Thank you! I forgot to mention my losses which were humans and tron. The humans match was real close i lost to a top decked Kessig Malcontents (?) I think that is the card. I have to give kudos to Ben Friedman for making that Spellskite interaction public. Here is how my matches went.
Rd 1 - Monored Phoenix 2-1
This deck can be ridiculous, one game he had 3 phoenixes on turn 2. Collective Brutality is way better in this match than its Izzet cousin as it kills all the "swiftspears". Always use ALL THREE MODES given the chance. Barely got there.
Rd 2 - BG Rock 2-0
I feel like my opponent had tough draws and mana issues, either flooding or pinched. That is magic, and in this match I cut a land postboard to lessen our chances of flood even more, as that is the most likely way to win. Also, always take the draw.
Rd 3 - Skred Dragons 2-1
This match was a riot, although I never felt threatened. I lost to turn 1 Blood Moon off 2 SSGs, and hilariously top decked my only swamp on my turn 1. Lol, still lost that one. Do not know how to play around turn 1 moon...
Rd 4 - Monored Phoenix 2-1
Just as close as the match before, Scooze was the entire match. Grafdigger's Cage saved me bc it stopped my opp from flashing back a looting which would have killed me. Don't forget about that when you play cage, which I think is in a great spot right now.
Rd 5 - Humans - 0-2
This matchup is very difficult but I also feel like our opponents feel the same way about us. I think I made a mistake boarding out my Lilis because the games tend to go so long postboard.
Rd 6 - Grixis Shadow - 2-1
Very tough, another matchup where we take the draw. In the end scooze bested his flip-jace, and Liliana is also great obviously.
Rd 7 - Dredge - 2-0
I was pretty lucky to have good openers, scooze in opener game one. As much as it feels great to gain a life and pump yer boy, always hit a dredger first, cut off the engine and it's smooth sailin.
Rd 8 - Tron - 0-2
And there goes my dreams. Game one I kept an opener with 2 push 1 dismember. The rest is history.
Drew with my last opp so we could both get out $$ back, super fun tournament. All the players were super cool, Chicago mtg is a good scene.
That's a great run, on paper I'm surprised that your list was able to beat BG, I've generally found that to be the hardest matchup with this deck because of the holy trifecta of playsets of Push/Trophy/Veil. BG has weird mana issues sometimes for a 2 color deck, I've definitely been on the receiving end of that when I've played it in the past. How did you feel about the K-Command main? I've flirted with the idea but keep convincing myself that I'd rather play Abrupt Decay.
My plan against turn 1 Blood Moon is usually to appeal to my opponent's humanity, which has not been successful so far.
I've become increasingly convinced that we're even if not slightly advantaged against the current builds of Grixis Shadow, how did you end up sideboarding there?
What is your SB strategy with the updated list Defish? With so much Anger and also Stub, I'm curious how you're landing ask your colors early enough to matter. Also, I've been shaving Fatal Push after g1 but maybe this is a mistake. And as big of a blowout as I'm nailing sometimes with Spellbomb, it's still usually not enough.
My list is too in-flux to give a specific answer, but in general I like bringing in the obvious cards like Anger of the Gods, Surgical, and Stubborn Denial if its in the sideboard. Mana wise, I try to fetch for Blood Crypt, Stomping Ground, and Watery Grave, which lets you cast both Anger and Stub. The downside is that you can't Traverse and play a Goyf on the same turn. My cut hierarchy is typically Lilianas > 2 Street Wraiths > 2 Assassin's Trophies > 1 Thoughtseize > 1 Fatal Push. It's important to have some number of ways to remove Stinkweed Imp as a blocker, because if you start to put them behind they'll start hard casting them. The Lilianas get cut because they're just terrible, I cut 2 Wraiths as a hedge against getting randomly blown out by Creeping Chill, and the Trophies go because I don't want to help them reanimate Bloodghast.
I've also been having some trouble with getting my t2 creatures to stick, and have been gradually upping the number so I can just keep running them out. I'm currently considering a list with the 3 Stub in the main, no Rampager, and 2 Grim Flayers, so that I can more consistently get a creature down to start clocking on turn 2. I've been really impressed with Grim Flayer in the current meta, it seems like most decks either don't want to block or just want to chump with x/1 tokens, so he connects a lot. I read an article a while back about a list that won a PPTQ with 18 lands, 3 Faithless Looting, 2 Traverse, and 2 Grim Flayer, which has always been really intriguing. There's real power in the synergy between Looting and Flayer, but I don't know if there's room in the 75 for that engine and the Stubs.
I'll echo the sentiment that Snapcaster is probably not the way to go unless you lean deeper into blue, and in general I'm not sure that he's really solving many problems.
