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Ultimate Masters: MMI Review
  • posted a message on Death's Shadow Jund
    I think it operates pretty similarly to Fulminator Mage in that matchup, which is what has me excited about it. It's an answer that can be played proactively, and can chip away at your opponent and gradually put pressure on them as the game drags on. I really value cards like that because you do want most of your cards to be proactive, and having to keep in something like Fatal Push to deal with Colonnade (which Grixis has to do) lowers the overall quality of your draws. I do like keeping my 2 Terminates in against U/W/x, though, because the angel package is a pretty widely used option at this point and it still answers random stuff like Colonnade and Vendilion Clique, which can sometimes be randomly problematic. I've been shuffling my list around a bit over the last few days and I'm actually really excited to play against U/W/x again, because it's one of the matchups that I think has been improved by the changes I made.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Death's Shadow Jund
    Cindervines is probably at the top of my list of cards to test. It might end up that pinging for 1 damage just isn't enough and that you're better off just running something like an Ancient Grudge, but this card does check a few boxes for me:
    - The obvious hate against Storm/KCI
    - Can come in against Izzet Phoenix, and sit in play to eventually blow up a Blood Moon or Pyromancer's Ascension.
    - Can come in against a deck like Lantern or the new 4c Artifact Prison deck
    - Can come in against U/W/x
    - Can come in against Burn and offer the potential to answer an Eidolon without losing any life. Alternatively, it can hit both Rest in Peace and Ensnaring Bridge, which can be problematic cards post-board.
    - Can come in against Tron to punish them for spinning their wheels and answer any of the many artifacts they have.

    Most of the above matchups are ones where some number of these conditions are true:
    - you need to race
    - your oppponent's removal lines up well against your creatures, and it can be hard to push the last bit of damage through
    - the opposing deck plays a lot of non-creature spells

    I'll probably start by trying 2 in the sideboard, just to have a better chance to see them when I board them in. I may even run a league with one in the main instead of my Abrupt Decay, again just to see the card more often. Cindervines jumped out to me as the most playable option, but Electrodominance also jumped out based on power level alone. I don't think this deck runs enough lands to really take advantage of it, but I would be interested in seeing Jund adopt a few copies to regain some of the dominance it used to have over creature-based decks.

    In general, this set seems to have more cog pieces than build-around cards (like Phoenix or Hollow One) to me.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Death's Shadow Jund
    This deck has dozens of pilots! Stephen was actually on-camera against Ross Miriam when he was having his break-out performance with Izzet Phoenix a few Opens ago. I don't think he had the Berserkers at the time, but they make a ton of sense on paper. This deck doesn't run many hasty creatures and it's another tool for dealing with resolved Planeswalkers. I'm not sure that you need it, but it's definitely an option worth considering.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Death's Shadow Jund
    I’ve found my matchups against linear decks to be pretty god, especially post-board. Fulminator is a great tool for denying resources, and a well timed stone rain can sometimes decide a game on its own.

    Against Spirits and Humans I lean on the Jund half of the deck to just play a classic midrange game. I usually side out all of my Street Wraiths and as many Thoughtseize as I can. I bring in everything that can kill creatures and then look to play a slower game. This means I’m usually fetching a basic early on and generally being more conservative with my life total.

    Ad Nauseam is probably a great matchup, you can side out your removal and side in Fulminators and just deny them resources. I’m pretty sure this was always a good matchup for classic Jund, and Shadow has a Lowe fail rate for being aggressive.

    Pyro Prison is tricky. A friend of mine is a big proponent of the deck, and he regarded Traverse Shadow as a bad matchup. Basically, Shadow can’t beat their absolute best hands, but it can consistently beat all of the rest. As long as you play around blood moon, you should generally have the tools to break through whatever lock pieces they have assembled.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Death's Shadow Jund
    I consider U/W/x control to be my deck’s worst marchups, but it’s still a winnable one. I really like Fulminator Mage in this matchup, as a way to maintain a board presence while checking one of their win conditions. It’s versatility as an offensive or defensive card is really valuable.

    If I wasn’t running Phyrexian Arena I would run a Hazoret. I’m not super wild about Hazoret here because I want this sideboard slot to be a card thay I bring in against BG/G/x, U/W/x, and Grixis Shadow. Both U/W/x and Grixis Shadow have ways to kill Hazoret, and sometimes at 4 mana she gets stuck in your hand. I’m liking Arena right now because I feel like I already have the tools I need to win these matchups, I just need to make sure my threats/answers line up corresctly. This is the perfect opportunity for a raw card advantage engine, and I think Arena is the best option at 3 cmc.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Death's Shadow Jund
    I think you could run BBE, but I don't think it's necessary to beat traditional Jund, U/W/x, or Grixis Shadow. It helps the most against Grixis, but even there I think that there are better cards that we have access to for less than 4 mana, like Liliana of the Veil.

