I've been playing this deck with Stoneforge Mystic since they got unbanned.
I just play 2 Batterskull as equipment; Batterskull is a threat on its own, and that's what you want, to divert resources from your opponent as the way to protect your combo. This Mystic package is particularly good against UW Control (though they're playing more Spell Snares now) and Dredge, while Jund and Burn should still have more room to interact favorably against it (I'm surprised of my good paper results against Jund, though); not playing other Swords can become a liability in the late game against other Blade decks.
I haven't tried Seasoned Pyromancer to assess how good it is, but I don't think it has a ceiling as high as Mystic. With Mystic you can cut some sweepers and graveyard hate from your sideboard (but not cards against Burn!), while the Pyromancer can only be slightly better in the fair match-ups.
I also tweaked the mana base to make room to sideboard Blood Moon. I think Blood Moon is the best hate card against Tron; Spreading Seas requires too many slots, and Alpine Moon and Damping Sphere can get hit by Blast Zone. Blood Moon is also better against Amulet (underplayed deck) and is only slightly worse than Alpine Moon against Valakut, plus all the extra uses you may give to it in pairings in which you don't specifically need that kind of card but still can win you the game.
You can afford to play tons of basics because this deck doesn't have very heavy mana requirements (despite being a three color deck) but the key factor is that your lands come into play untapped. You may need double blue by turn 3 to hardcast Force of Negation, or flashback a cantrip with Snapcaster Mage (unusual scenarios), double red as early as turn 2 to play double Bolt (also rare), double white by turn 4 to cast Stoneforge Mystic and activate another one already into play (very rare), and triple blue turn 5 to give flashback to Force of Negation.
Also, Celestial Colonnade is bad in this deck. You won't be activating it very often (either games are fast or it's easy to answer) and you don't want lands that come into play tapped. I also dislike Spirebluff Canal, because sixth land coming into play untapped can be crucial. The lack of synergy between Sulfur Falls and basic Plains can lead to a few awkward starts, but I prefer lands coming untapped later if I want to hardcast Batterskull or play both combo pieces in a single turn.
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Apr 3, 2019Posted in: MidrangeQuote from Jewbaby »Hi, I have very little experience piloting a GDS, but have an odd question. My deck started as U/B control which began to morph from various experiments. Essentially I ended up with 'Dimir' Death's Shadow, mainly due to not picking up any of the R/B fetches. By far the biggest obstacle in my testing was that losing out on Temur Battle Rage. In my mind GDS plays like a combo deck. I wanted to ask if a strictly 'Dimir" shell is at all worth, with the replacement of Battle Rage coming in the form of Tainted Strike. Finding a replacement to Temur Battle Rage was basically Tainted Strike or bust in terms of straight up trying to win from the one swing. This of course requires Death's Shadow to be at LEAST 9 power for the kill and of course not be chumped. Going this infect route for win con opens up Phyrexian Crusader as a choice for midrange grinding though I may just have a soft spot for that card.
On a side note, the other card I wanted to ask about was a single copy of Postmortem Lunge. Yes its a sorcery, but can facilitate in bring down life total if required. Sadly it would mostly be for recovering a DShadow that may have been lost to graveyard dumping/removal, but arguably less of a dead topdeck than Battlerage/tainted strike.
I know that running strictly 'Dimir" locks out of artifact hate + battle rage. But like I said piloting GDS is pretty foreign to me but would like to hear some thoughts on these tweak options.
Battle Rage is versatile because it lets you double your damage but also to get through blockers. Tainted Strike solves one half, and Apostle's Blessing the other, while also doubling as an anti-removal spell. Personally, I wouldn't play any of those cards.
Apr 2, 2019Liliana's Triumph will compete with those extra spot removal for that sideboard slot; or with Liliana of the Veil herself. It's not a bomb sideboard card, but it's broad enough to at least be taken into consideration. I'd bring it not only against Boggles, but the mirror match (very low chance to backfire), Rocks and UW (match-ups in which I already bring in Lilianas), Izzet Phoenix, Humans (higher variance than a conventional spot removal here), Primeval Titan decks (against those Terminate is better), and probably Burn.Posted in: Midrange
Angrath's Rampage on the other hand, may have three apparently useful modes, but they're actually just two, because edicting artifacts will usually be completely useless. In this case, I find Dreadbore better.
