Welcome, all of you lovely Valakut-triggering people! I have kept coming back to TitanShift throughout the last few years with the most important timestamps being:

Fast forward to the cruel world of Stoneforge MysticStoneforge Mystic Modern, and I felt like playing a Modern Challenge for once. I usually don’t sign up for these because of the huge amount of players in the event, but I felt the itch to cast Primeval TitanPrimeval Titan.

Building the starting 60

Primeval Titan from Iconic Masters

Primeval Titan from Iconic Masters

First of all, let me list the stock cards of the deck that it would take pretty serious bribery for me to cut.

4 ScapeshiftScapeshift, 4 Primeval TitanPrimeval Titan, 2 Summoner’s PactSummoner’s Pact

The win conditions are set in stone, and ten is a great number for both drawing one when you need to and not flooding on them too much.

3 FarseekFarseek, 4 Sakura-Tribe ElderSakura-Tribe Elder, 4 Search for TomorrowSearch for Tomorrow

These are the bread and butter ramp spells that you always want to see in your opening hand.

Now things become interesting because you need to identify what kind of interaction and additional ramp spells you want in your current metagame.

Lightning BoltLightning Bolt

If you expect to face Noble HierarchNoble Hierarch decks, you want Bolt in some numbers. Taking down Karn LiberatedKarn Liberated with 3 loyalty left or players with 20 life points are also respectable targets.

Anger of the GodsAnger of the Gods/Sweltering SunsSweltering Suns

I like running sweepers in addition to Lightning BoltLightning Bolt when creature decks like Infect, (Scales) Affinity, Devoted DruidDevoted Druid combo or Humans are heavily present.

Relic of ProgenitusRelic of Progenitus

I loved this card in the interaction slot when Dredge, and later on Hogaak were big players.

Wood ElvesWood Elves

The seemingly unassuming Elf is great when you expect to block big creatures like TarmogoyfTarmogoyf, Death’s ShadowDeath’s Shadow, Gurmag AnglerGurmag Angler and Hollow OneHollow One to buy time.

Mwonvuli Acid-MossMwonvuli Acid-Moss

I ran this card in the Team Modern Super League finals when I expected our opponents to field Tron, but it’s also very strong against the mirror and Control decks.

Prismatic OmenPrismatic Omen

The Omen bolsters your ability to win the game without resolving one of your big payoff spells, since it lets you trigger Valakut and Field of the DeadField of the Dead early and often.

Khalni Heart ExpeditionKhalni Heart Expedition

The two-mana enchantment is very high variance and needs eight fetchlands to be good, but it provides explosive draws where Valakut and Field of the DeadField of the Dead will shine, especially combined with Prismatic OmenPrismatic Omen. If you play against Abrupt DecayAbrupt Decay, it can be an outright liability.

Hour of PromiseHour of Promise

It turns out that a bad Primeval TitanPrimeval Titan is still a good card. Hour will be included in my deck when I have interest in upping the threat density and increasing my “power plays” with only five mana on the battlefield.

ExploreExplore

This card is playable with 28 lands because you want to optimize the games where it reads “ramp one, draw a card”. If you don’t have the extra land, the card is terrible. Generally I only have room for ExploreExplore when I’m not playing much interaction.

Arboreal GrazerArboreal Grazer

This card ranges from great to absolute garbage. Like with ExploreExplore, you need 28 lands for it to be even playable, but once you get in a block or two while also advancing your gameplan, you will appreciate the power of the little treeclimber.

I didn’t list cards like Courser of KruphixCourser of Kruphix, Chandra, Torch of DefianceChandra, Torch of Defiance and Engineered ExplosivesEngineered Explosives among others because I never liked them. Feel free to reach out to me and ask specifically if you want an explanation. I simply don’t have room in this article.

Building the Sideboard in the New World

Nature's Claim from Worldwake

Nature’s Claim from Worldwake

The sideboard has infinite options. Once again, I’m only listing cards that I find playable, so stay strong if your favorite sideboard card is not on the list. I will definitely address it if you reach out!

Nature’s ClaimNature’s Claim

It used to be my go-to card for answering Leyline of SanctityLeyline of Sanctity and Blood MoonBlood Moon while also being great against Affinity.

Force of VigorForce of Vigor

A great new addition that will work wonders against the same cards that Nature’s ClaimNature’s Claim is answering. You will easily have either an additional ramp spell to pitch or four mana available to cast it.

Beast WithinBeast Within

You can run this card if you want a DisenchantDisenchant-effect on top of disruption for Tron.

Reclamation SageReclamation Sage

If your deck contains two Summoner’s PactSummoner’s Pact, which it should, I find the Sage to be an auto-include that will get you out of various situations.

Grafdigger’s CageGrafdigger’s Cage

“Hard” graveyard hate can be necessary in specific metagames. Also note that it stops NeoformNeoform and Collected CompanyCollected Company.

Tireless TrackerTireless Tracker

A usefull grinding tool against Blue-White that gets under Cryptic CommandCryptic Command while completely dodging Spell PierceSpell Pierce, Force of NegationForce of Negation, NegateNegate, Disdainful StrokeDisdainful Stroke and Spell SnareSpell Snare. It will sometimes force them to leave in Path to ExilePath to Exile which is perfectly fine for this deck.

