Crab-based deck, revisited to build Scapeshift combo.

Updated and renewed the description to talk about the functions of the deck after looking at a deck that Squee_Spirit_Guide built called Shifty Crabs!. So go check that out!

I agree that at it's core, this deck is most effective by utilizing key meta pieces like Primeval Titan or even going Temur colored for Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and Dryad of the Ilysian Grove. However, I intended originally to build this deck to a theme, and not to a meta. So crabs that mill was where I kept my head at, and the Landfall mechanic was initially very prevalent in my build. Even considered Scythe Leopard for value. The core of the decks function remains in Scapeshift and how it interacts with the crabs, and I will always have a special place in my heart for these builds because this was my first modern-legal build (at the time). In those days, I was using Traumatize and Fraying Sanity as a win condition with dorks like Elvish Mystic to push the game.


As Squee_Spirit_Guide pointed out on his list, Jaddi Offshoot is a good outlet to keep yourself present on the board. Protective spells like Shell Shield are gonna be crucial in these matches and maybe Blue Elemental Blast, and to that end Hydroblast. (10/10) recommend having somewhere between 2/2 --> 3/3 in your mainboard/sideboard set up, due to how powerful that match up and game can be.


Honestly if you got budget like that Leyline of the Void will shut that shit down real real fast. Otherwise, a Grafdigger's Cage or Tormod's Crypt is likely gonna be enough. The issue with this match up is your function (The milling) works against you, so it's even more paramount to have responses lined up: Stifle, or even Trickbind would be helpful in keeping some of the activated effects at bay.. hell, even Disallow exists. In this scenario, I'd recommend something like Baral, Chief of Compliance to help keep your hand stocked with the cards you need, because you'll spend a lot of time stopping your opponents plays anyways.


You prolly die, tbh. Not too many big bois to help this situation other than keeping some consistent disruption available, with Counterspell, Vapor Snag, Aether Gust, etc. I mean Charix, the Raging Isle is an on brand solution that provides a big boi, but it's kinda one-dimensional. You're not really gonna use him for anything else other than eating a massive swing from the opposition.

"Lands to Make Her Dance"

IMO, this deck optimizes value by dropping Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, and never letting up slack on draw, life, and body Presence. It's a great way to make an impact not just once, but on the very next turn AGAIN. Another sneaky I pulled is using Green Sun's Zenith to go fetch Dryad Arbor by only paying and a net for the Dryad itself. Note: make sure you do this following your land drops for turn, because the act of casting the Zenith will override your land drop ruling, but the Landfall triggers from your crabs will still resolve.

Other popular choices include creatures that say you can put more than one land down on each turn. These creatures are:

These guys can help really drop a bunch of lands and speed up your mill tactic. Some other noteworthy land drop creatures include:

I agree that crabs are super cool and a crab tribal would be baller.. someday. For now we settle for things like Scuttletide and Hard Evidence. (This deck idea originally came to me around 2016, prior to Zendikar Rising).

Another cool thing you could do has been detailed as a meme! 'Endless Crab Rave' could be Horseshoe Crab and Cryptolith Rite, which is simply amazing. If using that as a win condition strikes your fancy, consider using Wake Thrasher, idfk.

