Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: Bring to Light Gifts Shift

  1. #1

    Bring to Light Gifts Shift

    1 Breeding Pool
    1 Temple Garden
    1 Hallowed Fountain
    4 Steam Vents
    4 Stomping Ground
    3 Snow-Covered Island
    2 Snow-Covered Forest
    2 Snow-Covered Mountain
    1 Snow-Covered Plains
    2 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
    4 Misty Rainforest

    4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
    4 Ice-Fang Coatl
    1 Eternal Witness
    1 Genesis

    4 Arcum's Astrolabe

    1 Path to Exile
    2 Remand
    1 Pulse of Murasa
    1 Gifts Ungiven
    1 Cryptic Command
    1 Chemister's Insight

    4 Search for Tomorrow
    2 Scapeshift
    1 Supreme Verdict
    4 Bring to Light

    3 Teferi, Time Raveler

    Sideboard:
    Huntmaster of the Fells
    Pia and Kiran Nalaar
    Anger of the Gods
    Force of Vigor
    Force of Negation
    Dovin's Veto
    Fry
    Crumble to Dust
    Shatterstorm
    etc

    The Bring-to-Light/Demonic-Pact shell wasn't good enough so we are spicing up (read: ruining?) a different BTL deck

    The BTL-Scapeshift strategy is already well established, you have BTL to provide extra virtual copies of Shift that have a ton of extra utility for only 1 more mana, and the blue manabase gives you access to Coatl and Teferi which are both really good cards for the Scapeshift strategy.

    Astrolabe is a relatively recent addition to the list (not my idea) but it does seem like it improves overall consistency by a lot
    - Cycles (minor deck-thinning effect)
    - Mana-fixes (Otherwise you are 4-colour deck playing 8 basics to enable coatl, sakura etc)
    - Activates Coatl faster (extra Snow Permanents)
    - Higher density of targets to bounce with Teferi for value
    - P&K out of the SB can throw it at stuff

    The spice here is the Gifts Ungiven package which includes the following cards:
    - Pulse of Murasa
    - Gifts
    - Genesis
    - Witness
    - Jump-Start card (Chemister's Insight, or possibly Radical Idea)

    Pulse of Murasa and Witness are acceptable without Gifts, Pulse is a nice tool to have maindeck against burn/aggro that does not have much opportunity cost in other matchups because it replaces itself. Most other BTL decks are already playing Timely Reinforcements in the side or even main. It also forms a pseudo-loop with Eternal Witness.

    Eternal Witness is a fairly strong card in its own right but it interacts favourably with other cards in the deck:
    - Witness + Pulse: Play Pulse, get back witness, play Witness, get back pulse, repeat
    - Witness + Cryptic: Play Cryptic, counter opponent spell and bounce Witness. Play Witness, get back Cryptic, repeat.
    - Witness + Teferi: Play Witness, get back Teferi from the yard, play Teferi, minus-3 and bounce Witness
    When you have 2 graveyard-returning cards (i.e. witness and pulse) you can make Gifts piles of e.g. Pulse, Witness, X, Y, and you will eventually be guaranteed to be able to cast X or Y

    Genesis isn't really seeing any play in Modern since its introduction in Modern Horizons but it does a decent role in this deck as a repeatable source of card advantage. Sakura/Coatl/Witness are all good things to be returning. When you have a Jump-Start card in your deck you can guarantee Genesis goes to the graveyard after you Gifts for it, and a pile of e.g. Chemisters Insight, Genesis, Witness, X seems good in a situation where you are low on resources and need to fire off a BTL to fight back into the game.

    What are the opportunity costs for including this?

    Some lists play 2-3 extra removal spells, like up to 2 Path + 2 Bolt or a miser Lightning Helix etc, this is the most significant loss but it's not uncommon for some lists to play e.g. only 2 path and no bolts. (Especially those lists that are also playing Astrolabe, typically compared to the original non-Astrolabe version they trim 1 land and then 2-3 pieces of interaction to fit the Astrolabe in the deck). We still have 1 Path and the 2 Remand for interaction and Pulse of Murasa helps to fight aggro to some extent. Witness is ok at blocking, but against decks like Vizier combo or Infect we will be worse.

    Some lists play a card advantage spell like Drawn from Dreams, this is a clean swap with Gifts Ungiven.
    Some lists play 1-2 extra copies of Cryptic Command.
    Some lists have extra BTL one-ofs, most commonly Mwonvuli Acid-Moss and Ojutais Command. The modes of command don't offer anything individually unique, as draw 1, return a creature, counter spell, gain life are all covered by Cryptic and Pulse of Murasa. Swapping it with Chemister's Insight doesn't change the manacurve but it does lower the density of interaction in the deck again. Acid Moss is uniquely strong in some situations but against many decks where it is most effective it gets superseded by Crumble to Dust after sideboarding.