Apr 2, 2019Fact or Fiction is an iconic card and is probably on the level of the best reprints we'll see, but unless explicitly stated, I believe the buy-a-box promo card will be something completely new with mythic rarity. There have been some attempts at printing cards similar to Fact or Fiction (Steam Augury comes to my mind) and they've seen zero play. Why not have the original?Posted in: Modern
If as I read somewhere Cabal Therapist is among top10 cards of the expansion, I wouldn't get too hyped with it. I'd be less surprised if they accidentally print something already released as a Timeshifted card than if I have to buy 10 playsets of cards from Horizons.
Apr 1, 2019Posted in: MidrangeQuote from iSergiant »Does this any good for us?
Instant speed edict with potential discard (obviously also at instant speed..)!
This is what you want in grindy match-ups, in which there rarely are more than one creature and a card in both players' hands (although if you control a Liliana planeswalker, you're in a good position usually). And it always works against Boggles, no matter how many Leylines they have. One or two copies will become a staple in Shadow sideboards.
Mar 28, 2019Twin was inferior to Scapeshift and Jeskai Ascendancy as Dig decks. The Jeskai Ascendancy deck abusing Dig Through Time came out very late. It played like a Jeskai Control deck in the early game, but instead of killing you with Celestial Colonnade and Snapcaster Mage+Lightning Bolt, it used Jeskai Ascendancy and Fatestitcher with plenty of cantrips, including Gitaxian Probe. It felt like an improved version of Scapeshift, as it could interact more with the opponent in the early game yet it could kill faster. Once Dig Through Time was banned, the deck disappeared, as there is no other card capable of refilling your hand for so few mana that allows you to play a grindy game. Since then, Wizards has done a good job, unbanning Ancestral Vision and Jace and printing Teferi and Search for Azcanta as card advantage engines that can't be abused by combo or aggro decks.Posted in: Modern
Mar 23, 2019If banning a card means hitting many viable decks (many of them combo or unfair decks, but also something as innocuous as Mardu Pyromancer) and banning another means making worth of consideration three or four decks that currently feel suboptimal, I think the choice is clear in which card has to be banned.Posted in: Modern Archives
Mar 23, 2019The card from Phoenix that should be banned is Arclight Phoenix itself. Izzet decks have existed forever in Modern, and they have embraced large variety of strategies; from close to aggressive decks with many 1-drop creatures and burn spells, to more in the middle with value creatures and more disruptive spells, to control decks with Blood Moon, Cryptic Command and/or planeswalkers, to combo decks, either dedicated ones like Storm, or slower decks like Through the Breach or Splinter Twin when it was legal. All those strategies are still available, but all will feel like weaker versions of Phoenix. Why would you play Delver of Secrets when Phoenix is easier to set up and harder to deal with for your opponent? Why would you play Thing in the Ice in that convoluted Pyromancer Ascension+Noxious Revival+Manamorphose+Lightning Bolt combo deck when Phoenix is easier to play? Or why would you use Thing in the Ice in a deck with counterspells and Blood Moon in which it takes two or three turns to flip when you could replace all those reactive spells for cantrips? Not to talk about a combo deck that requires you to reach 5 mana. To me this is a clear case of a card hurting diversity in the format, and in the past we even saw Wild Nacatl getting banned under the same pretext. The alternative of banning Looting hits too many decks, and banning Looting to reprint Careful Study would be the worst possible solution.Posted in: Modern Archives
Mar 18, 2019Phoenix reaching 20% of the metagame at day 2 of both GPs is starting to look troublesome.Posted in: Modern Archives
As others pointed out, Faithless Looting (and Ancient Stirrings) are played in a wide variety of decks, so the problem must lie elsewhere, and it's the ability to get free effects: drawing cards for free, free mana acceleration, getting damage for free and most importantly, getting creatures (which are recurrent sources of damage after all) for free.
Possible solutions would be banning more (or all of them) of these free effects; printing better hate for them (Containment Priest, Planar Void...), or going the opposite direction and generalizing them: free life gain, free removal, free counterspells... In my opinion, this kind of effects belong in Legacy and not Modern, so if Modern Horizons can't stop them, I'd start to think about bans.