Obstinate BalothObstinate Baloth

Crossover sideboard cards are always great, and the beast will work wonders against both Burn and Liliana of the VeilLiliana of the Veil activations.

ThragtuskThragtusk

ThragtuskThragtusk is my go-to card when I want to have impactful sideboard cards against Burn, Black-Green Midrange, Control, but also a live card for the Death’s ShadowDeath’s Shadow and Eldrazi Tron matchups.

Collector OupheCollector Ouphe

I found this to be the best speed bump against Urza-variants which will also eat away at their lifetotal while you set up for the kill.

Veil of SummerVeil of Summer

As a reaction to the pesky printing of Force of NegationForce of Negation to make your ScapeshiftScapeshift very unlikely to resolve, Veil of SummerVeil of Summer can help out in the sideboarded games.

Damping SphereDamping Sphere

Being great against most combo decks while also delaying Tron and Amulet makes Damping SphereDamping Sphere a staple in my TitanShift sideboards.

After getting the construction of the actual 75 out of the way, this is what I played in the Modern Challenge October 5 to a top 4 finish:

Titanshift by ecobaronen

Creatures (10)
Arobreal Grazer
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Primeval Titan

Spells (20)
Prismatic Omen
Summoner's Pact
Explore
Farseek
Search for Tomorrow
Sweltering Suns
Scapeshift
Hour of Promise
Lands (28)
Castle Garenbrig
Cinder Glade
Field of the Dead
Forest
Misty Rainforest
Mountain
Sheltered Thicket
Snow-Covered Forest
Snow-Covered Mountain
Stomping Ground
Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
Verdant Catacombs
Wooded Foothills

Sideboard (15)
Veil of Summer
Collector Ouphe
Damping Sphere
Reclamation Sage
Thragtusk

Allow me to share my “scouting report” for Modern going into the event.

Going in I knew that Primeval TitanPrimeval Titan would be a strong strategy because of the evolution of Modern this past month. Players are sleeving up various Stoneforge MysticStoneforge Mystic and Liliana of the VeilLiliana of the Veil decks because most games are actually played on the battlefield after Faithless LootingFaithless Looting got banned. As a way to fight this state of Modern, Tron seems like a natural choice – a matchup I’m always happy to face with TitanShift. Furthermore, playing Noble HierarchNoble Hierarch decks seems like a silly idea when Jund plays Wrenn and SixWrenn and Six and can punish you dearly. I figured it was time to run Bolt-less TitanShift and crush a bunch of Midrange decks!

Notable Card Choices

2 Castle Garenbrig

Castle Garenbrig
Castle Garenbrig

The green castle’s role in the deck is quite clear; it’s lets you cast Primeval TitanPrimeval Titan from five lands which is a huge gamechanger. The Mountain count will suffer a little, but I think the speed and inclusion of two copies of Prismatic OmenPrismatic Omen make up for it. Being one mana cheaper can mean the difference between getting caught by Cryptic CommandCryptic Command or not and also tip the scales in your favor in racing situations. I had a question on Twitter about increasing the number of Summoner’s PactSummoner’s Pact in the deck to play turn three Titan more consistently, but I need to do more testing to find the sweet spot between drawing too many non-Mountain lands and too many highend cards to disrupt the critical mass of the deck. I will try out a 3-3 split of Castle and Pact in the future!

2 Sweltering Suns

Sweltering Suns
Sweltering Suns

I decided to hedge against my ommision of Lightning BoltLightning Bolt and run a few sweepers and hope to get lucky to draw it when I needed it. I ended up only playing against one deck where the card would be good, but I didn’t draw it in the matchup unfortunately. I did end up cycling it a few times which is definitely not exciting, but acceptable compared to Anger of the GodsAnger of the Gods nonetheless.

2 Arboreal Grazer

Arboreal Grazer
Arboreal Grazer

The Grazer helped me get over the hump twice against Burn where the cancellation of Goblin GuideGoblin Guide was huge. It even helps playing a five mana play (Titan with Castle or Hour of PromiseHour of Promise) on turn three and covers the gap that not playing Lightning BoltLightning Bolt leaves in the deck. It’s a horrific draw later in the game, so I will definitely keep my eye out on its performance long-term.

2 Hour of Promise, 2 Prismatic Omen, 2 Explore

Hour of Promise
Hour of Promise
Prismatic Omen
Prismatic Omen
Explore
Explore

This trio makes their way into the deck because I decided to not run much interaction. Hour of PromiseHour of Promise and Prismatic OmenPrismatic Omen are great together since Valakut will trigger so easily while ExploreExplore keeps the engine running.

Wrap-Up

I already covered the sideboard cards above, and those combined with my scouting report is the explanation for running the sideboard I did. As the metagame evolves I doubt I can justify running the full playset of Collector OupheCollector Ouphe, and maybe the “lifegain midrange creature” slots need to be modified. That’s the beauty of old Magic formats that nothing is stale for long! Next time I will teach you how to sideboard with TitanShift and have a long list of tips for playing the deck. Thank you for reading.

Andreas Petersen

Andreas Petersen

Andreas is probably better known as "ecobaronen" on MTGO. After 2nd place of Team Trios #GPMadrid playing Modern he's heading to his second Pro Tour in Minneapolis this year. Andreas has an opinion about every constructed format except Standard.