Modern: Five Decklists with Death's Shadow

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Modern: Five Decklists with Death's Shadow

04/04/22 Comment regular icon0 comments

In today's article, we are going to analyze some variations of Death's Shadow and what they are using after Lurrus of the Dream-Den was banned.

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With the recent announcements about the return of Pro Tour and all the competitiveness of tabletop Magic, it's hard not to get excited, I'll even confess that I'm already updating my Modern and Pioneer decks to get back to playing tabletop Magic. Taking advantage of this excitement, I decided to talk about the various variants that are emerging from an already known archetype,

Death's Shadow

. Of course, Death's Shadow has always been a creature that has made numerous lists possible, but there was a time when the Grixis version dominated player choices. With the departure of Lurrus of The Dream-Den, things ended up diversifying a bit, even bringing versions that don't run red, for those who don't want to purchase a Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer playset.

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That said, today we are going to show you five versions of Death's Shadow, analyzing their advantages and differentials!

Dimir Death's Shadow

Decklist

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About the Deck

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To be honest, it was this list that gave me the idea of ​​writing this article, as it is easy to see that it was put together as a pure reaction to the events of the Metagame. After Lurrus was banned, many speculated that without the mana cap, Murktide Regent could be a useful part of Grixis — the biggest issue itself was the cost issue. Two blue mana for a deck that has a high devotion to red and black can be a bit tricky... Sonkerz's alternative was to

simplify it

. Giving up red, the deck does lose powerful cards like Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Dragon's Rage Channeler, but gains a comp of creatures that are much less affected by Dress Down, the great dragon being one of them. With Regent, the deck gains greater resilience to white-based decks, by not being exiled by cards like Prismatic Ending and March of Otherworldly Light (ok, it's not impossible to cast march for 7, but is quite difficult), cards that give a lot of advantage against traditional versions of Death's Shadow. Another important point is that, as much as this deck feeds the graveyard a lot, only the regent is there to use it, which makes this list suffer less for graveyard hate, since a well-played Rest in Peace can be the end of the Grixis version. Of course, it's not like this deck is happy with a Rest in Peace in play, mainly because of losing Drown in the Loch, but it does end up with considerably fewer underused cards.
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Some similar versions appeared in leagues, however, using Delver of Secrets as a second beater option. I confess I don't really like the idea because I think Delver's time in Modern has passed — even without access to Dragon's Rage Channeler there are better options for beaters in these colors, even if they don't cost just one mana. But I can't deny that I've seen builds with it working, so it's something to think about.

Rakdos Death's Shadow

Decklist

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About the Deck

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It's almost as if the deck is split, while blue represents counterspells and answers, red brings aggression. Being almost a "Suicide Burn", with more aggressive creatures like Monastery Swiftspear and the ever-present Dragon's Rage Channeler and Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, that will seek to connect damage early to exploit the deck's ace, Scourge of the Skyclaves, a card that, despite being powerful, is overshadowed by Dress Down in blue lists. Here the Scourge ends up being the most exponential beater, guaranteeing constant damage and pressure.
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With this lower, more aggressive curve, all the resilience that the Dimir version has here is exchanged for sheer speed. Cards like Lightning Bolt and Temur Battle Rage are perfect for closing the lethal in games, while Flame Rift is a great enabler for both Death's Shadow and Scourge of the Skyclaves, thus building a version that seeks to finish the game as quickly as possible, with few backups, such as Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger.

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Mardu Death's Shadow

Decklist

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About the Deck

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Okay, of all the lists I've seen, this was the one I think is the most different. Starting with the obvious, the Companion — with Lurrus gone, I immediately thought of replacing her with another companion, mainly Obosh, the Preypiercer, my favorite (good times playing Mono Red and Gruul Obosh), but losing cards like Dress Down and Drown in the Loch made me give up on the idea. However, the player

melody_5233

didn't give up so easily and brought an entirely new construction to use it, combining several interactions and creatures with odd mana costs and Gurmag Angler that, even with its high cost, can be quite malleable thanks to Delve.
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"Okay, but what does white add to this deck?" For starters, Ranger-Captain of Eos is great for both consistency and usability. Thanks to it, it is possible to find the Death's Shadow more easily, thus suffering less from the problem of "I lost a lot of life and didn't find the payoff in time" that some versions have. Its activated ability is also very effective at various times, preventing a sweeper or a planeswalker that prevents your lethal. Giver of Runes is perfect for resilience. Since we don't have counterspells, it is essential to prevent your beater from being removed, or at least make the opponent spend more resources doing so. Another important point is that often, with it on the board, it is possible to make your largest creature unblocked, or make the block is more favorable to you – the protection effect can be used in several ways, both offensively and defensively. Finally, the deck has basically one of the best removals of the format for multicolored decks. Prismatic Ending is here to solve problems and is an especially good card at that. Any card that could cause a huge disadvantage to the deck can be bypassed when you have a Prismatic Ending in your hand. From Chalice of the Void to Sanctifier en-Vec, most cards that would respond to the deck can be removed in time by it

Jund Death's Shadow

Decklist

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About the Deck

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Simplicity is what defines this construction. Jund isn't the most inventive deck, nor does it try to do super interactions like a Dress Down post blocker declaration. Instead, it bets on the quality of the cards that are in its deck, and let's face it, they fulfill this role very well. We do have the creatures that participate in most of the current builds in the deck, but the green brings Tarmogoyf, a creature that is there to do the work. These days, Goyf might not be the monster it once was, but it's still a great creature to maintain constant pressure without much dedicated effort, especially in a deck that aims to quickly reach delirium to enable Dragon's Rage Channeler. Another of the green cards that the deck can count on is Wrenn and Six, which doesn't have a significant amount of synergy with the deck, but is a great utility planeswalker, guaranteeing fetchlands to better control your shadow's power, or even creating a draw loop with Nurturing Peatland. In addition, its negative ability can handle a lot in the format and if it reaches the ultimate, the game will be extremely complex to the opponent.

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Grixis Death's Shadow

Decklist

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About the Deck

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Last but not least, it's good to make it clear that Grixis isn't dead and doesn't seem to be even close. It's still the most used version of the deck and now with the departure of Lurrus, a lot is being tested, one of those things is the companion Jegantha, the Wellspring, which even though it doesn't have as good a synergy with the deck as the cat had, it remains an extra card that doesn't require a lot of deckbuilding effort to be there. Its cost ends up being more restrictive for a nineteen lands list, but in a long game, having a 5/5 creature when the opponent is out of resources seems like a good choice.
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Another interesting card is Kaito Shizuki. With the lack of gas that the old companion provided, a way to get card advantage is always welcome, even more combined with a low-cost planeswalker that almost guarantees it'll be at the boad for at least two turns. Kaito is a card that, since Kamigawa came out, I've seen potential in combat-oriented decks — which makes me pleased to see the planeswalker getting its space, especially in such a consolidated deck. Of course, several cards are being tested in the Grixis builds, like the return of Street Wraith, some Gurmag Angler and even other planeswalkers like The Royal Scions. Now that the mana value restriction no longer exists, a world of possibilities has opened up to the deck, and only time will tell which will be most effective.

Conclusion

The fact is that even with the recent bans, the Grixis version remains the most used and continues to be present in the Metagame, but it is at least interesting to see several ways to use Death's Shadow — some more synergistic with the card, others using the avatar as a beater allied to the other beaters in the deck, but all with potential. Which version did you like the most? I look forward to your comment and see you next time!
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Gabriel Nunes

Escritor para a Cards Realm, Streamer e Jogador de MTG Online.

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