Mar 5, 2019Probably I remember Pillage from fair red decks (like Extended Boros with Goblin Legionnaire, another fine card btw) and haven't thought on how easy it is to cast it turn 2 in Modern to devastating effect. Better remember Hull Breach and Artifact Mutation as artifact destruction with pluses and leave land destruction to Dwarven Blastminer (old staple against Tron/8 Post in the past).Posted in: Modern
Mar 5, 2019Early game you usually want to be casting spells to set up the requirements of your creatures, and Looting is a bad turn 1 play. What will you discard against an unknown opponent? Fatal Push to then find out he's playing aggro? Stubborn Denial to see he's on combo? Will you keep Thoughtseize over Inquisition of Kozilek against an unknown opponent who eventually plays Burn? I know you have to take many similar decisions with a Serum Visions scry turn 1 against an unknown opponent, but when are you forced to make these poor openings? Usually when you've had many mulligans and can't play anything better, and in those situations you don't want Looting card disadvantage. First land you fetch usually is Watery Grave, and it can't cast Looting; another argument to showcase how bad it is early game.Posted in: Midrange
Faithless Looting is a card I'd never want to see in my opening hand, and the best way to prevent that from happening is playing 0. I just lose a late game card selection spell or a card I'll be happy about milling with Thought Scour (and more often than not I'll have to delve with Angler). With Shadow, cards should be evaluated by their utility in the opening hand more than with other decks, as games are short and you're often mana screwed.
Mar 5, 2019I wouldn't reprint anything that improves mana denial strategies in Modern if we have to keep paying 2 life to get dual lands into play untapped, thus no Stifle.Posted in: Modern
There are many cards that aren't Counterspell that would be fun to have: from the top of my head Innocent Blood, Wall of Blossoms, Pillage, Impulse, Arena Rector, Baleful Strix, Pernicious Deed and Vindicate. Wish cycle could also be OK; Glittering Wish is a pretty powerful card with the current Modern card pool yet it sees no play. Enchantments that benefit from cycling (Astral Slide and Lightning Rift) would automatically add new strategies to Modern, and if they got reprinted they should come along Onslaught cycling lands to have enough fodder for them in Limited. Incarnations cycle with Genesis would also be cool. I don't know if Madness cards that always get reprinted in promotional sets would be that fresh; at least kids could build cheap decks with Basking Rootwalla, Careful Study, Aquamoeba, Arrogant Wurm, Deep Analysis and Circular Logic.
I think there is still a gap between Legacy staple and Modern playable cards where you can find plenty of cards to reprint, and those should be the reprints we're getting. With the exception of Baleful Strix, I believe the rest lie there.
The most exciting option (even more than Force of Will, True-Name Nemesis and Pyroblast) though would be if they reprinted Stoneforge Mystic to announce its unbanning.
Feb 26, 2019Faithless Looting is debatable, though most arguments in its favor can be summarized in "it's not that bad in the late game". Opt is pretty weak, and you can get a pretty good impression of its effect but for free combining Mishra's Bauble with fetchlands and Street Wraith; it only took me replacing Opt with Bauble to start winning with this deck.Posted in: Midrange
Today I've found a guide of the deck at ChannelFireball by GP Toronto winner: https://www.channelfireball.com/articles/grixis-deaths-shadow-guide-first-place-at-grand-prix-toronto/ There are only a few minor details I disagree with in the sideboard guide. I specially dislike how the deck looks against Humans post-board, yet this sideboard is thought with the idea that deck should have disappeared from the metagame. Collective Brutality and Liliana of the Veil are bad in that match-up, but other than Kolaghan's Command to destroy Vials, there is nothing better in that list you can put for that match-up.
Feb 3, 2019Posted in: MidrangeQuote from prarini »Hi, just finished my first GDS deck, have no real experience playing it outside of some testing online. Here is my sb plan for some popular decks based on other people experience and ideas. Any comments would be highly appreciated, just note in mind that I'm not going to add some expensive options (EE's, LtLH, LotV, Surgicals) to my sb anytime soon.
I'd like to make a few comments on your sideboard plans.
Against UW Control you want Dismember to kill Colonnade and Lyra. Spellbomb is bad against opponents who might even bring Rest in Peace against you, so that's an easy switch.
Against Jund, Street Wraith can become a beater late game. It is true that cycling it against them is pretty bad, but Mishra's Bauble does more or less the same and can't attack. I'm not sure about how valuable are Denials against them.
Against Phoenix, your plan doesn't fold to opponent's Surgical Extraction on their own Phoenix, yet it's harder to make it work and less effective. Dunno if random Magma Spray (to look for budget options) could be effective; probably more in other decks. I'm not sold on the idea of letting them play first; even if they need lots of cards to work, we can still race them.
