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Much Abrew: The World Tree Scapeshift Combo (Pioneer)


Hello, everyone, and welcome to another edition of Much Abrew About Nothing! This week, we are heading to Pioneer to play one of the weirder combo decks I've seen in a minute: The World Tree Scapeshift combo! If you've been playing Magic for a while, you'll probably remember a top-tier Modern deck based around ramping up to seven lands and then resolving Scapeshift to tutor up a bunch of Mountains and Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle. Today's deck is trying to do the same thing but in Pioneer, and since Valakut isn't legal, we have to use The World Tree (and a bunch of janky extra steps) to make Scapeshift lethal! Can Scapeshift work in Pioneer? Is The World Tree more than an Against the Odds card? Let's find out on today's Much Abrew About Nothing!

Much Abrew: The World Tree Scapeshift Combo

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Discussion

  • Record-wise, The World Tree might still be an Against the Odds card. We finished 2-5 with the deck, which obviously isn't great, although I think the deck still has some potential...

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  • So, what is the actual combo of the deck? Here's the basic plan: Ramp us to seven (or possibly six) lands. Cast Scapeshift to find The World Tree and all four copies of Sunken Citadel—each of which will make two mana toward activating The World Tree—plus a couple of other random lands. 

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  • Ideally, we'll have Spelunking on the battlefield when we do this so all of our lands will come into play untapped. The biggest drawback of Scapeshift is that the lands it finds normally come into play tapped, which means even after we get The World Tree and a bunch of Sunken Citadels, we have to wait another turn to try to win. With Spelunking on the battlefield, The World Tree and the rest of the lands will enter the battlefield untapped, which will allow us to activate The World Tree and win the game right away!

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  • The last piece of the puzzle is the Gods, which we'll tutor up with The World Tree. We have six total in two Purphoros, God of the Forge, three Ojer Axonil, Deepest Might, and one Klothys, God of Destiny. When we World Tree, we'll dump them all into play. While our Purphoroses and Ojers Axonil will legend-rule themselves, they'll all exist on the battlefield long enough to trigger our two copies of Purphoros a total of 10 times for 20 damage or, if we can keep Ojer Axonil, Deepest Might on the battlefield, 40 damage since each Purphoros trigger will hit for four rather than just two!

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  • The rest of the deck is a huge pile of ramp spells, ranging from Arboreal Grazer to Solemn Simulacrum to Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, to help us get up to seven lands for the combo and Wish, which can snag The World Tree, Scapeshift, removal spells, and more from the sideboard, although the main idea of Wish is to add more copies of Scapeshift to our deck so we can find it consistently.
  • The good news about the deck is that the combo is unique, it ramps well, and Wish adds a lot of flexibility. Oh yeah, and it's fun to play and sort of funny.
  • The bad news about the deck, apart from our lacking record, is twofold. First, it often felt like we were about a turn slow in a lot of matchups, but doubly so against aggro decks. We have literally zero removal in our main deck (although we have a bit we can Wish for from the sideboard), which means it's pretty easy to get run over by aggro if we get a slow draw. Second, the deck has one glaring issue: the entire combo falls apart if we draw our Gods. We can sometimes survive drawing one Purphoros, God of the Forge or Ojer Axonil, Deepest Might, but if we draw two of our Gods, we likely won't have enough creatures left in our deck to trigger Purphoros and win the game with our combo. This means a couple of things. First, we have to mulligan a lot because keeping more than one God in our starting hand is a non-starter, and even keeping one is super risky. Second, since we don't have any way to put a card from our hand back in our library, we sometimes have really brutal games where we do everything right, are all set up to combo, and then, just before we combo off, we draw a God and lose.
  • The good news is that I think both problems are fixable with a single card: Volcanic Spite. Volcanic Spite not only gives us a touch of removal to help us stay alive against aggro decks but also the ability to put a God back into our deck so we won't auto-lose by drawing too many Gods. The biggest challenge is figuring out what to cut from the deck, which will probably mean trimming back a bit on ramp and maybe a copy of Wish.
  • One other idea for the deck is to switch up the ramp package entirely. As usual, Arboreal Grazer was super inconsistent, and much of the rest of our ramp, like Solemn Simulacrum or Golos, is pretty slow. What if we played a Gates-style ramp package instead, headlined by Explore and Growth Spiral? It would give us more card advantage and potentially make the deck more consistent.
  • All in all, I really liked this deck despite our meh record. It feels like version one of the archetype, and a lot of the problems we had with the deck seem pretty easy to fix. With a bit more brewing, we might actually end up with a competitive The World Tree deck in Pioneer! If you have more ideas on how to improve it, make sure to let me know because I'd love to see it happen!

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.



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