Top8 at Mythic Championship II with Titanshift

Thien Nguyen

Thien Nguyen

Introduction

Hi, my name is Thien Nguyen. I came in 5th place at the Mythic Championship II playing Titanshift going 8-1-1 in the constructed portion. I’ve been playing Titanshift for 5 years. I was the first person to Top 8 a Modern GP with it and I proceeded to go 8-2 in the Modern portion of the following Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch.

Thien Nguyen

Image Copyright : Wizards of the Coast

Analyzing Titanshift

Primeval Titan

4

Scapeshift

4

Summoner's Pact

2

The deck’s core has been set since Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch. The 4 《Primeval Titan》 and 4 《Scapeshift》 are the deck’s namesake. After players stopped playing 《Remand》, the addition of 2 《Summoner’s Pact》 gave the deck a lot of consistency. These 10 cards form the core of the win conditions.

Sakura-Tribe Elder

4

Search for Tomorrow

4

Farseek

4

The 4 《Sakura-Tribe Elder》 and 4 《Search for Tomorrow》 form the core of the ramp spells. The 27 lands are fairly standard, maximizing the amount of 《Mountain》 while also having a lot of green sources. I rounded out the ramp package with 4 《Farseek》. They offer a lot of consistency and ensure your game plan goes smoothly.

Mwonvuli Acid-Moss

3

Then wanted additional ramp, but I wanted that ramp to have added utility. I’ve played 《Wood Elves》 and 《Growth Spasm》 in the past. For this tournament I decided that 《Mwonvuli Acid-Moss》 would be my utility ramp spell. I anticipated a lot of Tron and this was a great way to break up Tron while also being able to advance my own game plan. It also allowed me to slow down the faster combo decks by a turn, which was usually enough for me to win.

Lightning Bolt

3(1)

Chandra, Torch of Defiance

1(1)

《Lightning Bolt》 is one of the best cards in Modern. Being able to deal with early creatures, finish off a 《Karn Liberated》, and lower an opponent form 20 to 17 are all reasons why I wanted it in the main. I decided to go with 《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》 over the 4th 《Lightning Bolt》 in the main, so I could have an answer to 《Thing in the Ice》 and 《Crackling Drake》 in the main and she also provided a back up win condition against 《Blood Moon》 and 《Surgical Extraction》 on 《Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle》.

Engineered Explosives

1(1)

Relic of Progenitus

3(1)

《Engineered Explosives》 is a catch all answer to a lot of the early drops in the Modern format. Its utility increased with open decklists and the London mulligan. Finally there’s 《Relic of Progenitus》. With Dredge and Phoenix being two of the top decks, having access to 《Relic of Progenitus》 to slow them down made executing my game plan a lot easier.

Sideboard Guide

Tron: Favorable

Against Tron (On the Play)

Out

Lightning Bolt Lightning Bolt Lightning Bolt
Relic of Progenitus Relic of Progenitus
Engineered Explosives

In

Damping Sphere Damping Sphere
Reclamation Sage Tireless Tracker
Ancient Grudge
Chandra, Torch of Defiance

Against Tron (On the Draw)

Out

Relic of Progenitus Relic of Progenitus Relic of Progenitus
Lightning Bolt
Engineered Explosives

In

Damping Sphere Damping Sphere
Tireless Tracker
Ancient Grudge
Chandra, Torch of Defiance

One of your best matchups. Your ramp spells will let you come out fast and usually get a turn 4 win with little disruption. Though your opponent has a turn 3 《Karn Liberated》, you can finish it off with a 《Lightning Bolt》.

Thought-Knot SeerKarn LiberatedExpedition Map

Postboard they bring in 《Thought-Knot Seer》. 《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》 is a clean answer to them. 《Ancient Grudge》 is a good answer to 《Expedition Map》 on the play along with 《Wurmcoil Engine》. 《Tireless Tracker》 gives you a way to draw more cards and puts a lot of pressure on your opponent to deal with it. 《Damping Sphere》 is big for stopping Tron from making additional mana. 《Reclamation Sage》 is fine on the play, but a little too slow on the draw. We want a 《Lightning Bolt》 on the draw to finish 《Karn Liberated》.

