Sunday, September 20, 2015

Modern Bible of RG Tron chapter 31 - RG Tron vs Scapeshift

Combo is death for RG Tron. We fear combo decks above everything else. The worst are the quick combo decks that win on turn 3 or turn 4 that we simply have no answers for in game 1 (unless you are joining the maindecking-Nature's Claim-clique). 

Fortunately for us, Scapeshift is not a turn 3 or 4 combo deck most of the time, giving us at least some hope to win.

Is this a bad matchup for RG Tron?
Yes, it is. Scapeshift does not care about our removal and we are not presenting a significant clock to them. 

There is hope that Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger can change this. See last week's blog post here:

Things to consider when playing RG Tron vs Scapeshift
One of the difficulties of playing against Scapeshift is that they can stop your significant threats with countermagic while still threatening a medium quick combo kill.

I now take the liberty of quoting MagicGatheringStrat viewer Mike Pawliuk who has fair insight into this matchup. This comes from a YouTube comment. Full credit to Mike for these tips.

Playing against Scapeshift: THRESHOLDS: 6 or fewer lands: They can't do anything. 7 lands: (Find Valakut + 6 mountains) is 18 damage (usually not enough to kill us) 8 lands: (find 2 Valakut + 6 mountains) is 36 damage. LAND NUMBERS: 2 Valkut 10 Mountain (4 Steam Vent, 4 Stomping Ground, 2 Basic Mountain) Sometimes risky players will only use 1 basic mountain and 9 total mountains. SPELLSKITE: 7 lands: (Valakut + 6 mountains) is 12 damage. 8 lands: (2 Valakut + 6 mountains) is 24 damage. 9 lands: (2 Valakut + 7 mountains) is 28 damage. WURMCOIL: An early wurmcoil can put us out of range of them. Especially if we have Spellskite and Nature's Claim. Be careful if they have Sakura Tribe Elder; they will block and sacrifice, so we won't gain life. THE TRICK: They only have 2 basics, so after Scapeshift resolves (1) if both basics are represented (either pre or post scapeshift) and (2) they only fetched 6 mountains, THEN GQ a mountain will stop the Valakut triggers from resolving (when the triggers check to see if there are 5 other mountains, they will not find them). Notice that Boil also can do "the Trick"; it's much more powerful, but can be countered. After Scapeshift resolves, if Boil Resolves and kills enough Steam Vents to get them to 5 or fewer mountains, then Valakut won't trigger. (You can also try to Boil before Scapeshift, and this will keep them from finding enough lands). Be aware of counterspells though! IF THEY PLAY VALAKUT: This is a very bad sign for them. GQ it in response to Scapeshift. They will need to fetch 8 lands (Valakut + 7 mountains) to deal 21 to you. A single wurmcoil hit will almost certainly get you out of range.

Useful and less useful sideboard cards
Boil: See above.

Firespout: Pyroclasm 5-8 would be very useful here. This matchup (and Zoo) are my main reasons for wanting Firespout in my sideboard.

Oblivion Stone: Does nothing. Sideboard out.

Slaughter Games: Take Scapeshift. This is one of the big reasons to play Slaughter Games in your sideboard.

Spellskite: See above

Less useful main deck cards
Oblivion Stone: Does nothing. Sideboard out.

Pyroclasm: Does nothing. Sideboard out.

Relic of Progenitus: Relic does very little here but at least it does cycle.

Ugin: A very expensive way to do 3 damage a turn. 

Wurmcoil Engine: He is a route to victory but he is very slow and easily counterable. Ulamog or Sundering Titan does a lot more work, especially supported by Boil.This is one of the strongest matchups for Sundering Titan (especially if you have Cavern of Souls)

What do they bring in?
If Scapeshift sideboard against us they are probably just dilluting their combo. Their best route to victory is to just combo off and watch us cry.

If there is a chance they are bringing in sideboard cards (like Chalice of the Void) you have to consider bringing in Nature's Claims.

Some Scapeshift decks have an alternate sideboard plan that can protect them against being totally rendered helpless by Slaughter Games. Be aware of this!

Sample video
In this video I take on Scapeshift with one of my RG Tron builds.

Next week we will take a look at one or more other matchups.

For a full list of the chapters of The Modern Bible:

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