When I first built this, I was too! Very hard to justify building a deck that features so many pricey land Fetching cards like Misty Rainforest, Prismatic Vista, and Fabled Passage. Initially, I relied on using mana dorks like Elvish Mystic and Llanowar Elves because if I wasn't playing a crab, I was trying to mana ramp out my combo using Fraying Sanity by turn 2, and Traumatize on turn 3. Other ways of applying that pressure to your opponents consistently until you can win-con can be small spells like Thought Scour for deck thinning. Fleet Swallower, Maddening Cacophony, and Brain Freeze can all do a thing for you as well, from applying the small pressure where its convenient, to including more copies of your win con. A personal favorite from when I did this deck in mono-blue was Overwhelmed Apprentice to help preface my next turn. For the land base, basics never hurt and Yavimaya Coast still sits in one of my older binders because of this deck. MDFCs like Barkchannel Pathway   and the better-tango lands like Dreamroot Cascade are more helpful to a budget build than shocks or fetches would be, but budget is all a matter of perspective. I think this build can be effective by turn 4 or 5, with some wise choices in the sideboard to protect your crabs. Things like Vapor Snag, Return to Nature, Explore, and Growth Spiral are all excellent (cheap) ways to produce consistent value.
A few cards in the maybeboard follow a snow theme because I think someone could use Iceberg Cancrix as another layer of mill with the other Crab bois. A few supporting acts like Ice-Fang Coatl, Rime Tender, and Abominable Treefolk could make for an interesting sub-theme. Jorn, God of Winter   would truly shine in a build of this style, un-tapping your permanents for maximum value. That becomes clear when including the snow-subtype lands like your basic Snow-Covered Forest and Snow-Covered Island, and the Kaldheim printed Rimewood Falls. Admittedly, this build would stray a bit further from my initial concept but I think 'Cold Crabs' has a nice ring to it.
A few other cards of note are included in the maybe board because I believe they provide some insight into another version of this deck I built that is (arguably) less effective but more (arguably, lol) fun to play with! Do it like this:

  1. Have the Crab you want*
  2. Cast Renegade Doppelganger and have your opponent be confused.
  3. Get Artisan of Forms to the field and pray you're not being interrupted yet, note that you might wanna do this and your spell same turn if you can spare the mana for it. I ran some dorks to help offset the need when I used this build.
  4. Using a Quasiduplicate or Cackling Counterpart, target the Artisan of Forms, which upon cast, use its ability to have it become a copy of your preferred crab. Once that ability resolves, have the token enter as a copy of the crab artisan. With that new crab entering the battlefield, have Renegade Doppelganger become a copy of the crab you chose. Thats four crabs, and you can keep stacking those or resolve a Scapeshift, who cares?
  5. *Since it is in color for us, I'm also gonna take this moment to mention Biovisionary because that's not funny or problematic at all, right?

Tasha's Hideous Laughter deserves a mention for it's utility, and dependent on your color use, Glimpse the Unthinkable could potentially end the game. Drowned Secrets capitalizes on more mono-colored constructs where Maddening Cacophony and Overwhelmed Apprentice have the ability to really align your deck for success. I tend to start considering my cantrips like Thought Scour and Serum Visions to be way more valuable once Drowned Secrets hits the field. By this measure, cards like Careful Study and Ancestral Vision become super nasty with Jace's Erasure. Keeping with ths kind of action, my favorite spell to resolve with this board state is Visions of Beyond or Arcane Denial. Any of these caveats have the potential to oppress your opponents relentlessly. I'm gonna end this panel on being mean by dropping Back to Basics, because that shit is brutal.


Updates Add

With Squee_Spirit_Guide feedback, I'm sure this update is a great place to detail a nice we're gonna do a crime in vintage type update:

We take out :

For more amazing control options like :

I admit I was a bit dumb to how completely wicked Fastbond is for such a build. Reminds me of Glimpse of Nature, Exploration, and Burgeoning for two reasons:

  1. These are all really high-synergy cards for stupidly low mana curve, and have potential to payoff in a way that your opposition simply cannot recover from, if not outright securing a win.
  2. The price tag on these cards is kinda.. chommnky. I mean.. that's just relative but I don't see a lot of players who say 'yeah give me a set of Exploration.."


  1. Burgeoning over Exploration for interrupt value
  2. Fastbond is now something I absolutely must have for this build, (thanks Squee_Spirit_Guide!) and a crazier fellow might swing to get some copies of Tropical Island into the mix.



81% Competitive

Revision 2 See all

(2 months ago)

+1 Force of Negation maybe
+1 Force of Will maybe
+1 Manabond maybe
Top Ranked
  • Achieved #25 position overall 2 months ago
  • Achieved #1 position in Vintage 2 months ago
Date added 3 years
Last updated 2 months

This deck is Vintage legal.

Rarity (main - side)

8 - 6 Mythic Rares

28 - 0 Rares

16 - 3 Uncommons

0 - 6 Commons

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.56
Tokens Food
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