    In general, I've found that my best plan against Jund is to leverage the fact that they will (on average) have more dead draws than I will over the course of a long game, because of the additional lands they run. With that in mind, I usually trim on Street Wraiths, cut my Inquisitions, and cut my Battle Rages. With the list I'm currently playing, I would go:
    -2 Temur Battle Rage
    -4 Inquisition of Kozilek
    -2 Street Wraith
    -1 Thoughtseize

    +1 Abrupt Decay
    +2 Assassin's Trophy
    +1 Fatal Push
    +3 Fulminator Mage
    +1 Liliana, the Last Hope
    +1 Phyrexian Arena

    There are two things about Jund that make it difficult to navigate: Liliana of the Veil and BBE. A resolved Liliana can win a game entirely on her own, depending on your ability to remove her. You really have to constantly ask yourself what your next turn will look like if your opponent plays a Liliana, I found that the more I hedged against her the better I did. BBE is an issue because of how swingy it is, and because it's such a clean answer to our Lilianas.

    I do something similar against U/W and Jeskai, cutting removal instead of discard:
    -2 Street Wraith
    -2 Temur Battle Rage
    -3 Fatal Push

    +2 Assassin's Trophy
    +3 Fulminator Mage
    +1 Liliana, the Last Hope
    +1 Phyrexian Arena

    I leave in Tarfire as a tool for dealing with Planeswalkers, and Terminate to deal with the angel package these decks commonly run, in addition to Colonnade. U/W has a hard time sticking threats because we're able to cleanly answer a lot of them post-board, so you can take your time to try to sequence your cards to get the maximum value out of them. That's not as true against Jeskai, but their removal doesn't line up as cleanly against you, so in general I find these games to go a bit quicker than U/W.

    Against Grixis Shadow, I like overloading on removal. Having played Grixis against a variety of B/G/x and other grindy strategies, the hardest thing to deal with was always the glut of removal that a deck like B/G Rock has access to. While we still don't have quite as much, I've found that this deck does generally have enough removal to keep the battlefield clear. With that in mind, I really don't change a ton:
    -2 Temur Battle Rage
    -2/1 Inquisition of Kozilek
    -1/2 Street Wraith

    +1 Abrupt Decay
    +2 Assassin's Trophy
    +1 Fatal Push
    +1 Liliana, the Last Hope
    +1 Phyrexian Arena

    On the play, I like to trim an extra Inquisition and keep in an extra Street Wraith, to try allow for a more aggressive start. On the draw, it's important that you can be sure your removal spells won't get hit with Stubborn Denial, so I like the extra discard spell.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 26/11/2018)
    We honestly still don't need to ban anything right now. People are acting like it's a foregone conclusion that everything is on fire and something must be done, but KCI still isn't doing anything like what Bloom Titan or the Eldrazi were doing before those decks ate bans. It's just another resilient combo decks that looks unstoppable because people are finally just starting to pick it up and aren't as focused on beating it yet. Seriously, every article about KCI is why you should be playing it, instead of ways to attack it. It's still dependent on resolving a 4 mana artifact or a 3 mana creature and casting spells at sorcery speed to win.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on Death's Shadow Jund
    The deck just does exactly what I want to do in Modern, it's playing a Jund game that doesn't flood out and just aims to disrupt and kill your opponent as fast as possible. I honestly haven't felt this in-sync with my deck since I was playing Jund before the Twin ban.

    It's funny, because when I first switched to Grixis from 5-Color (before Grixis adopted Baubles) I felt exactly the opposite, that Grixis was so much easier to play because there were less micro-decisions that could come back to haunt me. That scale has definitely shifted now, and I find the Jund version much easier to pilot.

    I have pretty differing sideboard philosophies for Jund vs 4C. With 4C, when going to sideboard I primarily think about how I want to interact with my opponent, since I can interact with them/their stuff in every way possible. I think that finding the right balance of discard, countermagic, removal, land hate, and graveyard hate post-board across all of your matchups is the biggest learning curve that 4C has. In general, I felt like when I had a well-built sideboard and knew how much of each kind of interaction I wanted (and didn't lose to my mana base) my winrate against more linear decks was very high.

    I'm still learning how to sideboard with Jund Shadow, but in general I think of the deck as having two complimentary halves. There's the "Jund" half, with Inquisition, Tarmogoyf, Liliana of the Veil, and all of the removal. Then there's the "Shadow" half, with Thoughtseize, Death's Shadow, and Street Wraith. In general, I find that I like to lean on the Jund half for fair matchups (Izzet Phoenix, U/W/x, B/G/x, Shadow mirrors, Burn, and most creature decks), and the Shadow half for unfair matchups (KCI, Tron, Dredge, Hollow One). Independent of either strategy are cards like Traverse the Ulvenwald and Mishra's Bauble, which are just cogs in the machine that make it easier to execute either strategy and find the correct threat for the matchup.

