Historic: Rakdos Death's Shadow Deck Tech (Best of One)
08/05/22 0 comments
Temur Battle Rage has arrived at Magic Arena. Could it be the missing piece to bring Death's Shadow to the Historic Metagame?Edit Article
Shadow Zoo, but it really became known when Jund Shadow became the biggest Modern's competitor in 2017, being compared to Splinter Twin in the sense that, alongside the deck's main creature, it could end the game instantly. So, when one of the most iconic pieces of Shadow lists was announced in the Explorer Anthology - and finally getting rid of needing to play with Invigorated Rampage - I was pretty excited to have the same explosive plays in Historic as I perform in Modern, but that was short-lived upon discovering that Monastery Swiftspear wouldn't be released on the digital platform yet. However, along with other additions from the recently released
Alchemy Horizons, Death's Shadow has gained several elements that could, perhaps, make it a viable option in Historic. And with some spare time on my last weekend, I decided to test a variety of ideas with the card next to Tarmogoyf, as well as other builds searching for the most interesting option to build around Temur Battle Rage, and despite having a Jund version still being tweaked as the requirements to use Tarmogoyf effectively are more demanding in a world without Mishra's Bauble and Fetchlands - although Affinity's rise gives us some ease on having four or more card types in the graveyard - I decided to bring a more direct approach today with the proposal to win the game in one or two combats using Fate Reforged's spell,
Why Best of One?Sincerely? Because a Best of Three list requires an entirely different setup and deeper adaptation to the Metagame, rather than the "just go with your plan" proposal, which is much more effective in Best of One games. Historic is changing and adapting to the new Anthologies and now also has an extra complexity thanks to the Alchemy Horizons cards, making it so that I don't have enough information in just one weekend to present a well-rounded Sideboard Guide and a list that meets the needs in relation to the wider Metagame. Finally, I believe that the strategy on this list works much better in a universe without Sideboards than in a world with them, as our Plan A is easy to answer, forcing us to adapt to other games. In that sense, other variants probably play a better role, and I'll be providing a complete Best of Three guide from one of these Death's Shadow decks in the future.
The MaindeckOur game plan here is clear and to the point: use our discards to get information and remove any opposing interactions, cast a threat, draw, or removal on turn 2 and get our life total low enough to start playing multiple copies of Death's Shadow or Scourge of the Skyclaves that can end the game with Temur Battle Rage. We also have two alternative plans that interact well with the deck's centerpieces: cast Shadowheart, Sharran Cleric or Kiln Fiend on turn 2 and leverage their abilities to set the clock while you lose life with Shocklands and spells.
Specializeability - where you can, anytime you would cast a spell, pay a cost and discard a card of one color, or a land type to turn it into one of its five variants.
Lifelinkin games where you don't have the advantage in the race - and the fact that it conveniently transforms into a 4/4, plus the way Deathtouch interacts with Trample, makes this cleric a threat to be reckoned with. Kiln Fiend is present on the list as a removal magnet that offers the potential to deal an absurd amount of damage the next turn if you keep the board empty and/or cast Temur Battle Rage. It also offers a combo-kill if the opponent doesn't gain life, and you sequence two spells + Battle Rage, dealing a total of 20 damage.
probablyneed it to win games, similar to how decks like Mono-Red Aggro or Gruul need Embercleave - three was the ideal number, and even made room for the second copy of Kolaghan's Command.
Mulligan and Game Stance
PostureAs mentioned earlier, your goal with this version is to cast your threats and hit the "free-win" button with Temur Battle Rage - for that, your stance should be mostly that of the beatdown throughout the games. - but you can adapt to be the control if the opponent's deck is faster and more aggressive than yours, as is often the case with Affinity or Mono Red Aggro. Because it is a high-risk and high reward strategy, it is not so easy to master and understand when you should take an action or not due to the possibility of losing on the next turn, and there is no problem if you initially lose the timing of your plays, or bet on a bolder stance on the possibility that your opponent won't be able to deal the last points of damage to you on the next turn.
Tips and Tricks> Spell Lands are a double-edged sword since they are easy targets for Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek, avoid keeping hands that only have them as starting lands and always prioritize Agadeem's Awakening over a Shock Land in the first few turns - you will almost never have the opportunity to cast it with an X greater than 1 unless the game stretches too far, just the opposite of our game plan. > Sometimes it's worth letting the opponent attack us for a turn or two to speed up casting Death's Shadow or enable the combo-kill with Temur Battle Rage, but it's necessary to evaluate how the opponent may be playing around with that possibility to decide when and how to block. > Remember that the power and toughness of Death's Shadow and Scourge of the Skyclaves are calculated with
State-Based Actions. That is, if you block a 4/4 creature with a 3/3 Death's Shadow, but take 2 damage from another creature, it will remain on the battlefield at the end of combat since it will be a 5/5 with 3 damage. > Still on the occasion above, it is possible to target yourself with Play with Fire to save Death's Shadow from lethal damage and create an unexpected combat trick, keeping it on the battlefield while killing the opponent's creature. > Whenever you calculate the total damage you can deal this turn and/or receive the next turn, remember to consider the 1 damage that Shadowheart, Sharran Cleric deals to both players at the End Step . > Painful Bond stacks among the cards in your hand for each one you cast. I always recommend spending the most important resources that have this damage enclosure before casting the next one as paying 2 life to cast your spells stacks up too quickly. At the same time, stacking these enclosures can be the ticket to lethal damage in the same turn, if you have enough mana. > This list has a variety of free-wins button with Temur Battle Rage so it's very easy to lose count of the amount of damage you can do with it. So do the math well before declaring an attack so you don't miss the timing of a victory out of fear. > There are some micro-interactions you can do at the start of turns: Play with Fire can be cast on your Upkeep against your opponent to give you a Scry 1, and if your opponent's hand is empty, you can use Kolaghan's Command on their draw step to force them to discard what they just drew, unless they can respond by casting it at Instant-Speed.
Alternate Card Choices
Combos and Big Mana
"Go Big" Affinity