    SB space is kind of tight but the plan is to have more targeted cheap interaction to help reach the lategame against combo decks (e.g. Force of Negation, Sudden Shock, Fry). The gifts/genesis plan should help to build up resources to win with Valakut even if we have to make trades to survive the earlygame.

    One option is to play an unburial rites SB plan but I don't think there is any deck in the metagame where this makes sense. It takes multiple SB slots, and having only 1 copy of Gifts means that most likely it will have to go through BTL which makes it fairly slow. I don't think there is a deck currently that gets KO-d by eg Elesh or Iona that can't be effectively addressed by other means but I guess it's something to be aware of. (The way the deck is set up currently, there are already powerful ways to stabilize and/or lock up the game once you reach 4-5 mana, I think the problem is more likely going to be actually reaching that point in the first place).

    Anyway, as usual I appreciate any thoughts/comments

  2. #2

    Re: Bring to Light Gifts Shift

    New list for January 2020 (Theros Beyond Death released and Mox Opal, Oko, Lattice banned):

    4 Misty Rainforest
    4 Steam Vents
    4 Stomping Ground
    1 Hallowed Fountain
    1 Breeding Pool
    1 Temple Garden
    3 Snow-Covered Island
    2 Snow-Covered Forest
    2 Snow-Covered Mountain
    1 Snow-Covered Plains
    2 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle

    4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
    1 Ice-Fang Coatl
    1 Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath
    1 Eternal Witness
    1 Genesis

    4 Search for Tomorrow
    2 Scapeshift
    1 Supreme Verdict
    4 Bring to Light

    4 Arcum's Astrolabe

    3 Teferi, Time Raveler

    1 Path to Exile
    4 Remand
    1 Pulse of Murasa
    1 Chemisters Insight / Radical Idea
    1 Gifts Ungiven
    1 Cryptic Command

    Summary of Changes
    -3 Ice-Fang Coatl
    +2 Remand
    +1 Uro

    In testing I liked the general shell of the deck and the Gifts package worked well, but Ice Fang was sometimes too matchup-dependent in its effectiveness and Remand was also sometimes underwhelming. I ended up on a split of 4 Ice-Fang 2 Growth Spiral 0 Remand but I could easily have justified a 3-3 split or some other mixture of these. I also wanted 1 more graveyard-based effect because in the pile of Genesis/Jumpstart/X/Y the Genesis and Jumpstart always get put in your hand, so it could be good for the deck to have another flashback style effect out of the graveyard. (Although if you need to stabilize or impact the board immediately you should of course go for a pile like Path/Witness/Verdict/Pulse)

    Introducing a mythic from the new set:

    Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath 1UG
    {Legendary Creature - Elder Giant}
    When Uro enters the battlefield, sacrifice it unless it escaped.
    Whenever Uro enters the battlefield or attacks, gain 3 life and draw a card, then you may put a land from your hand onto the battlefield.
    Escape - UUGG, Exile 5 other cards from your graveyard. (You can cast this from your graveyard for its escape cost)
    6/6

    This seems like a pretty good fit for the deck:
    - The "front half" (1UG Healing Salve + Explore) is an acceptable effect in its own right for control Scapeshift.
    - This kind of "evoke" effect on a creature makes it a good target to return with Genesis
    - You can put it in Gifts piles and then whether they put it in your hand first or directly in your graveyard it should be pretty easy to have 5 cards to pay the escape (2 cards that got sent to the graveyard plus cast whatever got put in your hand plus the Gifts itself. The deck is probably not likely to be able to do this more than once per game due to the relatively low count of cantrips/fetchlands/selfmill etc, but 1 free 6/6 with gain 3 and explore on attack/etb is very respectable. It should be lights out vs Burn for example).

    Then I have cut down on Icefangs because it seemed like in the modern meta they weren't very effective in several matchups and it seemed better to have effects that were always useful, like Growth Spiral. One Icefang should still be the minimum because it's great against most things trying to attack you and you can recur it. Having fewer etb effects makes Teferi slightly worse but with 4 Astrolabe 1 Coatl 1 Eternal Witness I think it should still be ok.

    I'm not playing any Growth Spirals now, before I only had 2 and now I still have that extra ramp effect in the Uro.

