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Iceberg Cancrix Art By Jenn Ravenna

Brewing in a Top Hat: Snowcrab Scapeshift

MonkeyInATopHat decided that Scapeshift has been sitting on the bench for too long. See how he's crushing opponents using it and Historic Anthology 5's Into the North!

Hello and welcome to Brewing in a Top Hat. Today I have a very silly Historic list for you all to enjoy. At its core this is a ramp deck with a combo finish, but it also has aspects of Turbo Fog in it. The idea is to get out as many landfall-crabs as possible then play a Scapeshift to mill your opponent out in one turn. We have a backup game plan to close out games with Koma, Cosmos Serpent if the mill isn’t working.

[sd_deck deck=”KDClD4o79″]

The Card Choices

Koma, Cosmos Serpent Art by Jesper Ejsing
Koma, Cosmos Serpent Art by Jesper Ejsing

Ruin Crab / Iceberg Cancrix These are the heart and soul of our deck.  The plan is to get crabs out and ramp enough to mill our opponents out over time, or to cast a huge Scapeshift and do it all at once.

Spell Pierce Protect your crabs! With all the Jeskai Control and Izzet Phoenix floating around the ladder this is a great meta call.

Abundant Harvest I am in love with this card.  Not only is it never a dead draw, it even helps avoid dead draws late.

Memory Lapse The deck needed a hard-counter that we can sit on and use game one to force through our winning Scapeshift.

Into the North This new-to-the-format card is going to have a big impact in our deck. Not only can we fetch snow-Duals, but we can also grab our Faceless Havens if we need a creature to block with or to remove a meddlesome planeswalker.

Haze of Pollen This is another meta call.  Selesnya Collected Company is very popular on the ladder and since we do not have access to any decent board wipes in Simic, I borrowed an idea from an old deck called Turbo Fog.  Use these to stay alive long enough to combo off.

Glasspool Mimic We needed more crabs, and these are the cheapest copy creature spell that can also be a land if we need it.

Bala Ged Recovery It’s nice to be able to grab back crabs and Scapeshifts that get removed, discarded, or milled.

Cultivate The best generic ramp to get your crabs going.

Scapeshift Crabshift go brrrrr.

Koma, Cosmos Serpent Every deck needs a backup plan.

Sideboard Guide

Tamiyo, Collector of Tales Art by Chase Stone
Tamiyo, Collector of Tales Art by Chase Stone


+3 Mystical Dispute-4 Haze of Pollen
+1 Koma, Cosmos Serpent

Jeskai Control

+2 Negate-4 Haze of Pollen
+1 Tamiyo, Collector of Tales(+1 Relic of Progenitus -1 Glasspool Mimic if they are the Gearhulk variant)
+1 Koma, Cosmos Serpent

GW Coco

+2 Commencement of Festivities-2 Spell Pierce
+1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon-1 Koma, Cosmos Serpent

Gruul Aggro

+2 Commencement of Festivities-1 Memory Lapse
+2 Aether Gust-1 Bala Ged Recovery
+1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon-2 Spell Pierce
-1 Koma, Cosmos Serpent


+2 Relic of Progenitus-1 Koma, Cosmos Serpent
+2 Negate-4 Haze of Pollen
+1, Ugin the Spirit Dragon


+2 Relic of Progenitus-1 Memory Lapse
+1 Grafdigger’s Cage-4 Haze of Pollen
+1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
+1 Tamiyo, Collector of Tales

Tips and Tricks

My crabs keep getting killed before I can do anything! Help!

Hold them until they pay off or you can protect them.  If your opponent is using a lot of spot removal, you will want to hang on to one or two until you can play them with Scapeshift.  If you are losing them to board wipes, then you want to remember to try to hold one in hand.

When do I cast Scapeshift?

Keep track of the cards in your opponent’s deck.  You don’t always need to deck them out exactly.  If you can get them low enough on cards, then oftentimes you can stall them out for the win.

The formula I use is (number of cards milled per land drop)(number of lands) ≥ [the number of turns I think I can survive].  Remember to count your lands left in your library too.  You need to be sure you can pull out enough to kill.

I keep running into decks that use the milled cards to beat me before I can finish them off. What do I do?

In these matchups, like Izzet Phoenix and Arcanist, game one I play coy. They do not know what we are doing.  Early you want to ramp and avoid playing your crabs.  Try to use your spell pierces to keep them from seeing our hand if possible (if they are in black, for Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek).  Then, when their deck gets low enough, drop all your crabs at once and Scapeshift.  Phoenix in particular will do a lot of our work for us by drawing through large portions of their deck.  Games 2 and 3 you have access to Relic of Progenitus, which should let you shut them down completely.

Other Cards and Budget Options

Here are some other cards that I tried and evaluated for you.  Some were playable and some, not so much.  Adjust for your collection to craft the version that works best for you, without blowing all your wild cards.

Mirror Image Budget option for Glasspool Mimic.

Explore / Growth Spiral Great cards, but the list was really tight.  Last cuts for Into the North.  I could see adding it back in if you want to lean less into combo and more into ramp.  But remember Narset, Parter of Veils is once again popular in the meta.

Marit Lage's Slumber This is a fun back up win condition, but it’s just worse than Koma in a competitive environment since the token is significantly more vulnerable.

Graven Lore Too expensive to make the list.  Good when you really need it to be, but I decided it was better to be more proactive than reactive and replaced it.

Zendikar's RoilThis is a fun sideboard option to face control decks with.  It is not as good as a second copy of Koma, but if you don’t have the wildcards this is another okay back up plan.

Pathways / Fastlands / Shocks / Checks Not snow. Will not trigger Iceberg Cancrix. However, decent with…

Glittering Frost If you want to run a different mana base for whatever reason and add in any of the above lands, this is a decent way to mitigate the loss of the snow basics you replace.

Icebreaker Kraken No. This is a bad card. Save yourself the headache and just don’t.Frost Auger Great budget card for keeping lands in hand.  If you go for less of a combo deck and more of a ramp deck, you will want to add these.  Goes great with Growth Spiral and Explore.

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