My matches were:
Grixis Shadow (2-0)
Hardened Scales (0-2) - I had the chance to win both games, but it required me to take very aggressive lines and I'm a coward.
G/W Taxes (2-0)
Grixis Shadow (2-1) - Dylan Hovey, a known GDS streamer. The video of this should go up at some point this week on his Youtube channel.
Suicide Zoo (0-2)
Burn (0-2) - Game 1 was close, and largely came down to play/draw. Game 2 I kept a 5 of 4 lands and LotV, then drew lands for literally the next 6 turns. In retrospect I think it would have been correct to go down to 4, but I also think that draw was statistically almost impossible.
In general, the matches I lost felt like they were due to errors in either sequencing (Hardened Scales, Jund) or sideboarding (Suicide Zoo), with the Burn loss being somewhat decided by weird variance in game 2. That being said, I've really been struggling to feel comfortable about my Burn matchup, and Ad Nauseam has seen a very real uptick on MTGO. Taking into account what both of you had to say about your lists, I'm interested in starting with something like this:
This is still a rough sketch, and I'm debating if I want to move the Watery Grave to the sideboard (replacing the 4th Stub) for a second Blood Crypt, which would allow me to have triple black while fetching double red for Anger of the Gods. The lack of triple black in that scenario almost cost me a match against Humans last night, where I couldn't deploy my removal spells alongside my Shadows properly. I'm also interested in going down a Surgical and up an Anger because Humans is seeing an uptick in both play and discussion online, and with Stub I can better answer Conflagrate from Dredge, which puts more of a burden on their creatures. A single well-timed Anger can also just be such a blowout against decks like Humans, Dredge, and Hardened Scales/Frenzied Affinity that I've been debating the third copy for a while now.
I genuinely forgot how absurdly good Grim Flayer is in this archetype, @Whocansay are you also running Rampager alongside the 2 of them? I played a list similar to the above in a league last night with 2 Flayer and no Rampager, but I really found myself missing Rampager.
To chime in on 17 vs 18 lands, I've been trying a 17 land list and have consistently run into issues hitting my third land, which it always feels like this deck needs to do. At this point I think it's better to run 18 lands and a Faithless Looting or two to mitigate flooding than to try going down to 17. In particular, I've really liked the 3/2 split of Traverse and Looting.
The Prowess Shadow list is really interesting, but I'm not sure what matchups its solving vs a more traditional Traverse list.
I could not be more sold on Tarire over Bolt in Traverse, it's just so effective at greasing the wheels while also being a removal spell. It's funny that you're less enthusiastic about Stubborn Denial, because I think it's better now than it's been in the last several months.
I was only able to play two matches last night, and ended up beating the Enduring Ideal deck and Titanshift. I drew both Surgicals against Enduring Ideal and they were better than the removal spells they replaced. Moreso than the actual card's effect, it was super helpful to be able to look through my opponent's deck so that I could be better informed about how to sideboard, given that it's a more unusual strategy. Against Titanshift I would have Surgicaled a Valakut in game 1 if I wasn't winning on that turn, which was pretty exciting. I ended up modifying my cantrip suite a bit, and have been pretty happy with it so far:
I lifted the cantrip/land configuration from a guy named Stephen Snelson, who consistently puts up results in SCG Classics with a similar build. I have no expectation that Font of Agonies will turn out to be amazing, but with the extra Phyrexian spells I thought if there was ever going to be a time, this would be it. I'm also more willing to run narrow cards like that because of the presence of Faithless Looting and Liliana.
This is all still an incredibly small sample size, but so far my optimism is high!
Edit - Finished the league 3-2 overall. My last three matches were against Tron (2-1), BG Rock (1-2), and a neat Jund (0-2) list running Bedlam Reveler and Grim Flayer instead of BBE and Dark Confidant. Font of Agonies was amusing, but ultimately I'm just going to drop it for a 4th Fatal Push. Both fair matchups were close enough that I feel like they're at least even, and I likely would have won game 3 against BG but I was stuck on 2 lands with only 33 cards left in the deck. I'm interested in replacing my third Anger of the Gods with a Liliana, the Last Hope, which will probably make my fair matchups about as good as they can reasonably be.
I remember that list, I'm pretty sure the lack of a basic Forest did come up a couple times and cost him a few games, but I don't know that it was the deciding factor in any of his matches.
I had some success a couple months ago on Grixis Shadow playing Surgical Extractions in the main deck when Dredge first rose to prominence, and I've been brainstorming some Jund lists doing the same. This is what I'm interested in trying as a starting point:
My hope was to maintain the matchups where I think we're definitely favored (Tron, Valakut, Amulet Titan, Izzet Phoenix) while teasing up some of the more even matchups to be favored (Humans, Spirits, Mono R Phoenix, Burn, Hardened Scales). My last couple cards are aimed specifically at improving the Grixis Shadow matchup, which has gotten more challenging as they've adjusted to better compensate for the mirror. I'm also hedging a bit against artifacts as a concession to some of the things people are experimenting with, namely 4c Whir, the new eggs-style deck running Grinding Station, and the return of traditional Affinity with Experimental Frenzy.
