Bant Scapeshift

scapeshift-m19-art-by-daniel-ljunggren
Scapeshift (M19) Art by Daniel Ljunggren

Our Bant Scapeshift deck list guide goes through the ins-and-outs of this combo build for the Core Set 2020 expansion! This guide will teach you how to pilot, sideboard, and substitute cards for this archetype!


Introduction to Bant Scapeshift

Bant Scapeshift is a new Standard archetype that started with the Core Set 2020 expansion. The deck is based on the two-card combo between Scapeshift and Field of the Dead to create a lethal army of zombies with the goal to kill the opponent in one turn.

It was first popularized by the French MTG Arena streamer Syndrom, and various other players hitting massive win streaks with the deck. Luis Scott-Vargas, a hall of fame player, also piloted the deck to first place in MagicFest Denver from a field of 600 players.

Bant Scapeshift Decklist

This deck was piloted by Luis Scott-Vargas, a hall of fame player in MagicFest Denver 2019 to first place.

[sd_deck deck=”Lbb94j7l9″]

Bant Scapeshift Play Strategy

Scapeshift has always been a pet Magic: The Gathering card for its potential for combos with lands that trigger abilities when they enter the battlefield. The release of Field of the Dead in Core Set 2020 created a potent two-card combo that can create lots of zombies.

The main plan of Bant Scapeshift during the early turns is to ramp up your land count as quickly as possible using Arboreal Grazer, Growth Cycle, Elvish Rejuvenator, Grow from the Ashes and Circuitous Route.

You will then be aiming to cast Scapeshift when your land count is sufficient to create a lethal army of zombies. For example, if you sacrifice 8 lands and search for 2 Field of the Dead, and 6 other lands (with different names) you will create 16 zombie tokens.

You always need seven different land names to trigger the ability of Field of the Dead. Keep in mind the number of lands you have left in your deck, especially if you are using a second Scapeshift – a tracker such as MTG Arena Tool may be helpful to show you what cards you have left in your deck. Also remember that Circuitous Route can only search for Gates (3) and Basic Lands (5), and Grow from the Ashes can only search for Basic Lands. When games go long (and they often do), always keep track of what lands are remaining and how many zombies you can create.

There is minimal interaction with the opponent in the main deck, with Prison Realm being a catch-all card and Teferi, Time Raveler is good for disrupting and slowing down your opponents and even shutting down some decks. An important feature of Teferi is its ability to allow Scapeshift to be cast as an Instant and leave no room for the opponent to deal with the zombies.

Games are not always straightforward to assemble your combo however. As the deck gains popularity, so will the specific hate cards against the deck. Players are already playing cards like Field of Ruin, Unmoored Ego, Deputy of Detention, Ashiok, Dream Render and other board wipes. Therefore, sometimes it is necessary to play the long game instead. Even if you do not have Scapeshift, every land you play can turn into free zombies, and with Hydroid Krasis you can turn board stalls into your favor. Make sure to play Elvish Rejuvenator first before playing any lands or land ramp spells, as it has the most potential to bring out a Field of the Dead in play.

Bant Scapeshift Card Choices

Creatures

There are minimal creatures in the main deck of Bant Scapeshift, as you want your ramp to be done on the spot, and not be interrupted by your opponent. Arboreal Grazer and Elvish Rejuventator provides ramping as soon as it enters the battlefield, and at the least provides a body to get in your opponent’s way. Hydroid Krasis is also a perfect inclusion in this deck, as naturally you will have plenty of lands in play and provides a late-game boost to your hand to find that Scapeshift or more lands, and just a big body that your opponent must deal with.

Ramp Spells

These are the most effective ramp spells available in standard right now. As stated above, be aware of what lands you can search for with Grow from the Ashes and Circuitous Route to complete seven different land names, as the deck contains 2 copies of Forest and Island.

Other Spells

Teferi, Time Raveler allows us to cast Scapeshift as an Instant at the end of the turn, and leaves the opponent unable to do anything about it on your turn. Prison Realm is a general catch-all card to slow down your opponent while you assemble your combo.

Bant Scapeshift Matchup and Sideboard Guide

MatchupCards InCards Out
Boros Feather2 Deputy of Detention
2 Ixalan's Binding
2 Grow from the Ashes
1 Circuitous Route
1 Elvish Rejuvenator
Esper Control3 Dovin's Veto
3 Veil of Summer
2 Ixalan's Binding
4 Arboreal Grazer
2 Grow from the Ashes
2 Growth Spiral
Jund Dinosaurs2 Deputy of Detention
2 Ixalan's Binding
2 Grow from the Ashes
1 Circuitous Route
1 Elvish Rejuvenator
Esper Hero2 Deputy of Detention
2 Dovin's Veto
2 Ixalan's Binding
3 Veil of Summer
4 Aboreal Grazer
4 Teferi, Time Raveler
1 Grow from the Ashes
Mono Red Aggro2 Ajani's Welcome
2 Ripjaw Raptor
2 Ixalan's Binding
2 Grow from the Ashes
2 Teferi, Time Raveler
1 Circuitous Route
1 Elvish Rejuvenator
Orzhov Vampires2 Deputy of Detention
2 Ixalan's Binding
2 Grow from the Ashes
1 Circuitous Route
1 Elvish Rejuvenator
Simic Flash2 Deputy of Detention
3 Veil of Summer
2 Grow from the Ashes
1 Elvish Rejuvenator
2 Circuitous Route
Simic Nexus3 Dovin's Veto
2 Ixalan's Binding
2 Deputy of Detention
4 Arboreal Grazer
2 Grow from the Ashes
1 Hydroid Krasis
Simic Ramp2 Deputy of Detention
3 Dovin's Veto
2 Ixalan's Binding
4 Arboreal Grazer
2 Teferi, Time Raveler
1 Grow from the Ashes
Temur Elementals2 Deputy of Detention
2 Ixalan's Binding
4 Arboreal Grazer
Mirror2 Deputy of Detention
2 Dovin's Veto
4 Arboreal Grazer

vs Aggro

Your goal is to try and ramp up and start generating zombies or make a big Hydroid Krasis before they kill you – Arboreal Grazer and Elvish Rejuvenator do a good job at getting in your opponent’s way. Before sideboard, you have minimal disruption against your opponent so it is not hard for them to kill you by turn 5 to 6.

vs Midrange

In the Core Set 2020 Standard, Midrange decks prefer to do their own thing – Simic Ramp, Temur Elementals, all try to overwhelm the opponent with their own creatures via Risen Reef and/or Nissa, Who Shakes the World. Chandra, Awakened Inferno can be annoying to play against, but the matchup is still in your favor.

vs Control

Be ready for long and grindy games but the matchup is still good, as you may have to resort to topdecking. Even if Scapeshift was countered or all your zombies wiped out, you can still come back with a big Hydroid Krasis and your subsequent land drops will still generate zombies, and often they will run out of answers. The sideboard strategy will be the deciding factor. Ashiok, Dream Render is the best card at shutting down this deck archetype.

vs Mirror

This matchup depends on who can ramp faster, get Teferi, Time Raveler and the Scapeshift combination going, and chaining Hydroid Krasis. How your sideboard is built against opposing Scapeshift is also a big factor in BO3 matches. Other than Ashiok, one-off boardwipes such as Deputy of Detention and Time Wipe also helps.

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8 Responses

  1. Tyler says:

    Sideboard guide still coming? 😮

  2. Bruno Oliveira says:

    u made a sideboard guide without sb vs elementals and mirror? really?

  3. Bruno Oliveira says:

    tefery out vs esper? O.o

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