For Solving Standard sometimes I will be playing decks off the beaten path, and other weeks I will be on popular decks. This week, I am playing one of the top (if not the top) decks in Standard right now. It's quite refreshing that Scapeshift is so strong, as it's a new relatively new strategy in Standard. It also happens to gain most of its power from its lands, which is another aspect of the deck that makes it unique. The Bant variant of the deck is the best one in my opinion, because of how powerful it is to play Teferi, Time Raveler.

This deck doesn't have that many cards that immediately impact the game, so it wants to capitalize on making the key cards as great as possible. Scapeshift is only going to be good with seven or more lands in play, so the ramp cards are crucial to making the deck function properly. You see a lot of redundancy, with many ways of getting lands into play early in the game. Even cards like Arboreal Grazer are fine here—because there are so many lands in the deck, the Grazer becomes a more reliable form of ramp. Elvish Rejuvenator is a particularly good way to ramp because it can find the most important land, Field of the Dead.

This deck wins by making Zombies with Field of the Dead, either through casting Scapeshift or just through playing a long game with lots of land drops. The easy games involve an early Scapeshift, but often you won't get those easy wins, especially after sideboarding. Players will often sideboard in ways to deal with the Zombies, or an answer to Scapeshift itself.

There aren't that many slots in the deck that interact with the opponent. Teferi, Time Raveler is the most important interaction as it also bounces your own creatures and allows you to play your important sorceries on the opponent's turn. Another important card is Time Wipe. This is going to be a key card against aggressive creature decks like Vampires that may be able to beat you before you reach enough lands for Scapeshift.

We saw in this set of matches what Bant Scapshift is capable of. It is actually quite a resilient deck even when things seem to be going poorly. You do sometimes have awkward draws without ramp effects or with too few lands, but they don't come up that much. Also, there will be games where you need to use every single land in your deck to fight through various disruption, so it's not always correct to Scapeshift for as many Zombies as possible.


Seth Manfield

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