    The flexibility to transition up and down the agro/control -> midrange scale is a commonly praised hallmark of Grixis Shadow, and while I think it's not possible for 4 color to effectively do the same thing, Jund Shadow is very much able to move up and down that scale, as well. That flexibility is the core of why I think both 3 color versions are superior to the 4 color one. I think that the decks do it differently, though, with Grixis more dependent on using its sideboard to move up and down the scale, while Jund Shadow is less dependent on its sideboard (and less helped by it) and more dependent on adjusting the way you're actually playing in-game. I typically play to the Jund half by being more conservative with my life total and boarding out a couple of Street Wraiths. I will often fetch basics early on against U/R decks like Blue Moon and Izzet Phoenix, because if you don't give them the chance to burn you out its actually pretty hard for them to win because they do such a poor job of killing your creatures. In these matchups, I treat Death's Shadow as more of an insurance policy to guarantee that my opponent won't be able to out-race me, and don't worry too much about powering them out early.

    I've actually been thinking about recording a deck tech and a couple leagues and putting them up on Youtube, because I don't see anyone else talking about this deck the way I think of it.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Death's Shadow Jund
    Thanks! Right now, I’m trying out:
    -1 Scavenging Ooze
    -2 Tireless Tracker

    +1 Abrupt Decay
    +1 Fatal Push
    +1 Phyrexian Arena

    With that, so far I’ve beaten Tron, Grixis Shadow, and Jund. My list plays surprisingly well against the other grindy decks right now. I think that one of those 3 cards should end up being an Ancient Grudge at some point, I’m currently leaning towards Push.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Death's Shadow Jund
    Not great. I didn’t like the play patterns it forced me into with my lands, and I don’t think the deck floods out consistently enough to make Tracker worth it. I’m in the middle of a league with a copy of Phyrexian Arena in the sideboard, and it just came up huge in a game 3 against Jund.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Death's Shadow Jund
    I managed to take 4th in another IQ this past weekend with a similar list to my previous one:



    The few changes from my previous list were out of a desire to improve my fair matchups, since the deck seems to handle unfair decks very well already. While Ooze and Tracker both seemed appealing on paper, I was consistently disappointed by both cards and won't be running them again in the future. The tournament itself had 65 people, which was good for 6 rounds. Overall, my matchups were:

    Swiss
    Grixis Shadow (2-1, 1-0 overall)
    Titanshift (2-1, 2-0 overall)
    Burn (2-1, 3-0 overall)
    Jund (1-2, 3-1 overall)
    Tron (2-0, 4-1 overall)
    Grixis Shadow (ID, 4-1-1 overall)

    Top 8
    Jund (2-0, 5-1-1 overall)
    Humans (1-2, 5-2-1 overall)

    I'm still learning how to approach the Jund and Grixis Shadow matchups, but neither matchup is nearly as bad as it was when Grixis Shadow was first emerging last year. The current builds of Grixis are far less grindy, and the matchup feels a lot more manageable when they aren't playing 4 Fatal Push and 4 Snapcaster Mage as a baseline in the main deck.

    @lugger to answer your question from 2 weeks ago, I think that Assassin's Trophy is at its worst when you're using it as a removal spell, so if it wasn't Terminate it would at least be Dismember, not Trophy. Additionally, I think that getting to play Terminate is one of the upsides of this deck over 4-color, and since you aren't running countermagic you just need to play the best removal spells that you can. I don't think the format is in a place where I need to answer a lot of enchantments/planeswalkers in game 1, and my current main deck has been consistently strong enough that I haven't felt much need to tinker with it.

    Edit- Just remembered that it was Titanshift I played against in round 2. Lost game 1, won games 2/3 because this deck sideboards like a monster in that matchup.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Death's Shadow Jund
    Ha! That’s a good looking list. Grin
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Death's Shadow Jund
    I'm not sure it's "obsolete" so much as "was never that great to begin with". I think that the card serves a unique purpose in very specific situations, but is often a dead card outside of those situations. Like you said, you'll remember the games where you Traversed for it and it made the difference in winning the game, but that just doesn't seem to happen very often. I love having access to 2 Battle Rage, but I'm not entirely sure that I need access to a third version of that "push through damage" effect.

    This is what I'm looking to play going forward until something about the meta changes:
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Death's Shadow Jund
    Ghor-Clan seemed really questionable to me in the 4-Color version of the deck. I'm pretty sure Peter Hollman ran into the exact scenario you're describing on coverage when he was against Dredge. I'm not super convinced I want Rampager in straight Jund, either.

    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 26/11/2018)
    Grixis Shadow was always a good police deck, Modern players just lose their minds whenever any new deck starts doing well, because for a number of years that did usually signify a future ban. Straight Jund Shadow is also a powerful option, though considerably less played at the moment.

    RE the Grixis Shadow vs Tron matchup, because Shadow doesn't typically interact with its opponent's lands, your plan is to kill your opponent before they draw more threats than you have answers. Grixis typically loses when Tron stops them from establishing a clock in turns 1-3, which is typically done through a combination of Relic of Progenitus, O-Stone, and good old fashioned pressure. I've typically beaten opponents that are just trying to ignore me and do the Tron thing, but have struggled with more savvy Tron opponents that just try to drag the game out as long as possible. As it stands I think the matchup is relatively even, but Grixis can always adopt a couple Alpine Moon to swing the matchup more in its favor.
    Posted in: Modern
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