I don't have enough experience with this deck against Affinities, but I have the impression you're overboarding against them. Anger of the Gods is a nonbo with Lavamancer and Staticaster, and it's the worst card of the three, and Brutality doesn't do much either.
Nihil Spellbomb isn't the card you want to bring in the mirror match. You don't want to play it early to stop a possible Gurmag Angler, you don't want to wait with it to counter a possible Snapcaster Mage, so in the end it's just a two mana draw a card. Looking at cards in your sideboard, I think Spellskite would do more work there, if it weren't because people tend to board Kolaghan's Command as a value card... Even if Liliana of the Veil is meant for the mirror match, I think it usually gets decided before it can be played, so just be selective taking mulligans, something for which I agree it's better to be on the draw.
Against Dredge you forgot to list Anger of the Gods, but I guess that's something that mid tournament you'd realize and quickly correct. I also believe Spellskite could be included against them, as it blocks all their ground beaters and can counter a Conflagrate.
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May 10, 2015Some cards whose price had raised too much in the last two years have been reprinted as well. In this category we find Fulminator Mage, Noble Hierarch, Spellskite, Remand, Splinter Twin and Daybreak Coronet. In the case of the later two, these cards have appeared in the collection without the combo cards that make them work in Modern (Deceiver Exarch for Twin, and any other aura for Coronet). Kiki-Jiki+Pestermite was a combo that was very present in the first Modern Masters format, and probably they wanted to avoid it; however, not making room to cards like Rancor and some totem armors and/or hybrid mana auras from Shadowmoor/Eventide to make Daybreak Coronnet playable in the format is a clear mistake. The conclusion is clear: if you get a money rare, don't expect to win Limited games with it.Posted in: spellcheck
Finally, there are the missing cards from this set. There are many cards that were printed in the first Modern Masters edition that didn't appear in this new edition, like Blood Moon, Engineered Explosives and Vedalken Shackles. In order to make room to new additions, specially if they're rare cards, you need to cut older cards, so there's little to complain about it. However, after two editions there are some cards that haven't been printed yet. The most flagrant case is Serum Visions. With the scry ability being present in Theros, we all thought (or hoped) that the card would be reprinted in that block; we didn't only get the original one, but nothing remotely similar. Now it hasn't been reprinted in Modern Masters again, and its price is skyrocketing.
Once the understanding of the game has improved, Wizards have realized the best decks are both consistent and versatile, something you can only achieve with the control of what you draw via cantrips. Modern is a format in which you can't have it all and you are forced to make a choice: the consistent deck that has a very streamlined plan but can be easily hated, or the versatile deck that has reactive cards that can be useful in a large amount of match-ups, but will still have some unwinnable pairings and, since there aren't completely versatile answers against the full metagame, can still draw the wrong ones against a given opponent.
Other effects that Wizards seem to dislike are stealing creatures (not only Shackles disappear, but Sower of Temptation and Threads of Disloyalty haven't been reprinted), preventing players from searching their libraries (Shadow of Doubt and Aven Mindcensor haven't made the cut twice, while Leonin Arbiter could have been reprinted this year but it wasn't as well) and cheating fatties into play (Goryo's Vengeance and Through the Breach). Inquisition of Kozilek hasn't been printed too, but it appeared in the Modern event deck a year ago.
Overall, the selection of cards in Modern Masters 2015 is pretty good, and if we only look at money cards even better than in the previous Modern Masters edition (something we should already expect from the price increase). The price of some of the reprinted cards is already falling down, so May is a good month to start building or completing your Modern pool, before there is the rebound effect that we observed with the original Modern Masters edition.
Jan 8, 2015When comparing Preordain to Dig Through Time in the decks that are currently using the instant, Preordain is a weaker card. However, I missed the (very important) point that the card would be played in more archetypes, and not only replacing Treasure Cruise in Delver and the combo decks that currently feature it (but not in Burn), but also in some decks that try to challenge the turn 4 rule like Reanimator or Amulet, so it probably would be risky. Here is where comes my personal bias of not liking Scapeshift and wanting it weakened in case the deck that keeps it in check right now (Delver) gets its most powerful card banned.Posted in: spellcheck
About other choices, Bloodbraid Elf is still better than the Rhino and I'm unsure about having it and Ancestral Vision together (and Vision seems like the safer choice if you can only pick one); don't think that many people care about Golgari Grave-Troll being or not on the banlist, while Sword of the Meek is a card I've honestly never played with or against and don't have a formed opinion.
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