Cindervines was already just a "maybe" with KCI in the format, without it I think there are several other options that line up better against the format.
How have you guys been adjusting to the new configurations of Burn? My initial reaction was just to add a third Brutality in the sideboard, but that's really only good against Burn. I've been considering changing the third Brutality to either a super-aggressive hate card like Life Goes On or Feed the Clan that really hamstrings them, or something less powerful but more widely applicable like Duress. I haven't had much time to actually playtest lately, so I'm not sure how necessary the third anti-Burn card is.
I think ^^ about sums it up. When the deck works, it feels unstoppable, but the cantrips aren't good enough to guarantee that every game and there are some hands that just never get off the ground because you either can't hurt yourself enough or can't get enough cards in the yard to fuel delve.
I ran through a quick league last night and played against an updated version of Boros Burn, which was pretty terrifying. I'm going to drop the Languish in my sideboard for a third Brutality until I can get a better handle on it, but I did notice a few weaknesses that I think we can exploit. The nature of Spectacle means that their creatures are more important than ever, which I think puts more pressure on us having a critical mass of 1 CMC removal. When you can answer their creatures early on, the deck struggles even more than previous versions to actually play all of its spells in a timely manner. The Spectacle cards both being sorcery speed also creates a tension for them in the matchup. It seemed like a reasonable plan to focus on discarding instant-speed spells first to force them to play burn spells on their turn, which is really risky against Death's Shadow. I could actually see this being like Dredge, where the change in the deck's construction leads to losses at first as we adjust our gameplan sideboard, but ultimately ends up being very manageable.
I decisively beat Mono R Phoenix twice in the same league, I think that matchup is super favorable if you just fetch basics and lean on Tarmogoyf.
To attack this from an angle relative to Defish's point: what matches are you undoubtedly worse off against without stub? I'm not taking about Tron, Affinity, Spirits, or Amulet because while stub is applicable in those matches, Jund Shadow can be tuned to be highly favored. But my primary concerns are Phoenix, Dredge, and Burn which occupy a considerable meta share and our win % is definitely higher with stub than without.
I think that the matchup where Stub is most relevant is Burn. The 4 color build can get away without needing Collective Brutality in the sideboard because of the presence of Stubborn Denial, and I'll echo a lot of love for Delay in 4 color Traverse. 2 Brutalities is a mandatory minimum in straight Jund, and the more I see of post-RNA Burn the more I'm considering either a 3rd Brutality or something really nutty like Life Goes On.
Against Dredge, Stub takes you from "favored" to "heavily favored", by limiting their ability to Conflagrate you for lethal. I haven't found the matchup to be a problem for any version of Shadow because they're so bad at blocking and your creatures are so big. I think it's a little easier for Traverse than Grixis because Tarmogoyf is always big.
I actually wasn't super impressed with Stub against Phoenix when I was on Grixis. They run so few threats, and so few ways to protect them, that if I could Surgical the Phoenixes I could just beat their other threats with my normal removal suite. On Jund I feel even more favored because in addition to that I can fetch Swamp -> Forest and play a Tarmogoyf that they can't remove while staying at a high life total. Liliana of the Veil is also difficult for them to deal with, which is why I'm still on 3 copies. They also typically run Blood Moon in the sideboard, which is less of a problem for straight Jund.
I know I've been pretty critical of Stubborn Denial, but I do want to reiterate that I'm very aware of the power level of the card and am by no means saying it has no place in the deck. If a deck like Storm suddenly shot up in meta share I'd definitely be looking towards the blue splash again, but in the meantime I think Jund can reasonably deal with the current meta and I like to be able to alter my playstyle in-game in a way that doesn't really work with 4 colors. But ultimately the 3/4 color decision is partly a stylistic one, so its as much about pilot comfort as anything else.
I'm honestly pretty surprised that Traverse, in general, is still as underplayed as it is. I thought it would pick up more after Peter Hollman won his Open a few months ago, but I guess the KCI and Phoenix hype had people more interested then and now everyone's just back on Grixis.
Quick question. Why don't any lists run Seal of Fire? Having an Enchantment just gives us easier access to Delirium, and it seems near functionally identical to Tarfire.
