Primeval Titan
25, May, 24

New Broken MTG MH3 Land has Limitless Potential!

Article at a Glance

Modern Horizons 3 spoilers are coming out in full force, and we’re starting to get a sense for what this set is all about. In my eyes, one of the cooler aspects of the set is the clear focus on full card cycles. For instance, following in the footsteps of Modern Horizons 1, we have another cycle of “free” mono-colored spells with alternate casting costs. While some might not look super promising, others like Flare of Denial have multi-format potential right out of the gate.

In addition to spell cycles, there are also groups of Lands present in MH3. Each individual color is receiving a neat “Checkland” variant with unique upside. The red and black versions were leaked a few days ago, both showcasing interesting activated abilities beyond basic mana production.

Very recently, the green one was officially previewed by Mason Clark. When I read the text on the card, my jaw instantly dropped. Despite being part of a cycle, Shifting Woodland is extremely abusable in ways that immediately make it stand out. As we will see, there are a lot of different shells across multiple formats that Shifting Woodland can slot into.

Low Opportunity Cost

Shifting Woodland

What makes Shifting Woodland such an incredible card is its ability to act as a win condition. Over the years, plenty of Lands have been printed that can almost singlehandedly take over a game. Cards like Urza’s Saga are immune to Thoughtseize yet can build out a board of threats that the opponent has to deal with. Some other top-tier Lands that give off similar vibes, like Field of the Dead and Dark Depths, remain banned in Modern for good reason.

Shifting Woodland isn’t quite as easy to fully maximize, but frankly, the opportunity cost of putting it in your deck is very low. Shifting Woodland taps for colored mana, and as long as you’re playing green, has a good chance of entering the battlefield untapped. For a card with such a high ceiling, it really doesn’t ask that much of you.

To prove it, let’s look at Shifting Woodland in the context of two elite Modern decks: Amulet Titan and Golgari Yawgmoth. In Amulet Titan, even though there aren’t many natural Forests in the deck, the presence of Dryad of the Ilysian Grove and Amulet of Vigor means there’s a good chance you can tap the Land for mana right away. Enabling Delerium isn’t super easy, but Dryad and Urza’s Saga counting for two card types each makes it not impossible.

From there, the card can play a huge role in attrition battles. When you resolve Primeval Titan, if you suspect the opponent has removal at the ready, tutoring up Shifting Woodland is a great option to have. Now, you can copy Primeval Titan on the following turn if it’s killed, attack, and tutor up more Lands. Shifting Woodland also lines up well against counter magic, providing a clear path to victory in games where you can’t stick Primeval Titan.

Likewise, Shifting Woodland can play a similar role in Golgari Yawgmoth. Being able to copy Yawgmoth, Thran Physician and draw a bunch of cards at will is a great line to have access to. The activated ability of Sbhifting Woodland certainly won’t come up every game, but it doesn’t have to. You still get all the benefits of an untapped Land that produces green mana, so adding a couple copies of Shifting Woodland to these decks seems well worth it.

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Dark Depths Combo

Dark Depths

Interestingly, Shifting Woodland isn’t restricted to copying non-Land permanents. Of course, in most cases, copying a Land doesn’t accomplish too much. With Dark Depths in the mix, however, Shifting Woodland becomes a very scary card.

Dark Depths decks in Legacy are very powerful. Right now, players use Dark Depths in conjunction with Thespian’s Stage as a simple way to make a 20/20 with Flying and Indestructible. See, when you copy Dark Depths, your copy automatically has no ice counters on it, so you’ll get to sacrifice it immediately and get your reward.

Shifting Woodland combos with Dark Depths in a similar way, so long as Dark Depths is in your graveyard, and you have Delerium. With this in mind, Shifting Woodland seems like a great fit for Legacy Lands decks. Once you find Dark Depths, at any point, you can use Crop Rotation to get Shifting Woodland and make a 20/20 out of nowhere. Mox Diamond provides an easy way to get Dark Depths into your graveyard for the combo, too.

Shifting Woodland’s presence even helps you beat hate cards. Having redundancy in your combo can make it easier to refuel versus Wasteland. Now, an opposing copy of Pithing Needle naming Thespian’s Stage isn’t much of a problem. Simultaneously, if the opponent were to get rid of your 20/20 after you sacrificed Dark Depths, you just need to find Shifting Woodland to make another 20/20 (you don’t have to worry about getting both Stage and Depths into play multiple times).

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Digging Deeper

Archon of Cruelty

So far, we’ve mentioned some of the shells where Shifting Woodland seems like a clear consideration. That being said, Shifting Woodland can copy anything under the sun, so it’s worth thinking outside the box.

In Modern, if you can get a big fatty into the graveyard yourself, Shifting Woodland can copy it at will. Players have had success adding a Persist package to their Indomitable Creativity decks, letting them discard and return Archon of Cruelty to play. Perhaps players will be in the market for using Shifting Woodland to copy Archon and get some nice attack triggers in.

Beyond Archon, copying other bombs like Griselbrand or even Emrakul, the Aeons Torn could be backbreaking. This would take some innovation, but seeing Shifting Woodland appear in a unique Goryo’s Vengeance shell wouldn’t be too surprising.

While not exactly a traditional fatty, copying Phyrexian Dreadnought can end the game in short order in Legacy. Stiflenought is a popular strategy in Legacy, utilizing the power of Stifle to keep Dreadnought and Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath on the battlefield and bypass their downsides. Shifting Woodland gives the deck a cool angle of attack. Dreadnought even gets you halfway to Delerium in an efficient manner, which is nice.

It’ll be interesting to see how far players go down the rabbit hole. Copying Omniscience can let you win the game on the spot if you’re lucky. Using Lion’s Eye Diamond as a quick burst of mana and Delerium enabler for Shifting Woodland is spicy as well. Shifting Woodland’s potential is truly boundless, so get ready for some neat shenanigans in Constructed and Commander alike.

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