M19 Standard: Sylvan Scapeshift

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It’s Tuesday O’Clock! Time for a Deck Tech!

If you would like to see this deck in action I will be streaming it August 17th at Noon MST at https://www.twitch.tv/tuesdaytastic.

Lands are one of the coolest mechanics in Magic. They aren’t perfect, getting mana screwed can really suck, but I’m talking about from the perspective of a game designer. Lands are such an interesting facet of the game because every single deck needs them no matter whether you play aggro, control, or combo. (Except for Manaless Dredge. We don’t talk about that deck). Because of this, game designers can print a lot of unique effects on lands and allow for every deck to have some utility.

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Lands have been on my mind a lot recently largely because of the new Commander 2018 decks, and the Lord Windgrace pre-con. I love lands, and I am super excited to play with my Lord Windgrace deck. But that’s not why I am here. You see, this much thinking about lands made me realize that a ton of good lands matter cards are currently in Standard. Just a quick overview will reveal that eternal powerhouses Scapeshift and Crucible of Worlds got printed in the same set, along with support from other land cards printed throughout the last 2 years. Once I realized all these cards were available in Standard together, I wanted to see if I could build a deck that utilized all these pieces to create a powerful whole.

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Sylvan Scapeshift’s goal is very simple. Play as many lands as possible. Playing lands gives us a mana advantage over our opponent, and allows us to double spell as soon as possible. To enable this gameplan we play Wayward Swordtooth and Ghirapur Orrery. Wayward Swordtooth isn’t a very good dinosaur at the beginning of the game, but the value it provides us is insane. Getting to play multiple lands a turn is key to the success of this deck and Wayward Swordtooth provides that as soon as possible, and gives us a decently sized body in the mid-late game. Ghirapur Orrery provides the same effect at 4 mana but comes with the drawback that our opponent gets to use this effect as well. This is hardly a problem, however. This deck excels at playing multiple lands a turn and emptying a hand as quickly as possible. Drawing 4 cards at the start of your turn after playing 3 lands never felt so good.

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However, as much as we would like to play all of these lands each turn, our hand is simply too small to continue churning out this many lands a turn. In comes the recursion through our graveyard. Ramunap Excavator and Crucible of Worlds provide the exact kind of effects that this kind of deck needs to succeed. This recursion allows us to play around with Deserts, a mechanic from Amonkhet that involves sacrificing lands for value. One of the best plays this deck can do is play Grasping Dunes over and over again, and completely wipe out your opponent’s board. The Scarab God is far less imposing when he is a 1/1. Bringing these kinds of cards back from the grave is what sets this deck apart from a ramp deck, and gives us plenty of utility that we otherwise wouldn’t have.

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Recurring lands and drawing cards is all fine and dandy, but how does this deck actually win? There are 3 ways to achieve this. First is through the casting of Multani, Yavimaya’s Avatar. Loop an Evolving Wilds through your graveyard a few times and your opponent will soon be staring down a 14/14 with Reach and Trample! If that’s not enough to deal with your opponent, another potential line is through Sylvan Awakening. You can go from a completely empty board to threatening lethal for the easy price of 3 mana. Finally, if worst comes to worst, a lot of our utility creatures still have decent bodies attached to them. Once you have buried the opponent underneath a mountain of value, your random 2/3 and 5/5 are often sufficient enough to get the job done.

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Sylvan Scapeshift is a unique deck in this Standard metagame and attacks a lot of other decks on an axis most of them would not expect. With the release of M19, lands decks in Standard just got a lot of redundancy added to them which is important in a metagame filled to the brim with ways to disrupt you. If you enjoy fetching for 3 lands with 1 card, killing all of their threats through an uncounterable source of -1/-1 counters, and always having the right card for the situation, Sylvan Scapeshift might be the deck for you. If you would like to see this deck in action I will be streaming it August 17th at Noon MST at https://www.twitch.tv/tuesdaytastic. Thank you for reading, I hope you have a great week and an amazing Tuesday!

Link to Decklist: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/1275475#paper

Sylvan Scapeshift.PNG