Your opponent is more likely to have an enchantment than a tribal card, and with two types Tarfire will more consistently add an additional type for Tarmogoyf and delirium than Seal. It being an instant makes it better when you draw one off of a Mishra's Bauble on your opponent's turn, as well. They look the same at first glance as "1 mana 2 damage to anything", but there are a bunch of details that make Tarfire better overall in this shell. Seal was really only ever played when Jund was playing 2 Kalitas shortly after he was printed.
@Shuck Based on the categories you listed, it seems like you're designing your sideboard based on an arbitrary checklist of effects instead of a series of matchup-specific gameplans. When designing a sideboard, my process is usually:
Make a list of the top Modern decks listed on MTGGoldfish.
Add/remove to the list based on a general sense of the format. As an example, Hardened Scales is barely on the MTGGoldfish listings right now, but is 100% a deck I know I need to be prepared for.
Make a note of any decks that have been recently doing well, and check on developing decks that are starting to put up results. As an example, Mono-R Phoenix had a strong showing at this past weekend's SCG Open, so people are likely to be trying it out right now.
Categorize the above list based on which types of sideboard cards are effective. Examples would be creature removal, non-creature permanent removal, land destruction, graveyard hate, life gain, etc.
For each matchup, determine which cards I would want to cut from my main deck when sideboarding. Early on, I would routinely show up to tournaments with a well-tuned sideboard that was completely at odds with what I wanted to cut from my main deck.
For each matchup, determine how I want to interact with my opponent. This is even more important for 4-color than Jund, you need to consider if you want to be interacting with your opponent via discard, removal, land hate, graveyard hate, or on the stack.
For each matchup, determine what my ideal post-board configuration looks like.
With all of the above context, I then look to build my sideboard based on the greatest amount of overlap, hedging more towards my bad matchups than my good ones. This is why I favor cards like Fulminator Mage over Alpine Moon, because both are good against Tron but Fulminator is better against my bad matchups.
It's a pretty drawn out process, and at this point I do a number of these things mentally, but its worked for me so far. In all honesty you could probably skip steps 4-6 and be okay, the most important thing is to know the decks you want to beat and know how you beat them. It's also good to know how they beat you, and typically I'll look at a couple lists for each archetype to get a sense of their post-board configuration and keep an eye out for "gotcha" cards like Blood Moon.
If you're really unsure I would recommend trying out a couple different lists that did well without changing anything, to get an idea for how other people are building the deck and doing well with it. I'll also continue to plug Reid Duke's videos because the way he approaches sideboarding can be very illuminating.
I am 110% on the Tarfire train. The extra type has come up for me repeatedly across a multitude of games at this point, and has often been more important in winning games than the extra point of damage Bolt provides. It's also really impressive to have your Tarmogoyfs be 7/8s in game 1, which any average Traverse list running Tarfire and at least one planeswalker can do. Tarfire helps leverage the specific strengths that Tarmogoyf has over Gurmag Angler, and I consider it to occupy a similar space to Thoughtscour in Grixis, though it's not as necessary or reasonable to run 3/4 copies.
As far as Stubborn Denial goes, I always ask what matchups its winning that I'm otherwise struggling in. I still don't think it does enough to warrant the 4th color, because our worst matchups are typically straight B/G and U/W/x. By splashing the 4th color you're giving more power to their mana denial strategy, so while it might be easier to protect your creatures you're still giving them another avenue to victory. This is the core of my issue with splashing for Stubborn Denial, it's making our good matchups better and our bad matchups worse, which I don't think is necessary. It also makes your creature-based matchups worse, which are favorable for the straight Jund version, by virtue of not having as much removal in game 1.
I think it may be an issue of having too many cantrips and not enough action. I think that 4 Flayer, 4 Traverse, and the 3 Incubations is probably 3-5 more consistency tools than you need. I would maybe look to drop the Incubations for more removal, since Flayer synergizes well with Traverse, although I realize that the Incubations are part of the point of the list.
I generally like my matchup against Humans and Spirits with both Jund and 4-color, though I think Jund is a bit better because you're more freely able to fetch basics to preserve your life total. I do think you're too light on removal for those matchups though, and I could see them being difficult for the list you posted. I do like how Flayer lines up against both of those decks right now, though.
I think the Grim Flayers are the most interesting part of that list, at one point I was brainstorming a non-Shadow Jund build that ditched BBE for Flayer because I think it's a really underutilized tool in the bigger B/G/x decks. Do you find that you like them because it's just another attacking body, or because it's Grim Flayer, specifically?
I'm actually trying out a third Battle Rage instead of Rampager right now. I've been running with 2 and no Rampager for a bit but I'm just not seeing Battle Rage as often as I'd like in game 1. I only have an afternoon of testing against Hardened Scales with the 3 Rages, but I drew them very consistently and won every game where I did, so I'll probably continue with it until I find a compelling reason not to.