressure and you are required to search up Mountains with your Primeval Titans, as opposed to Valakut, to clear away opposing creatures or Planeswalkers. In my matches I'm often worried that I'll run out, only to realize that this is not like any Valakut deck I've played before. You can use your Mountains as "aggressively" as you want and always have backups.

My only significant maindeck change was swapping out the third Forest for one Traverse the Ulvenwald. 27 lands is a lot, and possibly correct, but I had seen other lists that play Traverse so I wanted to give it a shot. (Read: I'm greedy.) Essentially we are adding another way of finding Primeval Titan without actually reducing the land count. From playing prior versions of this deck I've learned that naturally drawing a Forest can be a problem. It's probably apparent that I really like having tons of Mountains, which is essentially the same reason is why I hate Forest. Especially the third Forest, drawing multiple copies can be a liability.

The deck reminds me of Bant Eldrazi. It's quite strong against midrange and control decks that play fair while you lean on your sideboard to help catch up against combo. But also like Bant Eldrazi, it is hard to hate out or interact in a clean or positive way against you. The way people can really attack you is through Blood Moon, which is not commonly played and beatable with Nature's Claim. Bant Eldrazi and Titanshift fill a similar space, except that G/R goes one level deeper by crushing Bant Eldrazi on top of beating the same fair decks. I'm not surprised one bit that this Deck was the best performing Modern deck at the World Championship with total record of 7-1.

This deck is strong in the current Modern metagame, relatively straightforward and a blast to play. If you don't want to try it out yourself make sure that it is on your radar in the upcoming months.

Steve Rubin
@RubinZoo
asymphonyofsnores.wordpress.com