    I have upped the Remand count to 4:
    - Remand was previously underwhelming against fast decks/starts that could go under it easily, some amount of these will have been eliminated from the meta due to the Opal banning
    - With the new banlist changes Primeval Titan is looking to be popular and that card is a juicy Remand target
    - Possibly there could still be a 2/3 split with the Coatl or another card rather than the full Remand set
    - Remand effectively cycles which helps to pay for Uro escape

    Remand is not likely to be effective against titan stuff in postboard games because of Veil so I will consider playing at least 1 copy of Meddling Mage in the sb.

    I have seen a build of this deck playing 1 Mystic Sanctuary but I don't think that's realistically going to be active enough of the time to be worth it.

    I'm still unsure about whether I want to play Radical Idea or Chemister's Insight, and the SB is still in flux, but I'm looking forward to trying it.

    Edit: Actually... after goldfishing a bit with 1 copy of Uro I think that the whole Genesis/Jumpstart combo is overkill/unecessary. Uro provides a lot of grind power by itself and the deck probably doesn't need infinite grind to win matches when it has the Shift combo. I still think Gifts is ok because it combos well with Uro and the Witness/Pulse setups are fine, but the average draws should be much less clunky without having Genesis (brick) or Idea/Insight (inefficient drawspell). This creates more space in the deck for extra copies of Icefang/Cryptic/GrowthSpiral/Remand
    Last edited by kombatkiwi; 01-16-2020 at 04:54 AM.

  3. #3
    Member
    Mr. Safety's Avatar
    Join Date

    Nov 2010
    Location

    New Gloucester, Maine, USA
    Posts

    4,323

    Re: Bring to Light Gifts Shift

    With The Oko/Opal/Lattice bans I think Gifts Ungiven will become a premiere combo engine. I expect to see storm lists doing well in the near future; the other premiere UR deck (Phoenix) is basically non-existent, which opens up space for storm to reassert itself. I think this could be a better Gifts deck, if not as fast as storm.

    I love the Genesis technology with Uro, which opens up this question: is Snapcaster Mage worth some consideration? If you have value-based Gifts piles I think a single Snapcaster would go a long ways towards creating inevitability. Snapcaster/Genesis/Witness/(any card you need) just seems so good. I know it's slow, but this is a Scapeshift deck at it's core. That means a turn 5-6 combo typically, right?
    I am counted amongst legions of the unrighteous
    who dread not being immersed in pits of fire

  4. #4

    Re: Bring to Light Gifts Shift

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Safety View Post
    With The Oko/Opal/Lattice bans I think Gifts Ungiven will become a premiere combo engine. I expect to see storm lists doing well in the near future; the other premiere UR deck (Phoenix) is basically non-existent, which opens up space for storm to reassert itself. I think this could be a better Gifts deck, if not as fast as storm.

    I love the Genesis technology with Uro, which opens up this question: is Snapcaster Mage worth some consideration? If you have value-based Gifts piles I think a single Snapcaster would go a long ways towards creating inevitability. Snapcaster/Genesis/Witness/(any card you need) just seems so good. I know it's slow, but this is a Scapeshift deck at it's core. That means a turn 5-6 combo typically, right?
    Thanks for the response.
    As I commented in the most recent edit I think Genesis is unnecessarily slow/clunky and is only effective on an axis that is not very important for modern (slow/grindy value).

    I considered playing a Snapcaster but I think that there isn't space for it. You can already guarantee access to any specific effect via Gifts with a pile of Witness/Pulse of Murasa/X/Y. I think Witness has some relevant upsides compared to Snapcaster in this deck (it's better with Teferi and Cryptic Command for example) and I think having the Pulse maindeck is very important against Burn, and after that I don't think there is anything I really want to cut for Snap.

    Yes it's not the fastest combo deck, but it has some resiliency/value strengths and you can delay the opponent with Coatl/Remand.
    How reliably the other titan decks can access Cavern therefore might affect how viable this build is, because if cards like Remand are not effective interaction then it's simply better to be more all-in on resolving the combo as fast as possible.

    There was another build of BTL scapeshift in the top8 of the last modern challenge with some very interesting cards, e.g. it's playing the Dryad of Ilysian Grove and Elvish Reclaimer along with Flagstones to combo off much more quickly. That version is much more creature-focused with Primeval Titan and OUAT, and doesn't really have any interaction (except Verdict). The Flagstones/Reclaimer aspect is very appealing because having Flagstones in the deck accelerates the scapeshift combo (especially with the Omen ability of the dryad) and the ability to Crop Rotate with the Reclaimer gives a lot of good options (Cavern or Castle Garenbrig for Titan, Boseiju for Scapeshift, or Field of the Dead value)

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 2 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 2 guests)