Brewer’s Kitchen: Crabshift
Well hello there! It’s Brewer’s Kitchen, with the first of two episodes on my brewing process around Ruin Crab. If you remember my latest video about the Rainbow Reef deck, I mentioned that before deciding to play Five-Color Elementals I experimented with various ways to use Ruin Crab.
Back in original Zendikar, Wizards printed Hedron Crab which had two upsides over your new crabby friend:
- It allowed milling yourself
- It was printed alongside fetch lands
To make up for this, Ruin Crab is a 0/3 instead of a 0/2. Not being able to mill yourself is not a problem if we plan on milling our opponent but the absence of fetch lands is a real downside. With fetch lands every land drop provides two landfall triggers. We have Fabled Passage which does trigger Landfall twice but is much worse than real fetch lands as the land enters the battlefield tapped in the early turns. Just playing one land a turn and milling three felt pretty underwhelming in playtesting and even with ramp like Uro and Cultivate I often got run over by Muxus and friends before I even milled half half of my opponents deck. Now don’t get me wrong here, I think the crab is an excellent alternative win condition for ramp decks but that’s not what I was looking for. I was looking for a way to really push the power of the crab to the limits.
It is by far the most efficient spell if you are looking for multiple Landfall triggers. In theory we “only” need two Ruin Crabs and Scapeshift eight lands to mill 48 cards which should be enough at this stage of the game.
But in practice this rarely works. Your opponent will see it coming from miles away and do anything in their power to either kill you or your crabs first. So it was time to find a card that fixes the dead-crab-problem while preferably working in synergy with the rest of the gameplan… And OH MY! Did I find a card that does this: The Mending of Dominaria.
The Mending of Dominaria
Not only does this Saga return our dead crabs to our hand from the graveyard with it’s first two chapters, it also returns every land in our graveyard to the battlefield on it’s final trigger. Now we have the option to Scapeshift for value in the early game and get all these lands back later for the finishing blow. But what other value can we get from Landfall triggers besides milling with the crab? First of all: Lotus Cobra.
With a Lotus Cobra on the battlefield, Scapeshift becomes a ritual. Assuming we sacrifice at least four lands we get more mana out of it then we invested. Remember to float the rest of your mana before you sacrifice your lands. Since Sagas trigger after your draw step the lands entering the battlefield with the last chapter of The Mending of Dominaria will trigger the Lotus Cobra in your precombat main phase giving you access to all that mana to spent on creatures and sorceries. The cobra allows us to chain multiple Scapeshift together and get ungodly amounts of value from our other Landfall payoffs along the way.
Our next Landfall payoff is Scute Swarm.
It seems counter intuitive but having many lands enter the battlefield at once it not the way to go get the most value out of the Scutes. You’d want every land to enter after another to trigger the Scute Swarms that were created after each Landfall trigger. We also play a Lotus Field as a one-of which makes it harder to reach six lands to duplicate it. Nevertheless, we still play two copies of the annoying beetle as it is a unbeatable threat in some matchups.
The last (but probably the sweetest) Landfall payoff is Tatyova.
Tatyova, Benthic Druid
To be honest, the EDH staple is slightly too underpowered for Historic as a five CMC 3/3. However, if your opponent doesn’t have an answer and let’s us resolve a Scapeshift or the last chapter of The Mending of Dominaria with a Tatyova on board we take a trip to value town.
Putting these cards together makes up the gameplan of the deck:
- Have your Landfall payoffs on the battlefield.
- Cast Scapeshift.
- Get mana from Lotus Cobra, draw cards with Tatyova, mill the opponent with Ruin Crab.
- Cast another Scapeshift.
- Get more mana, draw more cards, mill the opponent more.
- Win the game.
The Mending of Dominaria serves as a backup plan. It gets (back) our payoffs and enables them all by itself. The opponent usually does everything in their power to remove any Landfall payoffs before the final chapter resolves but the lands enter the battlefield untapped so we at least get insane mana acceleration out of it.
The rest of the deck are cards to support the gameplan.
Ancient Greenwarden, Hydroid Krasis
Ancient Greenwarden doubles up all our landfall triggers and let’s us play our sacrificed lands from the graveyard. If we have a Ghost Quarter or Field of Ruin we can repeatedly blow up our opponents lands until they are out of basic lands to find at which point we can Strip Mine them every turn. It also allows us to reuse our Blast Zone and budget fetch lands (Fabled Passage, Evolving Wilds).
Hydroid Krasis makes use of the abundance of mana we get from our Lotus Cobra. After a Mending of Dominaria we often have enough mana to cast a huge Krasis to make sure we don’t run out of things to do with all these lands.
Explore, Uro, Growth Spiral
Explore is the perfect filler card for a deck like this. It ramps, triggers Landfall and increases our land count for Scapeshift. Importantly, it allows us to put our MDFCs (Glasspool Mimic, Turntimber Symbiosis) onto the battlefield as additional land drops. We could just as well play Growth Spiral which has a similar effect as an Instant.
Uro fills a very similar role in this deck. Being a creature is a major upside as it can be brought back to our hand with The Mending of Dominaria. As in every deck it also serves as a way to grind out control decks. I hesitated to make a video about this and the other deck (which we will see in next weeks article) because I was pretty much expecting an Uro ban in Historic. If this happened at the point you are reading this article, just fill the Uro slots with more Explore and Growth Spiral.
We also play some MDFCs:
Glasspool Mimic, Turntimber Symbiosis
Glasspool Mimic overperforms in this deck doubling as a land and another copy of our payoffs. We almost always try to copy a Ruin Crab with this but don’t hesitate to just play it as a Scute Swarm or Lotus Cobra. It can be recurred from the graveyard with The Mending of Dominaria and it’s land half can be played from the graveyard with Ancient Greenwarden.
Turntimber Symbiosis is pretty much just an auto-include in every Green deck. We can use it to search for combo pieces or play it as a land in the early turns. Note that these MDFCs do not count as lands in your graveyard and get shuffled back into your library when The Mending of Dominaria triggers it’s last chapter.
Fabled Passage, Evolving Wilds, Lotus Field
Fabled Passage is our replacement for fetch lands. Going to the graveyard synergizes with Ancient Greenwarden and The Mending of Dominaria. We also play a one-of Evolving Wilds which is much worse but a necessary evil as the effect is worth the tapped land in this deck.
Lotus Field is half combo, half non-bo in this deck. That’s why we only play one copy. On the one hand it fills our graveyard with lands for the aforementioned payoffs. On the other hand it lowers our land count for Scapeshift, Scute Swarm and Fabled Passage. It is debatable if its inclusion is worth it but if feels wrong to completely cut it from the deck.
Field of Ruin, Ghost Quarter, Blast Zone
There is a scenario where we have gotten all of our lands out of our deck and have nothing to find with Scapeshift and Fabled Passage. Once you’ve entered this stage of the game, our utility lands become our main gameplan in conjunction with The Mending of Dominaria. Since the Saga shuffles our graveyard back into our library we can’t really mill our entire deck. At this point we have to sacrifice our lands by themselves (Blast Zone, Ghost Quarter, Lotus Field, etc) or Scapeshift for no value to get them back with The Mending of Dominaria.
Now this wouldn’t be a Brewer’s Kitchen article without some gameplay footage to show off the deck. Don’t worry, the video is time stamped to the point where the gameplay starts so you get right into the action.
This was the first of two decks that came out of my experiments with Ruin Crab. Next week we are turning up the jank even more with a very different take on the concept of putting a lot of lands into play. See you next week and always remember to float your mana before you Scapeshift.
Stay safe and keep on brewing!