Dredge: Slightly Favorable

Against Dredge

Out

Lightning Bolt Lightning Bolt Lightning Bolt
Engineered Explosives
Chandra, Torch of Defiance

In

Obstinate Baloth Obstinate Baloth
Anger of the Gods Anger of the Gods
Relic of Progenitus
BloodghastConflagratePrized Amalgam

You want to take out your one time removal for 《Anger of the Gods》 which permanently removes their creature threats. 《Relic of Progenitus》 can buy multiple turns against them. 《Obstinate Baloth》 blocks all their creature threats and it can buy you a turn against big 《Conflagrate》.

Izzet Phoenix: Even

Against Izzet Phoenix

Out

Lightning Bolt Lightning Bolt Lightning Bolt
Farseek Farseek Farseek
Scapeshift Scapeshift

In

Reclamation Sage Tireless Tracker Dragonlord Atarka
Anger of the Gods Anger of the Gods
Engineered Explosives Relic of Progenitus
Chandra, Torch of Defiance

This matchup really depends on if they get a quick 《Arclight Phoenix》 draw or a quick 《Thing in the Ice》 draw. Postboard we want to limit the effectiveness of 《Blood Moon》 and 《Surgical Extraction》 by diversifying our threats and bringing in more answers for theirs.

Thing in the IcePyromancer AscensionBlood Moon

《Engineered Explosives》 is good against 《Thing in the Ice》 and 《Pyromancer Ascension》. 《Relic of Progenitus》 is good against 《Arclight Phoenix》, Flashback of 《Faithless Looting》, 《Pyromancer Ascension》, and 《Snapcaster Mage》 out of the board. 《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》 is good against 《Thing in the Ice》 and 《Crackling Drake》 while being a win condition under 《Blood Moon》. 《Dragonlord Atarka》 destroys all their creatures off the bat and can block 《Awoken Horror》. 《Reclamation Sage》 can destroy 《Blood Moon》. 《Tireless Tracker》 is an alternate win condition under 《Blood Moon》.

Humans: Favorable

Against Humans

Out

Relic of Progenitus Relic of Progenitus Relic of Progenitus
Farseek Farseek Farseek
Scapeshift Scapeshift

In

Obstinate Baloth Obstinate Baloth
Anger of the Gods Anger of the Gods
Engineered Explosives Lightning Bolt
Chandra, Torch of Defiance Dragonlord Atarka
Meddling Mage

In this matchup you want to go long. Drawing too many win conditions or too many ramp spells will get you over run or locked out by Humans. Board in a diverse set of removal spells so they can’t name them all with 《Meddling Mage》. 《Obstinate Baloth》 gives you time and is hard for them to beat in combat.

Grixis Death’s Shadow: Unfavorable

Against Grixis Death’s Shadow

Out

Lightning Bolt Lightning Bolt Lightning Bolt
Chandra, Torch of Defiance

In

Tireless Tracker
Dragonlord Atarka
Engineered Explosives
Relic of Progenitus
Gurmag AnglerDeath's Shadow

Getting an early 《Relic of Progenitus》 is huge for keeping them off 《Gurmag Angler》. Being able to 《Engineered Explosives》 for 《Death’s Shadow》 is huge. The hope is you can buy time to get to a 《Primeval Titan》 or a 《Scapeshift》.

Conclusion

Hardened ScalesArcbound RavagerExperimental Frenzy

My deck choice ended up being really good for this tournament. I played against Tron 3 times, BW Eldrazi, Mono Red Eldrazi, GB rock, UW Control, Esper Control, Humans and Hardened Scales. My loss was to Hardened Scales and intentionally drawing with Humans. I lost in the Top 8 to 《Experimental Frenzy》 Affinity. I felt overall my deck was very well positioned and my only losses were to fast Artifact draws.

I feel very fortunate to have gone as far as I did in the tournament. There were definitely a few spots where I got really lucky. I’m excited to have brought the deck I worked so hard on to the top of the highest stage of Magic. I believe it’s a good choice moving forward.

Thien Nguyen @thinenagooyen on Twitter

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Thien Nguyen

Thien Nguyen Thien Nguyen is a Pro Player from United States. He is well known as a master of Titanshift deck in Modern and made strong finishes including GP Top 8 at Pittsburgh 2015, 8-2 at PT Oath of the Gatewatch. His effort and fondness were rewarded again at Mythic Championship Ⅱ where he made Top 8 with his pet deck. Read more articles by Thien Nguyen