Scapeshift is similar to other controlling decks in that it uses removal and a large number of counterspells to delay and disrupt the opposing aggression. However, past this point the deck takes a different turn. A suite of at least eight ramp spells allow the deck to produce a great deal of mana very early in the game, with the goal being to get to at least seven lands in play. When this is achieved, the pilot will ideally cast Scapeshift and search for a Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and six mountain cards (including shocklands such as Stomping Ground and Steam Vents ) in order to deal the opponent 18 damage due to those lands entering the battlefield simultaneously and seeing each other. To get to this point, the deck employs counterspells such as Remand and Cryptic Command to buy time while they continue to play lands. Removal spells contribute to the effort to delay the opposing attack, while Snapcaster Mage allows all these spells to be reused. Cards like Sakura-Tribe Elder allow you to ramp up quickly and reach the required number of lands relatively early in the game. The most common variant of Scapeshift is the heavy-blue controlling version, but there exist alternate versions that use Primeval Titan and Prismatic Omen to accelerate the kill. These versions rely less on countermagic and more on brute force to find the lands they need and deal the opponent very large amounts of damage.
Sideboarding Against This Deck
The best way to beat the Scapeshift deck is through cards that disrupt its manabase or outright stop its kill condition. Land destruction spells such as Molten Rain, Stone Rain , Fulminator Mage, Sowing Salt and Tectonic Edge do serious work on the manabase, stopping the player from reaching seven or more lands unhindered. Blood Moon is the single best hate card against Scapeshift , as it stops the kill from Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and makes producing mana for intensive spells such as Cryptic Command a lot more tricky.
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